Enthusiastic Living!

enthusiasmLife requires energy to live it and your level of energy is connected directly to your thoughts. Children seem to have an almost unlimited amount of enthusiasm, but children also don’t waste too much time thinking about the wrong stuff. Adults do that. There is a competition that rages daily and that contest is for the allegiances of your mind. You spend or reserve your energy by the thoughts you are choosing to entertain. Positive thoughts, happy thoughts, hopeful thoughts, anticipating thoughts and indeed all “just some good thoughts” lead to the energy to do, which life is requiring. Negative thoughts, fearful thoughts, anxious thoughts of the future and anxious thoughts of the past serve only to deplete your energy culminating in you not having the energy you need to do you; to live your life successfully. Have you found yourself lately not having the energy or the enthusiasm that your life requires? Have you been running on empty, as the saying goes. Have you lost some or all of your enthusiasm for living? Does your life sometimes feel pointless? Well, not to worry my friends as there is always a solution if you are willing to hear it.

One of the things I enjoy best about my relationship with God is that He faithfully provides me with little insights and clues about how to live my life. He does not condemn me, nor does He judge me. Instead, He answers my questions and makes my cloudy spaces clear. Energy and enthusiastic living happens to be one of those private lessons. At one point in my life, I recognized that I just felt like I didn’t care about anything anymore. Nothing excited me and honestly it felt like I didn’t have anything to look forward to in my life. I had more resources than I had ever had before and also had all of the things you would expect to make up an excellent existence. But, I wasn’t blessed and I knew I needed some answers. Don’t get me wrong, the answers I needed didn’t show up overnight, like many things in our lives, as typically it has taken some time to bury us in our dilemmas. But, one thing was immediately clear to me. Something or someone was interfering with my day by day happiness and in doing so was robbing me of the blessings God wanted me to have. The first and usually most insidious blocker of happiness is fear. Fear sucks the life right out of you. Fear, which is almost always future based, paints unpleasant pictures of loss and defeat. Fear tells you that perhaps you will never get the thing you so desperately need. Fear proclaims that the pain you are experiencing will last forever and that you must resign yourself to some chronic, severely limiting condition. Fear threatens you and accuses you and just sort of sits there mocking your life, stealing from you and ultimately blocking your forward progress. If you have a profound lack of energy and enthusiasm for living, the odds are that you are harboring some fear in your life.  Oh trust me, it’s there. You simply have to take the time, be honest with yourself and recognize what it is that has you so afraid. Banishing and eliminating fear is step one! Fear, as crazy as it seems, is a choice you are making. You are giving it space, mind time (lots and lots of mind time) and you are refusing in some capacity to let it go. Trust me I have been there. But, I have to say this, nothing is going to change until you finally let that shit go. People live today chock full of anxiety trying all sorts of things to mitigate the feelings without ever getting to the bottom of it. Anxiety is fear also and it is blocking your enthusiasm for living.

Next on the learning train, you have to get back to living one day at a time. Deal with all of today’s assaults while it is still today. Take it on today. Don’t skip past it, move ahead, ignore it or let it go. If you think about it, you aren’t afraid and anxious about today. You are afraid of tomorrow and the things you cannot see yet. Failure to take it on today leads, just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow, to deeper and deeper problems inside your head. Wrong thinking carves a groove in your thought processes and like any good rut, will drag you back in as soon as you endeavor to venture out. A general sense of malaise and depressed, tired thinking is the direct result of not taking on the things regarding your life that you needed to address. But, hey, who hasn’t been there? Your job, my job is get back to living in the day and only in that day. You cannot live in your future and you cannot live any longer in your past. One hasn’t arrived and the other is long since gone from earth, existing only in your memory. You can take on the requirements of today. You can go for a drive or go for a walk and get things straight. Take whatever time you need to get things straight. Think about whatever is bothering you and get it cleared up, resolved. It is an epidemic in good old America for people to let things go in favor of the next thing to distract us. Get things straight. If you find yourself unhappy about how you are acting or what you are choosing to do, make some adjustments in the day you are in. Save your long self improvement lists for another lifetime and master the day you are in. I get up and write my, “Morning Pages” every morning where God and I take time to get things straight. I unpack, He whispers clues. Enthusiasm follows those answers!

Finally, there is another little secret for enduring happiness and enthusiasm that you may have not considered. You have to choose to be enthusiastic in your mind. You have to treat other people with enthusiasm and a happy perspective. Think of those times in your life when you were so absolutely blessed and excited about living your life. It may have been circumstances that spurred it on, but even then you chose the enthusiasm. Can’t you see it? You chose the enthusiasm based on your perception of what was going on. In the same way, you can choose enthusiasm no matter what is going on. Once you have settled on your enthusiastic mindset, notice what little things come up to steal away your new decision. Pay attention to your mind’s reasons why you cannot be enthusiastic. There, right there is your fight. The opponent’s lies never center on today, but always on some pending future doom or difficulty to talk you out of today. People are defeated one day at a time as well. I hope you really, really think through what I am telling you. You can choose enthusiasm for living as you refute those things trying to take it away. And the best part, God is right there in your enthusiasm and right there rewarding your excited anticipation. Once you finally let the negatives go, not in naivety, but because they are usually future based and temporal, you walk right into the light where God has always wanted you to live your life. In that place, your enthusiasm will know no limits and all of your paths will be peace.

Things got you down in this life? Are you struggling to find your joy? Do you wish you were the man or the woman you used to be? If so, take the time to learn the lessons. Eliminate all fear. Live today and today only. It is your thinking, your mind where the arena of competition is waged. Win the fight, not by cursing the darkness, but by cutting it off instead. Get your brain over to the light and stay there. Refuse the illusions and decide what or who you are going to be. Enthusiastic and excited living is God’s will for your life. Prove it to yourself.

Just some good thoughts…


Living Your Best Life…

5-30-people-jumpingI’m sure you already know this by now, but our time on the earth is frightfully short. What seems like forever when we are twenty quickly turns into forty, fifty, then enter our sixties and beyond. And even though us believing types can look forward to the opportunity to live forever, life on this planet is short, damn short. We have a finite number of days to live this life and more importantly to enjoy our time here. For this reason alone, we owe it to ourselves to live our best lives now. What will it take for you to be living your best life now?

It seems near the top of our pursuits is built into us the desire to be happy. We all know and love how happy feels, yet we aren’t always happy. We let circumstances and people and unresolved situations get on top of us and rob us of our enjoyment. We get caught up in things that don’t help us nor lead us to our own personal fulfillment. We waste days and months and years being afraid of things and doubting ourselves from sunup to sundown. In short, we don’t cooperate with our own selves to do the things that bring about our best lives, being the best person we can be in each category of our experience. Instead, we work at cross purposes with ourselves and work against our own best interests. We don’t properly honor ourselves nor give ourselves a chance to get it right. We judge ourselves, berate ourselves, punish ourselves and hurt ourselves. We live amidst a perpetual state of seeking, yet not obtaining; striving, yet not making progress; attempting, but failing and never actually arriving at the place we see so clearly in our hearts. And, the million dollar question is why?

I think the main reason this happens to us is because we refuse to take on the central issues of our lives. We know we desperately need more money, but don’t do the things required to make more money. We live with some negative aspect of our personality, yet never take it to heart and resolve ourselves to repair it. We settle for less than we deserve across a multitude of spectrums. We know the changes we need to make in our relationships, yet spend a lifetime playing the victim, instead of speaking up and saying what it is we really need and want. We know very clearly the changes that are needed, yet are loathe to make the changes. We have all the excuses in the world and we stand by them. And, if we are honest, it usually isn’t our whole lives that need revision, but instead a few pivotal themes that hold us back from being the person we know to be. For this reason, we owe it to ourselves to take on the challenges in our lives and win the fights. Our best life is waiting for us to do it.

There is still another important variable in beginning to live our best lives and that variable is time. The competition we are all in means at times things will challenge us and confront us and even in some cases, assault us. We are in a fight; a fight between good and evil. When we are winning the fight, we will be living our best lives. When we are losing the fight, even temporarily, we will not be living our best lives and will instead be succumbing to fear and misery and defeat. Whole lifetimes can be lost to fear; to guilt and self-judgment; in circumstances that appear beyond our control or ability to impact. Yet, that is when we are being deceived. There is always something we can do to remedy situations because God is on our side. And most importantly, the time to fight back is when you are in the fight. Waiting and waiting to take on areas of your life you know are defeating you is simply prolonging your own happiness and joy. You may not know all of the variables yet, but you do know where you struggle. Once you become more clear concerning the brevity of life, the more important it will become to you to deal with and resolve the issues of your life. And as much as you may not want to hear it, you have to fight back. You have to quit assuming you were dealt a lousy hand; didn’t get the advantages that others enjoy; have suffered more than your fair share of difficulties. All of those things may be quite true because we have a cruel opponent, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot overcome and ride on the high places of the earth. Living your best life equals having a willingness to take on those areas that cause you suffering and to take them on now!

Living our best lives is being happy and enjoying our experience of life. Life is to be enjoyed. All of that striving and working and pressing and grinding, though it may lead you somewhere, is the tell-tale sign you are trying to do it without God. You are driving yourself to the bone to obtain something God would freely give you if you let Him. Sure you must work, sure you have to supply effort, sure you need to engage yourself with your whole heart, but your best life will be found when you stop trying to control every aspect of your own life and let God do what He promised He would do. You cannot control the world, other people or the adversary for that matter. But, you can control your thinking and stop allowing those negatives to shape your life. You can choose to stop allowing your opponent to define the narrative concerning what you must have; what you must have accomplished; who you must be in order to be happy and instead define those things for your own self. You will find that your personal happiness and fulfillment will come as a result of making your own way in accordance with the things that matter most to you. Your best life is your happiest life, your most enjoyable life. What things take away your happiness? What obstacles impede your ability to enjoy life? What things are you doing and saying to yourself that limit you and cause you to settle for less than the best; God’s best? That my friends is the best place to start and you need to start right now!

Living your best life is loving and appreciating this experience we call life and learning how to do it in the best way. We are all on our own personal journey with warnings and signposts along the way. Pay attention to things and carefully note those aspects of life that curtail your enjoyments; take away your peace; severely hamper and impede your progress and set about to defeat them. Take things on with God’s loving help along the way. The God who invented life knows exactly how to live it and He wants you to discover that for yourself. He dislikes religion and obligatory activity even more than you do. You won’t find your best life listening to everything people say is wrong. You’ll find it when you begin to trust your own heart and do the things that lead to your own personal fulfillment and happiness. You can be everything you always wanted to be in every aspect of life, if you’ll just get serious about getting there.

This life we are living is frightfully short, but won’t you be glad in the end that you found happiness and love along the way? Live your best life now. You owe that to yourself!

Just some good thoughts…

Enjoy Your Life…

3588855bb2e74867f7877d6b26470a98When you are a young person, you cannot wait to get older and do the things that adults can do. When you reach adulthood, you quickly learn that being an adult carries with it some responsibilities you hadn’t really thought all the way through. You take on those responsibilities and begin to figure things out. You work hard and seek out the resources you need for you and your young, budding family. You start to taste some success, admittedly some more than others, and before you know it, you find yourself in your thirties, then forties, eventually reaching middle age. Your children are likely grown or getting there and you start setting new priorities for your life. You settle into your middle aged life and because you worked hard, have more resources available to you and more time to devote to the things you enjoy most. And while you continue on your journey, the time comes when discussions involve retirement and you’ve entered your sixties. At some point you retire and it dawns on you that you cannot actually cheat Father Time as you see and feel the effects of age. And, as this progression continues and you aren’t getting any younger, some of the most simple things provide you with the most pleasure, much like how you started out. You look back on your life and recognize it for the journey it actually is and was. No one told you how to do your thirties or your forties or your sixties. In fact, no one told you hardly anything about aging at all. There was little to no advice about what to expect, what to plan for or how best to live your life along the way. And as you approach the ending no one really wants to consider, the only question remaining will be, did you enjoy your life? Did you engage your mind and your heart in the things that matter most? Did you enjoy your days as you lived them or were you always trying to get to the next place? Did you savior the beauty of today or was your habit to postpone all enjoyment for the future when you finally had it all figured out with resources untold? No matter your present age, the question is, are you enjoying your life? 

Life is vary similar for us all. By the time we have gained a little wisdom, we will have already had our fair share of bumps and bruises. We will have endured some catastrophes and survived. We learned tough lessons. We maybe screwed things up quite a bit. We had weaknesses and issues that took us years to overcome. We might have failed, succeeded and failed again. All of this is common to the human experience. It will happen or has happened in some capacity to us all. Yet all these things are not the measure of our lives. The real measure is found in every day that happened in between those events. As much as we didn’t like it, did we fight through those tough times? Were we able to find happiness and love despite the obstacles? Did we learn early enough that the real blessing and enjoyment we found came from those who we lived life with? All of the hours we spent raising children and caring for them and making sure they had everything they needed were all insignificant in comparison to the love we shared and do share with them. And in the midst of all that stressful endeavor, I sure hope you enjoyed them. Those countless hours you spent at work, striving to be the best, to be successful, to earn, to provide for your family, again lose their value if you were not able to enjoy those folks you saw everyday and with which you were blessed to interact. Every successful marriage has its fair share of challenges as should be expected from two people growing, changing and interacting every day. Yet for all of the fights, the silent treatment, the unrealistic expectations and demands, stands alone the absolute joy of having someone close and intimate from which to enjoy your life in all of its varied experiences and emotions. Who can compare to “your person” that understands all of your human frailty but continues to love you nonetheless? My point, lest you miss it, is that you have one life to enjoy, to learn, to grow and to overcome and only one life to live on Earth. Enjoy your life…

All of us love a sunny day as well as congenial circumstances of favor and plenty. None of us take delight in the struggles. We all long for a time when things always work out and every effort we supply has a grand result. We are all happy when things are going right and we are all unhappy when we find ourselves pressed and tried. Life, this life, is often unfair and lacking in the justice we would expect. Picnics get rained on and beach days suddenly turn cold. Vacations get cancelled and glorious outdoor weddings are hurriedly moved indoors. Circumstances change, our feelings change, we’re up, we’re down, we are beside ourselves and we are blessed. It is this life we have now and it is ours to choose to enjoy. We cannot allow circumstances to define our happiness anymore than we can leave our enjoyment in the hands of other people. Instead enjoyment is found when we slow down a bit and savior the fullness of our experience; when we take the time to look around at all that we have instead of that which we perceive we lack; when we look full on in the faces of the people we love and communicate with our hearts, embracing tender feelings towards them. This is the real beauty and essence of life. This is the life God envisioned for us. Enjoy your life…

Wisdom need not be reserved for the aged. You don’t have to be in your golden years before you finally understand that all along you only had one life to live with every conceivable decision in between. You don’t have to wait for some future day when all of your needs will finally be met. You don’t have to postpone your happiness until you find “your person.” It was never about your car or your house or your bank account. Life, your life, is to be lived today to the absolute full. Let tomorrow be what it wants for your life is found in today, right now. In the grand words of Emerson, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in. Forget then as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”

Enjoy your life…

Just some good thoughts…


The Money Myth…

od9i7c-b88788077z.120160909171642000gfpiob79.10It seems much time and energy has been spent convincing people with the least money of the lack of its importance in their lives. You hear it all the time from well-meaning folks busy explaining away money by either discounting it entirely or else demonizing it as a source of evil. However, when you observe people with plenty of money, it sure seems like a much more enjoyable existence compared to those justifying their apparent shortage while simultaneously implying the lack of its necessity for them. With money being the chief method of exchange in our culture, methinks someone has been getting their leg pulled on a massive scale. It’s as if those with the money must perpetuate the lies about money in order to keep if for themselves. There is no nobility in not getting your needs met, no matter what you may have been taught. The reality is that you need money in order to prosper and there is nothing wrong with pursuing it unless of course you have bought into the money myth.

The world we live in literally runs on money. The things you want in your life cost money. The better the things, the more those things cost. Yes, loving and worshipping money is going to bring you a lot of pain. Yes, being consumed with greed is going to tear you apart from the inside out. But, is that really the choice you are making? Who convinced you that your desire for good things is somehow evil or a contradiction to God and His goodness? Who worked it into your soul to feel as if you should have less than others have or that you cannot enjoy nice things? For most of us, and I think you will agree, the idea of actually pursuing money feels wrong as if we have been deceived by the world. But, is it wrong really? Chances are, if you are reading this, you aren’t working on your second hundred million. Instead you are more likely trying to climb up that rung from lower class to middle class or middle class to upper middle class. No matter where you find yourself, I think you have to agree, that having plenty of money unloads your life of a multitude of burdens. Money fights rarely appear from having too much, but instead from not having enough. The money myth works best on those who do not have enough. Is it you?

If I could go back in time, I would tell that younger version of myself to figure out the money thing sooner. What good is it to live your whole life preparing for a financially stable future only to be limited by your advanced age and diminishing energy levels. Why would it make sense to spend your most vital years going without the good things; the things that make you happiest? And while it is true that things cannot bring you happiness alone, having resources opens to you a world you may have never knew existed. Family vacations cost money. Nice homes cost money. Sharp, clean dependable vehicles cost money. Having more than enough in order to help others requires money. That’s not to say that all those things aren’t available with less money, but what is it that you want for your own life? That’s the real question. It’s not what it takes for you to survive, it’s what it takes for you to thrive. The less you have the more you owe and the less you are going to be able to experience life and you know it. Constantly defending your own lack of resources by your incredible ability to enjoy life with less really isn’t honest. Maybe you don’t need much and maybe I don’t either, but that’s not the question. The question is what do you need in order to thrive? Don’t allow the money myth to limit and define your possibilities.

If you think God is behind the limited resources game, you are mistaken. What conceivable difference could it make to God whether you make $50k a year or you made $200k a year? It seems that would be a decision you are making. And further, what would God’s purpose be in withholding something good from you? What lesson does lack teach you other than a constant source of consternation until you get it solved? If you are a parent, you know how important it is for you to be able to supply anything your children need and in most cases almost everything they want! Well, if your love for your children produces that response, imagine God, who is love, and His response towards you? With God, you are only limited by the poverty of your expectations! As a Christian myself, I know how screwed up you can be about money. But, those false concepts do not originate with God. To expect God to prosper me or supply me with plenty of money is the exact same thing, but God forbid I confess the latter! Can you see what I am trying to say? Money isn’t evil and for God’s sake you need it; plenty of it! You have to rid your mind of the money myth and think clearly about what it is that you need. If you lived in another time and had 15,000 sheep and 50,000 cattle you would be considered rich, not because of the livestock but because of the money the livestock represent! Praying for an abundant crop is the same thing as praying for higher pay. I’m not advocating living above your means, I’m advocating raising your means without feeling all effed up about it! God wants you to prosper and is well aware that our means of exchange is money! You do the math on that one!

I guess what I’m trying to say, if you can look past my obvious disdain for the lies we have been fed, is that you owe it to yourself and the people you love to believe God for His abundant supply. Don’t put limits where there are no limits. Poverty and lack is not noble or pleasing to God anymore than seeing your children struggle would bring you any joy. You know what makes parents of grown children happy? It is in seeing them succeeding on their own and getting to the place where they are no longer limited by lack!  Having more than enough isn’t the entire answer, but it is a great start! If you have suffered at the hands of the money myth, my prayer for you is that you would have the audacity, the boldness to believe for much; a true abundance! The world around you is evidence alone that you can get whatever it is you want to get, including more money, more resources, more than enough. Don’t spend another day living under the spell of the money myth! Think soundly without fear and prosper! That is always God’s will for your life!

Just some good thoughts…

Humans Ain’t Static!

Stuck-ImageHuman beings are not static, meaning not fixed nor unable to change. Yet, how many people live that way? You can literally be anyone you want to be, without limit or holdback. You are not defined by anything you have done or have not yet done. You always have the capacity to change. The very hallmark of living things is their ability to change. Yet, that is not how things usually play out. We tend to get stuck in these narratives about who we are, most commonly generated from within. We are fed this negative concept of ourselves, typically based upon our weaknesses or past foibles, and then act as if that notion of our existence must be our destiny and something from which we are powerless to change. We accept various monikers and cannot quite seem to extricate ourselves from them. We have to be the “funny” one and then are loathe to disappoint our audience. How silly it is to consider that some characteristic of ourselves could possibly encompass the totality of who we are. Or worse, that some negative aspect of ourself would become the key component in understanding who we are. As humans, we are absolutely free to change anything and everything we want to change, no matter the opposition. You are not stuck, my friend, because human beings ain’t static!

If you have lived long enough, you know how hard it can be to redefine yourself. People like to assemble you neatly into tidy little categories and keep you there so you can be understood and properly handled. It becomes a source of distress when you begin to act in ways that are not congruent with your predetermined definition. I can recall a friend once saying, in the midst of a cleverly supplied string of my admittedly funny comments, that he could not picture me being a manager in an organization, as if I lived for the joke or could not exist without it. Once my wife suggested I stop posting comments on Facebook about excellent red wine because pretty soon, all I became was the guy who drinks wine. Do you see where I’m going with this? People don’t define who you are, you do. When you allow other people to define who you are, you will be stuck with some limited version of yourself seen simply from one narrow angle. Growing up you may not have been very good “at school” but that doesn’t mean you lack intelligence or a willingness to learn new things. Maybe you weren’t good at sports, but here’s a secret, no one is at first! It may have escaped your conscious attention, but the world seeks to define you every single day. There are literally a million angles capturing your attention in a day; helping you to define yourself against some fictitious standard. You are probably not as fit as a fitness model because your full time job isn’t fitness model! Yet, there you are perusing the pictures and comparing yourself woefully, wishing you were something that you are not. That doesn’t mean you can’t be that, but the larger question is do you want to be that? When it comes to your life, it is your opinion of yourself that matters most. Why continue to define yourself as something you do not like when you are the one doing the defining?

By now, in my writings, it probably comes across as a broken record, but the culprit in this dilemma is the thoughts you are thinking about yourself. When you make mistakes, as you necessarily must, it is one thing to err but another thing altogether to allow those errors to define who you are. You are not the sum total of your behaviors, as a modern philosopher surmised, but instead a growing, living, thinking organism with unlimited capacity for change. We all have these parts of our lives that privately plague us, whether admitted or not, yet those places are not the total of who we are, nor can they ever be. Problems, weaknesses, troubles remain only because we refuse to let them go. We carry them around with us like a badge of honor (or dishonor) and are far too quick to assign them as a part of who we are. For some folks, the thought of past mistakes, though they perhaps be many, come to represent the totality of that person and render their precious lives perpetually defeated in the process. Change is certainly not simple, but can only become a reality with a conscious decision to change; held onto and perpetuated daily. If you find yourself hating who you have become, you have unknowingly allowed negative thoughts to permeate your being. You have allowed someone or something to define the narrative of who you are. I can assure you that whatever evil you may have done was not done alone. No person does wrong or evil on their own, but instead has been deceived in some manner. Forgive yourself as God forgave you the first time you asked Him to and let it go. Be the person you want to be, one that you love and think of yourself in that light. You don’t get a child to change by harping on their bad behaviors, but by highlighting their good behaviors instead. Change the way you think of yourself and you will have taken the first steps towards real change. Keep thinking properly and your change will absolutely follow.

Many folks spend their whole lives waiting on some favorable circumstance to magically change the way they think of themselves. In futility, they await some stroke of good fortune to rewrite a story only they alone can write. It’s not the outward trappings of success that define who you are, but rather those powerful changes you have made from within; deep inside your heart. You remain stuck in life for just about as much time as you want to remain stuck. Once you at last tire from the constant pain and decide ‘no more!’ – your wish is granted though not by a genie, but from a decision that you decided to make. Your life, my life, is a series of decisions we are making throughout our days. Be careful, very careful about what you decide. Be careful concerning who you think you are!

My dear friends, being a human being guarantees you the constant possibility of change. None of us have been destined or predetermined to be a certain way, no matter how long we may have been that way. Change yourself by changing the way you think about yourself. Think in terms of being the best version of yourself and no matter what setback you may face, you will move closer to that ideal. You define the narrative instead of relying on others to do it for you. Let your foolishness and absurdity go as we all wrestle with that same ghoul! Start each day with a fresh, clean slate and for goodness sakes, stop being so hard on yourself. Your life can be anything you want it to be and you can be whomever you desire! Accepting yourself as stuck or defeated is always a lie. Always! Humans ain’t static, not as long as they are alive.

Just some good thoughts…

Settle It. Solve It. Resolve It…

There are times in life, when you are an avid believer in God and His Word, that God will open the eyes of your understanding and show you something that will absolutely change your life! Just such a thing happened to me this weekend. The subject of the teaching was accessing God’s peace in your life and how, in order to experience and enjoy that peace, you have to take the time to settle the things in your heart that remain unsettled, unsolved and unresolved.

Peace typically occurs at the end of a conflict. It has been referred to as the absence of strife. Peace can follow accomplishment or a job well done. Peace is also defined as undisturbed well being. It is knowing that everything is going to be okay. Peace is something God gives to us as His children. Yet for all the magnificence that God’s peace is in our lives, we often fail to access it. We fail to access it because we go about obtaining it in the wrong way. We tend to believe that peace is something we have to work for by “living right” or by giving up something; by adding something; or by abstaining from something. Such is the life of the typical Christian believer, ever condemned and guilty, never measuring up, always unworthy! I cannot tell you how many Facebook and Instagram stories promote how unworthy we are before God, implying that if we only “did better” or worked harder we would arrive. Well, here’s newsflash for your weary soul – there will never be anything you can do that will make you worthy before God! Making you worthy is something God had to do for you! The sooner you come across that realization, the closer you are to enjoying God’s peace in your life. What a cruel, dreadful, awful trick the enemy of God has placed on God’s people since the world began. Who the hell wants to worship and serve a God that is perpetually unhappy and displeased with His children? Are you perpetually displeased with your children? Don’t you have a little forgiveness for their foolishness? Do you not extend them some mercy at times? Don’t you just love them for who they are irrespective of their behavior? Well, it’s fair to say the God of love can do even better than that! When you find yourself caught in that arduous trap it isn’t God that you are serving anymore, instead it is the commandments and doctrines of men, made by men in an attempt to access a God they neither know nor understand. There is no peace in living that way (and definitely no love).

Peace is something that God freely gives to His children. In order to access that peace in your heart you have to settle things in your heart. You are not going to be able to settle all the things that aren’t right in the world, but you can settle them in your own heart. You do so by believing and accepting what God says over what everyone and everything else says. You remain unpeaceful because you (and I) have all these things going on inside of us that are not resolved. God says that He gave us His son as a payment for all the sins we may commit in a lifetime, past, present and future. Accepting Jesus Christ’s finished work for you leads to peace. BUT (and it’s a helluva big but), your failure to accept that reality in your heart leads to a lifetime of dwelling on and living in every stupid thing you ever did throughout your life! Of course the sin and error is wrong and leads to pain, You don’t need me to tell you that. But, remaining in it is worse, especially when God, the only true judge, has already forgiven you in the life of His son. God solved your sin problem and mine forever. Our Savior’s work is finished, it’s done. Until you resolve that in your own heart, you won’t enjoy the peace God has freely given to you.

Another way believers get talked out of the peace God so dearly wants for His children is by living under the negative judgment of man, including yourself. You do not have the right to judge yourself. When you negatively judge yourself, you reject God’s plan of redemption already enacted for you. Judging yourself and allowing yourself to be judged by other people is wrong. It is not humble to refer to yourself as a worm for God, lowly and defeated. Thinking this way not only robs you of God’s peace, but it serves to work the purposes of your insidious enemy, the accuser of the brethren before God night and day. Similarly, living in the past, rehearsing and cataloging your every mistake, remembering and cleaving to your lowest moments, denies God’s true opinion of you as His child and crucifies afresh His son that died for you. You may not be able to forget all the dumb stuff you have done throughout your life, but you can resolve to settle the matter in your heart. Leaving it unsettled and undone leads only to fear and an incessant focus on what is not right about you!  (Have you ever been there?) Settle it in your heart. Forgive yourself and let it go. Let it ALL go and simply move ahead. Walk out a new man, a new woman, fresh, alive and vital for the day at hand. Walk out with your head held high, a son or daughter of the most high God! Once you really decide to let it all go and refuse to unearth it, you will find yourself living in the peace God has already given you. Resolve it in your heart once and for all.

The good life you dream of is not found in riches and cars and houses and more and more stuff. It is found when you know and understand Him, the God who so loved you that He gave His only begotten son for you. It is found in the joy and love and peace that only God can provide for you. It’s not about you, for goodness sakes, it’s about Him. You don’t have to spend your life feeling like you don’t measure up before God which leads only to increasing fear and doubt and defeat. You have not been found wanting and there is literally nothing you have to do in this life to be at peace other than fully accept all that God has already done for you. Settle the matter in your own heart. Resolve the matter in your own heart. Solve the matter in your own heart by believing what God says is true in every situation that ever confronts you. You will surely be challenged in this life, but God will make sure you always win! Always…

Get peace…

Just some good thoughts…

Religion And God (Are they the same thing?)

Let me begin by saying I’m not trying to bash your religion or the things you hold most sacred. I’m not making a case for one religion above another religion. I’m not saying everything your religion has taught you is wrong. Instead, I’m asking you a question; a question that may spell the difference between happiness and freedom and misery and obligation. Are you sure the things you do and say in the name of God are in alignment with what God says about Himself and your relationship with Him? Are your religious beliefs and your belief in God the same thing?

In my experience, religious people seem to be the most unhappy people on earth. They live and move and have their being ever fraught with some nagging sense of disapproval from a god whose requirements they can never live up to. They are guilty and condemned, always apologizing, always wrong, always convinced that what they do and say is inadequate and fails to measure up. They endeavor to live an impossible code with pleasures perpetually questioned and good times requiring caution. They sincerely love God but they conclude God doesn’t love them. They are compelled to answer every accusation. Their motives are constantly under the microscope. In short, the people who should be the most blessed are often the least blessed with even the unbeliever outpacing their achievements. Yet, they love the God of all blessings. How can this be?

The problem is found in not understanding the things that are important to God versus the things that are important to men. Religion’s aim and focus is always man and what man does and what man doesn’t do or that he shouldn’t do. Religion’s promise is the glorification of man’s acts and man’s experiences. In religion, men judge other men based on their behaviors and pronounce one man righteous and another man sinful. Religion seeks to elevate some and reduce the others. Religion is hard, damn hard! Religion teaches people to doubt themselves in favor of another’s opinion. Religion smacks at the heart of God because it is not based on what God says. Instead it is based upon the doctrines and commandments of men. God provides a good way to live and religion adds to that good way by introducing requirements that God never intended. Religion puts burdens on men’s shoulders. There is no love in obligation. That which you do that you do not want to do becomes a compulsion from which no-one gets blessed. Giving without love as its motive becomes religious duty where I scratch your back in the hopes that you will scratch mine. It’s an exchange wherein you now owe me something. For centuries, men have engaged themselves in rituals and observances that make no sense to them. Yet, they continue in them despite it.

I say these things not to anger you, but rather to ask you to think for yourself. If doing God’s will is so miserable, then wouldn’t that make God miserable (God forbid!). Do you really believe that God is bland and rigid and narrow? Would it make sense for Him to be opposed to enjoyments that He invented the capacity to enjoy? Could He, being all-knowing, be illogical or whimsical? Would He ask you to believe in something you could not understand, or worse try to make good things out of evil events? Our problem, our failure is in discounting our human logic in terms of common sense. Would someone that reportedly loved me at the same time torture me or confuse me or punish me? Would He do inexplicable horrors to me and my family for some reason I can’t yet understand? You see, it’s not God who told us these things, it’s religion. Religion requests that we suspend our common sense in favor of so-called higher spiritual realities. Religion begs us not to think at all. In this way, religion controls and limits our experience of life. Men and women are herded together on paths leading to failure and loss. When something bad happens to someone, religion points that wrong back at man and how man is living or not living. Pretty soon you become responsible for all of the evils in your life instead of the true cause of your unhappiness and loss. Religion sucks man and I feel sorry for anyone who has gotten sucked into it.

In stark contrast, the things of God make perfect sense. The things of God aren’t opposed to science, they are the forerunner to science. Someone made this world with all of its detail and symmetry. Someone invented the concept of love and forgiveness and kindness. Someone dreamed up the notion of human beings. Do you think you can surprise or shock God with your behaviors and the things you come up with? Is that sexual desire that God built into you really evil or just wrongly expressed? You see, religion gives God a bad rap. It turns Him into something silly and capricious. It makes Him impossible to please and not a loving Father at all. It turns your focus away from the God who alone can deliver you and places it back on yourself where you by yourself are powerless to do anything about your difficulties.

I offer these words in the hopes you can hear what I’m saying and be set free. All of those burdens you are living under; all of that guilt and condemnation; all of that focus on your own imperfection and weakness is not God’s will at all. Instead He asks only that you turn your focus towards Him. Don’t suspend your logic, use your logic! Maybe all that super hard work you have been doing to get to heaven isn’t a requirement to get into heaven at all. Maybe all of that denial of self and pleasure and fun wasn’t something God said, but instead something that people say. What good is a Savior if you still have to save yourself? Why would Jesus have paid for your sins if you still needed to make a payment? The ways of God, the true ways of God never hurt but only help you. God is a Father and no-one loves His children more than Him… You can escape the bondage of religion if you want to and it starts and ends with God. Is religion and its dictates the same as a relationship with God? God forbid…

I love you.

Just some good thoughts…

Connecting the Dots…

Life in its basic essence is spiritual. It originated from a spiritual source (God) who embodies love in every capacity possible. The creation is infused with order and laws that do not change. There are principles that cannot be altered. When the proper chain of reasoning is applied, you cannot fail. But, in order to be successful, you have to connect the dots.

The main reason that people suffer is from not knowing nor understanding the truth. In not knowing, they fall prey to a wicked despot working through the systems of the world to bring heartache and loss. He succeeds by introducing error, which when believed and practiced brings defeat. Though immensely intricate and well thought out, it can be summarized simply as those things that contradict the truth. Fear, which rules the world, is always error. Though it be justified and rationalized and even accepted as part of the human condition, it is man’s basic enemy which must be defeated. In the proportion that men overcome fear, they enjoy health, prosperity and success. In those areas where fear is permitted to remain, they suffer loss. Fear is the primary weapon the adversary uses to control and enslave people. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it is fear. In order to connect the dots, you have to recognize those areas where fear prevails and defeat it.

Fear feeds on and works according to principle; an unchanging principle that God set up for mankind; namely that those things a man believes in his heart will come to pass in his life. When operated positively, a man can overcome any challenge, achieve any result and see the impossible come into reality in his existence. However, believing also has a dark, negative side called fear. Fear is wrong believing. Fear is believing in reverse. Fear is becoming persuaded of some negative, potential outcome and holding onto that imaginary outcome until it too comes to pass in your life. The enemy parasitically leeches off this basic principle to bring evil and pain upon all people. The reason it has worked so successfully is because of man’s ignorance of the truth. Worse, many people aren’t even cognizant that they are afraid as fear has many, many disguises. It shows up as procrastination, as anger, as settling for less than the best, as a loss of enthusiasm and energy. It produces stilted actions, shame and all manner of ingenuine behaviors and hypocritical stage acting. It is life that has stopped moving forward, frozen in place and unable to move freely. It is the antithesis of love and as such is only overcome by love. Properly connecting the dots means to choose love.

Of all of the principles a man can employ in his life, love is the most powerful. God is love. Love activates believing; positive believing which yields phenomenal results. The actions you take in love cannot fail. Love is the great overcomer, able to heal and deliver and rescue from any situation you find yourself in. Love, when properly applied from your heart, melts fear away exposing it for the illusion it always was. Love isn’t just warm feelings but more so warm actions directed towards other people and yourself. Love is a decision made not from repayment but as a free-will offering expecting nothing in return. Love is the truth exemplified in actions. God so loved that He gave! We so love that we give. All men need God’s love and until they receive it are unable to fully love themselves. God loves us into loving ourselves. He looks past our foibles and our failings. He loves us unconditionally without any merit on our part to earn it. He forgives the unforgivable and sets us free from guilt and condemnation. He gave us His son, the perfect for the imperfect, forever liberating mankind from a cruel and hateful opponent. In this life you triumph as you connect the dots that God is love, the source and the originator of it.

Connecting the dots in your life means opening your heart to the truth. It means applying God’s system of logic rather than the world’s dog eat dog logic. It is refusing the endless pursuit of number one in favor of the pursuit of helping meet the needs of number two and three and four. It is shifting your focus away from yourself, your unmet needs, your problems, your difficulties and frustrations and turning them over to someone else; namely God. It is choosing to give instead of always trying to get and then receiving because of it. It is the polar opposite of how the world propounds things work! It is unselfish because it isn’t terrified its own needs won’t be met. It places its trust in the hands of another instead of always trying to figure out everything for itself. Connecting the dots means doing things God’s way, with God’s heart of love and concern for all people.

In these tumultious times we find ourselves in today, don’t fret and get anxious or worry how things are going to turn out. Learn to connect the dots spiritually and see for yourself that God is love and that in Him is no darkness at all. In so doing, not only will you enjoy the life that now is, but also the life that will never end. Connect the dots!

Just some good thoughts…

Hey Hopes and Dreams, Where are You?

Whatever happened to your hopes and dreams? You remember, those things you thought about when you were younger? Those grand ideas you had about being famous or changing the world in meaningful ways, what happened to those plans? Maybe the words “hopes and dreams” are just too big for you. Perhaps it’s easier to think about the direction you wanted to go or where you saw yourself later, capable and successful. Why do those good things we carry in our hearts get stolen from us, or at minimum become greatly obscured? Can you even get your dreams back? Here’s to looking for and finding your lost hopes and dreams!

Maybe the best place to start is to consider what it even means to have hopes or dreams for yourself. Hope always refers to something you cannot have right now. Hope is looking out beyond the horizon of your present and expecting something pleasant in the future. Dreams always have an air of sleepiness in them. A dream is often hazy, nonspecific, cloudy. When we speak of a dreamer, we mean someone with their head in the sky, always reaching out for something good, but never finding it. Maybe we are starting out with the wrong words! Maybe our trouble in locating our hopes and dreams is centered in the vagueness of those terms.

More accurately, we are discussing the goals and plans you had for yourself at one time in your life. If you are anything like me, you have made lots and lots of plans about the future, and like me, carried very few through unto fruition. Why is that? What stops us from following through on our plans? We begin so excited and enthusiastic, but then our excitement fades and back we slink into the mundane. I think it’s deeper than simply being distracted. But, distraction does play a part. We get so caught up in things that don’t matter. We toil and strive, day after day, getting basic things done, leaving little room for the things we value most. We’re earning a living, fulfilling responsibilities, doing life and sadly, there’s little time left over. The world has tricked us into expending our efforts on things that matter, but not the things that cause the biggest impact; the things that matter most.

All of us, being incredibly unique, have something to offer the world. What we have, our gift, is always exhibited in the things we love the most. Those things we do that come easy for us, which when we pursue them, we have no rival. Pursuing a career that offers the most pay and promise, if it doesn’t align with our hearts, at best provides some money, but no satisfaction. We chase the American dream, but it’s not our dream. Our dreams offer not only a blessed future, but the opportunity to live out our full expression. We don’t chase money, we pursue our passion and then the money will follow. Every great person became great doing what they already loved, not what they decided to love to earn success.

Those things that resonate with you and cause a sparkle in your heart, are the things you must follow after. Your task isn’t to become famous or of world renown. Instead, your life work is to follow after the things that make you shine. Seek after the things that make you happy, for in those things your dreams are built! Your task isn’t difficult or vague. You’ve already touched on them and caught glimpses of them as you passed by. They’ve called out to you and in your heart you understood. Honor those feelings and inspect them further. It doesn’t matter if people think they matter. What matters is what they mean to you. Chase them! Track them down! See where they lead you! You become great first by being pretty good, then good, then very good, until finally you arrive at excellent. It’s in excellence your impact is felt. Don’t dog yourself in trying to figure out what is your thing, for your thing already exists in you. What makes your heart beat a little faster? What thing, when you do it, makes time stand still. What work isn’t work at all when you do it? That’s what you have to offer and offer it you must!

Your hopes, your dreams for the future aren’t lost as they live on still in your heart. Your age doesn’t matter. Your position in life doesn’t matter. Your past successes do not matter. What matters is if you will have the courage to pursue them. Deep down you already know what you love. Do what you love. Give what you love. Honor and exalt what you love. Don’t suppress what’s most important to you! Don’t hide it under a bushel. Start small and move from there. Don’t try to plan forever, just plan today. Move on what blesses you today. Start! Start! Start today!

In God’s infinite wisdom and love, He devised a way whereby men and women could help and give to others doing what they themselves loved doing the most! God, who knows you better than you know yourself, put those dreams in your heart because He knows your heart and in pursuing them, you will find joy unspeakable! Don’t make this harder on yourself or add human complication. Choose what you love and chase it, try it, work it, give it, do it! Do you boo! Indeed do you!

As long as you are still drawing breath it’s not too late for your dreams. Live your days in service to others doing the things which you and only you can do the best! Look to help other people and pick them up. Offer them warmth in a cold world. Give them shelter when they are exposed. Give them happiness when they are sad and healing when they are broken. Give them all you have to give, your best things, your gift… And give it to them now…

Just some good thoughts…