Stay Lit…


visuals-000261330935-AoWJX2-t1240x260All people have difficulties, problems, setbacks. All people have been subjected to sickness, to chronic health issues, to pain. All people find themselves mentally challenged at times, lost, confused, bewildered and afraid. Yet despite all of the negatives we face in life, some folks find solutions, find answers, and overcome. Some people have learned how to tap into a power greater than themselves. There is nothing that will ever come your way in life that is greater than God and His ability to deliver you. The challenge does not reside solely in the issues you face, but rather in what you choose to do with your mind in the middle of the challenge. In order to win you have to remain in the light. You have to stay lit…

Every single negative aspect of life is engendered by darkness. Every heartache, every headache, every trouble, every illness, every problem, every conflict, every apparently insurmountable obstacle begins in darkness then plays out in our lives. Darkness works behind the scenes plotting, scheming and engineering circumstances designed to drive our focus to the darkness. As long as our focus resides in the darkness, we cannot win. Problems dwelt upon and rehearsed, issue in more and more problems. Even prayers, no matter how sincerely they are delivered, if uttered in fear and desperation have little impact. God hears the prayers, every one of them, but is hindered in helping by the mindset and expectation of the one praying. You cannot pray in the dark and expect an answer in the light. Prayers are answered when the one praying comes to the light where God is. Stay lit.

Evil most certainly can be overcome in this life. No matter how terrible or desperate a situation appears to be, God always has an answer, a solution if we could but hear it. Oftentimes we do not hear it because the evidence that has been placed before our eyes says it cannot be. Our senses minds, severely limited in scope and understanding, cannot apprehend it. In order to break free from the chains of darkness we have to be able to look at something greater than the darkness; greater than the portrayal we are witnessing; greater than the mounting evidence to the contrary. Darkness, the author of fear, is always an illusion. It is successful because we believe the lie. We believe the facts instead of considering the truth. We go by what men say instead of what God says. The problem with other men is that they are stuck in the same trap from which we wish to escape. Jesus healed every one that came to him irrespective of the various facts involved. It’s impossible for a man born blind to be able to see, but Jesus healed him anyway. It is impossible for a man with a withered hand to stretch it forth, but Peter told him to stretch it forth and he did. Healing is not dependent upon the severity or lack of severity of the problem, but rather on the belief of the one that has the need. There is no fact, no circumstance, no medical condition chronic or otherwise, no diagnosis, no mental condition long in the making or recently developed, no so called impossibility, that cannot be overcome when the light is introduced. Stay lit.

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. God dwells in the light. If you want to find God, though He is everywhere present, you have to get yourself to the light. You get to the light by changing your thinking from darkness to light. You have to stop dwelling on how much it hurts; how hard it is; how impossible it seems and get yourself over to the promises of God. You have to stop complaining about your unmet needs; being frustrated by your unmet needs; getting pissed about your unmet needs and put your focus back on God who promises to meet your needs. To think otherwise is to dwell on the darkness and dwelling on the darkness won’t bring forth the light. Can’t you see it? The reason you continue to struggle is because you haven’t yet been able to get your thinking to the right place. Darkness is a liar and accepting its claims leads only to defeat. God does not want you to suffer. God is not withholding any good thing from you. God is not upset with you. Thinking so is listening to and believing the darkness. Evil does not define the terms. Darkness does not dictate what will and will not happen to you, though it claims vociferously otherwise. You are in a contest. You are in a competition. It’s damn hard at times, but you can always win. It is God’s will that you win. Stay lit.

I think if we ever stopped to consider how important it is to control what we choose to think, our lives would be changed immeasurably. It is so much easier to see what is going on when the lights are on. The solution to being engulfed in darkness is not to try and understand the darkness, but instead turn on the light. All darkness flees when the light comes. Thinking and considering and rehearsing and evaluating darkness or ideas promoted by darkness is a trap and no matter how smart you think you are, you ain’t getting out of that trap. It’s a trap because darkness is counting on your cooperation in order to prevail. Don’t be that person. Get to the light. Stay lit.

It does not matter what obstacles you are facing, God will help you learn how to win. There is no temptation that has taken you that is not common to man. There is a way out. There is an answer. There is a solution and the way out, the answers, and the solutions are found in the light. God sent His Word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions. Tap into the power that is greater than yourself. Tap into the power that always overcomes. Find the light, then stay lit. You won’t be sorry, you will be set free.

Just some good thoughts…

Clear Eyes…


images.jpgThere are times in our lives when we see with such unremitting,  unobscured clarity; so grand and beautiful in its detail, so positively helpful and inspiring that we find ourselves awestruck, grateful and wishing for more. The sudden jolt of an unexpected answer to a long-held question or being at last able to slice through the morass of confusion and pinpoint the direction to proceed, has no parallel in our minds or equal. Yet we sojourn most of our lives in lack of it, fainting and eventually surrendering ourselves from its absence. We begin to think not seeing and not knowing is normal, concluding that no-one else can see either. Or, to our own demise we trust ourselves to a false clarity, failing to even consider otherwise. In the end we grope blindly, victims of whatever will. We must find our clear eyes…

The trouble with not seeing is not seeing. When you cannot discern objects at night, you seek a light. When you cannot see things in the light, you need more light. It’s the light that makes the hidden things visible. It is light in your mind that illuminates solutions, that clarifies obstacles, that lifts the scales as it were. Only the light can accomplish this and without the light it cannot be accomplished. Our job when faced with challenges, fears persisting, frustrations and befuddlement, is not to press harder or think better or work smarter, but instead get light, pure light. “Dwelling on the darkness [problems] won’t bring forth the light [true solutions]!” Clear eyes require great humility and the disciplined ability to set aside all of our plans and our solutions and our remedies until we become first clear on our problem. Our human nature, our self-serving ego will send us around the hamster wheel, sometimes for years, scouring the planet’s wisdom for a solution we will never find. Life is spiritual and spirit is light! Every undiagnosed issue, every lost solution, every corruption, every disease, every painful misstep has at its base darkness, spiritual darkness reigning supreme absent spiritual light. We must find the light…

The problem with darkness is the darkness. Darkness promises a thing, but gives you another thing. Every offer presented by darkness carries within it more darkness. As darkness is indulged, in thought preceding deeds, it mystifies and clouds, producing more darkness. Fear of some dreadful event or circumstance, persisted in, invites the darkness in ending always in blindness and the inability to perceive it further. Now numbed by its effects, the victim no longer feels the pain of his wrong choices or the consequences of her unplanned decisions. It’s the ultimate deception! It’s a fools game. It is an inescapable reality absent the light that reveals it. Trapped within it, man flails and flaps, desperately trying to break free only to find more chains with each disparate and uncoordinated action to escape. It never quite dawns on him that the effect is manufactured by a cause he cannot see. He remains buried in a riddle his human mind will never solve. We need to be illuminated!

The issue with man is the man. If he ever dares to step off his high horse, his so-called science and mathematics, his false sense of reality, his insatiable need for physical proof of spirit in a material existence, he would find the clarity he seeks is not where he has been searching. And in the place of foolishly concluding that man’s wisdom is the end of all wisdom, trusting only what he can see, hear, smell, taste or touch, denying the great dwarfing, magnificent, miracle of creation, and instead using his suffering and frustration as a sure guide, he would at last reach upward for the light that reveals and clears up. And in seeking he would find as the door opens when knocked. And instead of finding a little man parading behind a curtain as that Great Wizard of Oz, falsely promising help and safety, he would discover the dust-covered Bible in his bookshelf waiting as it has always waited for the curious seeker to find the delights therein. We need to discover God’s Word!

The light that God gives, is God. Man’s benefactor, His creator had the foresight to write a book. In that book He placed words from Himself, infused with the light to see, as the guide, the solution, the source of His help. As a man considers those words and listens to those words and dwells on those words, he illuminates himself. He shines a spiritual light no darkness can extinguish. He feeds himself pure words with no loopholes nor crevices nor breeches an enemy can exploit.  As he remains in it, he finds himself healed from his maladies, built up strong where he was weak and repaired wherein he had been broken. The brilliant light, the only true light, the spiritual light he encounters reassures his restless soul and offers him peace. And as that light races into every deep recess of his mind, he finds the answers he needs, the solutions he craves, the reasons and all of the real causes. He finds himself delivered! We need the light that saves us!

You may have just stumbled upon that which you have been stumbling upon. How incredulous in a vast world of knowledge and self-help and scholars, counselors, doctors and lawyers, the solutions you sought in many a weary and churning night, with unparalleled effort and commitment and tears, would be found nearby in a book you have heard about from long ago. Learn about that book. Seek help to comprehend that book. Find out what to think according to that book. Understand how to live in line with that book. Experience God’s life and power and infinite razor precision to cut through and discern between truth and error, between a blessed life and a miserable life, between all that is light and all that is indeed darkness. You need to understand that book…

No matter how many years you may have travailed, no matter the distances you may have traveled, no matter how many attempts you may have tried, there is one true way that when found will make your blind eyes finally able to see. And you will then proclaim fondly, “God has never forgotten me…” You need to find your clear eyes!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

15 to Life…


Courtroom Scene.jpgI found myself seeking to lose that same 15 pounds I’ve been working on for about 15 years. I lost all of it once and some of it many, many times. Yet, it always seems to creep back on. Funny thing is it’s only 15 pounds. That got me thinking, why is it that my body would regulate itself just slightly higher than I would want? In fact, why do we seem to get certain things in our lives, yet often feel like we need a little bit more? The house is nice, but I wish it didn’t have bricks. The Ford Explorer works, but that Escalade is bangin’! If you receive in life exactly what you have believed to receive, then why would our believing stop just short of what we really want? Or maybe, are we stopping short of what we really want or always wanting more and more? These are worthy questions for those serving 15 to life.

It was 1982 when I first took a class called, “Power for Abundant Living” where I learned that what a person believes in their heart is what they will manifest into their lives. I’m not referring to the reported “magic” outlined in “The Secret.” Life wasn’t designed for things to just appear out of nowhere, but instead the results we are pursuing show up naturally in direct accordance with our firm expectations! The Bible says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” And, “Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it flows forth the issues of your life!” Thus your life, whether you like it or not, is a direct reflection of what you believe deep down in your heart. Similarly, the image that you carry of yourself is what you are. How have you been picturing yourself for the last year, five years, ten years? The image that you carry of yourself with clearness and concern is what you are. And the kicker? This law of believing works for positive and negative thinking alike!

A good friend complimented me yesterday on the back-splash I put up in the kitchen. I responded with thank you, then quickly pointed out that there were some flaws in the job and that I made some mistakes. Do you see where I’m going? Instead of just enjoying the positives, I felt the need to add in a “yes, but.” Often, we limit ourselves in this life with our “yes, buts!” Somebody tricked us into believing that we have to take the good with the bad. Someone convinced us that we can’t have it all. Something weaseled its way into our thinking and talked us into considering that we have to give darkness its place. Doubts, worries, fears, stressors and anxieties are the “yes, buts” in our lives.  They represent a form of believing in the negative with just as powerful and specific results.

If you want to learn how to believe rightly; how to get positive results in your life, or how to get rid of the life sucking negatives, the question to ask yourself involves your subject of focus. What is your subject of focus? What do you see most consistently? Does your good always have some “bad” in it? Would your friends describe you as positive or negative? Those thoughts you rehearse most consistently eventually find their way into your heart, determining how your life proceeds. You don’t live how you want to live because you don’t believe that you can! You don’t get what you want in life, you get what you are on the inside. In order to change the outside you have to change the inside. You can change every circumstance of your life if you are willing to invest a little time in changing your thinking. Develop and build a crystal clear image of something you need or someone you want to be, and hold fast to that image. Don’t let anyone or anything change it! Keep your subject of focus.

At this point you may be wondering, “How does anyone know what is in their heart?” The answer is simple, what do you talk about the most? Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. What does your communication consist of? Are you quick to notice and point out the negatives? Are you critical of other people? Do you use words that associate themselves with lack and struggle? Is your favorite topic the things that aren’t right in your body? (If so, I’m guessing you have lots and lots of things not right in your body) Or is your conversation pleasant, expectant, looking for the good in life? What you have been saying is what you have been believing and is exactly how you have been living! Good or bad, positive or negative, joyous or disastrous, are all your choice and within the realm of something you can control!

When it’s all said and done, the reason I’m serving 15 to life is because my focus, the picture I carry of myself with clearness and concern, my expectation and believing has been completely centered on something I don’t want rather than on something I do want. When I see myself in the mirror, I hone in on what isn’t right rather than focusing in on everything that is right! And, you cannot do something for 15 years without being pretty damn consistent! The first place to make a change isn’t addressed on the outside, but on the inside instead.

15 pounds doesn’t rank very highly on the life importance scale, that’s for sure. But 15 years certainly does. Any time spent living life stuck in a cycle of something not being right is too long, especially since you have the ability, by your belief, to change it. Don’t settle for life’s potluck or justifying your negatives by comparing them to other people’s negatives. Choose the life you want to live leaving no caveat for negatives, evil or wrong. You deserve that much because God gave you the much! Believe rightly! Choose life!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Elusive Moments of Clarity…


ClarityRecently my sister in-law suffered through the untimely death of her brother. He had an aggressive form of cancer and despite having lived longer than projected, he ultimately died. The whole experience, besides the unfathomable grief, produced in her moments of clarity she hadn’t really expected. It seems in situations when our own mortality is forced into our awareness, the most important things in life rush to the forefront of our minds. So, that got me thinking… Is the clarity we all desire, contingent upon dire circumstances? Do we have to face life threatening situations firsthand in order to finally see what is most important?

Clarity can be defined as those seemingly rare times in life when we finally “get it” or are able to see the things that formerly eluded us. Clarity seems to follow focus and nothing demands more focus than facing the possibility of actually dying or the death of someone you love. And amazingly, in the face of death we contemplate life. Suddenly the important things take on a huge significance. No one speaks of their beautiful home or their possessions, but instead consider the people in their lives and those significant relationships that mean the most. Near death experiences and the perils of war awaken the survivors to a world they previously took for granted.

This life; this precious life is alarmingly short. And despite the brevity of life, we all march on entranced in our routines virtually asleep to what matters most. We stop looking; really looking at our spouses and our children. We desensitize to our surroundings. The good we enjoy we grow accustomed to and even make time for complaint. We dream and yearn for the day when we finally have “such and such” and when we arrive, we pause then quickly begin our ascent to the next plateau.

It shouldn’t take the threat of losing it all to alert our souls to the perfection we have already. We move too fast. We think too fast. We expect results too fast. We want more and more and need less. We look for happiness in transient things while ignoring what endures. People endure. Relationships endure. Love endures. In those rare moments when I imagine my last days, my children gathered around me, I think what I might say to them. And for the life of me, all I want to communicate to them is how much I love them; how proud I am of them and who they have become and that i did my best to be my best for them.

Clarity isn’t elusive. Clarity is all around you. Clarity is found in the eyes of your child, the smile from your mother, the understanding glance from your best friend. Clarity is found in your relationships with other people and most profoundly with our God that made us. Clarity comes when we finally step out of the rat race of endless distraction and focus on the things that matter most. It is not reserved only for times of pending tragedy and the threat of death, but more for times of reflection at a speed that allows for it. The clarity we ardently seek is seeking us.

If we are honest, our perpetual striving for things that matter less, is based on fear; the fear of what we think we are supposed to be. We’ve bought into the story that says we must have the money, the stuff, the acclaim and lost track of the reason we do it all. We forgot that the excitement of the new car is lost if we don’t have someone to share it with. No one enjoys the vacation in the exotic place, alone. It’s people and our connection to them that makes this life worthwhile.

The maximized, glorious life is a life that makes time for what is most important. To say there isn’t enough time is to admit a loss of control. The rush, the busy-ness, the constraint isn’t from the demands of life but rather from the fictitious demand of what is not. It’s a distraction of unparalleled proportions. It’s a bait and switch game that purports activity equals productivity and urges getting things done over taking care of people; our people. It emphasizes appearance over people’s hearts and facades above humanity. It’s not clear it’s fuzzy and the finish line is out of view.

Clarity is there for us every single day. Clarity doesn’t elude us, we elude it. We miss it a lifetime from being swept away on a current; a rushing river of activities that steal our time; our focus, our life. Clarity comes from focus; focus on what is most sweet and enduring. Our life comes into focus in direct proportion to our willingness to adjust the lens. We adjust the lens on a subject we choose and not on a subject chosen for us.

Thank God for those moments when life suddenly comes into focus and the false; the illusory fades away. Thank God for the glimpses of light that clear the path ahead and captivate our attention in order to make the necessary change. Thank God for the privilege to see and at last understand. Thank God!

Just some good thoughts…

How to be Happy…Ending the Incessant Focus on Yourself!


me-me-me-md1We are all on a quest to be happy, right? Happiness is the one of the most talked about topics in life and for good reason. We all want it so very badly! Yet strangely, pursuing happiness as your object of focus tends to lead away from and not to… happiness. Happiness is defined as an emotional state characterized by varying pleasant emotions. Happiness is something we experience. We can certainly choose to be happy and in so choosing greatly increase our odds of being happy. But sometimes we sort of get it wrong. We start looking for it and while we are waiting for it we realize we aren’t experiencing it. So we try a little harder to get it and experience it less and less. Hmmm what’s wrong with that picture? What’s wrong is our subject of focus!

Life is supposed to be lived full on. Full on means being fully invested in whatever is going on at the present moment. “Clear eyes, full heart!” When we become totally invested in the present moment something interesting and wonderful happens. We experience happiness! Okay, so imagine yourself in this scenario. You have a very busy day at work. Many things are clamoring for your attention and you have important things to accomplish. So you make up your mind to focus on the work at hand and give yourself fully to it. You are locked in man! Suddenly you realize, “holy smokes” it’s 5:15 p.m., I’m supposed to be off now. So you pack up shop and head home. And while you are driving home it dawns on you that you feel pretty dang good. You feel satisfied and happy! How did that happen? You weren’t even focused on happiness and there it came out of nowhere. The secret? Full hearted focus on what you were doing at the moment! Hmmm…

No what about the converse? You are sitting on your couch thinking about yourself. Why am I so unhappy? I mean what is the matter with me? I used to be happy and now I’m not. Why??? Maybe it’s my job or my wife or the weather or the economy or the neighborhood I live in or that all my friends on Facebook sure seem so happy… Maybe I should go on a diet? I am getting pretty fat, after all. I sure wish I was slim like such and such. I have no discipline. Maybe I just need to exercise more. And look at my clothes. I used to have nice clothes. I mean I have really let myself slip. What is wrong with meeeeeeee? The clue to your unhappiness is found in that one little word, “ME.” Me, me, me… That incessant focus on yourself is your problem! You have temporarily stopped living your life and sat down to examine it. And like anything that man does, it always leads to an acknowledgment of imperfection. You’ve been tricked out of living an experiencing and exchanged it for analyzing; as if that type of analysis ever led to anything good!

Happiness, remember, is something we experience. You don’t will it into existence! Give it try…I’ll wait! No, instead what you need to do, what we all need to do, is put our focus 100% into the present moment. Focused thought, wholehearted thought, is happy thought. Otherwise your thoughts become divided and divided thoughts are anxiety. Anxiety is literally trying to think two thoughts at once. Half in the moment, half in your thoughts. Anxiety! Focusing on “me, me, me” is only going to lead to feeling anxious and won’t get you to what you are really after. God tells us to put our whole heart into things. Maybe He knows a thing or two about happiness, huh?

Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men… Colossians 3:23 AMP

That, my friends is the answer to what ails you! One of the great oxymorons of life is that the more you focus on making yourself happy, the less happy you will be. But, the more you focus on others and what the moment you are in calls for, the happier you become. Try it out for yourself. Instead of trying to answer that age-old question, give yourself completely to whatever it is you are doing (or supposed to be doing) right now. Get your mind off of yourself and onto the moment you are in. Fully, completely, unequivocally!

The world we live in is constantly encouraging us to think about ourselves and to be consumed with ourselves. But, it is a trick! It won’t lead you to where you want to go. Instead it leads to antidepressants and other medication that tries to help you “feel” good. Why not decide to stop that incessant focus on yourself and experience the life you have been waiting for all along? That glorious, happy life is right there waiting for you; waiting for you to change your focus.

Life aint all about me, well, a happy life anyway!

Just some good thoughts…