Love… Why Don’t We Express it?


I had a great conversation with my grown son Joshua (Yoshie) this weekend. We talked about how people, especially people that are close to one another have such a hard time expressing their love, or for that matter expressing all types of good things they probably should be saying. What is about being kind and tenderhearted that causes us to take pause instead of moving forward? Why would we wait until people are sick or dying before we endeavor to communicate years of wonderful feelings we haven’t ever shared, or at least haven’t shared with any meaningful consistency? Why would your love for someone be left unspoken?

I remember some years ago adapting a Dale Carnegie principle regarding building people up, to my immediate family. I called it, “I love you because…” The object of my little experiment was to make an opportunity for our family to say things to one another we may have never said before. Basically, each of us wrote on a 3 x 5 card the family member’s name with the phrase, “I love you because…” to be filled in with some meaningful reason we loved that particular person. We chose one person to be the receiver of our words and went around the table expressing why we loved that specific family member. Then, each person expressed verbally why they loved their sister or mother etc. Once each person had shared to the family member, we moved on to the next receiver. Little did I know at the time, there would be such heartfelt emotion behind those words. Between the wine and the words there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. We didn’t just shed a teardrop here and there, but took part in some full on crying in our deeply felt love for one another. In that moment, between tears, I realized something profound. We all loved each other so much, but rarely felt permission to openly share those feelings. The love was always there and the tears weren’t sad tears at all, but we simply rarely said things like that to each other. Thank God we did it! (And for being the biggest part behind that little idea.)

So, if we feel it so strongly, why won’t we say it? Is it because it makes us feel vulnerable? Do we fear it won’t be reciprocated, ridiculed or made fun of in some fashion? All of us had a different upbringing. All of our parents had their own upbringing as well. In some homes, expressions of love flowed freely like water. In other homes those words were hard to come by. But, if those words were rare, it’s hardly fair to blame your parents. Chances are those words were scarce in their homes as well. Imagine trying to feel comfortable expressing your love for someone if hardly anyone ever expressed those words to you. It’s such a conundrum because though not expressed, we know that the love is there. So, we wait for some dire situation to force us into saying the things we haven’t said before. It’s like there is no time left to wait. But, here’s a thought. The people you love so much need to hear those words now, and later, and often in-between. You cannot really lose by saying those things. Even if the person you love makes fun of your heartfelt notion, inside in their heart, underneath all of that cover and pretend toughness, they needed to hear it from you, right when you said it! Just say it!

It’s so odd that in the world today, feelings of tenderness and kindness and love are shunned as if they represent weakness or perhaps aren’t manly or appropriate. It’s like to be a man you need to withhold your love in favor of toughness as a sort of preparation for the things your offspring (namely boys) might experience in the world. I can assure you, the best way to build someone up to face the challenges of life is with your love. You want your son to be strong? Shower him with love and acceptance. Ironically, few people have any trouble expressing their love to young children. Young children are safe recipients of our love. But, what about being a teenager or young adult negates that principle? Your 30 year old daughter needs that expression of love as much, if not more now, than when she was 5. We all need it desperately. Your brother you grew up with, who drove you absolutely nuts, needs your expressions of love. Your father who didn’t treat you right (God bless him as he was trying to figure it out also) needs your heartfelt expressions of love. Don’t wait until they deserve it, do it while they don’t deserve it. Do it now.

The only way to break the negative cycle is for you to break it. It really doesn’t matter if you receive it first. You be the first to break the cycle. Shower people with your love and kindness of heart. Have you ever ran into a truly kind person and left the better for it? You know what it did for you, right? So, you do it. Tell your wife you have being quietly residing beside for 30 years, how you feel. Tell her she is beautiful. Tell her what living with her has done for you over the years and the better person you are as a result of it. Tell her! Yes, I know she knows, but you tell her anyway! Your friend who always has your back and stands with you despite all your bullshit, tell them as well. It’s not weird or out of place. It’s weird not to tell them. You see, you and I have to be the initiators of the love. Take the first step. Don’t make it odd or difficult or risky. There is no risk in loving someone. The risk is found by not saying what you feel when you feel it. That’s the real tragedy.

Don’t love in silence even though you both know the feelings are there. Love outloud! Say it, express it, do it. I love you because…

Just some good thoughts…

 

How to Get Back Your Tender Heart…


The number one reason people feel unhappy and unfulfilled in their lives is due to hardness of heart. Hardness of heart is subtle in that when your heart has gotten hard you are no longer aware of it, much like a callous on your hand. You can no longer discern you are getting poked! Today we focus on what you can do to get back your tender heart. I say back because your heart started out very tender, like the heart of a child, but the world and circumstances, disappointments and failures, as well as error believed then practiced rendered your heart hard and lacking feeling. It left you desensitized and numb to the true realities of life; those realities God wants you to experience. So, how can you get back your tender heart?

If you strip away all of the trimmings; get beyond all external appearances; get down to the very heart of things, all of us are the same. And although people are as varied and unique as the stars in the sky in multitude, we all want the same things. We all need love and acceptance; to belong and to feel needed. We have similar fears and dreads as well as similar aspirations for good health and prosperity. We all seek to get our needs met and the needs of those we love. Keeping this in mind is a good starting point for maintaining a tender heart. No matter how someone appears to be, whether abrasive and apparently heartless, aggressive and inflammatory, behind the facade is a scared, helpless person. At any given moment in time, all you may be exposed to is a version of that person, completely dependent upon where that person is coming from at any given time. Fear, which is error (also called sin or literally a stepping aside), is the number one hardener of your heart. Fear attempts to puff you up with a foolish disregard for things or people in an effort to protect you. Fear stops you from displaying the kindness and tenderness that is inherent inside. Fear of rejection or fear of not fitting in with the group leads you to all sorts of things that aren’t really you at all. Getting rid of fear with all of its associated lies is the first place to go to get back your tender heart. There was a time when you weren’t afraid of everything, that is until someone or some people taught you otherwise. Fear is a lie and like every lie believed, hardens your heart. Get rid of your fear…

Error in its most basic essence is the polar opposite of truth. The only sure way to discern truth from error is to know and understand God’s heart for His people, which can be found in His Word. Error, though almost always appealing, carries within it the seeds of error that damage and corrupt the vessel. Something can look good and feel good; be completely accepted by society, but if it’s basic essence is based on error it will only serve to hurt you. It will degrade and blunt your sharpness leading to more error and more heartache. All of us succumb to error in one capacity or another, but what matters most is what is in our hearts. Your heart will always respond favorably to goodness, to kindness, to love. And accordingly, your heart will always respond negatively to evil; to those being mean-spirited, to hatred. Thus your responsibility is to make love your basic response. As a great man once said, “Love sees more but is willing to see less.” Love covers a multitude of sins, because love comes from your heart. You want your heart to be more tender? Give people love! Bathe them in it. Love anyway… Practice kindness with absolutely no fear of a lack of repayment. Be tender in your approach and don’t reserve that tenderness solely for your children or grandchildren. If you think that through a little, the reason we can be tender with a child is because we have no fear of our love being rejected. Well, here’s a newsflash, no matter how that adult responded or how they behaved in the moment, they appreciated your expression of love at least as much as that child did. Trust me on that one. You want a tender heart, give out love to everyone. Once you know something is error, get rid of it. Love is at the basis of every good thing, so get rid of error and live love…

So let’s be honest with each other now. The reason your heart has gotten hard is because you have been damaged. You’re not weak or too sensitive, as many would purport, but rather, living in the world today, chances are you have been assaulted many times by an enemy you can neither see nor discern. You have been assailed often unfairly by a system setup to hurt you and break you down. Your adversary seeks only to steal from you and as such he steals away your happiness, your tenderheartedness, your true feelings of love and compassion and he does so because he hates God and all that is associated with God. God isn’t your problem ever, but his opponent is. Thus what you need most is God’s healing. You need Him to right the ship. You need God to make your crooked places straight. You need God to heal your broken heart. God is able to restore your heart and teach you how to feel again. You need God’s unconditional love. You need to know in His sight you are worthy and worth something, not because of what you do, but because of what He did for you. God and God alone can restore your heart and make life worth living again. God can open the eyes of your heart to the greater realities of life and make your path clear and obvious. Then, filled with His love and goodness, you can reach out and help all those other poor souls suffering and navigating a miserable existence. You want your tender heart back, get God’s healing for your life…

A tender heart is the best kind of heart. Get yours back my friends…

Just some good thoughts…

There is No Fear in God…


God-is-loveIt seems to me, in my casual observance of what people say and promote, that there is a lot of fear involved in their relationship with God. So many folks live how they live from fear of what God will either do to them, or allow to happen to them, if they don’t behave in a certain way. Some load themselves up with obligations in the name of God. Many engage in empty rituals, almost superstitious in nature, to potentially garner God’s favor in their lives. Others spend countless hours in regret and apology towards God for self-acknowledged violations of His will. So, I have to ask the question, is there supposed to be fear in your relationship with God? Is that what the Bible teaches? Does the fear-based approach take away from a believer the joy and happiness he/she is reported to experience with God?

In my opinion, and you can take this to the bank, there is no-one or nothing more understood than God. Sure, He has written a book to prevent this kind of thing, but how many folks actually read it, or worse, understand it? Most people’s knowledge, and you know this is true, is based on a fleeting verse here and there or the generally accepted consensus of who God is supposedly. Most, it seems, have been taught that God is a vengeful God perpetually engaged in examining your thoughts and behaviors like the inspector in an assembly line searching for defects. I vividly remember having some beers with prospective clients at a basketball game, who when I told them I taught the Bible, insisted on not only not having another drink, but recalling out loud what they had said earlier that might have been offensive. Are you kidding me? I bought the beers! But sadly, that’s where people’s heads go when you mention God. And not only because I  want to drink beers with you, but also because I’ve been taught otherwise, I’m going to show you that people have it all wrong about God in epic proportion!!!

The Bible clearly states that God is love. He isn’t just prone to behave in a loving way, He actually is love. The reason that love is the most powerful thing on the planet is because God, the most powerful being anywhere, is love. The Good Book also says that, “There is no fear in love.” Fear and love cannot co-exist together. If you have fear then you have no love and if you live God’s love you cannot possibly have fear. Fear, not hate, is the antithesis of love. And this whole planet is running on a steady diet of fear. Fear takes away the joy of a relationship with God because it takes away the love in the relationship, not on God’s part towards you, but on your part towards Him. God knows everything there is to know about you and still loves you. To think that you can fool God by engaging in obligatory behavior discounts His vast intelligence and reduces Him to the level of a man. The Bible also says that God is light and in Him, is no darkness at all. No darkness means no darkness. It would require God to have darkness in Him to do evil things to you, or for that matter, purposely allow evil things to happen to you. Evil things would include making you ill, killing the people who you love, putting obstacles in your path to teach you lessons, and allowing bad things to happen to you because your behavior didn’t quite measure up. Imagine one of your children not quite measuring up to behavior standards you set up and then not protecting them from danger because of that behavior. Pretty cruel wouldn’t you say?

God is more interested in your happiness, health and prosperity than you are! He wants to answer your prayers infinitely more than you want to pray them. The trouble is that God will not overstep your freedom of will. He requires fully persuaded belief on your part to bring your prayers to pass. When you fail to get your prayers answered it is generally because you don’t fully believe what you prayed for would come to pass. And, the number one believing blocker is fear. When you hold onto a fearful mindset towards God, greatly influenced by so-called preachers and religious people, you are going to have no confidence towards God. You will be full of doubt and unbelief. And, after experiencing that for long enough, you are going to end up doubting God’s existence in its entirety! The problem isn’t with God, His ability or His love. The problem is you and the wrong beliefs you’ve been entertaining in your head. When the phrase “fear of God” is used in the Bible it refers to reverence and respect; the same thing you are supposed to learn with your parents. You learn to respect what they have been telling you if you’ve been hit in the head by life enough times for not listening. You then become a parent and the cycle continues. God tells us to respect Him and believe what He says to believe. When you choose not to believe what He said and instead choose to believe what the world says, you end up getting smacked in the head, not by God, but by the One He is trying to protect you from! All of your difficulties; all of your pain; all of your heartache and loss is orchestrated and carried out by the adversary; your adversary, hell-bent on keeping you from the only One who can really love and protect you! You get it?

God is love in every conceivable form and facet. You never need to have even an ounce of fear with God. No matter how much of a stinker you have been; no matter how jaded your mind towards God has become; no matter how low you may have fallen, you cannot get underneath the everlasting arms of God’s love! Get out of that fear and obligation and enjoy your relationship with God stemming only from love. There’s nothing you have to do to please Him except humbly believe what He says is true. Doing so not only revolutionizes your life and finally gets your prayer answered, but will lead you to a place of indescribable joy, where no fear is allowed to remain…

There is no fear in God…

Just some good thoughts…

 

Love is the Only “Why…”


“I’m in all of it. … I was there in her laugh but I’m also here in your pain. I’m the reason for everything. I am the why. Don’t try to live without me, Howard. Please don’t.” ~ Aimee Moore, Collateral Beauty. Last night I watched a beautiful movie about a man (Will Smith) searching for answers following the death of his child. In his quest, he sought answers from death, time and love. Love’s apt response for life was, “I am the reason for everything. I am the why…” Love will always be the only “why.”

Behind every heartbeat in life is love. It is the life-giving solution to a world lost in emptiness and pain. It is the light that shines in the darkness. It is in the warmth of a sunny day. It refutes fear and is the only motive that is always right. It is sought for by all and obscured for so many. It is ever-present and waiting behind very corner. It can make all it touches beautiful and can soften even the hardest heart. It will always be your only “why.”

For all of the negative events that can happen in your life; for all the things that can go astray; for all of your sorrow and losses and pain, nothing takes away the joy of living more than the absence of love. You began your life full of love, both in receiving and giving. As your mother poured her love into you, you poured your love back into her. As your father’s love flowed through his hand into your hand, your love flowed back from your hand to his hand as well. Living life with love was for you as natural as breathing. If you didn’t receive the love you needed, you found others that would give it to you and you back to them. Love was your only “why.”

Sadly, as you aged, you found that love wasn’t as plentiful in the world. The people you interacted with had hearts that were hardened through difficulty and rejection. And, as they built up walls around their hearts in an attempt at self-preservation, you built up walls around your own heart as well. Like a callous on your hand, your heart became desensitized to love. Many find themselves groping through life looking for the love that already lives inside them, behind self-made barriers. In their numbness, they seek love in alcohol, in recognition, in admiration, in romance after romance. They aspire for wealth, extreme fitness, plastic surgery and anything that promises them the love they’ve been searching for all along, unable to see because of the hardness of their hearts. They forgot love was their only “why.”

Your hardness of heart wasn’t something you intended, but rather a response to your own experience of life. As the world gnawed away at you, you couldn’t perceive what was happening. You internalized its messages of guilt and shame. You accepted responsibility for every weakness and shortcoming and falsely concluded that there was something wrong with you. You became afraid to express who you really are and opted instead to portray yourself as someone else; someone you felt people would love. You carried around your failings like sandbags, refusing to set your own self free. You just couldn’t imagine that you deserved any better. You never understood that your feelings are universal feelings and in even in moments of rejection, the people rejecting you needed the love as much as you did. For all people, love is the only “why…”

Finding the love that you feel has been eluding you, isn’t in doing better, being better or working harder. It’s not a function of discipline or reading books or in finding your soul mate. Love is manifested in giving. True love gives of itself freely and unreservedly, not by pretense, but in truth. You give out your love to other people and to yourself. You give love to yourself by giving yourself a break. You love yourself by deciding to no longer think disparaging thoughts about yourself and accept yourself for who you are. You cease giving love conditions to maintain and love yourself unconditionally. You love yourself by changing your focus from yourself, your stuff, your hangups, your frustrations, to other people’s stuff and hangups and frustrations. You offer them love and unending forgiveness. You speak kindness and tenderness and sweetness and you refuse to speak otherwise. You remind them that love is their only “why!”

As the gentle, spring sunshine and moisture encourages all living things to grow, while melting away the harshness of the long winter, you melt away the hardness of your heart by returning to love. You don’t need a wall to protect your heart, you need a heart that’s full of love. Love is the life-giving source of the universe. God is love. Love climbs the highest mountains and swims the greatest depths. Love chooses the object of its adoration by decision, not a feeling, and thus gives and gives and gives. As you give, you receive back a thousandfold, for love is a generous giver. Love is the only “why.”

Love is all around you, my friends, seeking life-giving expression through you. Don’t refuse love its entrée to your heart, nor stifle its flow from your heart to others. In love you will see again the wonder that is all around you. It is in your grandson’s eyes, your wife’s laughter and your mother’s touch. It’s on the pages of a good book, in the walls of your home and under your feet in your own backyard. It’s in the wag of your old dog’s tail and the embrace of a good friend. Love is forever the only “why” so be sure to notice her collateral beauty…

Love is the reason for everything…

Don’t try to live without it.

Just some good thoughts.

Sure I Speak in Tongues, Doesn’t Everybody?


speaking-tongues-700pxWhat I’m about to share with you may sound like the weirdest thing on earth. Speaking in tongues is so, so misunderstood. (Try Googling it) In fact, the world has done a bang up job of convincing people that it is freaky and a thing you should avoid at all costs. But, in reality it is just the greatest thing ever with the ability to completely and totally transform your life. Let me explain…

When believers were first born again on the day of Pentecost, they believed and received holy spirit on the inside. The spirit came with 9 evidences or operations contained within it. One of those 9 fantastic abilities is called speaking in tongues. Immediately after receiving the gift of holy spirit, the newly born again believers spoke in tongues. Basically, speaking in tongues is the God-given ability to speak in a language you don’t understand. It’s purpose is to give you a lever in prayer that totally bypasses your understanding. Many, many of your issues and problems in life come from not knowing what to pray for or said another way, what is the spiritual cause of your problem. Speaking in tongues was designed to cover those needs by the ability to pray perfectly, absent any selfishness or senses reasonings. Now, if I lost you already, I’m happy to explain in much greater detail in another setting, if you really want to know. But, going forward I want to address those believers who know how to speak in tongues and tell them why they should be motivated to speak in tongues abundantly, day and night, forever! 😉

Recently I came across a fellow believer on Facebook, who was in the process of identifying 150 reasons to speak in tongues from the Bible. The idea intrigued me because I had always been taught there were 10-12 reasons. No-one ever said they were the only benefits, but I assumed it was so. So, I started reading and researching the reasons. Wow, what a mind-blowing experience! I realized so lucidly that speaking in tongues was God’s gracious solution for so many of the things that plagued me or diminished my life.  Living on this earth, we all have a spiritual enemy working behind the scenes to thwart and retard our efforts. But, and it is a big but, he is a spiritual entity and as such hidden from our senses mind and ability to see him in action. Without God’s spirit and the ability to use the 9 manifestations, we would not stand a chance. (Enter the absolute misery that plagues the world!) Speaking in tongues, one of the 9 operations, is the only one we can operate whenever we want unlike for example, revelation, which God gives at His prerogative as the need requires. Now here is where it gets very interesting…

Speaking in tongues builds us up on the inside; that I already knew. But, I assumed it built up my spirit and ended there. Further, I was taught that my mind is built up by God’s Word, which is unequivocally true as well. However, there is a distinct carryover from spirit to my mind. Imagine, if my spirit was built up, since I cannot feel spirit, how would I ever know? But like all of the manifestations, it also works with my mind. The spiritual darkness that engulfs the world takes away our joy and happiness by assaulting us with negativity and drama. Speaking in tongues clears the path, so to speak and absent the hindrances, I feel freaking fantastic.

Here’s another example. Speaking in tongues gives rest to our soul. Have you ever felt weary and worn out? Speaking in tongues serves as a refresher to your soul. My spirit doesn’t need refreshing because it is perfect and never tired. However, my soul does need refreshing and rest. Speaking in tongues provides that for me. My soul is what makes me, me and it is not my spirit. My soul needs rest. Are you starting to see what I’m getting at?

Speaking in tongues quickens or makes alive my mortal body. How many times has your old body not been responding as you would like? How often is your body bothered by the things that are going wrong? Speaking in tongues brings life to your flesh and no amount of eating healthy or exercise, though necessary, can do more for you than God can. Do you hear what I’m saying?

Speaking in tongues offers you the opportunity to pray for things you need, that you have absolutely no clue that you need. God calls it our greatest weakness. So when you speak in tongues for yourself or for the people you love, God fills in the real needs by your decision to speak in tongues. It is trusting in God with all your heart and leaning not to your own understanding. That’s when all things work together for good, as the good book says.

The Bible says God has not given us the spirit of fear but (a spirit of) power and of love and a sound mind! The power doesn’t reside in your head, it resides in your spirit. Your spirit, built up and edified, comes alive with the power you need to overcome any crap the enemy is throwing at you! Any crap, anything, any problem, any… It also comes with love and a sound mind, experienced and evidenced in your heart. It’s like a love super-booster, pouring out from you like a river of pure sweetness. It’s a profound ability to understand spiritual things and finally, for once in your life, understand what the hell is really going on!

Like anything you actively cultivate, it has fruit attached. The fruit doesn’t show up right away, just like apples, but before you know it you starting seeing and experiencing the fruit. Guess what the Bible says the fruit are? Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance (self-control), believing. Believing is how you can get things from God and you have the ability to cultivate more of it as a fruit. You want more love? Speak in tongues much. You want the peace that passes understanding? Speak in tongues much. You want to be more meek or teachable? Speak in tongues much. You need more self-control? (And who doesn’t?) Speak in tongues much. Our lack of self-control, is often influenced by the dark side of seduction and when you speak in tongues much it builds you up and removes the sticky attachments. Suddenly you are finally able to get in control of yourself!

It is so, so big people! It is one of God’s perfect solutions for you and once you learn how, you can do it as often as you want. Inspired by my learning, I’ve been going to the limits with it, speaking in tongues much, all throughout the day, when I can. (It doesn’t replace my responsibilities like work – smile) So, I can testify, it is drastically changing my experience of life. In fact, I think I’m tasting some heavenly fruit. But hey, don’t trust me, try it out for yourself!

If you know how to do it, do it abundantly. If you don’t know how to do it, reach out and I will help you get there. It’s not freaky my friends, it’s part of God’s perfection…

Sure I speak in tongues, doesn’t everybody?

Just some good thoughts…

 

Understanding God’s Perfection…


God-Is-LoveIn order for something to be perfect, it must be absolutely and completely free from all faults and errors. The smallest amount of defect renders a thing imperfect and though the shortcomings be minute and even imperceptible, if they exist, the thing in question cannot be considered perfect. God is perfect. He has no downside, no shadow of turning and no requirement for any give and take. Thus the things of God must also be perfect, free from any admixture, free from darkness, and free from any heartache and pain. We speak of a perfect day, but what we refer to is a day that went well, though imperfect in many respects. Being able to begin to comprehend God’s perfection, has the power to put us in touch with the right to every wrong; the elixir to any sickness; the solution to each and every problem.

There are more opinions concerning who God is than there are grains of sand on the seashore; than there are stars in the sky. Every group reports to know Him and are more than willing to share His will with you. Yet often that so-called will is fraught with illogic and puzzles pieces that can never fit. Truth cannot be one thing today and another thing tomorrow! God does not change His truth for the times or the circumstances. Truth is truth in every day. You can find it in a tulip and in a sparrow. It exists in and permeates the creation. It is complex, yet breathtakingly simple. It speaks to your heart in a poem. It soothes your soul in a song. It jolts and awakens your mind by both friends and your enemies. It has to, it must, because it is perfection. When you hear it, you already know it is true, though you don’t know why you know it’s true. It escapes your mind yet pre-exists in your heart.

Naturally, the whole system of God is also perfect. There is no whim, no injustice, no wrong in any form. The truth of God must then exist without contradiction, just as light has no darkness in it at all. Love works no ill to its neighbor because it cannot work ill. There is no fear in love because fear is the antithesis of love. Thus, the system of God, if it be of God, cannot work ill, make ill, or be ill. Nor can it promote fear, make fear or be fear. If fear exists, like it’s counterpart darkness, then it must be absence of truth or light in some capacity. Trying to reconcile perfection with imperfection is impossible. Yet how many good men declare God’s abounding love and with the same breath dole out His threatenings on unsuspecting mankind? Prayer to God for healing of a sickness He gave you is like begging the slave owner to stop whipping you. The question is rather, why the hell is he whipping me? What greater purpose could be found in such an act? An unjust beating is an unjust beating and ascribing something good to it is insane. Yet, men entertain this with God in every day. Hurt is hurt and pain is pain. Calling pain good and hurt necessary might send you to the crazy house, but apparently never in the name of God.

So, you may now be wondering what it is I’m trying to say! What I’m saying is that once you begin to discern who God really is, you will axiomatically begin to love Him with all that you are. He is only good always and seeks goodness and love in all that He does. He doesn’t punish people for their bad behaviors, evil takes care of that. He does not follow you around day by day waiting for you to slip up. He is not your conscience making you feel guilty for the mistakes you have made. Sure you’ve been taught that but it just isn’t true. God says, my people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. It’s what you don’t know or what you “think” you know that has been killing you. You don’t go to God for help or when you do by chance go, you enter in sheepishly with your mind chock full of all your sins and errors. So you ask without believing and in doing so ask amiss. I don’t blame you for this because this is what you have been taught! The church did it to you. The Sunday school did it to you.

You read the Old Testament and it scares you. You see a vengeful God wreaking havoc on mankind. What you don’t realize is that in the Old Testament, the snare of evil had not yet been revealed. God never wanted all of the laws and commandments. The laws and commandments came because of the people and preserved for people a future opportunity for redemption. Jesus Christ could have never completely set you free if there wasn’t something he could set you free from. The justice of God demanded it.

At the end of the day, there is only one True God, and He encompasses all that you could ever hope for and dream of in life. He is your sunny, perfect day. He is the love in the eyes of your grandchildren. He is the healing behind your doctor. He is the Miracle Gro for your flowers. He is the spring in your step and the smile on your face. He is indescribable joy and love and peace for a suffering and downtrodden world. He is who you thought He was when you were just a child!

If you can break yourself free from all the dogma and throw off the heavy shackles of religion,  you will find Him, though He be not far from any one of us. You will discover that this life is worth the living and that there is something fantastic behind this world waiting for you to tap in… Ladies and gentlemen, God is love!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

Where’s the Love, Man?


Evolution+Love1How absurd it is to think that man is on the earth as the last stop on the evolutionary chain! Do you really believe that you are simply an offshoot from a gorilla, with less hair and the ability to process? With all of our intellectual ability, sometimes we aint so smart! Not only do you have the ability to think, but more importantly you have the profound capacity to feel. Dogs are affectionate, but you get the privilege to love. Love is the greatest thing in the world and without it life would screech to a halt. So, I ask you, where’s the love, man?

Love isn’t something that happens to you, love is something that you choose to do. It always amuses me when people act as if love just happens to your heart, because, you know, the heart knows… Your heart is you, you silly rabbit. When the conditions are all lined up, you choose to do it. So, what should you do when the conditions don’t line up? You should love anyway. I don’t have to tell you how wonderful  life becomes when love is involved, right? Well, imagine choosing that experience at all times.

I can remember sitting through a class called, Power for Abundant Living. PFAL, the initials of the class, gained a permanent place in the form of a tattoo on my left forearm. That’s how life-changing the class was for me. Above everything else, the class taught me about God’s love and incredibly for maybe the first time, I learned to love myself. Even more incredulously, I learned that I had to love myself before I could love other people. But, here’s where it gets tricky. Loving other people wasn’t something that just happened to me because I felt a certain way. Love was something I had to choose to do, just like I chose to do with myself. And because I was so filled with God’s love (which is synonymous with being filled with His Word), I did it like it was my job! I chose to be kind, tender-hearted and forgiving. I chose to build people up rather than tear them down! I was on the high road baby and everything started working out.

As the years rolled on however, I sort of forgot the most important part of my former success. Oh I still knew God’s Word, but I forgot the love part. God’s Word without the love part is still true, but became hollow and empty in terms of my personal happiness. I had become religious. I did all of the behaviors minus the love. And when I reflect back on those empty years, I realize that instead of choosing to love, I was waiting to feel the love. And I waited for a long time… While you are waiting to feel the love (something the whole world participates in), life becomes all about you. Love is never all about you. God so loved that He gave, right? Well, I think God knows a thing or two about love. God is love.

You can choose to love at any moment in life. What does love look like? Easy, just think of someone you know who loves you. Well, what do they do with you? Do that! Love is interested in the object of its affection. Love notices and responds to what it sees. Love seeks the other’s happiness and not its own, but always receives its own because you receive back what you give out. The more you choose to love, the more love you will receive. When you are choosing love, you are living where God lives. And within that wonderful, tender haven, you never have to fret and worry about getting your needs met because your needs start getting met before you even have to ask. Love is life on steroids.

So many, many people are wandering the earth desperately seeking that elusive love when it is already in their heart waiting for the opportunity to come out. I don’t care what your background is or how difficult your life has become, love is there waiting for you to choose.  Choose love. But, and you can trust me on this one, do not wait for the feeling unless you have a lot of years to burn. Love isn’t a feeling, it’s a decision; a decision that produces a wonderful feeling. How crazy is it that the thing you seek so ardently, you already have. It’s not the absence of love that has been screwing your life up, it’s the absence of giving what you already have that’s been doing it to you!

If you want love (and who doesn’t?), you have to give it. Build, build, build. Bless, bless, bless. Stop being afraid and open your heart. We’ve all suffered while experiencing life to some extent because of the darkness that has prevailed at times. We’ve all gotten hardened and calloused. We’ve all been jaded, sadly increasing with age. But that wall you’ve constructed around your heart isn’t protecting you at all. Instead it’s preventing you from the experience called life that God intended for you. Yes it’s scary. Yes, people will still run roughshod on it, but open your heart anyway. The rewards of love not only heal every hurt, but they offer the promise of a fantastic life; true power for abundant living!

Don’t you dare wait for tomorrow to try it out. Do it right now! Give it to the person you see in this very moment. Shower it on your wife or your husband. It doesn’t matter if they don’t deserve it. You deserve it. Damn it man; doggone it woman, you deserve it! Pour it on your children and your grandchildren. Lavish it on your friends. Heap it on your co-workers. Overflow it on your boss. Love, love, love like your life and happiness depends upon it because it really does.

You are not an intellectual gorilla that manscapes, you are a wonderful human being with a heart. Open it! You are the top of the food chain not because you evolved over millions of years but because you have a heart of love from a God of love. Choose love! Give love! Open your heart…

Just some good “love” 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…