Life in Your Sixth Decade…


Family 1Having just recently entered my second year in my sixth decade (happy birthday to me), I thought it might be good to reflect on the past year. Something about the sixth decade that causes you to take pause and think about things more than you have ever done in the past. Not thinking you would ever actually be this old, you start to learn some things you probably should have learned years ago. Last year was a year of intense learning and untold insights for me concerning life and living. And, at the risk of bringing you into an idea mosh pit, I’m going to share some of those things with you. 

Maybe the most profound thing I began learning this year was how to escape from mental and spiritual bondage. You don’t really know that you are all tied up when you are all tied up. You sort of need something outside of yourself (thanks God) to shed some light on your darkness and make things that have become invisible, visible again. Suddenly you begin to recognize stuff you do with no love in it. You begin to discern how fear is making all the choices. Your enjoyments become less and less and all that you do comes into question. Freedom exists on the other side of all that. Fear only gains power over you when you give it head space. You have to entertain it, talk with it, mull it over a bit, really try to reason it out, but when you do, fear always wins. Overcoming fear, which equals overcoming bondage, which equals gaining freedom, happens first in your mind and then in your heart. You have to put a complete end to fearful considerations, which equals worrying about future events, which equals being driven to behaviors and performance in order to be okay. Fear is such a slippery creature and can attach itself to things you may not have thought of before, yet there it lurks pulling the strings in your life and leading you away from the things you really want. The good Lord has set us free from all that garbage, if we only knew it. 

I was blessed to have the opportunity to rethink and relearn what it means to believe God. I already knew that to be able to receive something from God, you had to believe that God both could and would do it for you. What it really meant to believe God was the mystery for me. It’s not some type of powerful thinking or willing or demanding etc. It’s not checking to see if you doubt it or maybe aren’t fully persuaded. It’s not a good feeling or a bad feeling. It has little if anything to do with your feelings. It’s not magic or mystique. It’s more of a dogged determination. It is to keep saying what you want, not what you wish would go away, until you get it. As a wonderful man once said, “dwelling on the darkness won’t bring forth the light!” Spending all day confessing all that is wrong, every place you are dissatisfied, what you don’t like, what you wish would stop, what you wish would start, what you really, really need, all point back squarely to the darkness that engendered it to begin with. Do you think the obstacles you encounter in life are simply random? Believing is not saying what you need over and over and over again. Believing is saying what God’s Word says about your situation. If you have a need, God knows what it is already. You simply keep repeating His promise to supply all of your need which aptly applies to your situation. You’re not following a formula until the magic happens. You’re not saying it out loud to people as proof that you believe it when, deep down, you know you don’t. Instead you are saying God’s promise, which equals light, to yourself until the darkness has to flee. You’re not going to beat the devil with your adamancy, I can assure you of that. You just dwell on what you want and continue dwelling on it, until it comes to pass. There’s no time limit. There’s no secret recipe. There’s no mystery or intrigue. You don’t have to perpetually wonder if you are “believing.” Those mental games lead nowhere and produce nothing. You just keep after what you need faithfully backing it with promises from God’s Word. All the rest is simply accepting the fact that it won’t come to pass. All the rest! Believing God has to be simple because truth is always simple and plain. Error is complicated. Fear is complicated. Bondage is complicated. That thing you need so desperately, God already knows you need so desperately. Turn on the light by adding in the light. Keep saying what God says in your mind and what God says will get into your heart. Believing comes from your heart. 

Next, and certainly not in importance, I learned how much I valued and treasured my private time with God in the mornings. For me, as you might expect from a writer, I prefer to write in my journal and share my heart with God. It is my attempt at “Morning Pages” as was so beautifully outlined by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way. Morning Pages are my opportunity to talk things over with my Papa (God). I ask Him questions often and He is faithful always to answer (always). He listens (patiently) to my complaints and whining at times and still, gently, always supplies me with what I need to know or often what is really behind the things that befall me. What I learn on those sweet mornings is not always revolutionary, but often subtle insights and unveilings that meet my needs perfectly. It is so honest, so pure, so refreshing. We all need to talk with our Father at times and we are never the less for doing so. Some mornings I have to miss it and I miss it. Some mornings I’m like the psalmist that begins in despair but ends in victory. What I know for sure is that I need God’s involvement in life and we just happened upon a medium that makes us both happy. (I assume God knows I am a writer!) However you choose to do it or not do it is entirely up to you. But, if you are willing to reach outside of yourself for the answers, you will surely find as I found, God is there. 

Many of my other lessons came in a variety of settings. Each time it was gentle, easy to be intreated, something I could grasp and benefit from and never to condemn me. I learned that all fun has an endpoint and pressing beyond the endpoint doesn’t produce more fun. I understood that moderation has both freedom and limits. I learned that loving God, loving your fellow man and doing as you dang fool please had a lot of depth to it. I learned that God never expected me to be a perfect man, but rather believe in what a perfect man did for me. It finally dawned on me that you cannot add to “it is finished.” I recognized that relationships are two way streets and that sometimes you are the problem. I began to dare to follow God’s advice in no longer judging myself and even learned to extend that to other people. My own shenanigans alone attest to that reality. I learned that it’s not so much what people think about you as it is what you think about yourself. Self doubt is learned and can be unlearned. I saw that God was pretty dang good at taking care of me and my family. I understood that God meets you right where you are and for that I am immeasurably thankful. It became so vivid that God’s will for my life was that I enjoy it as much as I could, whenever I could. How many times he whispered, “enjoy your life.” I learned that my life was my choice and that nothing was supposed to intervene in that. I began a greater appreciation for my family and my friends and endeavored to show love whenever I could. I went on trips, I basked on beaches on both coasts, I traveled, we traveled, hosted parties, made hundreds of Old Fashioneds, spoke kind words to the weary, entertained guests, ate at restaurants, played many rounds of golf (never actually improving, but enjoying it nonetheless!), spent time with the likeminded,  and many more things that would mark a truly blessed life. I had my share of troubles, was pressed at times, afraid, unsure, bewildered, anxious and plain old pissed, but those times never lasted and I was always able to get back to my light, back into the fight. I guess looking back, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Life is good my friends, so good. 

Six decades of living doesn’t produce the best skin, the best hair or the best body, but it does produce a depth of soul you may have never encountered before. It provides you with a time to reflect, to look back, to remember, to embrace and to wish you would have known better. You start to see that every day living is a good day and that life is that much better with God in it. You wish you could say and do all the things your heart always wanted you to do, but at the same time understand that you can do it now. All of us need love and we can only give it when we have it to give. Life is best lived above bondage and fear, but you have to get there when you get there and hopefully it is sooner than later. None of that stuff that has been dragging you down comes from God and if you will let Him, He will change your life forever. I love God and I love you. (M 60’s)

Just some good thoughts…

Judge Not…


download (1)I have noticed, in my brief stint on earth, how people love to judge you and form opinions about the type of person you are. For awhile, as an avid red wine enthusiast, I used to post pictures of myself on Facebook trying different Cabernets, Pino Noirs, Malbecs and Merlots to name a few. My hope was that other red wine drinkers would be inspired by my posts and share some of their favorites as well. It didn’t take long before being a red wine drinker became my entire identity to the point where my wife advised, “You need to stop with all the wine posts because that is all that people think you do!” How sad? How narrow? It seems social media has morphed into a breeding ground for judgment and criticism. Some folks are angry with you for appearing to enjoy your life and, God forbid, posting pictures of yourself having fun. Other folks want to pick a fight with you concerning your views. Don’t even mention politics! Even more strange, certain people feel quite indignant that a fellow human must be exaggerating their good times and should post a more shitty, realistic view about their present situation. Again, how narrow? How sad? What is it about people that has led them to this place of criticism and harsh judgments? Why won’t they choose to judge not? 

I think the only logical explanation for the overflow of judgments is that the world and its systems has worked over the masses to the point where people are judging themselves so negatively that they can’t help but judge everyone else as well. People have been trained to search for the wrong in themselves and following a natural course, see the wrong in others as well. People judge where you work; the type of work you do; where you live or don’t live; the type of car you drive; how you dress and on into infinity. Folks just love to find out your faults, your weaknesses, so that they might feel just a little bit better about themselves. Further, those judgments are fraught with generalizations that fail to take into account the human being behind the actions. And all the time, beneath the judgments is a person that does not feel good about themselves. You wouldn’t be so quick to judge if you didn’t feel so judged yourself. In its basic essence, you tend to give out what you are inside. Judgment of people is a harsh reality festering in the heart of the one doing all the judging. You and I cannot possibly know what is going on inside another person; their motives; their reasons; their why. All we can do at best is look on the surface and form a few opinions. In this, when we judge other people, we are wrong. Judging another person has never led to improvement in a person, but instead only serves to fracture and break up the relationship. Judgment brings out cruelty in people. It offers the ever false promise of maybe feeling better about ourselves. Yet, we will never feel better about ourselves by pushing others down, no matter how justified we may feel. The way you persuade that old heart of yours is by building others up. You feel better about yourself when you hand out a little empathy, a little compassion coming from a place that knows how easy it is to get screwed up in life and how many times you have been there yourself. Sometimes what people need most from you is a pass. A great man once said, “Love sees more but is willing to see less!” A close friend of mine once remarked, “Don’t look at people too closely!” In other words, what people need most is love and a lot of forgiveness, not judgment. 

It may surprise you to know that our great God is not a fan of judgment. The reason for the law of the Old Testament wasn’t to condemn and criticize people, but rather to establish a standard for what sin was in order to send a Redeemer from sin and its claims on mankind. Jesus Christ fulfilled that just standard by living the law perfectly so you and I wouldn’t have to! Remember, Jesus came not to condemn but rather to help; to offer a sin sick and sorrowful world a chance at life. He hung out with the publicans and sinners because those are the ones that needed his help. He didn’t choose to judge people but instead left the judgment with God, whose judgment is always just. And, incredulously, that same God made a way for His precious man to escape the confines of sin and live his life without judgment because of the accomplishments of another man; His son. God’s will is that we do not judge and He gave us a way to cleanse our own hearts to help us not judge other people. Who are we to say that our own mistakes and endless foibles are any less than an another man’s errors? When we finally get a good taste of what God did for us with His son on the cross, we can finally rid ourselves of the cruelty of judgment towards other people. God works in your heart to see and love like He does. The least I can do is offer you forgiveness remembering how many times God has forgiven me.

Obviously there are times when you acknowledge wrongs done to others and you don’t have to pretend to like it. But even then, it’s not our job to judge folks. Judgment hurts people and wounds their tender hearts. Even a child knows the sooner they acknowledge their wrong done and say they are sorry, the sooner they will feel good about themselves again. Similarly, people are going to make mistakes at times; sometimes epic blunders, but when that happens they don’t need your judgment to get better, they need your love. They need your willingness to never bring it up again! And, the world would be a better place because of it. I know how easy it is to get caught up in it at times especially when everyone else seems to be doing it as well. But, it is the wrong space from which to operate. It serves no other purpose than to glorify the insidious one behind it; the one working in the situations to bring about the pain and loss; the enemy of mankind behind every wrong that was ever done. It is much better therefore, to try and live your life without all the judgment, beginning with yourself. Give yourself a break and stop listening to the accuser. You are not the mistakes you have made, you are a person with a heart; a good heart. God looks on your heart! Forgive yourself for being a human and extend that heart to other people. That is what God wants you to do. 

At the end of the day, this life is challenging enough without judging people from here to breakfast. Folks have enough challenges to surmount without the added pressure of negative judgments. Someone might be behaving like a real stinker right now, but haven’t you been that stinker yourself at times? Not being judgmental does not require that you ignore all of the wrongs done in this life, but rather asks for compassion for your fellow man. You don’t know all that is involved, only God knows that. Let God do the judging and know that He desires for all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. Who knows, maybe your acts of compassion and empathy might be all a person needs to finally turn their life around. Love people like your Momma loved you! Judge not! 

Just some good thoughts…

Change Your Mind!


two-split-minds-heads-0618211Nothing changes until you change. The changes you really want and beg for and wish for and complain about and lament concerning, are not going to come about on their own. The circumstances of your life, be they what they are, are ultimately a production of your own mind and heart, played out in infinite variations within your own existence. When you find yourself bogged down and mired in negativity, nothing is going to counter that negativity until you finally decide to change your mind. And, while you wait and endure and long for a positive end, you will be waiting a lifetime unless you get determined to confront the source, your own thinking and subsequently your own expectations. As a great man once remarked, “You cannot travel within and stand still without.” As your thoughts go, you will continue to go. Where your thoughts remain, there you will remain. If you are serious about wanting something to change, you have to become serious about changing your thoughts. Change your mind!

It is common for man to think that his thoughts are simply a reaction to his circumstances. He fancies that he is merely a reactive force in the world. Where the world goes, he must go. Instead of commanding control of his mind, he waits for something outside of him to alter something that exists within him. He waits in vain for his ship to come in; his luck to turn around; some grand, cosmic intervention to occur thereby setting him free from his misery and pain. In not knowing, he fails to cooperate with the reality of things. He foolishly waits for God to do something that he must do and exhausts himself trying to do what God alone can do. In his ignorance, he rebels against his own self. He desperately pleads for circumstances to change, while encouraging those same circumstances with the thoughts he continues to think. He persists and they persist. He cleaves to the wrong and the wrong cleaves to him. He continues to walk in darkness then curses the darkness for plaguing his life. As another great man once remarked, “Dwelling on the darkness won’t bring forth the light.” Complaining, whining, bitching, rehashing, playing the victim, rehearsing wrongs done, replaying the evil, remaining in the darkness can only lead to more and more darkness. Endeavoring to command God’s light into circumstances of darkness while remaining in the darkness and refusing to depart from the darkness, is a fool’s game, which many a suffering soul has lived in and for a long, long time. In order for anything good to come, you have to be willing to change your mind. You have to change your mind!

People bring their troubles to God, as He would have them to do, and then refuse to change their thinking. They stay focused on their problems; talk only about their problems; and live firmly within the confines of their problems. They refuse to let things go. In doing so, they remain in the darkness. God is not found in the darkness, He is found in the light, for He is light and in Him is no darkness at all. To earnestly pray for God’s deliverance from some negative circumstance, while persisting in the negativity and embracing it instead of moving to the light, is a recipe for an unanswered prayer. It’s never that God is unwilling to answer the prayer, but more so that the person praying is unwilling to do their part and change their mind. Changing your mind to some thought that is based on the light of God’s Word is the antidote to darkness. Then, once you find the light, you must be determined to stay there. You will find yourself tempted to return to the darkness, the negativity, the defeat, but in order to prevail you have to stay in the light. It might surprise you to know that the reason your circumstances are negative, if they are, is because you have thought it so and continue to think it so. You have knowingly and unknowingly persisted in your negativity. You stuck with it. You stayed in it. You set up shop within it. You failed to take charge of your own mind and your own thoughts and have received the fruit of your negativity. That is not God’s fault, that is your fault. Do your part. Change your mind.

If you give this stuff more than a cursory glance, it will become apparent that you have a part to play in this equation. You can literally think anything you want to think. You can picture yourself successful, delivered, blessed, just as easily as you can picture yourself defeated. The problem is that you (and I) have been schooled by the world to dwell on the darkness. The slightest circumstance; a sore throat, a cough, a twinge in our back, a sudden lack of energy, a market dip, all send our minds reeling towards some frightful, pending, negative outcome. It feels hard to do because it goes against the grain of thinking we have been taught. We already know that worrying serves no good purpose, nor does it lead to any good outcome, yet we insist on running some dark variable through our minds, hoping that somehow, in some indescribable, mysterious way, we are going to stumble upon some light, some answer of peace, something! But, we won’t find the light there. The light comes when we let the thought go, when we refuse its continuance; when we calm down, get peaceful and remember how much God loves us and cares for us. In that space, our answers appear and in no other space. Agitation, unrest, anxiety are not addresses where God lives. Change your mind and walk in the light. 

The only way to get the change you are seeking is to change your mind. Think thoughts of positivity and light. Stop waiting for circumstances to change and change your mind first. You change it. You grab control of your thoughts and think only of things you want and not on things you don’t want. It is your mind, which is the gateway to the great citadel of your heart, from whence your life proceeds. Be positive and expectant not only when it looks good, but when it looks awful. Even in the midst of hell, God is still here and He will help you (and me). Don’t spend another day a victim of your own wrong thinking. Stop allowing the darkness to hold sway over your life. Get to the light and dwell in the light. Light dispels darkness and it’s never the other way around. Change your mind!

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

Just some good thoughts…

 

Clear Eyes…


images.jpgThere are times in our lives when we see with such unremitting,  unobscured clarity; so grand and beautiful in its detail, so positively helpful and inspiring that we find ourselves awestruck, grateful and wishing for more. The sudden jolt of an unexpected answer to a long-held question or being at last able to slice through the morass of confusion and pinpoint the direction to proceed, has no parallel in our minds or equal. Yet we sojourn most of our lives in lack of it, fainting and eventually surrendering ourselves from its absence. We begin to think not seeing and not knowing is normal, concluding that no-one else can see either. Or, to our own demise we trust ourselves to a false clarity, failing to even consider otherwise. In the end we grope blindly, victims of whatever will. We must find our clear eyes…

The trouble with not seeing is not seeing. When you cannot discern objects at night, you seek a light. When you cannot see things in the light, you need more light. It’s the light that makes the hidden things visible. It is light in your mind that illuminates solutions, that clarifies obstacles, that lifts the scales as it were. Only the light can accomplish this and without the light it cannot be accomplished. Our job when faced with challenges, fears persisting, frustrations and befuddlement, is not to press harder or think better or work smarter, but instead get light, pure light. “Dwelling on the darkness [problems] won’t bring forth the light [true solutions]!” Clear eyes require great humility and the disciplined ability to set aside all of our plans and our solutions and our remedies until we become first clear on our problem. Our human nature, our self-serving ego will send us around the hamster wheel, sometimes for years, scouring the planet’s wisdom for a solution we will never find. Life is spiritual and spirit is light! Every undiagnosed issue, every lost solution, every corruption, every disease, every painful misstep has at its base darkness, spiritual darkness reigning supreme absent spiritual light. We must find the light…

The problem with darkness is the darkness. Darkness promises a thing, but gives you another thing. Every offer presented by darkness carries within it more darkness. As darkness is indulged, in thought preceding deeds, it mystifies and clouds, producing more darkness. Fear of some dreadful event or circumstance, persisted in, invites the darkness in ending always in blindness and the inability to perceive it further. Now numbed by its effects, the victim no longer feels the pain of his wrong choices or the consequences of her unplanned decisions. It’s the ultimate deception! It’s a fools game. It is an inescapable reality absent the light that reveals it. Trapped within it, man flails and flaps, desperately trying to break free only to find more chains with each disparate and uncoordinated action to escape. It never quite dawns on him that the effect is manufactured by a cause he cannot see. He remains buried in a riddle his human mind will never solve. We need to be illuminated!

The issue with man is the man. If he ever dares to step off his high horse, his so-called science and mathematics, his false sense of reality, his insatiable need for physical proof of spirit in a material existence, he would find the clarity he seeks is not where he has been searching. And in the place of foolishly concluding that man’s wisdom is the end of all wisdom, trusting only what he can see, hear, smell, taste or touch, denying the great dwarfing, magnificent, miracle of creation, and instead using his suffering and frustration as a sure guide, he would at last reach upward for the light that reveals and clears up. And in seeking he would find as the door opens when knocked. And instead of finding a little man parading behind a curtain as that Great Wizard of Oz, falsely promising help and safety, he would discover the dust-covered Bible in his bookshelf waiting as it has always waited for the curious seeker to find the delights therein. We need to discover God’s Word!

The light that God gives, is God. Man’s benefactor, His creator had the foresight to write a book. In that book He placed words from Himself, infused with the light to see, as the guide, the solution, the source of His help. As a man considers those words and listens to those words and dwells on those words, he illuminates himself. He shines a spiritual light no darkness can extinguish. He feeds himself pure words with no loopholes nor crevices nor breeches an enemy can exploit.  As he remains in it, he finds himself healed from his maladies, built up strong where he was weak and repaired wherein he had been broken. The brilliant light, the only true light, the spiritual light he encounters reassures his restless soul and offers him peace. And as that light races into every deep recess of his mind, he finds the answers he needs, the solutions he craves, the reasons and all of the real causes. He finds himself delivered! We need the light that saves us!

You may have just stumbled upon that which you have been stumbling upon. How incredulous in a vast world of knowledge and self-help and scholars, counselors, doctors and lawyers, the solutions you sought in many a weary and churning night, with unparalleled effort and commitment and tears, would be found nearby in a book you have heard about from long ago. Learn about that book. Seek help to comprehend that book. Find out what to think according to that book. Understand how to live in line with that book. Experience God’s life and power and infinite razor precision to cut through and discern between truth and error, between a blessed life and a miserable life, between all that is light and all that is indeed darkness. You need to understand that book…

No matter how many years you may have travailed, no matter the distances you may have traveled, no matter how many attempts you may have tried, there is one true way that when found will make your blind eyes finally able to see. And you will then proclaim fondly, “God has never forgotten me…” You need to find your clear eyes!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

Clarity…


hero-obscurity-and-clarity-03152017I’ve often thought, it’s not an effort thing that holds people back from their pursuit of the things that matter most. We all likely procrastinate and push aside future hopes and dreams for the comforts of the moment. But when we finally wake from our comfortable lethargy, we innately know that we have to move if something good is going to happen for us. We suddenly want to go fast and get there quickly, but we can’t really move fast and get their sooner because we do not know the road ahead. Alas, in life you seldom get to know the road ahead, especially when traveling in unchartered territory; the mysterious place you know you need to get to but you’ve never been there before. Thus what you need most isn’t more effort or energy, directions or more speed! What you need, my friends, is clarity, crystal clear, sharp and vivid – clarity…

Those nagging issues that have been plaguing you for years have likely done so from a lack of clarity. It’s not that you aren’t clear that something is bothering you or distressing you in some fashion, but rather you haven’t taken the time to get clear about what is going on. Some things in life come at you with such subtlety you are scarce aware anything even happened. All you know is that suddenly you feel agitated from an apparently unknown source. That source, though far removed, gains access by the thoughts you are entertaining. Perhaps a family member has intimated something is wrong with you, later vaguely confirmed by a co-worker. Instead of maintaining control of your thought life, you begin to consider what they implied and before you know it you are wrestling with an issue not grounded in reality necessarily, but rather someone’s negative judgment on your life. Thus clarity isn’t about proving yourself to those who would judge you, but instead getting clear on what you have been thinking about and whether or not it is profitable to keep thinking along those lines. I think you may be surprised by how many so-called helpful criticisms are actually grounded in evil, albeit carefully hidden from view.

How many times have you found yourself writing out some goal you would “like” to accomplish that is very familiar because you have been writing it for the past ten years?! Instead of signing up for a motivational seminar or reading yet another book on “feel the something yet do it anyway” clarity begs the question, “Is that goal something you really want to do?” Is the thing important to you and do you really want to do it? Or, more clearly, is the goal something you want to do yet maybe doubt you can do? Or, focused better, is your goal something you are capable of doing yet fear might not be something done well or something that may be criticized by others? Clarity tells you it is your life and all of the choices are yours and yours alone! If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it! If you cannot gather up enough excitement to even begin the project, then maybe the project isn’t worth it to you. Wherever you may arrive and whatever conclusion you may draw, just be sure you took the time and made the effort to be very, very clear about the why…

It may interest you to know that truth is always clear and contrary to popular opinion doesn’t hurt! The truth is the starting point for reality. The truth isn’t simply the opposite of a lie, which you can boldly declare when you catch someone in error, i.e. “The truth hurts doesn’t it?” No way! The truth is the absolute reality of a thing; the very essence of what is real. Its polar opposite is error which is always confusing, always muddied, always elusive and hard to pinpoint! When you feel confused or bewildered, error is definitely on the horizon or most likely already a part of the picture. Error strings you along, sometimes for years, chasing after things that aren’t real or do not matter. Error sucks away your time and your life energy! Clarity, on the other hand, cuts through the mud and clarifies the picture. Clarity settles you down and relieves you by revealing the real problems and the true sources of disturbance. Clarity eliminates fear by ridding the mind of the phantoms hiding in the closet.

You may have heard of the truth being referred to as light. Besides coming from a Source that is pure light, truth enlightens and illuminates. The truth sets you free, not by deciding not to lie anymore (how simple-minded is that?), but by revealing error for what it is…error. Once you finally can discern what is going on, you can now free yourself from things that formerly bound you up and defeated you. Clarity comes from the truth and is true. It’s the image at the bottom of the pool not distorted by the water. Clarity is peaceful assurance that comes about when the lights are on and everything is revealed. Walking on a cliff top is only dangerous if it’s dark outside. Otherwise you can see the edge and avoid it!

Your life is worth taking the time to get clear on some things. Your happiness is important enough to decide you are going to track down the cause of the things that perpetually defeat you. There are answers to these dilemmas and just because you don’t know the answer yet doesn’t mean you cannot ever find the solution. Behind every truth in this life is the great Architect of Life and He is more than willing to get you where you need to go if you are serious enough to make the decision!

Choose clarity. Choose life…

Just some good thoughts.

 

Understanding God’s Perfection…


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

Solving Your Problems…in the Light


bc26eadfb2bd120634d391866cf270fbHey you, you got a problem? Yeah man, I got a few problems and I’m not sure how to solve them! Maybe not the response you’d expect when the aforementioned question is usually posed in a moment of bravado. But, if you’re honest, you know you’ve got a few and they are dragging you down! By definition a problem becomes a problem because you don’t know how to solve it. Sure, you’ve given it a lot of thought. Yes, you’ve tried to overcome it but you are just stuck and you know it. So, let me shed some light on how to solve your problems because you need to solve them!

Let me start by saying I’m just like you. Yeah I love God and yes I’m connected to the Source of all goodness. But, like you I get caught up in my own issues. Some I’ve had for years. Some I invent to ruin a day. Some just go beyond my ability to figure them out. Some days I’m living in a peaceful nirvana and other days I’m wandering in the desert. It’s just how life is and to think otherwise is just foolish. We all have our very own personal antagonist whose job it is to drive us “nucking futs!” None of us enjoy it and all of us wish it would just stop. But sadly, it won’t stop until we learn to overcome it! God never promised life would be annoyance free. He promised that we would always have “the answer” we needed to overcome the challenge. Now there’s a day coming when those challenges will be forever gone, but that day aint today!

Our annoyances and problems come in many forms. Some are temporal like my foot hurts and I wanted to run today. Others are more long-standing and are going to require some humility on our part to overcome. Imagine that something is hurting in your body (like my foot). While the pain is going on, you can be assured the pain issue is going to be in the forefront of your thinking. That’s why you have the pain. You are being skillfully alerted to an issue that needs to be remedied. But, what about your more longstanding dramas? The ones that make you ponder, why do I always do…such and such, when I already know I hate it? The famous Apostle Paul said it best. To paraphrase he (actually God) said, “The things I know I should do, I don’t do and the things I hate, those I constantly do!” What a conundrum, huh?

You probably aren’t aware of it but all of us believer types have something called an old man nature. He’s best characterized by one prevailing attitude, namely, “You can’t tell me shit!” LOL forgive me. Said in more polite terms, “I think I already know the answers!” The great difference between the know it all you and the happy-go-lucky 8-year-old (my grandson Braylon) is that he knows he doesn’t already know and wants to learn and you already know and are thus closed off to learning. Everyone’s problem, everywhere, can be summed up in that simple statement. There is a solution to EVERY dilemma you have ever found yourself in, but you have to become humble with the heart of a child to get your answer!  Yes, you need to read that again! I’m not sure how we got so damn smart, but trust me, we aren’t very smart at all.

God, the originator of life, knows the solution to every stupid thing that ever dragged you down. He knows why your foot hurts; why your heart hurts and why you aren’t happy. He sees through all of the malarkey and disguises. He also suffers while His precious children suffer, trudging down the same roads with the same predictable outcomes. But, in order to rescue you from yourself, He needs some cooperation on your part. He needs you to humble yourself. Not humble in the religious sense whereby you whip yourself into supposed submission. Humble in the true sense where you finally admit you do not know! Those little admissions go a long way in getting to you to the mountain tops!

The starting point in overcoming your problems is to get to the light! Not get to the answer, but get to the light. Turn a light on so you can finally see something. What does God say about your situation? What does God’s Word say about how you have been thinking? Life is spiritual and often the source of your problem is something you’ve never even considered. You just don’t see the connection. So, you have to shut the old guy up and think something different. Now don’t you get all puffy and tell me you have to exercise more discipline! Are 8 year old’s disciplined? The solution isn’t more crap you have to do to somehow measure up to God’s solutions. The solution is in opening your weary heart to something bigger and smarter than yourself! Your answer will be found in your humility.

Moses was the most meek guy on the planet and God spoke to him face to face like a man speaks to his friend. Trust me, that is something that you want! God cares about every aspect of your life. From insomnia to foot pain to heartfelt fulfillment, He cares and has your answer. Your job isn’t to find a way to limp along. Your job is to get to the solution so you can be whole in every aspect of your being. In that abiding wholeness you will have found God and there’s nothing better than that!

Do you find yourself overwhelmed lately? Is life starting to get you down? Are you struggling to muster up a smile on your face? Well, something has gone wrong folks and you need to find the answers. Don’t numb yourself with too many drinks or the television or whatever else gives you a reprieve from thinking. Instead humble yourself like the heart of a child. Admit you don’t know and that you are struggling. You may be adept at lying to other people, but don’t lie to yourself (or worse, to God). Complain to the management people because the ultimate Manager knows the solutions!

Hey you, you got a problem? Well, yes actually I do, but God has got my solution?

Just some good thoughts…

 

Is Life Random?


2000px-Two_red_dice_01.svgImagine, if you will, that your life plays out on a field of pure potential. There’s no predetermined destiny or well-developed course. You came from the factory with complete freedom of will to function within a complex, fully loaded network without limitation. You began with a mind and a heart as a means to tap into that potential and were given the ability to develop your own life as you saw fit.  In the infinite field of potential (called life) you were provided with the choice to soar as high as the heavens or fall as low as the deepest valley. This is how your life started and this is how your life functions to this day. There is no element of randomness involved. Randomness is a deception on a breathtakingly, masterful level. Behind every apparent act of randomness is a carefully crafted plan.

In a world designed by God there can be no element of chance. There is nothing without purpose or meaning. Often the meaning or cause remains hidden and in a futile attempt to understand, man is forced to guess. Man is schooled to evaluate by cause and effect. When he fails to see the connection, as he often does, he foolishly assigns erroneous causes and played out to his exasperation, assigns nebulous causes which are not causes at all. The apparent randomness of life is such a nebulous cause. If you could see life as God sees it, you would be well aware of the complicated, unbroken chain of events that led to both your greatest accomplishments and your most tragic catastrophes. You did not land a good break nor did you run across a patch of bad luck. In the same way that a plant does not just appear, but first began as a seed, so your life and the results thereof began as a seed. And through knowledge or by ignorance, you planted and one day received. This offers you no consolation for the horrible things you may have experienced, but it is the truth, somewhat simplified, of course.

My purpose for attempting to explain this is not to condemn you for any negative events you are presently surviving, but rather to give you back something you have possessed all along. The sooner you stop guessing at the game of life and get back to life’s Designer, the sooner you can change the course of your life and start manifesting the results you really want. God is quite adept at teaching you the truth and seeks only a willing heart. If you were paying attention, you would recognize where He was already at work. Whether it came in the form of an apparently random thought, or a close friend, or a teacher or your own attempt at evaluating what happened to you, God was back there igniting a burning bush to see if you might stop and investigate. No-one is exempted from God’s tender love and guidance if that person really wants to know. No-one…

The notion that life is random serves only to take away reason and purpose and meaning. Without those elements, life becomes pointless. Logically there would be no point in what you think or what you do or what you believe, if life is random. It all becomes a giant exercise in futile existence whereby stuff just happens to you from a perpetual state of “look-out!” Now just observing your surroundings, you know that isn’t true. Nature alone denies that theory and it isn’t anyone’s mother.

There are reasons behind even the most insignificant events. Sometimes those reasons are good and sometimes those reasons are bad, but how you vote determines the election (Dr. VPW). No person can control every aspect of life, nor should he want to, but he controls a helluva lot more than he thinks. He is playing in a field of pure potentiality with the potential to do or go or be whatever he wants. His only limitation is his beliefs and ignorance regarding the reality of things. God said, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” It’s ignorance fostered by a world carefully manipulated to present an apparent order that is not order at all. It’s a training program you have participated in without knowing you were participating. It is the systematizing of error that once accepted leads only to misery and hopelessness. Just think about how many things you hold as true that really aren’t true at all. The doctor said your disease was incurable, but God didn’t. The system says you cannot achieve without the right education, yet many achieve despite it. If you do this, you’ll get that and if you don’t do this you will suffer. All erroneous, all systematized, all put forth as truth to a world starved for goodness and love and success, then resulting only in evil and hate and failure.

This is your opportunity to break out of the myth of randomness and regain control of your life. This is your chance (pun intended) to chart a new course whereby you decide how things are going to turn out. This the reality of the life that God gave you complete with a full catalogue of instruction, if you want it.

Breaking free from bondage and limitation and ignorance isn’t any more complicated than deciding in your heart that you need God to help you. You ain’t smart enough to do this on your own as your own experience exemplifies…

So as I wrap up these good thoughts, I peer into the sky where I see the moon mocking the sun by appearing to rise in the east behind the clouds, draped by the splendor of the mountains and I think, “Thank you God that this wonderful sight isn’t random either…

Just some good thoughts

The Beauty of a New Day…


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh my friends, God exists…

Just some good thoughts…

The Elusive Moments of Clarity…


ClarityRecently my sister in-law suffered through the untimely death of her brother. He had an aggressive form of cancer and despite having lived longer than projected, he ultimately died. The whole experience, besides the unfathomable grief, produced in her moments of clarity she hadn’t really expected. It seems in situations when our own mortality is forced into our awareness, the most important things in life rush to the forefront of our minds. So, that got me thinking… Is the clarity we all desire, contingent upon dire circumstances? Do we have to face life threatening situations firsthand in order to finally see what is most important?

Clarity can be defined as those seemingly rare times in life when we finally “get it” or are able to see the things that formerly eluded us. Clarity seems to follow focus and nothing demands more focus than facing the possibility of actually dying or the death of someone you love. And amazingly, in the face of death we contemplate life. Suddenly the important things take on a huge significance. No one speaks of their beautiful home or their possessions, but instead consider the people in their lives and those significant relationships that mean the most. Near death experiences and the perils of war awaken the survivors to a world they previously took for granted.

This life; this precious life is alarmingly short. And despite the brevity of life, we all march on entranced in our routines virtually asleep to what matters most. We stop looking; really looking at our spouses and our children. We desensitize to our surroundings. The good we enjoy we grow accustomed to and even make time for complaint. We dream and yearn for the day when we finally have “such and such” and when we arrive, we pause then quickly begin our ascent to the next plateau.

It shouldn’t take the threat of losing it all to alert our souls to the perfection we have already. We move too fast. We think too fast. We expect results too fast. We want more and more and need less. We look for happiness in transient things while ignoring what endures. People endure. Relationships endure. Love endures. In those rare moments when I imagine my last days, my children gathered around me, I think what I might say to them. And for the life of me, all I want to communicate to them is how much I love them; how proud I am of them and who they have become and that i did my best to be my best for them.

Clarity isn’t elusive. Clarity is all around you. Clarity is found in the eyes of your child, the smile from your mother, the understanding glance from your best friend. Clarity is found in your relationships with other people and most profoundly with our God that made us. Clarity comes when we finally step out of the rat race of endless distraction and focus on the things that matter most. It is not reserved only for times of pending tragedy and the threat of death, but more for times of reflection at a speed that allows for it. The clarity we ardently seek is seeking us.

If we are honest, our perpetual striving for things that matter less, is based on fear; the fear of what we think we are supposed to be. We’ve bought into the story that says we must have the money, the stuff, the acclaim and lost track of the reason we do it all. We forgot that the excitement of the new car is lost if we don’t have someone to share it with. No one enjoys the vacation in the exotic place, alone. It’s people and our connection to them that makes this life worthwhile.

The maximized, glorious life is a life that makes time for what is most important. To say there isn’t enough time is to admit a loss of control. The rush, the busy-ness, the constraint isn’t from the demands of life but rather from the fictitious demand of what is not. It’s a distraction of unparalleled proportions. It’s a bait and switch game that purports activity equals productivity and urges getting things done over taking care of people; our people. It emphasizes appearance over people’s hearts and facades above humanity. It’s not clear it’s fuzzy and the finish line is out of view.

Clarity is there for us every single day. Clarity doesn’t elude us, we elude it. We miss it a lifetime from being swept away on a current; a rushing river of activities that steal our time; our focus, our life. Clarity comes from focus; focus on what is most sweet and enduring. Our life comes into focus in direct proportion to our willingness to adjust the lens. We adjust the lens on a subject we choose and not on a subject chosen for us.

Thank God for those moments when life suddenly comes into focus and the false; the illusory fades away. Thank God for the glimpses of light that clear the path ahead and captivate our attention in order to make the necessary change. Thank God for the privilege to see and at last understand. Thank God!

Just some good thoughts…