Working Hard for God?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just some good thoughts to set you free!

You Owe Yourself…Yourself!


voltaren-01Do you remember that version of you that did what you wanted to do? Remember when you didn’t hide your aversions or your interests? Can you recall the time when what you thought, meant something and you weighed others opinions instead of simply adopting them? It seems that for so many people the days of independent thought have been overtaken by the great “media machine” ever working to coral people into predictable chutes leading eventually to their own demise. How did this happen to us? What the heck happened to our own minds?

Each one of us has a built-in litmus test called our own heart. Sure, we’re not always right about things. Sure, we are often deceived by what appears versus what really is, but we still have the capacity to know when something isn’t right. That subtle inkling; that uneasiness or feeling in your gut all work together to help you see what remains yet unseen. You know exactly what I’m talking about, right? Someone proposes an idea or a concept and on the inside you think, “Oh hell no,” but once your friends start weighing in and social media begins to prompt you and the news people offer their opinions (yeah, when did news shows start having opinions?) you find yourself agreeing with things you don’t agree with. Before you even recognize what is going on you have been shuffled into the majority deck where your card no longer matters. Ugh…

How did this happen to you? When did you start ignoring yourself? If you think about how people live today, you’ll notice a low-level to high level anxiety that folks have just learned to live with. We walk around feeling anxious and uneasy and accept it as normal. Have you noticed? Anxiety is at an all-time high! Everywhere, everyone, scared to death. Why? Because we are being fed a non-stop diet of fear in the form of “the public has a right to know” and we have gotten to the point where we don’t even question it. Fear, fear, fear night and day and we just keep on digesting it and wonder why we aren’t okay.

It might surprise you to hear this, but you weren’t designed to live in fear. Hey call it anxiety, call it worry, but whatever you call it, it is fear and it isn’t the norm, it’s an aberration. You have unwillingly accepted it by not taking the time (we are all so busy…) to listen to your heart and settle those vague notions that are eating you alive. You feel nervous or upset and just forge ahead hoping it will go away. Well, it won’t go away because you haven’t resolved it yet. It’s your heart and you owe it to yourself to resolve it. You resolve it by taking the time to figure out what is bothering you and then to seek out a solution or an idea or some truth that will overcome it. Fear is always wrong and there’s no learning to live with it. It’s gonna get you. Your life is certainly worth settling the matter once and for all. It’s not “just life,” it’s death working by small imperceptible steps.  It may not actually kill you today, but it will kill off your enthusiasm, your excitement, your joy! And, with those things missing, you aren’t really living anyway.

Of course there’s more to it than just having a miserable life. Absent your own thoughts or worse no longer trusting your own thoughts, leads to slavery. Control of a people or a nation relies on making the inhabitants slaves; dependent upon other people to tell you how you feel; what you think and what is okay and what isn’t. Now that’s scary! People no longer willing to trust themselves and make their own choices are people becoming slaves. What the world needs right now is you; the real you! It needs you to say, “No, I don’t want that!” It needs you to stand up for what you believe and quit being afraid that what you really think won’t get many “likes.” Every great, meaningful movement in recorded history began with someone not afraid to think for themselves. It started with some bold person, while recognizing some injustice or some wrong being done,  willing to step out into the light of day and speak up. Is that you? Well, on the inside it is…

It is often reported that it’s not about you the individual, it’s about the society as a whole. Well, I’m here to tell you that society is about you. A healthy society is dependent upon the free-thinkers, the dreamers, the malcontents. Yeah, we live here in this great country because someone rebelled! Many don’t like where our world is headed but even more are willing to be silent about it. And worse, the multitudes have chosen not to think at all and instead settle for the pre-digested opinions of some media personality whose motive isn’t to inform you, but instead to satisfy his own thirst.

You owe it to yourself to be true to yourself. You owe yourself a peaceful, quiet heart. You owe yourself control of yourself and vow never to give control to another person. You owe yourself the opportunity to make full unabashed use of who you are and offer what no one else can give! You owe yourself…yourself!

Peaceful waters can discern even the slightest agitation. Turbulent, troubled waters cannot.

Live in peace my friends. You owe yourself that!

Just some good thoughts…

Just Who Exactly Do You Think You Are!


who-do-you-think-you-areThat little title says more about your life than any other thing I can think of! Who you think you are is exactly who you are in stunning detail and ultimately determines every success, every failure; your results or lack thereof. If you think of yourself as a victim, you will be victimized on every turn. If you think you are always the one that comes up short, then you will always come up short. If you think the “good life” is reserved for others, then don’t be surprised that your life ain’t so good.

To this point you may have underestimated the result  “what you think of yourself” has on you, but it is perhaps the largest cause for the effects you experience. But, it happens with such subtlety that most folks miss it for a lifetime. Despite what you may have heard, no-one’s life is predetermined or destined. The idea of being born with a certain destiny absolves you of responsibility for your life. And trust me, whether in ignorance or just plain laziness, you are responsible. The Good Lord gave you something that can make your life whatever you wish it to be. That thing is the ability to think and subsequently believe. Believing knows no boundaries and overcomes all difficulty, no matter the severity. But always before believing comes thinking…

Have you ever tried to track down the things you are saying to yourself throughout a day? Once you start actually paying attention, you may be horrified at the result. You are going to hear yourself criticizing yourself. You are going to recognize your own negative expectation. And you will find your internal chatter has something to say about every situation you find yourself in. Most of the time it’s negative. It’s not negative because that’s how life is, it’s negative because that’s how you have become in response to life. The test? You didn’t think that way as a child!

Like anything that breaks from the status quo, at first it’s hard to get a handle on. You may even feel like you are lying to yourself. But in reality, up to this point, that’s all you have been doing – lying to yourself. Things don’t always have to turn out badly. Symptoms and indicators don’t always lead to negative results. What it looks like and what it ‘seems’ like are not the end result. The end result is what you accept as the end result before the end result shows up. (Read that again…) In order to get your unruly mind under control you have to first challenge those offending thoughts. Have you ever had an anxiety attack? Anxiety attacks are result of many unchallenged thoughts, now misplaced and coming back in a generalized form. You have to slow down and pay attention to your thoughts. Just because you thought something doesn’t make it true. Wait, hear that one again with volume. JUST BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT SOMETHING DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE! You see, web as a society have become so trained that we falsely conclude that everything we think is true. (And everything we read for that matter).

Once you have gathered the energy necessary to pay attention to your thoughts, next you must challenge the negatives. You do this by telling yourself, “that’s not true” and then saying what is true. “Well, that doesn’t feel right!” So what! Neither did riding a bike the first time you did it. Once you develop this new habit, you will be successfully modifying your thoughts, which modifies your believing; which leads to the change you desire.

Believe it or not, your mind is neutral. You give things the meanings they have for you. Take, for example, the circumstances you find yourself in. Those circumstances are not your destiny. They are simply an accurate reflection of what you have already been thinking/expecting. Thus your circumstances are no indicator of what you can be, but rather a reflector of what you used to be. As James Allen once said, “Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself.”

As someone who has practiced these principles for a very long time, I can tell you that it is not easy to see your life differently than it is today. But to make any real change you must! And the easiest way to do it is by starting today. In fact, start right now. Watch your thoughts and begin the process right now. Thankfully God had so ordered life that we only have to concern ourselves with the present day. So begin today. Deeply reflect on what I’m sharing with you and begin to make the change. Rid your mind of negatives and defeat. Put behind you all of your judgments and condemnations. Lay aside that thinking that drives you bonkers and choose life. Harboring and dwelling on negative ideas doesn’t prepare you for things to some, it only serves to keep open the possibility that those things may come! Deny the possibility!

Just who exactly do you think you are? It should be everything you ever dreamed and hoped it would be. It is YOUR life and you have only one short life my friends, to learn this lesson. Learn it and apply it today!

Just some good thoughts…