What’s the Point?


purpose-lifeHave you ever wondered what is the point of life? I think it is safe to say that we all enjoy being alive and experiencing many different things. But, is that the point of it all? Is life merely a race where you put forth your energy to acquire as many things as possible before you die, or is life something you must learn to endure and even survive in order to eke out as many days on earth as you can? What if there is so much more to life? What if our time on terra firma was originally designed to be an opportunity to learn about our Creator; to learn how to live life to the full in every conceivable way; to experience great love and joy and the peace that passeth understanding? What if the grand point of our life is God, learning about Him; learning who He really is; learning how to live life in the best way that cannot help but produce immeasurable results, unending joy and deep seated satisfaction in our souls? Indeed, what’s the point?

People have all kinds of ideas and viewpoints about who God actually is. Their views are as varied as people are varied. Many, if not most, have accepted this notion that God is always present observing everything they do or don’t do and as such is meting out rewards or punishments based upon acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. When bad things happen, as they necessarily must, they conclude those things happened due to errors, flaws or sins on the part of the individual involved. Similarly, when good things happen or appear, they conclude they must be living right. Both viewpoints surreptitiously drive the focus of a relationship with God to people and the things that people do. On the negative side, people learn to fear God and expect bad things to happen in accordance with the so called bad things they may have done. On the other side, which really isn’t positive, they learn that they must perform certain behaviors or abstain from certain behaviors in order for God to bless them. Instead of learning about who God is, people learn to focus on themselves and as such live in a perpetual state of either fear or obligation. From this misunderstanding, people choose to ignore God altogether rather than get wrapped up in a system from which they cannot prevail. Even the mention of God typically elicits self-reflection concerning where the person fits on the scale of good and bad. What a great dishonor to God, His love, His compassion, His goodness. God formed, made and created people for Himself. As the author of life, He knows precisely what will make you happy and precisely what will cause you unrest. He is aware of the life that is possible for you and the counterfeit life which is clamoring for supremacy. He sees through every deception and as you would expect from a loving Father, seeks only the best for you (not from you!). Does it really seem plausible to you that the greatest and most vast intelligence there is somehow remains focused on your missteps, your mistakes, your fallible human nature? That, my friends, is not the point!

God created the heavens and the earth for you. He designed it to be an unending and unparalleled place of learning and delight, filling it with infinite diversity and opportunity for exploration. The absolute perfection of nature cannot be ignored. The balance, the symmetry, the interdependency, the timing, the beauty, the accuracy, the wonder of it all speaks quietly in your heart that there is something more for you to learn. A flower, a beach, a tree in changing seasons, a bumblebee, a rainbow trout, the mountains, a billion unique snowflakes, the warm summer sun, the shadowy light of the mornings and the evenings, a pasture, the animal kingdom, the expanse, all point to someone, something more incredible than words can describe. And, incredulously, the point of the earth is you! Have you ever considered the wonder of your body and its millionfold possibilities? If there is something or someone so perfect, so intricate, so detailed (words fail me) to have even conceived of this delightful thing we call life, is it not possible that He is trying to communicate something to you? Can you begin to entertain the idea that He might be so far above human thought and understanding, so vast and immeasurable that you have not thus far been able to see Him for who He really is? His ways are above our ways and His thoughts are above our thoughts. And in His masterplan for creation, He made you. He wanted to be a Father to His children. (He invented the concept) He sought and seeks fellowship from His children. He is all powerful and all knowing and He desires to share that with you. He does not see your human foibles, your missteps, your absurdities (or mine), He sees you as His child upon which He wishes to shower untold blessings. He is love, the very essence and manifestation of it. He is life, your life and mine. He is the point!

Sometimes human beings are “too smart” for their own good. They wish to rationalize and explain away the obvious. They observe the perfection, but don’t expect perfection from the Maker of it all. They miss the point. They get all caught up in the rat race, toiling away, striving, trying to get something from nothing, applying superstitions, fables, and man-made principles to decipher a world that wasn’t made by man. They experience all of the misery, the futility, the despair because they are seeking life from everything but God. They are most sincere, honest, humble, and genuine, but looking for love in all the wrong places. They fear their only real source of help and rescue. They do not find Him because they have not yet sought Him, for He is not far from from any one of us. The Perfection that exists knows only goodness and kindness and love. He doesn’t want to condemn you, He wants to help you. He has already seen your whole life through and He still loves you. He desires that you might have life and that you might have it abundantly. His heart is open to all, to all of you. He has the power to completely revolutionize your life, to transform it, to restore it. He can bring you from death to life. He is God and He is the whole point!

Oh tempest tossed souls wherever you may find yourself in life, God is already there. He has heard your prayers and He knows exactly what you need. He does not exist to point out your imperfection, He desires instead to reveal His perfection to you. He wants to show you real life, not some imitation. He desires to give you true, complete and lasting freedom. He seeks not your religious obligation, He longs for your love. He wants you to experience a fantastic life now culminating with a life that will last forever with HIm. He is and always will be the point of it all. Find God, find life. He is the point!

Just some good thoughts…

A Fine Line…


TightropeMany years ago, as I sat alone outside my tent in the final days of the leadership training program waiting for the Lord to show me a sign that would make clear my ministry to help people the most effectually, nothing happened except a pervasive urge to read a section of scripture over and over again. There was no display in the heavens, no unusual, titillating revelation, nothing but an inescapable desire to read Isaiah 58 repeatedly. It wasn’t until some time after that I realized my purpose in life was to help people escape the confines of bondage and to live in the freedom that only God could provide for them. The call to loose the bands of wickedness and let the oppressed go free remains within me unto this day. As such, I’m very clear concerning the fine line between truth and error; between freedom and bondage; between works and the grace of God. Indeed there is always a fine line.

The grace of God is one of the most incredible aspects of our Father, God. Grace is God’s undeserved, divine favor bestowed upon people without a cause; without deserving it; without any works on the part of the people to obtain it. God’s unending grace is on display in the life of His son who fulfilled the law forever setting mankind free from the claims of sin and wrong. You and I could never achieve this on our own. Instead we rely upon the finished work of Jesus Christ. It is called a finished work because it is finished. Jesus lived God’s law perfectly because we couldn’t do it on our own. And in so doing he set us free from the clutches of our adversary and sin and wrong forever. All that we have or could ever hope to be is based upon the grace of God. Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. As such, it always astounds me when people begin to worry that we as believers could somehow take grace too far. There is no end point with grace or it wouldn’t be grace. Undeserved, divine favor will always be undeserved. If at some point, I need to deserve grace or else do something to encourage grace to continue, then I have forfeited that grace. I need not concern myself with whether or not people are using grace in order to sin as sin has its own misery. If God says I will never come into judgment from Him, then I will never come into judgment with Him. To infer that God is not pleased with me also infers that God is judging me. God may not be pleased with my behavior, but He is never displeased with me. Otherwise, my favor would needs be earned from Him and I could never live up to that requirement. If you think about it, we already wrestle with endless accusations that inform us in some way that God is not pleased with us. Yet those accusations can never be true or else it wouldn’t be truly finished. It is finished.

People that choose to live like hell have their own suffering. You don’t have to tell people to stop doing things that are wrong because the wrong itself punishes them and leads them to misery. As someone who has spent some time on the wrong side of the tracks, I can assure you that what people need when they are off track is healthy, abundant doses of love and forgiveness. It is the goodness of God that leads us to a change of heart, not a lecture. The people that do not care about God won’t listen anyway. It’s those of us who do care that suffer the damage. I don’t believe that anyone on their own really wants to rebel against God, but in their deception they suffer loss. Our opponent is adept at leading us astray and when we recognize it (if by God’s mercy we recognize it) then we need a way to come back home to the goodness we have forfeited. Jesus Christ is the way back home having done all for us in ways we could never do on our own. It’s like when someone talks about being greedy and then we, the tender hearted ones, consider it. Yet the people who are actually greedy never give it a second thought! What people need is unconditional love from the Father who loves us no matter what. Human beings are fragile enough without heaping burdens upon their heads; loads too heavy to bear. It is a fine line.

If God set us free then we are free. Absolute freedom is the ability to choose without the fear of retribution or loss. Compliance and obligation won’t get us there. Whenever we do things because of the fear of the consequences, we fall right back into the bondage God delivered us from. All things are lawful for me, but not all things build me up. All things are lawful for me, but some things hurt me and do not help me. You don’t have to tell people that, they already know it. It reminds me of the story of the poor alcoholic in the Foundational class on Power for Abundant Living. He came to church that day looking for answers, not further reminders of the desperate state he was already enduring. He was living that hell and came for help; help that only God could give by His mercy and grace. We, my friends, are no different. We all fall short and by God we know that. We go too far, we get deceived, we chase stupidity and error gets ahold of us. We find ourselves estranged, lost and heaven’s brass. Yet it is the grace of God that helps us get back to that safe place where our worthiness before God no longer comes into question. It is the finished work of Jesus Christ that we anchor ourselves to and then we can overcome and learn and get that much better. If my worthiness before God depends upon my own ability, God help me. Can you not see it? That old enemy of mankind, the accuser, is enough to contend with day by day without making it about me; what I do and what I might fail to do. You are preaching to the choir of which I am already a member. On my own I will always fall short, but with Him I will always win.

My dear brothers and sisters, there will always be a fine line between what is true and what is error. God, in His infinite wisdom, provided a way by which you and I could live in ultimate freedom. Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. Every place I am weak and deficient, God pours in more grace and in that grace enjoyed, I am free to make a better choice, not by compulsion, but by love. God loves us into loving ourselves. God has perfected forever those that believe on what His Word says. Don’t let anything or anyone ever cause you to doubt God’s love for you or to doubt that God has divine favor towards you. You cannot do anything that God isn’t already aware of and He still chose to love you. Live your one precious life in the freedom that God bought for you with the life of His son. Don’t be only half free, but fully free. “Love God, love your fellow man and do as you dang fool please!” Don’t complicate what God has made simple. It is a fine line and it is there for you to enjoy…

Just some good thoughts…

A New Year to Reconnect with Life…


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As we reflect on the past year, it is easy to think about all of the things we didn’t like and make grandiose plans for the coming new year. But, do we really need to do that? If we want to lose weight, did we not want to lose weight last year? If our aim is the elimination of bad habits, did we engage in those bad habits in the year that is ending now? The same logic could be applied infinitum. Thus it seems it’s not so much changing the small parts that make up our life as it is our attitude towards life as a whole. There is a reason we get too heavy; we engage in unhealthy behaviors; we become bored and depressed and seek something new, exciting and different. But, that which we seek really has nothing to do with the date on the calendar as much as it has to do with our overall general approach to the life we are living now. The life you are seeking underneath your list of new year’s resolutions is actually here already. You just need to reconnect with it. You need to reengage with life.

All living things are either living or dying, thriving or deteriorating. There is no status quo when it comes to life. And, as you no doubt have guessed already, living in this world there is a tendency towards deterioration and decay. It’s not how God originally planned it, but it is what it is at this point! The world is a frightfully negative place. Social media is negative. Your friends tend towards being negative. The circumstances you find yourself in – negative. It is how the world runs and it is how the world functions. Ever since that old snake got involved with God’s creation, decay replaced flourishing with loss and defeats becoming the order of the day. As such, it is no wonder we have all become disconnected with life. It’s not so much the world’s way that has defeated us as it is how we have let the world into our hearts. We expect things not to work out. We peer around the corner in good situations waiting for the the shoe to drop; the bad things to appear. We are not gluttons for punishment, but rather have been systematically trained to expect negativity; to look for the cracks; to find reasons not to maintain any semblance of hope or positive expectation. In this, over time, we have been swept away from life and not to life. And, in our ignorance, we have been led away from the source of life and all that could ever be good about life. We chase money and status and sunny days without troubles. We long to feel good again and long for the energy and enthusiasm that accompany that goodness. We promise ourselves to get better at this and stop doing that in the hopes that we can discover or rediscover that which we seemed to have lost. Enter the new year and its promise for better things ahead.

Curiously, instead of taking the time to think and consider what might have occurred that robbed us of our life or our happiness in life, we flap around on the surface of things assuring ourselves that if we only had more money or more time or more favorable circumstances, things would quickly take a turn for the better. Surely dry January will do the trick instead of learning what all that alcohol is replacing in our minds. We eat too much and hate the result, but never quite figure out why we are eating so much. All excesses, a thing we are all guilty of, point us to some missing element in our lives, some unresolved issue, some fear allowed to hang around and plague us. Fears and worries and our constant preoccupation with ourselves and whether or not we are going to be okay, suck the very life from us. The more we think we have finally figured out, the less we actually know, yet we keep persisting in the same game year after lousy year, loving life less and less as every year transpires. What, you’re thirty, forty, fifty, sixty years old and you already have figured everything out? You don’t need to make any changes in your thinking or your conclusions? You don’t need to consider that you have perhaps been led astray in some capacity? I submit to you, with all the honesty my soul can fathom, that if your life sucks it does so because you have been deceived in some category of life which you have yet to discover. You have, as my wife is wont to say, gotten entrenched in some fixed mindset that serves only to limit and curtail your life rather than to enhance it. Look, we are all in this thing together and there is nothing you are experiencing that all of us haven’t experienced at one time or another. We all get down in life and feel miserable. We all get wrapped up in stupidity and the things that rob life from us. We all get perplexed, lost, confused and afraid. That isn’t the issue at all. The issue is whether or not we can humble ourselves to figure out why and then at last find the way back. The way back exists regardless of the date on the calendar!

When you reconnect with life, you will find that life and God and goodness have been here all along. God is more than willing to teach you something new. He is infinitely capable of exposing the darkness that has been wearing you out. He sees all and knows all. If you are going to make a New Year’s resolution, resolve yourself to rediscover life. Step down from that old, high horse of ego and be willing to admit that something has gone astray. You know if things aren’t working for you so you might as well admit it! I’m not sure what it is about being a human being that convinces us there is nothing new to know; no new path to discover; no new road to take. Sometimes you just need to find someone you love and trust and talk things through with them. Then while you are discussing your plight, listen to what they have to say. There will be errors of thought and subsequent actions you are taking. Be open to it. Lord knows we all need help from the people that love us most. But, in the end, seek the help from the One most capable of providing it; the One that knows you better than you know your own self. Don’t spend any pointless time lamenting your past errors. If there wasn’t an adversary, all of us would likely remain error free. But, there is an adversary and he happens to be dang good at his game. Forgive yourself, learn and find that life you have been missing. No matter what has happened to you or how low you may have sunk, underneath it all are the everlasting arms of God, ready, willing and able to give you a fresh start! Reconnect with life. Reengage life, your life. Look for the promise of brighter days ahead no matter what the calendar is reporting. Happy New Year my friends and I love you.

Just some good thoughts…

50,000 Views… What???


blogger-image-1034075386The other day I received a notification that my blog had reached 50,000 views. When I first began my blog, all I wanted to do was share some good thoughts with people about solutions to their problems. Back then, as so much the more so today, all I really ever wanted to do was give people some solid spiritual advice in the hopes that they would hear it and pursue it. And as I think about the world today, there is so much suffering; so much defeat; so little hope for the future. People are literally living lives of misery, afraid, bewildered and at a complete loss. The reality of how people live is sad enough, but to have real solutions to those issues and yet have folks not realize those solutions is even more saddening. Oh my friends, God exists…

At one point in my life, I was like you are. I had heard of God somewhat vaguely; knew some real weirdos claiming to speak for God and generally sought to escape the whole religion thing in its entirety. My absolute disdain for religion and its empty practices is no less today than it was 30 years ago. Nothing turns people off to God more than religion does with its litany of man made practices and illogic. No thank you! As a youngster, having been exposed to nothing more than a bible class as a child where we made mirrors with Jesus on the back, I always had this idea that God was loving and kind and much bigger than my inadequacies and failures. It seemed like if He actually made people, He would have a pretty good understanding about they work. How silly, it seemed, that He would be put off by something as ridiculous as foul language or drinking beers or this whole notion of sex, which I’m quite certain He invented. I always thought He must be so much more than that. Not too long after those youthful musings, I began to learn how much more. 

As a new college student, I was doing the exact same things you were probably doing if you went to college. I was attempting adulthood while still a child and wow, it was a crazy time. It seems there were lots of other people just like me. After a brief skirmish with a sweet lady offering me some religion, I was formally introduced to the truth. As I sat in that class called, Power for Abundant Living, my heart literally burned within me as the scriptures were unfolded to me. I learned that God wasn’t who people said He was at all, but rather He was loving and kind and most willing to help me live my life. It seemed He not only created life as we know it, but was also fully willing to participate in my living of it. I saw firsthand how He did answer prayers in real and tangible ways and that prayer wasn’t simply a psychological exercise to help me feel better while providing nothing I actually needed to solve my issues. I observed healing first hand and a host of other mind blowing solutions to the dilemmas of humankind. I was so happy and blessed that I could hardly contain myself. I lovingly coerced my family and friends into taking the class. I couldn’t believe I was so “lucky” to have stumbled upon that for which the whole world seeks. And then, as even today, I ask myself, how can people do life without God? 

I believe if you could ever escape the deafening din of unbelief and fear, you would honestly take the time to discover who God really is as opposed to an overload of things He is not. All you could ever imagine about an incredible benefactor and an unlimited power for good can be found in God. No-one would find out the goodness of God if He was found only in endless seminaries of evil and sin, ever warning of falling out of God’s favor and sinking into the perils of evil. If you’ve lived any amount of time, you have already become expert in sin and its consequences. You don’t need a sermon or a lecture to tell you that bad things are bad things. Your own heart will do that for you. Similarly, God does not need to focus on what is wrong with you. He already knows what is wrong with you, for goodness sakes, and He doesn’t ever bring it up. Instead He holds out His hand to you to come and learn of Him. He asks only that you taste and see that the Lord is good. He is only good always and is everything you have ever been searching for your whole life. Surely you can perceive that life is much bigger than appears and that you weren’t the result of some cosmic explosion that ended in perfect symmetry and balance. A flower alone disputes that claim. Your mind, your emotions, your complexity, a product of evolution? Hardly. Human life alone belies that notion, not even considering the universe and the eco system and the sheer variety of living things. Your heart knows better than that and your heart seeks after the God that made you. Listen to your heart. 

No matter where you have been; how low you may have sunk; whatever insane stuff you got wrapped up in, beneath you will always be the loving arms of God, patiently waiting for you to reach upward and ask. You don’t need to study your Bible for hours, become scripturally proficient, go to church and do exceeding good deeds. All you ever needed to do was ask Him to help you. You know in your heart where you struggle. You know the despair you feel. You are familiar with your anxieties and fears. You are clear that you are quietly suffering and that there must be a better way. Well, there is a better way and it is yours for the taking. You don’t owe God anything and how could you repay Him anyway? You owe yourself the willingness to seek and as is promised to you, find. Don’t allow yourself to go another day lost and confused by a world system that is bigger than you are. Stop trying to fight it with your human logic and assumptions. Cease from making all about you and learn instead Who life is really all about. 

If you are like me, and I know you are, you have a heart that is in need of repair. You know deep down that there is a goodness you have always dreamed of and wished for. You know it must be better than you have been experiencing thus far. You aren’t being fanciful and foolish, you are listening to your heart. You also knows the ways of religion are not it either. Those ways will do nothing more than make life with God, about you and about everything you do and do not do. Religion serves only to glorify the men that made it. 50,000 views later people and it is still as true as the first time I endeavored to write it down. Oh my friends, God exists…

Just some good thoughts. 

 

 

Life Requires Your Participation…


1_1X2KtJHaDNEr3MBghmUA5wI was thinking the other day about how your life can go sort of stale on you. Things don’t appear different on the outside; there haven’t been any major changes; nothing dramatic has occurred, yet suddenly it feels a bit pointless and dry. It’s almost as if there isn’t anything to look forward to and your existence seems to have slowed down to a crawl. The more deeply I considered the emotions, the more curious I became. What is it that happens to a person that takes away the joy and adventure of living? What event or series of events have been at work behind the scenes stealing away precious life and vitality? What could have possibly been going on in a person’s thought life that led to these negative and hopeless conclusions? Then, I knew the answer. Life requires your participation!

The way you stop participating in life is when you stop moving forward. You don’t necessarily feel like you stopped, but if you are honest you know you no longer have anything you are pursuing. You aren’t on an exciting adventure full of discovery. You aren’t on a journey towards some worthwhile end. You have no grand plans for your exciting future life, but instead have settled in to mediocrity and silence. You’re going through the motions, living, but not really living. There was a time when you had a zest for living and carried a mind full of expectations and desires. But, something happened to you. Something worked you over and wore you down. Someone or a host of someones chipped away at your ambitions and goals. One by one, little by little, your mental plans were closed off and nullified. It wasn’t your age that did it to you, but maybe the considerations you entertained concerning your age. It wasn’t the circumstances of your life that took away your dreams as you had similar, if not worse circumstances, in your unknown and untraveled youth. What changed was your interpretation of your circumstances and what they meant in terms of your future life. Your lack of energy and exhaustion didn’t come about from extreme efforts, but instead lack of effort; lack of movement and ultimately a lack of participation in your own life. You stopped doing your part. Life requires your participation.

When you remove all of the covers, when you take off all the disguises, when you peel away all of the layers, a person’s arch nemesis in life is always fear. It is fear that enters in an impedes your forward progress. Doubt causes you to hesitate. Worry slows your progress forward and fear eventually freezes you in your tracks. Like the mighty roar of a lion, fear roars to stop your forward progress, rendering you helpless from the enemy’s pending attack. The name of the thief that stole your ideals is fear. The hunter that trapped you in a cage of mediocrity is fear. The robber that made off with your enthusiasm and zest for living is fear. Absent fear your mind is free to function at full speed, full of ideas and dreams and wishes, hopes and plans. What happened to you was not a function of aging or gaining wisdom concerning the world. What happened was in some capacity, in some imperceptible way, by repetition and habit, fear got to you. Fear tricked you into stopping your forward momentum. Fear pointed out why your plans could not work; how foolish you were for thinking them and how many obstacles existed to impede your progress towards them. But, it wasn’t fear’s lies that defeated you, it was your acceptance of those lies as evidenced by your lack of progress toward your plans. You, because of fear, stopped moving; stopped doing; stopped trying. Your dreams require your participation in their attainment.

Often people pray for God to take away their problems and troubles. They beg God to simply step in and remedy the situation for them. And while that sounds beautiful, further inspection reveals that is not how life works, indeed not how God works. God moves in people as they move. Waiting and praying and wishing won’t restore the life you have lost as a victim to fear. You have to move again. You have to take some steps. You have got to start moving forward. However it happened to you, it already happened. Bless God for helping you see what you need the most to see.  Praise God for those times you got to recognize and understand it for yourself. What happened to you is common to all men. The acid test for your soul is to look back at your former dreams and goals, your plans, your enthusiasms for things, and note how you stopped pursuing them. You gave them up. It’s like the man that hates his job; complains about his job; is stressed out by his job, yet does nothing to change the situation. Sure he prays and pleads and waits and cries, yet does nothing to change the situation. What would he have God to do in his story? God will move when he moves and not a second earlier. If you are no longer looking for the things that have the most appeal to you, how could you ever find them? If you have given up on even trying something, how could you ever succeed at it? If you already know everything, what else is there for you to learn? The problem isn’t God or the world or the circumstances, the problem is you. Fear (look no further) has tricked you into halting your forward progress and life won’t return for you until you decide to move again. Life requires your participation.

Friends, the doldrums, the boredoms, the lackluster and mundane would overtake us all. However, we are only so because we have ceased our forward progress. We stopped moving and will remain abject and defeated until we take charge and move again. Get back in the game. Remember what you love the most and begin to pursue it again. Take a step then another step and then another. Don’t allow the liar fear to color your world drab gray any longer. Move ahead and see the beauty and vibrance that life is and once again see the God that called you and loves you. Make some moves and see it for yourself. Participate in your own life!

Just some good thoughts…

Do Something New…


71OuYxzZ2lL._AC_SY606_It seems the older people get, the more settled they become in terms of routines and well established habits. Whatever that mechanism is that God put into our brains to save resources, sort of takes over as we age, seeking apparently to place any original thought into predetermined categories leaving little room to process and enjoy new experiences. Although less required activity makes sense for those approaching and living out their golden years, perhaps less mental stimulation doesn’t make as much sense. People’s mind don’t age, their bodies do, that is unless they have slowed to a crawl in the healthy pursuit of learning something new. Do something new…

When you are young, the world is a kaleidoscope of multifarious, almost limitless possibilities to learn and subsequently grow. The infinity variety of the world is exhaustless in its capacity to enliven and thrill your heart. As you age, that same world of opportunities remains the same, but you don’t. The call of the familiar begins to sound louder than the beckon of new experience. Habits once developed for efficiency now become resistant to change; any change that upsets the status quo of required daily routines. God help you if you don’t have dinner at exactly 5:00 pm or miss a television show or don’t have your coffee at 7:00 am sharp. You cannot participate in any activity that takes place on the weekday evening and all extracurricular happenings must be confined to the weekend and then earlier on Sunday lest you risk staying up late. Whatever happened to that kid who gladly sacrificed sleep in order to do something fun? What deftly and subtly stole away the excitement of life in exchange for dutiful pursuits of the exact same thing day in and day out? It isn’t their age that makes a person old, but instead it’s those damnable habits and rigidity that sets in as a result of them. You’ve only become rigid and fixed in your mindset because you stopped the movement of your mind, the movement that takes place when you do something or learn something new.

The origin of this dilemma dates all the way back to the beginnings of mankind when aging was first introduced. (Yes, there was a time when people, both of them, didn’t age.) Today we find ourselves left with a body that does age and eventually will die if the Lord tarries. However, too many people have already died while still being alive. They’ve resigned themselves to a life of mental and physical inactivity. People have chronic knee pain because sitting all day doesn’t require much of the knees. There’s nothing left around that makes the heart beat faster, both physically and more important emotionally. It seems that no-one willfully resigns themselves to this fate, but instead sort of falls into it like when someone falls asleep. They have fallen asleep at the switch, which isn’t reserved for those in the middle of their lives. They have been lulled into complacency and in so doing have ceased caring about or pursuing the best things in life, to be replaced by a host of pointless endeavors ever leading nowhere and to nothingness. Sure your shot at being a professional athlete may have passed you by, but that doesn’t mean you cannot apply the same drive and commitment to something else. Woe unto the man or woman that has nothing left to care about. The perceived energy to do a thing is usually far more than the thing actually requires. When we cut ourselves off to new learning and adventure, we cut ourselves off from life. None have succeeded in exhausting new experiences, but many have exhausted themselves with old thoughts. There’s a reason grandpa keeps telling you the same stories. It’s because grandpa has no new stories to tell. (Bless his heart!)

If you’re not careful this old life will get away from you. Before you know it, your life will have been reduced to a handful of things going on every day while you seek in earnest to pass the time. The fact that you would seek to pass the time is a clarion call to your heart that you need to add some new stuff into your agenda and this advice is not just reserved for the elderly. There’s certainly nothing wrong with comforts or for that matter familiar routines, but there is everything wrong with a resignation towards life as long as God exists and, oh my friends, God exists! The variety and splendor of the creation alone signifies that God is anything but boring and is well able to help you recover that spring in your step. We all find ourselves confronted at times with futility, questioning the point of it all, but that is a part of every man’s experience if he lives long enough. But, if you are honest, you will usually find that you have been a cooperator in your own ignorance by failing to keep paying attention to your own thoughts and behaviors and how they play out in your life. What a great day it is when you finally begin again to question your assumptions and look afresh at life with humble and inquiring eyes! What an absolute joy it is to the soul of a person to discover something new, though it be known to others a million times over.

Maybe lately you have found yourself lacking in some of the enthusiasm and joy for living that you once had. Maybe life has become pretty routine for you without the promise of anything new. Whatever has happened or whatever has led you to where you are, take solace in the reality that new life is always available for those who seek it; for those who aren’t afraid to learn and to do something new. It remains your one shot at this thing folks. Please, do something new…

Better Days…


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

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

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

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

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

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

Bless God, there are better days ahead!

The Great Energy Drain…


Have you ever felt like you are lacking energy and have lost your enthusiasm for living? Do you often feel like life has become a drudgery and that there is nothing hardly to look forward to anymore? Has life just worn you down and you can’t seem to find the way back up? Are you simply tired of it all? These feelings are all part of the human journey and you don’t live many years without experiencing them in some form or fashion. The solution (and there is a solution) may surprise you!

The problem with problems is that they wouldn’t be a problem if we knew the answer. Behind every problem; behind every issue that assaults our minds is some hidden cause. The more hidden the cause, the greater the likelihood of the problem continuing. Our spiritual opponent, the ultimate energy drain, functions in secret. The greater his secrecy, the greater his success. What you don’t know will hurt you! Often people find themselves attempting to address their issues with activities that have absolutely nothing to do with the real cause. In this way, humans become pawns in a grand chess game, unknowingly making moves that lead to nothing but wasted time and wasted years. When we suffer lack in some capacity, it seems the solution would be to add something to the equation. If we lack energy, we seek after methods to increase our energy by getting more sleep, eating healthier, adding exercise or swearing off sugar and alcohol. And, while these options are based in physical science, they fail to consider the spiritual reality behind the problem. It isn’t that we are lacking the necessary energy, it is that we are allowing the existence of something that is stealing away our precious energy!

There are two great motivating principles in life – love and fear. Actions you take in love serve to increase your energy and multiply your enthusiasm for living. Actions you take based on fear, however subtly or cleverly disguised, ALWAYS lead to a depletion of your energy and produce its faithful companion – misery. Please read that sentence again! The root cause of your distinct lack of energy is FEAR! Remember the secret of his success is the secrecy of his moves (against you). If it was obvious to you, you would see it for what it is and seek a remedy. However, fear is often deeply veiled and hidden from view. Most people and I do mean most people, do not recognize the fear in their own lives. They don’t see it because they live in a world that runs and thrives on fear. Fear is the the great taskmaster making slaves of its subjects. The world, absent the light of God, is forever subject to slavery, literally ever afraid of a myriad of negative possibilities. And this, my friend, is the way people are living today on a steady and cruel diet of fear from sun-up to sundown; terrified of diseases, horrified at the prospect of getting infected, afraid of failing, scared of succeeding, worried about their children, frightened about the economy and on and on and on… The reason you lack enthusiasm for living is because fear has stopped you in your tracks! Fear impedes and hampers the natural process of life and reduces life to survival and acceptance of mediocre thinking and subsequent living.

Fear is always an illusion and the only real solution to the illusion is refusal concerning its existence. You cannot expect to live in perpetual acceptance of its existence by considering it and entertaining it and dwelling on it, then wonder why you feel the way you do. You are not excited about your future anymore because you have long been entertaining the lies about how your future is going to play out. You are letting your spiritual opponent define the narrative. Evil cannot see the future anymore than you can, but it can do a damn good job of convincing you about how it might turn out, which when considered and held on to long enough eventually shapes your reality. The solution to fear is first to recognize where it is working in your life, then to stop allowing it entree’ into your mind. Stop thinking it. Stop considering it. Stop giving it space. Look, everyone knows that there are a million things that could go wrong in life, but no one has ever been successful at stopping those things from happening by being afraid, worrying incessantly, or churning over their possibilities for hours, days, weeks and years.  No one! The only way to escape the clutches of fear is to starve it out.

Don’t waste another moment trying to figure out how to become comfortable with fear. Fear is the opposite of love. Perfect love casts out fear. God is love. Once you begin to rid yourself of the great energy drain called fear, you will find yourself increasing in energy and enthusiasm for living. When you are afraid you separate yourself from God; your only real source of help. Fear is sin. Fear seeks to deny the existence of God and seeks to enslave you to a counterfeit master. Finally see it for what it is – a lie. You’ll find that once you stop dutifully entertaining fear and instead hand over the care of your life to God, your peace will return; your enthusiasm and vitality will come back; the joy of living will find its way back to you again. This is very serious business folks and you have to do your part!

Life is a blessing to be lived to the full. We all get tripped up, we all get assaulted, we all go off track for a time. We are in a contest with an opponent that plays for keeps. We owe it to God and we owe it to ourselves to consider that there might be a better way to live. Make up your mind that enough is enough and that you aren’t going to stumble and bumble through another day. God wants you to understand spiritual realties and He is more than willing to turn on the light and help you see. Have you been a victim of the great energy drain? Why not tap into the source of life Himself?! God is love and God is life…

Just some good thoughts…

Inside Out…


Did you know that the outer conditions of your life are an exact reflection of what goes on inside your head? What you are on the inside that no-one else can see forms the basis for the circumstances you encounter most frequently. Your life is lived from the inside out. You cannot be successful in the outside world without first being successful in your mind and you cannot fail in the outside world without first failing in your mind! Your mind; your heart is the starting point and from it the issues of your life pour forth! Life is truly lived inside out…

Most people think that life happens to them and that they are powerless to change it. They feed their minds with negatives all day and night. They speak negatives, read negatives, harbor negatives, look for negatives, expect negatives and spread negatives. They rehearse situations in which they are always being done wrong in some capacity. When opportunity presents itself they discount it immediately. They are suspicious and wary ever waiting for the axe to fall, the apparent good to prove itself untrue, the catch that’s lurking just out of view. They become convinced their scenario is going to turn out badly and when it does (as it necessarily must) they say, “See there? I told you so!” They never consider the important role they play in the outcome but instead attribute it to luck or fate or worse as being somehow a part of God’s will. Thus, and forgive my bluntness, if your life sucks, it’s because you suck, at least as far as your thinking is concerned! You cannot keep planting weeds and wonder when your flowers are going to show up! You cannot continue to dwell in darkness while searching for the light. You cannot think one way then expect to live another way. Your life is lived from the inside out…

Your life, be it wonderful or miserable, follows the patterns you have established. Where you see yourself is where you live. If you don’t expect much, you don’t get much. If you think you must struggle, struggle you will. If you believe that life is something you must endeavor to survive, survival will be the height of your achievements. If you believe you will always be poor, (for whatever reason you have manufactured) you will always be poor. If you fear sickness, dwell on sickness, think incessantly about sickness, you will most assuredly be sick. Conversely, if you expect good things to happen for you, good things will happen for you. If you believe you will prosper, you will prosper. If you are convinced that every obstacle you face can be overcome, you will find a way to overcome no matter how much the circumstances may appear to disagree. Assigning your fate to God or to life or to the world without taking any responsibility for your thinking is not taking responsibility for your own life. We all know instinctively that life works like this but discount it when it comes to what we think. If you are going to catch fish, you have to use the right bait. If you are going to hunt elk, you have to go to where the elk live. If you are going to make a lot of money, you have to go to work. You cannot fish with the wrong bait then get mad at God because you aren’t catching any fish. You cannot hunt for elk where elk do not live then curse the heavens for your bad fortune. You cannot refuse to work or offer your employer your absolute minimum effort, then blame the world for your poverty. Likewise, you cannot possibly expect to have a good life while all the time convincing yourself (through negative considerations) that your life will turn out badly. Your life is lived inside out…

What you think matters. Where you go in your mind in life’s situations matters. The things you feed your mind everyday matter. The outcomes you rehearse for yourself over and over and over matter. What you say about yourself and your life matters. And ultimately, what you believe in the depths of your heart matters. If you want a different outcome, you have to think in a different way. Wherever you are today, your thinking has led you there. Life is not unfair. Circumstances are unfair. Certain challenges you may face are unfair. People can be unfair, but life is not unfair. God has given you a way to overcome whatever you are up against, but it all starts with your thinking. Pay attention to your thinking.  Control your thinking.  Change your thinking. Stop allowing the world to dictate what you think about the most. Stop allowing circumstances to determine what it is you will believe. Put an end to any influence that leads your thinking away from God’s best for your life. Your life is lived from the inside out…

Your life is a direct reflection of your own expectations. Change your expectations. You change them! Quit dwelling on “what is” and dwell on what you want. See yourself successful. Expect things to work out. When you find yourself challenged, (and you surely will) look for the solution. With God there is always a solution. Separate yourself from the thoughtless herd ever plunging headlong into the abyss. Step out of line. Stop going with the flow, the majority, the world! Form your own opinions. The reason you think the way you think is because that is how you have been taught to think. You have been led astray. You’re a victim in a vicious cycle in which you are doing the spinning. Spin the damn thing in the opposite direction! You have already suffered enough hurt, enough disappointment, enough lack to know something isn’t right! It isn’t life, it is you. It isn’t God, it is you. It isn’t just the way life is, it’s the way you think (believe) life is. Sooner or later you have to realize life is lived inside out. MAKE YOUR INSIDE RIGHT!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Getting Out of Your Funk…


If you’ve spent enough time dwelling on terra firma, you know that at certain times in your life you find yourself deeply entrenched in a funk; an americanism for feeling down in the dumps; which is related to a dutch word meaning a mental haze; and in German a word for gloomy or depressed. No matter the language or the usage, all you know is that it sucks. It sucks away your life and enthusiasm for living. It’s no happiness, no inspiration, nothing to look forward to, blah, blah, blah…Blah! But, there is something you can do about it! No matter how far down the rabbit hole you are, there is always a way out…

The place to begin when attempting to understand your feelings is first to examine your thoughts. Thoughts precede feelings. You don’t wake up in a bad mood. Your bad mood follows where your mind has been. Most folks pay very little attention to their thoughts. They sort of let them come and go like the weather. They consider themselves blessed when their mental environment is sunny and cursed when it is gloomy. The weather never stays gloomy and you don’t have to either. However, you do have to take some initiative with your thoughts. Letting your thoughts run makes you a victim to whatever circumstance is being engineered against you. Please read that sentence again! There are forces at work in the world plotting and scheming, persuading and manipulating to lead you and your thoughts to a certain place. You cannot see them, but instead only register their effects. They gain access to you by the thoughts you allow and encourage. They cannot overtake your freedom of will (at first), but they can get you off track; way off track! They begin by getting you to consider some negative aspect of life, then work out circumstances and situations that corroborate your wrong thinking.  And, if you remain stuck there long enough, you find yourself submerged and engulfed in heaviness from which it becomes very difficult to escape.

Life is spiritual in nature. It is not made up solely of the things which do appear. Ignorance concerning this will mire you in futility chasing your own tail, searching yourself and your own feelings for a remedy. Yet, you won’t find your solution in your own thoughts because the problem didn’t originate in your own thoughts. You are not fighting against yourself, though it may feel like it, you are fighting against a negative spiritual opponent working behind the scenes to control you. To defeat this spiritual foe (behind all of the misery of mankind) you have to learn how to compete spiritually. You have to learn how to fight back. And, amazingly, the arena of competition is in your mind. You see, it’s not as simple as deciding to be happy, though that is a good start. It is learning how and what to think and holding on to those thoughts though a monument of resistance be placed in front of you. If you find yourself today steeped in misery or unending gloominess, it is a good indicator that you are not winning the fight. You never want to get comfortable with those negative emotions or embrace them as some incredulously purport. Instead you fight them and you fight them and you fight them with spiritual words that negate and overpower their authority. Refusing to fight back only leads to defeat. Or worse, explaining away those insidious attacks with man’s wisdom will only serve to prolong the fight. You only win a fight by being stronger or tapping into something stronger than whomever or whatever you are fighting against. Evil has power but it is no match for God’s power.

It certainly doesn’t make for light conversation to learn about standing against evil. It probably won’t be found in the self-help section of the bookstore. Public opinion poo poo’s the notion of evil altogether or portrays it as a construct of man. The movie media displays it as frightening and ghastly. But, no matter the babblings of the naysayers, it does exist and it is your problem. God does not want you to be ignorant concerning evil, nor does He want you to be afraid of it. Instead He wants you understand what is actually going on so you can direct your efforts appropriately and with great and lasting impact. People are stuck today ensconced in difficulties because they no longer understand or acknowledge spiritual realties. When Jesus stood against all the forces of hell, he did so simply, though not easily, by quoting and cleaving to what God’s Word said. It is God’s Word quoted on the lips of believing that defeats the powers of darkness. It is the only way.

You can be delivered today, rescued, set free by learning how to tap into God’s power for your life. It doesn’t matter how low you may have sunk or how entrenched you may have become. All you need is a little humility and a willingness to learn about spiritual realities. You can escape any of the chains that have been binding you; break free from any bondage; break out of the bands and fetters that have been controlling your life. You can learn again how to live and enjoy and be blessed. You can return to happiness and joy and peace and love. You can escape from the prisons that have been holding you in. Stop thinking that something is wrong with you or that you are somehow deserving of the misery you have been living. Stop settling for less than the best in your life. You don’t need more medicine or more treatment or more of the expertise of men. You need God and His Word.

Finding yourself in a deep funk; down in the dumps; in a mental haze; gloomy and depressed is a horrible way to experience life and you do not have to live that way. There are answers and solutions for any malady that challenges your life. Won’t you be willing to find your way out of your funk? I sure hope so…

Just some good thoughts…