Don’t Be Mad at Money…


DollarMoney get’s a bad rap. Money in our society is just a medium of exchange. It’s not magical, nor is it evil. Having it doesn’t bring bad things into your life and there’s certainly nothing noble about not having it. It is simply the modern day method of trade. It is the means to get the things you need in life. So, why are people so messed up about it; even mad at it?

Here’s one place you might get it twisted. You’ve been tricked into associating money with greed, or in other words, something or someone sold you a lie. Have you ever noticed that people who think money is evil tend not to have much of it and when they get it, try to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Here’s a newsflash folks, you need money. Money may not buy you happiness, but it’s a damn site easier on you than poverty. It’s accepted that you don’t need incredible luxury, but if you’re honest, you probably need more than you have.

Did you know that people who are truly greedy never give the concept a second thought? But, there you are chastising yourself for wanting something nice. “Oh, that’s too much,” you say. And why exactly shouldn’t you have something nice? Who convinced you that your value was so low? Do you realize that it doesn’t make any difference to God whether you have a Mercedes or a Ford? Who is the car for anyway? Well, what blesses you? So, why would you think it matters? I submit it’s because you bought a lie. No-one gets anything in life without believing they can get it. The things you enjoy in your life, right at this very moment, you have believed to get. Whether you did it by hard work or by investing or expecting it from your parents, you believed for it. I’ve often mused why the children of wealthy parents seem to become wealthy themselves. Simple. They grew up accustomed to the best and naturally expected to have the best themselves. Lottery winners, generally unprepared for a windfall, tend to lose it quickly, so don’t think rich folk’s only advantage is starting with money!

What exactly is greed anyway? Greed begins where need ceases. Greed is the unbridled urge to acquire things. But make no mistake, greed is not the desire to have your needs met and have them met abundantly. Shoot man, that’s a promise from God. An abundant life is a life of abundance, so you figure it out. To say an abundance of money is somehow contrary to an abundant life is absurd. We aint trading cows honey, we’re using money. Greed has also been defined as having more than you need. So what do you need? Who decides that? You do! Follow my logic for a moment. If someone else defines what you need, where does that end? Let’s say you can afford a modest house. Is that greedy? You could always get a more modest house, right? Or what if you decided to sell that house and buy a larger, less modest house? Are you being greedy now? What if, in your prospering ways, you earn a ton of money? Are you now not allowed to buy a deluxe house? Because,  you don’t need it? Again, who gets to decide that? You see it all becomes very foolish. People are mad as hell at Joel Olsteen because he lives in a mansion. Joel said he receives no salary from his ministry and makes his money via book sales and speaking engagements. Yet, because he speaks a positive message of God’s love for people and preaches messages of encouragement for God, he should somehow live in a modest shack approved by the masses! Whether he needs a mansion or a modest, deluxe home is his business and why on earth should we care so much? Well, we care because our own needs aren’t met and we are still mad at money!

If I read one more meme attributing virtue to not having money, I think I might scream! There’s absolutely nothing noble about not having your needs met. There’s no joy in not being able to do what you really want to do. There’s no happiness in constantly repeating that you cannot afford something or worse, “if I can’t afford it, I don’t need it.” You know debt isn’t the answer, but aspiring for better is a natural God-inspired desire. Your life is worth having the best. Other people have the best, why not you?

Obviously I’m not talking about being poor and doing the best you can to escape it. Nor am I condemning the simple life minus a multitude of stuff. I’m confronting the notion that money is bad or evil and that you are greedy if you want it. I’m challenging the idea that all wealthy people are crooked and somehow wrong because they haven’t bought into the lie. My good friend at work lives in a very wealthy neighborhood and he says those folks are some of the most giving people you have ever met. Hmmmm, something to that maybe?

The love of money is the root of all evil, not the money itself. Money is just money. Evil enters in when you do ‘whatever’ to get it and then use it and the power associated with it to hurt people and utlimately hurt yourself.

So, what is your takeaway prize for indulging in this discourse? You need to change your mental relationship concerning money and take away both the magic and the evil. Money is simply a means of exchange; exchanging your money for the things you need and want. God wants you to live a more than abundant life and you’re gonna need a little cash to get the job done!

Believe to get your paper!

Just some good thoughts…

Heaven’s Brass and Unanswered Prayers…


Heavens-of-brass...-300x252I was thinking today about how many people there are that pray for things and how many people don’t seem to get any results. I’m not talking about hopeful, casual utterances, I’m talking about sincere people with real needs who pray heartfelt prayers about vitally important issues. You know what I’m talking about, right? Heaven’s brass; nothings happening…nothing! So the crucial, vital question is why!

What I’m about to tell you may clash with your theology. It may smack up against your preformed ideas. It may even make you get a little angry, so just hear me out, okay?

There may be a multitude of reasons why your prayer life feels like an exercise in psychology, but those reasons really center around a few main points that I hope to make abundantly clear.

First, let me clarify some general truths that you need to understand. The answer to your prayer or lack thereof isn’t a function of God’s decision. God isn’t answering with a resounding “NO” because He has another idea or a better idea or anything else that moves the believing responsibility from you to Him. Sure Father knows best, but Father, the perfect One, doesn’t make your decisions for you. He can enlighten you, teach you and help you, but He isn’t going to decide for you. That always was and always will be your job. If my son wants an Xbox, and let’s face it they’re expensive, I do my best to get him an Xbox. Imagine me giving him a board game and explaining why it will be better for him with some ethereal reason that doesn’t make sense to me or him. Side-note* Nothing is too costly or too expensive for God!

Next and almost as important centers around the confused and erroneous notion that God answers your prayer based on your good or bad behavior. God is not Santa Clause;  a fictitious story we make up to appease our children during the holidays. (I’m not mad at Santa and perpetrated the same stories…) Do you really think you could become good enough to somehow earn God’s goodness? Lord, if that was the standard we all would have forfeited answers to prayer yesterday! And, even if you are feeling particularly righteous today, how much further do you have to go to get to God’s perfection? That, my friends, is a hamster wheel of epic proportion! (Trust me…)

The final “biggie” is entirely composed of your actual expectation. In your heart of hearts, what do you think is really going to happen? I mean the real you, not the Facebook advertisement version of you. Can you even conceive that God could actually do something about your dilemma or are you simply throwing the words out there in hope that maybe, just maybe the stars would align; your ship would come in; you would finally catch a break and whatever else goes along with happenstance and luck!

The truth concerning answered prayers and softening your relationship with heaven is found in alignment and agreement. You have to align your prayers with God’s promises to you and agree with Him about it coming to pass. It’s not a question of His will (no matter what such and such told you), it’s a question of your belief. I’ll say it another way. Do you know what God says He will do for you? (Seems logical to find out if you are praying to God) If you know what His promise is to you, do you believe God can do it? If you believe God can do it, do you believe He will do it for you? In order for you to get an actual, tangible, solid, real answer to prayer, your response to all of those questions has to be a resounding “YES!” Not God’s answer, your answer! God’s answer is already yes!

Whenever and wherever your prayers do not come to pass, the answer will always be found in you (not in God); namely are you in alignment with Him and are you in agreement with Him. I should clarify that by alignment I mean are your thoughts lined up with what He said? If you aren’t careful, you take a statement like that and turn it into a religion. You start preaching that being in alignment means always doing everything right and before you know it you have the 1st Church of the Aligned Order. See above truth concerning earning God’s blessings!

In order to receive anything from God, you have to somehow get your old noggin lined up with the promise of God and become absolutely convinced that it will come to pass. What the situation looks like or what people say is possible or what has been scientifically proven to be true doesn’t have a blessed thing to do with it. God’s power and ability are unlimited! With God nothing is impossible. If He can raise someone from the dead, what can’t He do about your dilemma? I’m assuming you aren’t dead yet, are you?

I don’t know how to say it any more clearly. Answered prayer is predicated upon your fully persuaded belief that God both wants to and has the ability, to do it! If it didn’t come to pass (in terms of your life and not other people’s lives) then you weren’t yet fully persuaded! But, the fat lady hasn’t sung yet because you still have time to get your old, obstinate mind fully persuaded. Your work in prayer doesn’t involve becoming righteous, it involves working to become convinced. You have to get to the place where, in your mind, it has already happened. Begging, pleading and bargaining simply means you still have doubt and as such you still have some mental work to do. Welcome to the human condition. Welcome to the fight where you choose spiritual realties over five-senses appearances. When it comes to choosing to believe God, you cannot count on the senses evidence or signs or indicators. You just decide and joyfully see for yourself!

Believing God is simple, but not always easy. But, alas it’s how it works and the system isn’t changing anytime soon. Believers believe and if you are going to invest in prayers, you may as well learn how to do it effectively.

It may surprise you, but God wants you to learn this even more than you want to learn it. Would you expect anything else from the God of love you have been communicating with so persistently?

Get your prayers answered folks! That’s what God wants for you in every situation. He’s God people. He’s cool like that! 😉

Just some good thoughts….

 

 

 

The Quintessential, Ultimate, Irreplaceable, Transformative Fear Eliminator…


11351977_190598557949732_602852818_nWhat if I told you there is one simple, surefire way to remove fear from your life? What if it was quintessential in its perfection? What if it represented the ultimate solution? What if it was irreplaceable in nature? What if it was so transformative that it would change your entire life? What the…

Before I reveal this life-changing secret, let’s get clear on something that is vitally important! Fear is your number one enemy in life and the cause behind your every failure; every disappointment; every aspect of life wherein you suffer and struggle! By the same token, the absence of fear only leads to success; to happiness; to the end of the struggling and the pain!

Fear is a rather curious and sneaky animal. It’s rarely obvious and upfront. It weasels its way into your heart building dens of which you are completely unaware. And, once its stronghold is established, it asserts its way into your life, robbing you of life’s enthusiasm and joy. Fear must be eliminated at all costs!

In order to apply the secret, first you have to understand the process whereby fear gets to you. It is not, nor was it ever intended to be a “normal” part of life. It’s not being “realistic!” It’s an aberration; an outside force seeking to act upon you. It’s something that isn’t a part of you seeking to become a part of you. Fear is positive expectation working in reverse to bring about a negative outcome! It approaches you as a doubt, gains traction by worry and finally settles in as fear.

So there you are, living your life and enjoying your day. Your mind is in a nice place and you feel pretty good. Then, in a moment in time, it happens! Some negative potentiality enters your thoughts. How it enters and from where it enters is a bit of a mystery. But alas, it happens and there it is. Now you have a choice, whether you realize it or not. Doubt has knocked on your door and it’s up to you to answer. Because the thought is alarming, you think perhaps that if you take the time to consider it, you can figure it out. Enter the weasel! The consideration of the evil thought prolongs its access to your mind. But, by golly, you are a smart person and you can figure it out. So you begin to foolishly run it through your analysis, hoping for an answer; a solution that puts your mind at ease. And, the more you consider the possibility, the more nervous and distracted you become. Your doubt has now progressed to worry and is making a play for your heart. Grimly, if you persist in the evil consideration, it will move in as fear, poised to bring about, by your own wrong belief (fear), disastrous results in your life. That’s how it works; how it’s always worked, from the beginning of time.

So, what is the secret to eliminating fear? QUIT it! Do not allow it access into your head. Stop considering it and worse, trying to figure it out. The confusion enters in because you’ve been taught to confront fear head on. Which is technically true, but usually applied to things like skydiving or riding scary roller coasters. Sure, ignoring the things that scare you is generally a bad idea. But, I’m talking about that day by day battle that’s going on in your mind. The fight between happy and unhappy; energetic or depressed; joyfully expectant or miserably bored. As a side, it may surprise you to know that boredom is also a result of fear or being talked out of the fullness that is life. Fear must be challenged by something bigger than it, like one of those over 900 promises in God’s Word. But, once you challenge it with the truth, you have to let it go. Don’t continue to run it through your mind because if you do, you will lose 100% of the time and in every case!

In order to defeat fear, you have to starve it out. If you don’t feed it, it cannot live. It’s very simple, though never easy. It takes a real discipline to give an issue to God and refuse to take it back. You see, your human logic just desperately wants to claim it’s superiority and insists, even demands that you think the negative thing through. Have you ever heard people say they cannot let something go? Well, they can but, ol’ Mr. Ego won’t! It takes humility and trust to just turn something over and refuse to take it back. But, if you can do it, you will find that fear loses it’s grip on you fairly quickly. Oh yeah, it will be back with a new idea shortly, but you just apply the same principles in every case and you will win every time. Before you recognize it, you will be overcome with that radical, unusual feeling called, “peace…”

There are some other gnarly thoughts to be addressed as well, such as guilt and condemnation, but that’s maybe the subject of another blog. But, for today, work on starving out fear and see where that takes you. You’ll see how it is the quintessential, ultimate, irreplaceable and transformational solution if you will just make up your mind to QUIT it!

Just some good thoughts…

The Great Honesty of Your Soul


Honesty, December 11, 2011There’s a magnificent simplicity to life of which most people are totally unaware. Understanding it completely and thoroughly eliminates all superstition, luck and happenstance. It excludes all circumstances and apparent fortune or misfortune. It is not decided by God or by the devil. It is the law of believing; a law that basically governs your entire life. Your present existence, in all of its variation and complexity, is but the outward working of your inner belief system, or stated more simply, what you choose to believe. And, in order to really tap into its fullness requires a great honesty in your own heart and soul.

As long as you, the individual, attribute any cause other than yourself for the results or lack of results you get in life, you are only deceiving yourself. In truth, you get exactly what you expect to get, nothing more and nothing less. To say that God has already chosen what is going to happen in your life serves only to shift responsibility from yourself to something else. To think that your lack of opportunity and upbringing sets you at an unfair disadvantage implies that circumstance precedes expectation. The only thing that you can control in life is your thoughts, from which grow all of your beliefs. And while every one of us have been inundated and infiltrated with wrong thoughts leading to wrong beliefs, none of us have to remain there unless we persist in blaming and whining and reviling against what is…

If you are honest with yourself; completely and brutally honest, you will see clearly that your life is exactly what you expected it to be. It may suck and you might despise and loathe it, but it is what you thought (most consistently) it would be. If you live in a perpetual struggle always getting less than you thought you should get, you need to take an honest look at the person in the mirror. Somewhere, deep-down your beliefs, contrary to what you truly desire, want something less. Someplace, buried in your heart (from which your believing proceeds) lie hidden beliefs that question your self-worth and your value. Or someone (maybe a lot of someones) succeeded in convincing you that money is hard to come by or a loving relationship is rare or life is hard or the struggle is real or…you name it!

When you peel away all of the disguises and boil down all of the layers, your life is comprised of your beliefs be they good or bad. If they’re bad, you can change them if you will be honest. But, as long as you blame “the man” or “where you live” or “your upbringing and lack of opportunity” “or “lack of education” or that “God doesn’t like you” or “the devil is out to get you,” you will never take the solemn responsibility that belongs to you and to you alone! Instead you’ll spend a lifetime making excuses, pointing fingers and never getting your true needs met! Everyone you have witnessed living their life’s dream has believed to do so. Everyone living with tremendous prosperity believed to be so. The guy, who things seem to always work out for, believes things will always work out. Conversely, the poor guy, who nothing seems to work out for, believes nothing will work out also. Belief is inescapable and perfectly just whether you ever believe in God or not! Believing is the law that governs your life…

Man has been given control of his life, he just remains woefully ignorant of it. He makes decisions based on how things look rather than how he would like them to look. He begs for signs and assurances and in receiving none, chooses poorly. He settles and rationalizes and expects less than he should. When the world tells him what he cannot have, he accepts it without even batting an eye. All the time unaware of his ability to believe and therefore receive. He assigns systems and rules where there are no rules. “If I can just become good enough, surely I will get what I want!” “Maybe if I work hard, really, really, really hard, then can I finally get what I deserve!” Never once considering that what he will get is only what he believes he can get whether he’s good or bad, hardworking or lazy!

All of these great life realities; these fantastic opportunities, can only come about when you finally become honest with yourself. If you are unhappy, then you are unhappy, and you might as well say so. If you are struggling, you are struggling and no amount of fake smiling will make it any easier. If you aren’t getting what you want out of life, you may as well admit it instead of spending another moment pretending or reducing things down to “Well, at least I’m not sick” or “At least I woke up today!” Uggghhhh! How futile? You see, therein comes the great honesty of your soul. For some reason, you and I have been tricked into acting like things aren’t presently the way they are and as such, lying to ourselves. It’s a mental masturbation that satisfies no-one! (LOL forgive me) It’s mental assent that wishes and hopes but never truly believes. It’s a recipe for misery and it doesn’t have to be…

This isn’t criticism and fault-finding for everything I’m telling you, I’m also telling myself! If you can wrap your mind around the unchanging law that what you believe you will receive, then you can finally get honest about what you really want. How can you ever believe for things to get better if you cannot even be honest about how things are? This isn’t anyone’s business but your own. This isn’t a request to start complaining to everyone you meet but rather a request to complain to the management (God)! This is about honesty, great honesty in your own heart and soul.

What can you believe for, for the sky isn’t even the limit! There is no limitation, no lack, no poverty, no sickness where God lives and He lives where you boldly and confidently believe! So, believe my friends, believe!!!

Just some good thoughts…

Why is Life So Hard?


Life-is-Really-SimpleI just sat down to write a little blog in the comfort of my living room. I poured myself a nice glass of Cabernet and stared at the screen wondering what to write. Just then my son Chris popped in and in a moment of impulse launched a pillow into the table that formerly housed my wine glass, shattering the glass and splattering red wine on the recliner, the brand new upholstered, khaki colored dining room chair and the white cloth lamp shade. We did our best to clean up the mess, including locating all of the glass. It seems the chairs are fine, but the lampshade may have suffered a fatal loss! And in that frenetic moment it came to me, why is life so hard, or maybe, is it really hard?

Maybe us humans make the mistake of assigning meaning to things that have no meaning and focusing on the material things while never really regarding the vital and necessary things. Maybe we have been deluded into putting such high importance on our stuff; maintaining our stuff and getting new stuff and neglecting those parts of life that have true meaning. As a functioning and ambitious member of the rat race, I like to be somewhere near the front of the line. Oh I don’t do it on purpose mind you, but this old world sucks me in at times. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s something else but I like my things to be a certain way. I clean, I organize (Lord knows I organize) and I get indignant when someone dares to mess up my stuff. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of your stuff, in fact it is a quality, but sometimes the people should come before your stuff. Is that a justification for pillow slinging? Of course not! But maybe, just maybe, my obsession with stuff takes precedence over the people and when that occurs, I may have missed the mark! I’m sure when I’m on my death-bed I’d rather have Chris there than all of the upholstered chairs and lamps in the world! Why is life so hard? Well, sometimes it seems hard because you are focusing on the wrong stuff!

If you lived any amount of time on earth you are well aware of the many challenges and pitfalls that are right around the corner waiting for you. Life can seem to be real scary. There’s a multitude of things that can go wrong at any time. Oh sure, you plan and prepare and do your best, yet still things go south on you and before you can even recognize it, you find yourself faced with stress producing situations. You just want to control what you can and, by God, you do your utmost. Yet, they still appear. Hopefully somewhere along the line it finally dawns on you that you just cannot control everything. And, I’m loathe to admit, you really control an infinitesimal amount of stuff. Take, for example, your adult children (yes, this includes Chris). When they were little it was duck soup. You watched over them like a hawk and decided exactly what they did and when. Now, however, you are no longer in control. You see them heading south (no, not Chris) and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. You have to rely on them to make good choices and like you when you were their age, they don’t always choose right. You don’t want them to suffer but they will and in that suffering sometimes learn a thing or two. Why is life so hard? Often it gets hard when you’re trying to control things you cannot control.

Now comes perhaps the greatest single factor in making life seem so hard. Recently I attended a birthday party for one of my closest friends. I was sitting next to another old friend and proceeded to lament about this and that and how I so wanted this to happen and wouldn’t it be great if that happened etc. In his one of kind manner he quietly commented, “Isn’t that God’s job…” There in 5 words or less was the answer to all of life’s apparent complexities! Life is hard because you and I are busying ourselves into oblivion trying to do God’s job while neglecting our own job, namely trusting Him. We are so smart, ya know? So smart, in fact, that we have become experts in what oughta happen and dumb dumbs in regard to how things really happen. Life, absent a true belief in God’s abiding goodness, is frightfully hard. You can figure it out, you say? No you can’t! The proof of that? Your thinking that life is hard! It’s hard because you are determined to do it all by yourself.   You think, I don’t need God, I will just make a lot of money. Well, the money you made comes from God whether you ever choose to acknowledge it or not! He is just that good! The trouble is that the same world that has you wrongly focused on your stuff and trying to control everything yourself is also extremely persistent in talking you out of who God is! If you knew who He really is and what He really does you would never have the audacity to utter that life is hard. Yes, you would face your share of challenges and even maybe more than your share, but in the end you would have still overcome because Gods job is to teach you how to overcome!

Life is hard my friends, but only because you’ve been talked into trusting in yourself and not in the One that made you! Stuff gets messed up; new stuff is always out there; you want to control everything but cannot control hardly anything; you’re tired and frustrated and anxious and afraid, yet amidst all that you can learn who God is and in a moment of time change your mind and realize, life isn’t really hard but instead it is my heart that has gotten hard. Ask God to teach you something new and in the process enjoy that new, tender heart He will give you! You can bet your entire, hard life on that one!

Just some good thoughts…

Too Damn Sensitive?


giphyHas anyone ever told you that you are too damn sensitive? Personally, I’ve heard it for as long as I can remember. Someone insults you and you react to it and you’re too damn sensitive. You finally bring up an issue that has been bothering you for some time and you’re too damn sensitive. You cry when watching a TV show that resonates with your heart and you’re too damn sensitive. Is sensitivity a weakness that must be overcome? Is being sensitive an indictment against your manhood? Is it a preferable to live as one who is insensitive or callous? Or better, does the cruelty and hardness of the world necessitate insensitivity in order to survive?

Before we go any further it is important to understand that I’m not equating sensitivity to low self-esteem or a poor self-image. There’s a big difference between being assertive and speaking up versus retreating into a cocoon the first time someone says something negative about you. In fact, if you feel pretty good about yourself it would seem you would be more likely to say what needed to be said. But, hey that’s just me. So to be clear, I mean sensitive in terms of having feelings and not in terms of having a wound.

If you look up the word sensitivity, you sort of get the idea where the confusion comes from. The primary definitions speak of a tendency to get upset about things said or done to you. Now call me crazy here, but I’m assuming those things said or done to you aren’t good. Not being bothered by the things people negatively say or do to you is supposed to met with indifference ? Oh and I’m the crazy one? Haha… I would call that being desensitized towards things matter. And, this old world specializes in getting you to be desensitized to things that matter so that you can fall in line with the rest of the numb herd. How many wacky things go on in the world today and we don’t so much as flinch about it? Methinks insensitivity aint so good.

The secondary definition of sensitivity defines the word as an awareness and understanding of the feelings of other people. Thus if we’re being logical here, insensitivity would have to mean not having an awareness or understanding of the feelings of other people. Hello to the times we live in today. Nobody cares. Eat crap; shut up and again fall in line with the “who-cares” herd!

Here’s an apt analogy of our feelings as they relate in the human body. All throughout our bodies, except maybe  our fingernails, toenails and hair, we have nerve endings. Those nerve endings serve to alert us to changes and influences on our skin. Without those nerves, we would burn, crush and maim ourselves without ever being the wiser. (When your feelings are numb you burn, crush and maim people without ever knowing it) However, when things are working as they were intended, you can feel even the slightest breeze on your arm. If you are rough on your skin you develop a callous. Your skin no longer hurts, but the callous makes it no longer feel either…

Sensitivity means your feelings are alive and well. It means your heart (figuratively speaking) is capable of not only feeling, but feeling things on a deeper level. And if you are in the business of helping people, you just gotta have it! Otherwise, you develop what the Bible calls hard-heartedness. Everyone, everywhere; in every case that rejected the truth, did so because they got hard-hearted. You see why the world works so hard to harden your heart? A hardened heart is no longer sensitive to the subtle line between truth and error. A hardened heart becomes blinded to the truth. Blinded literally means a blunted mental discernment. You can no longer see or feel the things that are  hurting you. Oh, they are still hurting you but you are wholly unaware of their existence. In your confusion and pain, you end up hurting others as well.

Some of the strongest men that ever lived were men of great passion. To think that being a man means being insensitive to feelings is to discredit the Creator. Men were made with hearts with which to feel and the Word of God was given to deepen their sensitivity. The spiritual men and women of the Bible were tender-hearted, else they would have never recognized God’s call. Just as you cannot give love unless you have love, you cannot empathize with others feelings unless you have some feelings yourself.

Yes, this old world may have rabbit punched you a couple of times, but never make the mistake of thinking the solution is to harden your heart. Instead seek to tenderize your heart so you are better able to recognize and block those punches when they show up next time. God Himself is tender-hearted and there is no greater power than His.

Are you too damn sensitive? Am I? I sure hope so because that’s where true life can be found.

Keep thy heart more than anything that is guarded; for out of it are the issues of life. ~ Proverbs 4:23

Just some good (feelings) thoughts…

The Impossibility of the Cumulative Life…


cumulative-poisson-distribution-formulaI think if you are honest with yourself, and honesty is important in learning how to successfully navigate life, most of your difficulties come from your thoughts. You drag around this massive corpse of a memory of things long past. Since the past no longer exists in anything but your mind, it shouldn’t have such an impact on the person you are today. Now, I’m not referring to pleasant memories or past learning. I’m talking about the bad things or the weaknesses or issues you doggedly assign to yourself in the present. Maybe you did have trouble standing up for yourself when you were 12, but to stubbornly cling to that worn out notion at age 40 makes no sense. The reason this mountainous weight of a stone clings to your psyche is because you keep it alive in your mind by trying to live a cumulative life.

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or exercise more and then failed miserably shortly thereafter? Say what you want about discipline, losing weight and exercising more, though producing a cumulative effect, cannot be successfully undertaken with a cumulative mindset. In other words, you have to decide to eat less or healthier or exercise right now, today. The fact that you did what you said for the past three days guarantees nothing. The fact that you didn’t do what you said you were going to do for the past three days means nothing either. What matters is right now. What can you do right now? If you can get real good at doing “right now,” soon you will experience a cumulative effect!

For some reason, people have the hardest time living in the present. Assuming we all have weaknesses and areas we don’t do so well in, how could we ever possibly expect to change anything living entangled in a spaghetti bowl of multiplied yesterdays? Add to that trying to live in some future day and now you are just a sloppy Joe (poured over spaghetti)!

God, if I may speak for Him, designed life to be lived right now in succinct 24 hour periods (The evening and the morning were the first day). Imagine the idea of having a bad day if the day lasted forever. But, that’s exactly how people live; one perpetually long day. Instead each day is cleverly separated by night (sleep) and in the morning a new day begins. “Well, tomorrow is new day!” Every new day is an opportunity for you to begin anew, fresh. What you did wrong yesterday generally has little bearing on your life, that is of course unless you allow it to. You allow it to by granting it “airplay.” Yes, sure you need to learn from whatever, but you aren’t playing that track for any learning. You are re-playing it because you feel bad and are punishing yourself. But now listen closely for a moment here. Does any amount of self-flagellation make you a better person? Does your incessant focus on yesterday or a year ago or ten years ago or your childhood or “that one thing” do anything to change it? It only exists in your mind. Your cumulative negative past doesn’t have a blessed thing to do with your life right now! So, my friend, just let it go. Stop persisting in your perpetual bad day and start fresh.

When you decide to live right now, in the new day, you give yourself permission to begin again. Remember the first time you played a certain sport? You probably sucked right? If you held the thought of how bad you sucked and never tried again, you’d still suck, I’m guessing. But, if you had the courage to start again and again and again, at some point you got pretty good. Your life is like that. Those negative images; those frightful memories do not serve the person you are today. They do just the opposite. They hold you back. God does not want you to be held back! Every day; every single day, He is giving you another fresh start. Shoot, He even sent His son to pay the price for everything you could ever do wrong! Everything! You aren’t doing God any favors by living in your past. Instead you are stubbornly refusing His gift to you; a new beginning!

Life was not designed to be lived cumulatively. You are not the sum of everything you have ever done and not done. Instead, you are who you are right now, in this moment. Right now you can be a tremendous source of love, compassion and kindness. Oh, you weren’t that yesterday? So what! Be it today. Well, up to now you haven’t had much success? So what! Decide to be a success right now! What if I forget tomorrow? You never have to deal with tomorrow, only right now! If you live to be 80 years old, that means you have 29,219.4 days to live. How many days have you already wasted, caught up thinking about something that happened on day 10,957.3?

If you believe what I’m telling you and I sure hope you do, you will begin to understand that life is to be lived one day at a time. Imagine how much weight will be lifted off your shoulders when you agree with God and focus your energy on today. Imagine how sweet your life can become by making this day the best ever and refusing to let yesterday creep in. Imagine…huh?

The cumulative life is an impossible life!

You are who you are today. Don’t let anyone (even yourself) tell you otherwise…

Just some good thoughts…

Living Your Reflection…


reflection_28Here’s some food for thought… The life you are presently living is a direct reflection of your most dominant and habitual thinking. Read that again! Up to this point you may not have made this connection. Most folks don’t. Instead people think that life is happening to them and they are simply reacting to whatever life does next. People that live in a perpetual struggle falsely conclude that circumstances are working against them and probably even long for the time when the struggle will end. But, they remain unaware that their habitual thought forms the basis of their expectations and as such they are living in a world of their own making.

Habits are, in themselves, useful. On the positive side they free your mind of the unnecessary thought required to complete mundane tasks. However, habits also have a dark side. Negative patterns of thought, rehearsed over and over again lead to negative expectations, which manifest themselves in negative circumstances. And, to make matters worse, the habits become invisible to you because of their habituation. And, once darkness has become invisible to you, it is allowed to perpetuate within you to bring about those struggles you’ve been trying so hard to avoid.

I’m sure you’ve heard people complain to God about why life is so hard and why there is so much struggling going on. And, let’s be honest, there is some heavy-duty struggling happening. But, what you may not know is that God has given you control over those struggles once you know how to go about turning things around. God hasn’t left us without a remedy and surely doesn’t condone pain and hardship. But, until you finally learn that your life is “your” life and that you can exercise control, things will go on as they’ve always gone on since the beginning of time.

Just so you don’t think this is “crazy” talk, let me ask you some questions. At this very moment in time, what do think about life? Do think it is a struggle? Do you think it is hard and random and filled with the unexpected? Do you think that is always hard for you to get money and that it always will be? Do you think that disease just happens and that you are powerless against it? Your honest answer to those questions is the life you are presently living. Your expectation; your belief is precisely what you are experiencing and will continue to experience as long as you keep thinking the way you are thinking. Life won’t turn around for you and your ship won’t come in. It cannot because it is a direct reflection of your inmost thoughts. Change your thoughts; change your expectations; change your beliefs and your life will change.

In order to right the ship, you have to become keenly aware of what was formerly invisible; namely your thoughts. You have to start recognizing your negative thought habit patterns. You have to see where you have become your own worst enemy. You must clearly discern that negative chatter, ever providing reasons why you cannot succeed; why you cannot get ahead; why you cannot win. And once you finally hear it, you have to start forcefully challenging those false assumptions. Those assumptions are not “just life” but instead are lies you have been worn down into accepting. There’s no shame in being led astray because the whole world has been led astray, on purpose, by the evil that lies deep behind it, hidden. The real shame comes when you see a glimpse of the light and refuse to heed the lesson.

Have you ever noticed how people set goals for themselves? They set goals with tiny incremental increases as if one can only progress with baby steps. They don’t realize that the larger the goal; the larger the expectations, the larger the result. It is like that with your thoughts. Once you have begun to see and challenge a series of thoughts, your responsibility is to change your thoughts and expectations to something you actually want. It takes the exact same amount of effort to think something good as it takes to think something bad. But make no mistake, you are choosing by what you “choose” to think and hold onto.

I should add, because I know what you’re thinking, that sometimes you “find” yourselves in a challenging situation that you didn’t necessarily bring upon yourself. Sometimes people are under attack; in bad environments and feel that they are being tested. Well, they are being tested but never by God. The test is in how you respond to the challenge. Will you accept what it “seems” like or will you remain stedfast in your beliefs and overcome? You would be surprised how quickly things turn around when you make your mind up! But, if you succumb to what “appears” to be real, you end up down the same blind alleys you traveled before.

As living, breathing, thinking human beings, we always have a say in how things are going to turn out. Always! The key lies in refusing to accept the information that comes to your mind via your five senses, and trusting instead what God says is true! Obviously you can ridicule this notion and demand that what it seems like, is true, but with that you can resign yourself to your usual, perpetual struggle.

Your life, my life is a reflection of those things we think about the most. Change your thoughts and your life will change. It isn’t about being naively positive, it’s about choosing what you will and will not accept in your life. You have more control than you ever thought. God would have it no other way! Really!

Just some good reflections…

 

…Yeah, but why?


NewYearsResolutionsIt’s almost that time of the year when you are going to make your New Year’s resolutions. But, before you write that fanciful wish list, give this a little thought… Notice how many “goals” on your list are the exact same things you had on there last year and the year before and the year before. So logically, if you are writing the same things over and over again, something must be wrong!

When it comes to getting your needs met, and I’m assuming your dream-sheet is about getting your needs met, the first thing you have to ask yourself is, “What do I really need?” I’m not talking that minimalist logic that claims all you really need is food and water. If all you needed was food and water you would be a dog, not a human! Instead you, like the rest of us, have many needs; some simple and some complex. And in order to get those needs met, you must discover exactly what they are. It’s so easy to write, “lose weight.” But, before you are going to really lose that weight, something has to happen. No, no, no I don’t mean make up your mind to eat healthy, or to exercise more or to get more disciplined! You think that’s what it is and that’s why you write that fantasy memo every year. If that’s all there was to it, we would have all become slim and sexy by now. But that’s not all there is to it. In order to finally start delving deeper, you have to ask yourself, “Yeah, but why?”

Why do you want to lose weight (make more money, get healthier, exercise more, quit smoking/liquor/wild women and drugs)? Is that even what you really want? Really… Do you really want more money? How much? Is it the money you want or some specific items? Are there hundreds of things or maybe just two things. Right? Yeah, but why? Maybe you have become very clear on what you want and why. Very, very clear. So “why” don’t you manage to achieve it? As my good friend Mark recently taught, often there is something deeper going on that is shaping your behavior. There may be deep-seated habits and unmet needs that are sabotaging your efforts. Maybe you aint eating so much because you’re hungry, ya know? Substitute drinking, spending, etc.

Recently I did a little experiment. For about the past 15 or so years I have been trying to lose about 10-15 pounds. Not 30, 40 or 50 pounds mind you; 15 pounds. And, as you might expect, I was on a diet for about that same time period. Imagine a diet lasting 15 years with 10 or 15 pounds at stake. Imagine… I did Weight Watchers (paid the money), Fit for Life (bought the book), Low Carb, No Carb, and HCG (more money). And, I lost weight. On HCG I got down to 199 once. Yay, but about two days later I was back up 2 pounds. I weighed myself almost every day, for years! I starved, then binged. Saved points for wine (WW). Criticized myself every time I ate something fattening or sweet or a cookie or fast food or for even having breakfast. Again, imagine… After admitting to myself that I was living the definition of insanity, I decided enough was enough. Enter the experiment! I simply stopped. Stopped weighing, stopped obsessing, stopped denying myself anything potentially fattening. Stopped it! Did I lose a bunch of weight? No! But I learned that basically no matter what I ate, (eating normally, not going ham) my weight stayed at exactly 209-210 pounds. And even better, it finally dawned on me, “why” do I need to drop that 10 pounds? Do I really care that much? Or am I trying to fit into a cultural mindset that associates slim with disciplined/sexy/good/youth…ahhh youth-now we are getting somewhere! Would it be better for me if I weighed 10-15 pounds less? Of course. But the “why” of losing the weight, showed me “why” I haven’t been successful so far (unsuccessful in losing the weight, not in being happier!).

In order to really reach your goals, or even get your needs met, you have to be brutally honest with yourself. Maybe you don’t even want those things you write every year. Maybe. Maybe you have some deeper needs you have been pushing to the side. Maybe it’s time to look yourself in the eye and figure out what you really want as opposed to what you are “supposed” to want. Maybe all you need is an uncommitted $10,000 in the bank as opposed to becoming rich! Again, maybe…

The things in life we are serious about getting, we get! The things we aren’t serious about, we don’t get. Instead of just writing that crazy list, swearing off everything you enjoy in life, take yourself a step deeper and ask yourself, why? It is your one life, right? What is very important to you? Get those things and not to sound cheesy, but those things aren’t always money!

The New Year is a great time to reset your course in life. But don’t reset things that are already working well. Strive for more; do more; be more; love more! Just be sure your more is “your” more!

Your life is what you make it. Why? Because it is your life!

Just some good thoughts…

If You Care About Answered Prayers…


man in praiseI thought long and hard about how to say what I’m about to say. This happens to be a very touchy subject. It’s touchy because people have many beliefs and ideas about prayer and it is not my intention to thwart or set back anyone that prays. Instead, my hope is to answer the question of answered prayers in a way that is simple and easy to fit into your heart. After all, it’s your heart that is the key to answered prayers and unanswered ones also for that matter.

Most folks believe that God is the wild card when it comes to answered prayers. They have concluded that there’s a system involved with God and that it is based on good behavior. If you are good enough, He comes through and if you aren’t, He doesn’t. Others think that God decides in advance what you can and cannot have and unanswered prayers simply means what you wanted/needed/requested just wasn’t in the cards or necessary for you. Understandably, many of you have become quite pissed off at God, though you don’t like to say it out loud. If the aforementioned was true, I would be right by your side in the angry department, believe me!

How many people do you know that needed God’s help; loved God, but somehow didn’t get it? How many wonderful, kind-hearted people do you know that suffered, while praying to God, and never got the result they so earnestly sought? How many? On the surface it’s clear there’s something we don’t quite understand and God wants us to understand! How much must it hurt God’s heart to hear your prayers yet remain unable to help you, despite His own passionate desire to do so? How much?

So you might think, “If God wants to help me and there’s no-one that can stop God from doing something, then why doesn’t He help me?” Well, incredibly there is one thing that can stop Him from helping you and that is you. In order to receive anything from God, you have to believe that He both can and will. Believing means being fully persuaded of God’s promise over and beyond what it looks like in the senses realm. It has nothing whatsoever to do with how good or “bad” you are. Read that again, because that little “mind-eff” has been stopping people from believing to receive from God for thousands of years! The requirement to receive from God or to actually get your prayers answered is to believe Him and have NO doubt. Here’s a simple test. Ask yourself what you think is going to happen concerning the situation you find yourself in and you will have the answer to what you believe. Not what you hope or wish, but what do you actually expect?

Now take heart my friends because what you currently think is not your final answer! Rather it just shows you where you are today and where you need to go tomorrow. The real work of believing is in persuading that little ol’ mind of yours to believe what God said over and above what you think based on what it looks like today. The Bible is laced with this message. Sarah had a child when she was past child-bearing age. Daniel overcame lions. People were raised from the dead, healed of incurable diseases, were born blind but somehow could now see, were lame but now could walk. All of the aforementioned, and that was a tiny sample, did the impossible. It was not possible according to their senses minds, but with God NOTHING is impossible. The key? They believed. You can too!

What God is able to do He is willing to do. It’s never a question of God’s willingness, so get that out of your noggin forever! God requires one thing to answer your prayers and that is believing. Believing in specifics, not generalized believing in Him. You know what you need, so believe for exactly what you need. What if it doesn’t work simply means it won’t work. Believing is full persuasion. God in His perfection and with His perfect justice, will not overstep your freedom of will. He simply cannot do it. In order for God to answer your prayer without your believing, would mean He was overstepping your freedom of will and He just cannot do that. Trust me, I’ve tried that one myself!

All of us humans struggle at times and some of us face very dire and scary situations. The solution is to somehow get your mind off what it looks like and what seems so true and instead take God at His Word for what is really true. You have to persuade yourself. If you can do that you will find that God is right there for you, passionately desiring to take away your pain and misery and restore you whole in every way!

My heart breaks for people who have needs and don’t get those needs met. God has answers for everything that ever plagued you. He is all-knowing and knows what to do to help you, if you can only somehow believe Him.

I care about answered prayers and believe that you do as well. Why even have an Almighty God if nothing can be done when faced with life’s serious problems? Well something can be done and a little bit of believing goes a long, long way. Stop listening to the world and their rationalizations! Stop limiting God by what seems possible and impossible. With God all things are possible!

Man, it’s right there if you want to take it!

Just some true thoughts…