The Wilderness Walk…


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I believe that all people embarking on their spiritual journey through life can relate to the wilderness walk at times going from bondage and suffering to freedom and happiness. The wilderness walk refers to those periods in our lives where we wander about lost and confused, lacking clear direction on the way in which we should go. And, although the promised land may be much closer than we imagine, we can spend inordinate amounts of time, even lifetimes, walking in circles, continuing with our own attempts at finding happiness and generally trying to figure life out on our own. The wilderness walk is extremely difficult and painful and leaves us worse off rather than better, robbing us of years of valuable time to live and enjoy our lives. Are you on a wilderness walk in your life? Are you tired of expending tremendous effort with very little results to show for it?  Have you finally arrived at the place where you recognize that what you have been doing isn’t working and need to do something different? Maybe it’s time to find the promised land.

I realize fully what can happen to a man or a woman on their journey through life as I have experienced it for myself. I know how hard it can be to go from happiness and freedom to bondage and suffering. And, as I look back on those arduous days, those trying times of frustration and defeat, it becomes readily apparent that the reason it happens is because somewhere, somehow, we have been deceived into practicing error. Error is a particularly tricky animal in that once we are engaged it we often do not recognize it for what it is. If our trajectory is altered ever so slightly, we find ourselves miles from our desired destination. And usually it happens because we have developed error in our logic and are thinking and doing things that we think will help us, but instead lead us further down the rabbit hole. The harder we try, the more we fail, not because God doesn’t love us anymore or has abandoned us, but because we are no longer thinking properly and subsequently no longer believing rightly. Right believing leads to right results. Wrong believing, no matter how sincere or draped in error, leads to wrong results.

The reason anyone gets into bondage is because something or someone has made them a slave. When you are a slave, you are no longer free to do as you please, but instead have become subjected to requirements you must fulfill in order to be okay. Religion is like this. Religion tells you things you must do in order to be approved by God. Because you want to please God, you willingly go along with it not realizing or being clear on what God actually asks for you to do. Many times, the things people say God expects from you are wholly different than anything recorded in the Word of God. Yet, religion maintains they are truth. Bondage enters in when you have, unbeknownst to you, become a slave needing to fulfill certain requirements for God to love you or protect you. The first clue to the error behind the scheme is whenever you feel compelled to do things or feel required to do things for God. I can assure you, God does not want you to do anything you do not want to do, much like you do not want your children to obey you out of necessity. Once you get on this track you have officially entered the wilderness and things won’t get better until you break free from the taskmaster behind it, masquerading as God. God does not want your empty behaviors or your false subjection, He wants your heart. He is not the one judging you, condemning you or accusing you, though many report otherwise. Once you accept the sacrifice of God’s only begotten son for you, you will never enter into judgment from God, both now and in the future. Knowing this sets you free and allows you to enter the promised land.

You and I, by our good works and discipline, can never make ourselves good enough to deserve God’s goodness in our lives. No one can. God’s goodness in our lives comes as a result of His grace, His unearned, unmerited divine favor towards us. The righteousness of God is something God gave to us as a free gift. We didn’t earn it, we believed unto it. We believe that God gave His son for us, the perfect for the imperfect. God did for us what we could never do for ourselves. In the life of His son, God covered and paid for every stupid thing we ever did in our lives. And in that sacrifice, we are free. Whenever and wherever we attempt to add to that by good works or rules and regulations, we fall from grace, leave the promised land and go right back into bondage. We subject ourselves again to the wicked taskmaster, hell bent on ruining our lives. And, because our attempts are based in error, we cannot attain that for which we seek, though we kill ourselves in the trying. Bondage is slavery and God has set us free.

No matter where you are in the journey of life, suffering and misery exist for one sole purpose, to inform you that something is wrong. Like a pain in your body alerts you to a problem, pain in your soul; a lack of enthusiasm and energy; depression and heartache are alerting you that something has gone wrong for you, something is amiss, you are believing and accepting things that are not true. And like those believers wandering in the wilderness for many years, you need for God to lead you in the way that you should go. God desires for you to get to the promised land and He knows the way. Religion is not the way. Anything you do out of fear and obligation is not the way. Once you begin to believe properly and adjust your thinking accordingly, you will find the things that have long held you down will melt away leaving you free to experience, free to live and free to serve. God has already set you free, if you only knew it.

The promised land is the land of milk and honey and it is here for you today. You have wandered and suffered long enough, haven’t you? You have already proven to yourself that what you have been doing and believing is not working for you. You know there is something better for you and you are not wrong in thinking that. Oh how good it feels when you finally escape from bondage and return to that place of absolute freedom where God is… Absent your good works and human efforts. The wilderness walk has no more place in your life because you have been made free. Simply learn to accept what God has done for you.

Just some good thoughts…

Do No Harm…


firstdonoharmI was talking with a doctor friend of mine the other day and she reminded me of the sincere oath that all doctor’s take, namely, “First, do no harm.” Contained in that little phrase applied to all would be doctors, is the key to living a successful Christian life. It is interesting to think that of all the shenanigans people may have attributed to God in terms of rituals and required behaviors and the giving up of something, the thing God values the most is how you and I treat other people. Love other people as you love yourself. On that principle hangs all the law and the prophets. Brothers and sisters, it behooves us to do no harm.

Many years ago, while sitting in a one-time revolutionary class about the Bible called, “Power for Abundant Living,” the teacher of the class made a statement I will never forget. In summarizing the beauty of the Grace Administration and demonstrating the freedom we all have in Christ, he remarked our whole duty simply by stating, “Love God, love your fellow man and do as you dang fool please!” That small declaration literally changed my life. I learned that life with God wasn’t about man-made rules and regulations, but rather a relationship with God based not on fear, but on love and with it an additional request that we love other people. To love God and to love my fellow man was something I could handle. This idea that being a Christian means everything is somehow wrong and everything is evil in some way, was something I could never reconcile in my mind and heart. The people I saw endeavoring to live this way were not happy people at all, skulking around all whipped, wounded and guilty. If life with God is harder than life without God, why would someone choose it? Why would anyone want to subject themselves to living life in this way? Further, how could we possibly love our fellow man by making his life harder than it was before he began to know God? In doing no harm to our brothers and sisters, we have a duty to offer them all the freedom and love that God has offered us. God loves us into doing good things and we do so in response to the love He has given us. In this, we do no harm.

Perhaps the best way to live your life is with the freedom to do as you dang fool please. Everything you and I do with compulsion, of necessity, because something bad will happen if we don’t do it, is not freedom, but rather religious bondage. Bondage demands of us certain behaviors that will please God; behaviors we must do in order to be okay; in order to be safe, to be protected. Yet, the harder we try to please God by our good works, the more we fall short, the less pleasing we become. In this we don’t live, but only half live. We become consumed with our shortcomings, our weaknesses, where and how we fall woefully short. We comb through our days and nights evaluating where we went right and where we went wrong, always ending predominantly in where we went wrong. Instead of enjoying the freedom God purchased for us in the life of His son, we reduce ourselves to less than God’s best and work out all kinds of schemes and plans to prove our value and our worth. In this we go astray and subject ourselves to misery, all somehow in the name of God. Yet, this is not what God asks of us. God said all of the commandments in the Old Testament could be summed up in one simple phrase, generally, love God and love your fellow man. Love, not rituals is what God is after. Kindness and a willingness to help others is what blesses God’s heart, not behaviors done out of fear. To do no harm we must have love in it.

This may surprise you, even shock you perhaps, but God has released those of us who believe from the curse of the law. The purpose of the law wasn’t to make people right, but instead to clearly identify what sin was in order that there would be a standard God could use to redeem His precious man. If there was no law, you would be free to do as you dang fool pleased without fear of consequences and trouble. You would actually be free to make decisions, not based on fear, but instead based on love with no compulsion in it. Just as any parent seeks freewill love from their children, God seeks free will love from us. Can you even imagine your children doing things in order to gain your love when they already had it from the onset? Would it bless you to observe consistent, good behavior from your children because they feared what you might do to them if they didn’t do it? If it is so obvious in the natural realm it must be equally as obvious in the spiritual realm. We do no harm to our brothers and sisters when we do things free of any compulsion or requirement.

Doing no harm to other people means that we love them like God loves them. However, we can only love people in this way in response to the love God freely showers upon us. Absent God’s love and gentle work in our hearts, we could never get the job done. As long as our relationship with God consists of rules and regulations in order to be successful, we will at best convey the same to our fellow man. Yet, this will never help him because it never helped us. That so-called Christian lifestyle never helped anyone. People don’t need more stuff to do or more reminders of where they fall short. We do a good enough job of that on our own. Instead people, our brothers and sisters, need freedom, freedom only God could give them. People need to be able to choose on their own. Only one choice is not a choice. I think folks would be surprised at the freedom God has given us if they only knew it. God said, all things are lawful for me, but not everything I can do is going to bless me or build me up. Amen, but all things are lawful for me. I am free, you are free as a human to experience life and prove all things, holding fast to the good. Sitting behind closed doors in fear of sin and evil and destruction is not life at all. How many Christians have stopped living out of fear when all of life remained open to them? Do no harm by telling your brothers and sisters the truth!

Absolute freedom to make your own choices is the very essence of life. Only when you are free yourself can you offer that freedom to another person. Only engulfed in God’s undeserved love and compassion can you offer love and compassion to other people. You cannot give what you do not have. You love your fellow man by loving him how God does without any compulsion or constraint. He or she does not have to be or do anything to deserve that love, but instead receives that love freely in the same way that you received it. To do no harm means simply that you do not do things that wound your fellow man or hurt him. You seek only his good, her good and have no other motive in it. When you love people like God loves them, you have finally let go of self and all that may be wrong with self and have decided instead to focus on the goodness that God is and is in Him and Him alone. Love God, love your fellow man and do as you dang fool please.

Just some good thoughts…

The Great Christian Killer…


If the greatest thing the devil ever did was to convince people he didn’t exist, the second greatest thing was convincing people they needed to work in order to earn God’s approval. When I look around at Christianity today (so called), all I can see are people living in and living out their unworthiness before the Father. Even the mention of Christianity today elicits an immediate twinge of negative self-analysis as if the word christian is synonymous with moral failure in some capacity. For believers, it seems, it’s not so much about God and His goodness as it is about everything they don’t do right; where they struggle and ultimately what is wrong with them! The world lives and thrives on what isn’t right concerning people coupled with so-called solutions that always lead to control! In this way, the system of things is designed to talk people into doing the works required for approval from men and ultimately from God. This is the great Christian killer!

The roots of this dilemma go all the way back to Adam and Eve, who when questioned by God regarding their error, immediately filled with fear (a first for humans) and sought a covering for what they had done wrong. And people are being assaulted with the same error and accusation to this very day. When sin entered the world, man would henceforth be born into the world dead in trespasses in sins, not by their choices, but rather by their inherited bloodline. Natural man is born with sin in his blood. To think, based on this reality, that you as a person could somehow earn God’s goodness is the height of deception. You, by your human efforts, could never get the job done fully. It took God’s intervention by supplying a perfect substitute for man’s evil nature in the life, death and resurrection of his sinless son. In that substitution, you and I by believing in God’s son and his being raised from the dead, received the gift of righteousness forever more. God, in His infinite grace and mercy did away with the need for you to do works in order to gain His approval. But, that is not how Christians live. The proof is found in their insistence on adding something to what God finished for them already. When Jesus hung on the cross dying and uttered, “It is finished” he meant it! He ended forever all that was ever wrong with you and me. He paid the price so you wouldn’t have to pay anymore. So why are you still making payments? Why do you act as if the work isn’t completed already? I’ll tell you why! It is because you have been deceived into thinking otherwise. Oh you didn’t get there alone and neither did I. The world and preachers and religious leaders have all been cooperators together in ignorance in endeavoring to add to God’s perfection by insisting on certain behaviors and rules and dogmas and commandments and so-called morality with one hidden, spurious and deceptive element, namely to bring you under their (or its) control! Convince a man he is not right before God and you can now control his entire life by prescribing what he must do in order to “get right!” In this way, everything is wrong, everything is evil and everything is going to get you. You cannot enjoy life, make decisions, make mistakes or anything else because all of it brings God’s disapproval. How many people do you know who live this way? Maybe you have been living this way?

I often marvel at how people cannot seem to understand how well God knows His creation. They somehow think God shudders at all of the awful things people consider and sometimes do! Let me let you in on a little secret. God understands fully the human condition, after all He made us. Do you really think you could freak God out because of some deception that befell you or by some wrong path you took or take? God not only knows you intimately, but He also knows the spiritual evil you contend with though maybe you never understood it for yourself. And similarly, isn’t it possible that all of the things you do as a human are actually what humans do and not really sin at all? Religion is fraught with a litany of things that are wrong before God, not because God said so, but because people said so! People endeavor to live under Old Testament law that was not even written to them to do. And even those to whom it was actually written could not live it to the end it was called the curse of the law. Its purpose was not to reform men, though if anything could accomplish it, it was the law, but rather it was to identify sin clearly with the coming promise of a Savior who would live it perfectly and forever redeem mankind. Jesus Christ came to set you free. His aim, indeed God’s aim was to make a way for you to live freely and without obligation in any capacity. Forced and compelled love is not love. God wants to be your Father and care for you like any Father would, however without limitations. God is not condemning you, convicting you or accusing you. He does not bring up your errors and missteps. He loves you into finally loving yourself, not because you do it all right, but because He does it all right in love! You’ll never walk with God to the full capacity and joy He intends for you until you finally get past this obstacle. God is not angry with you, that is what people say. God is not teaching you lessons with evil (shudder) to make you do things right, that is what people say. Negative events that happen to you are not because of something God did (ever), that is what people say. The guilt you experience, the condemnation you feel, the remembrance of past mistakes that haunt you, the disapproval, the shame, the fear, the worry is not from God! They all stem from the same one that endeavors to convince you that he does not exist!

I offer these truths not to condemn your religion or the multitude of well meaning people involved with it. I write this because this is what God’s Word says. You are not a lowly worm, you are a son of the most high God, not by any works that you have done, but because of everything God did for you. Change your focus away from yourself and your imperfections (though they be many) and move them over to God’s perfection. In God’s sight you are now and forever more sinless because of the accomplishments of His son. So, stop dwelling on yourself, feeling sorry for yourself and lamenting your imperfection. God isn’t judging you so stop judging yourself. Get in agreement with God in what He said He did for you and let all that garbage go. It’s not noble or an indicator of humility, it is clinging to error; error that seeks only to control you. Imagine how fun life could be for you if you were truly free from all obligations and compulsions. Imagine how great life could be with God as your Father seeing only the completed works of His son in you. You only have one short go round in this thing and God wants you to enjoy it. Quit worrying about sin, God settled that issue for you forever. Nothing you do can separate you from the love of God, so what is there to be afraid of? Get out there and live Christians! God needs your heartfelt contributions. Overcome the Christian killer with good. (God’s kind of good!)

Just some good thoughts…

Religion And God (Are they the same thing?)


Let me begin by saying I’m not trying to bash your religion or the things you hold most sacred. I’m not making a case for one religion above another religion. I’m not saying everything your religion has taught you is wrong. Instead, I’m asking you a question; a question that may spell the difference between happiness and freedom and misery and obligation. Are you sure the things you do and say in the name of God are in alignment with what God says about Himself and your relationship with Him? Are your religious beliefs and your belief in God the same thing?

In my experience, religious people seem to be the most unhappy people on earth. They live and move and have their being ever fraught with some nagging sense of disapproval from a god whose requirements they can never live up to. They are guilty and condemned, always apologizing, always wrong, always convinced that what they do and say is inadequate and fails to measure up. They endeavor to live an impossible code with pleasures perpetually questioned and good times requiring caution. They sincerely love God but they conclude God doesn’t love them. They are compelled to answer every accusation. Their motives are constantly under the microscope. In short, the people who should be the most blessed are often the least blessed with even the unbeliever outpacing their achievements. Yet, they love the God of all blessings. How can this be?

The problem is found in not understanding the things that are important to God versus the things that are important to men. Religion’s aim and focus is always man and what man does and what man doesn’t do or that he shouldn’t do. Religion’s promise is the glorification of man’s acts and man’s experiences. In religion, men judge other men based on their behaviors and pronounce one man righteous and another man sinful. Religion seeks to elevate some and reduce the others. Religion is hard, damn hard! Religion teaches people to doubt themselves in favor of another’s opinion. Religion smacks at the heart of God because it is not based on what God says. Instead it is based upon the doctrines and commandments of men. God provides a good way to live and religion adds to that good way by introducing requirements that God never intended. Religion puts burdens on men’s shoulders. There is no love in obligation. That which you do that you do not want to do becomes a compulsion from which no-one gets blessed. Giving without love as its motive becomes religious duty where I scratch your back in the hopes that you will scratch mine. It’s an exchange wherein you now owe me something. For centuries, men have engaged themselves in rituals and observances that make no sense to them. Yet, they continue in them despite it.

I say these things not to anger you, but rather to ask you to think for yourself. If doing God’s will is so miserable, then wouldn’t that make God miserable (God forbid!). Do you really believe that God is bland and rigid and narrow? Would it make sense for Him to be opposed to enjoyments that He invented the capacity to enjoy? Could He, being all-knowing, be illogical or whimsical? Would He ask you to believe in something you could not understand, or worse try to make good things out of evil events? Our problem, our failure is in discounting our human logic in terms of common sense. Would someone that reportedly loved me at the same time torture me or confuse me or punish me? Would He do inexplicable horrors to me and my family for some reason I can’t yet understand? You see, it’s not God who told us these things, it’s religion. Religion requests that we suspend our common sense in favor of so-called higher spiritual realities. Religion begs us not to think at all. In this way, religion controls and limits our experience of life. Men and women are herded together on paths leading to failure and loss. When something bad happens to someone, religion points that wrong back at man and how man is living or not living. Pretty soon you become responsible for all of the evils in your life instead of the true cause of your unhappiness and loss. Religion sucks man and I feel sorry for anyone who has gotten sucked into it.

In stark contrast, the things of God make perfect sense. The things of God aren’t opposed to science, they are the forerunner to science. Someone made this world with all of its detail and symmetry. Someone invented the concept of love and forgiveness and kindness. Someone dreamed up the notion of human beings. Do you think you can surprise or shock God with your behaviors and the things you come up with? Is that sexual desire that God built into you really evil or just wrongly expressed? You see, religion gives God a bad rap. It turns Him into something silly and capricious. It makes Him impossible to please and not a loving Father at all. It turns your focus away from the God who alone can deliver you and places it back on yourself where you by yourself are powerless to do anything about your difficulties.

I offer these words in the hopes you can hear what I’m saying and be set free. All of those burdens you are living under; all of that guilt and condemnation; all of that focus on your own imperfection and weakness is not God’s will at all. Instead He asks only that you turn your focus towards Him. Don’t suspend your logic, use your logic! Maybe all that super hard work you have been doing to get to heaven isn’t a requirement to get into heaven at all. Maybe all of that denial of self and pleasure and fun wasn’t something God said, but instead something that people say. What good is a Savior if you still have to save yourself? Why would Jesus have paid for your sins if you still needed to make a payment? The ways of God, the true ways of God never hurt but only help you. God is a Father and no-one loves His children more than Him… You can escape the bondage of religion if you want to and it starts and ends with God. Is religion and its dictates the same as a relationship with God? God forbid…

I love you.

Just some good thoughts…

There is No Fear in God…


God-is-loveIt seems to me, in my casual observance of what people say and promote, that there is a lot of fear involved in their relationship with God. So many folks live how they live from fear of what God will either do to them, or allow to happen to them, if they don’t behave in a certain way. Some load themselves up with obligations in the name of God. Many engage in empty rituals, almost superstitious in nature, to potentially garner God’s favor in their lives. Others spend countless hours in regret and apology towards God for self-acknowledged violations of His will. So, I have to ask the question, is there supposed to be fear in your relationship with God? Is that what the Bible teaches? Does the fear-based approach take away from a believer the joy and happiness he/she is reported to experience with God?

In my opinion, and you can take this to the bank, there is no-one or nothing more understood than God. Sure, He has written a book to prevent this kind of thing, but how many folks actually read it, or worse, understand it? Most people’s knowledge, and you know this is true, is based on a fleeting verse here and there or the generally accepted consensus of who God is supposedly. Most, it seems, have been taught that God is a vengeful God perpetually engaged in examining your thoughts and behaviors like the inspector in an assembly line searching for defects. I vividly remember having some beers with prospective clients at a basketball game, who when I told them I taught the Bible, insisted on not only not having another drink, but recalling out loud what they had said earlier that might have been offensive. Are you kidding me? I bought the beers! But sadly, that’s where people’s heads go when you mention God. And not only because I  want to drink beers with you, but also because I’ve been taught otherwise, I’m going to show you that people have it all wrong about God in epic proportion!!!

The Bible clearly states that God is love. He isn’t just prone to behave in a loving way, He actually is love. The reason that love is the most powerful thing on the planet is because God, the most powerful being anywhere, is love. The Good Book also says that, “There is no fear in love.” Fear and love cannot co-exist together. If you have fear then you have no love and if you live God’s love you cannot possibly have fear. Fear, not hate, is the antithesis of love. And this whole planet is running on a steady diet of fear. Fear takes away the joy of a relationship with God because it takes away the love in the relationship, not on God’s part towards you, but on your part towards Him. God knows everything there is to know about you and still loves you. To think that you can fool God by engaging in obligatory behavior discounts His vast intelligence and reduces Him to the level of a man. The Bible also says that God is light and in Him, is no darkness at all. No darkness means no darkness. It would require God to have darkness in Him to do evil things to you, or for that matter, purposely allow evil things to happen to you. Evil things would include making you ill, killing the people who you love, putting obstacles in your path to teach you lessons, and allowing bad things to happen to you because your behavior didn’t quite measure up. Imagine one of your children not quite measuring up to behavior standards you set up and then not protecting them from danger because of that behavior. Pretty cruel wouldn’t you say?

God is more interested in your happiness, health and prosperity than you are! He wants to answer your prayers infinitely more than you want to pray them. The trouble is that God will not overstep your freedom of will. He requires fully persuaded belief on your part to bring your prayers to pass. When you fail to get your prayers answered it is generally because you don’t fully believe what you prayed for would come to pass. And, the number one believing blocker is fear. When you hold onto a fearful mindset towards God, greatly influenced by so-called preachers and religious people, you are going to have no confidence towards God. You will be full of doubt and unbelief. And, after experiencing that for long enough, you are going to end up doubting God’s existence in its entirety! The problem isn’t with God, His ability or His love. The problem is you and the wrong beliefs you’ve been entertaining in your head. When the phrase “fear of God” is used in the Bible it refers to reverence and respect; the same thing you are supposed to learn with your parents. You learn to respect what they have been telling you if you’ve been hit in the head by life enough times for not listening. You then become a parent and the cycle continues. God tells us to respect Him and believe what He says to believe. When you choose not to believe what He said and instead choose to believe what the world says, you end up getting smacked in the head, not by God, but by the One He is trying to protect you from! All of your difficulties; all of your pain; all of your heartache and loss is orchestrated and carried out by the adversary; your adversary, hell-bent on keeping you from the only One who can really love and protect you! You get it?

God is love in every conceivable form and facet. You never need to have even an ounce of fear with God. No matter how much of a stinker you have been; no matter how jaded your mind towards God has become; no matter how low you may have fallen, you cannot get underneath the everlasting arms of God’s love! Get out of that fear and obligation and enjoy your relationship with God stemming only from love. There’s nothing you have to do to please Him except humbly believe what He says is true. Doing so not only revolutionizes your life and finally gets your prayer answered, but will lead you to a place of indescribable joy, where no fear is allowed to remain…

There is no fear in God…

Just some good thoughts…