Getting Out of Your Funk…


If you’ve spent enough time dwelling on terra firma, you know that at certain times in your life you find yourself deeply entrenched in a funk; an americanism for feeling down in the dumps; which is related to a dutch word meaning a mental haze; and in German a word for gloomy or depressed. No matter the language or the usage, all you know is that it sucks. It sucks away your life and enthusiasm for living. It’s no happiness, no inspiration, nothing to look forward to, blah, blah, blah…Blah! But, there is something you can do about it! No matter how far down the rabbit hole you are, there is always a way out…

The place to begin when attempting to understand your feelings is first to examine your thoughts. Thoughts precede feelings. You don’t wake up in a bad mood. Your bad mood follows where your mind has been. Most folks pay very little attention to their thoughts. They sort of let them come and go like the weather. They consider themselves blessed when their mental environment is sunny and cursed when it is gloomy. The weather never stays gloomy and you don’t have to either. However, you do have to take some initiative with your thoughts. Letting your thoughts run makes you a victim to whatever circumstance is being engineered against you. Please read that sentence again! There are forces at work in the world plotting and scheming, persuading and manipulating to lead you and your thoughts to a certain place. You cannot see them, but instead only register their effects. They gain access to you by the thoughts you allow and encourage. They cannot overtake your freedom of will (at first), but they can get you off track; way off track! They begin by getting you to consider some negative aspect of life, then work out circumstances and situations that corroborate your wrong thinking.  And, if you remain stuck there long enough, you find yourself submerged and engulfed in heaviness from which it becomes very difficult to escape.

Life is spiritual in nature. It is not made up solely of the things which do appear. Ignorance concerning this will mire you in futility chasing your own tail, searching yourself and your own feelings for a remedy. Yet, you won’t find your solution in your own thoughts because the problem didn’t originate in your own thoughts. You are not fighting against yourself, though it may feel like it, you are fighting against a negative spiritual opponent working behind the scenes to control you. To defeat this spiritual foe (behind all of the misery of mankind) you have to learn how to compete spiritually. You have to learn how to fight back. And, amazingly, the arena of competition is in your mind. You see, it’s not as simple as deciding to be happy, though that is a good start. It is learning how and what to think and holding on to those thoughts though a monument of resistance be placed in front of you. If you find yourself today steeped in misery or unending gloominess, it is a good indicator that you are not winning the fight. You never want to get comfortable with those negative emotions or embrace them as some incredulously purport. Instead you fight them and you fight them and you fight them with spiritual words that negate and overpower their authority. Refusing to fight back only leads to defeat. Or worse, explaining away those insidious attacks with man’s wisdom will only serve to prolong the fight. You only win a fight by being stronger or tapping into something stronger than whomever or whatever you are fighting against. Evil has power but it is no match for God’s power.

It certainly doesn’t make for light conversation to learn about standing against evil. It probably won’t be found in the self-help section of the bookstore. Public opinion poo poo’s the notion of evil altogether or portrays it as a construct of man. The movie media displays it as frightening and ghastly. But, no matter the babblings of the naysayers, it does exist and it is your problem. God does not want you to be ignorant concerning evil, nor does He want you to be afraid of it. Instead He wants you understand what is actually going on so you can direct your efforts appropriately and with great and lasting impact. People are stuck today ensconced in difficulties because they no longer understand or acknowledge spiritual realties. When Jesus stood against all the forces of hell, he did so simply, though not easily, by quoting and cleaving to what God’s Word said. It is God’s Word quoted on the lips of believing that defeats the powers of darkness. It is the only way.

You can be delivered today, rescued, set free by learning how to tap into God’s power for your life. It doesn’t matter how low you may have sunk or how entrenched you may have become. All you need is a little humility and a willingness to learn about spiritual realities. You can escape any of the chains that have been binding you; break free from any bondage; break out of the bands and fetters that have been controlling your life. You can learn again how to live and enjoy and be blessed. You can return to happiness and joy and peace and love. You can escape from the prisons that have been holding you in. Stop thinking that something is wrong with you or that you are somehow deserving of the misery you have been living. Stop settling for less than the best in your life. You don’t need more medicine or more treatment or more of the expertise of men. You need God and His Word.

Finding yourself in a deep funk; down in the dumps; in a mental haze; gloomy and depressed is a horrible way to experience life and you do not have to live that way. There are answers and solutions for any malady that challenges your life. Won’t you be willing to find your way out of your funk? I sure hope so…

Just some good thoughts…

 

Why Am I Struggling?


There are times in your life in which you just don’t feel right. And if you are like most humans it drives you nuts. It encompasses you. It engulfs you. You find yourself drowning in it. In response to it you do what you’ve been taught to do. You analyze it and you analyze it and you analyze it some more. You think about it all day and you can’t find an answer of peace though you’ve searched your mind from pillar to post. The more you seek the solution the worse you feel. Instead you discover more bad feelings and more logical causes for your dilemma. You just cannot seem to get there no matter how hard you try. Yet, you dutifully persist, confused and dismayed tunneling further and further underground. The deeper you go the darker it gets and you find no relief. Eventually you have to ask yourself in your futility, “Am I doing something wrong? Is there something else I do not know? Is there a solution to my private nightmare?” The good news is yes my friend, you are doing something wrong.

Life in its basic essence is spiritual. There are spiritual causes for the things that plague you. However, spiritual problems cannot be discerned by your five senses reasoning. Accordingly, you are NEVER going to find your answers by searching the senses realm, though you search diligently night and day forever. Instead all you will find is heartache and loss. All you will discover is more darkness; more obscurity; more things that serve to cloud your mind and render you helpless, hopeless, lost… Darkness works most effectively by garnering your consideration. It presents an inscrutable form of bait designed to appeal to your human reasoning. And evil knows it can easily defeat your human reasoning. Oh yes, it is evil! It is at work in the world to steal, to kill and to destroy and it does so by capturing your attention. And, like every worthwhile bait, behind it is a hook from which you will find it hard to escape.

You are struggling because you are being led down the path of unhappiness. It’s a well worn path because of the millions that have tread it down. And depending upon how long each person traversed on that path, the more misery they have encountered in their life. But, it does not have to be this way. There is a way out but the way out is not what you thought at all. The way out seems to stand in absolute defiance to what we have been taught to do. It is very, very difficult to turn that thinking machine off. It is even harder to resist the temptation to track it like a hound and follow it wherever it may lead. But, resist it you must. Temptation, though always veiled and hard to discern, works by finding a way to get your attention and later keep your attention. You escape by your lack of attention. You break free by deciding to change your focus. You make up your mind to look at something else!

The problem you face today is an insatiable drive to get you to focus on yourself. Everywhere and in every way you are being driven back to yourself, your feelings, your thoughts. “Take time for yourself!” “Focus on yourself!” Self, self, self! “You are most important!” “You are number one!” You, you, you! Obviously your needs are important and of course you want to be happy, but your happiness is most fulfilled when your focus isn’t yourself! I’ll say it again. Your happiness is most fulfilled when your focus isn’t on yourself! It’s a trick. It’s a trap. It is a delusion on a grand scale. It is a lie. It seems right and sounds good, but it is still a damnable lie. When your focus is yourself, all you will find is yourself with all of your faults, failings and imperfections. You have to learn to look at something else.

Have you ever noticed how you can be feeling super crappy about yourself or your problems, imagined or real, and then something demands your focus and takes you away from yourself for a bit? Suddenly you don’t feel so bad or your problems aren’t that big anymore. Your issues didn’t get any smaller, but your focus changed enabling you to see things for what they really are instead of what you imagined them to be in your obsessive focus on yourself. Few things feel as good as a full day of work where you actually focused on the work instead of yourself. Or, maybe the grandkids came over and you focused on blessing them for a while! Wow, suddenly things don’t seem as bad as you thought. These little delights serve as valuable clues. You weren’t designed to focus on yourself, save yourself, or fix yourself. You were made to function best when your focus was on others, expecting God to take care of you! Self-focus is a struggle from which you can easily escape. 

Stop, cease, quit looking inside of yourself to find something good. End the endless stewing and churning and burning. Make up your mind to get out of your own mind and live a little. Stop being so damn cerebral! Cease from living in a world where you are encased with an obsessive focus on yourself. Quit it and for God’s sake let it go! Let it go! You haven’t yet been successful in solving you, have you? Well, you aren’t going to, so I will save you a little (or a lot) of time! Instead move that lovely mind of yours towards something else besides you. Help someone. Build someone up. Do something nice for someone! However or whatever you do, move your focus away from yourself because self-focus sucks and leads you down a miserable path! Outward focus, helpful focus, anything but me focus, leads you to something beautiful and worthwhile. It leads you to life and all the wonder and beauty it entails. 

Choose life, choose others, choose to struggle no more!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

Asking Yourself the Right Questions…


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With the New Year upon us, we often find ourselves making goals and plans for some new and improved version of ourselves. At its core, is a fundamental belief that something is not right about us. We have some fault or failing we need to remedy. And from that erroneous starting premise we desire to make repairs. The whole world seeks to fit itself within this system, yet continues to fail year after year after year! The fundamental reason for this persistent, pervasive, cancerous approach is that we are failing to ask ourselves the right questions.

Life is spiritual, not religious, spiritual. Behind everything that you experience in your life is a spiritual cause or influence. The only two spiritual options are good and evil. Sounds simplistic but it’s true whether you believe it or not. Good only seeks to influence you for a good end; happy, healthy and fulfilled.  Evil seeks to influence you for something less than desirable and in most cases things that take your life away from you in part or in whole. The end of evil is always death. Short of killing you, evil seeks to “eff” your life up!

At your core essence as a human being there is nothing wrong with you. Persevering with questions about what is wrong with “me” are always the wrong questions. The right question is what are you allowing to influence your life?  You have difficulties in your life and can easily see where and how the same things seem to defeat you year after year.  You can tell by noticing how many times you have written the same goals, in earnest. You are frustrated because you ‘should’ know better and choose better. The wrong that you and I do is not because we are bad people, yet that is quite hard for us to believe. The wrongs we do are because we have been influenced by evil in some form or fashion. We have accepted something that isn’t true. We have too often taken the bait promising us something that we want only to find out later that’s not what we are getting. In short, we have succumbed to evil influence.

No-one would ever choose evil if they saw it for what it really is. Evil always comes with some deception, some guise, some hard to detect cover. Yet there it sits working behind the scenes on everything that has ever gone wrong with your life. Everything! “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn’t exist.” (The Usual Suspects, circa 1995) Because of this, many, many people attribute things that go wrong to God, the source of all goodness. In catastrophe they seek meaning instead of looking for the evil influence and how it gained access. Absent an answer, again from asking the wrong question, they make up fables concerning God’s greater purpose etc. Goodness cannot do anything but goodness and His influence is always preservative and safe.

Being influenced by evil doesn’t just consist of pursuing lustful pleasures but also encompasses sin, guilt, unworthiness and all unnatural preoccupation with oneself. Feelings of not being worthy, perpetuated by churches and religion, always leads to the most powerful weapon in the adversary’s gun belt – fear! Once the enemy has convinced you that something is wrong with you, you have already been defeated. Once you get on the hamster wheel of making mistakes, feeling badly and doing good works to atone for your sins, get ready because you’re going to be spinning on that wheel for a long, long time. When you arrive there fear is at the threshold!  Most of what has gone south on you in life is due to fear. Fear is the number one evil influence to extricate yourself from.

The right question to ask yourself in the New Year is what am I afraid of? Where am I unknowingly allowing evil in the door? What influences in my life are leading me astray? If you really want to see you can see and God will make sure of that. All humans are susceptible to these influences and true goodness will never put you in bondage to some religious behaviors you don’t really want to do. Escaping evil influences isn’t about focusing on your behavior and all you do and shouldn’t do. That poison will only put you in deeper. Instead the better question is what things have I allowed into my life that end up bringing me pain? Why have I allowed them and what false promises have they offered me that really aren’t true?

Detecting and discerning evil influences require a spiritual standard outside of yourself. What feels right only works on occasion. Many things that feel right or that you have no problem participating in, only feel right because you have long been systematized into their error. In this winning at life thing you cannot always trust your feelings. Instead you have to learn spiritual realties from the spiritual book called the Bible. Before you discount that for your life, you have to ask yourself do you really know what it says or have you made some snap judgments about it? I think it makes sense that the same influence messing your life up will also work to keep you away from that book! The Good Book is why we know that evil does exist no matter how many thousands of voices in the world shout disagreement.

The New Year, like any new year offers the promise of a better future. Gain access to your better future by learning to discern evil influences in your life. Quit making it all about you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you! What is wrong is your failure to see what is behind all of your difficulties and challenges. None of us are good by our own merits. Thinking so is a dangerous game heading for disaster. See life for what it is spiritually and then pursue the good influences. The good influence will only help you and bless you and as is often needed, repair you! The Good Influence loves you no matter what you do. Isn’t that what you need the most? Sure it is and you know it…

Have a happy and prosperous 2018.

Just some good thoughts…

Living Your Reflection…


reflection_28Here’s some food for thought… The life you are presently living is a direct reflection of your most dominant and habitual thinking. Read that again! Up to this point you may not have made this connection. Most folks don’t. Instead people think that life is happening to them and they are simply reacting to whatever life does next. People that live in a perpetual struggle falsely conclude that circumstances are working against them and probably even long for the time when the struggle will end. But, they remain unaware that their habitual thought forms the basis of their expectations and as such they are living in a world of their own making.

Habits are, in themselves, useful. On the positive side they free your mind of the unnecessary thought required to complete mundane tasks. However, habits also have a dark side. Negative patterns of thought, rehearsed over and over again lead to negative expectations, which manifest themselves in negative circumstances. And, to make matters worse, the habits become invisible to you because of their habituation. And, once darkness has become invisible to you, it is allowed to perpetuate within you to bring about those struggles you’ve been trying so hard to avoid.

I’m sure you’ve heard people complain to God about why life is so hard and why there is so much struggling going on. And, let’s be honest, there is some heavy-duty struggling happening. But, what you may not know is that God has given you control over those struggles once you know how to go about turning things around. God hasn’t left us without a remedy and surely doesn’t condone pain and hardship. But, until you finally learn that your life is “your” life and that you can exercise control, things will go on as they’ve always gone on since the beginning of time.

Just so you don’t think this is “crazy” talk, let me ask you some questions. At this very moment in time, what do think about life? Do think it is a struggle? Do you think it is hard and random and filled with the unexpected? Do you think that is always hard for you to get money and that it always will be? Do you think that disease just happens and that you are powerless against it? Your honest answer to those questions is the life you are presently living. Your expectation; your belief is precisely what you are experiencing and will continue to experience as long as you keep thinking the way you are thinking. Life won’t turn around for you and your ship won’t come in. It cannot because it is a direct reflection of your inmost thoughts. Change your thoughts; change your expectations; change your beliefs and your life will change.

In order to right the ship, you have to become keenly aware of what was formerly invisible; namely your thoughts. You have to start recognizing your negative thought habit patterns. You have to see where you have become your own worst enemy. You must clearly discern that negative chatter, ever providing reasons why you cannot succeed; why you cannot get ahead; why you cannot win. And once you finally hear it, you have to start forcefully challenging those false assumptions. Those assumptions are not “just life” but instead are lies you have been worn down into accepting. There’s no shame in being led astray because the whole world has been led astray, on purpose, by the evil that lies deep behind it, hidden. The real shame comes when you see a glimpse of the light and refuse to heed the lesson.

Have you ever noticed how people set goals for themselves? They set goals with tiny incremental increases as if one can only progress with baby steps. They don’t realize that the larger the goal; the larger the expectations, the larger the result. It is like that with your thoughts. Once you have begun to see and challenge a series of thoughts, your responsibility is to change your thoughts and expectations to something you actually want. It takes the exact same amount of effort to think something good as it takes to think something bad. But make no mistake, you are choosing by what you “choose” to think and hold onto.

I should add, because I know what you’re thinking, that sometimes you “find” yourselves in a challenging situation that you didn’t necessarily bring upon yourself. Sometimes people are under attack; in bad environments and feel that they are being tested. Well, they are being tested but never by God. The test is in how you respond to the challenge. Will you accept what it “seems” like or will you remain stedfast in your beliefs and overcome? You would be surprised how quickly things turn around when you make your mind up! But, if you succumb to what “appears” to be real, you end up down the same blind alleys you traveled before.

As living, breathing, thinking human beings, we always have a say in how things are going to turn out. Always! The key lies in refusing to accept the information that comes to your mind via your five senses, and trusting instead what God says is true! Obviously you can ridicule this notion and demand that what it seems like, is true, but with that you can resign yourself to your usual, perpetual struggle.

Your life, my life is a reflection of those things we think about the most. Change your thoughts and your life will change. It isn’t about being naively positive, it’s about choosing what you will and will not accept in your life. You have more control than you ever thought. God would have it no other way! Really!

Just some good reflections…

 

WTF? (Fear)


WTFDid you know that your number one enemy in life is fear? Fear is the killer of all your hopes and dreams. Fear takes away all opportunities for success. Fear steals your happiness and anything else that is important to you. Fear destroys your life! WTF? And, although the number one admonition in the Bible is to “fear not,” fear continues to work its hardship on all of us everyday. Why? Why and how does fear access our minds so easily? Fear gains easy entrée because we don’t see it for what it really is – False Evidence Appearing Real!

Fear and its companions are much more subtle than you may have imagined. In fact, most folks would tell you that they aren’t afraid. But, when they speak of fear, they’re usually referring to its obvious side. The kind they feel when a snarling Pit Bull is running in their direction or what they experience while teetering on the edge of a cliff. Yet fear is involved in many other facets of life. The stress you feel at work is fear. The overwhelm you experience because you have a lot to do is fear. Worrying about not having enough money is fear. Choosing to do things you know you shouldn’t do is fear. Every addiction, everything that holds you captive is fear. Agitation, restlessness and boredom is fear. Chronic indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome…fear. The massive industry of pharmaceuticals comes from fear. Health issues, mental issues, exhaustion, all fear. Fear, fear, fear rules the world.

The peace of mind you so desperately seek is not found in money, or the right job or the perfect partner. It’s found right inside your own head when all the fear is finally gone. Some folks live their whole lives and rarely get to experience it. Maybe you found it during that family vacation or during a particularly happy time in your life. In reality it wasn’t the vacation or the pleasant circumstances, it was found because you momentarily let go of the fear. Fear is epidemic, my friends, and it’s after you everyday! If it’s not a deadly disease, (Ebola) it’s an Earth that’s getting too hot. It’s a struggling economy or the loss of your job. It’s every disease and every sickness. It’s the news and the media and your friends and your family. It literally surrounds you and it’s all a damn lie! A lie that rules the world!

In order for fear to get a foothold in your life it needs a willing host. Fearful suggestions don’t hurt you. But, when you accept those fearful suggestions, that’s when the trouble starts. Fear rules your life because you cooperate with it everyday. Instead of dismissing those fretful ideas you take them on with the false hope that you can figure it all out. Well, you can’t figure it out. They’re an invitation for disaster. They (those fears and their source) are counting on you and your ego to take the bait. How much life have you already wasted on some unreasonable proposition? How many hours have you dedicated to worrying about that job of yours? What if you fail? What if they fire you? What if the business goes under. What if you fail to get a project done on time? What if you aren’t a success? What if don’t have what you need and you are reduced to suffering and shame? What if? Feel free to apply that scenario to every aspect of your life. What if? What if is FEAR!

This is why I can’t understand how people live their lives without God. If I didn’t have a relationship with God, I would be a miserable wreck! This life has just too many scary variables to take them all on with my little ol’ mind. The only way to defeat fear is to learn about God; His omnipotence and His power. There’s nothing God can’t fix and that is the end of all fear. God’s love is the antithesis of fear and the knowledge of God is the only way you’ll understand that fear is always a lie. I took a class in 1982 called, “Power For Abundant Living” and for the first time in my adult life experienced the complete absence of fear…peace. How sweet it is!

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done in the past, God is there for you. With Him you can only succeed and without Him you can only fail. Fear is the most destructive force in the universe and it’s not easy to overcome. You’re not going to beat it with your human logic and rationality and smarts. Fear is spiritual at its roots and requires spiritual insight to defeat. As darkness is simply the absence of light, fear is simply the absence of love, God’s love.

This life is just too precious and way too short to spend your days living in fear, in all of its subtle forms. How much would it be worth to you to finally stop all of your striving and your worrying and your fretting? What price tag can you put on uninterrupted peace? Once the fear is finally gone your life can take off how God originally planned it to do. Without fear you’ll find that everything you have been seeking has really been seeking you. Yet, you don’t find it by pressing harder, you find it by letting go! FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL…

WTF? The only way to rid yourself of WTF is by getting serious about getting rid of fear, once and for all. Talk to God; get to God; find God. God and His Word will expose every form of fear to you and in that marvelous light, everything else that has ever bothered you as well. You owe it to yourself, don’t you think?

Just some good thoughts…

Peace.

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…

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!

The Santa Clause Effect… (Trying to Earn What Cannot Be Earned)


santa-claus-arrested-black-friday-walmartAs a kid, I remember joyfully anticipating Christmas Day! Somehow this dude named Santa Clause traveled the world  in a single night depositing presents under people’s Christmas trees. He must have been all-knowing because almost everything you asked for was right there waiting for you. This Santa fellow was pretty awesome. But, he had a dark side. You had to be “good” in order to get his blessings. If you were naughty you might just get a lump of coal. (I know, pretty random bad gift, right?) Some of his commandments were: 1.) No pouting 2.) No crying 3.) Do not be naughty 4.) And the all encompassing, you better watch out! Why you ask? Because he knows if you are sleeping and he knows if you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake. Add to that, he keeps a detailed list of what you do and even checks it twice before deciding to give you things! And the final clincher? We teach this to our children.

I’m sure you noticed there are some strikingly obvious comparisons between Santa Clause and God. In fact, many people believe God functions the exact same way. He’s up there somewhere watching every move you make. And, He’s not only watching and judging, He’s also keeping track on a list. If your good doesn’t outweigh your bad, He is not going to bless you and might even curse you with something awful and black! So, my friends, you better watch out!

Have you ever noticed how people pray? They say things like, “Oh Lord let me get this new job.” Or, “God, let me win this lottery.” The not so subtle implication being that God is somehow stopping good things from happening in your life, presumably because you have been very naughty. And because He is all-knowing you figure you better behave properly if anything good is going to happen in your life. The evil behind this pervasive concept is two-fold. First, what exactly is good and second what are the degrees of bad? Some folks say it is a sin to drink alcohol. Others say there are hierarchies of sin including “little white lies” all the way to murder or something. How can you know? Well, you don’t know and if you’re honest you simply conclude that you’re not very good. I mean after all, didn’t you just watch Cinemax (Sex-a-max) last night?

In the words of a famous man, “I can assure you, God doesn’t bless you because of how good or bad you are, but rather because of your believing.” Read that again! In order to receive anything from God you have to believe. You must be fully persuaded that God can do it AND will do it for you! Now back to Santa. If you have bought into the notion that God will only bless you because you are the very nebulous “good,” then chances are you aren’t expecting Him to bless you. Actually, you are so convinced of your “badness” that you now have to pray for God to “NOT” do something or worse, allow something you want to happen. This concept could not be further from the truth!

Everything we have in this life we have because of God’s grace. Grace is unearned divine favor. You cannot earn something that cannot be earned. Read that again! Now, think of it this way. If you have children, I’m sure you do your best to make them happy. You not only supply everything they need, but you actually go out of your way to do things that make them happy. Yet, how do they measure up on YOUR naughty list? Pretty dang naughty, aren’t they? They disobey; break your expensive stuff; injure themselves; get in trouble at school; mess up the house etc., etc. And despite it all, you still want them to be happy… And you are a parent that sometimes pouts, cries and other things on the forbidden Santa list of commandments. Can you see how foolish that idea is?

God is not an ongoing list of moral requirements. You can be plenty moral with or without God. You can be so damn tightly wound that you squeak when you walk. And mid squeak you’re still begging God to “not let” something happen! Nah man, you gotta get that insanity out of your mind. God never wanted you to live that way. Even the Old Testament laws, all 86 million of them, weren’t designed to make people good. They were designed to provide a written standard of “good” someone could fulfill later in order for God to end that crazy logic once and for all. (I would say read that again, again but I’m over my limit!)

The truth is that God won’t withhold anything good from you…ever. Quit measuring your sins and remembering your mistakes and cataloguing your misdeeds. God knows all about you and still loves you! You can receive every blessing God intended for your life if you’ll just get rid of that Santa Clause logic. Don’t ask the preacher… Read it in God’s Word.

You better watch out, you better not cry… Ah shut up Santa! My God reigns supreme!

 

Handling Lemons, Grapefruits and Other Annoyances in Life…


when_life_gives_you_lemons____by_timotei_chan-d3f9o30Things often happen to us in life that annoy the bejesus out of us. Whether it’s harassing lemons or gigantic grapefruits; small irritants or life threatening situations, life aint always easy street. Now if you are a member of random life club; believing that life is only what you can see etc., and that there is nothing behind it all, this blog will make no sense to you. But, if you have the good sense to recognize that the design of things is way too complex to swallow that story, then you may wanna invest the 3 minutes and hear what I have to say!

Life is spiritual and behind it all is One wonderful loving God who only gives good and One rebellious lesser being who only gives evil. Those two never intertwine. God doesn’t do evil ever, no matter the plethora of insane reasons people give to explain why He does. The things that drive you “batsh*t” crazy are by design and planned. They come from your personal adversary who is ever watching for things that might defeat you and supplying a healthy dose of them on the regular. Not believing that and opting rather for the random life theory makes no difference. It is what it is and putting on blinders won’t change it.

Now this may surprise you but, God never promised that life would be easy or that you would not have to deal with lemons and sometimes grapefruits! That’s right. Often people are afflicted because they have no idea what is going on in life and as such become afflicted. Are they bad people? Of course not, rather they just don’t understand. It would be like playing tennis with a spoon. Until you learn that you need a racquet you are going to get your butt beat! Other folks have their racquets in hand and still have to deal with annoyances. Why? Because that’s how it is. Getting mad at the game doesn’t change the game. What God did promise is that you can win and overcome anything that comes your way.

The great Apostle Paul prayed to God three times that those annoying, irritating, always in the way people would go away once and for all and let him do what God called him to do without the annoyances. But God told him that His grace was sufficient for him. He further said that His great ability was made perfect in Paul’s inability to handle the situation. When Paul was weak in his own strength, he was strong in God’s strength.

Often we feel the same way don’t we? We tell God, if you would just solve this thing, life would be good. We know He will help us solve it, but He doesn’t just “magic” the problem away. You see, life just doesn’t work that way. Imagine how stupid we would all become if every time we prayed God just fixed everything on the spot. I know I would be lounging on the couch praying for God to bring in money, food, wine and maybe someone to serve them to me. God doesn’t violate the laws of life. He is going to help us solve it, but it doesn’t always work on our timetable or in the manner we choose. Here’s a thought…maybe God wants us to actually learn something. Maybe He wants us to learn how and why so we can be stronger next time. Maybe He is after our ultimate good! Now don’t go south on me and conclude God is allowing us to suffer. Never! Instead He is working with us, where we are, and teaching us the things we need to know. The difficulty, the annoyance, the dilemmas put us on our mental toes, don’t they? Nothing like a problem to get your mind focused and serious about a solution! Did God send the difficulty? NO! But He is at work within the difficulty to help us win. Does God want to help us solve it yesterday? Of course He does. But He has the fantastic ability to know exactly where we are; what we believe and how to get us to where we need to be!

If you live long enough you are going to have some problems. You are going to be faced with situations that you cannot solve on your own. You are going to be tested (not by God)! The test, the problem, the annoyance isn’t the issue. The issue is what you choose to do about it; where you go for help and how the thing ends! God’s promise is that you can beat every dastardly, evil challenge that comes your way. You can! But in order to get the victory you have to be willing to learn something new. For example, God designed your body to heal itself once the cause (problem) is removed. However, you need God to remove the cause. Oh you can analyze it and spend all your money on physicians, but God is always the one that removes the cause. He just needs some believing cooperation on your part!

So, the next time you find yourself challenged with some impossible dilemma, remember God specializes in things called impossible! There is always a solution and I don’t care what the doctor/the world/your friends/ science says! Your job is to believe. Believe that God has your solution and that it is coming your way. Work with yourself where you are and be willing, at least, to learn something new.

This isn’t Fantasy island, my friends. This is real life; life with God, kicking ass and taking names!

When you find yourself holding lemons and grapefruits, give them to God and see if He doesn’t send you the recipe for a victorious life!

Just some good thoughts…

Finally, the Right Move…


chess-make-the-right-move-708x317Sometimes I think we search all over the world and back looking for that one key or principle that once discovered will change our lives forever. It’s a weird quirk of human nature to assume that the thing we need most is always somewhere over “there.” So I ask, what if what you need the most is close at hand? And, what if it isn’t gaining something but instead giving something up? Hmmm?

Everything God has made has life in it. The life is already in it. But, if you tamper with the life in it, it stops growing and in some cases even dies. If you take an animal out of its natural environment it will begin to struggle. If the animal does something it isn’t designed to do it will suffer as a result. All living and growing things have a specific design and when they function within their original design they thrive. An absence of thriving doesn’t necessarily mean something should be added. Often thriving resumes when something is taken away.

Have you ever found yourself struggling with some repetitive issue or chronic situation? All of us have weaknesses right? We have those categories of life where we struggle consistently. Or maybe we are good at controlling ourselves until it gets to that “one thing” and we always give in to that one thing. And we know, if we are being honest with ourselves that the one thing isn’t good for us and after we do it, we seldom feel good about ourselves. Yet onward we march rationalizing and making excuses because we only have one life and we only live once and the like… You can generally spot that one thing because you have been doing it for years and for years it has been “doing you!” You know in your heart that, that one thing is holding you back, yet to this point you haven’t bolstered enough courage to see it for what it is or worse consider finally taking it on. But take it on you must and take it on, you can!

I know that your mind automatically went to alcohol or casual sex or smoking (or maybe you thought that’s where I went – smile). But vices, as useful as they seem, aren’t generally the cause, but rather a symptom. They are indicators of some unresolved situation, some great fear or some previously un-dealt-with emotional state. You started using “it” most likely in an attempt to deal with a painful situation you felt you couldn’t handle. Now many years later you still persist in avoiding the issue and filling your life with anything else you could find that took your mind away from the pain.

So here is a sage piece of advice. Let it go! Let that thing go once and for all. Don’t put it on hold or temporarily suspend it. LET IT GO! The hurt you felt when your husband left you in 1982 ~ let it go. The anger you felt towards your Dad for treating you so poorly ~ let it go. The accident you had; the thing you lost; the mistake you made; let them all go. In other words give up that tired, worn out story that is the first thing that pops into your mind when you meet someone new. It’s not your life, it “was” your life and your job is to decide to move on. Stop giving it space. Stop worshipping it! Stop bowing down to it and let it go. You see, your core issue; the root cause is your pain and the wound cannot heal when you keep ripping off the scar again and again. Living things are designed to heal themselves when they are wounded, but all of our heartfelt attempts at healing ourselves only delay the process. Let go and let God.

Once you finally become willing to “feel” the pain and see it for what it is, it will no longer have mastery over your life. When you decide to take something on you are completely willing to observe whatever there is to observe; the good, the bad and the really ugly! Hey it may even be hideous but it is what it is already and doing ten shots of whiskey every night won’t ever change it. There is always a reason you drink too much; eat too much; escape into drug induced states; or obsess over sex or money or your appearance or the future. Find out the reason. Find out the real cause. Be willing to see what was formerly unthinkable or too painful to even contemplate. Ask God to show it to you. God always comes through for you and He is smart enough to do it in a way you can digest comfortably without jumping off a cliff.

Sometimes your miraculous solution; your master-key; your golden orb answer comes simply by your decision to finally let something go. And anything that controls you or has mastery over you, is something you need to let go. You may not want to, but you need to. Your natural environment, your original design is to thrive! Enjoyment and happiness and excitement for life aren’t supposed to be occasional, they’re supposed to be the norm. They only stop being the norm when we allow something else to come in and exert itself over us and control us.

And how can you tell if you’ve made the right decision? You will know immediately by how you feel inside. The moment you decide to “just say no” to whatever would control you is the moment you begin to break free and experience the life you were specifically designed to experience… Try it out for yourself. You’ll be feeling so blessed because you finally made the right move… I guarantee it!