Make Yourself a Priority…


make-priorityI know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking here comes another admonition to make yourself number one in a culture already deluged in narcissism and love of self above all else. Forget about other people and their needs because it’s all about you! Yeah those people do exist, but I don’t think they are a majority. In fact, I think most of us are the exact opposite. Recently I had the most unusual insight concerning our personal happiness and incredibly it involved making yourself a priority.

I know it sounds selfish and swims uphill against all we’ve been taught about sublimating our needs for others. It definitely challenges our well-worn “Christian” virtues suggesting we always place ourselves last in line. But, I think there’s some honesty to it we may not have considered before, mainly because of what we have been taught. And, while selfishness is naturally frowned upon, making your own needs a priority isn’t really selfish at all.

You my friend are the only you, you have got. You’ve got one you. There’s no two you’s requiring that you share you. When it comes to you there is just you. When you do things that make you unhappy, you are doing it to “you” alone. When you make choices based on what other people think and what other people say that disagree with what you think and what you say, you are lying to “you.” When you endeavor to live up to other’s expectations for you while not honoring your own expectations for you, you are not taking care of you. When you try so hard not to hurt other people’s feelings and to protect other’s feelings, while running roughshod against your own feelings or worse denying your own feelings, you are only hurting you. You are the only you, you have been given and you have a sacred responsibility to so love and care for you, that you will naturally and willingly love and care for others.

When it comes to serving God I think people have gotten it all wrong. God does not require that we give until it hurts or that we burn ourselves out in service for other people. Nor does He expect us to sacrifice ourselves and our own happiness to make sure others are happy. Religion may have told you that, but God never did. Instead the natural order is that God blesses us and in proportion to that blessing, we bless others. The happier and more well taken care of I am, the more likely I am to help you. Oh sure, I can help you when I have needs too, but the real joy and love behind it will be missing. Think about it in terms of giving. The more I have, the more I have to give. Yes, I can give when I have little but when I have been abundantly blessed, I want to give abundantly. The same principle applies to speaking God’s Word. The proportion of how blessed I am will directly correlate to how much I want to tell other people about God. You don’t have to tell super blessed and joyful people to go out and witness for the Lord. Their joy already got them out there. But, unhappy, unblessed folks will need to be prodded and goaded before they will they go. Do you see it? Get yourself blessed first and stop acting like it’s an imposition on God or something and something you dare not believe for in your life. It’s not selfish, you are the only you, you have got!

Making yourself a priority is about slowing down from your busy and frenetic pace and daring to get back in touch with yourself. (See, even that sounded selfish…) Deep down who are you and what do you need to be happy? What things in life paint a smile on your face and add energy to your steps? In your interactions with others are you with people you genuinely love and care about or are you “making it work” with drinks and fake smiles, playing the role until they go away? What goes through your mind on your way to work? What sadness or frustration have you been ignoring for years? What life flashes through your mind on those rare occasions and why can’t you live that life now? What drastic change or revolution might occur in your existence if you stopped being afraid to allow yourself to matter at least as much as you make everyone else matter?

The difference between being selfish and making yourself a priority is that you are not the only vote, but your vote counts as much as everyone else’s does. It’s not giving and loving and kind to get to the place where your vote doesn’t count. With God everyone wins. They matter and you matter. Their happiness is important and you do all you can to ensure it, but your happiness matters just as much. If you can supply their needs, whatever those needs are, you do it. But, you also have needs and they do not rank any less in priority. Every mother knows that although her infant is helpless without her, she will offer no help if she doesn’t get what she needs to thrive as well. You don’t always have to occupy first place in the line, but you don’t need to step out of the line completely.

Maybe it’s time you rethink your worn-out ideas about service usually imposed upon you by people who needed some work done, and recognize that you are the only you, you have got and if you fail to care for you, you won’t be taken care of. God will always supply your needs but only if you are willing to believe for them for yourself! Life is short my friends. Don’t spend your whole life trying to live someone else’s dream. You matter. Your needs matter. Make yourself a priority.

I love you!

Just some good thoughts…

 

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Check Back In…


image001Many people living today aren’t quite living anymore. They’re sort of half in and half out. You can see it in their eyes, the revelation of their souls. Something has happened to damage their heart, not fatally, but enough to dim their glow and diminish their passion for being. They only half participate with life and have long since settled for the mundane over the excitement of fulfillment and satisfaction. Sadly, they have checked out of life and need badly to check back in.

Assuming you aren’t so far gone as to conclude that “life’s a bitch and then you die,” what the hell has happened to people to reduce their fiery flame into a flicker? What catastrophic event or events took place to so harden and numb people’s hearts to the point of accepting mere existence? People are lost and without hope in a world created for their greatest fulfillment and blessing. No-one began their life this way, so something must have become involved along the way that worked to steal life and to reduce life and to suffocate life and worst of all to convince people that it was normal. What happened?

Every living person has a heart beating inside forcing life-giving blood into every part of the body. Likewise, every person living has a figurative heart, deep inside their mind, from which their life proceeds. As such, the heart of your mind, like your physical heart must be cared for properly if you are going to survive. But, unlike the physical heart, the heart of your mind was intended for much, much more than mere survival. Your heart was made to experience love and joy and wonder. Your heart was planned to be the fountain from which your life flowed forth. All that you could ever hope to be and to experience would begin in your heart, eventually manifesting outwardly into your life. Your heart by design is very tender and sensitive to feeling (like it’s Creator) with the capacity to respond to even the slightest sensation and with that react immediately to any attacks or assaults on itself with great displeasure and a determination to get back to its highest, purest most peaceful self. Thus God commanded man to guard his heart above everything that could be guarded in his life. When you find yourself but only half living, half experiencing, filling your days with pointless activities and routines to pass the time, it is safe to say that you have somewhere failed to guard your heart, a practice of which all men are guilty, with the degree of misery corresponding directly, thought for thought with the associated failure to guard your heart.

Living life on earth with an evil despot ruling the kingdoms of the world, not in accordance with God’s will, but rather as a result of guile and treachery, things are going to happen to you that will directly assault your heart. Parents, in their own conundrums, will fail you and speak damage into your being. Friends and experiences and relationships and any or all interactions will take shots at that vital part of you and work to steal away your life force and reduce your life to a glass of wine, a television and a couch! And sadly today more than ever before in history, there’s an electronic world artfully attached to your soul seducing you with a thousand messages assailing who you are by comparison and who you ought to be. Add to that life’s catastrophes that shake your very core or violence or the abject pain of broken hearts (aptly named) and broken dreams. The result of which is an entire mass of people with dimness in their eyes with little to no energy left to fight back and to recover. Then enters the greatest cruelty of all named religion bent on, by guilt, unworthiness and shame, wiping out any remaining hope for the future replacing it with fear of a punishment later on. Indeed it is a sad state of affairs of which only God can repair.

On the way back to your true heart, I think you will find compensations you have added to your life such as numbing elements or busy activities or anything that seeks to take your mind and thoughts away from the moment you are in. Step one is to be in the moment and notice what you are thinking or what pain you are avoiding or maybe just how uncomfortable it is to risk being with your own thoughts undistracted for a time. In order to change what is in your heart, if you don’t like what you are experiencing or how you feel, you have to start changing your thoughts. You have to be present to recognize what you are thinking and then start challenging those thoughts. Just like working to lose the weight that affects your physical heart takes time, ridding yourself of wrong thoughts and wrong beliefs takes time and consistent, persistent effort.

Naturally, if you are going to recover from the “life sucks” syndrome, you are going to have to do some things you haven’t been doing. Some of which might include getting out of your shell and going back out there where the people and your life are and stop incubating in your unhappiness. (Broken hearts incubate inward while healthy hearts extend outward…) Don’t even think you have any hope at deliverance and escape if you aren’t willing to be supremely humble. You got got man! You got taken woman! You and your “I already know” thinking aren’t going to help you here. (This is why you need God’s help to recover!) You have to honestly humble yourself and be just as willing to unlearn as you have been to learn. You have to start questioning the “wheel” of things and dismiss the notion of acceptance for that which is less than the best. It is not just how life is and it’s certainly not God’s will for your life!

Check back in folks! I know why you checked out (been there and done that) but I also know it isn’t the best use of your one go round around the sun. You can get that glimmer back in your eyes. You can put your heart back into life fully rather than half guarded and calloused in anticipation of further pain. You can once again risk by giving love and being kind to people and sharing your tender heart. Waiting for you on the other side of your damaged and broken heart is life in all of its manifestations and variations, exciting, fulfilling and joyful just as God designed it to be…

Check back in, it’s so, so worth it.

Just some good thoughts…

 

Birthday Blog #57


31577004_10216052592129486_1231818185523593216_oAs I reflect back on another trip around the sun, I cannot help but be filled with great thankfulness and joy for the sweetness that surrounds me in this life. As a youngster in college, a generous and loving man reached out to me and introduced me to God. I should say more formally introduced me, as God and I had many conversations in the past, but back then I only hoped He was all that I thought He should be. Since that immortal day, my life has never been the same.

Back then I, like you, was full fear and trepidation about life. And although I had all the vim and vigor that surrounds youth, I was still pretty shaky about how it would all turn out. I mean let’s face it, life can be pretty scary with loads of potential pitfalls. In college, I had some run-ins with a couple of religious groups and I knew I didn’t want that! I didn’t want anything that seemed designed solely to make me feel bad about myself! Shoot, I didn’t even know I was looking for something, but apparently I was.

Then I took this class called PFAL (Power for Abundant Living) and learned the Bible for myself. Holy shit, I found the holy grail. I found a congruous whole that didn’t cause me to sneeze, cough or sputter! I found out that God was not only all I had hoped He would be, but He was even better than that. I learned that He is only good and never changes in His views towards me. My life took off like gangbusters as I began to shed fears like old skin. I was living on the high road and the sky literally was the limit. (Cliche junction)

Some years later as my children got older and my purpose became less clear, I, like you, sort of lost my way a little bit. I forgot about how good God was to me and began to see Him in a different light. Oh, He didn’t change, I did! I learned from certain folks that the Way I knew and loved so much, wasn’t really as easy and free as I thought. I was taught rules and regulations and requirements that accompany maturity – so-called. And, apparently all those days I was living the high life were really just a figment of my youth and real life, life with God was damn arduous and fraught with the danger of “blowing it” or worse. Welcome to the life suck club.

I found out the hard way, that once you get captured by religion, the way back is difficult. That stuff attaches to your brain like oil and you can’t just wash it out overnight. In fact, it likely will claim years of your life. However obnoxious it begins, it seems less impactful as I imagine you get used to its claims. All you know is that you now have fear where you used to have love. In your desperation, you try to do good works hoping the Lord will start to like you again like He did before. The harder you work, the less He seems to care and you start morphing into those people you hate; the ones filled with self-righteousness, but miserable as f*ck! You’re struggling, but God is still bigger than your malarky!

Then, not suddenly but surely, something or someone gets you back to God’s Word; the Word that saved you and changed you and blessed you. And in your private quest, you, like me, begin to discover who God is again. You read what it says and you study what it says and you begin to relish what it says and just like that it dawns on you! The light at first flickers then glows into full flame. All this bullshit you have been thinking and regretting and worrying about God is not true and it was never true. You were taught incorrectly. You were led off course. You got sucked down a rabbit hole and lived there for way too long!

As you shake off the last vestiges of error, your heart wakes up. Your sleepy, numbed, slightly wilted heart wakes back up. You understand the profound significance of keeping your head in God’s Word and putting nothing ahead of the truth of God’s Word! You see, glory heallelujah, that it’s not famous charasmatic men that saved you, but God in the sublime accomplishments of His son, carefully outlined in His Word. You catch glimpses of not only who you are, but who you have the potential to be! You feel like you got some power going on inside and you need to let it out to help set others free; the free you cherish so dearly!

You may now be thinking this a sad story or a warning for how you live your life.  It’s not. What this is – is an ever-growing thankfulness and joy and blessed love between a son and his Heavenly Father. It is a deep, heartfelt, inexpressible gratefulness for having a God that never gives up on you even when you sort of give up on Him. It’s indescribable joy that comes from the pure truth minus the religious admixture. It is 57 glorious years of life on earth with God as my backbone, my rock and my fortress. It is, “Life – you don’t frikkin scare me anymore!” It’s just the greatest ride ever and I wouldn’t change one piece of it!

You, like me, should learn about God and not allow the promoters of religious sacrifice to rob you of one of the greatest experiences you could ever have, not just now, but throughout all eternity! God is not too good to be true, He is so good He is true! He is your first love that makes all your other loves that much sweeter… Choose God! Choose love!

I am one blessed individual…

Just some good thoughts.

 

Love is the Only “Why…”


“I’m in all of it. … I was there in her laugh but I’m also here in your pain. I’m the reason for everything. I am the why. Don’t try to live without me, Howard. Please don’t.” ~ Aimee Moore, Collateral Beauty. Last night I watched a beautiful movie about a man (Will Smith) searching for answers following the death of his child. In his quest, he sought answers from death, time and love. Love’s apt response for life was, “I am the reason for everything. I am the why…” Love will always be the only “why.”

Behind every heartbeat in life is love. It is the life-giving solution to a world lost in emptiness and pain. It is the light that shines in the darkness. It is in the warmth of a sunny day. It refutes fear and is the only motive that is always right. It is sought for by all and obscured for so many. It is ever-present and waiting behind very corner. It can make all it touches beautiful and can soften even the hardest heart. It will always be your only “why.”

For all of the negative events that can happen in your life; for all the things that can go astray; for all of your sorrow and losses and pain, nothing takes away the joy of living more than the absence of love. You began your life full of love, both in receiving and giving. As your mother poured her love into you, you poured your love back into her. As your father’s love flowed through his hand into your hand, your love flowed back from your hand to his hand as well. Living life with love was for you as natural as breathing. If you didn’t receive the love you needed, you found others that would give it to you and you back to them. Love was your only “why.”

Sadly, as you aged, you found that love wasn’t as plentiful in the world. The people you interacted with had hearts that were hardened through difficulty and rejection. And, as they built up walls around their hearts in an attempt at self-preservation, you built up walls around your own heart as well. Like a callous on your hand, your heart became desensitized to love. Many find themselves groping through life looking for the love that already lives inside them, behind self-made barriers. In their numbness, they seek love in alcohol, in recognition, in admiration, in romance after romance. They aspire for wealth, extreme fitness, plastic surgery and anything that promises them the love they’ve been searching for all along, unable to see because of the hardness of their hearts. They forgot love was their only “why.”

Your hardness of heart wasn’t something you intended, but rather a response to your own experience of life. As the world gnawed away at you, you couldn’t perceive what was happening. You internalized its messages of guilt and shame. You accepted responsibility for every weakness and shortcoming and falsely concluded that there was something wrong with you. You became afraid to express who you really are and opted instead to portray yourself as someone else; someone you felt people would love. You carried around your failings like sandbags, refusing to set your own self free. You just couldn’t imagine that you deserved any better. You never understood that your feelings are universal feelings and in even in moments of rejection, the people rejecting you needed the love as much as you did. For all people, love is the only “why…”

Finding the love that you feel has been eluding you, isn’t in doing better, being better or working harder. It’s not a function of discipline or reading books or in finding your soul mate. Love is manifested in giving. True love gives of itself freely and unreservedly, not by pretense, but in truth. You give out your love to other people and to yourself. You give love to yourself by giving yourself a break. You love yourself by deciding to no longer think disparaging thoughts about yourself and accept yourself for who you are. You cease giving love conditions to maintain and love yourself unconditionally. You love yourself by changing your focus from yourself, your stuff, your hangups, your frustrations, to other people’s stuff and hangups and frustrations. You offer them love and unending forgiveness. You speak kindness and tenderness and sweetness and you refuse to speak otherwise. You remind them that love is their only “why!”

As the gentle, spring sunshine and moisture encourages all living things to grow, while melting away the harshness of the long winter, you melt away the hardness of your heart by returning to love. You don’t need a wall to protect your heart, you need a heart that’s full of love. Love is the life-giving source of the universe. God is love. Love climbs the highest mountains and swims the greatest depths. Love chooses the object of its adoration by decision, not a feeling, and thus gives and gives and gives. As you give, you receive back a thousandfold, for love is a generous giver. Love is the only “why.”

Love is all around you, my friends, seeking life-giving expression through you. Don’t refuse love its entrée to your heart, nor stifle its flow from your heart to others. In love you will see again the wonder that is all around you. It is in your grandson’s eyes, your wife’s laughter and your mother’s touch. It’s on the pages of a good book, in the walls of your home and under your feet in your own backyard. It’s in the wag of your old dog’s tail and the embrace of a good friend. Love is forever the only “why” so be sure to notice her collateral beauty…

Love is the reason for everything…

Don’t try to live without it.

Just some good thoughts.

Love the One You Is…


Some time ago I read a fantastic book called, “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. It’s one of those books that just gets you and you’re just not sure why. But, alas, she is the inspiration for this blog. Actually she is the inspiration for anyone suffering from an incessant need for outward approval, though the reasons be myriad. This is really a story about you and how you feel about yourself when no-one is watching.

Something tragic has happened to you. You don’t know it’s a tragedy because you’re stuck in the middle of it. You cannot see it or you would stop it immediately. You’re pretty sure you feel good about yourself and there’s nothing specific you can point at to know that something is wrong, but wrong it is. You, like the rest of us, live in a world that very narrowly defines who we should be; how we should look and what we should have achieved, by now. The messages come so often and with such frequency that we can’t even keep track of what’s happening. All we know for sure is that we are too fat, we don’t have enough money, we aren’t successful enough(?), in short that our real self comes up short (pun intended). The unsolvable problem is that we are foolishly measuring our self-worth by a standard set by the world, for the world, falsely promising us fulfillment in that same world.

Your self value has absolutely nothing to do with anything outside of yourself. It is your self value for God’s sake. The one determining your value was always you, is always you and will always be you! It’s not based on a standard set by someone else, how could it be? You are unique in the highest sense of the word. There is no-one the same as you, despite the similarities. What you have to offer and what you bring to the world cannot be offered or brought by anyone but you. But, instead of bringing you and betting on the cards you are holding, you fold before the game gets going. The world, huffing and puffing, looking confident and smiling smugly, quickly talks you out of playing your own hand.  The moment you begin to feel yourself and start making some choices regarding your own direction, you entertain the naysayers and revert to being someone you are not.

As a long-standing member of the “approval seeking” club, I know what you are going through. You’ve learned, like I learned,  that instead of being your real self, it is far easier to be who the people want you to be. You become a master of playing the role and you become loathe to disappoint. But, let me ask you a question. Aren’t you wrongly concluding that the person you are isn’t desirable and opting instead for a safe, approved version. Who can define success for you, but you? Are you happy? Are you content? Do you have value in your own estimation? Your opinion of yourself is the one that matters the most in this world.

What kind of cosmic hoodwinking could convince us to be at odds with our own self, our only self? What kind of trickery and treachery gets a person to think poorly of themselves and to measure themselves by any other factor than themselves? Can you even see the insanity of thinking that way? If you, my friend, are not actually for you, who the hell ever will be? If you aren’t voting for you in the contest, how can you win? How can you achieve or succeed or find happiness or become fulfilled if you aren’t even choosing yourself? I mean, man oh man, you can’t even choose yourself? What happened to you that you could be so opposed to your own self?

The root of this self-destructive behavior can always be tracked back to guilt, shame, condemnation and generally feeling not so good about yourself. But again, the behavior is self-destructive meaning you, yourself are cooperating with the destruction. You bought in. You agreed. Somewhere along the line something or someone convinced you that your mistakes, your humanity; your susceptibility to error wasn’t based on something outside of you, but rather pointed to something wrong with you internally. In accepting that fallacy, you started to become your own worst enemy. Instead of leaving error and evil and bad influence with its originator, you bought into the lie that you originated the troubles, yourself. And for that, you are being wickedly deceived. None of us would knowingly choose pain or difficulty or trouble. Instead we get pulled or pushed off track. We’re human for goodness sakes and we all make mistakes. Once you have veered off course and made the mistake, it’s in the books. You cannot change it or alter it or influence it. It’s done and it’s over with. It only lives on in your mind and even that requires your cooperation. In a sense, you cooperated with wrong by doing whatever you did and you continue to cooperate with wrong by harboring your mistakes in your mind. Any professional athlete knows that in order to remain a professional, you must move immediately to the next moment. Athletic catastrophe follows any memory of errors made.

You may not be a professional athlete, but you are a professional of your own life. Well, you should be! Somewhere along the line, you have to choose you. You have to cast your all important vote for yourself if your ever going to approach the life you want to live. How much time do you have on this earth? How many chances do you get? You owe it to yourself to get on your own side. Stop playing a role and just be. Vote for yourself. Have confidence in yourself. Be 100% for yourself. If you can get there or even close to there, you will, for the first time in your life, find out something incredible and amazing. You’ll find out that you do have something to offer and that you are indispensable. You’ll discover that the thing you bring, no-one else can bring and bring it you will. As you bring it, you’ll reinforce who you are and feel fulfillment in epic proportions. This is authentic living. This the truth!

Love yourself, trust yourself, believe in yourself.

Love the one you is…

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

 

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


Chapter Eight

The Fruit of the Spirit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[1] Romans 6:22

[2] 1st Corinthians 14:17

[3] John 3:16

[4] Hebrews 12:2

[5] 1st John 1:4-7

[6] John 10:10

[7] Colossians 3:15

[8] Philippians 4:6

Sure I Speak in Tongues, Doesn’t Everybody?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sure I speak in tongues, doesn’t everybody?

Just some good thoughts…