Handling Lemons, Grapefruits and Other Annoyances in Life…


when_life_gives_you_lemons____by_timotei_chan-d3f9o30Things often happen to us in life that annoy the bejesus out of us. Whether it’s harassing lemons or gigantic grapefruits; small irritants or life threatening situations, life aint always easy street. Now if you are a member of random life club; believing that life is only what you can see etc., and that there is nothing behind it all, this blog will make no sense to you. But, if you have the good sense to recognize that the design of things is way too complex to swallow that story, then you may wanna invest the 3 minutes and hear what I have to say!

Life is spiritual and behind it all is One wonderful loving God who only gives good and One rebellious lesser being who only gives evil. Those two never intertwine. God doesn’t do evil ever, no matter the plethora of insane reasons people give to explain why He does. The things that drive you “batsh*t” crazy are by design and planned. They come from your personal adversary who is ever watching for things that might defeat you and supplying a healthy dose of them on the regular. Not believing that and opting rather for the random life theory makes no difference. It is what it is and putting on blinders won’t change it.

Now this may surprise you but, God never promised that life would be easy or that you would not have to deal with lemons and sometimes grapefruits! That’s right. Often people are afflicted because they have no idea what is going on in life and as such become afflicted. Are they bad people? Of course not, rather they just don’t understand. It would be like playing tennis with a spoon. Until you learn that you need a racquet you are going to get your butt beat! Other folks have their racquets in hand and still have to deal with annoyances. Why? Because that’s how it is. Getting mad at the game doesn’t change the game. What God did promise is that you can win and overcome anything that comes your way.

The great Apostle Paul prayed to God three times that those annoying, irritating, always in the way people would go away once and for all and let him do what God called him to do without the annoyances. But God told him that His grace was sufficient for him. He further said that His great ability was made perfect in Paul’s inability to handle the situation. When Paul was weak in his own strength, he was strong in God’s strength.

Often we feel the same way don’t we? We tell God, if you would just solve this thing, life would be good. We know He will help us solve it, but He doesn’t just “magic” the problem away. You see, life just doesn’t work that way. Imagine how stupid we would all become if every time we prayed God just fixed everything on the spot. I know I would be lounging on the couch praying for God to bring in money, food, wine and maybe someone to serve them to me. God doesn’t violate the laws of life. He is going to help us solve it, but it doesn’t always work on our timetable or in the manner we choose. Here’s a thought…maybe God wants us to actually learn something. Maybe He wants us to learn how and why so we can be stronger next time. Maybe He is after our ultimate good! Now don’t go south on me and conclude God is allowing us to suffer. Never! Instead He is working with us, where we are, and teaching us the things we need to know. The difficulty, the annoyance, the dilemmas put us on our mental toes, don’t they? Nothing like a problem to get your mind focused and serious about a solution! Did God send the difficulty? NO! But He is at work within the difficulty to help us win. Does God want to help us solve it yesterday? Of course He does. But He has the fantastic ability to know exactly where we are; what we believe and how to get us to where we need to be!

If you live long enough you are going to have some problems. You are going to be faced with situations that you cannot solve on your own. You are going to be tested (not by God)! The test, the problem, the annoyance isn’t the issue. The issue is what you choose to do about it; where you go for help and how the thing ends! God’s promise is that you can beat every dastardly, evil challenge that comes your way. You can! But in order to get the victory you have to be willing to learn something new. For example, God designed your body to heal itself once the cause (problem) is removed. However, you need God to remove the cause. Oh you can analyze it and spend all your money on physicians, but God is always the one that removes the cause. He just needs some believing cooperation on your part!

So, the next time you find yourself challenged with some impossible dilemma, remember God specializes in things called impossible! There is always a solution and I don’t care what the doctor/the world/your friends/ science says! Your job is to believe. Believe that God has your solution and that it is coming your way. Work with yourself where you are and be willing, at least, to learn something new.

This isn’t Fantasy island, my friends. This is real life; life with God, kicking ass and taking names!

When you find yourself holding lemons and grapefruits, give them to God and see if He doesn’t send you the recipe for a victorious life!

Just some good thoughts…

Advertisements

Seeing, Not Seeing is Believing…


quote-Denis-Waitley-you-must-understand-that-seeing-is-believing-167789I’m often amused when I hear fellows say that they don’t believe in anything they can’t see, hear, taste, touch or smell. Imagine all of the undiscovered stuff that makes up our world and confining yourself to your own finite, limited understanding. Imagine… Your human logic with all of its breathtaking accuracy and precision is at best severely hampered by one key factor; it’s yours. You can only possibly know what you know and your entire system of logic must be based entirely on what you know or worse, what you think you know! We all make logical assumptions and seek a logical result. Yet, we often find ourselves perplexed when we applied our best logic and we still didn’t end up where we wanted or get what we needed. We worked really hard; much harder than the other guy, yet still didn’t get the promotion. I kept the most vigilant eye I could fathom on my child and he still got hurt, while the other seemingly careless parent’s kid never got touched. You did your best to live a healthy lifestyle, yet still got deathly ill while the other lady maximized her vices and lived to be a hundred. Why? Why, because when it comes to learning how to believe to get your needs met, seeing, not seeing is believing.

In order to believe to get the things you need in life, you have to be able to “see” them happening. If you can’t see something happening, it is never going to happen! Read that sentence again. If you cannot even picture yourself having abundance and instead see lack, clip some coupons or something because you are going to suffer lack. If you cannot imagine yourself happy and contented, discontent and restlessness will dominate your future. If something always goes wrong to thwart you from getting what you want, something will always go wrong to thwart you from getting what you want! Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing. Enter your human logic… and you only know what you know! You think by your best analysis that you understand how things happen. You have been around a few years and sort of learned how stuff works. But, and ‘oh my lanta’ this is a large but, what if you got it wrong? What if the entire realm of the senses had been carefully manipulated to make it seem like things work a certain way when they don’t work that way at all? What if there was something you could with your mind that would totally revolutionize how your life turned out? What if? Well, there is of course, but in order to make it work for you, you have to defy your human logic! Egads!

When Jesus turned water into wine it defied human logic. When he fed the 5,000 with a couple of guy’s sack lunches, it defied human logic. Healing blind people defied human logic; not God’s logic, human logic. With believing you can cast mountains into lakes, so surely you can “believe” to get your personal needs met. Can you see it? (pun intended) Believing means completely removing those self-imposed limits you have placed on your thinking. I mean, come on, let’s be honest, that “one-day” thing you have been working aint working, is it? I know, I know, if you just stay at it, right? Hmmm… Give yourself a much-needed break from all that toil and learn to believe. That professional athlete you admire so much, who is living the life, believed to do so and made his work match what he already saw. That mega-star young singer with seemingly everything he ever wanted, got there first by believing and then followed it up with work. Believing is never about not working, it’s about working based on believing and not the other way around.

In order to make this believing thing work for you, you have to let go of all of your preconceived notions about life and become like a child again. You have to be open to the possibility of what might be rather than closed off with “your” ideas about what is… Remember, you only know what you know and you just might be wrong! The doctor isn’t the only one that can heal you and even the doctor simply endeavors to remove causes so your body can do what it was supposed to do. Plus believing is a lot cheaper! LOL And, when you embark on this wondrous journey with real believing in your eyes, be prepared for the onslaught of contrary information to thoroughly talk you out of your decision. If you are looking for healing, your hurt areas will appear to get worse. If you are believing to prosper, something will come along to convince you that you better let this fantasy stuff go. If you are planning to get promoted at work, don’t be surprised if you get chastised for doing something wrong. Point is, the adversary, ever working to manipulate the senses realm, is going to work tirelessly to talk you out of your new ideas! He has to because when you tap into believing you will eventually be able to believe to remove every strangle-hold he ever had on your life. Again, egads…

Don’t allow yourself to be reduced to the level of the beasts by only accepting what appears to be true. Be a successful, godly human and know better. Your life has always been within the realm of your control and just because you didn’t know that before never made it untrue. What is true is what God says is true. Wine from water anyone?

Learning to see and believe what can be rather than believing what appears to be is the crucible of human experience. Your heart already knows this is true and is still waiting for your mind to catch up! Don’t just see, really see!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

Uncomplicate Yourself!


002_bibliography_pfalI remember many years ago; 1982 to be exact, taking a class called, “Power For Abundant Living.” For me (and many others) it was just the greatest class in the whole world! In that class I learned the great simplicity of a life with God and how to believe to get the things I wanted for my life. But, as the years waned on, I began to complicate what was once uncomplicated. I added (or maybe I should say, learned to add) conditions and rules and expectations. Instead of cleaving to the truth that I could believe God for anything I needed, I began to doubt what I had learned and as a result began to fall prey to fear. And this, despite my thorough understanding from the class that fear was also believing, negative believing, which always led to failure and difficulty in some capacity. Instead of simply accepting who God said I was, I allowed others to define me according to my behavior which seldom was good enough. The more I worked to get good enough to receive from God, the further I got from Him and the less I actually believed for anything. Instead I accepted that my notions of tremendous freedom and liberty were really just notions and that the way to get the good things in life was to live a difficult existence where everything I did was under scrutiny. Being a guy that always loathed religion, I somehow became religious and the judgment others were leveling on me, I leveled on everyone else. So where exactly did I go wrong?

I went wrong by allowing the truth of the Word to become cloudy in my mind and instead started relying on others to define the rules of the game. And here’s a newsflash for you, once you let other people start defining who you are what you can and cannot do, you slide down that slope at an alarming rate! Sadly, however, you become unaware that you are sliding down that greasy path and start thinking just like everyone else does. You conclude that fear is just a part of life. I mean look around, who isn’t afraid? What you don’t realize is that you cannot believe positively and have fear at the same time. And that, my friends, sums up most people’s condition today.

No matter what people may have told you before, God is minutely interested in your happiness and well-being. It’s not, as some people foolishly say, selfish to pray for yourself or to pray to get your own needs met. God is certainly not too busy with world events to hear your requests either. Do you have any kids? Well I’m guessing that as a parent you are pretty dang concerned about your children getting their needs met, right? Well, God loves them even more than you do! The trouble is that God will not overstep your freedom of will. In order to get your prayers answered you have to believe. If you don’t believe what He promised or have fear involved, you are NOT going to get your prayers answered. Praying and praying and wishing won’t get the job done. Only believing, really believing is going to do it. Here’s a quote from that pretty, little orange book.

“We are what we are today because of our believing. We will be tomorrow where our believing takes us. No one ever rises beyond what he believes and no one can believe more than what he understands. We believe what we believe because of what we have been taught. We think the way we think because of the way we have been led.” ~ Dr. VPW (PFAL)

Your life, my life is a product of what we believe. We can start off fantastically well, then digress into fear and defeat, but the basis of it all is the things we believe good and bad, and the things we have been taught! We can learn to expect the best and we can learn to fear the worst. We can become educated about the reality of the life God intended for us or we can be educated about the complexity of life with God and eat crap for years! Oh me? Yeah, I’m a believing guy that ended up eating a lot of crap. But, praise the Lord, I’m finally starting to see with my spiritual eyes again and remembering the simplicity and beauty of life with God.

Your life is so intricately connected to the things you believe, that you really owe it to yourself to learn what and how to believe. Don’t believe for a second that believing is tied to someone else’s definition of morality. God doesn’t answer your prayers because you are so good, He answers them when you believe. In fact, God has so arranged life that anyone who truly believes, receives, regardless of their religious or non-religious background. The folks you observe enjoying success have believed for it and the people you see perpetually struggling are afraid (not unrighteous before God…just afraid!).

Don’t get it twisted people, life is not complicated. Error is complicated! Religious observances are complicated. The more than abundant life God promised in His Word is there for the taking, if you can simply believe!

I believe (again). Won’t you?

Just some good thoughts…

How to Maximize Your Joy During the Holidays… It Aint About You!


OCC-3This time of the year is often an emotional roller coaster of feelings that surge to incredible highs and sadly to overwhelming lows. Whether the holidays remind us of times long past or joyful present moments, there seems to be a common component at the heart of it all.  That my friends, is the subject of this blog. So the million dollar question?  How can we make the most of the holiday season and maybe even, how can we have some of that joyful experience others seems to be enjoying?

I vividly remember how I felt at Christmas when I was a youngster.  People seemed nicer then usual.  Folks were a little more patient; a little more forgiving and had no problem giving out their love regardless of the receiver. Then, there were those Christmas gifts.  One Christmas Eve I woke up in the wee hours (as usual) and caught my Dad assembling a bike (for me)!  That’s when I learned that Santa was black, hahaha – I digress!  You see, as a young person your focus for the holidays is all about what you are going to get.  That’s not unusual, that’s childhood.  But there comes a time when your focus changes from what you can get, to what you can give.  When our children were very young we did the thing that all parents want to do.  We went hog-wild on buying presents.  We went wayyyyy overboard!  We carefully constructed the “gift stacks” like I remembered from childhood and gleefully anticipated the joy we would see on their faces.  And wow, did we see it! But here’s the interesting part for me.  I felt (and still feel) more incredible joy over what I can do to make others happy than I’ve ever felt when it was all about me.

Now we are on to something, wouldn’t you say?  One of life’s greatest paradoxes is that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.”  Oh, receiving is awesome for sure (it doesn’t say it is bad to receive and good to give-it says more blessed!)  Blessed means happy.  What you get in life is a blessing, but what you can give produces more blessings. God, who carefully planned human interactions and relationships, built into us (on purpose) a happiness meter that goes off the charts when we take time to give to other people.  And contrary to what the cynics say, giving isn’t about what is in it for me, it’s about what is in it for them (true giving anyway).  I should add that giving doesn’t always mean buying stuff for people either.  Giving is imparting something of yourself for the simple purpose of making someone else happy. Kind words make people happy. Pointing out people’s good qualities makes them happy. Taking time to be a listening, non-judgmental ear for another person encourages their happiness.  In fact, anything you give from your heart, whether it be well received or not, will always benefit your heart.  It is the very essence of being a human being.  Consider the life of Jesus Christ.  He spent his whole life putting others first (his whole life) and yet was able to say that he endured all of the suffering that he went through “for the joy that was set before him.”  

When we were young life was truly all about us, but when we got older we learned (hopefully) that life wasn’t all about us.  The reason so many folks are struggling or depressed or are unhappy or not contented is because they have fallen into the trap called “it’s all about me.”  “I don’t have this or I deserve that or when is it my turn or if I don’t look out for me who will(?)” is really an indicator that we have lost our way and forgotten how life really works.  I mean what motivates a mother or a father to spend their last penny or work themselves to the bone in order to buy their child that XBox or those shoes or send them on that trip?  Love does… which expresses itself through giving.  God so loved that He gave, remember?  So if you really want to experience that joy you see others enjoying, you have to get yourself into that giving mindset.  Yes folks, you have to be willing to put yourself and all of your “stuff” aside for a bit and focus on helping someone else.  I don’t mean on the surface, I mean from your heart.  I know, I know, it doesn’t seem like you will get your needs met this way, but trust me, it works 100% of the time!

So, when you get together with your family this holiday season (or anyone you care for, for that matter) decide right now that instead of focusing on how uncle Joe always smells or how your Mom gets on your last nerve (no, not my Mom she is awesome!) or how your sister is going to hit you up for money, instead decide to focus on what you can do to make that other person’s day a little brighter, a little better, a little more warm than usual.  Just do it!  And before you know it, you will find yourself right smack dab in the middle of that joy you were looking for all along.

How can you maximize your joy during the holidays?  Give! Not till it hurts, but until that other person stops hurting (at least while they are with you)!  You can make that kind of impact and (smile) you should…  I learned a long time ago that helping other people truly gave me the most joy and although I still sometimes fall into it being all about me, whenever I recall that it aint about me, things start changing almost immediately.

I hope your holiday times are the best they have ever been and I hope you remember why…

These are just some holiday good thoughts… 🙂

 

 

Living in the Fear of Judgment…


imagesCA4LXE8FThe annual Thanksgiving Day family party was a big success with one exception…yours truly!  You see there is such a thing as “too much” fun and in my case “too much” Fireball!  As one might expect, too many drinks leads to some rather bizarre behavior, made worse by the advent of Vine videos which, thanks to the marvels of modern technology, allows you to see yourself out of your mind while in your right mind…  SMH oh well!  Those sketchy memories aside (thankfully) and after a couple of days of self-flagellation, I realized that my errors in judgment weren’t my issue as much as my perceptions of other people’s judgment (or perceived judgment) of me…  What must they think of me???

Good question, wouldn’t you agree?  I mean how much time do we really spend worrying about what other people might be thinking about us?  And maybe not without good reason…  We live in a society that thrives (or feeds if you will) on judgment.  We judge people for being overweight; for not being as attractive as someone in the media convinced us they should be; for not having enough money (or having too much money); for the color of their skin; for their ethnicity and on it goes into virtual judgment oblivion.  There are social expectations, relationship expectations, behavior expectations, moral expectations and religious expectations.  And the result?  A world of people controlled and terrified of other people’s judgment.  And maybe worst of all, a multitude of people paralyzed with the thoughts of Almighty God‘s judgment!

So maybe we ought to try to make some sense out of all that judgment.  First, I think if you have lived long enough, you realize that all people have had their moments in the mud and if they haven’t yet, just wait a little bit.  Next, if you’ve lived long enough (again) you have been down the slippery path enough to understand that people, being people, often get tripped up in life and even more often when they least expect it (There but for the grace of God, go I).  And finally, here’s maybe the most scary part of it all.  All of us have a mind that we live inside and as such are completely aware of where our thoughts go at all times.  Oh we may have a fantastic public persona, but we also know the stuff that goes through our private minds.  Yet somehow we try for all we are worth to keep that private part private because after all, God forbid what would happen to us if people knew who we really are!

So, here’s a thought for your noggin – you know who you are inside (which I’m guessing doesn’t really vary that much for most of us) and for that reason alone might want to decide to give up on judgment!  (LOL)  Judgment is a losers game which, while appearing to make you feel a bit superior for a moment, only ends with your own feeble attempt to justify your own insanity by pointing out the insanity of others.  Saying someone is ugly never made you prettier.  Calling someone an idiot won’t add to your IQ.  And, no matter how thin you might get, it will never make up for the insecurity you feel inside.  You see, judgment only serves to turn us into critical Pharisees, who while interacting personally with the Messiah, could not conceive that he was who he said he was because their eyes were blinded to “true love” and instead only saw the flaws they trained themselves to see.  And while I’m at it, God Himself who saw the evil results of judgment sent us a Savior to “once and for all ever set us free” from the potential to be judged!  So, of course there is a better way to live…

The best way to live is devoid of all judgment.  (Maybe give it up for lent -ha)  Just stop doing it.  Does that mean you must excuse bad behavior?  Of course not!  Instead acknowledge the “bad behavior” but decide to love the person behind it.  And, are you deciding to love them based upon your ranking scale concerning the badness of their behavior?  No, unless you are okay with the same ranking scale!  (Haha – side-note, somehow in your own mind your bad won’t be as bad as “their” bad!)  Just let people be people.  Let them bloody their own noses.  They don’t need your lecture, they need your love because their nose is already bleeding!  Why not be that person they know never judges them and in so doing, give them a little slice of heaven while they are still on earth.  Imagine that – heaven is a place people go to because they chose to believe in God’s Savior rather than choosing to believe in the ever sliding scale of good behavior!

You and I don’t ever have to be afraid of people’s judgment!  Oh sure they are going to judge us still, but at the end of the day, it’s what God thinks that matters and He already forgave us for every whacky thing we ever got caught up in!  Yes folks, it’s that big!

So is this about a man feeling bad for being “that guy” at his own house party?  Nah, don’t you believe it!  This is about freedom from the fear and bondage of judgment that runs the whole world.  Shoot, I ain’t scurrrred!  How about you?

Just some good “judgment free” thoughts…

Living on the Plus Side of the Ledger…


imagesThis is a blog about living without debt, but has nothing to do with your financial decisions.  Rather this is summary of the greatest story ever told; a story about how to have a fulfilling and effectual relationship with God.  But, I’m going to warn you right up front, if you are a fan of religion and religious ritual, read no further because chances are I’m going to make you angry.  Naturally a discussion about your relationship with God will take more than a thousand words, but I’ll do my best to give you the salient points and then you, my friends, can decide for yourself!

So, here goes…  Anything that you do for God that you really, really don’t want to do will ultimately be based upon fear.  All kinds of things are said and done in the name of God are not only nutso and illogical, but are often far removed from the things God says actually please Him.  Forced obedience is not obedience, no more so than when your kids do what you tell them because they are afraid of what you will do to them if they don’t do it.  And if you are honest, when you follow some commandment or refuse to partake in an activity because you fear negative consequences with God, you are acting out of fear.  I’m pretty sure that you want your children to do what you say because they love and you and trust you, not because they are afraid of you.  Well, God is no different!  Add to that a society that has ever-changing rules regarding what is a sin and what isn’t, we are left with a real conundrum.  But God is smarter than that…

This may surprise you, but God is well aware of the human condition.  He knows how evil works and He’s well aware of the pitfalls that follow bad decisions.  And, in the world of “anything goes”  bad decisions still remain.  Thus in His infinite (and I don’t throw that word around haphazardly) wisdom, He came up with a grand solution.  For those of us that choose to believe, He did away with the sin problem once and for all.  He knew we would never live up to His Word on our own.  The first man, Adam, the prototype didn’t, so why would He expect that we would be any different.  Yet how many of us think otherwise?  How many of us do all kinds of shenanigans to “make” ourselves right with God.  And have you enjoyed much success playing that game?  For every good deed we do, we inadvertently do two things wrong.  And even the good things we think we do often present with another layer of how we could have done better and on that dastardly game goes.  Have you ever noticed how angry and judgmental religious people are?  Have a little compassion on them, that’s a tough, tough game they are playing!  Instead God masterfully devised the ultimate solution.  He sent His son as the Savior from sin.  Jesus Christ with all that wonderful freedom of will you and I have (minus sin in his blood), decided to walk and live God’s Word perfectly.  Then after suffering the worst torture any human has endured, died, paying once and for all the price for everything that was ever wrong with you and me!  He became sin for us so that if we chose to believe in him and that God raised him from the dead, we would be forevermore righteous in God’s sight!  Now think about that for a moment.  Once you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and believe God raised him from the dead, you are forevermore righteous in God’s sight.  And in being made righteous by God Himself, never, ever have to fear again coming up short in His sight.  That’s true freedom folks…but, it gets better.

Being now made free by God, you are now 100% free to choose how you live your life.  Stay with me now!  You simply cannot sin in God’s sight.  You cannot.  Because you behave so well?  Of course not!  Rather, because you chose to accept God’s sacrifice for you.  Sidenote – if you revert back to earning God’s love and protection with your good behavior because something made you afraid, you go back to the ‘game of losers’ that no-one ever wins.  And now paradoxically, for the first time in your life, you truly have freedom to decide how you will live.  When you afraid of making God mad or losing God’s favor, you aren’t really choosing freely.  I don’t know about you, but I want my children’s love and respect and trust to come from their hearts, freely and without fear.  God is no different!  He wants you to do what you really want to do.  Don’t you think He can see through your rituals?  Can you imagine that He already knows your heart isn’t in that behavior you are begrudgingly choosing?  Really?  He is God, after-all… Now I’m not saying anything goes or do as you please through life.  You already know that doesn’t work.  I’m saying stop doing stuff for God you really don’t want to do.  You aren’t blessed, God isn’t blessed, so why do it?

You and I, as believers, are living life on the plus side of the ledger.  We cannot dip into the red because Jesus Christ already paid the price for us.  You wouldn’t pay more for something than it costs would you?  Well, that’s what you do every time you try to earn God’s favor!  Don’t go by what people say, go by what God says in His Word (you didn’t think I made this stuff up, did you?).  Don’t rely on your Pastor or the TV or the Internet, find out for yourself what God says in His Word.  Not too long ago dancing was a sin (smile).

Get off that high horse you have constructed over time and let God do for you what you were never able to do for yourself!  A relationship with God isn’t all about you (what you do and don’t do, though the preachers beg to differ).  Instead it’s all about what God has done for you in Christ Jesus.

Breathe in the fresh air of freedom folks; where there is no fear.  You deserve that, don’t you think?  Haha, well maybe not, but God made you deserving of it!

Just some really, really, really good thoughts…

 

Damned If You Do…?


no-condemnationMy grandsons were at the house this past weekend enjoying a good romp and mess making opportunity (goes with the territory!).  Two year-old Tristan, formerly playing quietly with the iPad on the couch, suddenly launched it onto to the floor!  So I said, “Hey Tristan, you can’t throw the iPad on the floor!  You are going to break it!”  And he exclaimed, before I was even finished chastising him, “I sorry Pampa!”  But I wasn’t finished yet as I added, “You can’t do that Tristan because you are going to break it and it costs a lot of money!”  Again he offered, before I was even done yet again, “I sorry Pampa, okay?”

You see, young Tristan didn’t want the condemnation that goes with feeling like he had done something wrong.  And in the wisdom of a two-year, figured the best response was to be sorry as quickly as possible to end that “feeling bad” thing.  What a lesson for us infinitely wiser adults, huh?  Feeling bad about ourselves; condemning ourselves; thinking bad things about ourselves is one of the greatest life-suckers that confronts the human race!  The best prescription for defeating a man (or a woman or a child) is to talk them into beating their own selves up from the inside out.  (Similar to getting a person addicted to drugs then watching them systematically destroy themselves!)  So what is behind that insidious tendency?  Where does it come from?  Is it something that God employs to make us better people?  Is there an actual benefit to it that we may not be aware of yet?

To understand condemnation you have to start with its definition.  To condemn means to pass judgment against.  It means to find guilt and its associated punishment (i.e. condemned to death).  It comes from a word that means “con – implies intense feeling” and “damn-to provide adverse judgment.”  So condemning yourself means that you are judging yourself and finding yourself coming up short.  And worse, your judgment of yourself anticipates punishment (fear) which works most effectively to strengthen the cycle.  So here’s a fun thought to ponder.  Have you ever met anyone that did better; performed better; or made better choices following an unhealthy dose of being made to feel bad?  My guess is probably not, right?  When you are in a constant state of evaluating your own behavior, or measuring yourself against other people, or finding the wrong in everything you say and do, you are living in a state of defeat.  You are actually made weaker by that process, not stronger.  And weak people tend to do worse and worse, thus the cycle continues…

So, here’s another fun thought?  Do you suppose that it is God that is condemning you?  Is it plausible to you that God, who is infinite in wisdom and love chooses to take the “beat them into submission” approach to influence your choices?  I would say emphatically, hell no! – but that would be swearing (:-))…  God, the really smart one, knew that you and I would be susceptible to feeling bad when our thoughts or behaviors came up short and in so knowing, devised a master plan that would forever free mankind from that vicious cycle.  His master plan was (and is) to have a son with no sin in his blood that would have an opportunity to live his life perfectly, without ever sinning if he so chose to do so.  And then, if His son was successful, His son could function as the savior of mankind, forever freeing man from the consequences of sin by becoming the perfect substitute and sacrifice for man.  That perfect plan happened, my friends, and by accepting Jesus Christ as our savior from sin, you and I will never come into condemnation again (as far as God is concerned).  Read the Bible – I didn’t make this stuff up.  haha

So where then does that condemnation come from?  It comes from the enemy of mankind, the adversary, who uses what you don’t know against you.  For example, if your church teaches you that you have to obey this command or follow that law or do these behaviors, for God to love, bless and protect you, then that church has unknowingly sold you a lie.  Easssy now, stay with me here.  If Jesus Christ paid the full price for all of your sins, which ones are left for you to pay for?  Seems to me that we have already been made perfect in God’s eyes, so why all the gut wrenching and fear?  The gut wrenching and fear come from that same enemy…  It’s a trick man!  God made it so that it is no longer all about you (what you do, did or don’t do) and instead made all about Him; what He did for you!  And you wonder why I love Him so… 🙂  Just because someone claims to speak for God or is sincere doesn’t guarantee you anything at all.  Used car salesmen are often very sincere…

So here is the startling reality!  God doesn’t want you to live under all that bondage.  God doesn’t want you cataloging what’s wrong with you all the time.  God doesn’t want you to even judge yourself (see Apostle Paul in Bible).  Get off your own back and get away from those shackles that bind you.  You will never, ever, ever be able to truly and freely believe God to get the things you need in life until you completely and thoroughly kill off all that insidious condemnation!

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.  Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him… I John 3:20-22

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t?  No!  God doesn’t damn anybody and neither do I…  Live in the freedom that God prepared for you and stop listening to that ol’ bird that’s always on your back!  It aint about you man…it’s about God!

Just some good thoughts…