Wasted Days and Wasted Nights…


dam_asset_image-27230920200606-6634-14jvdp4Every day you spend in fear, in anxiety, bound to some potential, negative future outcome is a wasted day. Whenever your options for living are limited, reduced, paired down and minimized, you are being stolen from and subsequently your life is being wasted. Each new day is a glorious opportunity to live and experience and pursue, but when distractions enter in, you begin to unknowingly squander away your days fixated on the wrong things; looking in the wrong direction, missing the life that was given you to enjoy. How many people find themselves living wasted days and wasted nights?

Life, undistracted and unencumbered, has within it a certain energy level; a vital life force; the capacity to do all that you ever want to do. In its most basic essence, life naturally contains the vitality and excitement necessary to sustain you and render you contented and satisfied. Yet, on the other side of that life, an opponent works behind the scenes to steal from you that which was yours to enjoy. And like the robber that creeps in undetected, you are unable to recognize the theft occurred until long after the valuables are gone. So many people today only half live. Sure they are going through the motions and dutifully carrying out the day’s responsibilities, but they are not really living. They spend their days consumed with negative potentialities and that nagging, annoying something back there claiming they cannot really live and experience because of something soon to appear to thwart their efforts. Instead of moving forward they sort of hover there, caught up and entangled in something too elusive to lay ahold of or recognize. They know something is wrong, but cannot quite put their finger on it. All they know for sure is that their life has been reduced, hemmed in, hindered in some vague way; some undetectable way. 

Whenever you are feeling bored; trapped in predictable routines; mired in responsibilities and rules for living, you are being stolen from. One by one the things you enjoy are questioned and subsequently curtailed to the point where your enjoyments all must be censored, contained and controlled. God forbid you start having too much fun. Enjoyments need to be only half enjoyed and all supposed excesses reigned in and brought under subjection. Soon you find that all your enjoyments have been scaled down to acceptable levels, leaving you, the one called into question, questioning all of your choices; limiting all of your fun; afraid to experience and live. You’ve become irresponsible in your responsibilities. You are super safe and at the same time, almost dead. You don’t go too far, but you also don’t go far enough. You have been tricked into thinking that all fun, all good times, all enjoyments should be questioned, while never considering the source of your constraints. You consider that maybe God favors the bland lifestyle and all apparent good should be reexamined. In this, you have been deceived. Life is to be enjoyed and routine, rote, unthinking behaviors excluded at all costs. 

Much of our wasted days and wasted nights are centered in an over preoccupation with self. What a dichotomy that pursuit of self leaves you with an unhappy self. The more you look inward; the more you evaluate and assess; the more you focus on your own emotions and your own feelings, the unhappier you become. You feel as if you are getting to the bottom of you, but you are not. You seek to discover yourself and instead discover everything but yourself. Self-focus distracts you from your life. You cannot see the moment you are in. You cannot experience others because your are experiencing your own self and every fleeting emotion associated with self. This is a deception of untold proportions. You falsely assume that if you can just get to the bottom of you, all will be well. However, there is no bottom of you of which to arrive. Instead there is nothing but imperfection more closely examined leading nowhere. But, once you turn away fully from almighty self, you quickly find joy and peace and the energy to live. You experience not you at the center of all things, but you experiencing all things of which you are not the center. 

Wasted days and wasted nights are the by-products of distraction. Whatever distracts takes away from that which is real, genuine, true. Distractions concerning worries and fears blind you to the true essence and blessings in your life and slowly, but surely, grind your life to a halt. Distractions concerning behaving properly or not sinning, not making God unhappy, not being good, not being worthy, rob your life of fun times and work to censure your enjoyments, limit your pleasures and generally suck the life out of all that contains life and vitality. Distractions over self, preoccupation with self, obsessions concerning self and only self, paint a picture of failure and defeat lived out in varying, fleeting emotions which are no more true than the moments they appear within. They distract from the experience of others and isolate you, trapped within a prison cell of your own making. All are nothing but distractions leading you away from the reality of your life over to some other place that doesn’t exist, or exists only in your own mind. 

You owe it to yourself to recognize where the distractions of life have crept in and robbed you of your blessed existence. Take note of those times you aren’t there, but only half there caught up in the web of your own thoughts. Move your mind and thoughts to another place. Stop standing around mesmerized by what appears to be going on and get busy experiencing what is actually going on. Engage yourself fully, single minded and unafraid. Get outside of yourself and turn your focus outward. Every night you spend worried; every day you spend caught up in self evaluation and judgment; every day you spend consumed with your own feelings is a waste of your time and life. Rid yourself of the distractions and get busy living the day you are in. Get busy living the one short life you have been given. Move ahead and do it now…

Just some good thoughts…

When the Dust Settles…


You know, it’s no marvel that many folks spend the majority of their lives living from one turmoil to the next. The world and its negative circumstances, the impending and ever present threats concerning the future, the agitation and tumults of daily life, all loom on the horizon assaulting folks minds from sunup to sundown. And all of that turmoil and distress has one important object in mind, namely to prevent you from seeing clearly and discerning properly. Imagine how different your life might be if you could cut through all of the distractions and really see. What would you do differently? What would you do if the dust settled?

Most people, and you know it’s true, live and subside on a steady diet of fear. Fear of sickness (got one in mind), fear of not having enough, fear of not measuring up or being pretty enough or not having the right body. Fear of not getting their needs met, fear of something bad happening to them or someone they love. Fear concerning the planet or the sun or the melting icebergs. Fear of not being loved and feeling love and missing love. Fear of the future, fear of the past coming back to haunt them, fear of being present in the moment. Fear all day every day from the moment you wake up in the morning until you lay down your head to sleep at night. People have subsisted on fear for so long that they no longer even recognize its presence. Fear has been normalized as part of life. Fear drives and drags people around in its wake pushing and pulling them in directions they never intended. If people manage to escape its grasp temporarily, they quickly fall back under its spell. Fear rules the world and the systems of the world. Often, very often it has ruled you! Yet for all that power fear holds over people (and its very powerful), at the end of the day, it is all a grand, cleverly designed illusion to control the hearts and lives of people. Fear is the dust that prevents you from being able to see.

Clarity of heart and mind is the missing ingredient in an unfulfilled life. In order to move confidently in the direction of your dreams, you have to be able to see. You have to be clear about who you are and what you want and where you are going. You have to cut through that mountain of clutter obscuring your view and discern just what the hell is actually going on. The world with its teeming masses clamoring after this novel invention and that new threat to their existence live the majority of their lives unclear and confused. They fail to get their honest questions answered. They live their lives perpetually attacked by an opponent they can neither see nor feel. They pray to a God they neither know nor understand. They plod along herded and corralled into wrong thought camps with no possibility of escape. It never dawns on them that there is a part of life they have yet to experience for themselves. They conclude they’ve already reached the end, figured it out and can choose wisely on their own. Yet, they cannot and they cannot because they cannot see! It is only God who is able to make the dust finally settle so that you can see and He does it with the light of his Word. Absent the Word and the truth in life, you are destined to a life of fear whether acknowledged or not.

Once you begin to get some truth into your heart and life, things become very clear for you. It starts to dawn on you that many things that are said and done as truth are in actuality cleverly, crafted lies. You begin to be able to discern both the good and the evil influencing your life. You start to understand how life really works and stop wasting your time striving to things of no avail. You quit working so desperately hard to fix yourself or to improve your bad behavior or to keep grinding at all costs to make something good of yourself. You see, the world presents to you a picture of life with suggestions in how to improve it. Yet, those improvements, those efforts, those arduous solutions are not solutions at all because they center on you for you and all about you and they deny the God that made you! Absent God and His love you will never be able to really see. You will simply be blown about with every wind of doctrine, clamoring to try this new source of help and that empty promise of the answer you need. It doesn’t work and it never has worked… Real life isn’t all about you (or me) but is about the God who created you. He is your only true provider and your only genuine source of help. He has the answers you need. He offers the healing that has no limitation. He knows and understands your heart; has heard your every prayer and wants to set you free from fear and its attendant misery. He is your promise of love and goodness and peace. He alone has the power to make the dust settle so that you can finally see clearly and can understand His wonderful, sincere and perfect will for your life!

This life, as you already know quite clearly, can be very tricky to navigate. You will daily be deluged with thousands of opinions and ideas and suggestions. You will be confronted with both evil and counterfeit good. You’ll be presented with a myriad of potential beliefs all offering something they cannot truly give. Yet, when all of the shouting and the clamor stops, when all of the fighting and tumult is ceased, when all of the falsehood and error goes away, when all of the pressures and the agitation subsides, behind it you will hear the still small voice offering you the clarity you have always dreamed of and then you will know the dust has settled at last.

Just some good thoughts…

 

The Spin Cycle of Error


spin_cycleHave you ever found yourself caught up in a negative spin cycle of error that ever picks you up and drops you off at the same place repeatedly, eventually draining all the life right out of you? Have you ever found yourself plagued by the same issues year after year? Have you ever decided to make a journal entry and as you read some of your former entries from ten years ago realize you are writing about the exact same crap? If so, you might be trapped in the spin cycle of error…

It goes without much thought to recognize that error is always complicated. At its base it is simply a lie you’ve been talked into believing and subsequently experiencing day after day. However, its simplicity is masked and befuddled with extraneous data like the Tax Code rendering its victims unaware of what is going on or how to ever change it. The only way that error can gain a foothold in your life is by getting you to cooperate by repeating and rehearsing certain thoughts, words and behaviors.

As a person thinks in their heart, they are, whether their thoughts are good, constructive and useful, or wrong, defeated and debilitating. Wrong thoughts or thoughts containing error hide alongside many other thoughts. In the milieu of thought, it is very difficult to discern what is going wrong or to isolate rogue thoughts that bring negative results. However, if you find yourself experiencing negative results i.e. all mashed together in a damp heap, spinning and spinning amidst an ocean of the same crap, you have got some error going in your thinking that you must repair.

You can almost always tell what thoughts you are harboring in your mind by the stuff that spews out of your mouth. What negative views of yourself can your friends predict you will say? What line of self-deprecating humor is your go to laugh line? Are you disappointed with yourself or the person you have turned out to be and as a result say bad things about yourself to yourself? Those harsh views, jokes and negative self-image all point to some errors you have been holding onto inside.

Although always preceded by thoughts, certain behaviors serve only to thwart you and retard your progress. Certain pleasures conceal the poison contained within them which is only discovered once the poison has taken effect. Some activities promise you fulfillment in one area only to pay a heavy tax in another. Behaviors the run at cross purposes with the Laws of Love always demand payment in pain and suffering.

In order to stop the murderous spin cycle of error, you must attach yourself to something that doesn’t move around day by day. You must affix your purpose to something that is true and immovable. You finally find the hidden error by focusing on the truth. Focusing on the error; the why didn’t I see this coming of the error; the how did this happen to me of the error; leads only to, and trust me on this one, countless journal pages dedicated to and salaaming error, inadvertently and unknowingly worshipping the evil one! You are not going to see your way out playing that game. The treachery isn’t in presenting you with wrong choices and getting you to choose them. The deception is in what you’ve been talked into focusing on! If you’ve lived a little you already know that stepping aside or missing a step is easy. Everyone you have ever met has come up short in some capacity. The test for success is in getting back up, dusting yourself off and walking in a new direction leaving all of the past behind you.

Error holds sway by wearing you out on the inside. In order to wear you down and eventually out, it must have access to your head and heart. It doesn’t flourish by mistakes you have made here and there, even the egregious ones. It flourishes and tightens its grip   by getting you to shift and keep your focus in the wrong place. Maybe you made a heinous mistake twenty years ago that ended up defining the life you live right now. How can something that happened twenty years ago define your present existence? It does so because you have held onto the damn thing like a cherished guest for twenty frikkin years. The fact that you did something wrong twenty years ago and still insist on bringing it to mind is the larger error.

God’s way out of these mental prisons that thwart and defeat you is by you making the decision to no longer hold onto and cleave to the error! If your life isn’t what you want it to be today, get busy changing it into something you like. Lamenting on what’s wrong with it is just getting suckered into more of the same! If you’ve made some bad mistakes, you have beaten yourself up enough already. Jesus Christ paid for the sins, not your insistence on suffering and self-condemnation! (Do you really believe God wants you to suffer?) If you have some gnarly thoughts concerning your self-image, it’s up to you to change those concepts and start seeing yourself like God sees you.

At the end of the day, just know and understand that you are doing it to yourself. Sure, there is an evil one and yes, life can be very challenging at times, but you are only responsible to live this life one day at a time, forgetting all that is past and refusing to be afraid of the future. Change your life by changing your subject of focus! Get out of the spin cycle and move on over to the warm dryer where life is oh so good…

Just some good thoughts,…

 

 

 

Working Hard for God?


working-hardHave you ever seen the movie, “The End” with Burt Reynolds? There is a classic scene where Burt’s character , after numerous attempts at suicide, finds himself in a large body of water with little hope of being able to swim long enough to save himself! So, he makes several deals with God, attempting to encourage God to rescue him. While being a hilariously funny comedy, the movie shows how many people view their relationship with God. Reynolds offers to keep the 10 commandments, after he learns them. Promises to be honest in business etc. The message is obvious, if you do a lot of good stuff and obey the rules, God will help you out. But, if you mess up or sin, your sh*t is in the wind. How many of us are working so hard to please God in a misguided attempt to get something from Him?

The whole world, and I might add, every major religion is wrapped up in that simple, yet complex lie. If you have ever been unfortunate enough to have tried it, you found out pretty quick that it was damn hard work! The more you work to earn something from God, the more you fail. The more you fail, the harder you work. When you finally think you’ve become good enough, you find out that your good enough apparently wasn’t good enough, because something negative still happened. You analyze yourself deeper; find areas of potential error and set about to work even harder. It never even dawns on you that God’s willingness to help you was never based on your behavior in the first place. This is the message of almost the whole book of Romans in the Bible, but hey, who needs the Bible when you can just work hard?

Of all the dastardly, evil, discouraging, asinine, wretched, bull-crap, devious things people have been talked into believing, the most supreme of all is the absolute lie that you could do something to earn God’s love, blessings and protection! Read that sentence again! You cannot earn it, never could earn it and never will be able to earn it. Even when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord by believing God raised him from the dead, even then God reckons righteousness unto you because of your believing. Not by works, lest any man should boast. The only way you can ever get anything from God is by believing. Period. End of sentence. End of damnable hard works!

Do you want to please God? Do you want God to be pleased with you? Then believe Him! Do you need God’s help in a situation? Believe that He can and WILL help you! Do you need to make a deal with Him? Never. Do you have to do good works to get His blessings? Heck no! In reality, God blesses you to  motivate you to do good works, not the other way around. You gotta give God a little credit here. He already knows all about you (and me) and still loves you. He already knows everything you are going to do (good and bad) and still protects you. His love for you always was and always will be unconditional. He doesn’t have conditions, you do! He doesn’t make deals, you do! He doesn’t bless you because you are good enough, He blesses you because He’s good enough!

The quicksand trap of that treacherous works routine is that as long as you believe you have to do something to get something from God, you will never get around to being fully persuaded in believing that what He said He would do for you, He will do! You are always going to be able to find something wrong with you and you won’t even have to look very hard. You, you human being, cannot measure up; it’s impossible. So for goodness sakes, stop it! It’s a trick. It’s a lie. It’s wrong on every hand.

Look, I’m not trying to condemn you, I’ve played this game; far more than I am loathe to admit. It’s subtle and it’s obvious. It’s clear and it’s vague. It’s a feeling and it’s a thought. But, no matter how it manifests itself, it is a damn lie! It contradicts God’s Word. Whether it comes from your Preacher; your mother or your wife, it’s a damnable lie, from a damnable source with damnable intentions to defeat you. It’s not your conscience mysteriously chastising you, it’s God’s archenemy carefully crafting circumstances and conditions to talk you into something that isn’t true with a further view to stop you from believing in and upon your ONLY source of help!

At the end of the movie, Burt’s character makes it out safely and quickly begins to break all of the deals he made with God. After all, he is safe now and the deals no longer make sense. How profound huh? He made it out alive and all of the deals he tried to make never did make sense anyway! So, if you are alive right now, and I’m assuming you are because you are reading this, stop trying to make a deal with God. Stop trying to trick Him into thinking you are better than you really are. Instead, be yourself, be honest and be true. Learn how to believe what He promised you. Stop thinking your behavior is a factor and just get your old stubborn noggin to believe what He said He would do for you, without any conditions, clauses or contingency plans. He is that good people and He is anxious to prove it to you!

Yeah, I still get caught up from time to time earning something God already gave to me, but when I do, I write a blog about and somehow feel a little better.

Believing what God said is no harder than believing the sun will come up tomorrow. Learn to believe God as you are, right now, and you will see what all believers see, God is faithful to those who believe. Are you working hard for God’s blessings? I hope not, at least not anymore, anyway…

Just some good thoughts to set you free!

Our Messy Life…


Life-Is-Messy-657x309_02Our modern electronic era guarantees that we are going to be fed a multitude of images and words about how the ideal life should be. We become convinced of this image regarding how life should work; what we should have and what we should be able to do. In this Hollywood version of life, difficulties are usually solved and almost everyone gets a happy ending (LOL not that kind!). Yet, despite being daily bombarded with these images, life is really quite messy when you get right down to it. Things don’t always work out as planned. There are obstacles, set-backs, and challenges. There are illnesses, frustrations and seemingly unsolvable problems. We face challenging detours, changing environments, in a world that takes another form as soon as we figure the last one out. Real life is messy.

Have you ever wondered why things are the way they are? Seems to me that we could get along so much easier if we didn’t have to deal with all this mess. I mean, imagine a world where there was no pain; no suffering. Imagine if everything you attempted was supremely successful and things always worked out. Think how awesome it would be if you got everything you ever wanted and it came easily without stress and strain. Imagine…

It makes me chuckle when people think that because I love God, things always go in my favor. It’s like, life with God means not having to deal with problems. Or worse, quote a few scriptures over the trouble and it immediately goes away. Or, say a quick prayer and disaster is averted. That could not be further from the truth and perhaps a major reason the world thinks most Christians are nuts! We believer types face the same obstacles and challenges everyone else faces. We get pushed and pulled out of sorts; we get frustrated and at times even defeated. You see, God never promised that life would be without struggles. What He promised is that He can help you (and me) overcome any challenge that comes our way. In other words, He will help us clean-up up our messy life. God is love and as such is only good to people and incredulously just as good to “bad” people as He is to “good” people. Ponder that for a minute…

The reason our lives are messy is because we have an adversary; an opposing spiritual force that is ever at work to screw things up. And, whether you think he exists or not, is working on you to make a mess of your life. He steals your prosperity. He convinces you, you aren’t good enough for God or His blessings. He ruins your relationships. Every evil or bad thing that every person ever did was based on his influence. He is behind all sickness, disease and death. He makes the mental prisons you find yourself in and specializes in frustration. He gets you addicted and makes the ruts that are so hard to escape from. He promises you that things will be so much better if you can find this person or get that job or move to a new place. He convinces you that if you follow his ways you will get the happiness you so ardently desire. The problem is that he is ALWAYS lying to you and when you follow his advice it burns you 100% of the time, in every case, always. And still behind all of his shenanigans, most folks don’t even think he exists. Well he does and your life is a mess because of it.

On the contrary, God is ever at work to show you what is real and to reveal the true source of your problems. The problem with problems is that we think we can use the same thinking to escape them that got us into them in the first place. Our difficulty persists because we haven’t yet discovered the true cause. God is able to show you the true cause! Because God is all knowing, He can completely and totally eradicate the difficulty. Yet we fail to get the answers we so desperately need because we either think we know better (according to our limited understanding); or dismiss the answers we do get in a variety of forms. When God answers the question or provides a solution, it is a full and complete solution. God’s deliverance is very real and available to anyone who dares to believe. Don’t you want to get things straightened out? I know you do.

This messy life we find ourselves living can be throughly straightened out. There are answers and deliverance from anything that ever plagued you. With God nothing is impossible! Stop settling for life’s “good enough.” Stop concluding that every feeling and thought you have must be true. Stop rationalizing your problems away or distracting yourself from dealing with them. Instead seek; truly seek the real solution from God! He wants to help you more than you even want to be helped, but you have to meet Him halfway with some humility.

This life is way too short to live in a perpetual mess. Put away your broom and your cleaning rags and get the help you need. You owe yourselves that much, ya think?

Just an anecdote to a messy life…