It’s Your Fruit…


oranges-1117628_1280.jpgWhenever I see someone really living the life riding in the high places of the earth, after I change my mind to stop ‘hatin’ a little, I have tremendous admiration for them. I admire them because I know they have believed to be who they are and where they are and have received the results of their believing. LeBron James believed to be LeBron James. Sure he came from the factory gifted with size and natural ability, but this whole “King James” business was his own idea. You can apply this with breathtaking accuracy to any successful person you see. You can also apply this with the same mathematical exactness to any failure you might observe, even your own. The life that you are living at this very moment in time is the result of those thoughts and beliefs you have held dear. Your frustrations, your sufferings, your pains have all come about as a result of what you have believed and continue in accordance with those beliefs. The results in your life, good or bad, are your fruit and by your fruit you are known!

It’s such a tragedy that so many people limp through life reacting to circumstances for which they have unknowingly believed. They do not want those circumstances but their thoughts and beliefs encourage them instead of thwarting and slaying them! The world, with all of its negativity, works you over day by day, without your consent or even your awareness. It’s feeding you messages of struggle and defeat while at the same lauding celebrities famous for being famous. It looks like the things you so desperately need are too hard or too far away. The goal? Talking you into settling for less than the best and accepting mediocrity and failure. Here’s a simple experiment. Read the following statement: You deserve the very best in life. Say it out loud to yourself! “You deserve the very best in life, Tony!” Now, be honest and observe your reaction to that statement. Where did your mind trim that back a little? “Well, I don’t need the best, but pretty good will work.” Or maybe you don’t feel you deserve the best. Or is it too late now for you to receive the very best? Whatever your mind came up with in opposition to that statement, is a lie; a wrong belief, that limits your success. Why wouldn’t you as the only you, you have, deserve the very best expectations from you for you? Don’t make this about God. This is about you in the realm that you control!

While you may find yourself a bit defeated in this life or maybe you have had some wind taken out of your sails, be encouraged and comforted in this, namely that you can change your thoughts and thus change, remedy or repair your life. You’re going to need God’s help, but trust me, His first expectation from you is for you to change your thoughts. He’s really, really, really good at His job, but He isn’t going to do your job no matter how much you pray! Change your mind. You determine the speed and pace in which your life transforms. Radical life changes require radical thought changes. You see, this thought thing is so much larger than you may have imagined before. I’m not talking about thinking something positive from time to time, I’m talking about monitoring and reshaping your thoughts throughout a day, day after day, one day at a time. Find something true from God’s Word that you can use to counter the darkness. Then seriously and diligently work on it!

Circumstances are not lined up against you, they’re lined up against all of us. The difference lies only in what you will and will not accept as true. Things are not true because they look true or seem true or are factually true, they are true if God says they are true. In similar fashion, you are not who you might see in the mirror, chubby or slim, or the results you have obtained in this life, or your successes or your failures, your mistakes or your good deeds. You are who God says you are, no exceptions! The only way to break the chains of previous results and former losses is to view yourself and your life in an entirely new light. No matter how it may look, you have control over those circumstances, albeit indirectly.

The fruit evident in your life at this very moment, delightful or rotten, is of your own making and owned entirely by you. Your life is like a full feature movie with you as the producer. You are the one deciding upon the beginning, the middle and the ending. You can write a dramatic success story or you can write a sorrowful saga. But, make no mistake, you are the writer, the editor, the producer! You may choose to modify your story or you can choose to ride the waves of circumstance. If you just go with the flow, then the flow may take you places you didn’t want to go. How many times have you heard someone say, “I didn’t think my life would end up this way.” The only way your life ends up in a place you didn’t choose is by turning over the reigns of choice and control to someone or something else. No action, no directed and focused thought is also an action, a passive one leading away from and not towards your dreams.

This incredibly short life with all of its ups and downs is one vast classroom whereby you may decide to learn how it works and modify yourself to fit within the existing framework or you can continue to fight against the circumstances you created and blame God, the culture, the economy, your momma or whatever else neatly takes away responsibility from yourself! The choice is yours my friend. The choice has always been yours…

Just some good thoughts…

The Masked Masquerader…


miHBCkTxAbhSSNLndoSF7mgThere is a mysterious force moving and thriving in the world today. That force works behind the scenes to bring about frustration, unhappiness and misery. It comes in many facades and generally goes about undetected. Almost unbelievably, it has the ability to thwart and negate even the promises of God from coming to pass in a person’s life (Yes, it’s that big). If you ask a man if he is affected by it, his answer will almost always be, “No!” He doesn’t see it because it wears a mask and behind the mask lies the greatest masquerader of all time. It’s name you ask? Despite a thousand confusing disguises, it’s name is always FEAR…

When people think of fear, they quickly point to the feeling you get when you are being chased by a rabid dog. Or maybe the rumbling that occurs in the pit of your belly when a jumbo jet experiences heavy turbulence. Or perhaps that call you get from the hospital concerning one of your children. While all of those things are a clear representation of fear, the reality is that it is usually much more subtle than that. If it was obvious, you would quickly take the steps to remedy the situation. Run!!!!!!!!! But, it’s seldom obvious and for that reason, holds a man in bondage his whole lifetime.

You’ve heard me say before that believing is what brings things to pass in your life. But, did you know that fear is also believing? Fear is negative believing and brings negative things to pass with the same efficacy as it does on the positive side. What you fear, you get! Fear is the only thing that ever defeats the promises of God because man’s decision to be afraid rather than trust absolutely negates God’s ability to save him from his dilemma! Oh, say it aint so! Well, it is ‘so’ and to be otherwise would require God to completely rewrite the rules of life. Instead of bucking up against what is, why not learn to recognize and eliminate fear everywhere and anywhere it shows up?

In order to defeat fear, you must first recognize how it presents itself in your life. It shows up as depression, which points to something sucking away your life and energy. It appears as frustration, which falsely presumes there is no solution. It masquerades as worthlessness, implying you have to become a better person before God will bless you (predominately found in religion). It goes by the name “stress” which quietly contemplates a negative outcome. It wears a mask called “anxiety” which reveals an underlying and misplaced fear of life itself and all of its potential pitfalls. It goes by the misnomer “concern” which attempts to legitimize its existence. It is found in every unfulfilled and unsatisfied life and, in secret, is the cause of it. It is the polar opposite of love from which it rightfully has no place.

It enters your life through doubt, then gains ground by worry and finally reveals its ugliest head of all…FEAR.  It brings your life to a standstill. It is “sand in the machinery of life.” It impedes your progress and once it catches you, closes the prison doors all around you. It shouts there is no way out, which is a lie from the father of lies (there is always a way out!). It brings about disaster and chaos. It is trouble to your soul and with its agitation, steals your peace. It is the root of everything you don’t desire and the force that has tried to thwart your every move. It is evil and must be overcome!

Logically, the first step to overcoming fear is to recognize that you have it. There’s no room for John Wayne bravado because the proof is in the pudding. Depressed? …Fear! Frustrated? …Fear! Unfulfilled and dissatisfied? …Fear! Life not turning out how you dreamed it would? …Fear! Things going south on you on a perpetual basis? …Fear! You just have to get honest with yourself. If you are agitated and restless and bored, you have some fear back there you haven’t yet seen. To hell with its disguises, it’s fear and the sooner you own up to it the better. There’s no shame in being afraid. It’s wrong, but all of us came from the factory born with it. The shame is in parading around with “no fear” bumper stickers, while sitting on the couch of your mind in quiet, desperate misery!

Once you finally get honest (and praise the Lord for that day), you will begin to see (if you want to) just how much fear has been ruling your life. And, like any demolition project, you just have to start working away at it, one brick at a time. Now, removing bricks alone won’t make it happen. Instead, you have to replace those bricks with truth (found in over 900 promises in your Bible). Find and speak truth to that old, liar fear knowing that truth; truth believed, is the only thing that can defeat it. It won’t happen overnight, because you didn’t become ruled by fear overnight. But, and trust me on this, it will happen. You’ll be encouraged along the way by this weird, odd feeling called “peace and contentment.” You’ll get better at detecting its presence. You’ll actually start to see through the mask and spot that old masquerader behind it.  You will once again begin to experience life in all of its grandeur; it’s excitement; its pregnant possibilities. And best of all, you’ll find the love that has been waiting there for you all along!

For God has not given you the spirit of fear, but of POWER and of LOVE and of a SOUND MIND.            II Timothy 1:7

It doesn’t really matter how long you have been living in the prison-house of fear. What matters is that you find the way to escape. You aint gonna do it without God, so don’t try it. Just get real soul-honest and reach up to the One who made you! Hey, He hears you and this blog is from Him to you (and me)!

Fear not my friends. Fear not!

Just some good thoughts…

The Yoke’s on You…


slavery-tmFear is the silent epidemic that thwarts all hopes and dreams. Fear is the great hold-back and reason you procrastinate. Fear is the imposing wall between you and everything you ever wanted. Fear rules the entire world and few escape its grasp. Fear is your worst and most pervasive enemy. Fear is a yoke of slavery and the yoke is on you!

Nothing in life retards your progress like fear does. Fear stops you dead in your tracks. Fear will make you turn back when you need to move ahead. It works to silence the voice that is truly yours and ever seeks to make you into someone you are not. And although all these things are probably very obvious, folks just march on frustrated and working hard, pretending and faking; trying and trying; hoping and wishing, with little or no results.

You would think that the hardest thing in the world was actually getting what you want given the amount of energy you have spent trying to arrive. Now, I don’t mean getting some needs met here and there. I’m talking about being and doing everything you ever wanted to do. I’m referring to that “more than abundant” life God promised His children. I’m getting at the A+ life! That dream life, however it looks to you, is waiting around for you; not to figure everything out but to get rid of the obstacle, the blocker, the real effin’ problem…fear! Funny (peculiar) everyone denies its existence and everyone lives under its yoke. Again the yoke is on you!

It’s time to get honest folks. It’s high time to recognize the real issue. It’s not the economy, racism; where you live; your upbringing, the police; your education level, climate change, the terrorists, politics, money or lack thereof; your IQ, EQ or Ps and Qs, it’s you! Just let that sink in for a minute… Everything you really, really want but don’t have is because of your fear.  Obliterate the anxiety ridden doubt. Cast off the heavy burden, worry. Kill off every semblance of fear and you will find every good thing you desire. You’ll find it because it is already there, well hidden by the obscuring, deadening clouds of fear.

If you really want to live the A+ life and find the contentment and fulfillment you know deep down you desperately need, invest yourself in eliminating fear. Nothing good can come from bad no matter the disguise. Bad begets bad and fear is bad. If your motive is fear, for anything you do, the result can only be more fear. If you work hard out of fear, you won’t succeed. If you give to others based on fear, you won’t enjoy a harvest. Fear is an illusion. Fear is an expectation of defeat. Fear, through deception, brings negative results into your life. Fear is always about you. And, the only lasting solution to fear is love.

Love is the light that illuminates your path. Love isn’t blind, it’s just willing to see less. Love nurtures and encourages and builds. Love is never discouraged or impatient or frustrated. Love heals and revitalizes. Love warms and softens. Love removes every yoke. Love knows that what it seeks always comes to pass and there’s no power on earth greater than it. Love never fails. God is love.

The only possible way you can finally escape from the yoke of fear is by making the decision to love. So simple, yet so profoundly difficult. Real love isn’t all about you, it’s all about everyone else. Love doesn’t have time to sulk and brood and feel sorry for itself. Love doesn’t take what it already has for granted. Love doesn’t judge and criticize and condemn. Love seeks to relieve the suffering in others. Love wants to lend a helping hand. Love gives and gives and gives expecting nothing in return. Love speaks lavish words of kindness. Love forgives everything and everyone, knowing the true source of the wrong done. Love is tender-hearted and not afraid of revealing itself, for there is nothing wrong in itself. Love is the only enduring answer.

When you head out into the world tomorrow, instead of bracing yourself to be bold and brave and courageous; taking on fear wherever it shows up, do something different instead. Stop making it about you and make it about someone else. Quit pursuing your life’s dreams and help make someone else’s dream a reality. Love those people around you that you take for granted everyday. Love those people all around you. Just love them. Speak words of kindness and encouragement. Let your real heart out without fear of someone hurting it. Give your goodness to those folks at work. Have compassion on them and forgive them. Look deeply into their eyes and honestly seek their good. Heal them, help them, love them. Perfect love casts out fear.

The funny (peculiar) thing about love is that when you do it with all of your heart, all that you ever wanted for yourself comes to you without effort and striving and trying so hard. The door will open without you knocking. The opportunity will arise from the place you least expected. Your place, your purpose will find you because you finally found it, by deciding to love. So “funny” that getting everything you ever wanted was never based on pursuing everything you ever wanted, but rather by changing your focus to someone else.

The yoke’s on them, so why not help remove it?

Just some good thoughts…

Just Who Exactly Do You Think You Are!


who-do-you-think-you-areThat little title says more about your life than any other thing I can think of! Who you think you are is exactly who you are in stunning detail and ultimately determines every success, every failure; your results or lack thereof. If you think of yourself as a victim, you will be victimized on every turn. If you think you are always the one that comes up short, then you will always come up short. If you think the “good life” is reserved for others, then don’t be surprised that your life ain’t so good.

To this point you may have underestimated the result  “what you think of yourself” has on you, but it is perhaps the largest cause for the effects you experience. But, it happens with such subtlety that most folks miss it for a lifetime. Despite what you may have heard, no-one’s life is predetermined or destined. The idea of being born with a certain destiny absolves you of responsibility for your life. And trust me, whether in ignorance or just plain laziness, you are responsible. The Good Lord gave you something that can make your life whatever you wish it to be. That thing is the ability to think and subsequently believe. Believing knows no boundaries and overcomes all difficulty, no matter the severity. But always before believing comes thinking…

Have you ever tried to track down the things you are saying to yourself throughout a day? Once you start actually paying attention, you may be horrified at the result. You are going to hear yourself criticizing yourself. You are going to recognize your own negative expectation. And you will find your internal chatter has something to say about every situation you find yourself in. Most of the time it’s negative. It’s not negative because that’s how life is, it’s negative because that’s how you have become in response to life. The test? You didn’t think that way as a child!

Like anything that breaks from the status quo, at first it’s hard to get a handle on. You may even feel like you are lying to yourself. But in reality, up to this point, that’s all you have been doing – lying to yourself. Things don’t always have to turn out badly. Symptoms and indicators don’t always lead to negative results. What it looks like and what it ‘seems’ like are not the end result. The end result is what you accept as the end result before the end result shows up. (Read that again…) In order to get your unruly mind under control you have to first challenge those offending thoughts. Have you ever had an anxiety attack? Anxiety attacks are result of many unchallenged thoughts, now misplaced and coming back in a generalized form. You have to slow down and pay attention to your thoughts. Just because you thought something doesn’t make it true. Wait, hear that one again with volume. JUST BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT SOMETHING DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE! You see, web as a society have become so trained that we falsely conclude that everything we think is true. (And everything we read for that matter).

Once you have gathered the energy necessary to pay attention to your thoughts, next you must challenge the negatives. You do this by telling yourself, “that’s not true” and then saying what is true. “Well, that doesn’t feel right!” So what! Neither did riding a bike the first time you did it. Once you develop this new habit, you will be successfully modifying your thoughts, which modifies your believing; which leads to the change you desire.

Believe it or not, your mind is neutral. You give things the meanings they have for you. Take, for example, the circumstances you find yourself in. Those circumstances are not your destiny. They are simply an accurate reflection of what you have already been thinking/expecting. Thus your circumstances are no indicator of what you can be, but rather a reflector of what you used to be. As James Allen once said, “Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself.”

As someone who has practiced these principles for a very long time, I can tell you that it is not easy to see your life differently than it is today. But to make any real change you must! And the easiest way to do it is by starting today. In fact, start right now. Watch your thoughts and begin the process right now. Thankfully God had so ordered life that we only have to concern ourselves with the present day. So begin today. Deeply reflect on what I’m sharing with you and begin to make the change. Rid your mind of negatives and defeat. Put behind you all of your judgments and condemnations. Lay aside that thinking that drives you bonkers and choose life. Harboring and dwelling on negative ideas doesn’t prepare you for things to some, it only serves to keep open the possibility that those things may come! Deny the possibility!

Just who exactly do you think you are? It should be everything you ever dreamed and hoped it would be. It is YOUR life and you have only one short life my friends, to learn this lesson. Learn it and apply it today!

Just some good thoughts…