The Happiness Riddles…


questionIt seems there are at least a million books that promote finding happiness, stumbling upon happiness or discovering happiness in one form or another. Many of the books, as varied as they are, approach the subject of happiness as being something you must strive to get, seek to discover or find in ways you may not have considered before. There are principles and keys and laws and techniques all designed, if you faithfully apply them, to bring you finally to that elusive happiness you are seeking. But, what if that is not how people find happiness at all? What if happiness consisted more of what not to do as opposed to a litany of procedures and processes to do? What if happiness was not so much focused on adding onto but rather letting go of something? What if happiness was more the natural state of a person before other things entered in and clogged the system? It seems there are some common pitfalls that almost all people fall prey to and as such thwart their own efforts in being happy. These pitfalls exist as riddles, confusing and complex riddles demanding they be resolved before moving forward. But, these life sucking riddles have no end point. They cannot be solved and in trying to solve them we move further and further away from that happiness our Creator intended. Once you engage in these riddles, which most people do, you become entangled and embroiled in them and it is hard to escape their sticky grasp. These riddles are the real thwarters of genuine happiness. They hinder, they stymie, they retard efforts. They take people down empty roads and further and further away from the true path. These happiness riddles work by deception with man as the unsuspecting victim. All three of these riddles work using the same tried and tested approach. These riddles are called fear, judgment and remembering the past. They are intertwined and interconnected, yet all lead nowhere. If you want to enjoy the happiness that is your birthright as a human being, you have to learn how to not fall prey to these tempting riddles.

In the world of cause and effect, you can expect a certain cause to lead to a certain result. The human mind generally functions based upon logic. But, the human mind is also limited in that it can only learn via the avenue of the five senses, absent spiritual truth. Spiritual truth has to be ascertained as opposed to fully comprehended because it exceeds the capacity of the finite human mind. When it comes to conflict or things that oppose happiness there is a right way to think and a wrong way to think. Similarly, if the starting premise is wrong, the end result will also be wrong. People are deceived because they begin with a wrong starting premise. This will become more clear as we look into each of the pervasive riddles that assault men’s minds. But, suffice it to say that the way our adversary tempts people into thinking incorrectly is by making an appeal to their ego using their human logic system. It seems when confronted with certain ideas, especially when those ideas are negative, the logical course of action is to figure out a way to solve the problem. That of course is logical. However, what is not logical is to try to solve a problem that does not actually exist but rather only has the potentiality of existing. This is a wrong starting premise. No person with their limited human logic will be able to solve a problem for which there is no solution. Instead they will spend their time and life engaging something that seeks only to steal, kill and destroy. This is happiness lost. This is engaging the riddle. 

A good place to start concerns remembering the negative past. This refers to the many mistakes human beings have made in their lives. All people on earth have made these mistakes. These mistakes range from simply painful all the way to catastrophic. Every mistake, every error, every sin a person has ever committed was due to the influence of evil in some capacity. Absent evil influence sin would not exist. Some people spend their entire lives remembering some big mistake they made or someone they hurt or something they didn’t do that they should have done. And because it was wrong they often hate themselves for it and live a lifetime in bondage because of it. However, this becomes a riddle from which there is no escape. The enemy of goodness talked you into doing something bad and then seeks to hold it against you for the rest of your life. Yet whatever you did, you already did it. It’s in the books. Logically there is nothing you can do to change it nor is there any way to remedy it. It only continues to exist in your memory. The moment is gone seconds or years after it occurred. It is gone. You can certainly seek forgiveness from God for it if you haven’t already, but it is gone and over with. So logically, if the moment or moments are gone now and there is nothing you can do about it in the present, why on earth would you allow it to continue to live on in your present day mind? This is a riddle from which there is no escape. No amount of thinking or lamenting or wishing or crying can do anything to change the situation. You certainly aren’t doing God any favors by hanging on to it no more than you would continue to hold your child responsible for a mistake they made a year or twenty years ago.  Thus again logically, the best way to escape the riddle, the thwarter of your happiness, is by refusing to engage in the riddle. You cannot find a solution in the riddle because a solution does not exist. The only reasonable solution is to forgive yourself and let it go forever. Do not engage the riddle. 

The next riddle from which there is no escape concerns judgment, especially self-judgment. All people are born into the world with a sin-nature. This means the seeds of sin and error have been programmed into people’s bloodstreams. We all came from the factory that way. (It was not God’s original intention!) So the propensity to make mistakes is born into us. The old nature in a human being could never be cleaned up because the old nature is inherently sinful. No amount of discipline or righteous behavior or adherence to commandments can ever make the old nature clean. Yet, all of religion claims otherwise and by a series of rules and regulations tries to make the flesh bring forth spiritual fruit. Again, wrong starting premise, i.e. you can become holy and clean up that which is already inherently sinful. The Apostle Paul knew this because he said by revelation, “I know that in me, that is in my flesh dwelleth no good thing.” God provided a solution to this dilemma in the life, death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ. When Christ was crucified on the cross, God said that our old nature was crucified with him. Everything that was ever wrong with you and me was nailed to the cross. When we believed God and got born again, we receive a new nature spiritually that cannot be corrupted and cannot sin. So, stay with me now, every time you make a mistake or sin or zig when you should have zagged it happened via your old nature which God considers dead. God paid for every mistake, every looney tunes thing we ever did by the life of His son. It is paid for. It is finished! Thus, when we judge ourselves for our every error or human weakness and frailty we are engaging ourselves in something that has already been covered for us. Our old nature cannot do anything but sin. When we judge ourselves or analyze our every move, inspect our motives and find fault in everything that we do, we are simply engaging the riddle from which there is no escape. It is a wrong starting premise. We cannot make our old nature clean by doing righteous things and we cannot pay the price with our own sinful old nature. The more we look for error and flaws the more we will find. Doing so leads us nowhere. Instead we must refuse it by refusing to judge ourselves any longer. God has already judged the old nature and it is spiritually dead. Rest in what God did for you. Stop judging yourself. Do not engage the riddle. 

The final riddle that thwarts happiness is the worst of them all. It is fear. Remember fear is a wrong starting premise. It is a temptation to solve a problem that does not actually exist. Fear is a riddle from which there is no escape. The more you engage the riddle, the deeper grip it gains on you. The more you, out of fear, try to find a solution, the more afraid you will become. You will suddenly find evidence that supports your fear. Engaging fear is not logical problem solving because you have already begun the discussion by accepting a starting position that isn’t true. In this life sucking riddle it always starts with doubt, progresses to worry then ends in fear. This riddle is the most dastardly because it doesn’t just waste your time and your life or steal away your happiness, but will actually bring bad things your way if you persist in it. Fear is a strong expectation that something awful is coming your direction and strong expectations often come true. Like remembering the negative past and judging yourself (your old dead nature), fear is another riddle that must be avoided. You will never defeat fear by engaging it. You defeat fear by refusing the temptation to think about it and solve it with your finite human logic. Replace fear thoughts which are not true with thoughts that are actually true. Do not engage the riddle. 

The happiness you seek for your life is already there for you. You don’t have to go on a search to find it. But, in order to experience it fully, you have to avoid the riddles, the pitfalls of life that take away happiness. Stop holding on to a negative past that is long gone. Stop judging yourself for being a human. Stop letting fear and its companions put you in bondage and reduce your life down to survival instead of thriving. Much of life and living successfully is found in learning to let go rather than gaining something. Get rid of all that false weight and the burdens and live each day as a new day. The experience of happiness is always on the other side of the happiness riddles because the riddles are not true. When things get complex and confusing, error is involved somewhere. Let it all go and live the day in the freedom that God provided for you. He already solved it for you. Just get on board. 

Just some good thoughts…

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Managing Your Expectations Part 2 (Fear Not)


fear notThere is more to managing your expectations than just being aware of the spiritual forces at work in your life and endeavoring to remain positive. There is also a hidden ingredient involved in many people’s lives and that ingredient is fear. Fear can be very subtle and has many disguises. Fear serves only to thwart and hinder life. Fear slows your experience down to a standstill. Fear engaged stops you from receiving the things you want in life. Fear is also an expectation, but it is a negative expectation. It is expecting something bad to happen and if you persist in it (ignorantly) it will lead to something negative happening to you. Fear is the adversary’s only weapon and he wields it masterfully in order to prevent you from living the life you want to live. It starts with doubt, progresses to worry and then when fully realized results in fear. When you are afraid you are now working against your own best interests. You are cooperating with that dark sinister force that wishes to bring you pain and suffering or at minimum frustrate and defeat you. Fear is an expectation that you don’t try to manage but instead work to eliminate. Fear has ruined more people’s lives than any other thing in the world. Fear is not your friend nor should you try to make it your friend. Fear, in the end game, results in unbelief of the promises of God which ties God’s hands from helping you or providing something that you need. If there is anything in your life that you really need and don’t have or have been seeking for some time, chances are there is fear involved somewhere. In order to successfully manage your expectations you have to learn how to get rid of fear.

The way that the enemy uses fear is by endlessly promoting negatives things that might happen to you. The world is fueled by it, lives on it and is controlled by it. Fear is always a lie. It is, as you may have heard, false evidence appearing real. The reason it works so well is because of how convincing it is. I had a friend who was particularly afraid of diseases and ill health. The moment she had any discomfort it had to be something dreadful. One time she was telling me about a persistent pain in her side and starting to draw negative conclusions. I said it was probably something simple and inquired what she did yesterday. Immediately she remembered doing some gardening and the cause was found. Instant relief. That’s how fear works. The more you look for evidence to support your negative conclusion, the more evidence you will find. Fear and reasons to fear are literally all around you. Fear has been called believing in reverse. The same way you can believe for God’s blessings in your life you can also believe for negative things in your life. And believing always equals receiving, except you receive from the wrong source, the one that works to make your life difficult and hard. How many people have suffered and do suffer at the hands of fear. Bad things happen not because you have a fear thought here and there, but rather because you persist in it. You hold it in mind and give it an audience. You begin to talk to it and consider it and rationalize with it. You are defeated by your own human logic. In considering it you are admitting its possibility in your life. And because the starting premise is wrong, the end result will always have to be wrong. The way to beat fear is not by trying to figure it out. Its source is spiritual and because it is spiritual you will never be able to figure it out with your five senses reasoning. This is how so many people are deceived by it. In trying to figure it out by running it through your processor, analyzing, churning, mulling it over, thinking and thinking and thinking about it, you are allowing it entree into your mind and are unknowingly persisting in it. You will never get rid of fear that way. You beat fear by refusing the discussion. Stop entertaining it. Stop trying to figure it out. Stop considering it. It isn’t easy because it feels like an itch you have to scratch, but like a mosquito bite, you cannot scratch it. Once you give in and scratch it, it only gets worse and unlike a mosquito bite, it won’t go away on its own. You manage your expectations by getting rid of fear and you get rid of fear by refusing it entree into your mind.

Refusing consideration of fear is only the first step in improving your expectations which will improve your life. Next you have to find that promise of God that negates those thoughts of fear. Fear not is the number one admonition in the Bible for a reason. God does not want you to be afraid, nor does He ever use fear to motivate you. Fear is sin because it works at cross purposes with the things God wants for your life. God only motivates by love. Similarly, people are motivated in life generally by one or the other. So many things are done in this world by people whose motivation is fear. But, when you are motivated by fear, no matter how hard you try or how hard you work, the result will always be negative or temporary. Lasting results and lasting change can only come from motivation that is fueled by love. As such, when you are confronted by thoughts of doubt, worry or fear, you must take the time to resolve those thoughts in your mind. Don’t ignore them or simply distract yourself from them. Instead you have to take them on as unpleasant as it is. But, you do not take them on by considering the fearful thoughts. You take them on by finding the promise of God that negates that fear directly and feed your mind that instead. When the temptation comes up to be fearful and it is a temptation, you resist the temptation by quoting God’s Word just as Jesus did in his confrontations with the devil directly. You will note that he didn’t try to argue and reason things out. Instead he simply said what God’s Word said (that he knew) and defeated his opponent in every case. The same is always true for you and me. You manage your expectations by framing those expectations in terms of what God says is true and vigorously rejecting EVERYTHING that contradicts that.

You see it is up to you and me to believe the things God says are true. When we learn how to believe God’s promises and persist in them, God is able to do all the good things He wants to do in our lives. Conversely, when we think fear, consider fear, cleave to fear and persist in fear, we tie God’s hands in our situations of life. God is always very willing to give us what we need by His loving grace which He generously and freely offers to all people and He is absolutely unlimited in what He can do. When we fear (and we all do at times) we limit His great influence and impact in our lives. We retard and thwart our own results. We make things take much longer than they ought to take, then we call that life. It isn’t the life God intended for us. If you have problems and unmet needs or have been frustrated for years seeking yet not finding, chances are you have some fear that you need to take on and with God’s help eliminate. “I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalms 34:4) Everything you really want and need in life is on the other side of fear. Learn to manage your expectations and get rid of fear and you will experience how good God really is in your adventure of life. There is no other way. Fear not!

Just some good thoughts…

Managing Your Expectations…


manageAnyone who has ever been on a quest to find something or obtain something knows that things do not always move in your favor. The course that leads from where you are to what you want is rarely a straight line. Cause and effect are not free to play out perfectly because there are many other causes in play. The race does not always go the swift, as the Bible says, not because it should not work out that way, but because there are hinderances and obstacles built into the current systems of the world. There are opposing forces meddling in and interfering with the natural order of things. In a perfect world absent evil and evil influences all effort would have a just reward and all investment would result in some gain. A man or a woman who worked hard would always succeed and never risk losing that which they had already gained. Before Adam and Eve gave over their authority to evil, everything worked perfectly and beautifully. The creation thrived and brought forth bountifully. Yet once darkness gained access, thankfully a temporary condition, labor, sweat and toil became the norm. With that access came control over the systems of the world with persistent and pervasive difficulties and challenges intertwined. Which begs the question, how can God’s people still succeed and prevail in a world working tirelessly against them? One such remedy is found in learning how to manage your expectations. If what a man believes in his heart is what he will receive in this life, it behooves him to keep his expectations positive and abundant based not on what things look like, but rather, often in stark contrast, with what things God promises in His Word, the Bible. You have to manage your expectations.

It is obvious to all of us that it seems the things you want and need the most appear to be the hardest to receive. Some people attribute this to God himself as either rewarding good behavior or else punishing bad behavior. Others conclude that God is withholding His blessings due to some ethical failure on the part of the one seeking. Some even go as far to say that God is actually cursing certain people in His wrath over evil deeds done. Yet, thankfully, none of these things are true. In reality, God would give His love, His goodness, His blessings to anyone who would believe Him. God is never the source of difficulty or withholding. Instead the lack that we experience is either due to ignorance or wrong teaching. Ignorance from not knowing God’s promises or how to access them by believing and wrong teaching by all of these false ideas that have been promoted as truth. To take it step further, people must learn that spiritual truth and reality is absolutely not based on what things look like in the senses realm; the realm ruled by the five senses. Spiritual truth happens in spite of the senses registering. “We walk by faith and not by sight.” Remember the senses world and everything in it is ruled by the one that gained authority over the world. These spiritual marplots work in a tightly organized fashion to make things appear to be only one way when God promises another way. Take for example sickness and disease. A certain disease may be deemed incurable by the world yet God’s promise is that He will heal you. In order to actually believe and receive His healing you would have to successfully manage your expectations. If you allow the senses realm, which we have all been heavily schooled by, to hold sway over the promise, you will conclude that the healing you so desperately desire is not going to happen for you. The same principle carries out in everything you have ever wanted and needed. God does not set the limit, you do by the strength and source of your expectation. What you expect and continue to expect over and over and over again will come to pass. Similarly, the source of your expectation, the senses realm or the spiritual realm, will determine how far you can go. Manage your expectations.

Expectations are a function of your thoughts. Simply stated, what is it that you are expecting to happen? Are your thoughts happy and positive in anticipation of some good thing happening or are they dark and futile in expectation of nothing happening? You know the answer by how you are feeling about what it is you need to get. Anytime we feel frustrated and discouraged about getting something we really need clearly points to us allowing our thoughts to move in the wrong direction. There is no condemnation in this as we all fall prey to the senses deception and maneuverings at times. However, in the midst of our futility and exasperation we still have a choice. We still decide what it is we are going to think. At this point it is our duty to change our minds. We need to honestly recognize and acknowledge that our thinking has moved in the wrong direction and move it back in the right direction. It does not take discipline to do this. It takes only a decision on our part. We decide that the promise of God we are believing, i.e. “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in Christ Jesus” is true no matter what it looks like or how much time has transpired with our need not getting met. We refuse to let ourselves become unhappy and despondent and choose to look forward to how blessed we will be when that need is met. Dwelling on the darkness won’t bring forth the light as the great man once remarked. We continue this process for as long as we need to until God’s promise is fulfilled in our lives. Keep talking to God about it and keep seeking His help and insight in getting what you need. The contest, the fight will always be between what God says is true versus what sense and reason says is true. The reason of the world is the facts, but the reason of the spiritual world is truth. Manage your expectations.

Though it may not be entirely apparent to you thus far, you can have your needs met abundantly. You can live above the negativity, the defeat, the so-called scarcity of the world. You can experience the fulfillment of your heart’s desires. But doing so means you are going to have to fight at times, not with God of course, but with what things seem like versus what God says is true. This is the spiritual competition and you are in it whether you like it or not. We have all experienced difficulty in getting our needs met at times, especially with those things we need the most, but God is faithful to do what He said He would do in every instance and at all times. Persist in your expectation for good and keep changing your thoughts when you need to and prove it to yourself. God is faithful. Manage your expectations.

Just some good thoughts…

Tap into the Power!


tapping_the_power_of_GodIn order to make anything significant happen in this life you need power. Without power or energized abilities people remain powerless to affect any needed change. There is no power of the mind though it is often proclaimed as true. Instead, this power is spiritual and it comes from God. The reason so many good hearted Christians fail to see many tangible results in their lives is because they have not been taught how to operate the power of God. In fact, when it comes to the spiritual field and the workings of holy spirit, most of the world is entirely oblivious. How few teachers and preachers there are that even understand the workings of the spirit field, let alone have the knowledge to teach it. It is arguably the most misunderstood field in the world. People have not been taught the capabilities of that spirit they received when they were born again and as a result have not been able to tap into the power of God to get things done. Absent spiritual power from God, Christian or otherwise, people are left defenseless against evil principalities and powers working against their best interests in the world. The primary reason people have not been taught or the teachings they have endured have been so wrapped up in error, mysticism and downright foolishness, is because something or someone does not want you to know the truth and utilize God’s power in your life! There is power available to the Christian to help him or her overcome the challenges of life and prevail. There is “power” for abundant living which has been given to us to operate in our lives. There is power from God to help us in this life producing signs, miracles and wonders. The power is already there. The question is, do you want to tap into the power?

First in our quest to understand and tap into God’s power, we have to dispel some craftily planned myths and false teachings that have crept in due to a failure to read and understand God’s Word. Most people believe that being a Christian involves a litany of things you have to give up. They associate Christianity with works that men must do in order to receive God’s help. They view God as a harsh, heavenly judge perpetually assessing and evaluating behaviors and thoughts to determine who He will help and who He will not help or worse, punish. This thinking, made up by men, is not biblically supported. It only seems to them like life works this way because they are unable to discern the workings of evil and the negative side of the spiritual realm. They don’t feel that people have any choice and that God just doles out good and bad wherever it seems to fit. What a good job our adversary the devil has done in disguising his works. Similarly, spiritual abilities and operations have been maligned and made to look foolish. People think that in order for God’s power to be at work in you, you must no longer be in control. People are slain in the spirit, so called, and the preachers report this ability is from God. People are seen speaking in tongues, which is genuine and will be explained later, handling snakes or convulsing and shaking while they do it, which is obviously a natural deterrent. You can’t even trust Google on this one as the explanations for what speaking in tongues is are non-sensical and clearly written by people with no experience doing it. Even online bible resources like Bible Hub describe speaking in tongues as, “the gift of men who, rapt in ecstasy and no longer quite masters of their own reason and consciousness, pour forth their glowing spiritual emotions in strange utterances, rugged, dark, disconnected, quite unfitted to instruct or influence the minds of others.” As someone who speaks in tongues often, I can assure you this is far, far from the truth. The power of God at work in a person never, ever violates their freedom of will. God does not control, but His enemy does. Imagine the terror involved in losing control of your body or having your body taken over by something! That is not how the power of God works, nor will it ever be. It is no wonder people shy away from the spiritual field.

Once a person gets born again (see Romans 10:9-10) the indwelling spirit of God is born within them. Hence born again or born from above. The newly created spirit in them comes with nine evidences or abilities. The foundational manifestation of the nine is called speaking in tongues. On the day of Pentecost when this new creation (spirit) became available to all men, the first thing believers did after being born again was to speak in tongues. They spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. The people involved did the speaking of a new language they did not know before. God gave them the language. They could start and stop at will. They were in complete control. How God could do this is beyond my comprehension, but the evidence of it is real. To take it a step further, the power people received from God in the spirit is potential power. It is latent spiritual ability. In order to turn that dormant spiritual power into active power required that they speak in tongues. One of the purposes of speaking in tongues is to make dormant spiritual power kinetic. Now, stay with me. Absent speaking in tongues, remember the first thing the new believers did upon receiving holy spirit, the power of God inside people remains dormant or simply potential. This is the major reasons Christians do not operate barely any spiritual power. They certainly love God, believe His Word, endeavor to do what is right in His sight, but their spiritual abilities; their access to God’s power to change things, is severely limited by not operating their spirit via speaking in tongues. Can you see why the adversary has worked so hard to queer the experience of speaking in tongues? Speaking in tongues is one of the nine abilities God gave us to help us prevail in life and get our needs met. Absent the power of God moving things (in our direction, out of our way, in our favor, for our benefit) we are forced to live life just like everyone else, subject to evil, negatives and problems without solutions. We belong to God and have access to all of the promises of God, but practically we have no power. Just the time we need it, it’s not there for us. Do you want to tap into the power of God, get someone to lead you into speaking in tongues.

Our lack in life can always be traced back to a lack of understanding concerning spiritual matters. Just before Jesus ascended he promised that we would receive power from on high. It is God’s power in operation in our lives that is the game changer. This power enables us to overcome our shortcomings, weaknesses and difficulties. This power leads to our direct communication from God concerning our situations. God is able to reveal things to us that we could not know on our own. This power shows us the spiritual competition that rages and what we are really fighting against and how to prevail against it. It is the greatest power in the world and it is our to use as we need it. Trust me, we need it. Why not learn about something that will make a real difference in your life? And, if you already know how to do it, why not do it more and more each day. As the good doctor once said, “If we really knew how important speaking in tongues is, we would do it all the time.” Further, God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, but only in the proportion or to the degree that we operate His gift in us by speaking in tongues. “Why not release the power of God that is latent within you and believe God for the abundance which He has promised!” The old days of defeat and suffering and lack are over for us if we only knew it. We have His spirit and now it is time we tapped into His power. Do you want to tap into God’s power? Don’t listen to the fabricators and the guessers, go directly to God’s Word. “I would that ye all spake with tongues – I Corinthians 14:5” Learn to operate the power of God for yourself!

Just some good thoughts…

Finding Imperfection


wabisabi-AustraliaThere’s an old adage that states the more closely you study the things that man has done, the more imperfection you will find. Conversely, the more closely you study the things that God has done, the more perfection you will find. Every sculpture, every masterpiece has its flaws, but have you ever inspected a snowflake, a leaf, the detail in the human body? The deeper you delve more and more the detailed perfection will be found. Thus, in our dealings with God as spiritual beings whose treasure is found in earthen vessels, why do we spend so much time focusing in on all of our imperfections? Why do we allow ourselves to be convinced of our every flaw and human frailty when we as humans are fundamentally imperfect? Ever since that fateful day when sin and corruption entered into God’s creation, men and women have begun life with a sin nature in their blood. No amount of good behavior escapes that reality. Try as we may, we cannot perfect that which is imperfect. Instead our task, though it be only known by very few individuals, is to accept God’s perfection in place of our own attempts at gaining it. Have you been obsessed with finding your imperfections? Is your focus of life centered on your own imperfections? Does your relationship with God suffer because of your preoccupation with sin? Have you been deceived into finding imperfections?

It is always ironic to me that the people who care most about what God thinks and are concerned with what God says is right are often the same ones seeking to find perfection in their imperfections. They work themselves over unmercifully feeling bad about this and guilty over that. All enjoyments God lavishly provided for his precious creation are viewed in a bad light with constant threats of potential excess, bad motives and generalized warnings about how things will get you. There is no fun in their fun. There is no ability to relax and be at peace because doing so will surely lead to disaster. They spend today lamenting yesterday’s missteps and in doing so, miss today. They are risk averse and think breaking any rule will lead to unmanageable consequences. They are in effect prisoners to sin and the consequences of sin. The harder they work to overcome sin, the more susceptible to sin they become. They are forever upset with themselves for some potential violation with the result that heaven’s brass. Add to that a vocal world proclaiming a never ending list of requirements to please God. In this we are deceived in trying to make our imperfection into perfection.

Though the whole world would disagree, God’s plan for mankind was never that he should live this way. It is not pleasing to God spending your days mired in guilt for your mistakes and your foibles. God is well aware of your imperfection and as such devised a new plan to forever free you from this way of thinking. You cannot earn your way into God’s righteousness no matter how hard you work. Sin nature is in your blood. Howbeit many still work hard at this endeavor to their own misery and lack of fulfillment. You cannot make your imperfection perfect. God makes your imperfection perfect in the life of His son Jesus Christ. Jesus lived God’s Word perfectly so that you and I would not have to try. He was a perfect man and he never sinned. He came into the world with sinless blood and by the sacrifice of his blood we have been made forever righteous in God’s sight. The perfect for the imperfect. Once we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and that God raised him from the dead, we receive God’s spirit inside of us and from that day forward cannot sin in God’s sight. This was God’s plan to save man from himself. By doing this God set us free from the claims of sin and wrong. Every time we insist that we know more than God and persist in remembering and rehearsing our misdeeds, we deny what God did for us in Christ. None of us like to make mistakes or do things that are not right, but as imperfect creatures it is going to happen to all of us. In this God forever solved our dilemma by introducing the perfect for the imperfect. He made a way for us to prevail by relying on the works of another man. That is grace and that is God’s love for us.

There’s more to the dastardly practice of focusing on our imperfections rather than focusing on God’s perfection. The one behind those persistent painful reminders, those dreadful accusations, the guilt and every condemnation is the devil, the enemy of God’s people. He knows that if he can turn your focus away from God and onto yourself, you will fail every time. If he can get you to look away from God and hone in on your own human imperfection you will lose the fight. You will not have confidence in God to be all that He said He would be for you because you have sin-consciousness. Jesus died once and for all to deliver us from sin-consciousness. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice removed the devil’s authority over our lives. But, if we don’t know this or worse don’t believe it then we will be forever bound by sin and the claims of sin. We will spend our days lamenting sins long past and in short reducing our expectations for a happy, healthy. prosperous life. We will feel as if we deserve sickness and struggles because we just don’t measure up. But in this we are being deceived. What God did He did once and for all who will believe. Jesus wouldn’t be a very good Savior if you and I still had to save ourselves. Sin, guilt and condemnation do not come from God. They come from the devil.

All of us in this life will be challenged by this reality. All of us at one time or another will be talked out of God’s goodness toward us, His perfection, His willingness to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. Indeed the whole quest of man is centered around believing God to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. Every time it becomes about you, what you are doing and what you are not doing, you have fallen off track. God’s goodness towards you is not based on what you do or don’t do, it is based on His unconditional love, mercy and grace. We receive God’s blessings when we believe what He says and He says all throughout the Bible our redemption would come via the life of His son. You ain’t going to get there on your own folks. You cannot earn it no matter how good you endeavor to be. So give yourself a much needed break. Quit focusing on your humanity, your imperfections, your absurdities. Stop looking at that which can never be made perfect and look toward His perfection. Relax and enjoy your life and your fun. Stop second guessing your every move and motive. You are not the evil one, on the contrary you are the good one. God knows you love Him and He knows you care about what He thinks. He already knows your heart. If He can look past your imperfections in the life of His son then you can also. Stop finding imperfection. Find His perfection instead.

Just some good thoughts…

Happy Holidays…


holidays-greeting-card-for-winter-happy-holidays-fir-tree-branches-frame-with-lettering-3d-ball-vectorAll of us that celebrate Christmas look back upon the holiday season with great fondness. When we were young it was a magical time when our parents adorned our houses with garlands, blinking lights and all manner of Christmas themed memorabilia. We helped decorate the Christmas tree and excitedly anticipated that incredible day when Santa would somehow traverse the earth delivering gifts to all of the children of the world. As we got older Christmas never lost its joy for us as we got to produce a repeat performance for our children. We gladly scoured the earth in search of the famous doll or the other coveted toy and generally spent more than we had in the process. We began to learn that everyone didn’t celebrate Christmas and had other holidays and traditions instead. And it was okay. Some people believed that it was Jesus Christ’s birthday while others associated it with the movements of the sun. For some, the dates were arranged slightly different and the holiday encompassed a number of days. It seemed only reasonable that with all of the people in the entire world, there would be varying practices and vastly different beliefs. And it was okay. Rather than try to make the holiday season into something deeply spiritual or sacred it seemed more reasonable to accept it for what it really is; a time when people celebrate their love for one another; a time when people are a little more kind and a little more compassionate towards their fellow man. For me the holidays have always been a happy time when folks treasured the joy of giving over receiving and seeking to do nice things for others instead of seeking only to receive nice things instead. Adult children return home from other states and other countries to spend time with the people they love most. We gather at each other’s homes and celebrate the season with various libations and all kinds of delightful foods. And for the time we are thankful, thankful for the people we love, thankful for the lives we get to live and thankful to God who made it all. We take a pause from all of our frenetic activity, slow down and appreciate one another.

For some the holiday season is a painful time of remembering love lost and times long past. It points back to a happier or more simple time when life didn’t feel so complicated and confusing. It reminds us of our childhood when our quests and desires were single and the things we needed came to us readily. Our lives seemed to be a grand adventure and with excited anticipation we lived our days and loved our days. No matter our expression then and now we failed to realize that it wasn’t Christmas time or the holiday season that filled our hearts with joy. It was the change in how we approached life and how we viewed our fellow man. For whatever reason, whether religious or otherwise, we changed our approach and in so doing unlocked the love that lives in all of us and sought to share that love with others. We softened our hearts and allowed the compassion that resides in our hearts to come to the forefront. We decided to set aside petty differences for love’s sake and to esteem others as more important than ourselves. For love’s sake we were willing to be second and even third. Our hearts thrilled at the prospect of giving something that might cause a little happiness to rise up in the hearts of others, especially those we love. It was Christmas after all. 

The lesson of the holiday, those happy holidays is that there is another approach to life that benefits us and leads us to joy. There is an alternate way to live that is willing to let go of self for a time and focus in on someone else. Whether it be in giving to another person or choosing kindness even when kindness is not deserved, there is always a benefit that comes back to us gift wrapped and better in proportion to what we gave. Thinking well of others and being willing to listen to them and really hear them is the very essence of humanity, a sacrifice with which God is well pleased. The holiday season, though heavily commercialized and pressured, serves a a microcosm of how life can be enjoyed when the focus of our hearts reaches outward instead of inward. God so designed life to benefit the giver in whatever form that giver gives and in so benefiting them, encourage its continuance. There is a reason you feel so good when your focus changes and the reason is always love. “Love sees more but is willing to see less.” Love gives in spite of not because of. Love is full of forgiveness and compassion because love comes from God. The person that loves in whatever way they can love is always rewarded and blessed. Love is always the answer, not just during the holiday season but for all seasons. 

I wish all of you a wonderful and loving holiday season. Treasure those people God has blessed you with and love them, really love them, not because they are deserving of your love but because they aren’t. Change your mind, change your approach and see if you do not experience that same joy no matter the season. It was never Christmas or any other holiday tradition that filled your heart with love, it was you and the decision you made to love. Unload your troubles on to God where they belong and take the time to listen to your fellow man, your spouse, your children. Listen for their hearts and see if you can’t do something to help them lighten their load. We all dream of a world where love and kindness take first place and while that day may still be future, we can be that for people today. Enjoy your days ahead with your families and all of the people that you love. It’s not the gifts and the trimmings, it’s the love. Be kind to your family even that wayward one you simply tolerate. Take some thought for the things of others. Be helpful, be kind, be those things your heart desires. There will still be some drama and some arguments because the people you love, love you also and sometimes that expression gets missed and confused. When it’s done take the time to heal the wounds and make things right. Those are the people that God has given you and maybe there is something you can do to help them. There is nothing quite like the holiday season and for that I am always grateful. Happy Holidays everyone. I love you.

Just some good thoughts… 

Man Shall Not Live by Bread Alone


It may surprise you to hear this but in order for a man or woman to live successfully they need a regular diet of God’s Word (the Bible). The rest of the above oft quoted verse says, “but by every word that proceeds out the mouth of God.” In other words, there is an additional source of life available to us beyond the physical sustenance of eating. If the enemy of mankind has done anything well in this life to thwart God’s people from living how they ought to live, it has been in talking them out of the importance of the Bible in their day by day living. I think it is reasonable to say that most people don’t really understand the Bible. As a poor substitute for knowing for themselves, they have relied on preachers and teachers during once weekly meetings at church. There is nothing wrong with this per se’ but doing so will usually fail to supply the amount of nourishment required. Add to that, that they will find themselves relying upon what other men say is true potentially in opposition to what God says is true, usually limited by church dogmas and traditions. In this mankind has been hoodwinked and cheated from his greatest source of life and energy. For many, the Bible is a dust covered relic from the past that Grandma used to read. They have been informed by advanced society that it is full of myths and errors anyway and cannot be trusted for life in modern times. In this the egregious deception continues. The enemy of all that is good succeeds in his deceptions because people do not know the truth. “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” comes to mind. Absent the truth of the Word of God living in a man’s soul, he can never know the peace and victory available to him by having a clear perception of how God works and conversely how evil works. He may be incredibly intelligent and accomplished, but his human knowledge will always come up short when he needs it most. Indeed, man shall not live by bread alone.

One of the first things to clarify is that the Bible, even with some translational errors that are easily ferreted out, was originally given by God. Holy men of God received revelation from God on exactly what to write down. The Bible was designed to be man’s guidebook for living. In it contains all things involving life and godliness. All things! God wanted people to know the true origins of life and subsequently how to live it most abundantly. God never intended for His people to limp around defeated and dogged by life. It was never His desire that men and women would be left to figure out life on their own, by trial and error, mostly painful error. Experience is not the best teacher, God is. You don’t have to go through bad in order to receive the good. Yet that is what people believe today. Some people even believe the many trials and tribulations they face come from God in order to strengthen them. As if God needs evil to accomplish His work. Instead this appears as just another one of the many deceptions people believe because they do not know what the book actually says. (God cannot be tempted with evil, neither does He tempt any man!) People accept sickness and disease as a natural part of life not knowing whether either originate. All sickness and disease have their origins in evil and all healing has its origins in God. But, if you don’t know what the book says, how would you know? So much of what people have been talked into believing is in direct opposition to the Word of God. It is no coincidence that God has preserved His Word so that it is still available to you and me today. God wants you to know and in knowing prevail.

Because the words in the Bible came directly from God, they have life in them. (The words I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life) The Word of God gives life to your weary soul. The word is a lamp unto your feet. Without the light you will remain in darkness and I will add, subject to the darkness. Jesus Christ, also called the Word in the flesh, lived by the book. He never strayed from it. He knew where his life and light came from and as such he always made time to get his personal nourishment. This is the nourishment a man or a woman needs. Food and other things are important, but they do not have the power or the ability to give us what the Word gives us. Absent the Word of God, man is left to grope around in the dark subject to this theory and that new idea. The reason men fall prey so easily to false doctrines, promoted by men, devised by men, originating in evil, is because they have no standard of truth outside themselves. The problem with every false doctrine doesn’t stop at just being not true, but instead brings the opposite results than were intended. Lies in every form end only in corruption and defeat. And your sincerity in believing things that aren’t actually true provides no defense, outside of God’s mercy and favor in your life. So many things I suggest for people to do to combat evil are based wholly on what the Word of God says to do. It is not enough to just be positive. Your positives have to be based on something that is true. Being positive about things that aren’t true and never will be true won’t lead to anything good or anything real. You see, that is what we are after here. We are tired of hope-so notions and things that only lead to more of the same. What we are after, or should be after, is real life. There is enough philosophy and techniques to drown the entire world. One of the methods the enemy uses is to literally overwhelm us with information and opinions. (Ever notice how many vastly differing churches there are?) We are after only one opinion and that opinion comes from God. God wants you to know and God wants you to win at life. 

There is a solution to mankind’s dilemma. It is called the Word of God and we have easy access to it. There are principles and keys involved in understanding it. Some parts of the Bible are not written to us, but are still for our learning. For example, we are not under the Old Testament law. Reading the law or worse teaching the law puts a weight on men from which there is little chance for escape. The Bible says Jesus Christ was the end of the law. He fulfilled all of its claims so that you and I would never have to. God never (if the Bible is true) wanted the law, but He had to establish a standard from which He could redeem man. God already knew that none of us with a sin nature in our blood could ever fulfill its claims. So He sent us His son who saved us. Some things in the Bible are literal and some things are figurative. Unfamiliar terms are generally explained the first time they are used. The things God felt should be highlighted and underlined were done so by using figures of speech, which is a study in itself. The subject of this blog, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” is a figure of speech! It is a figure of speech because God who is Spirit does not actually have a mouth. Yet in this God has typed in bold print what is of primary importance. There are many, many examples of this. You can find them with a simple Google search. Once you begin to understand the Word and piece it together (with God’s help of course) you begin to really live and thrive. When Jesus was confronted by the devil himself during the temptations in the wilderness, do you know how he overcame it? He quoted the Word of God that he knew. When the devil tempted him to supply his own needs by turning stones into bread (after fasting for 40 days and 40 nights), he quoted, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” It is no different for you and me today! We win against evil by knowing what the Word says and taking the action the Word says to take. God wants to help you with your problems. 

It may seem like an almost impossible undertaking to begin to understand the Bible, but it really isn’t. If you want to know, God will make sure you have access to someone who knows. No man on earth knows it all, but there’s enough of us with an understanding to help you if you really want it. I also used to get batted around in life, tossed from pillar to post with fear and endless bad decisions, and maybe still do on occasion, but I’m also clear on what the Word says and can find help whenever I need it. There are over 900 promises in the Word of God. How many of them do you know? It was never God’s will for you to do this thing alone. God isn’t angry with you nor are you a lost cause. With God it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, but rather where do you want to go? The Word is life and without it you will never find the life you have been looking for forever. The life is here now and it is available to you via the Bible, God’s Word. Man shall not live by bread alone…

Just some good thoughts.

Morality…


moralityI’m not sure about you, but I have always bristled when people used the word morality. It seems to be a word that doesn’t ever appear in a neutral sense, but rather in the context of one person claiming to be better than another person. I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “He seems to be a man of low moral character,” which is code for a person who does not do what the judge presiding feels is right or good. But, who decides what is right and what is wrong? Some philosophers claim that all things are good dependent upon the context. Others define good as everything their church reports as permissible behavior with all the rest being sin. Multiply the number of churches by the number of differing opinions and you end up with an ocean’s worth of so-called sin. Is that what morality really is? It seems morality in its basic form would be the distinction between right and wrong. But, I think it goes a step further than that. The question that begs is why are some things considered good while other things are reported as bad? Assuming God to be the ultimate authority on right versus wrong, would it make sense for Him to arbitrarily decide a good act from a bad act? Further, would it be logical for the distinction between good and bad to be simply based upon a code of approved behavior without some reason or logic back of it? And even deeper, would God’s plan for the man He designed complete with instructions on how best to live life, list all the things that a man enjoys as bad things leaving those things he was generally indifferent about as good? Or, has religion skewed our views concerning what good really is as opposed to what bad really is in the crucible of our existence? Thus, morality, what is right and what is wrong, must be based on more than an arbitrary set of rules for living made up to annoy, restrict and punish mankind. Morality, in its truest sense serves rather as a source of preservation defining what will lead to blessings and abundance protecting us from those things that lead to misery and loss. 

The problem with morality for morality’s sake alone is it fails to properly inform and instruct the one being given the rules. Even a child performs better when you tell him why and is rightfully exasperated when you have no reason at all. Rules for rules sake frustrate and defeat people. Further, abiding by a set of rules because someone (in authority) said so is equally frustrating. How many good, kind people have been manipulated into behaviors they do not want to do because of the (false) threat of losing favor with God? You want to control a man? Get him to believe that what you tell him to do is the only way to maintain God’s favor and he will do whatever you ask. As such, a man or a woman needs a standard of truth outside himself (and the one speaking) in order to properly discern what is right and what is actually wrong. It wasn’t that long ago that certain churches said dancing was a sin! The Bible is that source of truth for a human. Of course people are going to introduce other bibles or at minimum claim the Bible is full of inaccuracies and myths. If someone ever tells you that, ask them to show you one. The point is you and I have to have some standard of truth outside of our own opinions. The problem with our own opinions is that they are heavily influenced by what we feel and feelings are no guarantee for truth as a great man used to say. In the Bible, God has a reason for everything He says, where He says it, when He says it and even how He says it. There is nothing random or happenstance about it. Now someone is going to start exclaiming, “Well men wrote the Bible!” Well, yes they did, but what they wrote was by revelation from God. If you believe in God and I’m assuming you do, don’t you think He might be smart enough to preserve what He had written? At the end of the day, what we are after concerning morality is what brings us good results versus what brings us bad results. As such, what God says is good, is good. Conversely, what God says is wrong or evil, is so even if you and I never understand the reason why. But make no mistake, there is always a reason why…

Life for human beings began in the spiritual realm. God is Spirit. When He formed, made and created people He did it as a spiritual being, indeed The Spiritual being. That is not to say that you were in heaven before you came to earth as that is not supported biblically. Instead the basis of life is spiritual. There is a spiritual realm. In the spiritual realm there is good and there is evil. The spiritual realm affects life on earth. God knows everything as He is all-knowing. As such, He knows what will be good for you and bring you joy and happiness and He also knows what things you should avoid because they are going to end up hurting you or worse. This is the purpose for morality. There is nothing arbitrary about it. God does not make rules for rules sakes alone nor does He seek something from us that we do not want to give. Instead He is a loving, heavenly Father seeking the good of all. Similar to when we were children, there were some things that our parents warned us not to do. We may not have understood the reason why at the time, but later the reality was made plain for us by our experience in living. Some things we did anyway, as you already know and we suffered as a result of it. God, who made the pattern, works the same way. It is far better for us to do our best to avoid the things that God says are evil rather than having to learn via pain and suffering. We may not yet understand the reason why, but as Emerson aptly penned, “We need only obey.” The reason people have such a problem with this is because they’ve been surrounded and corralled by a whole host of people seeking to tell them what they need to obey and as happened every time with me, they bristled. For this reason, you and I need that standard of truth. The thing a man or a woman cannot see is the spiritual reality of a thing. God loves all people and continues to love all people, but He does not, as any parent worth his salt, want them to suffer. For this reason, He has given us His spirit so we might understand the things that are spiritual and as a result no longer have to spend the rest of our lives getting burned on every hot stove we encounter because we do not know better or cannot immediately see the reasons why. 

Morality and morals are not bad things, they are good things. What is right and what is wrong is not arbitrary and up for discussion according to our opinions at the time. Instead morality serves to keep us safe from harm and the things that actively seek to bring us woe. God sent His Word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions (Psalms 107). You do not have to spend the rest of your life bumping around dazed and confused. You do not have to rely on good luck nor fear bad luck for that matter. It is available for you to know and understand what is going on and why. You do not have to figure out life on your own nor do you need to somehow pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. God made everything we need presently available to us so that we could live successfully. Evil and wrong are going to get us at times. We are going to disobey and we are going to learn tough, painful lessons, often by ignorance. All of us are going to sin and do the things God warned us not to do. That is all part of being a human being. God is not after our perfection. He is after a willing, humble heart that is is finally willing to listen and hear what He wants us to know. For this reason, morality, true biblical morality is never a bad thing. Instead it is the source of the greatest liberation we could ever experience. We are all weary of the sting of evil and wrong. Don’t you want to experience the good? 

Just some good thoughts…

The Absence of Happiness


The word absence on missing puzzle piece. Business concept.

Every person living in one capacity or another is on a quest for happiness. Happiness is the hallmark of all human beings. Absent happiness man merely exists. Yet for all that a man seeks for he often fails to eliminate the one thing that hinders and stymies his happiness. He thinks that happiness is something to be pursued rather than something that appears once the obstacles to its attainment are removed. That which obscures and blocks happiness is always fear; fear lived and entertained in the hearts of men. Fear is an illusion and once the illusion has had its way, happiness is lost and will not return until the fear is overcome. Fear is the absence of happiness.

Life is to be lived in motion. As long as a man or a woman keep moving forward, their happiness will continue to appear encouraging them to continue. In contrast, fear works to slow one’s progress and brings men’s lives to a standstill. Fear removes the energy from life by stealing. It is always an illusion, a threat and impedance to the things people really want in their lives. Fear is a parasite leeching enthusiasm and joy from its host. Because it is not real it can only work when people give it energy. Thus entertained it feeds off the one indulging it. People are worn out by fears and worries more so than any hard work or effort. The emptiness and futility a man feels inside comes not because the pursuit of life is futile, but rather because fear causes it to appear so. Fear paints a despairing view of the future which further serves to steal away life. The reason a person feels they have nothing to look forward to in life is because they have believed the illusion. Otherwise what would stop a man or a woman from expecting good things? Fear is also an expectation, but an expectation of bad things instead of the good. The sure sign that fear is holding sway in your heart is the noticeable lack of energy and vitality in your life. Life and enthusiasm return when the fear has been excavated from your mind. There is not a need to do more, be more or pursue more, but instead a requirement to rid yourself of the impediment. Fear, your fear, is the cause for your absence of happiness. Fear is the cause for the absence of happiness in all people.

Fear, the enemy’s greatest weapon, works by deception. In order to overtake your free will, it has to deceive you into cooperating with it. Even a child knows the importance of dealing with various fears as soon as they show up. Children immediately seek an escape from it. Yet adults, presumably because they think they know better, find ways to work around it or dull themselves to its effects. People do all kinds of things to escape from fear except the one thing they need to do which is to eliminate it! People anesthetize themselves with alcohol, drugs, sex, food; anything that offers promise to take away the effects, if even only for a short while. Fear runs the systems of the world and controls the world by fear. These systems, these bulwarks of error, keep men slaves their entire lifetimes. If you want to force a man or a woman to do something, make them afraid. Promote the things that scare them then offer them an antidote which will never take away fear but rather encourage its existence and power over people. Fear is neither natural nor normal, but we act as if it is. There was a time when you were not afraid until you learned to think otherwise. Fear is always learned either by ignorance or by wrong teaching. Remember fear is an illusion, a lie, a falsehood being palmed-off as truth. As such it cannot exist on its own. The only way to counter fear is by learning the truth. The truth brings light and clarity into the situation. You would not fear walking off the edge of a cliff in the daytime, but in the darkness the odds increase greatly. In the same way, once you have light in your mind it becomes much easier to see the fear for what it really is; a groundless, empty threat. Fear is the absence of life; real life.

As you consider these words, you may feel as if they do not apply to you. You think this way because fear has such a stronghold on the way we think that we often can no longer even recognize its existence. Yet the acid test, the true barometer is found by how you live day by day. Are your days full of enthusiasm and energy with boundless possibilities or are your days filled with boredom and declining motivation and negative expectations? Do you wake in the morning excited for the day and what treasures it might bring or do you awaken the same way you always do with little to look forward to, tired of life and its apparently endless struggles? Boredom and listlessness have their roots in fear. Fear puts a cap on your happiness and your ability to find the things that excite you. Similarly, endless worry about things is never benign as worry slows your progress and brings your life to a standstill. Show me a person besieged with boredom for living, finding ways to pass the time and I’ll show you a person that has too much worry and fear in their heart. Absent the fear and worry they would see life for what it is, a precious commodity to be enjoyed and relished. Fear has many levels and a multitude of faces, but its results are always the same, less life, less possibility, less happiness to those in bondage to it. Fear is the absence of possibility.

As with many of the problems with which we encounter, fear being our number one problem, the solution is often found when we finally get honest with ourselves and with God. If your life is miserable for any reason at this present moment, fear is involved in some way. Just get honest and admit it. All of us have fear at one time or another and all of us have been held captive by its claims. There’s no shame in admitting we are afraid. The shame enters in when we allow fear to continue controlling us and defeating us when help is available. Once we finally get honest with ourselves and then with God (who knows anyway), we can find the solutions we need in every case. God would not tell us so many times to “fear not” if He did not also have the answers we need and the power to bring them to pass. With God there is nothing to fear in this life and once we finally escape its clutches we find life, our life and happiness quickly return. In your sincere quest for happiness and enjoyment in life, do the one thing you need to do to ensure its continuance. Abolish and eliminate fear whenever and wherever it appears. Remove it from your heart, that great citadel for your life and find again the life you once enjoyed as a child. Once the fear is gone there is no absence of happiness remaining.

Just some good thoughts…

The Man in the Mirror…


screen-shot-2014-12-17-at-9-57-47-pmThere is a famous poem by Dale Wimbrow called, ‘The Guy in the Glass” and there is a famous song by Michael Jackson called, “Man in the Mirror” both focused on the judgments we assign to ourselves. The reason both works are so important is because their messages point us back to things we think about ourselves, indeed the judgments we conclude as true about who we are. The problem with our self-judgments is that they are typically not true, but rather a compendium of other people’s judgments we have assumed as our own. Judgment runs rampant in the world today. People are quick to point out your flaws because they have been trained to focus on their own flaws. People judge your socioeconomic status, your standing and station in life (i.e. whether you are above or below them), your acceptability or reasons for rejection, your attractiveness quotient, your body shape and size, whether you are good or evil (as an all or nothing proposition) and finally your value as a human being. In this, you and I are submerged and swallowed up in judgment day by day whether we recognize it or not. Each days holds an opportunity or multiple opportunities for people to take shots at you either in cruelty and meanness or disguised and wrapped up in humor. Not only do you become the butt of the joke, but worse an assault is being made on who you are. For this reason it is incumbent upon us to learn how to make proper judgments about ourselves and even more so, how to properly discern and reject others’ judgments of us. Thus, the judgments of the man or the woman in the mirror become paramount. 

Since we were children we have been subjected to other people’s opinions about who we are. It began with our parents assigning to us whether we were “good” or “bad” instead of teaching us how to behave in a good way as opposed to behaving in bad or wrong ways. But, regardless of a child’s behavior, the parent’s responsibility is to shape the child’s belief in his or herself in a positive light. If behaviors alone defined who we were, we would all fall short. Belief systems are formed very early on and you as a parent hold the most weight in determining how your child will judge him or herself. Negative patterns formed early in youth will be difficult to excavate. Add to this the socialization process of schools and grade based rankings from teachers, coupled with the judgments from the other children, generally worsening in middle and high school and you have the perfect recipe for insecure adults. This all happens because it is the pattern of the systems of the world. It is certainly not God’s way. Parents therefore have a serious responsibility in terms of what they say and how they treat their children. Words from other people, especially those we love and trust carry a disproportionate weight in terms of determining our self-worth and value in our own eyes and heart. 

Once we are grown up so to speak we enter society and the workforce where the negative conditioning worsens and accelerates. People use words like missiles to denigrate other people typically because that is how they have been trained to think and thus speak. The most critical people; those who judge everyone and everything, are the same people that judge themselves with similar or worse judgments. Most folks, behind the scenes of course, are brutally cruel with themselves. They pick themselves apart all day long and it’s no wonder they react so angrily when they meet with criticism from other people that matches what they have been thinking about themselves all along. The problem isn’t so much the other people as we are all in the same boat, but rather the things we think and conclude about ourselves. Sadly, we are the ones that are accepting and believing other people’s judgments and we are the ones rehearsing those ideas in our minds and hearts.

“For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.” (Excerpt)

You and I have to learn how to think differently about ourselves. Our childhood is long past and no matter what we were subjected to during those formative years, now that we have grown up, we can and must change those beliefs. Beliefs form by the things we tell ourselves and the things we feed our minds. God didn’t say you were fat, the world did! When other people judge you, they do so from their own vantage point heavily influenced by their own thoughts about themselves. God tells us in His Word not to judge other people. We can certainly judge behaviors, but it is not up to us to determine another person’s value. How could you? How could I? We only know what we see and hear and most likely that only represents a tiny snippet of another person’s life. So, don’t put so much weight on what other people say and think about you. They have no right to judge you even if they are your family or the people you hold most dear. They have no right to do so and when they do so they are merely cooperating with evil by being unaware of what is behind all of the negative judgment and criticism. The world, the systems of the world have a plan, namely to make a man or a woman less than the beautiful creation God has made them to be. Evil seeks to diminish man, created in the image of God, by accusing him and judging him (through people, media and social media) until he, the man, levels those same judgments upon himself. In this we cheat and rob ourselves of the glorious existence God has prepared for us. We are contradicting who God says we really are. 

The spiritual reality behind negative self-judgment is very clear. To counter this God has given us His Word. His Word explains how He gave us His only begotten son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died to pay for every single thing that was ever wrong with you and me. In this God once and for all eliminated the need for us to live in perpetual judgment concerning ourselves. He simply laid all of our sins (past, present and future), all of our human-nature flaws, every mistake, shortcoming and failure on him thereby doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. We judge ourselves by this standard and by this standard alone. When Jesus Christ said it was finished, he meant it. In his life, death and resurrection, he forever freed us from the tyranny and cruelty of pervasive negative self-judgment, authored by the enemy of mankind, the devil. We no longer need to spend our every waking second evaluating, analyzing and judging our every move. We no longer need to be subject to the endless judgments of man, but instead rely solely on the judgment of God, who has (past tense) in Christ Jesus made us forevermore righteous in His sight. 

My friends, you have to learn the truth about who you are and with that understanding begin to view yourself in a different light. God did this for you and me to help us to overcome. Outside of what God did by His grace we can never be free of judgment. Do not allow people to make negative judgments about who you are and at minimum, if you cannot confront it, stop listening to it and embracing it. How silly for you and me to cleave to the weakness and inability we had when we were children.  How foolish it becomes to carry around all of those myths you developed long ago concerning who you are. How ridiculous it is to think that you cannot trust yourself and your own judgments in life’s circumstances, thereby concluding you are always wrong and desperately need the approval and blessing of other people in order to pursue your life’s dreams. What you think about yourself and who you think you are carries an immeasurable weight in determining how your life will turn out. Start seeing yourself as God sees you and quit relying on your own limited thoughts and the limited thoughts of those around you. You are God’s masterpiece and that is a verdict worth holding onto. You are God’s best. Tell the man in the mirror that! 

Just some good thoughts…