Wasted Days and Wasted Nights…


dam_asset_image-27230920200606-6634-14jvdp4Every day you spend in fear, in anxiety, bound to some potential, negative future outcome is a wasted day. Whenever your options for living are limited, reduced, paired down and minimized, you are being stolen from and subsequently your life is being wasted. Each new day is a glorious opportunity to live and experience and pursue, but when distractions enter in, you begin to unknowingly squander away your days fixated on the wrong things; looking in the wrong direction, missing the life that was given you to enjoy. How many people find themselves living wasted days and wasted nights?

Life, undistracted and unencumbered, has within it a certain energy level; a vital life force; the capacity to do all that you ever want to do. In its most basic essence, life naturally contains the vitality and excitement necessary to sustain you and render you contented and satisfied. Yet, on the other side of that life, an opponent works behind the scenes to steal from you that which was yours to enjoy. And like the robber that creeps in undetected, you are unable to recognize the theft occurred until long after the valuables are gone. So many people today only half live. Sure they are going through the motions and dutifully carrying out the day’s responsibilities, but they are not really living. They spend their days consumed with negative potentialities and that nagging, annoying something back there claiming they cannot really live and experience because of something soon to appear to thwart their efforts. Instead of moving forward they sort of hover there, caught up and entangled in something too elusive to lay ahold of or recognize. They know something is wrong, but cannot quite put their finger on it. All they know for sure is that their life has been reduced, hemmed in, hindered in some vague way; some undetectable way. 

Whenever you are feeling bored; trapped in predictable routines; mired in responsibilities and rules for living, you are being stolen from. One by one the things you enjoy are questioned and subsequently curtailed to the point where your enjoyments all must be censored, contained and controlled. God forbid you start having too much fun. Enjoyments need to be only half enjoyed and all supposed excesses reigned in and brought under subjection. Soon you find that all your enjoyments have been scaled down to acceptable levels, leaving you, the one called into question, questioning all of your choices; limiting all of your fun; afraid to experience and live. You’ve become irresponsible in your responsibilities. You are super safe and at the same time, almost dead. You don’t go too far, but you also don’t go far enough. You have been tricked into thinking that all fun, all good times, all enjoyments should be questioned, while never considering the source of your constraints. You consider that maybe God favors the bland lifestyle and all apparent good should be reexamined. In this, you have been deceived. Life is to be enjoyed and routine, rote, unthinking behaviors excluded at all costs. 

Much of our wasted days and wasted nights are centered in an over preoccupation with self. What a dichotomy that pursuit of self leaves you with an unhappy self. The more you look inward; the more you evaluate and assess; the more you focus on your own emotions and your own feelings, the unhappier you become. You feel as if you are getting to the bottom of you, but you are not. You seek to discover yourself and instead discover everything but yourself. Self-focus distracts you from your life. You cannot see the moment you are in. You cannot experience others because your are experiencing your own self and every fleeting emotion associated with self. This is a deception of untold proportions. You falsely assume that if you can just get to the bottom of you, all will be well. However, there is no bottom of you of which to arrive. Instead there is nothing but imperfection more closely examined leading nowhere. But, once you turn away fully from almighty self, you quickly find joy and peace and the energy to live. You experience not you at the center of all things, but you experiencing all things of which you are not the center. 

Wasted days and wasted nights are the by-products of distraction. Whatever distracts takes away from that which is real, genuine, true. Distractions concerning worries and fears blind you to the true essence and blessings in your life and slowly, but surely, grind your life to a halt. Distractions concerning behaving properly or not sinning, not making God unhappy, not being good, not being worthy, rob your life of fun times and work to censure your enjoyments, limit your pleasures and generally suck the life out of all that contains life and vitality. Distractions over self, preoccupation with self, obsessions concerning self and only self, paint a picture of failure and defeat lived out in varying, fleeting emotions which are no more true than the moments they appear within. They distract from the experience of others and isolate you, trapped within a prison cell of your own making. All are nothing but distractions leading you away from the reality of your life over to some other place that doesn’t exist, or exists only in your own mind. 

You owe it to yourself to recognize where the distractions of life have crept in and robbed you of your blessed existence. Take note of those times you aren’t there, but only half there caught up in the web of your own thoughts. Move your mind and thoughts to another place. Stop standing around mesmerized by what appears to be going on and get busy experiencing what is actually going on. Engage yourself fully, single minded and unafraid. Get outside of yourself and turn your focus outward. Every night you spend worried; every day you spend caught up in self evaluation and judgment; every day you spend consumed with your own feelings is a waste of your time and life. Rid yourself of the distractions and get busy living the day you are in. Get busy living the one short life you have been given. Move ahead and do it now…

Just some good thoughts…

Slow Down and Pay Attention…


how-to-slow-down-time-1_0ce709aLogic would seem to dictate that the faster you go, the further you would travel. However, life doesn’t really function that way. It seems we have all gotten it into our heads that speed equals progress. We fly through our responsibilities in an incessant effort to get more things done. We but half recognize what is going on as we add more and more to our “to-do” lists. We don’t enjoy the present moment because we are always looking down the road for the next set of requirements. In the end, we pay a price for our lack of focus, no longer able to detect important details. We miss life; our only life and trade away the beauty of the moment for some future day when we will finally be able to relax. In this, we need to slow down and pay attention.

Often when we get in a hurry at work, we miss important details; things we would see if we weren’t moving too quickly. We botch the project of the week by trying to get it done too fast. At home, we skip through important responsibilities or necessary tasks in favor of doing something else. We fail to see what the situation requires of us and barge ahead oblivious. All of these missed items take a toll on us and before we know it, we find ourselves worn out and dissatisfied. It never quite dawns on us that everything we let go, presumably from an absence of enough time, remains behind nagging at us and taking away our peace of mind. All of us have enough time to do what we really need to do, but we allow our time to be stolen away by frivolity and endless distractions. It is no wonder the people of today are so full of anxiety and distress. Their minds are a literal battlefield of unfinished business, so much so that they don’t know where to start to set it aright.

Life was never intended to be lived so fast. Living too fast and adding in too much extraneous activity leaves our minds threadbare and exhausted. This usually leads us to more distractions and attempts at medicating ourselves through a variety of means. Eventually our minds, overloaded and confused, feel the weight and begin to skew our emotions rendering us agitated and upset, easily provoked and manipulated. We have trouble problem solving and even the simplest of requirements overwhelm us. The solution isn’t to work harder and drive ourselves further. The solution is to take the time to slow down and handle the things we have, in ignorance, let go. We have to give ourselves an opportunity to relax and recover. We must take time to rest. It’s not noble to work so frenetically that we have little time left for ourselves. Otherwise, the obvious consequence will be found in the distress we are feeling. Internal distress informs us of the need to slow down and recognize what is actually going on. We need some time to think about what we have been thinking about. Bashing forward like a bull in a china shop does nothing but leave us damaged and in a worse state. When things are bugging you, you don’t overcome them by charging ahead no matter the cost. Instead, you have to give yourself some quiet time to begin discerning what is actually going on. As you endeavor to look back at where you have been, you will find clarity and begin to understand what you let go; what you failed to handle; where you brushed past something important and will be able to secure the remedy so much more easily.

We live our lives through our minds. No matter the reality of a circumstance, you live that circumstance through your mind. Life becomes miserable or enjoyable by what you put through your mind. Negative thoughts, fearful thoughts burden your mind down adding weight artificially. Self condemning thoughts convince you, you are something you are not and as a result, hamper your ability to process things properly. Everything you let go, that needed to be properly addressed, stacks on top of itself rendering you confused and distraught. It’s not one problem or difficulty that is defeating you, it is compound difficulties, multiple agitations, numerous unresolved slights banding together to overwhelm and overtax you. You wouldn’t feel so confused if you were only dealing with one marauder. And, the only reason this happens to us is because we have failed to take the time we needed when we needed it, to get things straight. To be your best self, you need to keep things straight. That voice in your head that never has anything good to say about you is only silenced one good thought at a time. Letting it speak unchecked and unchallenged is why you feel unhappy and why you are not at peace. You have to slow down and pay attention.

There is something marvelous about doing things properly and in the right way. We don’t have to be perfect, but we do have to apply our full hearts and our full focus. And focus only comes as we eliminate the distractions, one by one until they are gone. We owe that to ourselves. Some folks spend their whole lives entertaining negative thoughts about themselves that were never true to begin with, yet they persist year after year living in a prison of their own making; living amidst a refusal to challenge the thoughts; a distracted, unfocused, perpetual continuance in error. My friends, this does not need to be.

If you find yourself agitated and confused, distracted and distraught, take the time you need to get things straight. Slow yourself down and begin to think. Cut off, at least for while, the endless stream of distractions and give yourself time to think. And, for goodness sakes, stop letting things go. Be in the moment and live in the moment. Look around you and really see. Notice the people you have been blessed to interact with and look for the needs you can help supply. Pay attention to the people you love most with open eyes, listening ears and open hearts. Stop fretting over next month or next year or when you plan to retire and instead live right now. Live the day you are in and only the day you are in. That will be enough to handle on its own. The recipe for future happiness, peace of mind and a blessed life is to slow down and pay attention…

Just some good thoughts…

I Just Lost My Pops…


IMG_2350This past Monday my Pops passed away. He was 81 years of age. We often called him the “medical miracle” in light of how he just kept trudging along despite a host of medical troubles. He was a tough man and he was a fighter. Yet for all that, nothing quite prepares you for the finality of death. And while we knew it was time for him to go, nothing readies your heart for the emptiness you feel inside and the idea of not seeing someone you love alive again on earth. So for that reason and for my own heart’s sake, I wanted to write a little tribute to the man who was my Pops.

Often in families there are a host of unresolved hurts and ideas about how a son or daughter should have been treated. And it seems, no matter what you may have thought you did, there will always be some aspect wherein you likely fell short. I don’t offer this to point towards my Dad’s deficiencies for I have learned by now that all of us are simply doing the best that we can. Families contain a thousand variables and pressures, circumstances and difficulties unique to every family. Who are we as children to accurately define the narrative? A child cannot possibly be aware of the things that are going through their parents hearts. The job of parents is often to struggle so the child doesn’t have to; a reality that may escape you until you have children of your own. And when it comes to training about how to be a good parent, all we have is the manner in which we grew up compliments of our parents following in the footsteps of their own parents. For this, there can be no criticism, only abiding love.

My dad was a man of few words. And often perhaps, as a lover of words, I didn’t hear the things that I thought that I should hear. It wasn’t until I got a bit older that I began to learn that not all of us share the same love language. Sometimes you have to recognize the love being shared in different ways. My Dad, probably in light of not growing up with much money, spoke the language of love by the things he could give to you. He often cooked exotic meals from a variety of cultures as a token of his love and reveled in the happiness it produced as you devoured it. I sometimes think the satisfaction of a full tummy represented warmth and love to him. When I was young and increasingly demanding about the things I needed to have, it never dawned on me the sacrifices he made so that I could have the popular shoes or a football jersey. For as long as I could remember, he always had two jobs; his day job and a part time gig. As a child you may not consider what another person is going through to try and make you happy. When you remember your parents, remember that and make sure your love abides.

I carried some bitterness towards my Dad for quite a few years. In hindsight, I am ashamed of that. But, I finally got past it all when I made it about him instead of about me. I began to see his humanity and being a parent myself, recognized the challenges we all must face. I stopped expecting him to be something he was not and instead let him be who he was. I forgave him for his lack of warm expressions and looked to be a source of that warmth for him. I loved him for who he was and for his generosity in raising a child that wasn’t his by birth. I marveled at how he chose to do that for me and made me a part of his own family. I always wondered why I looked a little different. And now that he is gone, I wished that I could tell him again how much I loved him. Shortly before his death, he got it into his head that I was put out with him for some reason. So, he told my Mom in front of me that he wanted her to buy me a ring and that it needed to cost one thousand dollars. I offered that he never had to do that for me and that I was not upset with him at all. But, I got your message Pops and I sure love you too.

I am proud of my Dad and what he did for himself and for our family. I am proud of the life he made for my Mom. She has more gifts from him than she can count, all given in the language of his love. I am profoundly thankful for the things he taught me. He taught me that it was my job and my job alone to make sure my family’s needs were met. He taught me that no-one gets a free pass. My dad had a habit of saying no to every request. At first this used to bother me and I would scurry away in defeat, that is until I learned to go past his default response and ask again. Man, I could have gotten a lot more stuff as a kid if I knew that was what was going on. Pops also had some quirks that we all remember too well. He loathed the sound of crunching potato chips and so we learned quickly to soften them up a bit (smile). He was not politically correct and may have even been the black Archie Bunker. We always looked around to see who else heard what he just said. He often decried the use of cigarettes and pointed to their ill effects on your health, despite only smoking for a year or two in his twenties. I would often say, Pops you may have COPD but it aint from smoking, you didn’t work hard enough at it for that. He also had some favorite sayings. His favorite, “Wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one gets filled up first.” We were never sure if that was a way of saying you don’t get anything from wishing or that you could expect some shit, but whatever the case we all recall it with great fondness. My Pops was just a classic, a throwback from a hardworking generation gone past. I don’t think I ever heard him complain about going to work.

Well now he is gone. What we wouldn’t give to eat some potato chips in his presence, to her him shout, “no!” or to listen to those same old jokes we had heard a hundred times. What we wouldn’t give to have him back. I sure loved you Pops and I never told you that enough. If there is one takeaway from what I am writing today it’s that you should love and treasure your parents; the people that just keep on loving you no matter what you do. Remember they share in your humanity and can be real stinkers at times just like you. They don’t always know the right way to do it and they are simply doing the best they can. Resolve the hurts in your family and for goodness sakes forgive. Those people most close to you who we all tend to treat the worst, are in fact, the most precious. Love them. Help them. Be there for them when they get old.

Thank you for indulging me today and I hope this will still be “just some good thoughts…”

Something is Supposed to Happen!


power-of-God

You ever have that experience where you expected something really cool and then nothing happened? I feel like this is the experience of most Christians today. I know it isn’t God’s fault in that He would somehow be less today than He was in the past. Or, that our relationship with God is nothing more than replacing poor morality with good works in exchange for a ticket to heaven. Or perhaps, that believing in God is psychologically good for the soul whereby you can talk things over but not expect anything to actually change. It seems to me that maybe we got it all wrong. Maybe our starting premise is incorrect. Maybe we have been so schooled to expect nothing to happen when we seek God that we have settled for less than His best. I mean if we are being honest, if my belief in God produces nothing tangible in my life, then what would be the point? And, all these shenanigans folks do for God, why would they even do them? In reality, we the common folks have been sold a bill of goods. We have been craftily and artfully talked out of the power of God which should accompany our relationship with Him. The abundant life promised in John 10:10 just doesn’t happen on its own despite what we believe. No, my friends, we’ve got something wrong with our thinking and with our heartfelt expectations. When you become a child of God, something is supposed to happen!

The starting point for this dilemma comes when we do not understand spiritual realities because of our insistence in trusting, believing and acting upon only that which we can perceive with our five senses. The spiritual realm is outside of our five senses perceptions. We are deceived into believing God’s Word isn’t true because our five sense counter what God says in His Word. The evidence, if you will, is not apparent and believing thus, we quickly give up. We think it looks bad so it is bad and it looks good because it is good. However, that is not how it works. What God says is true whether it ever looks true or not. What God has promised you as His child is your reality, not what the doctor says, the economy says or the world says. As a believer, you have perpetual access to God’s power and God’s goodness and kindness towards you. The reason you don’t believe that is because someone taught you incorrectly. They tied God’s goodness towards you to your own weakness and inadequacies and in so doing stole away the power of God from your life. You are still trying to get right with God who, through the finished work of His son, already made you right with Him. You think, foolishly, that you could somehow make yourself good enough to deserve His love and goodness towards you. And then it is no surprise that you fail and in failing, fail to believe God’s promises to you. You are part of a grand deception, because when you believe God, something is supposed to happen!

With that spirit you received when you believed God’s record of His son, you received power. The point of the power is to help you overcome the power of evil in and over your life. The only reason you suffer in any capacity; the only reason you live with unmet needs; the only reason you cannot seem to get ahead or over certain obstacles is because you are losing in the contest with evil. You are losing in the contest because you either don’t know or do not use God’s power in your life. You are still relying on old “figure it out on your own” brain, which is easily defeated as you can readily attest. God has given you power for abundant living! With this power from God you can surmount any mountain in your path. God’s will is to heal you today of any malady that assaults you. God’s power can break the powers of evil over your life. God can reveal to you what is going on spiritually and what to do about it. God can right any wrong, restore any part of your life, strengthen you, bless you and cause you to ride on the high places of the earth. It is never His will that is in question! God is only good always in every capacity, in every act, in every conceivable way. His goodness is there for you if you want it. Oh my God, something is supposed to happen!

How many people understand the working of God’s holy spirit? Again, most people are still waiting for a feeling, some indicator that God’s spirit is inside and they usually end up waiting a very long time. God isn’t found in your feelings. God’s spirit that resides inside you (when you believe) is always ready to go into operation for you! It is you, the new you. That spirit inside you has different manifestations or evidences. The purpose of those manifestations is that you might use them (it is your spirit) to win in life. It is God’s solution for you! Part of that spiritual package you received enables God to talk to you directly. Imagine, God Almighty can converse with you! He can tell you what is really going on in a situation and what to do about it. He can provide you with clues and insight into your relationships, your work life, how to be successful and the list goes on. But, sadly, most people remain absolutely clueless about the power of God in their life. They sort of limp along, praying and not receiving, hoping, wishing and not getting anywhere fast. They are so caught up in their own bullshit that they miss God a lifetime. Instead of relying on God’s solutions that they desperately need, they focus in on their own missteps and failures as if the power of God hinged upon their good behavior. How absurd it is to think that the God of Heaven and Earth would limit Himself to human behaviors and mistakes! You’ve got it all wrong and no wonder because that is how you have been taught. Everything God does for man He does from His grace, His divine favor that He freely gives to every man. You finally can operate the power of God when you stop making it about you and make it about Him! God already knows your whole future (and mine) and loves you anyway. Don’t you love your children? Do you only provide them with the solutions they need when they are good or do you do it out of your pure love for them? Well, I imagine God is at least that good, don’t you? When you learn to operate the power of God, something is supposed to happen. Something good will absolutely happen!

The whole point of this life is to learn about who God is and to live your life with Him. Don’t spend another day trying to go it alone. You need help and you know it. Life, absent God is confusing and scary and hard. Life without God is futile and miserable. Brethren, these things ought not to be. The power of God is inside of you already if you have been born again and all you have to do is learn how to use it. Once you get God involved, life turns around in a hurry. You will find that it was never about your good works, but rather about the God who made you. His love is unparalleled. His kindness and compassion, unrivaled. You could not find a better friend or a better source of all that is missing from your life. All that God seeks from you is a willingness to learn of Him. Ask the questions and see if He will not give you the answers. Oh how grateful I am to have learned of Him. Oh how good my life is with Him. With all of my decidedly suspect behaviors, He loves me still and gives me all that I could ever need. Surely you want that in your own life. You would be crazy not to want it! When God is involved, something is supposed to happen! Always!

Just some good thoughts…

Enjoy Your Life…


3588855bb2e74867f7877d6b26470a98When you are a young person, you cannot wait to get older and do the things that adults can do. When you reach adulthood, you quickly learn that being an adult carries with it some responsibilities you hadn’t really thought all the way through. You take on those responsibilities and begin to figure things out. You work hard and seek out the resources you need for you and your young, budding family. You start to taste some success, admittedly some more than others, and before you know it, you find yourself in your thirties, then forties, eventually reaching middle age. Your children are likely grown or getting there and you start setting new priorities for your life. You settle into your middle aged life and because you worked hard, have more resources available to you and more time to devote to the things you enjoy most. And while you continue on your journey, the time comes when discussions involve retirement and you’ve entered your sixties. At some point you retire and it dawns on you that you cannot actually cheat Father Time as you see and feel the effects of age. And, as this progression continues and you aren’t getting any younger, some of the most simple things provide you with the most pleasure, much like how you started out. You look back on your life and recognize it for the journey it actually is and was. No one told you how to do your thirties or your forties or your sixties. In fact, no one told you hardly anything about aging at all. There was little to no advice about what to expect, what to plan for or how best to live your life along the way. And as you approach the ending no one really wants to consider, the only question remaining will be, did you enjoy your life? Did you engage your mind and your heart in the things that matter most? Did you enjoy your days as you lived them or were you always trying to get to the next place? Did you savior the beauty of today or was your habit to postpone all enjoyment for the future when you finally had it all figured out with resources untold? No matter your present age, the question is, are you enjoying your life? 

Life is vary similar for us all. By the time we have gained a little wisdom, we will have already had our fair share of bumps and bruises. We will have endured some catastrophes and survived. We learned tough lessons. We maybe screwed things up quite a bit. We had weaknesses and issues that took us years to overcome. We might have failed, succeeded and failed again. All of this is common to the human experience. It will happen or has happened in some capacity to us all. Yet all these things are not the measure of our lives. The real measure is found in every day that happened in between those events. As much as we didn’t like it, did we fight through those tough times? Were we able to find happiness and love despite the obstacles? Did we learn early enough that the real blessing and enjoyment we found came from those who we lived life with? All of the hours we spent raising children and caring for them and making sure they had everything they needed were all insignificant in comparison to the love we shared and do share with them. And in the midst of all that stressful endeavor, I sure hope you enjoyed them. Those countless hours you spent at work, striving to be the best, to be successful, to earn, to provide for your family, again lose their value if you were not able to enjoy those folks you saw everyday and with which you were blessed to interact. Every successful marriage has its fair share of challenges as should be expected from two people growing, changing and interacting every day. Yet for all of the fights, the silent treatment, the unrealistic expectations and demands, stands alone the absolute joy of having someone close and intimate from which to enjoy your life in all of its varied experiences and emotions. Who can compare to “your person” that understands all of your human frailty but continues to love you nonetheless? My point, lest you miss it, is that you have one life to enjoy, to learn, to grow and to overcome and only one life to live on Earth. Enjoy your life…

All of us love a sunny day as well as congenial circumstances of favor and plenty. None of us take delight in the struggles. We all long for a time when things always work out and every effort we supply has a grand result. We are all happy when things are going right and we are all unhappy when we find ourselves pressed and tried. Life, this life, is often unfair and lacking in the justice we would expect. Picnics get rained on and beach days suddenly turn cold. Vacations get cancelled and glorious outdoor weddings are hurriedly moved indoors. Circumstances change, our feelings change, we’re up, we’re down, we are beside ourselves and we are blessed. It is this life we have now and it is ours to choose to enjoy. We cannot allow circumstances to define our happiness anymore than we can leave our enjoyment in the hands of other people. Instead enjoyment is found when we slow down a bit and savior the fullness of our experience; when we take the time to look around at all that we have instead of that which we perceive we lack; when we look full on in the faces of the people we love and communicate with our hearts, embracing tender feelings towards them. This is the real beauty and essence of life. This is the life God envisioned for us. Enjoy your life…

Wisdom need not be reserved for the aged. You don’t have to be in your golden years before you finally understand that all along you only had one life to live with every conceivable decision in between. You don’t have to wait for some future day when all of your needs will finally be met. You don’t have to postpone your happiness until you find “your person.” It was never about your car or your house or your bank account. Life, your life, is to be lived today to the absolute full. Let tomorrow be what it wants for your life is found in today, right now. In the grand words of Emerson, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in. Forget then as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”

Enjoy your life…

Just some good thoughts…

 

Relieving a Vast Load of Care


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If you spent any amount of time on Terra Firma, you know that life can get on top of you in a hurry. You’re plugging along doing your thing when suddenly the troubles seem to mount up with wings and you find yourself distressed and agitated, stuck in a vortex of worry and doubt. Oh my friends, these things need not be. Any trouble you might face is common to man and is similar to the experiences we all must endure at times. But, with every trouble you may encounter, there is a solution that is yours to find. You must but ask and in asking you will find, if you will persist. God will relieve your vast load of care.

In order to fully appreciate the dilemma all men and women find themselves in, you must first understand the nature of the spiritual competition. Your apparent difficulties and complexities are not the result of happenstance and bad fortune, but rather the effects of cunningly devised plans, designed to point your thoughts in a certain direction and then keep them there for as long as you will permit. The great power your opponent uses against you is one of deception. He seeks to paint a picture whereby all of your options are limited and without apparent remedy. He and his spiritual henchmen work to define the narrative; to outline craftily what is going on in your circumstances and why; to offer reasons that are not reasons and answers that are not answers at all. It is the, “Well, it could be worse logic.” It is trading in really shitty for only crappy. It is defeated logic from an already defeated foe. Much, if not all, of the troubles you face exist in your mind, the battleground, and what you choose in response to those lies from the father of lies, determines where you will end up. Mark Twain once remarked, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” Indeed, most troubles do not come to pass because they were never troubles to begin with. Yet, a man can lose a significant amount of time for living by entertaining those false ideas.

In order for worries to take hold of you, you must become a cooperator with them. All of us are subject to their threats, yet not all of us persist in cooperating with them. You cooperate with them by refusing to let them go. You think and think and think, yet find no solution. You find no solution because there is no solution as they were never true to begin with. The appeal is to your ego; to your insistence that you, by your human logic, can put them to rest. But, the very thing you are doing in an effort to resolve them, is the thing that guarantees their continuance. (Please read that sentence again) The least you can do when confronted with reasons to be afraid is to refuse to think them any further. The best thing you can do when confronted with them is to replace them with some truth from God’s Word that opposes them. ‘Fear not’ is the number one admonition in the Bible for a reason. Again, your temptation to be afraid, to worry, is common to man. But God will always provide a way out.

It is normal for you to conclude that your difficulties and troubles are a direct result of something you did in the past, are doing now, or have thought about doing in the future. But, can you be so sure? Your personal enemy knows no bounds nor does he fight fair. In a perfect world, we all would have exactly what we deserved, good and bad. But, in the spiritual competition, many get far worse than they deserve and many get far more than they earned. Life and chance happen to them all. In other words, in the competition, you get not what you deserve or have earned, but rather what you have believed. The man that believes to be successful, will be successful no matter where he began or the amount of effort he supplied. The man that unknowingly expected to fail, listening to and acting on his fears, consumed with worry about the future, will fail just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow. It is a law, God’s law and you may cooperate with it or suffer as a result of it. But. my friends, you need not suffer any longer. Your task is not to try and figure out the vast world of the unknown, but instead determine what you will and will not think about. The woman that exclaims, “I knew it!” when calamity strikes is right, yet not because she was destined for calamity, but rather because she ignorantly persisted in those devilish thoughts until disaster stuck. We make life harder than it actually is. Our duty is to control our thinking and in doing so, cooperate with God who always has our best interests at heart. Your thoughts are always your thoughts!

Beliefs that come as a result of thoughts persisted in, tap you into power, power for good and power for evil. If you persist steadfast in right thought, you cannot help but obtain good results. However, if you stubbornly continue in wrong thought; thoughts of worry and fear; thoughts of impending defeat and loss, you will find yourself a victim of an enemy you neither perceived, nor stood against. You don’t resist evil by consuming yourself with thoughts of sin, condemnation and pleasing God, you resist evil by controlling your thinking and standing vehemently against the lies and the deceptions. You please God by changing your thinking to line up with His abundant promises, so that He can do for you what He promised. Focus on self, another crafty deception, always ends in defeat. You and I will never deserve God’s kindness to us, but by the grace of God we are what we are. By God’s grace we at least have a fighting chance and by God’s grace we can achieve at levels we have never before imagined. Oh my friends, let God carry all of your cares, all of your worries, all of your fears and see how quickly your life will transform!

The troubles we face are common to man. We are all in the competition whether we choose to compete or not. Your responsibility isn’t to figure out evil and its deceptions. Your job is to learn how to fight back! You fight back by controlling your thinking and having the humility and willingness to let things go. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” When you cast your cares upon God and leave them there, you will begin to see the deceptions more clearly and more quickly. Oh sure, you are going to be real tempted at times, but hang in there and see it through. Don’t let worries and cares rob you from the life that now is and from the life that is yet to come. Life is quite a beautiful reality once the fear and worry are gone. Find relief from a vast load of cares by learning to obey in your thought life. God is here…

Just some good thoughts…

Change Your Mind!


two-split-minds-heads-0618211Nothing changes until you change. The changes you really want and beg for and wish for and complain about and lament concerning, are not going to come about on their own. The circumstances of your life, be they what they are, are ultimately a production of your own mind and heart, played out in infinite variations within your own existence. When you find yourself bogged down and mired in negativity, nothing is going to counter that negativity until you finally decide to change your mind. And, while you wait and endure and long for a positive end, you will be waiting a lifetime unless you get determined to confront the source, your own thinking and subsequently your own expectations. As a great man once remarked, “You cannot travel within and stand still without.” As your thoughts go, you will continue to go. Where your thoughts remain, there you will remain. If you are serious about wanting something to change, you have to become serious about changing your thoughts. Change your mind!

It is common for man to think that his thoughts are simply a reaction to his circumstances. He fancies that he is merely a reactive force in the world. Where the world goes, he must go. Instead of commanding control of his mind, he waits for something outside of him to alter something that exists within him. He waits in vain for his ship to come in; his luck to turn around; some grand, cosmic intervention to occur thereby setting him free from his misery and pain. In not knowing, he fails to cooperate with the reality of things. He foolishly waits for God to do something that he must do and exhausts himself trying to do what God alone can do. In his ignorance, he rebels against his own self. He desperately pleads for circumstances to change, while encouraging those same circumstances with the thoughts he continues to think. He persists and they persist. He cleaves to the wrong and the wrong cleaves to him. He continues to walk in darkness then curses the darkness for plaguing his life. As another great man once remarked, “Dwelling on the darkness won’t bring forth the light.” Complaining, whining, bitching, rehashing, playing the victim, rehearsing wrongs done, replaying the evil, remaining in the darkness can only lead to more and more darkness. Endeavoring to command God’s light into circumstances of darkness while remaining in the darkness and refusing to depart from the darkness, is a fool’s game, which many a suffering soul has lived in and for a long, long time. In order for anything good to come, you have to be willing to change your mind. You have to change your mind!

People bring their troubles to God, as He would have them to do, and then refuse to change their thinking. They stay focused on their problems; talk only about their problems; and live firmly within the confines of their problems. They refuse to let things go. In doing so, they remain in the darkness. God is not found in the darkness, He is found in the light, for He is light and in Him is no darkness at all. To earnestly pray for God’s deliverance from some negative circumstance, while persisting in the negativity and embracing it instead of moving to the light, is a recipe for an unanswered prayer. It’s never that God is unwilling to answer the prayer, but more so that the person praying is unwilling to do their part and change their mind. Changing your mind to some thought that is based on the light of God’s Word is the antidote to darkness. Then, once you find the light, you must be determined to stay there. You will find yourself tempted to return to the darkness, the negativity, the defeat, but in order to prevail you have to stay in the light. It might surprise you to know that the reason your circumstances are negative, if they are, is because you have thought it so and continue to think it so. You have knowingly and unknowingly persisted in your negativity. You stuck with it. You stayed in it. You set up shop within it. You failed to take charge of your own mind and your own thoughts and have received the fruit of your negativity. That is not God’s fault, that is your fault. Do your part. Change your mind.

If you give this stuff more than a cursory glance, it will become apparent that you have a part to play in this equation. You can literally think anything you want to think. You can picture yourself successful, delivered, blessed, just as easily as you can picture yourself defeated. The problem is that you (and I) have been schooled by the world to dwell on the darkness. The slightest circumstance; a sore throat, a cough, a twinge in our back, a sudden lack of energy, a market dip, all send our minds reeling towards some frightful, pending, negative outcome. It feels hard to do because it goes against the grain of thinking we have been taught. We already know that worrying serves no good purpose, nor does it lead to any good outcome, yet we insist on running some dark variable through our minds, hoping that somehow, in some indescribable, mysterious way, we are going to stumble upon some light, some answer of peace, something! But, we won’t find the light there. The light comes when we let the thought go, when we refuse its continuance; when we calm down, get peaceful and remember how much God loves us and cares for us. In that space, our answers appear and in no other space. Agitation, unrest, anxiety are not addresses where God lives. Change your mind and walk in the light. 

The only way to get the change you are seeking is to change your mind. Think thoughts of positivity and light. Stop waiting for circumstances to change and change your mind first. You change it. You grab control of your thoughts and think only of things you want and not on things you don’t want. It is your mind, which is the gateway to the great citadel of your heart, from whence your life proceeds. Be positive and expectant not only when it looks good, but when it looks awful. Even in the midst of hell, God is still here and He will help you (and me). Don’t spend another day a victim of your own wrong thinking. Stop allowing the darkness to hold sway over your life. Get to the light and dwell in the light. Light dispels darkness and it’s never the other way around. Change your mind!

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

Just some good thoughts…

 

50,000 Views… What???


blogger-image-1034075386The other day I received a notification that my blog had reached 50,000 views. When I first began my blog, all I wanted to do was share some good thoughts with people about solutions to their problems. Back then, as so much the more so today, all I really ever wanted to do was give people some solid spiritual advice in the hopes that they would hear it and pursue it. And as I think about the world today, there is so much suffering; so much defeat; so little hope for the future. People are literally living lives of misery, afraid, bewildered and at a complete loss. The reality of how people live is sad enough, but to have real solutions to those issues and yet have folks not realize those solutions is even more saddening. Oh my friends, God exists…

At one point in my life, I was like you are. I had heard of God somewhat vaguely; knew some real weirdos claiming to speak for God and generally sought to escape the whole religion thing in its entirety. My absolute disdain for religion and its empty practices is no less today than it was 30 years ago. Nothing turns people off to God more than religion does with its litany of man made practices and illogic. No thank you! As a youngster, having been exposed to nothing more than a bible class as a child where we made mirrors with Jesus on the back, I always had this idea that God was loving and kind and much bigger than my inadequacies and failures. It seemed like if He actually made people, He would have a pretty good understanding about they work. How silly, it seemed, that He would be put off by something as ridiculous as foul language or drinking beers or this whole notion of sex, which I’m quite certain He invented. I always thought He must be so much more than that. Not too long after those youthful musings, I began to learn how much more. 

As a new college student, I was doing the exact same things you were probably doing if you went to college. I was attempting adulthood while still a child and wow, it was a crazy time. It seems there were lots of other people just like me. After a brief skirmish with a sweet lady offering me some religion, I was formally introduced to the truth. As I sat in that class called, Power for Abundant Living, my heart literally burned within me as the scriptures were unfolded to me. I learned that God wasn’t who people said He was at all, but rather He was loving and kind and most willing to help me live my life. It seemed He not only created life as we know it, but was also fully willing to participate in my living of it. I saw firsthand how He did answer prayers in real and tangible ways and that prayer wasn’t simply a psychological exercise to help me feel better while providing nothing I actually needed to solve my issues. I observed healing first hand and a host of other mind blowing solutions to the dilemmas of humankind. I was so happy and blessed that I could hardly contain myself. I lovingly coerced my family and friends into taking the class. I couldn’t believe I was so “lucky” to have stumbled upon that for which the whole world seeks. And then, as even today, I ask myself, how can people do life without God? 

I believe if you could ever escape the deafening din of unbelief and fear, you would honestly take the time to discover who God really is as opposed to an overload of things He is not. All you could ever imagine about an incredible benefactor and an unlimited power for good can be found in God. No-one would find out the goodness of God if He was found only in endless seminaries of evil and sin, ever warning of falling out of God’s favor and sinking into the perils of evil. If you’ve lived any amount of time, you have already become expert in sin and its consequences. You don’t need a sermon or a lecture to tell you that bad things are bad things. Your own heart will do that for you. Similarly, God does not need to focus on what is wrong with you. He already knows what is wrong with you, for goodness sakes, and He doesn’t ever bring it up. Instead He holds out His hand to you to come and learn of Him. He asks only that you taste and see that the Lord is good. He is only good always and is everything you have ever been searching for your whole life. Surely you can perceive that life is much bigger than appears and that you weren’t the result of some cosmic explosion that ended in perfect symmetry and balance. A flower alone disputes that claim. Your mind, your emotions, your complexity, a product of evolution? Hardly. Human life alone belies that notion, not even considering the universe and the eco system and the sheer variety of living things. Your heart knows better than that and your heart seeks after the God that made you. Listen to your heart. 

No matter where you have been; how low you may have sunk; whatever insane stuff you got wrapped up in, beneath you will always be the loving arms of God, patiently waiting for you to reach upward and ask. You don’t need to study your Bible for hours, become scripturally proficient, go to church and do exceeding good deeds. All you ever needed to do was ask Him to help you. You know in your heart where you struggle. You know the despair you feel. You are familiar with your anxieties and fears. You are clear that you are quietly suffering and that there must be a better way. Well, there is a better way and it is yours for the taking. You don’t owe God anything and how could you repay Him anyway? You owe yourself the willingness to seek and as is promised to you, find. Don’t allow yourself to go another day lost and confused by a world system that is bigger than you are. Stop trying to fight it with your human logic and assumptions. Cease from making all about you and learn instead Who life is really all about. 

If you are like me, and I know you are, you have a heart that is in need of repair. You know deep down that there is a goodness you have always dreamed of and wished for. You know it must be better than you have been experiencing thus far. You aren’t being fanciful and foolish, you are listening to your heart. You also knows the ways of religion are not it either. Those ways will do nothing more than make life with God, about you and about everything you do and do not do. Religion serves only to glorify the men that made it. 50,000 views later people and it is still as true as the first time I endeavored to write it down. Oh my friends, God exists…

Just some good thoughts. 

 

 

Dealing With Your Feelings


feelingsIt is peculiar to me that something that affects our life as much as our emotions do, would be the subject of greater education and study. It’s like we all grew up with this menagerie of feelings, yet seldom have we learned to understand what those myriad feelings are communicating to us. Most people, it seems choose rather to try and escape certain emotions while encouraging the existence of others. But, what if our feelings are communicating important messages to us? What if we took the time to evaluate our emotions; why they occur; when they occur and used them to help us move in a more beneficial direction with the promise of a better future. Do you know what your feelings are saying to you? Are you aware of what is behind your emotions and where they originate? Are you dealing with your feelings?

We humanoid units are incredibly sensitive creatures and by sensitive I mean have the capacity to experience a wide range of emotions. Some folks whole existence is based upon their emotions, while others seldom give their emotions much thought. It would seem that both scenarios are lacking. Our emotions are easily manipulated, if you haven’t noticed already, and to place your sole trust in them as the citadel for decision making would be foolish. Conversely, excluding all emotions as pointless or frivolous would serve only to rob your life of its richness and blessings. The wiser option would be to seek understanding regarding what your emotions are communicating to you. We have all had that experience whereby suddenly we feel a sense of dread or become agitated in place of the peace we had a few moments ago. Usually a little thought regarding what you were just thinking about reveals the thief; usually some vague fear or concern about a thought you just processed. The point of your emotions was to alert you to some change inside your head that needs to be addressed. All anxious or nervous feelings point to the same reality. Ignoring those thoughts with their subsequent feelings; medicating those thoughts; distracting yourself away from those thoughts leads only to more of those feelings. Your job in that instance was to deal with the intruder! By the time you are experiencing anxiety, it is a sure sign that you have been letting something go and now suffer from misplaced fears labeled as anxiety. Anxiety is only a common phenomenon today because people have stopped paying attention to their thoughts and to their feelings. We have become a nation of letting stuff go. We move too fast; try to do too much; endeavor to live up to impossible and unrealistic standards. We are quite literally led about by our noses staring at images and words and opinions lacking in any conceivable substance or help with our lives. We compare ourselves, measure ourselves, recognize our so-called deficits and lack and from there try to carve out a peaceful and happy existence. We are told when we should be married, when we should make our first million, what we should already have by now, where we should live and on it goes. It’s no wonder our feelings are trying to tell us something. They are telling us something isn’t true! 

Have you ever tried an experiment where you simply allow your emotions to be what they are and not try to escape them? How about when you are feeling bored? What are those dreaded boredom feelings trying to say? Is it really just a lack of activity? Or, have you entertained a series of thoughts that succeeded in taking the wind out of your sails? Boredom says you have nothing to look forward to, but is that really true. If you simply stopped running from those feelings with endless activity you might find that you don’t need more activity, but maybe need to reframe your thinking. Perhaps you need to stop trying to live in your future and embrace what is happening right now. Whenever you travel back in time or attempt to future travel, your emotions won’t cooperate and will bring you something you need to deal with today. In this way, your feelings are these fantastic barometers for your soul. They are ever pointing you to something, somewhere in the million details of your existence. Unpleasant emotions call for immediate action. Pleasant, joyful emotions encourage your continuance. In this is the only time that “if it feels good do it” was ever true. Trusting your feelings only falsely presumes everything you ever feel is an indicator of truth; that something is actually true. Then you spend your entire life waiting to feel good about something that may not feel good now, but has a huge payout in the future. The point is to pay attention to your feelings! Don’t cut yourself off from their messages, but instead investigate them without fear and follow their subtle promptings. Those experiences you have that bring joy to your heart are to be welcomed and repeated often.  Helping others, being kind, having great compassion, loving and forgiving others lead to immeasurable bliss. Don’t forsake them.

The next time you are feeling out of sorts, unhappy or down in the dumps, think about what you have been thinking about. Have you perhaps been focusing on what you don’t have or where you fall short? Have you been spending too much time thinking about life instead of actually living it? Or, have you fallen into perpetual self focus which leads only to more and more recognition of what isn’t right or needs repair. If you want to know, you can know as they are your emotions given to you by God’s wisdom to help you live your life that much better. Don’t ignore your feelings or write them off as foolish, but instead pay attention to the message and if needed take the necessary action. Sometimes our emotions are simply trying to get us to take some action we know we need to take, which as soon as we do it, opens the windows to a flood of positive feelings. The message, “handle your business!”

It is always your choice whether or not you take the time to deal with your feelings. But, you owe it to yourself to do so. You’ll know when you’ve got it right by the peace you experience inside. Feelings of peace and contentment are the ultimate measure of right thought. Peace is the end of the fight when you, at last, prevail. Deal with your feelings. You won’t be truly happy until you do. 

Just some good thoughts…

You Are Not a Victim!


2018_12_01_59766_1543625917._largeWhen you get right down to it, all of us have had negative things happen in our lives. We have all been deceived at one time or another. We have all been taken advantage of in some capacity whether it be by the people who we love and trust or even outsiders like our bosses or other people with whom we interact. It is not necessarily an uncommon part of our human existence. And none of us liked  it, even remotely. Yet for all we may have experienced, suffered through or endured, it still does not determine who we are nor define our future lives. Whatever may have happened, holds no power over us nor does it have the ability to impact the days ahead, that is unless we allow it. In this, we are not victims. You are not a victim! 

In order for the victim mentality to begin directing our steps, we have to falsely assume that we are powerless to effect change in our situation. And, while someone may be physically stronger than we are; may hold a position of influence and authority over us; may be well skilled in manipulation and using our emotions against us, that still does not make us a victim in the scenario or force us to continue being victimized and minimized. Each of us has value and worth and none of us has less value and worth than anyone else. Your feelings matter as much as the other person’s feelings matter. Your right to be treated with dignity and respect is equal to the other person’s right to be treated with dignity and respect. To be a victim, you have to conclude that your life holds a lesser position than the oppressor. High ranking people with titles and great authority, while potentially having more influence over others lives than you do, still are not above you in the human sense. Rankings and societal strata come via people, not from God. You are not a victim unless you have decided thus. And even if a circumstance victimized you, you do not have to remain a victim. 

The way that you can tell if you are playing the victim is by the things you say and don’t do. Constantly complaining about your boss at work, while doing nothing to remedy the situation, is playing the victim. If you think about it, all complaining about situations is really an acknowledgment or agreement on your part that there is nothing you can do to make a change. Yet, there is always something you can do. Instead of complaining to everyone else, complain to the source instead. If you find yourself in a situation that pains you, frustrates you, chews you up inside, and that situation persists, you owe it to yourself to make a change. Maybe you are making a lot of money and fear you won’t have the same opportunity elsewhere. Not only is that not true (as evidenced by your ability to do it in the first place), but it also serves to lower your value as a person. No amount of money or comforts or power is worth the compromise of your own soul. Your life is more than that. Your value is higher than that. The victim mentality runs rampant today. It runs unchecked because people have learned to blame everyone and everything rather than take ownership of their own lives. Maybe you were not properly nurtured as a child. Well, you are an adult now and can get your needs met elsewhere. Whatever your oppression, whatever cruelty you faced, whatever horrendous thing that may have halted you in life, does not need to subject you any further. Negative situations seem to last just about as long as we allow them to last. When we are done, they are done. The circumstances change as we finally decide our value exceeds the misery of the situation and take the first steps to engender change. .

In life, we are always accountable for our own lives. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but it is true. Now that does not mean that our circumstances are always positive or that we are not challenged, tried and tested. Nor does it mean that we are the source of all that happens to us. There are literally a million variables involved. But, in the end, it is our life and we are responsible to do our best to overcome and to prevail. It’s not the amount of challenges we face or the opposition. It is what we are willing to accept for our lives and in that which we have determined within worth persisting. If you value yourself highly, your tolerance for mistreatment is very low. If you value yourself as lowly, your tolerance for mistreatment and abuse will be too high. The circumstances of your past, the terrible humans you encountered, those in authority that failed to protect you do not determine your self worth, you do. All those things had in common was the collective ability to convince you of something that was never true. No person arrives at low self esteem on their own. 

You are not a victim! There is always something you can do, the greatest of which is to get God involved. Those same wicked despots working behind the scenes to torture you and defeat you will persist absent a greater power, a greater source from which you can gain support. God never made a victim, nor was it ever His will that anyone should be one. People become victims when they are overpowered by forces unseen and virtually unknown. People become victims by not having a clear understanding of the truth. (God said My people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge.) Once you get God involved, you find that the evil things that have been governing your life quickly fade away by God’s love, presence and power. At last you can see your tormentor clearly and as such make the required changes that lead to freedom. But before any of that can take place, you have to take full ownership of your own life, both the good and the bad. You must become willing to put away the blame and the complaining and learn instead to take the necessary steps to turn situations around. You can do it my friend. You must do it. You are not a victim!

Just some good thoughts…