When the Dust Settles…


You know, it’s no marvel that many folks spend the majority of their lives living from one turmoil to the next. The world and its negative circumstances, the impending and ever present threats concerning the future, the agitation and tumults of daily life, all loom on the horizon assaulting folks minds from sunup to sundown. And all of that turmoil and distress has one important object in mind, namely to prevent you from seeing clearly and discerning properly. Imagine how different your life might be if you could cut through all of the distractions and really see. What would you do differently? What would you do if the dust settled?

Most people, and you know it’s true, live and subside on a steady diet of fear. Fear of sickness (got one in mind), fear of not having enough, fear of not measuring up or being pretty enough or not having the right body. Fear of not getting their needs met, fear of something bad happening to them or someone they love. Fear concerning the planet or the sun or the melting icebergs. Fear of not being loved and feeling love and missing love. Fear of the future, fear of the past coming back to haunt them, fear of being present in the moment. Fear all day every day from the moment you wake up in the morning until you lay down your head to sleep at night. People have subsisted on fear for so long that they no longer even recognize its presence. Fear has been normalized as part of life. Fear drives and drags people around in its wake pushing and pulling them in directions they never intended. If people manage to escape its grasp temporarily, they quickly fall back under its spell. Fear rules the world and the systems of the world. Often, very often it has ruled you! Yet for all that power fear holds over people (and its very powerful), at the end of the day, it is all a grand, cleverly designed illusion to control the hearts and lives of people. Fear is the dust that prevents you from being able to see.

Clarity of heart and mind is the missing ingredient in an unfulfilled life. In order to move confidently in the direction of your dreams, you have to be able to see. You have to be clear about who you are and what you want and where you are going. You have to cut through that mountain of clutter obscuring your view and discern just what the hell is actually going on. The world with its teeming masses clamoring after this novel invention and that new threat to their existence live the majority of their lives unclear and confused. They fail to get their honest questions answered. They live their lives perpetually attacked by an opponent they can neither see nor feel. They pray to a God they neither know nor understand. They plod along herded and corralled into wrong thought camps with no possibility of escape. It never dawns on them that there is a part of life they have yet to experience for themselves. They conclude they’ve already reached the end, figured it out and can choose wisely on their own. Yet, they cannot and they cannot because they cannot see! It is only God who is able to make the dust finally settle so that you can see and He does it with the light of his Word. Absent the Word and the truth in life, you are destined to a life of fear whether acknowledged or not.

Once you begin to get some truth into your heart and life, things become very clear for you. It starts to dawn on you that many things that are said and done as truth are in actuality cleverly, crafted lies. You begin to be able to discern both the good and the evil influencing your life. You start to understand how life really works and stop wasting your time striving to things of no avail. You quit working so desperately hard to fix yourself or to improve your bad behavior or to keep grinding at all costs to make something good of yourself. You see, the world presents to you a picture of life with suggestions in how to improve it. Yet, those improvements, those efforts, those arduous solutions are not solutions at all because they center on you for you and all about you and they deny the God that made you! Absent God and His love you will never be able to really see. You will simply be blown about with every wind of doctrine, clamoring to try this new source of help and that empty promise of the answer you need. It doesn’t work and it never has worked… Real life isn’t all about you (or me) but is about the God who created you. He is your only true provider and your only genuine source of help. He has the answers you need. He offers the healing that has no limitation. He knows and understands your heart; has heard your every prayer and wants to set you free from fear and its attendant misery. He is your promise of love and goodness and peace. He alone has the power to make the dust settle so that you can finally see clearly and can understand His wonderful, sincere and perfect will for your life!

This life, as you already know quite clearly, can be very tricky to navigate. You will daily be deluged with thousands of opinions and ideas and suggestions. You will be confronted with both evil and counterfeit good. You’ll be presented with a myriad of potential beliefs all offering something they cannot truly give. Yet, when all of the shouting and the clamor stops, when all of the fighting and tumult is ceased, when all of the falsehood and error goes away, when all of the pressures and the agitation subsides, behind it you will hear the still small voice offering you the clarity you have always dreamed of and then you will know the dust has settled at last.

Just some good thoughts…

 

You vs. You…


After enduring another disastrous morning on the golf course, a good friend remarked something that really struck me! He said, “You are only competing against yourself.” How profound… Golf, seemingly more than any other sport, is a mental game and you win or lose right between your ears. Life is like that. The one you are really competing against is your own self. I know that life is spiritual and there is something behind what we see, but in its basic essence the most important struggle to win happens right inside your own mind. Will you win the battle of you versus you?

Inside all of us, a gigantic dichotomy plays out. We are literally two different entities living inside one body. One nature wants to seek out the good while the other nature seeks out the bad. It’s the old adage of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. And while that is not literally true, that scene plays out in a million variations. On the one hand we want to enjoy the best things in life and on the other hand we habitually settle for far less. One side of us knows the value of working hard while the other side seeks a quick fix. One part of us acts out of love and the other part acts out of fear. Almost instinctively we know the man or the woman we ought to be, but we cannot seem to get there no matter how hard we try. We know what we should do to be successful, but we fall short of it. Instead of using words that are uplifting and encouraging, we blurt out hurtful words and wound the hearts of others. We find ourselves in a perpetual conundrum. When the opportunity to do good presents itself, we don’t do it. But the things we hate, we do all the time. In the battle of you versus you, you have to fight. But, you are not fighting the world, you are fighting your own self based on the influences of the world. As human beings, it is our most important fight.

The reason we struggle to gain superiority over our own selves is because doing so requires that we learn to control ourselves. Self mastery requires control. How quickly we lose ground when victory is assured because we give in on some principle. We don’t see things through to their logical conclusion. We live inside bodies we no longer like, but are loathe to exercise the control necessary to set them right again. We fall for the false illusions of pleasure, offering us something they cannot give, then hate ourselves for doing so. We want to find the quick route, the shortcut, the workaround. We ignore the cautions because they don’t apply to us, only to suffer the consequences down the road. We have the hardest time in the world learning that the wrong choice leads to the wrong result in every case, though it may not be readily apparent. We so desperately want to be happy but don’t do the things that make for happiness. We want to have our cake and eat it too. We seek to blend the good and the evil and make them companions, hoping we can find a way to play in both leagues. The answer to our plight is only found in control, self control.

Learning to control yourself is a difficult task. Yet the failure to do so accounts for most of the misery that is in the world. Every failure that ever thwarted man has its roots in some failure concerning self control. Fear is a failure to properly control your thinking concerning some circumstance. Obesity is a failure to control what you eat. Alcoholism is a failure to control how much liquor you imbibe. Every character flaw, every weakness, every obnoxious habit comes about from a failure to control some aspect of your thinking and thus your life. Nothing is evil of itself. Things become evil in excess or overuse. Every aspect of life is to be enjoyed and it’s our job to recognize when our enjoyments are taking control of us. Anything that seeks to control you must be rigorously avoided at all costs. Once evil gets its foot in the door, it won’t be long before it moves in bringing more and more hurt and loss. Yet, your mind being the only thing you can actually control holds the key to every situation you find yourself confronted with.

The good news is that you can learn to control yourself. But, in order to do so, you have to learn how to control your thinking. The temptation to do wrong, which comes as easily as weeds growing in the garden, is resisted not with so much discipline, but more by refusal to think in certain directions. You cannot tinker with the wrong ideas, but rather immediately reject them. You have to think about what you are thinking about. If you feel miserable, chances are you are thinking thoughts that lead to misery. You cannot get a good life from bad thoughts. You cannot win a race by looking back. You cannot win the next moment fixated on the previous moments. You cannot learn and grow and change by adhering to the same thoughts which you have been cleaving to in the past.  You cannot win if you think you cannot win. You, my friend, have to stop saying the things to yourself that defeat you. You have to get off your own back. You have to dwell on your good and not your evil. We all have some combination of good and evil going on inside us, but we win in proportion to how much we can minimize the evil and emphasize the good. (God has already graciously covered the evil).

This is a lesson that you have to learn for yourself. Try it out. Begin controlling some aspect of your life you feel has gotten away from you and see how good you feel about yourself. See how quickly your joy and enthusiasm for living come back. Self control is not something to be avoided in order to live a fun life, it is the very essence of a truly fun and enjoyable life.

Even your golf game will improve if you can get ahold of yourself in the midst of going astray. If it works for golf, it will certainly work for you…

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

Sometimes You Just Have to Fight…


Recently, I found myself suffering from a physical issue I neither planned on nor expected. Being a believing believer, a self-professed son of God with power, I inadvertently found myself questioning how something like this could happen to me and further what I could do about it. I knew God’s promises to me yet continued quite uneasy with the rather unpleasant circumstances and the potentially life changing consequences should things not turn out right for me. So, as you might expect, I went to God in perfect prayer at significant lengths in order to figure out what to do next. During those fretful days that followed, I learned a lesson of paramount importance and inestimable value, namely that sometimes you just have to fight!

You may have found yourself at certain junctures in life besieged and assaulted by something that threatens to change your life forever or at minimum, take something away from you that you formerly enjoyed without question. In those frightful moments, what can you do? When you believe in God and have expectations for His care and protection in your life, especially when you’ve enjoyed a lengthy existence with virtually nothing negative ever happening to you (yes that is called being blessed), when something bad happens it can come as quite the shocker. It sort of knocks you off your feet and leaves you reeling for answers. How many people do you know that either begin to search within for possible causes or worse blame God for failing them in some capacity? Or, sadly, how many resign themselves to an awful fate and simply learn to live with it or live without it?

I think that in these moments, you sort of find out who you really are or maybe better, what you really believe. It’s all fun and games until the shit hits the fan. It’s all terrific in theory. It’s nice to talk about and tell others about. I mean it is the truth after all. But knowing the truth of God’s Word and preaching about it is one thing, but demanding it in your life is a whole other thing. So you are basically left with a choice. Are you going to hold fast to spiritual truth or are you going to faint in your heart based on the information supplied to your senses mind? The whole fight will be won or lost based upon your ultimate decision. But, there’s the clue. It’s a fight and in order to win sometimes you just gotta fight!

As I’ve said on many occasions, we are all in a spiritual contest between good and evil. Good proceeding from God wants you to be blessed, healthy and prosperous. Evil proceeding from the devil and his multiplicity of minions, wants you to be miserable, defeated, sick and finally dead! God wants to give to you and the devil seeks to steal from you.  How you vote determines the election! Unlike our dismal, present day political elections, yours is the only vote that counts. Who or what are you going to believe?

Now flash forward to a guy who already believes, wholeheartedly. Well, maybe I should add, wholeheartedly wants to believe. Imagine that this guy is generally passive in nature and seeks rather to avoid the fight than get in one. He aint no punk, but by nature he loves peace and harmony. Yet now he finds himself assaulted! What should he do? Well, first in his quest is to recognize that he is in fact being assaulted. He has to remember he is in a spiritual contest and that his opponent plays for keeps. He has to look beyond the five-senses portrayal of events and see things spiritually. Now, with God’s help and clarity, he has to do what anyone finding themselves assaulted needs to do. Fight back! He cannot spend another moment considering and dwelling on where he may have gone wrong or what in his life allowed this to happen (though it will prove useful to learn this after he wins) but instead has to get into the fight. He must perceive the insidious nature of his opponent and resolve himself to fight until the end, no matter what it costs, until he wins. There is no other reasonable solution. God has given him spiritual power with which to fight, but he has to get off his mental ass and swing!

It is futile for him to wish God would simply remove the barrier and bring back his ease and comfort. God never promised he wouldn’t be assailed at times, but instead promised no matter the attack, he could always win. God doesn’t need to make an obstacle in order to strengthen him to win, but rather uses the obstacle from the dark side as a means to make all things to work together for good, provided his man or woman is willing to fight. It’s sort of like you going to get your Dad’s help in a conflict and him telling you to get your ass back out there and fight! However, this is always a spiritual fight and requires you to tap into your spiritual Father’s power if you are going to be able to win. By your own self, you can do nothing!

In that great fight, taking place in the arena of your mind, you have to stop vacillating between what could be or could go wrong and instead gird up the loins of your mind with what God says is true. Don’t fall into the fallacy that you can overcome your opponent with your logic. He will eat you for breakfast. The logic of your senses mind is his home court. He will squirrel up your thoughts so bad you won’t be able to even stand up, let alone fight! No, no, no! You fight with God’s Word with no backup plan, no settling and no negotiation. You stand on, with all that you are and could ever hope to be, what God says is true, which in this case is to heal you. The doctor says your recovery is doubtful (and maybe it is according to the factual world), so you quickly duck and fire back (in your mind) with, “I am the Lord that healeth thee!” Your conditions don’t seem to be getting better or maybe the pain persists, so you duck again, dismiss it and throw your haymaker, “Jesus Christ suffered torture so that the devil would never again have access to my physical body to cause me to suffer!” And you just keep punching that bastard until he backs down as he necessarily must because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world!

You see, us peace-loving folks aren’t always looking for a fight, but when we find ourselves in one, we stand up on our spiritual haunches and fight back!

If you want to live the more than abundant life God has promised you, and you have some need to be fulfilled, sometimes you just have to fight and fight and fight until you win! That’s the only reasonable, logical conclusion. Don’t faint in your heart because of what it looks like for nothing is impossible with God.

We win folks, we always win…

Just some good thoughts…

 

Hey, It’s Your Internal Chatter!


The thoughts racing through your mind throughout the day, often referred to as your internal chatter, belong to you! And, although it may appear to “just happen,” the reality is that you are the one generating the thoughts. Those thoughts are heavily influenced by circumstances and conditions, but you still own them. You may have thoughts pop into your mind you did not consciously plan, again heavily shaped by internal and external influences, but the decision to entertain or persist with those thoughts belongs only to you! At the end of the day, they are just thoughts and can be easily dismissed. However, those thoughts; the things you are saying to yourself over and over are not just thoughts, but actually form the basis of your beliefs. What you believe in life ends up being the life you are experiencing! Your success or your failure, in any category of life, is found amongst that infernal, internal chatter!

It would be well worth your time to begin paying attention to the things you are saying to yourself! Notice the thoughts going through your mind while you are speaking with someone or when you are interacting in a group. Are you able to engage a person with your full attention and heart or are you simultaneously wading through your own thoughts spewing out negative things about you, from you, to you?  Most people’s internal chatter is horrifically negative to the point of being an enemy or a personal adversary. None of us would knowingly choose the option of being mean and harsh with ourselves on purpose. I mean, if I don’t have my own back, who does? Instead, we are living in a world fueled and directed by fear and negativity. We are engulfed in subtle messages of inadequacy and how we don’t measure up. We are drowning ourselves in the hidden messages of electronic media, carefully crafted to occupy our every waking moment. You thought the TV was a brilliant mass “idea” marketing machine? Well, add in the explosive rise of social media and you end with a nation of captured minds, fully influenced night and day to generate thoughts in a specific, negative direction… It’s pretty incredible to recognize, but devastating in its effect on our minds.

In addition to starting a serious quest to pay attention to what your internal chatter is saying to you in public, also believe to hear and recognize what it (you) are saying to yourself in private. For example, I began to notice a habit I had of saying, “It’s okay” to myself throughout a day. As I started in earnest to pay attention, I realized that I was speaking and entertaining accusatory thoughts towards myself. In other words, through negative self-accusation and internalized messages regarding my own worthiness, I was actually agreeing with and accepting those thoughts to the point where I was telling myself I was okay in response to me telling myself I wasn’t okay! Do you see what I’m getting at here? YOUR INTERNAL CHATTER IS YOUR OWN THOUGHTS! Your thoughts are not the devil and telling a thought to “shut the fuck up” is simply telling yourself to… The devil certainly is the source of evil in the world and the organizer of the “idea marketing” I referred to earlier, but his work is accomplished by influencing your thinking infinitely more than by some kind of imagined direct occupation! It is a slavery of epic proportion! What could work better than physically holding a slave in bondage? Get them to hold themselves in bondage by the wrong thoughts they’re rehearsing to themselves all day long!

How many people do you know that are struggling with their self-image? How much do you wrestle with your own self-image? How easy is it to move you off-center into doubt or concern about who you really are or what you can actually accomplish? Self-image is nothing more than the ideas you entertain about yourself, that you have been telling yourself since you were a small child. None of that stuff; those thoughts, had any basis in some type of truth, but rather messages you chose to believe were true. My mother convinced me I was exceptionally smart and I believed her (and yes, I am – smile). Sure there are genetic factors, tendencies, inborn strengths and weaknesses, but all are overridden by your beliefs, more specifically what you believe to be true about yourself. Although it’s not easy, you can change your self-image. You change it by changing what you are saying to yourself throughout the day. You can start to challenge thoughts instead of accepting them as true! Above all, stop berating yourself and rehearsing bad, negative stuff about yourself! Stop tearing yourself down. Cease searching for evidence that the garbage you’ve been dumping on yourself is somehow true. It is, for you, no more true than the good things you say about yourself. The only difference being that the good stuff we tell ourselves actually benefits our lives! I mean, good Lord, who are you to pass such severe judgment on your own life? That is exactly what you do every time you cooperate with the darkness by persisting in thoughts that only serve to hurt you. You’re not “just being honest” you are being deceived with your own personal detriment and suffering in mind.

All that craziness besieging your brain during all waking hours, belongs to you and comes from you. You can control your thinking. You can decide what you will and will not say to yourself. And, you can damn sure change anything about yourself even if it is who you’ve been all of your life. You have a right to cultivate a mind, your mind, your one and only mind, to be your ally and not your enemy! You deserve a break from the great “idea marketing” machine for a chance at your own ideas about life. You can have success and satisfaction and fulfillment like you’ve only dreamed of once you finally learn to get on your own side, where God is…

Hey, it’s your internal chatter, but it’s also yours to change for the better!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

Taming Your Wild and Crazy Mind…


your-thoughtsI suppose it wouldn’t matter much what you thought about if your thoughts had no effect on your life. If your life wasn’t governed by what you believe and what you believe wasn’t determined by what you think about the most, there would be no point in trying to get that unruly beast (your mind) under control. But alas, your thoughts do form the basis of what you believe and what you believe deep in your heart is the wellspring from which your entire life flows out (or lack thereof).

Of all of the things in life you can control, nothing is more important or potentially life-giving than controlling your thoughts. It’s almost amusing to most folks, this insane notion that you can control your thoughts. In these frenetic times of visual, electronic images, overloaded and multiplied indefinitely, available in front of you, on your side and in your hand; calm, singular and controlled thought is highly discouraged or even considered boorish. Well, don’t you believe that for a second!

Many people today just sort of limp through life. They drag along day by day filled with anxiety, stress, depression, boredom and a general lack of zest for living. And sadly, they’ve done it for so long that they think that’s just the way life is. They fail, disastrously, to make the connection between what appears in their life and what they think about the most. Subsequently, your life may be summed up in one simple question. “What do you believe is going to happen in your life?” If life for you is one continuous stream of things going wrong, negative events occurring, and disasters looming over the horizon, you have to ask yourself what kind of thoughts have you been incubating in your mind. Fear and anxiety are not a natural part of life, they are aberrations that come about by entertaining and focusing on the wrong things. Then when the catastrophe strikes, you exclaim, “I knew it!” Well, you did know it because you cooperated with “it” by allowing it to remain in your thinking. Disaster, catastrophe, hardship, difficulty and pain are not random at all, though they appear to be. They are pointed and specific and come about by man’s cooperation with evil by failing to control what he will and will not think about or failure to properly believe what is true. Man absent the truth is an anxiety machine ever churning out products to his own suffering.

Life in its simplest form boils down to two distinct realities; light and darkness, love and fear, good and evil, right and wrong, truth and error; all an alternate way to say the same thing.  As you live your own life, you are making decisions and choices everyday. You don’t get what you want, you get what you choose. If you choose to persist in something you know is wrong, no matter how rebellious, apathetic or careless you feel about it, you will continue to get the wrong results in your life. Oh you can cling to it; get real damn angry about it, justify it infinitely, but it will still continue to bring to you what, at its core it is, whether you like it or not. Many times that inner turmoil you are experiencing doesn’t need to be resolved by medication, it needs to be resolved by your decision to stop doing that thing (or maybe do that thing less)! You decide what that thing is… This isn’t some religious call to dissect and pick apart your life. That sort of thinking is just as bad (as you probably have already experienced). This is a sober reality check, pointing out that only good can come from good and only bad can come from bad. It doesn’t matter what the world says, it matters what the truth is!

Worldly, so-called spiritual leaders always seem to shame and malign material prosperity, as if having an abundance is somehow not spiritual. Well, here’s a quick newsflash for you. Life is a helluva lot easier with some resources than it is without them. Don’t you kid yourself. If you car breaks down and costs $2,000 dollars to fix it, it’s hardly a flinch in your thought life if you’ve got plenty of money to fix it. If you don’t, it’s an emergency. Accordingly, God’s will for you is abundance! So, back to the core issue, namely what do you think about material prosperity? Does it elude you like a gazelle escaping clutches of a lion? If so, that is a choice you are making in your thoughts. It doesn’t matter that every previous generation in your family had very little. What matters is what do you think or believe will happen in your life. Can you see it? The limit, the dividing line isn’t the world, it’s you.

Nowadays disease is at an epidemic level. Almost everyone seems to have something. Sickness and disease are not God’s will. Our imperfect bodies (not intended by God) sometimes fall prey to sickness. Fearful, worried, anxious thinking weakens our immune system and opens the door for illness. You may wonder why you are always so sick, but fail to consider that your thoughts are sick. Your mind and your body engage in a delicate dance with one responding to the other. Often your body is trying to tell you that something is wrong with your thoughts. Occasionally your body forces you to escape the frenetic pace you’ve engaged in and lays you up for a few days. Naturally some diseases carry a larger price tag. The “C” word for most threatens pending doom. Yet, even in the midst of life threatening cancer, you still have a choice. For God, healing you of cancer is no different from healing you of a common cold. So even in that arduous, fear inducing condition, you can choose to believe what God says and control your thoughts to keep the invader out. It doesn’t matter how you feel. What matters is what is true.

You can control that unruly beast called your mind. You can also let it go, wherever it is being led. But beware, and know, that if you aren’t leading it, something else is and that “something” does not wish you well. Instead, learn what to think and what is true. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You can turn your entire life around. You can change any aspect or part. You can acquire material abundance and be healed from everything that ever went wrong. You can, my friends, and you will if you’ll only learn one thing – how to control your thinking, for your thoughts form the basis of your heart; the wellspring from which your entire life flows out! Make a good choice..

Just some good thoughts…