Hey Happiness, Where are You?


Jan21_12_525848907Happiness is probably the most sought after thing in the world. Thus, the sum of all questing can be found in successfully answering the one simple question, “Why am I not happy?” People attribute a myriad of reasons for not finding happiness ranging from not having enough money to not having the right relationship yet often they fail to find happiness while enjoying both. Is it really the absence of something you want that thwarts or retards your efforts in finding happiness or is it something else? Is happiness something that just sort of falls upon you when the circumstances are favorable or is there more to the story you have thus far failed to consider? What if the pursuit of your long lost happiness is not based on any of these things at all? Is it possible that the happiness that is your birthright eludes you because something or someone is stealing it from you? Oh hey happiness, where are you?

In order to be truly happy you first have to become free. Wherever and whenever you enjoy freedom your happiness will be evident. Your mind, your heart functions best when it is unencumbered or held back by any constraints. Think back to those times in your life when you experienced abundant happiness. It is safe to say that in those times of almost unending happiness, you were also virtually carefree in your approach to life. You were not dragging around a litany of complaints concerning your situation, nor were you full of fear concerning your future. You enjoyed who you were and where you were in life. You didn’t fill your mind with expectations about what you should be and you were not comparing yourself to others. In those times, your heart was not burdened or overloaded with cares and you just expected things to work out. In fact, you didn’t give the possibility of things not working out any space between your ears. You refused entree’ to the dark side of life and trusted that good things were probably preparing for you. In this you lived as God would have you to live! And in unity with that type of thinking your happiness overflowed and filled your soul. Then, as time marched on, imperceptibly at first, your thinking began to change. You recalled your early years as fanciful and lacking the mature thought that accompanied adulthood. You regaled thoughts of seriousness and responsibility and concerned yourself with “realism” more in accordance with the mechanisms of the world you observed, convincing yourself that adult thought must also take into consideration all of the multitude of pitfalls that could befall a person in life and in so doing unknowingly traded away your happiness for fear.

The number one cause and in many instances the only cause for your complete lack of happiness is fear. Look no further. End the research project early. It is fear that manages to suck the life out of God’s creation and it is fear that is impeding you today. Oh it doesn’t look like fear or seem to fit the accepted definition of fear, but it is still fear. Unresolved fear and its myriad companions work behind the scenes to put limits on your existence and to freeze you in your tracks. Fear impedes and thwarts your forward progress. Fear adds clouds to your sunny days; steals your energy for doing; casts dispersions on your good enjoyed and threatens your future. Fear locks you into a prison, a prison you cannot easily discern yet confines you just the same. Fear adds a “yes, but” and puts a question mark where an exclamation point belongs. As fear’s prisoner, you are no longer free to enjoy your life in the moment or your accomplishments. You have a difficult time enjoying anything because of the carefully crafted restraints that have been built into your thinking. You are or have become a prisoner in a self-made prison hole. You perpetuate the lie that fear is by your persistence in giving it entree’ into your mind. You think fear; look for fear; believe fear and live a life controlled by fear! You are not happy because fear has gained ascendency in your life. Instead of doing what you would like to do, pursuing things that make your heart sing, living as a truly free man or woman, you live a life controlled by fearful thinking threatening to break up and destroy all that is beautiful and good. In this you have become a slave, a slave to fearful thinking and subsequent fearful actions. Every move you make in fear produces more fear and it seems as if there is no escape. In this you are unhappy and will remain unhappy until you can finally understand what is going on! Fear is a liar and is the cause behind every unhappiness there is.

Whether you like it or not or believe it or not, fear is the veiled intruder you have overlooked. Fear must be challenged and overcome. Every happy person you know has overcome at least some if not all of its claims. In order to be a free person you have to be free from fear. As long as there is some aspect of life that frightens you or has the power to stall your efforts, you will remain bound. You have to take it on! And the number one method for defeating fear is not found in your bravado or recklessness or unrelenting discipline, it is found in your resolute decision to stop giving it access to your life. Stop entertaining it, playing with it, considering it and giving it space. How quickly a pleasant day or pleasant time is cut short by the entrance of some unreasonable fear thought left unchecked. How miserable a life becomes when fear puts its shackles around your free will and stops your enjoyments and your fun. The absence of your happiness alone is sufficient evidence that fear has its claws on you, grasping you and robbing you of all of your joy. The escape you seek; the freedom your heart desires; the happiness that eludes you is found on the other side of that fear that has been controlling your life. Take your life back!

The number one enemy that you must contend with in this life is fear. You don’t have to work hard to produce happiness, happiness comes naturally as a result of your freedom. Once you begin to finally escape the tyranny of things and extricate yourself from the clutches of fear, you will find your happiness returns like the carefree smile on a child’s face, unencumbered by the innumerable illusions concerning what can go wrong and why. God has called you and I to freedom whereby He can bestow all manner of goodness upon us as any loving Father would desire. Seek God’s help to overcome your fear and, for goodness sakes, be honest with Him about how you have been living. All human beings will be confronted with fear and the good Lord knows that. But enduring happiness is found in them obey God’s great command to “fear not” and choose love instead. Do you want to find your missing happiness? Get rid your fear…

Just some good thoughts…

The Wilderness Walk…


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I believe that all people embarking on their spiritual journey through life can relate to the wilderness walk at times going from bondage and suffering to freedom and happiness. The wilderness walk refers to those periods in our lives where we wander about lost and confused, lacking clear direction on the way in which we should go. And, although the promised land may be much closer than we imagine, we can spend inordinate amounts of time, even lifetimes, walking in circles, continuing with our own attempts at finding happiness and generally trying to figure life out on our own. The wilderness walk is extremely difficult and painful and leaves us worse off rather than better, robbing us of years of valuable time to live and enjoy our lives. Are you on a wilderness walk in your life? Are you tired of expending tremendous effort with very little results to show for it?  Have you finally arrived at the place where you recognize that what you have been doing isn’t working and need to do something different? Maybe it’s time to find the promised land.

I realize fully what can happen to a man or a woman on their journey through life as I have experienced it for myself. I know how hard it can be to go from happiness and freedom to bondage and suffering. And, as I look back on those arduous days, those trying times of frustration and defeat, it becomes readily apparent that the reason it happens is because somewhere, somehow, we have been deceived into practicing error. Error is a particularly tricky animal in that once we are engaged it we often do not recognize it for what it is. If our trajectory is altered ever so slightly, we find ourselves miles from our desired destination. And usually it happens because we have developed error in our logic and are thinking and doing things that we think will help us, but instead lead us further down the rabbit hole. The harder we try, the more we fail, not because God doesn’t love us anymore or has abandoned us, but because we are no longer thinking properly and subsequently no longer believing rightly. Right believing leads to right results. Wrong believing, no matter how sincere or draped in error, leads to wrong results.

The reason anyone gets into bondage is because something or someone has made them a slave. When you are a slave, you are no longer free to do as you please, but instead have become subjected to requirements you must fulfill in order to be okay. Religion is like this. Religion tells you things you must do in order to be approved by God. Because you want to please God, you willingly go along with it not realizing or being clear on what God actually asks for you to do. Many times, the things people say God expects from you are wholly different than anything recorded in the Word of God. Yet, religion maintains they are truth. Bondage enters in when you have, unbeknownst to you, become a slave needing to fulfill certain requirements for God to love you or protect you. The first clue to the error behind the scheme is whenever you feel compelled to do things or feel required to do things for God. I can assure you, God does not want you to do anything you do not want to do, much like you do not want your children to obey you out of necessity. Once you get on this track you have officially entered the wilderness and things won’t get better until you break free from the taskmaster behind it, masquerading as God. God does not want your empty behaviors or your false subjection, He wants your heart. He is not the one judging you, condemning you or accusing you, though many report otherwise. Once you accept the sacrifice of God’s only begotten son for you, you will never enter into judgment from God, both now and in the future. Knowing this sets you free and allows you to enter the promised land.

You and I, by our good works and discipline, can never make ourselves good enough to deserve God’s goodness in our lives. No one can. God’s goodness in our lives comes as a result of His grace, His unearned, unmerited divine favor towards us. The righteousness of God is something God gave to us as a free gift. We didn’t earn it, we believed unto it. We believe that God gave His son for us, the perfect for the imperfect. God did for us what we could never do for ourselves. In the life of His son, God covered and paid for every stupid thing we ever did in our lives. And in that sacrifice, we are free. Whenever and wherever we attempt to add to that by good works or rules and regulations, we fall from grace, leave the promised land and go right back into bondage. We subject ourselves again to the wicked taskmaster, hell bent on ruining our lives. And, because our attempts are based in error, we cannot attain that for which we seek, though we kill ourselves in the trying. Bondage is slavery and God has set us free.

No matter where you are in the journey of life, suffering and misery exist for one sole purpose, to inform you that something is wrong. Like a pain in your body alerts you to a problem, pain in your soul; a lack of enthusiasm and energy; depression and heartache are alerting you that something has gone wrong for you, something is amiss, you are believing and accepting things that are not true. And like those believers wandering in the wilderness for many years, you need for God to lead you in the way that you should go. God desires for you to get to the promised land and He knows the way. Religion is not the way. Anything you do out of fear and obligation is not the way. Once you begin to believe properly and adjust your thinking accordingly, you will find the things that have long held you down will melt away leaving you free to experience, free to live and free to serve. God has already set you free, if you only knew it.

The promised land is the land of milk and honey and it is here for you today. You have wandered and suffered long enough, haven’t you? You have already proven to yourself that what you have been doing and believing is not working for you. You know there is something better for you and you are not wrong in thinking that. Oh how good it feels when you finally escape from bondage and return to that place of absolute freedom where God is… Absent your good works and human efforts. The wilderness walk has no more place in your life because you have been made free. Simply learn to accept what God has done for you.

Just some good thoughts…

Enjoy Your Life…


3588855bb2e74867f7877d6b26470a98When you are a young person, you cannot wait to get older and do the things that adults can do. When you reach adulthood, you quickly learn that being an adult carries with it some responsibilities you hadn’t really thought all the way through. You take on those responsibilities and begin to figure things out. You work hard and seek out the resources you need for you and your young, budding family. You start to taste some success, admittedly some more than others, and before you know it, you find yourself in your thirties, then forties, eventually reaching middle age. Your children are likely grown or getting there and you start setting new priorities for your life. You settle into your middle aged life and because you worked hard, have more resources available to you and more time to devote to the things you enjoy most. And while you continue on your journey, the time comes when discussions involve retirement and you’ve entered your sixties. At some point you retire and it dawns on you that you cannot actually cheat Father Time as you see and feel the effects of age. And, as this progression continues and you aren’t getting any younger, some of the most simple things provide you with the most pleasure, much like how you started out. You look back on your life and recognize it for the journey it actually is and was. No one told you how to do your thirties or your forties or your sixties. In fact, no one told you hardly anything about aging at all. There was little to no advice about what to expect, what to plan for or how best to live your life along the way. And as you approach the ending no one really wants to consider, the only question remaining will be, did you enjoy your life? Did you engage your mind and your heart in the things that matter most? Did you enjoy your days as you lived them or were you always trying to get to the next place? Did you savior the beauty of today or was your habit to postpone all enjoyment for the future when you finally had it all figured out with resources untold? No matter your present age, the question is, are you enjoying your life? 

Life is vary similar for us all. By the time we have gained a little wisdom, we will have already had our fair share of bumps and bruises. We will have endured some catastrophes and survived. We learned tough lessons. We maybe screwed things up quite a bit. We had weaknesses and issues that took us years to overcome. We might have failed, succeeded and failed again. All of this is common to the human experience. It will happen or has happened in some capacity to us all. Yet all these things are not the measure of our lives. The real measure is found in every day that happened in between those events. As much as we didn’t like it, did we fight through those tough times? Were we able to find happiness and love despite the obstacles? Did we learn early enough that the real blessing and enjoyment we found came from those who we lived life with? All of the hours we spent raising children and caring for them and making sure they had everything they needed were all insignificant in comparison to the love we shared and do share with them. And in the midst of all that stressful endeavor, I sure hope you enjoyed them. Those countless hours you spent at work, striving to be the best, to be successful, to earn, to provide for your family, again lose their value if you were not able to enjoy those folks you saw everyday and with which you were blessed to interact. Every successful marriage has its fair share of challenges as should be expected from two people growing, changing and interacting every day. Yet for all of the fights, the silent treatment, the unrealistic expectations and demands, stands alone the absolute joy of having someone close and intimate from which to enjoy your life in all of its varied experiences and emotions. Who can compare to “your person” that understands all of your human frailty but continues to love you nonetheless? My point, lest you miss it, is that you have one life to enjoy, to learn, to grow and to overcome and only one life to live on Earth. Enjoy your life…

All of us love a sunny day as well as congenial circumstances of favor and plenty. None of us take delight in the struggles. We all long for a time when things always work out and every effort we supply has a grand result. We are all happy when things are going right and we are all unhappy when we find ourselves pressed and tried. Life, this life, is often unfair and lacking in the justice we would expect. Picnics get rained on and beach days suddenly turn cold. Vacations get cancelled and glorious outdoor weddings are hurriedly moved indoors. Circumstances change, our feelings change, we’re up, we’re down, we are beside ourselves and we are blessed. It is this life we have now and it is ours to choose to enjoy. We cannot allow circumstances to define our happiness anymore than we can leave our enjoyment in the hands of other people. Instead enjoyment is found when we slow down a bit and savior the fullness of our experience; when we take the time to look around at all that we have instead of that which we perceive we lack; when we look full on in the faces of the people we love and communicate with our hearts, embracing tender feelings towards them. This is the real beauty and essence of life. This is the life God envisioned for us. Enjoy your life…

Wisdom need not be reserved for the aged. You don’t have to be in your golden years before you finally understand that all along you only had one life to live with every conceivable decision in between. You don’t have to wait for some future day when all of your needs will finally be met. You don’t have to postpone your happiness until you find “your person.” It was never about your car or your house or your bank account. Life, your life, is to be lived today to the absolute full. Let tomorrow be what it wants for your life is found in today, right now. In the grand words of Emerson, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in. Forget then as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”

Enjoy your life…

Just some good thoughts…

 

You Are Not a Victim!


2018_12_01_59766_1543625917._largeWhen you get right down to it, all of us have had negative things happen in our lives. We have all been deceived at one time or another. We have all been taken advantage of in some capacity whether it be by the people who we love and trust or even outsiders like our bosses or other people with whom we interact. It is not necessarily an uncommon part of our human existence. And none of us liked  it, even remotely. Yet for all we may have experienced, suffered through or endured, it still does not determine who we are nor define our future lives. Whatever may have happened, holds no power over us nor does it have the ability to impact the days ahead, that is unless we allow it. In this, we are not victims. You are not a victim! 

In order for the victim mentality to begin directing our steps, we have to falsely assume that we are powerless to effect change in our situation. And, while someone may be physically stronger than we are; may hold a position of influence and authority over us; may be well skilled in manipulation and using our emotions against us, that still does not make us a victim in the scenario or force us to continue being victimized and minimized. Each of us has value and worth and none of us has less value and worth than anyone else. Your feelings matter as much as the other person’s feelings matter. Your right to be treated with dignity and respect is equal to the other person’s right to be treated with dignity and respect. To be a victim, you have to conclude that your life holds a lesser position than the oppressor. High ranking people with titles and great authority, while potentially having more influence over others lives than you do, still are not above you in the human sense. Rankings and societal strata come via people, not from God. You are not a victim unless you have decided thus. And even if a circumstance victimized you, you do not have to remain a victim. 

The way that you can tell if you are playing the victim is by the things you say and don’t do. Constantly complaining about your boss at work, while doing nothing to remedy the situation, is playing the victim. If you think about it, all complaining about situations is really an acknowledgment or agreement on your part that there is nothing you can do to make a change. Yet, there is always something you can do. Instead of complaining to everyone else, complain to the source instead. If you find yourself in a situation that pains you, frustrates you, chews you up inside, and that situation persists, you owe it to yourself to make a change. Maybe you are making a lot of money and fear you won’t have the same opportunity elsewhere. Not only is that not true (as evidenced by your ability to do it in the first place), but it also serves to lower your value as a person. No amount of money or comforts or power is worth the compromise of your own soul. Your life is more than that. Your value is higher than that. The victim mentality runs rampant today. It runs unchecked because people have learned to blame everyone and everything rather than take ownership of their own lives. Maybe you were not properly nurtured as a child. Well, you are an adult now and can get your needs met elsewhere. Whatever your oppression, whatever cruelty you faced, whatever horrendous thing that may have halted you in life, does not need to subject you any further. Negative situations seem to last just about as long as we allow them to last. When we are done, they are done. The circumstances change as we finally decide our value exceeds the misery of the situation and take the first steps to engender change. .

In life, we are always accountable for our own lives. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but it is true. Now that does not mean that our circumstances are always positive or that we are not challenged, tried and tested. Nor does it mean that we are the source of all that happens to us. There are literally a million variables involved. But, in the end, it is our life and we are responsible to do our best to overcome and to prevail. It’s not the amount of challenges we face or the opposition. It is what we are willing to accept for our lives and in that which we have determined within worth persisting. If you value yourself highly, your tolerance for mistreatment is very low. If you value yourself as lowly, your tolerance for mistreatment and abuse will be too high. The circumstances of your past, the terrible humans you encountered, those in authority that failed to protect you do not determine your self worth, you do. All those things had in common was the collective ability to convince you of something that was never true. No person arrives at low self esteem on their own. 

You are not a victim! There is always something you can do, the greatest of which is to get God involved. Those same wicked despots working behind the scenes to torture you and defeat you will persist absent a greater power, a greater source from which you can gain support. God never made a victim, nor was it ever His will that anyone should be one. People become victims when they are overpowered by forces unseen and virtually unknown. People become victims by not having a clear understanding of the truth. (God said My people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge.) Once you get God involved, you find that the evil things that have been governing your life quickly fade away by God’s love, presence and power. At last you can see your tormentor clearly and as such make the required changes that lead to freedom. But before any of that can take place, you have to take full ownership of your own life, both the good and the bad. You must become willing to put away the blame and the complaining and learn instead to take the necessary steps to turn situations around. You can do it my friend. You must do it. You are not a victim!

Just some good thoughts…

The Great Christian Killer…


If the greatest thing the devil ever did was to convince people he didn’t exist, the second greatest thing was convincing people they needed to work in order to earn God’s approval. When I look around at Christianity today (so called), all I can see are people living in and living out their unworthiness before the Father. Even the mention of Christianity today elicits an immediate twinge of negative self-analysis as if the word christian is synonymous with moral failure in some capacity. For believers, it seems, it’s not so much about God and His goodness as it is about everything they don’t do right; where they struggle and ultimately what is wrong with them! The world lives and thrives on what isn’t right concerning people coupled with so-called solutions that always lead to control! In this way, the system of things is designed to talk people into doing the works required for approval from men and ultimately from God. This is the great Christian killer!

The roots of this dilemma go all the way back to Adam and Eve, who when questioned by God regarding their error, immediately filled with fear (a first for humans) and sought a covering for what they had done wrong. And people are being assaulted with the same error and accusation to this very day. When sin entered the world, man would henceforth be born into the world dead in trespasses in sins, not by their choices, but rather by their inherited bloodline. Natural man is born with sin in his blood. To think, based on this reality, that you as a person could somehow earn God’s goodness is the height of deception. You, by your human efforts, could never get the job done fully. It took God’s intervention by supplying a perfect substitute for man’s evil nature in the life, death and resurrection of his sinless son. In that substitution, you and I by believing in God’s son and his being raised from the dead, received the gift of righteousness forever more. God, in His infinite grace and mercy did away with the need for you to do works in order to gain His approval. But, that is not how Christians live. The proof is found in their insistence on adding something to what God finished for them already. When Jesus hung on the cross dying and uttered, “It is finished” he meant it! He ended forever all that was ever wrong with you and me. He paid the price so you wouldn’t have to pay anymore. So why are you still making payments? Why do you act as if the work isn’t completed already? I’ll tell you why! It is because you have been deceived into thinking otherwise. Oh you didn’t get there alone and neither did I. The world and preachers and religious leaders have all been cooperators together in ignorance in endeavoring to add to God’s perfection by insisting on certain behaviors and rules and dogmas and commandments and so-called morality with one hidden, spurious and deceptive element, namely to bring you under their (or its) control! Convince a man he is not right before God and you can now control his entire life by prescribing what he must do in order to “get right!” In this way, everything is wrong, everything is evil and everything is going to get you. You cannot enjoy life, make decisions, make mistakes or anything else because all of it brings God’s disapproval. How many people do you know who live this way? Maybe you have been living this way?

I often marvel at how people cannot seem to understand how well God knows His creation. They somehow think God shudders at all of the awful things people consider and sometimes do! Let me let you in on a little secret. God understands fully the human condition, after all He made us. Do you really think you could freak God out because of some deception that befell you or by some wrong path you took or take? God not only knows you intimately, but He also knows the spiritual evil you contend with though maybe you never understood it for yourself. And similarly, isn’t it possible that all of the things you do as a human are actually what humans do and not really sin at all? Religion is fraught with a litany of things that are wrong before God, not because God said so, but because people said so! People endeavor to live under Old Testament law that was not even written to them to do. And even those to whom it was actually written could not live it to the end it was called the curse of the law. Its purpose was not to reform men, though if anything could accomplish it, it was the law, but rather it was to identify sin clearly with the coming promise of a Savior who would live it perfectly and forever redeem mankind. Jesus Christ came to set you free. His aim, indeed God’s aim was to make a way for you to live freely and without obligation in any capacity. Forced and compelled love is not love. God wants to be your Father and care for you like any Father would, however without limitations. God is not condemning you, convicting you or accusing you. He does not bring up your errors and missteps. He loves you into finally loving yourself, not because you do it all right, but because He does it all right in love! You’ll never walk with God to the full capacity and joy He intends for you until you finally get past this obstacle. God is not angry with you, that is what people say. God is not teaching you lessons with evil (shudder) to make you do things right, that is what people say. Negative events that happen to you are not because of something God did (ever), that is what people say. The guilt you experience, the condemnation you feel, the remembrance of past mistakes that haunt you, the disapproval, the shame, the fear, the worry is not from God! They all stem from the same one that endeavors to convince you that he does not exist!

I offer these truths not to condemn your religion or the multitude of well meaning people involved with it. I write this because this is what God’s Word says. You are not a lowly worm, you are a son of the most high God, not by any works that you have done, but because of everything God did for you. Change your focus away from yourself and your imperfections (though they be many) and move them over to God’s perfection. In God’s sight you are now and forever more sinless because of the accomplishments of His son. So, stop dwelling on yourself, feeling sorry for yourself and lamenting your imperfection. God isn’t judging you so stop judging yourself. Get in agreement with God in what He said He did for you and let all that garbage go. It’s not noble or an indicator of humility, it is clinging to error; error that seeks only to control you. Imagine how fun life could be for you if you were truly free from all obligations and compulsions. Imagine how great life could be with God as your Father seeing only the completed works of His son in you. You only have one short go round in this thing and God wants you to enjoy it. Quit worrying about sin, God settled that issue for you forever. Nothing you do can separate you from the love of God, so what is there to be afraid of? Get out there and live Christians! God needs your heartfelt contributions. Overcome the Christian killer with good. (God’s kind of good!)

Just some good thoughts…

Life on Restriction…


unnamedLong live the days when you didn’t have to live your life on restriction. Nowadays, it seems, everyone else knows better how you should live your life than you do. Someone is always lurking, willing to inform of you of the perils of your choices, the risks of your ideas and the consequences of your behaviors. Limit this, don’t try that, watch out, be careful, not too many now, be safe and on and on it goes. And while this is not an ode to throwing caution to the wind, it is about being determined to make your own choices in life, not based on fear-filled group think, but getting out of life what you want from it. At the end of the day and at the end of every day, it is your life you are living. You are completely unique despite all of your similarities and what makes your heart beat accelerate belongs to you and to you alone. It’s high time to get off restriction!

Some days I muse that the difference between being a fanciful youth and being a mature adult is measured most by the amount of shit of which you are afraid. Sure the world is filled with sad situations whereby a person has been completely overcome by some negative aspect of life and lives a miserable existence as a result. But, that appears to be far, far from the norm. On the other side of the conundrum is a vast collection of people living an overly cautious and wary existence. This old world and the despot behind its systems has done a fine job of overloading our minds with information and the pitfalls associated with it to the point of paralyzing people and stealing away their freedoms. You can have wine, but you can’t have too much wine. But, if you do have wine it should be red wine, but only one or two glasses depending upon your size. You can get around the rule (said in jest) by distributing to yourself a very healthy pour. Yet, the fact that you are working around a rule is very telling. The more the rule controls you, the more wine you want to drink. Of course, I say this as a devoted red wine imbiber, but you can apply this logic to any situation. Americans bristle against any attempt at gun control for fear the Government will take away their guns, never entertaining the thought of achieving a happy medium. Being a democrat (in theory) is somehow classified as being a liberal which is somehow classified as being the antichrist. As if life consists of two extremes and you must place yourself firmly on one side or the other. Behind it all sits that secret imposter fear, quietly directing behaviors from behind the scenes. Gone, it appears, are the days of healthy discussions and attempts at understanding in favor of firm stands based on hate, more deeply rooted in fear. Cops tend to shoot black people more than white people based on fear of black people. Not sure how black skin makes a person tougher as there are plenty of white folks from Philly that would gladly pulverize you given the chance, but I digress. My point, lest it should be lost in an endless political debate, is that fear always limits, always impedes, always restricts your life in some capacity.

In America, we value freedom perhaps more than any other thing. And while you can always make a case that our liberties are being eroded, as you would expect when your life’s direction is handed over to a government, the erosion of our liberties is founded more in what might happen than in what actually happens. There’s plenty of good people in America who are still willing to stand up for what is right on both sides of the aisle. However, the media craftily constructs a narrative that says otherwise even to the point that a group would storm the capitol in an attempt to protect those freedoms. Consider for a moment the logic in play that would consider it sound reason to storm the capitol with a relatively small group or armed citizens in a confused frenzy aimed at protecting our freedoms as citizens or the person promising to protect those freedoms. The issue, not discussed and even less reasoned out, is that fear has taken ahold of people to the point they no longer trust their own judgments or their own observations about what is actually going on and instead look for sound bites and internet snippets that further corroborate their already confused beliefs. Instead of being appalled at how African Americans are being disproportionately gunned down by police, the battle cry remains, “Obey the law!” – as if it was that simple. Today, while driving to work, I saw large black SUV with an even larger flag planted on the back that said in bold letters, “Fuck Biden” and in smaller print, “and fuck everyone that voted for him!” IMG_1740Yes this is America, but why? What aim could possibly be accomplished behind such an act? Behind that truck owner, behind the “I have a gun with me” rounded ball cap and wrap around sharpshooter sunglasses was a man living in fear; a man living on restriction. More and more the good old USA is being subverted into extremism, extremism based unsoundly on fear.

The remedy, it seems, is for people to stop blindly following and thinking on the surface in favor of thinking for themselves. Surely you have enough good judgment to think for yourself. What has happened to you that you cannot make even the smallest decisions without having to have the support and backing of everyone you know? What, you no longer know when you are overindulging or going out of control? What or who made you incapable of governing yourself? You don’t need an infomercial to tell you to stop smoking, that smoker’s hack in the morning accomplishes that. You can only shirk your responsibilities for so long before that grim reaper called responsibility rears up and demands you make a change. Why not trust that instead? It’s your life and it doesn’t take much before you start to recognize it is going off course. Yet, that is not the way of this day and time. People rely far too much on what other people think. They have lost the ability to trust in themselves; in their own judgments and fail to even consider that they may have been subverted. No, we don’t have all the answers as people, but God does and it seems reasonable to believe He might be working in us to not be deceived. And if we are deceived we learn and from that we grow. The danger isn’t in making mistakes; the danger is in thinking we are right when we are dead wrong and in being unwilling to even consider an alternative.

It is high time we stopped being so afraid! Yes information is good, knowledge is good, wisdom is good. But, all bets are off when we let fear enter into the picture. Chances are the reason you are not happy is not because America or the world is going to hell, but rather because the fear of it going to hell has gotten to you. Your God-given right to free will means you always have the right to choose, unless you forfeit that right! Make decisions according to who you are, not according to who everyone else says you should be! Like what you like and don’t like what you don’t like. You cannot be true to yourself playing every day in someone else’s arena. Play yourself as yourself in the lead role of your own life. You cannot keep living as someone else and live the life you desire. Unlike when you were a kid and restriction ended when your parents got sick of looking at your mopey face, you get off restriction as an adult when you decide to do so. Most of what you have been so afraid of hasn’t happened yet has it? Maybe that is a clue to let that crap go. Life without fear is the only real life and you owe it to yourself to get there. You are not on restriction if you choose not to be…

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…

Better Days…


It’s funny how life is at times. You sort of go along to get along and adapt yourself to the times and conditions, the best you can. Crazy things happen and continue to happen and you somehow figure out a way to cope with it. Often, you find yourself endeavoring to compartmentalize and where possible, minimize or attempt to minimize, how things are affecting you and what is going on inside your heart. This is, in so many ways, the human experience. The phrase, we are all in this thing together, is not a cliche, but the reality of our condition as an interconnected people on the earth. And in similar fashion, sometimes it takes a dramatic shift in those conditions for you to realize just how bad things had gotten when you are, at last, presented with a new set of options; hopeful, encouraging options. In this I submit to you, there are better days ahead.

In our quest for truth and sincere desire to place ourselves on the side of right, we can be led down paths that disagree with who we are at the very core of our beings. We can find ourselves supporting some cause that promises good, yet forces us to ignore too much bad. Sometimes, our idealism and wishful thinking can blind our eyes to the stark reality of things as they really are. We can get deceived in the appeal of the message and laud the message so reverently, so desperately, that we miss the rest of the message veiled within the message. The acid test of the truth; the reality check to apply is whether the truth is true in every aspect and engages every component. Being forced to ignore and disavow some parts in favor of other parts is to deny the common sense that God gave to every man. Further, to believe that evil is hiding in the good or that the apparent good cannot be trusted, while vehemently denying the existence of the obvious bad, is not sound. God does not work through evil to bring about good. God never asked for us to compromise on right principle in exchange for some greater right principle. And while every man has faults and failings, those faults are known to the man and he is loathe to deny them privately or when confronted publicly. Wrong is wrong is wrong though the entire world says otherwise. Every man is therefore known by his fruits. Good fruit cannot come from a corrupt tree and corrupt fruit cannot come from a good tree. In a sense one needs to look no further. To say, as a Christian, that an allowance must be made or certain behaviors ignored that would not be allowed or ignored in those people we hold most dear, is hypocrisy at the highest levels.

Sadly, these past four years have been a blight on the American experience. We, as a nation, have been forced to flinch and halt and stutter, desperately trying to make sense of what has been going on. Inside we know it’s wrong. In our hearts, we have felt embarrassment and shame in terms of the things we know to be right. Try as we might to justify our opinions, more often fears cleverly appealed to and fanned, has led our nation to become divided. In our temporary insanity, factions have formed, not based on securing the greater good, but instead appealing to a more base level inside of us, stoked by the terror of losing some favor, some position, some enjoyed good. And just as a corrupt tree produces only corrupt fruit, actions and beliefs based on fear cannot help but to produce more fear, more division, more destruction. This has been the American experience these past four years. This is not a political struggle or attempts to champion conservative or liberal ideas or agendas, nor has it been about bringing about a better experience for people all over the world. It has been about the power that fear has over people causing them to abandon even their most basic and simple principles in an attempt to fight against an enemy not in evidence but potentially in evidence in the days ahead. Fear that villainizes people of color or immigrants or any group that is different than one’s own comfortable circle. Allowing people to choose their own lives, right or wrong, good or evil, is at the foundation of our country’s beliefs and any attempt to take away that free will or exclude it from our existence by rules and regulations is contrary to the very concept of a free people. There was a time when we understood this.

Thankfully, there are better days ahead, not because one man has all the answers or because one man alone can right the train and move it in the right direction. But rather, because a world where common sense is ignored; where real facts are discarded as lies; where the reality of things is discounted and maligned is not a world we can survive in, let alone thrive. The promise isn’t found in a Democratic party or a new President, but instead in a healthy return to common sense where words mean something and actions are judged for what they are, not what someone hopes they will be or by what other influences claim them to be. A world where black is black and white is white. A world where wrong is wrong always and right is offered the same privilege. A world based on foundational principles that offer every man a choice in participating in what is, not in what reportedly is while clearly contradicted in every apparent, visible action.

In this, as a nation, we must learn the lesson, namely, to never again allow a person or an idea to prevail over what is obvious or by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Never again America, no matter the political party.

Trust thyself; every heart vibrates to that iron string (RWE).

Bless God, there are better days ahead!

The Self-Focus Trap…


Assuming you are a logical person, it would appear the more you focus on yourself, the happier your life would become. So much is written concerning the need to take care of yourself, refuel yourself and make time for yourself and most of it is probably good. But, what if incessant focus on yourself produces the exact opposite results than you intended? What if your focus on self can actually be detrimental? Is it possible that your sincere focus on improving yourself actually impedes you from making any progress? Are you looking in the right direction or have you unknowingly become distracted? Is perpetual focus on self a trap?

Most things in life that cause us to stumble do so because we are unaware of the true cause and effect relationship at play. We spend our lives trying to rid ourselves of some negative effect by focusing on the wrong cause. In so doing, our efforts are squandered away chasing apparent realities that are not realities at all. We exert tremendous efforts to remedy our situation but find no remedy, not because life is too hard, but because we have the wrong focus. This is the very essence of deception. We fall prey to it so easily because we trust what people say and laud those opinions over the truth. We trust our always self-centered logic and conclude we can figure it out. We are loathe to admit that we cannot! If you have a problem and let’s face it, we all do to some degree, it is so because we have not yet touched upon the right solution. In earnest, we seek for a solution and subsequently apply a hundred-fold recommendations, never entertaining the idea that the solution escapes our comprehension. In this, we waste our lives and our time caught up in an endless cycle of error, working harder, trying harder, exerting more effort towards something that will never yield the right result. In short, our starting premise is wrong as evidenced by our inability to find the answer; the real cause of our problems.

It has been said that the things man produces always reveal the imperfections of man, while the things God produces have no flaws in them. No matter the human masterpiece, closer inspection reveals imperfections. Conversely, the things God makes not only have no flaws in them, but the closer the inspection the more perfection is discovered. Similarly, the more you seek to understand God, the more His perfection becomes apparent. Yet, the closer you inspect corruptible man and his ways, the more imperfections you will find. When you spend your time dwelling on and investigating your human ways, no matter how noble your motives, the more you will find your own imperfections and flaws. You will never find perfection within yourself, no matter your sincere efforts and arduous labor. Instead, you will find more and more not to feel good about and more areas of your life in need of revision. You think it is noble and pleasing to God that you spend your life trying to make your imperfections righteous, but your starting premise is already wrong; namely that you by your human efforts can make your imperfections perfect. In this, you waste your time and in this you waste your life. How many Christians spend their days in endless self examination, ever condemned and disapproved, ever conscious of their human flaws and shortcomings, ever defeated by an insidiously wrong starting premise? To the mainstream Christian, every action is wrong, every thought corrupt, every motive questioned. All enjoyments are to be examined and all concepts of fun are to be rigorously discarded and rejected. Yet, in this they persist to their own misery and lack of true fulfillment all based upon a starting premise that isn’t true; that was never true.

God’s job is to fix the things we cannot fix for ourselves. We were all born with a sin nature that is easily corrupted. Our natural tendency, after the fall of man and the introduction of sin to mankind, is towards error. It is in our blood. The more you search within yourself, the more apparent it becomes. Yet, instead of investing so much effort to fix it, we need to let God fix it for us. God’s solution for us was to provide a perfect man, without sin in his blood, who by the freedom of his own will, walked and lived God’s Word perfectly. He is our savior who saved us from ourselves. He ended the need for us to fix ourselves; repair ourselves and SPEND All OF OUR DAYS FOCUSING ON OURSELVES and everything we do and don’t do right. He made it possible for us to stop dwelling on what isn’t right with us and change our subject of focus to Him and what He did for us. We are right because He (not we by human efforts and hard damn work) made us right in His sight. And as contrary to human logic as it appears, our focus is to no longer be on what isn’t right with us, but rather on who God and what He made us to be.

Sounds so simple because it is true. Our job, your job is stop focusing on yourself and stop working so hard to figure out your own problems. Read that again! You won’t figure out these life dilemmas; these life suckers by your human intellect and strength of will! How has it been working for you thus far? Instead, give your issues to God, one by one and let Him do God’s job by getting you to the real solution. He already knows the real cause! In so doing, now you are beginning to think how God designed you to think! Self-focus and dwelling on self do not produce the results you desire. They just steal away your life and enthusiasm and energy on false causes you cannot truly effect. Get your focus off yourself and your issues and get God involved with your solution. Self focus is a trap from which God will gladly help you escape… Free yourself!

Just some good thoughts…

What Happened to my America?


19ff0192cab83abea28efbfaf803f742I better start by saying this is not a political post. Frankly, I’ve been riding the political roller coaster for the past several weeks and I’m ready to get off. Instead, this is an appeal; an appeal to sound thinking and to all of the things that already made America great. America didn’t become the most respected country because of its wealth or military might. America didn’t rise to the forefront by becoming an exclusive members-only club that only certain groups have access to under certain conditions. America is and always has been an ideal. It is a free land composed of immigrants all seeking freedom from the tyranny of nations that sought to control them. Suffice it to say, I’m pretty disappointed in my America today…

One wonderful benefit of living in a free country is the citizens’ profound right to live according to their personal values. Who and how you worship is an individual decision. Fearing and harboring hostility towards people with different values runs counterproductive to all that America represents. America hasn’t even been around long enough to claim sovereign independence from all other nations. What today is a Syrian was yesterday an Italian. What makes America great is not the first country listed in the background, but the second country that follows the hyphen. A Mexican-American is an American. An African-American is an American. To think that you are exclusively American and that all others are immigrants simply points to either a poor memory or the inability to read a history book. A Native-American might be the only one with original claims on the country and for that he has been rounded up and resettled as has been eloquently rationalized. I’m disappointed today because we have forgotten why there is an America and have fallen prey to the same tyranny that we sought to escape! They promised us safety and security, but so did the nations we escaped from.

Many have fallen for the foolish notion that being an American means you have to get behind everything promoted in the name of America or else you are some kind of traitor or are unpatriotic. If you bow down during the anthem you somehow don’t have respect for the flag. But, maybe that so-called traitor wasn’t seeking to separate from America, but rather demand that America treat him and his people the way it treated its other citizens. Millions of women have marched in defiance of ideas that run at cross purposes with humanity. In a free country, the people are free to protest the things that aren’t right. You should protest the things that aren’t right and refuse to allow other people to control you or demand that you get in line with the other sheep for the good of the union. Any union fully comprised of sheep will soon no longer be a union. You see, the insanity of today seeks to reduce ideas to a competition that one must win at all costs whether they defy all consciousness, reason or right! The American people should not quest to be right but rather quest for what is good, kind and beneficial to all. Ridiculing the protestors and accusing them of weakness simply shows how deluded people have become. If the measuring stick for decisions is only what affects me and my personal life, how can that even be remotely considered Christian? America is great because people have the freedom to stand against what isn’t right and continuing standing until the wrong is overcome! Americans protest all forms of sordid ugliness that seek to tarnish America’s image; what she stands for…

The great America opens her doors to the disenfranchised, the desperate, the diminished. And given the opportunity, people will come through her gates without deceit or treachery. Illegal immigrants are often illegal because they lack the means to become legal. They aren’t the criminals or rapists and you know that already. They are the desperate, the disenfranchised, the very ones to which Lady Liberty bids entrée. Conversely, with every freedom comes a parallel risk to choose badly, commit crimes and do things not in line with the greater good. Well, wake up America, that is a choice every free American has already and no size wall will ever take that away. Freedom admits to the potential for bad but it is always outweighed by the potential for good. At the very core of humanity is a concern for other people no matter how favorable or unfavorable our present conditions. To achieve success and enjoy life’s good and then forget all those suffering, because you are no longer suffering , is a blight on America and her affluence. America’s wealth was built on America’s unfailing ability to give and serve and come to the aid of those in dire need for which God has rewarded her handsomely.

Although I have become disappointed in America, I am not in despair. I know that her forefathers devised a system of checks and balances, put in place to prevent the insanity or indeed charm of one person from unraveling America at her very roots. One man may huff and puff, threaten and punish, sign and proclaim, but America is still made up of her people, who if not properly represented will protest and if represented will repeal. The truth, the good, the magnanimous will always find its way to the top, because it is the top. Even the uneducated masses, those deceived and falsely persuaded, all soon feel the sting of injuries done and rallying in their losses get behind someone or something else.

I know in the end you are going to come through for me America, because your ideal is my ideal and no matter what happens all around me, I will not depart from you. You are the lit city on a hill and no amount of darkness will ever diminish your light.

God bless you America; my America!

Just some good thoughts…