Uncomplicate Yourself!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I believe (again). Won’t you?

Just some good thoughts…

Football and the Great Competition of Life…


81e6f2665c8838fd8c572d63c354cbceHaving a son that played Division One football, I can tell you that football is a rough sport.  Once you get to a certain level, everyone is fast; everyone is strong and everyone can hit you hard!  And the closer you get to the action, the more brutal it becomes. You see, football, unlike many other sports, offers serious physical consequences if you make a mistake.  The threat of actual physical danger enhances the competition and don’t get it twisted, it is a serious competition!  When the commentator says, “the quarterback is running for his life” he means it…  So what do football and life have in common? Are there some parallels that we can learn from it?  What is it about football that keeps us glued to the TV set?  And best of all, what lessons are contained in a competitive, physical sport that apply to the great competition of life?

I think most of us are very interested in being happy, pursuing happiness and spending time perplexed about why we aren’t happy.  And in our quest we continually search for principles and keys that we can discover and apply to make life better.  Yet, sadly we lose sight of one great reality that surpasses all of the others, namely that we are a spiritual competition.  Your life, my life, takes place amidst a spiritual competition.  And whether we choose to compete or not, we are in it!  For a football team to be successful, they have to study their opponents and discover their tendencies, their patterns, their methods of attack.  They spend hours analyzing film looking for weaknesses and ways they might exploit those weaknesses.  In short, they understand that they cannot be successful until they have gained a good grasp of what their opponent is trying to do to them and then planning in advance to thwart those efforts.

Life is like that, yet how many of us understand it and make intentional plans to overcome the challenges?  Most people (and I don’t think I’m exaggerating here) have been lulled to sleep with false beliefs that there is no such thing as evil or that evil only exists in our minds or that evil is something men came up with to explain things they don’t understand? Almost everyone is okay with speaking of God or of love or the universe, yet refuse to consider that evil exists in the world.  Remember the movie quote, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” Well, he does exist and what you don’t know (or refuse to know) does hurt you!  Let’s say you get inspired by some book or a speaker and decide to make some positive changes in your life.  Your excited about your possibilities and off you go to make a change.  Then, the adversary (that does exist and has been responsible for the defeat you are experiencing) decides to come with an all out blitz and down you go, back to yesterday’s defeat!  Yet, incredulously, instead of recognizing your opponent, you scratch your head, look to the heavens and ask God why you cannot get ahead! You have failed to plan for your opponent, or worse, refuse to recognize that you have even an opponent!

The spiritual competition of life is simply stated as two spiritual forces at work and allowed access into your life by what you believe.  God is always at work to bring you the good you seek and the adversary is always at work to defeat you and bring you into bondage.  The adversary’s three-fold ministry is to “steal” to “kill” and to “destroy.”  He is at work to steal your happiness; steal your prosperity; steal your health.  He does so by working over your mind, day by day, with wrong beliefs, wrong thinking and negative expectation.  And he is damn good at it!  So good that you won’t even recognize that he is doing it.  You think it’s just life but it’s not life, it’s a lie he got you to believe.  And thus believing you continue on in defeat.  Can you imagine setting up your play on offense and then being surprised that your opponent also has a play designed to beat your play? He pretends to blitz, then drops back into coverage and intercepts your pass.  Why me God?  Ummm because you have an opponent?

We all have certain weaknesses, certain tendencies right? We have areas of our lives that aren’t so good and behind them false beliefs and ideas that aren’t so good.  The sooner we recognize that, the sooner we are going to find that happiness we are after.  And they way we recognize is by taking the time to think about what we have been thinking about.  What thoughts have already gone through your head today?  “I’m so fat!”  “I am undisciplined and lazy!”  “I’m not smart enough!”  “God is mad at me!”  “Why did I drink so much!”  “No-one respects me!”  “I just can’t get ahead!” And on and on and on…  Those thoughts, stealthily encouraged, are your opponent talking you out of the good God has planned for you in life!

So, my friends, whether you like it or not or believe it or not, life is a spiritual competition.  Every moment of every day you are competing and you win or lose by where you let your mind go or better where you decide to take your mind (intentional living)!  You have an opponent, a personal opponent, that is seeking to blast you as a defenseless receiver and he doesn’t care if he gets a penalty flag!  (15 yard penalty, but you aint getting up!)

Now instead of spending another moment asking God – why????? – recognize and acknowledge that you have an enemy and that maybe, just maybe he is behind the defeat you are presently experiencing.  Don’t be afraid, however, just decide to change your thinking!  Change your mind, thought by thought and quit allowing negativity access to your head!  You can do it folks…you have to!

There he goes, to the fifty, the forty, the thirty, the twenty, the ten, the five, touchdown!!!   (Loud cheering!!!!!)

Just some good thoughts and go Cowboys!!!! ( 😉 )

 

Awake to Life…Right Now in the Present!


imagesCAKSTHVP   Since sleeping is not a conscious state of mind, you can’t really know that you were asleep until you wake up, right?  Read that sentence again…  (No really, read that sentence again…)  Similarly, you can’t really know that you are “sleep-walking” through life unless you finally wake up.  Naturally, since you know that you aren’t presently asleep, you assume that you are fully awake.  But are you?  How can you tell?  Sounds insane I know…but hang with me for a little bit and hopefully it will become more clear.  Being asleep in life is eerily comparable to being deceived.  All of us think we are right in our own eyes and are assured we are smart enough to see through things that aren’t true.  Yet, people are deceived for a lifetime and sometimes never become remotely aware of the multitude of stuff they adhered to that simply wasn’t true.  And, before a person can escape deception, at some point they have to be willing to observe their own life and recognize the effects that result from their own causes and change those causes.  Until that happens, they remain in their deceptions, steadfastly assured they haven’t been deceived.  In other words, they have to wake up!

How many times have you heard the story where people have some brush with death or disaster and suddenly wake up to the “real” things that life is all about?  Or maybe life’s struggles seem too persistent or the string of “gone wrong” has gone on for too long and that leads to a willingness to see what you haven’t been able to see before.  In either case and contrary to public opinion, you don’t have to suffer to learn, that is if you are willing to “see” what you haven’t been able to see before.  And, have you ever given any thought as to why it is we cannot seem to see the things that are sitting right in front of us?  We cannot see because we are distracted.  We live within the confines of our own minds and spend our days rehearsing the past and fearing the future.  By adulthood we have a pretty good idea (or so we think) about how life works.  We have drawn our conclusions; analyzed ourselves into oblivion and developed a multitude of conventions that we live by.  We no longer question our reality and play along in a script we don’t enjoy, unaware that it is our very own script.  We play our assigned roles (the victim; the happy go lucky one; the irresponsible one; the successful one; the misunderstood one) as if our parts were doled out to us before we were born; forever destined to star in a movie we wouldn’t pay to see ourselves.  Egads!  We cannot even begin to see how this is all taking place because we have stopped looking and learning and chosen rather to live by some conclusion we drew back in 1985.  We are adults after all and we know stuff!

So again we must “consider our ways” and learn to see what has been sitting all around us for years and years.  And in order to see, we have to get outside of our own thoughts and our pre-made assumptions and simply observe what is.  The only time we have to work with is the time called, “right now!”  Yesterday is long gone and the future never arrives as the future, only as “right now.”  We have to learn (again) how to be fully present in the moment (like how children live).  We have to become an observer of our own lives.  Now lest you think I just went new age mystical on you, let me explain.  As an observer of our own lives we don’t jump from predetermined conclusion to conclusion, but instead we take the time to focus on the moment.  And as an observer we question.  We ask ourselves things like “what is causing me to feel anxious right now?”  We ask, “Am I listening to the things people are telling me?  Am I even listening at all or have I checked out to some future time?”  And even better and more impacting we ask God to show us what we have been missing and to help us see the things we can no longer see!  Then, after we make those requests, we observe and listen.  We make ourselves willing to see new things.  We look for the answers to our questions.  We seek assured we will find and we knock knowing that someone always comes to the door and opens it.

After you start attempting to live this way (because let’s face it old habits are hard to break) something marvelously wonderful takes place.  You wake up!  You begin to recognize that your life is ever the out working of your own thoughts and beliefs.  You begin to understand that you are the one that writes the script for your own life and that you are free to make yourself what you will.  Hey maybe you were typecast as a comedian!  Write a new script.  Maybe you always got assigned the victim side role.  Write a new script.  Maybe you could never quite get to the big things you always saw yourself doing!  Write a new story.  You see, when you are truly awake to life, you can recognize that all those limitations and reasons and excuses were simply stories you told yourself because you didn’t know you were asleep.  The life that God intends for you to live is a life full of excitement, vibrancy, passion, love and fulfillment.  Don’t assume you are already living it because you cannot know that you were asleep until you wake up!  Wake up to life my friends.  Live in the moment.  Observe your life.  Observe your causes and observe your effects.  And do it all right now, in the present, in the only time you have.  That is a life worth living…AWAKE!!!