Dealing With Your Feelings


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

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

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

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

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

Just some good thoughts…

You Are Not a Victim!


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

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

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

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

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

Just some good thoughts…

Life Requires Your Participation…


1_1X2KtJHaDNEr3MBghmUA5wI was thinking the other day about how your life can go sort of stale on you. Things don’t appear different on the outside; there haven’t been any major changes; nothing dramatic has occurred, yet suddenly it feels a bit pointless and dry. It’s almost as if there isn’t anything to look forward to and your existence seems to have slowed down to a crawl. The more deeply I considered the emotions, the more curious I became. What is it that happens to a person that takes away the joy and adventure of living? What event or series of events have been at work behind the scenes stealing away precious life and vitality? What could have possibly been going on in a person’s thought life that led to these negative and hopeless conclusions? Then, I knew the answer. Life requires your participation!

The way you stop participating in life is when you stop moving forward. You don’t necessarily feel like you stopped, but if you are honest you know you no longer have anything you are pursuing. You aren’t on an exciting adventure full of discovery. You aren’t on a journey towards some worthwhile end. You have no grand plans for your exciting future life, but instead have settled in to mediocrity and silence. You’re going through the motions, living, but not really living. There was a time when you had a zest for living and carried a mind full of expectations and desires. But, something happened to you. Something worked you over and wore you down. Someone or a host of someones chipped away at your ambitions and goals. One by one, little by little, your mental plans were closed off and nullified. It wasn’t your age that did it to you, but maybe the considerations you entertained concerning your age. It wasn’t the circumstances of your life that took away your dreams as you had similar, if not worse circumstances, in your unknown and untraveled youth. What changed was your interpretation of your circumstances and what they meant in terms of your future life. Your lack of energy and exhaustion didn’t come about from extreme efforts, but instead lack of effort; lack of movement and ultimately a lack of participation in your own life. You stopped doing your part. Life requires your participation.

When you remove all of the covers, when you take off all the disguises, when you peel away all of the layers, a person’s arch nemesis in life is always fear. It is fear that enters in an impedes your forward progress. Doubt causes you to hesitate. Worry slows your progress forward and fear eventually freezes you in your tracks. Like the mighty roar of a lion, fear roars to stop your forward progress, rendering you helpless from the enemy’s pending attack. The name of the thief that stole your ideals is fear. The hunter that trapped you in a cage of mediocrity is fear. The robber that made off with your enthusiasm and zest for living is fear. Absent fear your mind is free to function at full speed, full of ideas and dreams and wishes, hopes and plans. What happened to you was not a function of aging or gaining wisdom concerning the world. What happened was in some capacity, in some imperceptible way, by repetition and habit, fear got to you. Fear tricked you into stopping your forward momentum. Fear pointed out why your plans could not work; how foolish you were for thinking them and how many obstacles existed to impede your progress towards them. But, it wasn’t fear’s lies that defeated you, it was your acceptance of those lies as evidenced by your lack of progress toward your plans. You, because of fear, stopped moving; stopped doing; stopped trying. Your dreams require your participation in their attainment.

Often people pray for God to take away their problems and troubles. They beg God to simply step in and remedy the situation for them. And while that sounds beautiful, further inspection reveals that is not how life works, indeed not how God works. God moves in people as they move. Waiting and praying and wishing won’t restore the life you have lost as a victim to fear. You have to move again. You have to take some steps. You have got to start moving forward. However it happened to you, it already happened. Bless God for helping you see what you need the most to see.  Praise God for those times you got to recognize and understand it for yourself. What happened to you is common to all men. The acid test for your soul is to look back at your former dreams and goals, your plans, your enthusiasms for things, and note how you stopped pursuing them. You gave them up. It’s like the man that hates his job; complains about his job; is stressed out by his job, yet does nothing to change the situation. Sure he prays and pleads and waits and cries, yet does nothing to change the situation. What would he have God to do in his story? God will move when he moves and not a second earlier. If you are no longer looking for the things that have the most appeal to you, how could you ever find them? If you have given up on even trying something, how could you ever succeed at it? If you already know everything, what else is there for you to learn? The problem isn’t God or the world or the circumstances, the problem is you. Fear (look no further) has tricked you into halting your forward progress and life won’t return for you until you decide to move again. Life requires your participation.

Friends, the doldrums, the boredoms, the lackluster and mundane would overtake us all. However, we are only so because we have ceased our forward progress. We stopped moving and will remain abject and defeated until we take charge and move again. Get back in the game. Remember what you love the most and begin to pursue it again. Take a step then another step and then another. Don’t allow the liar fear to color your world drab gray any longer. Move ahead and see the beauty and vibrance that life is and once again see the God that called you and loves you. Make some moves and see it for yourself. Participate in your own life!

Just some good thoughts…

The Elephant in the Room


elephant-roomWhen I first began writing, “Just Some Good Thoughts” a number of years ago, my goal then was and my goal now is to help people escape the dark side of life; escape the suffering; escape the bondage; escape the pain. In that vein, my aim is to point people towards the light; towards the happiness and towards the joy. It has been my experience that life itself is not unhappy, nor should it be accompanied by difficulty as if by design, but rather those things come as a result of influences hell bent on making trouble for people; setting up and crafting hardships; obscuring man’s mind from the things he really needs to see. The reason a man or a woman cannot see is because their minds have been blinded to some reality. Further, it seems those evil influences don’t gain access to people’s hearts from many avenues, but instead a few areas craftily hidden from view. Complete catastrophe and disaster would render any heart humble in desperation to survive. But, the little things, the small compromises, the continued allowance of things that cause pain, they seem to be the chosen method for attack. Often these disturbances are easier for other people to see, but remain veiled to the soul of the one caught in the trap. Clearly there is an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. What is the elephant in your room?

None of us needs any more judgment than we are already subjected to in our daily life. It is never helpful for a person, determined to set a matter right, to come crashing in pointing out our weaknesses with a wrecking ball approach. Wrecking balls, however efficient, tend to smash things down rather than build things up. Instead people need to arrive at their own conclusions. Pointing out the errors in someone’s ways needs to be reserved for the person with no error in their own ways and that lone person who lived above error, out of love, chose not to do it. And, if you’re honest, do you really know the source of the other person’s problem? Difficulty and distress have many different disguises. Some much like the ones you wear. The elephant in the room must be found by the one it affects. 

In order for a gigantic creature to escape a person’s view it must be deftly hidden from them. Or maybe it is something that can be seen, but is not seen correctly for what it really represents. All deception functions this way. And all of us have been deceived. Deception is successful because it covers the real causes and as such masks the real effects. No man, no woman would persist in error if they saw it for what it really was. Instead, the error is portrayed as something good ever offering the promise of good times and lasting pleasures. The measure, therefore, is the fruit it is producing in your life. If the fruit is good, God bless it and may it continue. If the fruit is bad leading to problems and difficulties and mental duress, it deserves your further inspection. That which you do and every time you do it, it leads to turmoil and unrest, is likely in need of some revision. None of us produce only good fruit and we all are in need of some revisions. It isn’t that all of our life is bad or evil, but rather some several areas are in need of repair. Those are our elephants in the room and often they can be remedied by slight modifications and changes, not complete life overhauls. It may be as simple as making the decision to exercise some control in an area whereby you formerly held no control. It may be ridding yourself of a trusted friend who is not your friend and serves only as a thorn in your flesh. It may be as nonthreatening as a shift in priorities. If our lives were a complete wreck it would be more clear to us by now. It is in the subtleties where the ruse takes place. It is error practiced for so long that it no longer appears as error. How much suffering has been engendered by an elephant we can no longer see or even discern?  

God is more than willing to help you spot these elephants in your existence. He not only sees them for the error they really are, but also sees what is behind them. He knows precisely how they got to you and even more precisely how to help you escape from them. In this you can always trust God. Unlike the many false reports concerning Him, He is very tender and long suffering in our lives. He brings you to a place only when you are ready to see it and even then leaves your freedom of will intact. His will for us is only the best things in life, though it often take us years to gain this recognition for ourselves. Like any loving parent, He does not want to see you suffer. It pains Him to see you rebelliously moving forward on things that will result in your own harm, but allows you to do so anyway, remaining ever present to pick you up when you fall.  What a glorious day it is when you finally decide to stop leaning to your own understanding and lean to His instead. God looks on your heart. He heard your prayers. He knows you don’t understand what is going on. He hears your cries to Him. But, in order to receive your answer, you have to begin listening to Him. Follow His gentle promptings and be assured He is not the one accusing you or causing you to suffer, ever! He is faithfully at work helping you to see and rid yourself of all of the elephants in your own rooms. He desires you be free from all bondage and hardship and pain. Is there an elephant in your room making your life less than what God intended it to be? If so, let God help you and guide you in not only beginning to see it for yourself, but also in helping you remove it from your life. 

What is the elephant in the room? Nothing if you trust God and let Him show you the best way to live!

Just some good thoughts…

Do Hard Things…


hard thingsI think it sort of dawns on you over time that you have aspects of your life that need some revision. If you look up hedonistic in the dictionary, you may find a picture of me. Nobody likes to have a good time more than I do. But, sometimes with your good times you discover excesses that require modification and those modifications aren’t always easy. Excesses can appear in any category of life and you recognize them by their impact on your life. There’s a reason God says all things in moderation. Whatever fun stuff you enjoy that may have become too much fun requires a change in your behavior and more importantly your thinking. Vices are called vices when they replace the real you with some added activity you need in order to function normally. That’s not to say that you must give up all vices, but rather those vices that no longer assist you but instead seek to control you. If you can’t have a good time without adding something else in, you may be getting tripped up. If you have lived any length of time, you know this is true. With life comes an expectation of control, not servitude or slavery, but rather setting limits and sticking to them. In this, you sometimes have to do hard things.

All people love liberty and freedom to do as they please. This is part of the foundation of the American way of life. But, when your personal freedoms begin to impact you and other people negatively, a change will be required. No-one sets out to become a drug addict or an alcoholic. Yet both result from a lack of control. No-one chooses a life of obesity and the litany of related health issues that accompany it, but those consequences remain hidden in the pleasure of consumption. No-one plans on ending up a workaholic, until that satisfaction from always working ruins family and health and the future. It doesn’t really matter which areas of your life have excesses; too much; a lack of control, what matters is being able to discern them before it’s too late, then take steps to modify and choose new pathways. This will require you to do hard things.

On the other end of the spectrum of control is over-control. There are people that deny themselves all pleasures. Some even go as far as to say that they are doing it for God. I can assure you that God who invented pleasure isn’t opposed to pleasure. Yet, He also sees through the deception of pleasure excesses. Emerson aptly stated, “Punishment is a fruit that unsuspected ripens within the flower of the pleasure which concealed it.” Pleasure and pain both have the capacity to deceive you or at minimum influence your decisions. In this, man always seeks to add rules such as taste not, touch not, handle not, yet God was not behind it. Instead He said, “Prove all things and hold fast to the good.” In life we are free to experience our lives in all of life’s manifold variety and stick with those things that are the best. Some things begin well but end poorly. Other things appear to be good but have poison hidden in them. And many, many things are good as long as you enjoy them in moderation. But, lest I put chains on you that are difficult to extricate yourself from, you and you alone must make that choice. It is your life and you are the one that best knows what works for you and what does not. Some people choose not to eat meat and it’s their mouth, not yours. Others abstain from alcohol, but that doesn’t mean you must. Some people require ten hours of sleep and others only six. All of us have free will, unless we surrender it by excess. If there is something you do that is too much for you and begins to hurt you, you may have to do some hard things.

Even the term “hard things” is really a misnomer. Control is no harder than making a firm decision. What becomes hard for us is changing habits that have solidified over time. Habits are great for useful endeavors, but habits spell disaster when connected to our excesses. Worse, habits become invisible to our awareness and we are forced rather to experience some pain or consequence before they come into view. Doing hard things is really more about making hard decisions. It’s about proving to yourself that you can. I think one of the most important aspects of our own mental health is in sticking to the decisions we have made. Nothing like following your plans for needed improvements to boost your self esteem to record levels. Conversely, there’s nothing like saying one thing and doing another to bring you down into the dumps. If it’s going to improve your life immeasurably, do hard things.

Finally, in some cases, certain things or harmful activities have gotten away from your control . Maybe you have traveled too far down a certain path. Perhaps you got caught up in something that was bigger than you are. Certain aspects of life have forces working behind them that exceed your personal ability or strength to overcome them. In these unfortunate, but common cases in human beings, you will need God to help you escape; God, the Higher Power. God who sees all, knows all and is over all is well able to rescue you. All that is required on your part is some humility; some willingness to admit it (whatever it is) has gotten away from you. God has not left you without remedy, nor will He ever. It doesn’t matter how hard your hard thing is, with God nothing shall be impossible.

My friends, we all need help at times; we all get tripped up; we all end up at places we never thought we would end up. There’s no sin in getting tricked. But, when you know what you have to do, you must require of yourself that you do it. Make the change. Modify your behavior. Cut back. Limit yourself. Control yourself. You will be so incredibly happy on the other side. Change doesn’t happen overnight, especially when dealing with well grooved habits of thought, but it will happen and God will make sure you are real blessed along the way. Try it for yourself. Do hard things.

Just some good thoughts…

Yeah, But What Do You Think?


think-different

I’m not sure if it’s politics or the ease of getting information or the advent of social media, but it seems more and more that people have stopped thinking for themselves. Maybe there’s nothing new under the sun. Maybe all original thought has already been thought. Perhaps we have reached such a grand stage of enlightenment that there is no longer a need for folks to think for themselves. But, I doubt it. Somewhere and somehow it seems human beings have been talked out of the veracity of their own thought; their own conclusions. It is like there are only a rare few rebels left who dare to go against the status quo; the information wheel of things. People are either aligning themselves to some all or nothing cause or else they are blindly supporting it. It seems the logic or maybe the illogic is that if you are this, then you have to be that. You absolutely cannot be part this and part that, it’s all or nothing baby! Now that logic may work for absolute truth, but it fails miserably for everything else. The earth is round. To think otherwise isn’t original thought, it’s inconceivable illogic. Yet there are people, all scientific evidence to the contrary, who believe it. The issue isn’t what the masses are saying. The issue is what do you think? Yeah, but what do you think?

You likely won’t be able to survive in a world where black is no longer black and white is no longer white. Things are real and have a distinct meaning. To challenge the reality of things is absurdity. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is probably a duck. When you let some influential fellow convince you that it is a chicken, when it is clearly a duck, you may be teetering on insanity. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, that is how the world seems to function today. Whether it be adherence to some political party or else well established Facebook algorithms, people seem to have stopped thinking for themselves. COVID19 is a real thing. It’s not a media construct, though the media may oversell the fear of it. There are literally real people that you know that have gotten sick and in some cases have even died from it. Again, to buy into the logic that the media has invented it for some sinister, future governmental takeover, is irrational at best and insane at worst. There are people, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, still concluding it is a hoax devised to “take down” America. Yet, it seems more likely that the economic “take down” of America is more directly related to the virus itself. All throughout history there have been pandemics, always having their roots in evil, designed to destroy the masses and bring ruin to the people. That part is clear. However, in this instance of another variation of the same, there is produced a whole segment of society that refuses to acknowledge its existence. Do you really think that the government is so sophisticated that it could align not only the media, but also every hospital and care center to buy into the same lie? If the government has that type of control, we truly all are doomed. And, however rapidly produced, there is a vaccine offered that prevents the virus from gaining access and greatly limits the impact of the select few that still acquire it. Medical report after medical report lauds the veracity of it with evidence to back up their claims. Yet, almost incredulously there are still people, many people who refuse to get it. To them, it seems more plausible to believe that the government has somehow found a way to implant tracking devices so small they can fit through the point of a needle. Now, I know evil is very deceptive, but through the needle? If anyone is being tracked it’s more likely through their cell phone or some chicks named Alexa or Siri. Yet onward march the thoughtless masses refusing compliance based on civil rights or something. I personally know a man that coordinates a large hospital in our area that reported 95% of those poor souls suffering from COVID in his ICU are unvaccinated; 95%! Lord help us, is anyone still thinking for themselves?

Somewhere along the line, I pray, people will return to thinking for themselves. Yes, the media portrays falsehoods. Yes, the great media machine slants and manipulates information. Yes, evil is likely behind it pulling the strings. But, for God’s sake, you have to call a thing a thing. The reason the pandemic has gained a resurgence is because of all of you conspiracy theorists that have given the devil too much credit. It’s like the man that prayed for God to save him from the flood that refuses three offers of being saved because he was still waiting on God to deliver him. Take the ride you dummy and stop refusing your common sense. It is scary to think that we live in a world where you can deny real occurrences by calling them fake news and even scarier that people could overlook a preponderance of evidence to the contrary. We, as a nation, are in real trouble when that type of logic is allowed to prevail. Look, when you go to the doctor, though you know that medicine isn’t perfect, you have to trust what the doctor says and do what is required of you. To question the doctor, not based on medical science, but based rather on what some non-medical friends have informed you to do is not wise. Yet, that is where we are today. Not a day goes by that I am not subjected to some quack or even less than a quack, reporting some false statistic about some erroneous data they reportedly read questioning what is obvious in favor of some equally insane conspiracy theory, again giving evil too much credit. And do you know why they are so convinced? Because the Facebook algorithm has fed them so much agreeable information for their whacky views that they have now concluded it is true. The question that begs remains, come on man, what do you think?

I will be the first to tell you that evil is very deceptive and that I have personally been led down a few blind allies to my own hurt and loss. But, somewhere along the way you have to start questioning these conclusions that people make and decide for yourself based on some semblance of logic. I can think of no better way to enable a pandemic to persist than to convince the masses of the evil inside the anecdote. The vaccine may not be fully tested yet and there may be some future harm connected to it, but that has to be a lot better than watching grandma or grandpa waste away due to something we do know very well. Life often isn’t a clear choice between good and evil but instead sometimes the lesser of two evils. In an imperfect world governed by evil, you sometimes have to trust God and make a choice. And absent any insider information from God, choose logic. My heart and prayer for our country and for our world is that people return to thinking for themselves and stop casting logic and plain common sense out the window in favor of a political view or the opinion of the divided sides. You don’t need a party platform to recognize good from evil, even if it might cost you a few votes. Think about the things you are cleaving to and if they pass the acid test of common sense. Yeah, my friends, but what do you think?

Just some good thoughts…

Take Your Needed Respite…


respiteThere are times in your life when you find yourself confused, bewildered, worn out. Most people let time sort of glom together and before you know it, an hour turns into a day, a day turns into a year, a year turns into a lifetime. Instead of taking control of the minutes, handling the issues of the moment, wrestling with the unrest, we let things go hoping difficulties will pass and peaceful feelings return. What we fail to see is the necessity to take on every challenge, every threat, every false word that is whispered in our ear. In so doing, our troubles mount up and gather strength. Simple changes become complex changes. Peaceful thoughts become agitated and agitation clouds our vision further. All this could have been avoided if we only took our needed respite.

The challenges that confront human beings are similar for us all. We all get pressed and pressured. We all have to contend with fearful considerations. We all face circumstances that portray loss in some capacity and threaten our future. The key involved in being successful isn’t to finally get to a place where we are no longer attacked, but instead making the decision to take on every mental assault, as it happens, when it happens, every time it happens. There is a reason God exhorts us to live one day at a time. The day you can handle. Endeavoring to live in the past and in the future you cannot handle. When you let things that are bothering you go, eyes fixed upon some future day, you miss the moment that is now and more importantly the fight that is now. And like a fighter, every shot absorbed adds up blow by blow,  until finally you go down. The situation demanded something of you now, not later. You were provoked and prodded and you needed to act. You needed to take it on when it was occurring. You needed to take a respite and get back in control.

Incredible as it seems, you can only live your life right now. You experience now, you feel now, you live now. You cannot live in your future and trying to do so is exhausting. Real life is found in your experiences which you might miss a lifetime if your focus isn’t on now. You are either happy or unhappy today. You are enthusiastic or miserable today. And, you are either peaceful or distressed right now. If you are distressed, unpeaceful, agitated, take some time and figure out why. What are you thinking about that is causing your distress? What threats have entered your awareness that you have failed to confront? What are you so afraid of? Answer those questions successfully and your peace will return. One of my favorite things I tell myself when I feel unrest is that I have nothing to be afraid of in any capacity and that my God is over all. There is no value in acting like you don’t feel something that you are feeling. It’s not healthy or honest to act as if things aren’t what they are. If you are bothered in any way, large or small, take it on and for Lord’s sake, stop running away from it. Fear only takes advantage of you when you retreat! Stop running from whatever it is that is after you! Turn and take it on. Challenge it. Refute it. Quote God’s Word concerning the situation. In essence, win the fight that is happening now. Your peace will return at the end of the conflict. Wishing there was no conflict or trying to escape the conflict will not work. You are in a fight. Sometimes the fight is easy to win. At other times, the fight is intense. But, no matter the form, it is a fight. When it dawns on you, you have been knocked off center, take a brief respite and get it straight. Don’t just move ahead or ignore it. Take it on, all comers, at all times.

The absolute beauty and joy of life comes after you have taken on the challenges that oppose it. Don’t get lulled into the illusion that your life is a collective effort and as long as you finish well, you win. No, my friends, life is a continuous series of right nows, with your experiences and enjoyments happening right now. You don’t need to concern and fret yourself with winning at life. You must needs concern yourself with what is going on right now, today, the only day you can live. Win the moment, win the hour, win the day. Take on those things that have plagued and hampered you. Challenge the stories concerning how your life will turn out. Do whatever it takes to get back to being peaceful and live there. When you find yourself frazzled, take the respite you need and get back to your abundant life, right now, today. There simply is no other way.

Just some good thoughts…

Get to the Bottom of It!


I sometimes wonder if we have some of the problems that we have because we just haven’t gotten to the bottom of the things that plague us. We’ve been so trained, so influenced, so led to knock around on the surface of things for a little bit, then quickly move on to the next thing that demands our attention. We have so many things to do and so little remaining time to get it all done. We lack focus and what little focus we do have is squandered on a multitude of things that really don’t matter; that really have minimal consequence in our lives. Instead of endeavoring to hone in on a solution, we sort of take a stab at it, try googling it, then move past it after Goggle satisfies our need to know. We endure the same troubles, the same difficulties, year after year, because we never actually get to the bottom of the problem! We fail to see it through. We stop short of our goal. We give up. We get distracted. We move on. We owe it to ourselves to get to the bottom of it!

The only way to solve a problem is by working through the apparent complexity of it until you reach the underlying cause. The cause of our problems will always be simple. If we became aware of the actual cause, we would take the necessary steps to reach the solution. However, in order for our problems to gain permanence, many elements of complexity must be layered over the top of the true cause. People spend their whole lives swatting away at false causes like trying to swat at annoying flies in their immediate vicinity. Then, like people in uninhabited places and undeveloped regions, eventually they simply acquiesce and learn to coexist with the flies. The solution isn’t to learn to live with the annoyances, but rather to learn to rid yourself of them once and for all. Human beings, by nature, will be forced to deal with challenges and obstacles in life. There’s simply no way around that reality. However, it was never God’s intention that people should be overcome by those challenges and live a miserable life as a result of them. Instead, the intention was that we would seek solutions to our difficulties and after having them, live that much more abundantly a a result.

Problems remain in our lives because of our failure to see them until they have become deeply entrenched into our psyche. The deeper the issue, the more difficult it will be to extricate and uproot the source. And, like any pervasive threat, it usually is not going to happen overnight. Ill health, for example, is generally not resolved upon the body’s recognition of its loss, but rather health follows after a number of clearly defined steps practiced faithfully and persistently over time. Troubles, generally inculcated and dug in, must be chipped away at piece by piece until dissolved. Thus, solving problems depends more upon persistence than quick fixes and shortcuts. It’s not logical to expect a rapid repair of a long standing issue. In fact, the expectation of a miraculous, rapid repair is the reason people give up on finding a solution and as such, cease their efforts immediately towards it. If God would resolve it overnight, let Him. Otherwise, keep doing the best you can until more light becomes available. The sooner you give up on your own ability, the better. Instead keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking until your answer appears. The most important thing is not the timetable, but instead your ultimate deliverance.

Where we fail and why we fail is because we stop short of the goal. Your life, your happiness is more important than the transitory circumstances of life. Your issue is not how long it might take. Your concern is that you might have enough clarity to affect real change at the root cause level of your dilemma rather than slapping around on the surface of the water hoping to dive deeper underneath. When your problems persist and worsen, the cause is down lower, underneath. You cannot expect to arrive at any solutions for your troubles employing the same thinking and logic that got you there in the first pace. How glorious is the day when you finally admit you need some help and at last seek outside yourself for the answer! There is Someone who has all the answers and earnestly awaits your request. But, you have to ask, you have to seek, you have to keep knocking on the door until you get an answer.

It is error to think that you have to live with problems or that some problems are not solvable or worse, the false notion that beckons, ‘that is just how life is.” And, while many, many people live that way, that is not how life is! The sooner you resolve your issues, the better your life will become. We all struggle in certain areas. We all have aspects of life that cause us difficulty. We all have weaknesses and we ALL fall short. We are in this thing together and we face a common foe. But, none of us win in life by choosing to ignore the issues that plague us. If you have a problem you cannot seem to resolve, implore God for help and solve it. Don’t move on. Don’t allow yourself to be frustrated. Do not be discouraged that it is not resolved yet. Instead set in your heart a willingness to take it on and not stop until you have gotten what you need. If you stay at it. If you persist. If you refuse to move on and ignore it. If you will continue pursuing the answer until you get it, you will not only get it, but you will be that much better as a result of it. You can get to the bottom of the things that have been defeating you, but you are not at the bottom until the real cause becomes apparent. It is worth your effort, my friends, and you deserve to be happy! Get to the bottom of it already! You will be so thankful on the other side.

Just some good thoughts…

Is It Working For You?


image

I often wonder, what’s the point of being a Christian if your life is just like everyone else’s life. I mean think about it. Surely there is a benefit, indeed many benefits to having a relationship with God and if there aren’t any tangible benefits, maybe we are doing something wrong. For many, it seems that being a believer means you believe in God but not necessarily in the power of God. You are pretty sure that God exists, but when it comes to the life you live, not much seems to happen. People pray for God to help with them difficult times, but don’t pray for God to provide solutions for the difficult times. It’s sort of like God is there for you, but doesn’t do anything to change whatever it is you are facing. Maybe people don’t understand that there is the power of God that they can access. Or, perhaps they have prayed so much with so little results that they have resigned themselves to go through the motions never really expecting anything good to happen. If God is perfect, and I believe that He is, then we must be doing something wrong. If I never receive any results to my prayers, I must be doing something wrong. Why would God promise us so much in His Word if we could not experience those things for ourselves? Is God unwilling to intervene in our challenges? Are our concerns, our troubles not worthy of His consideration? Is this life we live presently supposed to be hard and our task merely to endure it patiently? When it comes to what you believe, is it working for you? 

If you’ll notice the media of today it is fraught with a beggar mentality. We are instructed to be thankful that we woke up or experience other benign benefits that all living people experience. There’s nothing wrong with being thankful of course, but waking up seems fairly fundamental to living creatures. The subtle message implied is that therein is the limit for your expectations. Wake up, be glad and endure another day powerless to effect any change. My words have no intent to criticize, but instead to shake up the lethargy the world engenders. God’s promise is not reserved only for your future life, but for the life you live right now. God wants you to be happy now! God wants you to be healed now! God wants you to prosper now! God wants you to live abundantly now! The reason you don’t experience this reality is because you don’t believe it to be true. The world has reduced God to be the morality police, concerned only and always with what you do right and what you do wrong. He is not seen as a Father providing loving care for His children, but instead an angry judge perpetually displeased with His creation. It’s as if He is wholly unfamiliar with your humanity and your needs associated with that humanity and is more concerned with rules and requirements most of which run at cross purposes with what you want to do! You’ve been told that God does not have time for your petty needs and that it is selfish to pray for yourself. It is no wonder people live the way they do. Instead of days being filled with excitement and enthusiasm for living, people trudge along in perpetual misery, lost, confused and without hope. If you are living this way, it isn’t working for you.

Your first step in your quest is to find out what God actually says about Himself. If you are going to pray for His help, you need to know what He says. I can guarantee you that a lot of what you have heard about God is not true. Instagram is chock full of people whose job it is to make stuff up! “God only gives His toughest battles to His strongest people!” Who says? That’s not what God’s Word says, that’s what people say. It subtly implies God is loading you with hard times as a test or something. We are all in the fight; in the battle, and we get our asses kicked when we don’t know how to fight back. You have to learn what God says about Himself. You have to learn who God really is. Once you begin to appreciate the vastness and the ability of God, you will have no problem going to Him for help. But first, you have got to get all that worldly garbage out of your head. If your first thought when you pray is about how you have been living, then you are doing it all wrong. God doesn’t answer your prayers because you are so good, He answers them when you believe Him, and you will have a hell of a hard time believing what He says when your focus is on yourself and everything you do and do not do!  By the grace of God I am what I am! That is how you win. No-one deserves God’s goodness, yet He offers it to everyone! If you aren’t getting your prayers answered, it isn’t working for you. 

Much of the hinderance we face in getting results is based upon our expectations. We expect so little. It’s no wonder as the world works hard to persuade us thus. We think we oughta be grateful when it’s all going to shit and learn to accept “what cannot change!” Well, who said it cannot change? If God is my Father and I’m struggling or suffering in some capacity, then it stands to reason He would want to help me. To assume otherwise is to assign monstrosity to God. To consider that He would allow evil to work me over in order to produce something beneficial is of equal horror. Sometimes I think we just have to slow down a bit and think. If God is love, if God is light and in Him is no darkness at all, then I must have something confused somewhere along the line. God desires to answer your prayers more than you want to pray them! But, in order to do so he needs a little cooperation on your part. He needs for you to do something with that mind of yours. You can’t be full of negativity and darkness and expect God to shine the light. You cannot be convinced that nothing is going to happen when you pray and expect something to happen anyway. Life does not work that way; lotteries perhaps, but not life! If things are not working out for you, chances are you are not doing something with your mind. 

There are a multitude of things God is reportedly telling you not to do but most, if not all of it, is not from God at all. There are some things God says not to do and it may surprise you what those things are. The number one admonition in the Bible is to fear not! Fear and all of its devilish companions are your primary problem. Doubt, the precursor to worry, stops your prayers in their tracks. Worry, the precursor to fear, stymies your every move. Fear, the precursor to misery and suffering not only prevents you from getting what you want, but actually serves to bring you the things you do not want! Read those sentences again. Fear is your main problem. Fear runs the world. If you will notice your thought life, even for a brief period, you will see the prevalence of fear. You are afraid that you and your loved ones are not safe, so you do all kinds of shenanigans to make them safe. You are afraid your health will be compromised, so you work hard to get it all right. You are afraid your need won’t be met, so you drive yourself mad working to make sure you are okay and that all your needs will be met. The problem with fear is that is has you doing all the right stuff for all the wrong reasons. Your core belief, when it is fear, is wrong and cannot help but bring more of what you don’t want. Before you can get your prayers answered, you have to rid yourself of fear. You must learn to recognize fear and challenge it with God’s Word. Otherwise, your mind won’t be in the right space to receive from God. That, my friends, is your part. You cannot expect God to give you roses while you are earnestly expecting weeds. God will not overstep your free will as much as you may wish otherwise. Obeying God is more properly obeying His command to fear not. You loose the grips of fear by letting God do His job while you do your job. God’s job is too hard for you to do and your job is yours and yours alone. Are things not working out for you? The likely cause is fear and you owe it to yourself to learn to overcome it. 

Being a child of the most High God should be the greatest thing ever. You have access to the greatest power in the universe and He exists for you. There is nothing God will not do for you. There is no challenge, no shortcoming, no former defeat, no sickness, no lack, nothing that can overcome the power of God in operation for you. Life does not work for anyone outside of Him and with Him you can only win. Is it working for you? I hope so and if not then get busy learning who God is and what He will do for you. It is there for you if you want it my friends. It is always there…

Just some good thoughts… 

The Great Christian Killer…


If the greatest thing the devil ever did was to convince people he didn’t exist, the second greatest thing was convincing people they needed to work in order to earn God’s approval. When I look around at Christianity today (so called), all I can see are people living in and living out their unworthiness before the Father. Even the mention of Christianity today elicits an immediate twinge of negative self-analysis as if the word christian is synonymous with moral failure in some capacity. For believers, it seems, it’s not so much about God and His goodness as it is about everything they don’t do right; where they struggle and ultimately what is wrong with them! The world lives and thrives on what isn’t right concerning people coupled with so-called solutions that always lead to control! In this way, the system of things is designed to talk people into doing the works required for approval from men and ultimately from God. This is the great Christian killer!

The roots of this dilemma go all the way back to Adam and Eve, who when questioned by God regarding their error, immediately filled with fear (a first for humans) and sought a covering for what they had done wrong. And people are being assaulted with the same error and accusation to this very day. When sin entered the world, man would henceforth be born into the world dead in trespasses in sins, not by their choices, but rather by their inherited bloodline. Natural man is born with sin in his blood. To think, based on this reality, that you as a person could somehow earn God’s goodness is the height of deception. You, by your human efforts, could never get the job done fully. It took God’s intervention by supplying a perfect substitute for man’s evil nature in the life, death and resurrection of his sinless son. In that substitution, you and I by believing in God’s son and his being raised from the dead, received the gift of righteousness forever more. God, in His infinite grace and mercy did away with the need for you to do works in order to gain His approval. But, that is not how Christians live. The proof is found in their insistence on adding something to what God finished for them already. When Jesus hung on the cross dying and uttered, “It is finished” he meant it! He ended forever all that was ever wrong with you and me. He paid the price so you wouldn’t have to pay anymore. So why are you still making payments? Why do you act as if the work isn’t completed already? I’ll tell you why! It is because you have been deceived into thinking otherwise. Oh you didn’t get there alone and neither did I. The world and preachers and religious leaders have all been cooperators together in ignorance in endeavoring to add to God’s perfection by insisting on certain behaviors and rules and dogmas and commandments and so-called morality with one hidden, spurious and deceptive element, namely to bring you under their (or its) control! Convince a man he is not right before God and you can now control his entire life by prescribing what he must do in order to “get right!” In this way, everything is wrong, everything is evil and everything is going to get you. You cannot enjoy life, make decisions, make mistakes or anything else because all of it brings God’s disapproval. How many people do you know who live this way? Maybe you have been living this way?

I often marvel at how people cannot seem to understand how well God knows His creation. They somehow think God shudders at all of the awful things people consider and sometimes do! Let me let you in on a little secret. God understands fully the human condition, after all He made us. Do you really think you could freak God out because of some deception that befell you or by some wrong path you took or take? God not only knows you intimately, but He also knows the spiritual evil you contend with though maybe you never understood it for yourself. And similarly, isn’t it possible that all of the things you do as a human are actually what humans do and not really sin at all? Religion is fraught with a litany of things that are wrong before God, not because God said so, but because people said so! People endeavor to live under Old Testament law that was not even written to them to do. And even those to whom it was actually written could not live it to the end it was called the curse of the law. Its purpose was not to reform men, though if anything could accomplish it, it was the law, but rather it was to identify sin clearly with the coming promise of a Savior who would live it perfectly and forever redeem mankind. Jesus Christ came to set you free. His aim, indeed God’s aim was to make a way for you to live freely and without obligation in any capacity. Forced and compelled love is not love. God wants to be your Father and care for you like any Father would, however without limitations. God is not condemning you, convicting you or accusing you. He does not bring up your errors and missteps. He loves you into finally loving yourself, not because you do it all right, but because He does it all right in love! You’ll never walk with God to the full capacity and joy He intends for you until you finally get past this obstacle. God is not angry with you, that is what people say. God is not teaching you lessons with evil (shudder) to make you do things right, that is what people say. Negative events that happen to you are not because of something God did (ever), that is what people say. The guilt you experience, the condemnation you feel, the remembrance of past mistakes that haunt you, the disapproval, the shame, the fear, the worry is not from God! They all stem from the same one that endeavors to convince you that he does not exist!

I offer these truths not to condemn your religion or the multitude of well meaning people involved with it. I write this because this is what God’s Word says. You are not a lowly worm, you are a son of the most high God, not by any works that you have done, but because of everything God did for you. Change your focus away from yourself and your imperfections (though they be many) and move them over to God’s perfection. In God’s sight you are now and forever more sinless because of the accomplishments of His son. So, stop dwelling on yourself, feeling sorry for yourself and lamenting your imperfection. God isn’t judging you so stop judging yourself. Get in agreement with God in what He said He did for you and let all that garbage go. It’s not noble or an indicator of humility, it is clinging to error; error that seeks only to control you. Imagine how fun life could be for you if you were truly free from all obligations and compulsions. Imagine how great life could be with God as your Father seeing only the completed works of His son in you. You only have one short go round in this thing and God wants you to enjoy it. Quit worrying about sin, God settled that issue for you forever. Nothing you do can separate you from the love of God, so what is there to be afraid of? Get out there and live Christians! God needs your heartfelt contributions. Overcome the Christian killer with good. (God’s kind of good!)

Just some good thoughts…