Barking Up the Wrong Tree…


00600640_1cfab8e5705ade4c407fcd6b966006c0_arc614x376_w735_us1One thing we all have in common as human beings is the desire to find things that make us happy. If you think about, we are all on a quest for happiness. And, far too many people seem to be unable to find it. It is probably the most written about subject in the whole world. Some folks think happiness exists as a direct result of their financial means. Others claim it is the direct result of extreme poverty and stripping yourself from all the entanglements of the world. Some say it is found in nature, while others want to experience it in the city. No matter where you find it, one thing we all agree on is our need to have it. So, when it comes to happiness, are you barking up the wrong tree?

The world we live in today or maybe those things behind the world seem to be well aware of our heartfelt desire to find happiness. As such, the world feeds us endless ideas about where and how we might get that happiness. Television shows promote a world where flawless beauty can be manufactured and purchased in order to “create” the perfect type. And once the perfect type is obtained it may be used to build incredible wealth through product offerings and appearances promising the same ability to obtain perfection. The stars live a dream life in dreamy locations complete with full time make up artists and staff that exist only to serve the needs of the exalted ones. They fly on private jets to exotic locations on a whim with unlimited resources that never run dry. And while these programs do provide a level of entertainment, they also paint a false portrayal of happiness. Like movie stars, it is a world of make believe. It sends a faulty message that promises something it does not actually provide. That is not to say that everyone in these situations is wrong or evil, but rather that the message portrayed to the world (by the world) is not true. True happiness is not found through fame and fortune, though the messages seek to convince us otherwise. What the world offers will always be found a counterfeit. It is a surface expectation that produces only a superficial result. It is barking up the wrong tree.

Social media feeds us an endless array of images designed to make us seek the wrong things. Money, or the love of it, rules the world. We define success primarily by the amount of money and subsequent influence an individual has been able to obtain. We conclude rich people have “made it.” We think that money can solve any problem. We say, he who has the gold makes the rules! But, sadly, money alone is never the answer. The answer is being able to get our needs met. We do actually need money and I’m guessing that we likely need more money than we might actually have. Having enough money and having the discretion to make choices or engage in certain activities is vitally important to our happiness. No choice is not happy. Scraping along in the world unable to get the things we want is not happiness. Spending our time doing things we loathe in order to get money is not happiness. Having every need that comes up becoming a catastrophe due to not having enough money is not happiness. Thus, we actually do need money and maybe more than we think. But, money alone will at some point cause us to fall short of our real happiness. Seeking to be rich is always barking up the wrong tree.

Happiness is not something to be obtained, it is something to be enjoyed in our hearts. The perfect partner will not be able to make you happy unless you are already happy yourself. The perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect circumstances, the perfect relationship all work only to produce a temporary happiness because they do not contain the actual essence of happiness. Happiness is always the result of having your needs met and as your needs change so will your requirements for happiness. Whenever you rely on another person or obtaining certain things in order to find happiness, you will sooner or later come up short. You work so hard to obtain the perfect house and then what? Once you get what you so ardently desired, then what? Happiness, enduring happiness has to be much deeper than that. Life has to be more than acquiring things and gathering up the most toys before you die. The pursuit of happiness by trying to get stuff is barking up the wrong tree.

God as the creator of life has built into all of us a desire to find out about Him. Whether we be simply curious or spiritually starving, all of us have a desire to know Him. In our hearts, we instinctively know there is more to this life than we may have imagined. We seek a universal goodness that guided our hearts when we were children. We dream of a life, an existence, that is totally secure and taken care of and is lacking nothing. We long for the carefree days of our youth when we were truly happy. We want the liberty and the freedom to do as we please. We want life where we do not have to be afraid and can be sure we will be safe and protected no matter what. In fact, many folks seek wealth in order to experience this reality only to find out it doesn’t work. We as a people have never connected the dots that He (God) is our happiness. We have been looking for love in all the wrong places. We have foolishly tried to provide for ourselves what only He could provide for us. We worry and fret and seek and strive to find safety and peace and rest. We have never considered that we are trying to find Him in material things or in money or in things. Even our relationships are centered in Him and without Him cannot be fulfilled. He is all that we could ever need and He is the solution to every thing that has ever gone wrong, the answer to every question. We miss Him because the world has convinced us otherwise and our experience of life has confirmed it. But, what if we are wrong? What if we have barked up the wrong trees long enough that we know something is missing? What if our system of trial and error has exhausted us and we have sought yet not been able to find? What if our happiness and blessedness in this life comes from Him and from Him alone? God as our Father wants to teach us and help us and guide us. He wants us to be happy with a happiness that is not dependent upon circumstances or favorable conditions. He wants to be our all in all in every conceivable way. To know Him is to love Him and He is the first place for which to expend our efforts. He is the only tree.

Just some good thoughts…

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Hacked!


hackedLast week I had the rather unpleasant experience of getting hacked. Basically, someone reached out to me on Instagram asking for support for their upcoming clothing line and I made the fateful mistake of responding to them. I didn’t click on any links or provide my cell number for a text as requested, yet still they got in. Once they got in, they changed my password, changed the contact cell phone number and email and added two factor authentication which made it almost impossible to recover my own account. They followed hundreds of new people and badgered all of my friends with the exact same scheme, leaving folks thinking they were talking with me. The experience was distracting and concerning to say the least. Besides learning that Instagram literally has no actual customer support, I understood how difficult it is to extricate yourself from deception once it gets its grip on you. How it got to you doesn’t matter. When it got to you doesn’t matter. What matters is how you can recover and get your mind (and account) back. Have your thought processes been hacked by a deception?

In life, we all have a mind and a heart and we are responsible to guard it from intruders. Intruders get in when we fail to control our thinking and as such allow deceptions access to our minds. Just as my downfall was engaging in a conversation with the hackers, your downfall comes from consideration of things that are not true. When Eve was deceived in the beginning, it wasn’t the existence of evil that defeated her, it was her consideration of the things evil said to her. (It was a heck of a lot bigger than eating a silly apple, but I digress). Eve’s downfall and eventually Adam’s downfall came as a result of considering and trying to figure out what the enemy of mankind was proposing. The same holds true today. The way that evil gets inside our minds and hacks us is by our consideration of what is being presented to us. Being human we think we can figure it out and as such give it space in our minds. We mull it over. We worry about it. We give it audience and the next thing you know we are all screwed up inside and confused. Have you ever noticed that no matter how much worry you give a thing you can never quite get to a solution? You analyze, you evaluate, you process it and it just leads to more and more distress. It is a trick and a trap from which eventually it will be hard to escape. The solution to fear producing thoughts is to refuse their entrance. Don’t scratch that itch! Do not try to take it on with your finite human knowledge. Instead you have to replace those thoughts with things that are true. God’s Word is true and has the remedy to everything that has ever bothered you or imprisoned you. You can avoid being mentally hacked by knowing what is true.

All of us at one time or another have been hacked in our minds and hearts. We have lived in fear and doubt and uncertainty for so long that we think it is a normal way to live. We dismiss it as being part of the human condition. We do all sorts of shenanigans to assuage our fears such as trying to be a good person or do good works or whatever it is we can think of that might help offset the bad things that are surely coming our way. It never dawned on us that someone or something has been lying to us. Our starting premise has been wrong. We have been communicating with a hacker. Fear is man’s only enemy. Fear has ruined more people’s lives than all the other things combined. It is our fears that allow our enemy access to us and it is our fear that brings bad things to pass in our lives. Fear is a believing expectation for something negative to happen and believing equals receiving. The things we so desperately fear end up coming into fruition in our lives. And then we exclaim, “I knew it” when in reality we helped bring it to pass. There is a reason the number one admonition in the Bible is fear not! Fear is a hacker attempting to gain access to your life and then infect the lives of others also. You get your mental account and your heart back by gaining control of your thinking.

So, what can you do once you realize you’ve been hacked? Unlike Instagram, you have access to something greater than any problem that has ever come your way. The first step involves terminating communications with the hacker. Stop giving those lies access to your mind. Stop trying to figure it all out. The basis of your troubles are spiritual and no amount of reasoning will make that clear. Instead steer your heart towards something that is true. Make the decision to stop trying to figure out your troubles and hand them over to God who is especially adept at problem solving. Just give them to Him and don’t take them back. Rehearsing your troubles hasn’t been successful thus far, has it? Quit beating that dead horse and try something different. Cast all your care upon Him for He careth for you! In other words, let it go. Pray about it and then let it go. Just the act of refusal sets on course the answers you need in order to prevail. God wants to solve every problem that has ever come your way and He has the power and ability to do so. Find someone that can teach you the truth. Don’t go to the world as it’s the world that screwed you up in the first place. Don’t rely on religion or philosophy or science. Rely instead on the truth of God’s Word which is the only thing that sets you free. God sent His Word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions. Learn to shut down the hackers and get your heart and mind back!

Have you been having a tough time lately and wondering what is the point? Do you find yourself distracted with cares? Have things become increasingly difficult for you? Does happiness and peace of mind seem to evade you? If so, you have probably been hacked. But, not to worry. With God there are always solutions and answers greater than the skill and cunning of any hacker. You can get your heart and mind back if you will only go about it the way God says to do it. Humble yourself and get your needs met. I finally was able to recover my account using the deeply hidden and obscured video selfie method which worked after 9 tries. Thankfully God makes it a lot easier than that.

Just some good thoughts…

Google Search…


google 2There are few things more helpful today than the ability to do a Google search. You can search for almost anything and 99% of the time you will find the answers that you need. Whether it be, “How to remove superglue from your counters?” to “Why isn’t the air conditioner working?” Google has the answers that you need. Google seems to encompass just about every question that you ask. The only place where Google seems to break down is when you find yourself in need of spiritual answers. Spiritual information either isn’t accurate according to God’s Word or else it’s mixed in with opinions, religious beliefs and a whole menagerie of guesswork which doesn’t really do the trick. For those times in your life when you really need an answer, you can do better than a Google search. You can go directly to your Creator. He is always available, knows the answer and is right 100% of the time.

One of my favorite times of the day occurs when I get up in the morning, brew up some coffee and sit down to write my, “Morning Pages” with my Heavenly Papa. Morning Pages, Julia Cameron’s brainchild, is taking time in the morning to record your thoughts and impressions about whatever is on your mind. It doesn’t have to be super meaningful or insightful, but rather an opportunity for you to clear things up in your head or at minimum identify your problems and seek solutions for them. For me, in my adapted version of the same, it is an opportunity to talk things over with my Father. It is a time for me to get clear about what is going on in my life. Often it presents me with a chance to unpack things things that have been stacking up and causing me to feel confused. Sometimes when I write there can be some complaining. Other times, I ask heartfelt questions and seek solutions and desperately needed answers. Similar to the psalmists, no matter where I start or how I start, before long the answers to my questions become more clear; I receive illumination and insights into which I formerly had no insight whatsoever. God sort of clues me in, in His quiet, perfect, very personal way. He often reminds me of something His Word says which always applies perfectly to my situation. Even my complaining and bitching is generally met with some further understanding about myself and when the problem is “indeed me oh Lord” coupled with a need for me to change my mind. Morning Pages with God is the ultimate Google search for spiritual answers to my spiritual problems.

Recently I found myself in a very challenging situation which I neither had coming nor deserved. Unlike times when I was the culprit of my own poor choices, this time it wasn’t the case at all. As I pondered my dilemma, talking it over on the pages of my journal complete with a good amount of anger and feeling like a victim, I suddenly recalled a section of scripture from Ecclesiastes which briefly states, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, not the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. Immediately it dawned on me that at times in life we don’t get the result we should have gotten because there is an adversary who is ever at work behind the scenes trying to obstruct God’s blessings and favor in our lives. Otherwise people would always receive exactly what they deserved. As I pondered this further, I was reminded that I am in a spiritual competition and at times a target because of my love for God. And though I still didn’t appreciate what happened, I was comforted in knowing that God always turns those things intended for my harm to something much better for me. In that I found rest.

On another occasion, as I wrote feeling particularly frustrated about the effort I was putting in to get something with apparently very little result, God reminded me “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” In other words, you have to persevere at times to get the things you want and just because you cannot see it right now, doesn’t mean it is not going to happen. It is part of the great contest also with forces working to keep you from your dreams, if you give up in your mind and let them win. Another morning, I wrote about how things were gathering steam and seemingly coming at me from every angle. My knee hurt, my back hurt, there was pulsing inside my head, things weren’t making sense and I felt overwhelmed like my needs weren’t going to be met at all. And as I thought about where maybe I was offtrack or in the wrong space mentally, suddenly I recalled a section from the book of James where God said to count it all joy when you find yourself in many temptations because the testing of your faith (from the enemy) produces perseverance which in turn leads to maturity, being complete and ultimately not being in want for anything. Again, because God is faithful, I saw that at times you are going to be under the gun, but instead of looking inward to find your faults and failings, it is better to remind yourself of the struggle of which you are a part and hang tight looking for God’s deliverance. In fact, James goes on to say that if any of you lacks wisdom (knowing what to do) let Him ask God who gives generously to all without finding any fault. The moral of the story? Ask God the questions and allow Him to give you the answers. Sometimes your answers come quietly from within and at other times you will get them in other ways. God is not limited in His means for providing you with what you need. In fact, often when He answers you and you know it, He will remind you that you asked Him just so it is extra clear. (smile)

If you have lived life long enough, you already know that you have questions from which you have not yet gotten an answer. Google hasn’t helped you with these questions or maybe served to confuse you further. There are things deep inside you that no-one else knows about except you and God. God knows your every need from the smallest to the greatest. God has the answer to every question and He will not withhold it from you. Your job is simply to ask the question and then listen intently for the answer. When something breaks Google is your best friend, but the broken things in your heart and life are going to need something better. God is the something better. Far, far better. Just ask!

Just some good thoughts…

Harmony


harmonyIt has taken me many years to learn what I’m planning to share with you tonight. What I’m about to say is for all the people who yearn to see the power of God in their lives. It encompasses a little known secret crucial for the Christian man or woman who dreams of living the more abundant life promised in the Bible. As you may have already noticed by now, there is more to being a believer than simply getting born again, though that in itself guarantees a life that will last forever. But, what about the here and now? What about the joy promised in God’s Word? What about actually getting your prayers answered and having access to God’s power and His goodness in our day by day lives? Many Christians, sadly, talk of God’s ability and willingness to help them, yet fail to realize those promises in their experience of life. And absent any results, seek to explain away their shortfalls by assigning mysterious reasons for the lack such as God having a higher purpose and so on. God’s promises in His Word are very real and He desires above all else that we obtain all that He has lovingly promised us. The secret is found by getting in and remaining in harmony with God.

Harmony or fellowship with God is something we must do with our minds. The contest that rages day by day takes place in our minds. The thoughts we think and continue to think matter a great deal. We literally remain in harmony with God by that which we choose to think about; that which we choose to refuse and those things that harmonize with God’s Word. Every time we entertain thoughts that are not in harmony with God’s Word, we limit God’s ability to work in us and for us. The more we entertain these negative thoughts, the less harmony we have with God. Negative thoughts serve to separate us from God in our minds. Once we have accepted our Lord and Savior and believed in our hearts that God has raised him from the dead, we have God’s seed born within us. Nothing can separate us from His love and care. His love for us remains unconditional and there is nothing He won’t do for us. But, and it is a very big but, we can become separated from Him in our thinking. Wrong thoughts convince us of lies such as “God is angry with us” or “God is punishing us with negative consequences because of our sins.” These falsehoods burrow themselves deeper and deeper into our subconscious minds. It is never that God is unwilling to meet our needs, no matter how poorly we may have behaved, but rather that we lose our confidence in Him. We get out of harmony with Him and His Word. Living out of harmony with God is the reason our prayers are not answered. Being out of fellowship with God is why we feel miserable and defeated. It is never good works of righteousness we must do to get back in harmony with God as our Savior solved that problem forever. (It is finished) Instead it is our minds. We have to learn how to get our minds back in harmony with Him. Every time you and I get fearful, which is darkness, we are out of harmony with Him. Every time we persist in condemning ourselves for some sin Jesus paid for already; every time we judge ourselves; every time we deny who God alone has made us to be, results eventually in broken fellowship with Him and from that dark place we cannot access God’s power that we need so desperately in our lives. Again not because He is unwilling, but rather because we, by our own thoughts and actions, are not in fellowship with Him. Harmony with God is the key.

Think of harmony with God as your relationship with Him. (Not His relationship with you that never changes.) In order to have a good relationship you must remain loving and open in your heart to the one you seek a relationship with. In the human sense, once you begin to harbor negative thoughts about another person or assume their negative thoughts concerning you, the relationship begins to suffer. Instead, loving relationships assume good intent. Loving, trusting relationships expect good things from the other person involved. When outside things begin to influence our relationships, we become less trusting and loving and begin to harden our hearts towards the ones we love. We seriously doubt they have our best interests at heart. We look for and expect more and more trouble. This is exactly how we get out of harmony with God. God is good always and never is the source of our difficulties, ever! Instead we begin to harbor negative views towards Him. We start believing and thinking things that are contrary to God’s Word. We ask for His light while we sit in the darkness. Instead of resting in His promises to us, we are full of doubt and worry about getting any result which almost guarantees we won’t get any result. The problem isn’t God. The problem is our failure to get in and remain in harmony with Him.

Being in fellowship with God, where all of the power and results and answers for life are found, requires that we do something different with our minds. We have to learn how to renew our minds. We have to put off all of that pervasive darkness we have been cleaving to and think God’s Word instead. We must consciously change our thoughts that are contrary to the truth back to thoughts that are in harmony with the truth. You know why? Because it is the truth. The rest is all just error playing out in a thousand different variables. For example, God promises to preserve our health and if we need it, restore our health. That truth will be challenged with sickness, disease and anything else that is contrary to it. We will find ourselves very tempted to get afraid and worry and fret. Doing so is believing the darkness and will result in our getting out of harmony with God. When we are out of fellowship with God, heaven is brass and nothing happens, despite our heartfelt prayers. The solution is to get back in harmony with God. Simply say, “Papa, Im sorry I got so afraid and I choose instead to believe what your Word promises me. Thank you for healing me.” Now you are saying what God’s Word says and now you are back in harmony with Him. In harmony with Him, in the light, is where God’s power will be found for your life. Naturally you will be tempted with many other things that challenge the truth of God’s Word in your mind, so you must follow the same process time and time again. If you get out of harmony, get back in as quickly as you can. When you recognize your mind has gone south, get back into fellowship with Him. When you feel miserable and defeated, get back into harmony with Him again. You find God in the light.

The more than abundant life promised in God’s Word is dependent upon you remaining in fellowship with God. The more you stay put, the better your life will become. God is not after your pleasing works done to persuade yourself you are worthy in His sight. He wants your heart. He wants your freewill love. He wants to do for you ALL that you could never do for yourself. He is your Father. He is your Papa. He never judges you and He always wants the best for you. Stay in harmony with Him in your mind. Remember what He has already done for you. Find out who His Word says you are and replace that old image you have been carrying around with you. You don’t please God with your good works. You please God by believing His Word. Cultivate that close, endearing relationship with Him and let Him do for you beyond all that you could ever ask or think.

It is that good. He is that good.

Just some good thoughts…

When All Hope is Lost…


hope lostIf you have lived any significant portion of life, then you have likely experienced some things that shook you to your core. Negative things happen to all of us in varying proportions. We all get challenged, suffer loss and setbacks. We may find ourselves backed into a corner with no seeming solutions to our dilemmas. We get stuck in mental traps, prisons, things from which we feel we cannot escape. It is unfortunately the reality of living in a world ruled by evil. Just such a thing happened to my beloved co-worker today as she tragically took her own life in the face of what must have felt like insurmountable obstacles. Somehow in some way she must have concluded there was no other way to find peace. She must have become utterly and absolutely hopeless. What can we do when we feel that all hope is lost?

The world has been engineered to drive our minds and our thinking to draw conclusions that are not true. Each day messages are rehearsed into our ears regarding the futility of being able to overcome certain challenges. We are told our medical conditions are chronic and have no available cure. We hear much information containing cleverly veiled fears, that we go about almost expecting bad things to happen to us. When good stumbles upon us we exclaim, “Unbelievable!” Our expectations are challenged daily until we reduce those expectations to meager or less. In short, we have been fed a gigantic lie. In a world threatening no solutions, there is always a solution. There is a way to go that always works. There are answers for the weary traveler. There is healing and restoration and love. It’s not that those things cease to exist when we are in trouble, but rather we have lost sight of them, not believed them, become convinced in opposition to them. We don’t lose hope, it is stolen from us…

Where people have been woefully ignorant is in regard to spiritual verities. They have been ignorant of Satan’s devices. They fail to consider the depths to which evil will travel in order to steal and to kill and to destroy. They don’t know the truth that counters the darkness, much less God’s good will for their lives. They wrongly assume life is painted with one giant brush originating from the hand of God. They don’t understand there are two brushes. Absent God’s Word and subsequently God’s help, they try to take it all on, on their own. They could never quite perceive the real source of their difficulties and the author behind every woe that ever befell them. They suffered in silence, in abject misery and desolation, getting further convinced of something that was never true to begin with. This is the way of all people absent God and His solutions for our lives. There is no criticism because we have all dealt with darkness in one way or another. We have all felt the sting of death to a loved one, feelings of futility and despair, frustration, “no way out,” chronic problems both mental and physical, self-made prison holes and questions without answers. We have all gone astray and, like the prodigal son, needed to be received back with love and forgiveness. We are spiritual beings living in a human body subject to a world hell bent on defeating us. Yet, for all this, we do not lose hope.

Our only real, abiding, lasting, never changing solution is God. He is our every answer and our only answer. He sees all, knows all and is all-powerful. Without Him we cannot win and with Him we can only succeed. He and He alone can unravel the mess the adversary has made of our lives. God fills in all the spaces and makes our crooked places straight. He heals all of our infirmities and makes our blind eyes able to see. He works with us right where we are, never judging us or condemning us. His guidance is tender and kind and leaves us the better, never the worse. When life, more accurately the world, has overwhelmed us, perplexed us, led us astray, far astray, He is ever present with open arms and an open heart seeking us out to assist us. His answers are real answers, not sayings or wishes. His truths illuminate our souls and set us free. He tells us how our opponent is defeating us and shows us how to fight back. He rescues us, saves us, delivers us and how thankful I am for His love and care. How I wish that all the world knew Him and learned how to access his power. How I wish I could have helped those suffering and shown them a better way, Him working in me, bringing his blessed will to pass. If only. We will miss you my dear friend.

When you find yourself at the end of your rope, worn out, living amidst abiding misery, know this, God will make a way for you where there appears to be no way. He will lighten your soul by removing the heavy burdens. He will teach you and guide you and direct you into the path of life. When you are weak, He will strengthen you. When you are lost, He will show you the way. When you do not know what to do, He will teach you what to do, things you never understood before. I know life can be hard at times and in some instances, dreadful. But even then, God is most capable and willing to restore your lost joy and zest for living. There is always, always a way out and because of our infinite, everlasting God, you can always have hope. Rest in peace J.M.

Just some good thoughts…

Relieving a Vast Load of Care


depositphotos_128641282-stock-photo-businessman-carrying-rock-at-hill

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just some good thoughts…

50,000 Views… What???


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

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

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

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

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

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

Just some good thoughts. 

 

 

Yeah, But What Do You Think?


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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…

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?


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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…