Book Excerpt, “Sure I Speak in Tongues” (Doesn’t Everybody?) Chapter Eight – The Fruit of the Spirit


Chapter Eight

The Fruit of the Spirit

For years and years people have spoken of the fruit of the spirit as if it actually referred to the fruit of good works. There’s certainly nothing wrong with good works, in fact the reason you have the spirit from God is so that you can perform good works. Or, I might say perform the best works! I believe the confusion comes from another verse of scripture that uses this same phrase. The verse says:

(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Ephesians 5:9

As it’s stated here it certainly would lead you to believe that the fruit of the spirit comes from goodness, righteousness and truth. However, the word for “spirit” in the text is actually the word for light. It’s the fruit of the light we are talking about here. This is simple to research for yourself or by even looking at other versions of the Bible. But here in the book of Galatians, the fruit of the spirit refers to the end result of cultivating your spirit. In order for anything to produce fruit it must first be cultivated. If you decide to plant yourself an apple tree, there are some steps you have to perform before you can actually enjoy the fruit. First you have to plant your tree in good ground. You have to prepare the ground and you can’t just plant the thing anywhere! After you’ve planted it, you have to care for it on a consistent basis, day after day. If you neglect it for a period of time, it may still produce some fruit, but the process will be hindered. However, if you diligently care for your tree, providing the best nutrients and water, eventually it is going to produce some fruit. And, you already know that the fruit doesn’t just show up overnight. That would be very nice, but it just doesn’t work that way. You have to continue with your care of the tree until the fruit appears. Even then, there’s a maturing that takes place before the fruit tree really kicks into high gear producing more fruit than you can handle. At that point, you have to find some friends and neighbors with which to share your bountiful crop. Pretty soon you become known in the neighborhood for your abundant apple crop!

The holy spirit living inside you follows the same process, with one exception. No matter how much you neglect your gift, it is never going to die off. It will just continue to be dormant until you start to provide it with the required care. God’s seed in you, like any fruit yielding tree, has contained within it all that you will ever need to produce the fruit. Therefore, your job is to cultivate your seed. You cultivate fruit by utilizing the manifestations of holy spirit, namely speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues, day by day, builds up your spirit and at a certain point begins to produce fruit in your life. However, the fruit produced isn’t limited to apples or pears. The fruit of the spirit is everything you have ever yearned for in your life. It represents the most important things for a human being, necessary to thrive and to flourish! And, it can all be yours by making the decision to manifest the gift inside you. How incredibly simple and misunderstood this is in our world. By confusing the fruit of the spirit with the fruit of good works, people think they must somehow become good enough before God will bless them with these fantastic realities. God does not bless you because of how good you are. God blesses you when you decide to believe Him. When you finally get around to believing Him, you begin to do exactly what He tells you to do and you stop doing everything the world is always telling you to do. It is impossible for you to ever earn God’s blessings in your life! How good could you ever become? I have spent some time traversing that slippery slope, and trust me when I tell you, it is a painful, losing endeavor! You are not going to arrive at some place of ‘nirvana’ whereby you always do what you are supposed to do. You have the nature of sin in your blood. No matter how disciplined, how faithful, how sincere you are in your personal efforts to earn God’s goodness, you will never, ever, ever arrive at that place. Instead, like most of the “earn your blessings” folks, your end result will be nothing but condemnation and pain, coupled with critical judgment of yourself first and then other people. Your heart will become hard and calloused because the backstory to that behavior isn’t God convicting you of sin, but rather the adversary’s accusation being permitted to hold a place in your life. While you are feeling so religious and righteous, you will be completely off track from God and His love for you.  That influence controlling your life, and if you are honest, making you feel miserable, isn’t from God.

The things of God are always freely given to you when you believe, end of story! If you have ever felt the sting of condemnation and guilt, then you know it is not a motivator for your good. It is the exact opposite. It just beats you down and takes away your confidence (believing) in God. What you need from God is His forgiveness and guaranteed assurance that He has made you who you are and that by your own self you can do nothing! Understanding that finally liberates you from sin, which is the point of the whole book of Romans.[1] You are now, because of what God has done for you, free to love; free to give; free to serve. You are completely, completely, completely set free by God because of the accomplishments of His son for your life. Your response? Speak in tongues abundantly which is described as “giving thanks well!”[2]

As you speak in tongues faithfully, day by day, as God’s liberated person, you are cultivating the fruit of the spirit into your life. When the fruit shows up is God’s business. Your business is to faithfully cultivate the fruit. So, what is the fruit of the spirit?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Another way to say this is, what is the result of faithfully manifesting the gift? You get to enjoy your fruit! It is important to recognize that these fruit are an end result. They are not something you work hard to do; they are something that God blesses you with for acting on what He said to act on! This is a crucially important distinction! These fruit are a blessing from God to be enjoyed, not requirements for your behavior. For example, if you experiencing the love of God as a part of the fruit of the spirit, you will naturally share that indescribable love with other people. It will be there for you as a cultivated fruit. It is not a behavior you must strive to earn; it is a fruit you get to enjoy. Are you beginning to see how awesome this really is? This is your access point to the sweetest things in life. Your only requirement, if you want to use that word, is to enjoy and share your abundance of fruit. The peace of God that passes all human understanding, can be yours as a cultivated fruit. In that sublime experience of God’s peace, you will find that you really don’t need anything else in life to make you happy. You will be totally and completely at rest on the inside. How many people have even experienced this once in their lives? Well, here it is and it is yours for the taking. Speak in tongues much in your private prayer life!

You may have noticed that there are nine fruit of the spirit listed in Galatians. They are listed in the singular. In other words, the nine aspects are all part of one fruit, like a cluster of grapes. The fruit, like the nine manifestations, are placed where they are for a specific purpose. Also, like the manifestations, they are packaged in three groups of three. Within the three clusters, they follow a distinct pattern. The pattern is 1.) activates, 2.) encourages, 3.) guards. The first in the pattern activates you. It is a starting point which motivates you (internally) to act. The experience of love, for example, motivates you to take action. All loving is giving.[3] In that wonderful love, you will have a burning zeal to do things for other people. No-one will have to motivate you to do it. You will already ardently want to do it!

The next in the pattern encourages you. In a sense it inspires you to continue in something. When you feel encouraged, you persist in your endeavor because of your encouragement. The experience of joy, for example, provides you the encouragement you need to see something through no matter how hard it may be to do. Jesus, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God (triumphant)![4] Joy is something that occurs on the inside. There are many things that may make us happy, like pleasant circumstances, but joy transcends all outside conditions and is something that takes place within us. The result of walking in the light, remaining in fellowship with God, produces fullness of joy.[5] We are encouraged to continue in the light because of how wonderful the experience of joy is to our souls.

The third in the pattern, that which completes the cycle, is that which guards you or guards the results. John 10:10 states that the thief (the enemy) comes not but for to steal and to kill and to destroy.[6] Your adversary has no other function other than his three-fold ministry mentioned here. Once you have gotten born again, he can no longer destroy you as you have received the gift of eternal life. However, he can still destroy the rewards you may have received had you chosen to walk by the spirit in your life.  In similar fashion, he cannot ultimately kill you as you will get up one day when the Lord returns, even if your life ended prematurely by one of his devices. Thus his primary mission against the believer will always be to steal something from you. He steals away your happiness. He steals your energy and your enthusiasm for life. He steals God’s blessings from you by getting you caught up into wrong doctrines and wrong beliefs. He steals your confidence in God which in turn defeats your believing; with your believing being the only way to overcome his attacks and manifest the more than abundant life. And, the adversary is very good at stealing! In order to receive the things of God, it is necessary for you to guard the results. You have to guard against his devices which seek to talk you out of the truth before you get the results. Thus, peace is an example of a guarding fruit. In the Bible, the peace of God is that which informs you if you are on track. When you feel peaceful about a decision, you can be assured your decision is right on. However, if you feel troubled about something, the agitation you are experiencing serves as an indicator that something is amiss; something needs to be changed or dealt with properly. In this way peace serves as the umpire of your heart. If peace rules (umpires) you are safe! If peace doesn’t rule (umpire) you are out![7] Often you may feel anxiety (fear) about something. God tells you not to be anxious about anything.[8] The agitating feeling of being anxious simply informs your mind, not that you must prepare for something dreadful, but rather that you need to do something with your thoughts. You need to change your thoughts about the situation. You’ll know that you have been successful when your peace returns. This is how the peace of God guards your heart. When at peace you can rest assured that your believing is right on with God’s Word and that you can continue looking forward to a good result. However, if you persist in your anxiety and your fear, the end result is always loss in some capacity. The loss you suffer, which is the adversary stealing from you, came about because you did not successfully guard the result you were after. Thus peace functions as a fruit that guards your results. The nine fruit of the spirit, in their respective groups of three, all follow this pattern.

  1. Love – activates you to do something.
  2. Joy – encourages you to persist in something.
  3. Peace – guards the results that you are after.
  1. Longsuffering (patience) – activates you to do something.
  2. Gentleness (kindness) – encourages you to persist in something.
  3. Goodness (being upright in heart) – guards the results you are after.
  1. Faith (believing) – activates you to do something.
  2. Meekness – encourages you to persist in something.
  3. Temperance (self-control) guards the results you are after.

Pretty fantastic, wouldn’t you say? These fruit are all available to you as you cultivate the gift by speaking in tongues much in your private prayer life. You have the opportunity to have these treasures by one simple act of believing on your part. You don’t have to work hard to finally feel God’s love, you simply receive it as a result. You have no requirement to roughly discipline yourself to gain self-control, you receive it easily as a fruit. You don’t have to pray for more patience to help people, you can just use the ability after receiving your fruit. Can you see how revolutionary this is for you? By believing God and faithfully persisting in speaking in tongues, these fantastic qualities just show up in your life. Oh the depth of the wisdom of God! He already knows how hard you’re trying and He made a better, far easier way for you to receive.

The fruit of the spirit have been referred to as the mark of quality in your life. If you want to measure your progress as a believing believer, all you have to do is tally up how many of these blessings you are enjoying in your life. This certainly isn’t a competition with other believers, but rather a gauge for you to determine if you are doing it right. I think you would have to agree that if you were experiencing even one aspect of the fruit listed in Galatians, it would be well worth the price of admission! My prayer is that someday you will finally recognize that the source of all goodness and blessing in your life is God and that God is good only, at all times and in every situation! Once this reality finally dawns on you, I know that you will have, once and for all, let go of all of your own good works and decided rather to freely accept all that God has freely given to you. Speak in tongues like a house-a-fire! You’ll thank me (and God mostly) when your fruit appears and then it is yours to enjoy fully!

[1] Romans 6:22

[2] 1st Corinthians 14:17

[3] John 3:16

[4] Hebrews 12:2

[5] 1st John 1:4-7

[6] John 10:10

[7] Colossians 3:15

[8] Philippians 4:6

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Sure I Speak in Tongues, Doesn’t Everybody?


speaking-tongues-700pxWhat I’m about to share with you may sound like the weirdest thing on earth. Speaking in tongues is so, so misunderstood. (Try Googling it) In fact, the world has done a bang up job of convincing people that it is freaky and a thing you should avoid at all costs. But, in reality it is just the greatest thing ever with the ability to completely and totally transform your life. Let me explain…

When believers were first born again on the day of Pentecost, they believed and received holy spirit on the inside. The spirit came with 9 evidences or operations contained within it. One of those 9 fantastic abilities is called speaking in tongues. Immediately after receiving the gift of holy spirit, the newly born again believers spoke in tongues. Basically, speaking in tongues is the God-given ability to speak in a language you don’t understand. It’s purpose is to give you a lever in prayer that totally bypasses your understanding. Many, many of your issues and problems in life come from not knowing what to pray for or said another way, what is the spiritual cause of your problem. Speaking in tongues was designed to cover those needs by the ability to pray perfectly, absent any selfishness or senses reasonings. Now, if I lost you already, I’m happy to explain in much greater detail in another setting, if you really want to know. But, going forward I want to address those believers who know how to speak in tongues and tell them why they should be motivated to speak in tongues abundantly, day and night, forever! 😉

Recently I came across a fellow believer on Facebook, who was in the process of identifying 150 reasons to speak in tongues from the Bible. The idea intrigued me because I had always been taught there were 10-12 reasons. No-one ever said they were the only benefits, but I assumed it was so. So, I started reading and researching the reasons. Wow, what a mind-blowing experience! I realized so lucidly that speaking in tongues was God’s gracious solution for so many of the things that plagued me or diminished my life.  Living on this earth, we all have a spiritual enemy working behind the scenes to thwart and retard our efforts. But, and it is a big but, he is a spiritual entity and as such hidden from our senses mind and ability to see him in action. Without God’s spirit and the ability to use the 9 manifestations, we would not stand a chance. (Enter the absolute misery that plagues the world!) Speaking in tongues, one of the 9 operations, is the only one we can operate whenever we want unlike for example, revelation, which God gives at His prerogative as the need requires. Now here is where it gets very interesting…

Speaking in tongues builds us up on the inside; that I already knew. But, I assumed it built up my spirit and ended there. Further, I was taught that my mind is built up by God’s Word, which is unequivocally true as well. However, there is a distinct carryover from spirit to my mind. Imagine, if my spirit was built up, since I cannot feel spirit, how would I ever know? But like all of the manifestations, it also works with my mind. The spiritual darkness that engulfs the world takes away our joy and happiness by assaulting us with negativity and drama. Speaking in tongues clears the path, so to speak and absent the hindrances, I feel freaking fantastic.

Here’s another example. Speaking in tongues gives rest to our soul. Have you ever felt weary and worn out? Speaking in tongues serves as a refresher to your soul. My spirit doesn’t need refreshing because it is perfect and never tired. However, my soul does need refreshing and rest. Speaking in tongues provides that for me. My soul is what makes me, me and it is not my spirit. My soul needs rest. Are you starting to see what I’m getting at?

Speaking in tongues quickens or makes alive my mortal body. How many times has your old body not been responding as you would like? How often is your body bothered by the things that are going wrong? Speaking in tongues brings life to your flesh and no amount of eating healthy or exercise, though necessary, can do more for you than God can. Do you hear what I’m saying?

Speaking in tongues offers you the opportunity to pray for things you need, that you have absolutely no clue that you need. God calls it our greatest weakness. So when you speak in tongues for yourself or for the people you love, God fills in the real needs by your decision to speak in tongues. It is trusting in God with all your heart and leaning not to your own understanding. That’s when all things work together for good, as the good book says.

The Bible says God has not given us the spirit of fear but (a spirit of) power and of love and a sound mind! The power doesn’t reside in your head, it resides in your spirit. Your spirit, built up and edified, comes alive with the power you need to overcome any crap the enemy is throwing at you! Any crap, anything, any problem, any… It also comes with love and a sound mind, experienced and evidenced in your heart. It’s like a love super-booster, pouring out from you like a river of pure sweetness. It’s a profound ability to understand spiritual things and finally, for once in your life, understand what the hell is really going on!

Like anything you actively cultivate, it has fruit attached. The fruit doesn’t show up right away, just like apples, but before you know it you starting seeing and experiencing the fruit. Guess what the Bible says the fruit are? Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance (self-control), believing. Believing is how you can get things from God and you have the ability to cultivate more of it as a fruit. You want more love? Speak in tongues much. You want the peace that passes understanding? Speak in tongues much. You want to be more meek or teachable? Speak in tongues much. You need more self-control? (And who doesn’t?) Speak in tongues much. Our lack of self-control, is often influenced by the dark side of seduction and when you speak in tongues much it builds you up and removes the sticky attachments. Suddenly you are finally able to get in control of yourself!

It is so, so big people! It is one of God’s perfect solutions for you and once you learn how, you can do it as often as you want. Inspired by my learning, I’ve been going to the limits with it, speaking in tongues much, all throughout the day, when I can. (It doesn’t replace my responsibilities like work – smile) So, I can testify, it is drastically changing my experience of life. In fact, I think I’m tasting some heavenly fruit. But hey, don’t trust me, try it out for yourself!

If you know how to do it, do it abundantly. If you don’t know how to do it, reach out and I will help you get there. It’s not freaky my friends, it’s part of God’s perfection…

Sure I speak in tongues, doesn’t everybody?

Just some good thoughts…

 

Life Doesn’t Happen to You, You Happen to Life…


arrow-out-of-a-circle-outline-pointing-to-right-direction_318-37548Have you ever found yourself in a rut? You didn’t see it coming. You didn’t perceive the steps along the way. All you really know is that life isn’t working for you anymore. Or maybe you suffered through some negative event and now you can’t seem to snap out of it. In fact, things keep getting worse and worse. It’s like you’re stuck in some type of negativity spin cycle with each day offering another reason for you to give up all hope. Maybe, in order to cope with it, you’ve been self-medicating for so long that you don’t even know what unmedicated feels like anymore. And in your despair you ask God, what the hell is going on? Why is my life not happening the way I thought it would? Well, there’s an answer to that question you may have never considered…

The vast majority of people are convinced that life just happens to them and that they are powerless to change it. They feel as if there’s some big cosmic plan they’re unaware of, which doles out in random fashion, good things and bad things at whim. In their troubles, they search their souls looking for causes inside themselves for the hardships they’re experiencing. In high times, they call it luck and good fortune.

NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! When we allow the circumstances of the world to move us to a negative space, we unknowingly begin to expect negative results. Tragedies, hardships, difficulties, or unresolved frustrations work first in our minds and then in our hearts to lower or even reverse our expectations for our lives. They jolt us or imperceptibly drag us into a doubtful position whereby we begin to question our views of how life truly works. They open the doors and our hearts to possibilities for difficulty we never contemplated before. And, each day honors our beliefs by presenting more information to corroborate those beliefs. Once the cycle starts, it’s very hard to stop.

God, the author and designer of life, did not devise His creation by whim. He ordered it beautifully with breathtaking precision, replete with all conceivable love and goodness. He made his man, his precious man, to have full access to His instruction book on life! He’s not a capricious God hidden away in the expanse doling out blessings and punishments by the same hand. He is only good, always, in every circumstance, every condition and all the time. He gave man complete control over his life by that which he (the man) chooses to believe. Absent the truth of God’s Word, man is subject to the circumstances of life, never conceiving that he, the man, choosing and thus believing, is subconsciously working to bring about the circumstances he is experiencing. Your life, be it blessed or frightful, is the cumulative product of your own thoughts. When you find yourself in a rut, though difficult to get out of, the rut is the consequence of long persistence in negative thoughts unchecked. The shocks and jolts of unexpected tragedy, though not part of your own responsibility, serve not only to severely or mortally wound the sufferer, but also all those associated with that person. Difficulties and hardships, never from God no matter how nobly explained, are a temptation; tempting you to come to the dark side and stay awhile. And, the longer you remain in the darkness, the worse your life becomes.

In this way, your life isn’t happening to you, you are happening to it! You’re not a victim in a grand drama playing a part you never chose. You are the lead in a play that you are writing. For this reason, you can change your character’s role whenever and however you see fit. I don’t care who you are; what you’ve done or what circumstance you find yourself in, arduous and severe or simply irritating and annoying, God has already heard your prayer! He will help you when and only when you begin to change your mind. There’s no negative circumstance you cannot escape, no situation that cannot be resolved or healed if you will change your mind. Dwelling on the darkness will not bring forth the light. The light comes as quickly as you turn on the switch! That is your one and only great power in this life; the power to choose what you will and will not believe.

Nothing about your life is happenstance. You are where you are that you may learn and that you may grow. The negatives and hardships you are experiencing are not the way it is. It’s not just life. Instead it’s life infected by darkness and like any virus, can be eradicated if the conditions are right. This isn’t a simplistic view of life, it’s the only true view of life. Truth is always simple. It’s error that’s complicated.

So how can you finally get out of the ruts in life? How can you escape from difficult and trying circumstances? How can you overcome and prevail against any challenge that comes your way? How can you live and realize your life’s dreams and endless possibilities? How can you finally become the man or woman you always thought you could be? Change your mind! Change your thoughts from darkness to light. Stop confessing the negatives and confess the positives instead. Stop looking for and living in the trouble and walk out into the clear light of God’s heavenly pastures where you will find your rest. This life is too big and too fraught with difficulties for you to go it alone. Just because something looks true and sounds true and has every indicator that it is true, doesn’t make it true. What’s true is what God says is true and you can bet your entire life on that!

Come out and join me in the sunshine where God has first place and see for yourself if your life isn’t revolutionized in dramatic and delightful ways! Everything you ever wanted in your life resides in the light where God is! Won’t you come and meet me there?

Just some good thoughts…

Understanding God’s Perfection…


God-Is-LoveIn order for something to be perfect, it must be absolutely and completely free from all faults and errors. The smallest amount of defect renders a thing imperfect and though the shortcomings be minute and even imperceptible, if they exist, the thing in question cannot be considered perfect. God is perfect. He has no downside, no shadow of turning and no requirement for any give and take. Thus the things of God must also be perfect, free from any admixture, free from darkness, and free from any heartache and pain. We speak of a perfect day, but what we refer to is a day that went well, though imperfect in many respects. Being able to begin to comprehend God’s perfection, has the power to put us in touch with the right to every wrong; the elixir to any sickness; the solution to each and every problem.

There are more opinions concerning who God is than there are grains of sand on the seashore; than there are stars in the sky. Every group reports to know Him and are more than willing to share His will with you. Yet often that so-called will is fraught with illogic and puzzles pieces that can never fit. Truth cannot be one thing today and another thing tomorrow! God does not change His truth for the times or the circumstances. Truth is truth in every day. You can find it in a tulip and in a sparrow. It exists in and permeates the creation. It is complex, yet breathtakingly simple. It speaks to your heart in a poem. It soothes your soul in a song. It jolts and awakens your mind by both friends and your enemies. It has to, it must, because it is perfection. When you hear it, you already know it is true, though you don’t know why you know it’s true. It escapes your mind yet pre-exists in your heart.

Naturally, the whole system of God is also perfect. There is no whim, no injustice, no wrong in any form. The truth of God must then exist without contradiction, just as light has no darkness in it at all. Love works no ill to its neighbor because it cannot work ill. There is no fear in love because fear is the antithesis of love. Thus, the system of God, if it be of God, cannot work ill, make ill, or be ill. Nor can it promote fear, make fear or be fear. If fear exists, like it’s counterpart darkness, then it must be absence of truth or light in some capacity. Trying to reconcile perfection with imperfection is impossible. Yet how many good men declare God’s abounding love and with the same breath dole out His threatenings on unsuspecting mankind? Prayer to God for healing of a sickness He gave you is like begging the slave owner to stop whipping you. The question is rather, why the hell is he whipping me? What greater purpose could be found in such an act? An unjust beating is an unjust beating and ascribing something good to it is insane. Yet, men entertain this with God in every day. Hurt is hurt and pain is pain. Calling pain good and hurt necessary might send you to the crazy house, but apparently never in the name of God.

So, you may now be wondering what it is I’m trying to say! What I’m saying is that once you begin to discern who God really is, you will axiomatically begin to love Him with all that you are. He is only good always and seeks goodness and love in all that He does. He doesn’t punish people for their bad behaviors, evil takes care of that. He does not follow you around day by day waiting for you to slip up. He is not your conscience making you feel guilty for the mistakes you have made. Sure you’ve been taught that but it just isn’t true. God says, my people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. It’s what you don’t know or what you “think” you know that has been killing you. You don’t go to God for help or when you do by chance go, you enter in sheepishly with your mind chock full of all your sins and errors. So you ask without believing and in doing so ask amiss. I don’t blame you for this because this is what you have been taught! The church did it to you. The Sunday school did it to you.

You read the Old Testament and it scares you. You see a vengeful God wreaking havoc on mankind. What you don’t realize is that in the Old Testament, the snare of evil had not yet been revealed. God never wanted all of the laws and commandments. The laws and commandments came because of the people and preserved for people a future opportunity for redemption. Jesus Christ could have never completely set you free if there wasn’t something he could set you free from. The justice of God demanded it.

At the end of the day, there is only one True God, and He encompasses all that you could ever hope for and dream of in life. He is your sunny, perfect day. He is the love in the eyes of your grandchildren. He is the healing behind your doctor. He is the Miracle Gro for your flowers. He is the spring in your step and the smile on your face. He is indescribable joy and love and peace for a suffering and downtrodden world. He is who you thought He was when you were just a child!

If you can break yourself free from all the dogma and throw off the heavy shackles of religion,  you will find Him, though He be not far from any one of us. You will discover that this life is worth the living and that there is something fantastic behind this world waiting for you to tap in… Ladies and gentlemen, God is love!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

The Beauty of a New Day…


The right path to a new dayThere was time when I was so mired in my own bullsh*t I couldn’t hear a solution to my problems if it was injected into my eardrums with a syringe. I complained, I whined, I did a lot of stupid stuff all in an attempt to get out of the mental prison in which I found myself. Being a praying man, I prayed and prayed and prayed. But, no matter how much I prayed, I could not help but feel as if heaven was brass as the saying goes. And honestly, I spent more time in that state than I care to admit. But one day; one beautiful new day, I escaped. So, this is all about how…

If you are like me, you assume that when you involve God, He is supposed to do something. You figure, you have a problem, you need help, and you are asking Him to help you. So why sometimes does absolutely nothing happen? Before you foolishly say something like, “it wasn’t the right time” or “maybe there is something I’m supposed to learn from this” or “sometimes God doesn’t answer your prayers because His ways are often mysterious,” let me offer another explanation, but not until I first explain why I called you foolish… 😉

When us humans don’t know what’s going on, we tend to make guesses. We just hate not understanding. So maybe my illustration will be a little more clear if we think in terms of a parent/child relationship. Imagine your kid is suffering and you have a way to end the suffering. So you explain the time just isn’t right… Or, in the midst of their agony you think, this is a good time to teach you something??? Or worst of all, continue in your torture as long as it takes, because I have a purpose; a deep purpose you don’t get!!! Doesn’t make sense to you does it? Well, it doesn’t make sense to anyone else either, especially the Source of all goodness!

Maybe something else is going on of which you are not yet aware. (Why can’t sentences end in prepositions again? I digress…) I discovered, albeit the hard way, that God dwells in the light. In order to tap into His greatness and His power, I too have to find a way to get myself to the light. As my favorite teacher used to say, “dwelling on the darkness won’t being forth the light.” Being all negative and despondent, hopeless and distraught is the darkness and it’s just not where God abides. In order to get out of a mental prison, you first have to change your mind. Can you see it? God is always, always, always willing to show you the solution to your dilemma. But, and this is a helluva big BUT, you have to change your mind! You have to let go of your own egotistical idea that you can somehow figure it out, as if wandering in darkness can actually get you somewhere and change your thinking. You have to think the good. You have to think there actually IS a solution that you just haven’t gotten to yet! You must decide to become positive, expectant, joyful and exuberant.

Have you ever been mired in some scenario; feeling exasperated and then had a change of heart? It’s like suddenly it dawns on you that what you have been doing isn’t getting you anywhere. You start to consider that before you can even hope for a change you have to at least entertain the thought that it can happen. So you purposefully add some happiness; some expectation that things are going to finally change. A new day has dawned in your heart and it’s a beautiful new day!

People get all upset with God because they expect Him to work things out, with or without their own consent. But, it just does not work that way. You have a part and God has a part. Before you can ever expect God to do His part, you have to do your part! God does not possess. He does not overtake your free will. His spiritual hands are tied until you change your mind to line up with what He says over and above what the circumstance looks like. He doesn’t come down to the level of “ever-afraid” man, He informs that you must come up to where He is, in the light! When you can finally get to the place where you are willing to think what God says about your situation, then you are finally on the right track! And once you reach that place things happen in a hurry!

At least a portion of the pain you are experiencing, I too have felt. I’ve been there, hated it, and done that. I’ve whined, bitched, got angry, blamed God and all the other stuff normal people do. But, just as you can’t get grapes from potatoes or figs from peach trees, you cannot get light from darkness. You have to initiate the change by first wanting it, then, then, then going where the solution resides, not in the darkness, but in the light.

A wonderful thing happens to you when you get to the light. You discover that every day is not just a new day, but a beautiful new day!

Oh my friends, God exists…

Just some good thoughts…

Why is Life So Hard?


Life-is-Really-SimpleI just sat down to write a little blog in the comfort of my living room. I poured myself a nice glass of Cabernet and stared at the screen wondering what to write. Just then my son Chris popped in and in a moment of impulse launched a pillow into the table that formerly housed my wine glass, shattering the glass and splattering red wine on the recliner, the brand new upholstered, khaki colored dining room chair and the white cloth lamp shade. We did our best to clean up the mess, including locating all of the glass. It seems the chairs are fine, but the lampshade may have suffered a fatal loss! And in that frenetic moment it came to me, why is life so hard, or maybe, is it really hard?

Maybe us humans make the mistake of assigning meaning to things that have no meaning and focusing on the material things while never really regarding the vital and necessary things. Maybe we have been deluded into putting such high importance on our stuff; maintaining our stuff and getting new stuff and neglecting those parts of life that have true meaning. As a functioning and ambitious member of the rat race, I like to be somewhere near the front of the line. Oh I don’t do it on purpose mind you, but this old world sucks me in at times. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s something else but I like my things to be a certain way. I clean, I organize (Lord knows I organize) and I get indignant when someone dares to mess up my stuff. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of your stuff, in fact it is a quality, but sometimes the people should come before your stuff. Is that a justification for pillow slinging? Of course not! But maybe, just maybe, my obsession with stuff takes precedence over the people and when that occurs, I may have missed the mark! I’m sure when I’m on my death-bed I’d rather have Chris there than all of the upholstered chairs and lamps in the world! Why is life so hard? Well, sometimes it seems hard because you are focusing on the wrong stuff!

If you lived any amount of time on earth you are well aware of the many challenges and pitfalls that are right around the corner waiting for you. Life can seem to be real scary. There’s a multitude of things that can go wrong at any time. Oh sure, you plan and prepare and do your best, yet still things go south on you and before you can even recognize it, you find yourself faced with stress producing situations. You just want to control what you can and, by God, you do your utmost. Yet, they still appear. Hopefully somewhere along the line it finally dawns on you that you just cannot control everything. And, I’m loathe to admit, you really control an infinitesimal amount of stuff. Take, for example, your adult children (yes, this includes Chris). When they were little it was duck soup. You watched over them like a hawk and decided exactly what they did and when. Now, however, you are no longer in control. You see them heading south (no, not Chris) and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. You have to rely on them to make good choices and like you when you were their age, they don’t always choose right. You don’t want them to suffer but they will and in that suffering sometimes learn a thing or two. Why is life so hard? Often it gets hard when you’re trying to control things you cannot control.

Now comes perhaps the greatest single factor in making life seem so hard. Recently I attended a birthday party for one of my closest friends. I was sitting next to another old friend and proceeded to lament about this and that and how I so wanted this to happen and wouldn’t it be great if that happened etc. In his one of kind manner he quietly commented, “Isn’t that God’s job…” There in 5 words or less was the answer to all of life’s apparent complexities! Life is hard because you and I are busying ourselves into oblivion trying to do God’s job while neglecting our own job, namely trusting Him. We are so smart, ya know? So smart, in fact, that we have become experts in what oughta happen and dumb dumbs in regard to how things really happen. Life, absent a true belief in God’s abiding goodness, is frightfully hard. You can figure it out, you say? No you can’t! The proof of that? Your thinking that life is hard! It’s hard because you are determined to do it all by yourself.   You think, I don’t need God, I will just make a lot of money. Well, the money you made comes from God whether you ever choose to acknowledge it or not! He is just that good! The trouble is that the same world that has you wrongly focused on your stuff and trying to control everything yourself is also extremely persistent in talking you out of who God is! If you knew who He really is and what He really does you would never have the audacity to utter that life is hard. Yes, you would face your share of challenges and even maybe more than your share, but in the end you would have still overcome because Gods job is to teach you how to overcome!

Life is hard my friends, but only because you’ve been talked into trusting in yourself and not in the One that made you! Stuff gets messed up; new stuff is always out there; you want to control everything but cannot control hardly anything; you’re tired and frustrated and anxious and afraid, yet amidst all that you can learn who God is and in a moment of time change your mind and realize, life isn’t really hard but instead it is my heart that has gotten hard. Ask God to teach you something new and in the process enjoy that new, tender heart He will give you! You can bet your entire, hard life on that one!

Just some good thoughts…

Wine Anyone?


p18ncdfgb21l9m1tb8lpq1bm81igp8I’m the ultimate red wine lover, but recently, due to the old 500 calorie diet I’m on, have not been able to partake of my favorite gladness provider. Yeah, yeah, nothing tastes as good as fit feels! Haha. So, being all spiritual and what not, I decided to write a little blog about wine. But, it may not be what you think (mysterious music playing in the background…).

Jesus Christ did a multitude of miracles in his short time of service on earth, but do you know what his first one was? Imagine God’s only begotten, filled with the power of God to heal people and set them free, doing his first remarkable act. What did he do, you ask? He turned water into wine! And don’t you go telling me that it was grape juice because when was the last time you were bummed out that they ran out of grape juice at a party? More Welch’s please…

So here’s the story. Jesus and his Mom were invited to a big wedding, when suddenly the head guy announced they were out of wine. Mary, who must have already realized that Jesus was pretty special, tells Jesus to do something about it. After giving her a little correction for ordering him to do a miracle, he does something spectacular. He tells the servants to go and grab 6 large stone jugs holding 20-30 gallons of water apiece. Then he says take one to the head dude. The servants obey dutifully and take one of the jugs over. The head of the ceremony then makes a startling statement. He said normally people give out the good wine at first, but when the guests are sufficiently plied, they break out the cheaper stuff because, well you know, the guests are already toasty. But he exclaimed, you saved the best stuff for last!

What just happened, you enquire? Jesus just turned six 20-30 gallons each jugs into fine wine. So by my conservative estimate, he just made 120-180 gallons of water into fine wine. Cabernet I’m guessing; expensive Cabernet! I’ll bet the wedding guests were stoked! 150 gallons of expensive Cabernet on the spot, free of charge. Let’s assume the liquor store was closed. But, not when Jesus shows up. Haha.

So, why share this little diddy with you? Because this was Jesus’ first miraculous act! Of all of the things God could do to announce the entrance of His wonderful son, He chose something with no other purpose than to make people happy. Would the guests have suffered without the fine wine? Probably not (unless they were on “the diet.”) Did anyone have to have the wine to live? Of course not! Was it for their healing? I doubt it, though red wine has been proven to have some healthy effect if drunk in moderation (pun intended). The only reasonable purpose one could assign to the miracle was to keep the party rolling!

Naturally, if you are of the religious ilk, you have a problem with this. How could our Holy God choose this for a first miracle? You see, it had to be grape juice or as one commentary dutifully noted, “Jesus knew how many guests were present and therefore only made enough for everyone to have just enough to not be drunken!” LOL How absurd? Religion ever seeks to legislate fun by deciding just how much fun one can have! It’s like corralling all the liquor into the liquor store in the hopes that maybe making it harder to get, will cut down on the drinking. Ha – all that really happens is that the drinkers have to plan ahead, unless Jesus is in town :-). Trying to legislate what people can and cannot have only makes people more likely to do the opposite.

Surprisingly perhaps, God is most interested in blessing people; all people regardless of their goodness or badness! Maybe read that again. The True God is always for you. He doesn’t seek to punish you or teach you a lesson. He’s better than that! He just loves you into loving and all by the freedom of your will! If you are being pressured or coerced, don’t think it’s coming from God. It’s just not His style. Will you still bump your head at times? Certainly! But God can not only heal your head, but would rather you never bumped it in the first place!

So you see, the first miracle ever performed by God’s son was on purpose for a purpose. He wanted you and me to know that He is a loving God and wants us to be sublimely happy! And, if it’s wine that does the trick, so be it. If you get drunk as a skunk, that’s on you. God doesn’t need to punish you, tomorrow will take care of that on its own! Haha

If everyone knew who God really is, everyone would love Him! How could they not? And, the good news is that He is right there with you as you read this and is maybe even having a chuckle or two! Get out of that fear based mindset that always has God chasing you around seeking to punish you. Someone may have taught you that, but I guarantee it wasn’t God! Instead seek after your One and only true source of goodness and see how much wine you get to enjoy.

Go ahead, go to the wedding and bring your mother.

Just some good thoughts…