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…

Taming Your Wild and Crazy Mind…


your-thoughtsI suppose it wouldn’t matter much what you thought about if your thoughts had no effect on your life. If your life wasn’t governed by what you believe and what you believe wasn’t determined by what you think about the most, there would be no point in trying to get that unruly beast (your mind) under control. But alas, your thoughts do form the basis of what you believe and what you believe deep in your heart is the wellspring from which your entire life flows out (or lack thereof).

Of all of the things in life you can control, nothing is more important or potentially life-giving than controlling your thoughts. It’s almost amusing to most folks, this insane notion that you can control your thoughts. In these frenetic times of visual, electronic images, overloaded and multiplied indefinitely, available in front of you, on your side and in your hand; calm, singular and controlled thought is highly discouraged or even considered boorish. Well, don’t you believe that for a second!

Many people today just sort of limp through life. They drag along day by day filled with anxiety, stress, depression, boredom and a general lack of zest for living. And sadly, they’ve done it for so long that they think that’s just the way life is. They fail, disastrously, to make the connection between what appears in their life and what they think about the most. Subsequently, your life may be summed up in one simple question. “What do you believe is going to happen in your life?” If life for you is one continuous stream of things going wrong, negative events occurring, and disasters looming over the horizon, you have to ask yourself what kind of thoughts have you been incubating in your mind. Fear and anxiety are not a natural part of life, they are aberrations that come about by entertaining and focusing on the wrong things. Then when the catastrophe strikes, you exclaim, “I knew it!” Well, you did know it because you cooperated with “it” by allowing it to remain in your thinking. Disaster, catastrophe, hardship, difficulty and pain are not random at all, though they appear to be. They are pointed and specific and come about by man’s cooperation with evil by failing to control what he will and will not think about or failure to properly believe what is true. Man absent the truth is an anxiety machine ever churning out products to his own suffering.

Life in its simplest form boils down to two distinct realities; light and darkness, love and fear, good and evil, right and wrong, truth and error; all an alternate way to say the same thing.  As you live your own life, you are making decisions and choices everyday. You don’t get what you want, you get what you choose. If you choose to persist in something you know is wrong, no matter how rebellious, apathetic or careless you feel about it, you will continue to get the wrong results in your life. Oh you can cling to it; get real damn angry about it, justify it infinitely, but it will still continue to bring to you what, at its core it is, whether you like it or not. Many times that inner turmoil you are experiencing doesn’t need to be resolved by medication, it needs to be resolved by your decision to stop doing that thing (or maybe do that thing less)! You decide what that thing is… This isn’t some religious call to dissect and pick apart your life. That sort of thinking is just as bad (as you probably have already experienced). This is a sober reality check, pointing out that only good can come from good and only bad can come from bad. It doesn’t matter what the world says, it matters what the truth is!

Worldly, so-called spiritual leaders always seem to shame and malign material prosperity, as if having an abundance is somehow not spiritual. Well, here’s a quick newsflash for you. Life is a helluva lot easier with some resources than it is without them. Don’t you kid yourself. If you car breaks down and costs $2,000 dollars to fix it, it’s hardly a flinch in your thought life if you’ve got plenty of money to fix it. If you don’t, it’s an emergency. Accordingly, God’s will for you is abundance! So, back to the core issue, namely what do you think about material prosperity? Does it elude you like a gazelle escaping clutches of a lion? If so, that is a choice you are making in your thoughts. It doesn’t matter that every previous generation in your family had very little. What matters is what do you think or believe will happen in your life. Can you see it? The limit, the dividing line isn’t the world, it’s you.

Nowadays disease is at an epidemic level. Almost everyone seems to have something. Sickness and disease are not God’s will. Our imperfect bodies (not intended by God) sometimes fall prey to sickness. Fearful, worried, anxious thinking weakens our immune system and opens the door for illness. You may wonder why you are always so sick, but fail to consider that your thoughts are sick. Your mind and your body engage in a delicate dance with one responding to the other. Often your body is trying to tell you that something is wrong with your thoughts. Occasionally your body forces you to escape the frenetic pace you’ve engaged in and lays you up for a few days. Naturally some diseases carry a larger price tag. The “C” word for most threatens pending doom. Yet, even in the midst of life threatening cancer, you still have a choice. For God, healing you of cancer is no different from healing you of a common cold. So even in that arduous, fear inducing condition, you can choose to believe what God says and control your thoughts to keep the invader out. It doesn’t matter how you feel. What matters is what is true.

You can control that unruly beast called your mind. You can also let it go, wherever it is being led. But beware, and know, that if you aren’t leading it, something else is and that “something” does not wish you well. Instead, learn what to think and what is true. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You can turn your entire life around. You can change any aspect or part. You can acquire material abundance and be healed from everything that ever went wrong. You can, my friends, and you will if you’ll only learn one thing – how to control your thinking, for your thoughts form the basis of your heart; the wellspring from which your entire life flows out! Make a good choice..

Just some good thoughts…

The Death Spiral of the Negative Mind…


shutterstock_80347894A great man once said, “Negatives are like mosquitos on a blood hunt!” The world in which you and I live is ruled by negativity. The media is negative. Facebook is negative. The news is negative. Living in the world, we almost cannot help but become negative. So you have to ask yourself, is all this negativity the natural way to be? Does being negative simply mean you are being realistic? Is it better to be negative and thus avoid getting your expectations dashed? Does negativity actually motivate you to become something good? Have you, my friend, become negative yourself?

What does it even mean to be negative? In math terms a negative is a number less than zero. To answer in the negative means to say no! A negative attitude is characterized as disagreeable. It closely ties to criticism and refusal. In photography it means to have the light and the darkness inverted. Now just stop right there for a moment. Deciding to be negative means less than nothing. You choose to say no rather than yes. You tend towards being disagreeable rather than promoting harmony. (Facebook anyone) It enjoys criticism and refuses rather than accepts. It means you’ve got your light and darkness mixed up. Indeed, your light and darkness are mixed up.

Remember when you were a youngster? How long did your negativity last? 10 minutes, when Mom said no? Then you got back to your pursuit of happiness as quickly as you could. You somehow chose, with your innocent processor, to let disagreeable stuff go and change your focus back to the good. Then the world starting mixing you up. It convinced you that you were less than zero. It taught you to say no to everything and be suspicious of anything good that showed up. People tried to tell you but you disagreed because you knew better. You got real critical of everything and everyone and mostly with yourself. Finally, you started to confuse the darkness with the light and even preferred it. You refused the goodness as fanciful and believed the darkness is what is real. Thus you entered the death spiral of negativity with no hope on the horizon. Is this not true? How many people just expect things not to work out? How many folks are afraid of good things happening because they won’t last or something is going to take them away? How many good people spend their lives looking over their shoulder and waiting for the other shoe to drop? How many kind hearts live in perpetual fear of what might happen, hasn’t happened yet, but is surely going to happen one day? The Death Spiral…

Once you allow yourself to become negative, your focus shifts to the negative. You start looking for the negatives. You’re just looking for trouble and almost always find it. Then, one negative event leads to another negative event and the cycle is in full effect. The problem isn’t life and the reality that bad things happen. The problem is that you got talked into shifting away your focus from what you want to what you don’t want! Your dreams and your prayers went from, “I want” and “I need” to “Please don’t let” and “Please take this away from me.” Instead of being thankful; so extremely thankful, you dwelled on what you don’t have and why you don’t have it. Negative…less than zero, can you see it? Here’s a newsflash that you might find unsettling. Your life will continue on the death spiral until YOU decide to change your thoughts. YOU have to get YOUR head out of the garbage can and look up. Look to where you want to go and go there! Stop looking back and rehearsing the hurts of the past. Stop dwelling on the things that didn’t go right. Stop blaming, criticizing, refusing and ruminating, and just move your mind to a positive place. Until you do, this old world will just eat you alive….every day…until you die.

The opposite of negativity is being positive. Now, because people have their light and dark messed up, they want to chastise you for being positive. You stick out like a healed thumb! You’re not being realistic. You’re not thinking maturely. You’re being all Pollyanna and foolish. LOL! As if expecting the worst of everything makes any sense. As if the reality of life is suffering and never blessings. As if grown ups are supposed to be miserable. As if being lighthearted and jolly is worse than feeling melancholy and depressed. As if…

People that say those things don’t yet understand life. Life isn’t some predestined ride ending in a destination you don’t get to choose. God does not have the dice loaded against you. If anything is loaded against you it is your misunderstanding of the control you have in your life. It is you, not clearly recognizing that your tendency toward negativity actually produces bad results as your tendency toward positivity actually produces good results. It is YOUR life and YOU are producing something. Seems only reasonable that you would want to produce something good.

Why not separate yourself from the herd and start expecting good things? Look, do the math! If you expect something good 75% of the time and the good only happens 50% of the time, I’d say that beats the hell out of below zero! I’ll bet many of you would pay good money for something positive happening 10% of the time. And, while you are separating yourself from the herd, start separating yourself from the negativity. Stop watching the stupid news. Stop getting caught up in racial, political and economical debates on Facebook. Stop letting people and friends and relatives convince you of things that aren’t true.  Choose the light. Choose the things that encourage you and help you. Choose to believe that there is another way; God’s way and He is the one who dreamed this whole thing up…

Once you start smacking at the mosquitos they start to overwhelm you. Just go inside, it’s easier…

Just some good thoughts…

Living in the Sun…


SunshineForestFall in Utah is perhaps my favorite time of the year. The sun is shining, but unlike the summer, the sun is sort of lowering and producing shadows. The grass looks greener, the mountains look more brown, everything just looks so wonderful! Bliss… So, I’ve learned over the years that God often teaches us valuable lessons in the physical realm that apply most vividly to the mental and the spiritual. With that in mind, so I write…

Our mind has been compared to a garden and we have the glorious privilege of choosing the environment in which it grows (or doesn’t grow…). Sunny thoughts encourage it to thrive and produce a bountiful harvest. Dark, negative thoughts choke the life out of it. But glory hallelujah, we decide! So have you ever wondered why, when we get to choose our thoughts, we would ever choose darkness? Why, when we cast the final vote, would we ever pick dark thoughts?? I know, I know,  mentally you are challenging me right now. After all, life isn’t always positive, is it? Bad stuff threatens and some times actually happens. The world is negative; the Internet is negative; the people surrounding you might be negative. Darkness literally surrounds us. All of this is true, but we don’t have to acquiesce to it unless we choose to.

Hey, I’m a person just like you are. I don’t live in a fantasy land and am oh so aware of the challenges of life. I would be lying if I said otherwise. I feel pain, discouragement and defeat just like you do. I know where you are coming from. But here’s something you need to consider deeply. Maybe, just maybe you and I have been trained in the ways of the world. Maybe we have been unknowingly practicing error for so long that it just feels natural now. Maybe we simply assumed that everyone lives this way and it is just part of being a human being. Maybe? Have you ever learned how to do something incorrectly like swinging a golf club or shooting a basketball or typing with two fingers (which I am doing as we speak)? If so, you know how difficult it is to retrain your mind to do it a different way. You have to consciously work at it! It is hard work; very hard work! But amazingly on those rare occasions when you do it properly (thinking of golf swings now) how effortless it feels. There it is man! Effortless and simple is right, arduous and complicated is wrong. How many times have you heard that life is complicated? Well it is, but only because we have been trying to grow flowers in an unlit closet.

Now, back to what you habitually think. Imagine this scenario… Life is going well; you are happy and good things are happening. Tadaaaaa, the sun is shining! Then you pause to think about it and suddenly you find yourself wondering what could go wrong and just when it is going to happen. Enter the clouds and goodbye happy times. Here’s another… You go to the doctor because something hurts. You aren’t sure why and you go to get some help. Since you don’t know what is going on, you now have two choices about what you are going to think. Which thoughts did YOU choose? You chose terminal disease didn’t you? You see, you have been trained to think that way. It isn’t reality you are considering, it is a choice you are making. And while that choice is ongoing, you spend hours and days worrying about “your reality” that isn’t even reality. A week later, after the labs come back, your diagnosis is a minor infection and you are prescribed some antibiotics. You get better, but you can never get that week back you wasted in the shadows. Play that scenario out much longer and you end up never being able to get back the last twenty years you lived mired in fear. Do some folks get diagnosed with terminal diseases? Sure they do. Bad stuff can still happen. But, you my friend can greatly influence what happens by what you choose to think and thus believe.

This might sound silly to you, but I would rather live 50 years expecting the best and being surprised by a bad thing happening than live every day in fear of that one bad thing happening. To go one step further, in the spiritual realm there are also two choices. One is the eternal sunshine and one is a temporary darkness. How you think; what you think; what you choose decides which spiritual influence gains access to your life. Living in a perpetual cloud of negativity, knowingly or unknowingly, introduces you to a world where tragedy and suffering are the norm. Living in the sunshine doesn’t guarantee it won’t ever rain or storm, but when it does you’re still connected to the Source that always makes light shine out of darkness! And, along the way, you are going to get a helluva good tan and produce a bumper crop!

Please make up your mind today that you are going to step out of the shadows and into the eternal sunshine. Start now. Take your mind (get it..your mind) to task and get it into the light. Don’t do it alone though. Talk to the One that worked in me to write this and ask some questions; lots of questions. He will show you what to do in specifics. Heck, He tells me and I’m nowhere near as good as you! 😉

There’s nothing comparable to living life in the sun… Nothing!

Just some good, sunny thoughts!

Shoulda…Woulda…Coulda…


“You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.”  (On the Waterfront, circa 1954) Sorry for using an old movie reference, but how many times have you engaged in the shoulda…woulda…coulda mentality?  I cannot think of a mental state more pointless or more damaging than focusing on what you should have done, would have done or could have done, when you already done did it!  (bad grammar used for emphasis…)  The laws of life being what they are, none of us can go back in time and change one iota of what happened even five minutes ago, no matter how much we wish we could.  Oh I feel you – I also wish I coulda, but I can’t.  So why even bother to do that to ourselves? 

Let’s start by understanding what you “shoulda” done.  First, you cannot judge your ‘past’ decisions in light of your ‘present’ understanding.  Let me say that again, you cannot judge your ‘past’ decisions in light of your ‘present’ understanding.  All of us make decisions about various things and we make those decisions based on our understanding in that present moment.  For example, you get into a bad habit of going out to the club and having drinks and then driving home.  You know it’s not a good idea really, but you feel you aren’t totally impaired and can handle it.  After all, nothing happened the last four times you did it.  Then, with some wrong thinking conditioning in place, you try it again expecting the same result and woooooooo, wooooooo, woooooo you get pulled over.  You fail the breathalyzer and get a DUI!  Ouch, license suspended, large fine, can’t get to work, court dates etc., etc.  You made a bad decision based on your thinking at the time.  Maybe you “shoulda” known better, but we will get to the ‘shoulda’ later.  The reality is that you made a bad decision and got burned for it.  It happened!  Now, I am guessing that you give some serious thought to taking that chance again (at least I hope…)  In other words, you might not make that choice today knowing what you know now.  But the choice you made back then…you already made.  Now, here’s where the self-abuse really kicks in.  You spend the next six months or however long you remain license-less, kicking yourself for being so stupid, so ignorant, so reckless!  Why?  Can you hear me?  Why?  You already made the mistake and in this case, already paid the price.  Lamenting, kicking yourself, beating yourself, berating yourself, does absolutely nothing to remedy the situation and does not in any way make you a better person.  You weren’t a bad person to begin with!  You made a bad choice, suffered some pain and learned a tough lesson.  End of story.  The rest of the self-flagellation is not the voice of God, my friends, it is you condemning yourself for an event you cannot undo.  The voice of God would tell you to let it go because Jesus Christ paid the price for every foolish, silly, lamentable, wrong, grievous, wacky, crazy, perverted, heinous thing you or I ever did!  Did you get that?  Every wrong thing!  So, in God’s sight what’s important is not what we ‘shoulda’ done, but rather what we do right now.  God won’t turn back the hands of time (though He did do that once in the Bible, in a different context) no matter how much we beg.  (trust me…been there, done that!)  So, spare yourself some lost time and just let it go.  Learn what you can learn and move on. 

Woulda is a similar animal to his brother shoulda.  How many times have you thought about what you would have done?  How about how very different things would have been if only you would have gone to school, would have paid more attention to him/her, would have earned more money, would have worked harder, studied more, gave more effort…if only, if only and more if only.  Okay, you know what I’m going to say, right?  You know today what you know today because of what you learned yesterday and the day before and the day before…ad infinitum (without end).  You cannot possibly put your wiser today brain in your less wise yesterday brain.  Just like you “can’t put an old head on a young body.”  Please forgive the cliché.  I used to lament the fact that I should have taken to writing when I was 25 instead of the present age (sssh), but you know what?  I did not have the capacity to organize even one thought when I was 25 let alone many thoughts.  So, you know what you know, when you know it, not a day before and not a day after.  Capiche?  You arrive when you get there, not when you are almost there or after you are already there.  You did what you wanted to do at the time because it made sense at the time.  Sure, now you would have done it differently, but alas now was not then.  Be a little kinder to yourself and stop doing that.  If what you would have done is still that important, do it now!  If you can’t do it now (I mean really can’t…i.e. play professional baseball) choose another passion and do that now!  Really!

Okay so if you aren’t totally lost in clichés, fragmented words and similar word sentences by now, let’s get to the last but certainly not least beast, “the couldas.”  Of the three, the ‘could have beens’ are the worst.  They are the worst because they represent regrets.  How sad regrets are, you know?  Sad, but unprofitable in every way.  Logically, what can I do about something that could have been, but wasn’t?  There is no end to what could have been, is there?  In the end, what I wanted to do – I did.  What you wanted to do – you did.  It may have been a poor choice; an uninformed choice, a deceived choice, an immature choice, a selfish choice or a silly choice, but in the end we chose it and it is what it is.  Regret is poison to your soul; a poison that corrupts the beauty of today.  If you regret not telling your children more how much you loved them, tell them more now.  If you regret not telling your mom how much you loved her when she was alive, trust me, if you love her that much now, then you loved her that much then, and she knew that even if you didn’t say it as much as you wished.  If you regret that you never went to college, go to college now.  Do you get it?  Don’t poison yourself with thoughts of what could have been, instead embrace today; embrace your life right now and do the thing now!  Now is all we have my friends, right now.  Life just doesn’t last long enough for regrets…

Replace all of those pointless “shoulda…woulda…couldas” with the life you are blessed to live today.  Live today as if it is your last and be everything you ever wanted to be right now.  The world needs your goodness today. The world needs your love today.  The world needs your achievements today.  Be kind to yourself, love yourself and don’t spend a moment in the past.  In the end, that’s the only thing that you ‘shoulda’ ‘woulda’ and ‘coulda’ done!