Harmony


harmonyIt has taken me many years to learn what I’m planning to share with you tonight. What I’m about to say is for all the people who yearn to see the power of God in their lives. It encompasses a little known secret crucial for the Christian man or woman who dreams of living the more abundant life promised in the Bible. As you may have already noticed by now, there is more to being a believer than simply getting born again, though that in itself guarantees a life that will last forever. But, what about the here and now? What about the joy promised in God’s Word? What about actually getting your prayers answered and having access to God’s power and His goodness in our day by day lives? Many Christians, sadly, talk of God’s ability and willingness to help them, yet fail to realize those promises in their experience of life. And absent any results, seek to explain away their shortfalls by assigning mysterious reasons for the lack such as God having a higher purpose and so on. God’s promises in His Word are very real and He desires above all else that we obtain all that He has lovingly promised us. The secret is found by getting in and remaining in harmony with God.

Harmony or fellowship with God is something we must do with our minds. The contest that rages day by day takes place in our minds. The thoughts we think and continue to think matter a great deal. We literally remain in harmony with God by that which we choose to think about; that which we choose to refuse and those things that harmonize with God’s Word. Every time we entertain thoughts that are not in harmony with God’s Word, we limit God’s ability to work in us and for us. The more we entertain these negative thoughts, the less harmony we have with God. Negative thoughts serve to separate us from God in our minds. Once we have accepted our Lord and Savior and believed in our hearts that God has raised him from the dead, we have God’s seed born within us. Nothing can separate us from His love and care. His love for us remains unconditional and there is nothing He won’t do for us. But, and it is a very big but, we can become separated from Him in our thinking. Wrong thoughts convince us of lies such as “God is angry with us” or “God is punishing us with negative consequences because of our sins.” These falsehoods burrow themselves deeper and deeper into our subconscious minds. It is never that God is unwilling to meet our needs, no matter how poorly we may have behaved, but rather that we lose our confidence in Him. We get out of harmony with Him and His Word. Living out of harmony with God is the reason our prayers are not answered. Being out of fellowship with God is why we feel miserable and defeated. It is never good works of righteousness we must do to get back in harmony with God as our Savior solved that problem forever. (It is finished) Instead it is our minds. We have to learn how to get our minds back in harmony with Him. Every time you and I get fearful, which is darkness, we are out of harmony with Him. Every time we persist in condemning ourselves for some sin Jesus paid for already; every time we judge ourselves; every time we deny who God alone has made us to be, results eventually in broken fellowship with Him and from that dark place we cannot access God’s power that we need so desperately in our lives. Again not because He is unwilling, but rather because we, by our own thoughts and actions, are not in fellowship with Him. Harmony with God is the key.

Think of harmony with God as your relationship with Him. (Not His relationship with you that never changes.) In order to have a good relationship you must remain loving and open in your heart to the one you seek a relationship with. In the human sense, once you begin to harbor negative thoughts about another person or assume their negative thoughts concerning you, the relationship begins to suffer. Instead, loving relationships assume good intent. Loving, trusting relationships expect good things from the other person involved. When outside things begin to influence our relationships, we become less trusting and loving and begin to harden our hearts towards the ones we love. We seriously doubt they have our best interests at heart. We look for and expect more and more trouble. This is exactly how we get out of harmony with God. God is good always and never is the source of our difficulties, ever! Instead we begin to harbor negative views towards Him. We start believing and thinking things that are contrary to God’s Word. We ask for His light while we sit in the darkness. Instead of resting in His promises to us, we are full of doubt and worry about getting any result which almost guarantees we won’t get any result. The problem isn’t God. The problem is our failure to get in and remain in harmony with Him.

Being in fellowship with God, where all of the power and results and answers for life are found, requires that we do something different with our minds. We have to learn how to renew our minds. We have to put off all of that pervasive darkness we have been cleaving to and think God’s Word instead. We must consciously change our thoughts that are contrary to the truth back to thoughts that are in harmony with the truth. You know why? Because it is the truth. The rest is all just error playing out in a thousand different variables. For example, God promises to preserve our health and if we need it, restore our health. That truth will be challenged with sickness, disease and anything else that is contrary to it. We will find ourselves very tempted to get afraid and worry and fret. Doing so is believing the darkness and will result in our getting out of harmony with God. When we are out of fellowship with God, heaven is brass and nothing happens, despite our heartfelt prayers. The solution is to get back in harmony with God. Simply say, “Papa, Im sorry I got so afraid and I choose instead to believe what your Word promises me. Thank you for healing me.” Now you are saying what God’s Word says and now you are back in harmony with Him. In harmony with Him, in the light, is where God’s power will be found for your life. Naturally you will be tempted with many other things that challenge the truth of God’s Word in your mind, so you must follow the same process time and time again. If you get out of harmony, get back in as quickly as you can. When you recognize your mind has gone south, get back into fellowship with Him. When you feel miserable and defeated, get back into harmony with Him again. You find God in the light.

The more than abundant life promised in God’s Word is dependent upon you remaining in fellowship with God. The more you stay put, the better your life will become. God is not after your pleasing works done to persuade yourself you are worthy in His sight. He wants your heart. He wants your freewill love. He wants to do for you ALL that you could never do for yourself. He is your Father. He is your Papa. He never judges you and He always wants the best for you. Stay in harmony with Him in your mind. Remember what He has already done for you. Find out who His Word says you are and replace that old image you have been carrying around with you. You don’t please God with your good works. You please God by believing His Word. Cultivate that close, endearing relationship with Him and let Him do for you beyond all that you could ever ask or think.

It is that good. He is that good.

Just some good thoughts…

You and God, Are You Good?


19_0130_DISCIPLESHIP_Remembering-Your-Confidence-in-Gods-Goodness_1021x640-696x436I often recall with great fondness that time in my life when I first began learning about God. It was in the Spring of 1982 and I had been attending a fellowship with the sweetest people I had ever met. In May, I took a class called, Power for Abundant Living, that literally changed my life for the better. In that 3 week long course, I learned so many things about God from the Bible that seemed to be the polar opposite of who I thought God was and who people said God was. Based on His Word, the Bible, I learned that God was good only and that He wanted the best things in life for me. I learned that He was tender and kind and always on my side. I followed His instructions from the book of Romans (Romans 10:9-10) and got born again, born from above. With my newly found spirit inside, I learned how God would work in me, never over stepping my free-will and teach me things I couldn’t even conceive of before. Best of all, I learned how He was now my Father and that I was His son for eternity. There’s really no comparison for the sweet fellowship I enjoyed with God as my Father during those warm times of learning and growth. God and I were good, really, really good and nothing stood in the way of our family relationship. So, when it comes to you and God, are you good?

Sadly, over the years, our relationship started to change. It wasn’t God who changed towards me, but I had changed towards Him. Some of the folks I was hanging around began to add conditions and rules that were not a part of my early experiences. What was once completely free and based entirely upon God’s grace, turned into behaviors I had to perform to be okay with God. The wrong teaching turned my focus inward and suddenly it was all about what I was and was not doing. Slowly and somewhat imperceptibly, I began to morph into one of those guys that everyone hates to be around, the religious guy. I was so overly focused on my own sin and shortcomings, that I was hard and critical with everyone else. For me, it was no longer about God’s undeserved and unearned goodness, but instead it was about me living for God in ways that others could approve of and endorse. What was once so intimately personal and perfect, became tainted with the commandments and doctrines of men. The odd thing about this, when it happens to you, is that you don’t really see it taking place. All you know, is that what once free was no longer free and the cost associated with the required new life was perpetual misery and a lack of confidence in the One I was supposed to trust the most. Heaven was brass, as the saying goes, and down the slippery slope I traveled. This experience happened for longer than I would care to acknowledge until I finally had the good sense to break away from the folks I once trusted with my life. Some of you perhaps know what I’m talking about. So, when it comes to you and God, are you still good?

Years later, much like a recovering alcoholic, I had to get honest with myself about how I had been living. Instead of relying solely on what men said, I got back to the true doctrine that had once set me free before the bondage set in. I saw again, on the pages of God’s Word, that Jesus Christ had lived a perfect life with God, so that I would not be required to try it myself. I learned again how God had solved the sin problem for me forever and that all that I had or ever enjoyed in my life was completely based upon God’s grace, given to me freely based upon the accomplished works of His son. I relearned that God was not angry with me for my shortcomings; that He wasn’t following me around accusing me concerning my every failure. Instead, like the best imaginable parent, He was lovingly guiding me back to His heart, back to His unconditional love. And, like a flower blooming in the springtime, I started to recover and grow and blossom. I had much unlearning to do and still do at times, but throughout it all I remembered again who my Daddy really was and that He wanted me to enjoy my life. I saw His hand of blessing realized in my life and in the lives of my family. I finally was able to see that it was never about me and what I was and was not doing in my life, but rather what my Father in heaven was and is doing for me; for the people He loves so deeply. It became so clear that what seemed to be good to be true, was so good because it was true. He lovingly and patiently taught me what was really behind my downfall and that the source of my difficulties was an opponent I could not see, working behind the scenes to drown me in religion and the principles and philosophies that man made up in one form or another. It became so strikingly obvious that the practices and teaching not based on the grace filled life He called me to, were error, the same error that makes people hide from God and His kindness; man made doctrines ever focusing on man’s acts and man’s experiences instead of the truth of God’s Word. Once you know, you know and life gets better in a hurry. So, when it comes to you and God, are you good my dear friend?

The truth of Power for Abundant Living still lives in my heart some almost 40 years later; the truth about God and who He is according to His own Word, the Bible. His clarion call to the heart of man is to learn of Him and who He truly is for us, to us and in us. It’s the promise of a life with indescribable peace and assurance. It’s a life filled with abundance in every category of life. It is the constant awareness of knowing you don’t have all the answers, but you know the One who does. It is healing and restoration and repair whenever needed and however needed. It is forgiveness and mercy that has no end point. It is just he greatest possible life there is and it’s there for anyone that wants to learn. You may be just starting out on your journey with God or you may have enjoyed your life with Him for many years now, but either way there’s no denying that life with God is the life He always intended for it be for His precious and beloved creations. So, when it comes to you and God, are you good? Is your relationship filled with happiness and joy and love that has no end? If not, it is always there for you if you still want it.

As for me and God, we are good, so so good…

Just some good thoughts…

Alignment and Harmony…


factom_harmony.width-800Many moons ago I learned about this thing called, “alignment and harmony.” Basically, staying in alignment and harmony refers to your relationship with God and you, the variable, doing your part to keep your head in the space that God occupies. Remaining in alignment and harmony is where all of the believer’s joy and happiness come from in this life.  Being out of alignment with God is the number one source of misery and defeat, and leads to an inability to tap into God’s power or to get your prayers answered!

It has been my experience, as sad as this is to say, that most Christians seem to be living a fairly miserable life. They’re usually submerged in sin-consciousness, overly concerned and focused on the so-called rules for Christian living. They’re born again and have God’s spirit within them, yet they lack the power promised by God to make their lives abundant. The reason for this is that through either ignorance concerning God’s Word or wrong teaching regarding God’s Word, they are out of alignment and harmony with God. You can be uber-religious and totally out of alignment with God. You can tell if you’re out of fellowship with God by how you feel. If you are full of anger and frustration, you are out of alignment. If you have no love for yourself and other people, you are out of harmony. If your mind is filled with bitterness and complaining, you are out of fellowship. If you spend your days working hard to make yourself approved and righteous before God, you are in the wrong place and will suffer as a result of it. You are not in alignment and harmony with God.

This old world works night and day to get you out of that good space where love holds first place. It seeks to make you negative and chips away at you day by day with subtle and not so subtle attacks on your thinking. It wants to fill your mind with worries and fears. It presses you to focus only on yourself and have little or no concern for others. It wraps your mind into various media events hell-bent on dividing and causing angst. Then, as you indulge it, you get further and further away from God and your own happiness, joy and contentment.

Your personal relationship with God, your Father, is your most important relationship on Earth. As such, you cannot allow misconceptions and wrong ideas to cloud the beauty of that relationship. You are on this Earth to find out who God is and how to get His spirit within. Then, to learn how to operate that spirit producing power and joy in your day by day life. You have to cut through the error of religion and see God for who He says he is. A lady reported the other day, how God uses people and often has them doing things they don’t like! To which I responded with a hearty “bullshit!” It’s lies like this that keep people away from God. The only being that uses people and makes them do things they don’t like is the devil and his host of evil companions. When things people tell you don’t make any sense, they’re probably not true.

Staying in alignment is no more complicated than deciding to walk in the light. It’s recognizing when you have gone south, for whatever reason, and getting back to the light. It’s not days spent in guilt and condemnation begging God for forgiveness. It’s simply a recognition in your heart that you may have misstepped and a decision to get back to the light. Walking in the light isn’t following some strict creed of rules for living, but rather keeping your mind in the right place. It’s deciding to love and be kind and patient with people and to love, and be kind and patient with yourself. It’s cultivating a tender heart like God’s heart and through modifications to your thinking, keeping your heart soft and pliable. A hard heart doesn’t show up overnight, but comes from years of wrong thinking and unresolved issues.

Alignment and harmony is really relationship advice. It starts with God, of course, but applies to every relationship you have. Husbands and wives can get out of fellowship with one another. Carrying resentment and refusing to forgive lead to walking in darkness where there is no sweetness of living left. Thus it is your duty, for God’s sake, to get those relationships repaired if you can and be the one who initiates the light. Married couples, out of fellowship with one another, have no power with God and miss out on a golden opportunity to believe together for great things!

Perhaps the worst thing; the most dastardly of all, is when the darkness persuades you to  be at odds with yourself. It’s when you are no longer in alignment with your very own self. If you are not even for yourself in this life, what chance could you have at happiness and fulfillment? Those harsh words and negative ideas about yourself do not come from God. The accusations, the perpetual reminder of past missteps, the questioning of your character and goodness are weapons in the enemy’s arsenal that he has been using for years on mankind. Don’t believe it. Get your head to the light, where God is and see if that doesn’t completely revolutionize your life!

Being in alignment and harmony with God is the greatest thing in the whole world! It’s an unparalleled sweetness and joy like you may have never experienced before. It’s walking with confidence and power knowing that God will answer your every prayer. It’s being so tight with God that nothing can make you afraid. It’s riding in the high places of the Earth! It’s God’s will for His children in order for them to live the more than abundant life He promised them. It is the way, the truth and the life!

Stay in fellowship…it works!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Keeping Your Head in the Right Place…


road-sign-words-welcome-you-right-place-blue-sky-background-36449742You ever have one of those weeks? You know the kind where you’re having some kind of mental turmoil going on but you can’t put your finger on the ‘why.’ Well, I had that very week. There were no disasters or dramas at work. The economy didn’t collapse and no crazy people were elected President. It wasn’t trouble at home or in the neighborhood or abroad. It was nothing you could readily define at all. Just a week of scattered thinking, agitation and distress. So, something was up; something worth understanding…

A long time ago, in similar fashion, I was going through some serious stuff. I had grown so accustomed to my happy life with God where things always worked out for me. But, something had gone astray. Something had changed and I hadn’t gotten the memo. I spent lengthy prayer sessions begging God to turn things around. I just couldn’t figure out why He had changed towards me; why He didn’t seem to be there for me like He was before. And I can tell you, I spent way too damn long in that space. That was until one fateful day when I finally figured it out. My problem was never with God, my problem was with me. God never changed. I did. What I once enjoyed because I believed, I stopped enjoying because I stopped believing. I foolishly allowed well meaning people to talk me out of the simplicity of what I had, in favor of something impossibly complicated. In short, I failed to keep MY head in the right place!

One thing you should always know and never forget is that God does not change. His love for you is constant. He’s seen all of your dirty bits and loves you regardless. His favor towards you isn’t and never was based on what you do, but instead based on who He is. When things have gone south on you, God didn’t move, you did. And to get back to the life that’s worth living can only happen when you come back to the right place.

The right place is all about what God says is true. Sure there will be people who speak otherwise. There will be circumstances that appear and threaten. You’ll see news reports and pending world disasters. And worst of all, there will be subtle thoughts, almost imperceptible that chip away at you; gently nudging you to a different place; a place where heaven’s brass. And, once you get there it’s damn hard to know what happened. So, I’ll save you some time and drudgery. When things are going bad for you, you are in the wrong place.

The wrong place has many beguiling disguises; one of which is yourself. When your life becomes all about you, you are being deceived. When the number one priority is your happiness; your satisfaction; your stuff, the game is on and you are losing. As ironic as it sounds, life was never meant to be lived that way. Just as giving away somehow makes you richer, choosing the happiness of others first, leads to your own. So, how do you know if you are in the wrong place? When life is all about you…

Another counterfeit mental space comes in the form of doubts, worries and fears. How could you ever be afraid of anything if Almighty God is around? Spending your days worrying and dreading some potential future outcome is a waste of your life. Usually the thing you fear so ardently is out of your control anyway, right? Or else you could solve it. But, you can’t because it’s beyond your ability and so you worry and wither away. Getting back to the right place means giving something to God for Him to handle and by God, letting Him handle it! So, how do you know if your head is in the wrong place? When your fear has become bigger than your God…

The third and arguably most common fake, mental vacation rental shows up in a profound lack of gratitude. Everyone wants more, more, more. You want a bigger house, a better job, a new spouse, never considering just how outrageously grateful you should be for what you already have. Like my wife said today, there’s people that would think they went to heaven by living in our house and here we are complaining that the living room isn’t big enough to entertain more guests. What you have may not be your ultimate, but I’m guessing it might be someone else’s! You’ve watched so many political ads promising to make America great again that you’ve forgotten just how great it is already. You live a comfortable life in a free, safe country where your major concerns center around what to have for dinner; that you take from your freezer; that you purchased at a store; that you drove to in your car, that just left your 3 car garage, attached to your big house. And you’re not grateful for all of that? You’re not just breathtakingly thankful to live how you get to live? Boy oh boy… So, how do you know that your head’s on vacation? When you’re not sublimely grateful for the life you already have, pregnant with unlimited possibilities…

Although the examples could be endless, suffice it to say that the only one responsible to keep your head in the right place is you! Don’t get mad or frustrated with God; He’s never the source of your difficulties. There is another source, but you can easily thwart him as you make it your number one priority to stay in the right place; that place where God says what’s true.

My confusing week from hell is over now and you know why? Because I remembered that it is MY job to put my head in the right place and that no-one could do it for me, but me. Man, how grateful I am to be God’s son! I’m not sure how I could ever navigate this life without Him. Do the right thing by getting to the right place in your mind; the place where God is. That’s where all the blessings are! The more than abundant life is real and waiting for you.

I love you Papa…

Just some good thoughts.