Google Search…

google 2There are few things more helpful today than the ability to do a Google search. You can search for almost anything and 99% of the time you will find the answers that you need. Whether it be, “How to remove superglue from your counters?” to “Why isn’t the air conditioner working?” Google has the answers that you need. Google seems to encompass just about every question that you ask. The only place where Google seems to break down is when you find yourself in need of spiritual answers. Spiritual information either isn’t accurate according to God’s Word or else it’s mixed in with opinions, religious beliefs and a whole menagerie of guesswork which doesn’t really do the trick. For those times in your life when you really need an answer, you can do better than a Google search. You can go directly to your Creator. He is always available, knows the answer and is right 100% of the time.

One of my favorite times of the day occurs when I get up in the morning, brew up some coffee and sit down to write my, “Morning Pages” with my Heavenly Papa. Morning Pages, Julia Cameron’s brainchild, is taking time in the morning to record your thoughts and impressions about whatever is on your mind. It doesn’t have to be super meaningful or insightful, but rather an opportunity for you to clear things up in your head or at minimum identify your problems and seek solutions for them. For me, in my adapted version of the same, it is an opportunity to talk things over with my Father. It is a time for me to get clear about what is going on in my life. Often it presents me with a chance to unpack things things that have been stacking up and causing me to feel confused. Sometimes when I write there can be some complaining. Other times, I ask heartfelt questions and seek solutions and desperately needed answers. Similar to the psalmists, no matter where I start or how I start, before long the answers to my questions become more clear; I receive illumination and insights into which I formerly had no insight whatsoever. God sort of clues me in, in His quiet, perfect, very personal way. He often reminds me of something His Word says which always applies perfectly to my situation. Even my complaining and bitching is generally met with some further understanding about myself and when the problem is “indeed me oh Lord” coupled with a need for me to change my mind. Morning Pages with God is the ultimate Google search for spiritual answers to my spiritual problems.

Recently I found myself in a very challenging situation which I neither had coming nor deserved. Unlike times when I was the culprit of my own poor choices, this time it wasn’t the case at all. As I pondered my dilemma, talking it over on the pages of my journal complete with a good amount of anger and feeling like a victim, I suddenly recalled a section of scripture from Ecclesiastes which briefly states, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, not the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. Immediately it dawned on me that at times in life we don’t get the result we should have gotten because there is an adversary who is ever at work behind the scenes trying to obstruct God’s blessings and favor in our lives. Otherwise people would always receive exactly what they deserved. As I pondered this further, I was reminded that I am in a spiritual competition and at times a target because of my love for God. And though I still didn’t appreciate what happened, I was comforted in knowing that God always turns those things intended for my harm to something much better for me. In that I found rest.

On another occasion, as I wrote feeling particularly frustrated about the effort I was putting in to get something with apparently very little result, God reminded me “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” In other words, you have to persevere at times to get the things you want and just because you cannot see it right now, doesn’t mean it is not going to happen. It is part of the great contest also with forces working to keep you from your dreams, if you give up in your mind and let them win. Another morning, I wrote about how things were gathering steam and seemingly coming at me from every angle. My knee hurt, my back hurt, there was pulsing inside my head, things weren’t making sense and I felt overwhelmed like my needs weren’t going to be met at all. And as I thought about where maybe I was offtrack or in the wrong space mentally, suddenly I recalled a section from the book of James where God said to count it all joy when you find yourself in many temptations because the testing of your faith (from the enemy) produces perseverance which in turn leads to maturity, being complete and ultimately not being in want for anything. Again, because God is faithful, I saw that at times you are going to be under the gun, but instead of looking inward to find your faults and failings, it is better to remind yourself of the struggle of which you are a part and hang tight looking for God’s deliverance. In fact, James goes on to say that if any of you lacks wisdom (knowing what to do) let Him ask God who gives generously to all without finding any fault. The moral of the story? Ask God the questions and allow Him to give you the answers. Sometimes your answers come quietly from within and at other times you will get them in other ways. God is not limited in His means for providing you with what you need. In fact, often when He answers you and you know it, He will remind you that you asked Him just so it is extra clear. (smile)

If you have lived life long enough, you already know that you have questions from which you have not yet gotten an answer. Google hasn’t helped you with these questions or maybe served to confuse you further. There are things deep inside you that no-one else knows about except you and God. God knows your every need from the smallest to the greatest. God has the answer to every question and He will not withhold it from you. Your job is simply to ask the question and then listen intently for the answer. When something breaks Google is your best friend, but the broken things in your heart and life are going to need something better. God is the something better. Far, far better. Just ask!

Just some good thoughts…

Chase the Appeal…

Have you ever considered why some memories remain in your mind out of all proportion to other memories? (I’m not talking about the things that scared you or that time you got in big trouble.) Certain smells, a song from the past, a phrase or expression, carry with them some wonder; a warmth you find difficult to describe. Similarly, particular aspects of life like an abundant flower garden or a freshly mowed lawn seem to speak to something inside of you. Or maybe it’s the feel of a hardbound book cover or the thin rim of your favorite coffee mug. Whatever it is in this world of infinite possibilities, those things are what they are and where they are for a reason. They make their appeal to an important aspect of who you are and your responsibility is to pursue it. Catch the message. Chase the appeal.

Often, it seems, we fail to recognize our individuality and instead opt for conformity. It’s like we cannot fathom our uniqueness and do our best to like what everyone else seems to like. We so desperately want to fit in to our own detriment; to the sacrificing of everything we and only we can bring to the world. We don’t trust ourselves. We don’t believe in ourselves. When our bodies try to tell us something, we don’t listen. We do not follow our own hearts, but instead chase after whims and passing fancies. Ultimately, we should have the courage to choose our own paths. We should not be so afraid to upset the herd. In every situation of life there is one right way to go and we can always find it if we pay attention. Yet, the circumstances of life are so loaded with distractions and alternate courses that we miss it almost every time. And afterwards we often find painfully that we already knew. In order to be consistently happy, you are going to have to learn how to be you; how to do you; to become the best version of you. There is only one you and no-one else can bring what you alone can bring. What is appealing to you?

Emerson said, “The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray.” As such, there is a distinct uniqueness to the things you experience, though they be quite similar to someone else. The words of a certain poem, the feeling you experienced seeing the woman laughing on the beach, the high view of the lush valley below, all contain within them something specific for you. Follow after them. They are God’s little clues for your greater experience; for your own abundant life. Don’t lump them all together and chalk it up as oddity. Don’t be so hurried and distracted that you miss them. The more you are willing to see, the more you will see. God is a God of specificity. Haven’t you noticed? The One that made your eye with all of its complexity, made your mind as well with all its complexity and as such knows in great detail how to appeal to you. Follow the appeals.

“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages.”  (RWE) There are things in your experience that brighten your mind and fill and fulfill your heart. Similarly, there are things that serve to darken your mind and numb you to life’s greater realties. Get yourself to the light. Notice the things speaking to your heart and investigate them further. They are not random and not happenstance. They lead you directly to the things that are for you. The appeal carries with it some deeper reality, some hidden truth for you, that you need. Darkness also carries with it an appeal, but that appeal will always promise to satisfy some desire and damage you in the process. It’s interesting to consider that God is not limited to church meetings or conventional settings, while absent from the grand majority of life. As the Author of life, He is in every aspect of life without limitation. Yet, many seem to think He is separate from the other aspects and as such miss the messages. Perhaps God wrote that line in the poem you can’t seem to stop reading. Why does that song make you feel warm inside? What is that vivid flower communicating to you? All around you everyday is intricate and unlimited beauty trying to tell you something, if only you remained willing to hear. Track down the appeal.

Life today is so hurried and frenzied that we miss it. There is so much at which to look. Things are confusing and distracting, overloading us with information and more things to do. But, one thing is needful. Return to the one thing. Live the day and the day only. Don’t rush through the days trying to get to another day. Live the day. Experience the moments you are in. Be fully present. In so doing, you will begin to understand (again) that you aren’t supposed to just get through life or reach some acceptable age before you die, but actually live life. There’s happiness and fulfillment out there waiting for you to come upon it. Life is to be a period of discovery, ultimately discovering the One who made it all. Hold on to the good things. Savor those memories that stand out for you and make you that much better. Pay very close attention to those aspects of life that speak to you directly, even if you cannot fully understand them yet. There is something glorious behind it looking to care for and love you. Slow down a little bit. Trim back all those activities. Turn off all the noise makers. Look around you and listen intently, for the best parts of life are right there seeking you. Chase the appeal!

Just some good thoughts…