hackedLast week I had the rather unpleasant experience of getting hacked. Basically, someone reached out to me on Instagram asking for support for their upcoming clothing line and I made the fateful mistake of responding to them. I didn’t click on any links or provide my cell number for a text as requested, yet still they got in. Once they got in, they changed my password, changed the contact cell phone number and email and added two factor authentication which made it almost impossible to recover my own account. They followed hundreds of new people and badgered all of my friends with the exact same scheme, leaving folks thinking they were talking with me. The experience was distracting and concerning to say the least. Besides learning that Instagram literally has no actual customer support, I understood how difficult it is to extricate yourself from deception once it gets its grip on you. How it got to you doesn’t matter. When it got to you doesn’t matter. What matters is how you can recover and get your mind (and account) back. Have your thought processes been hacked by a deception?

In life, we all have a mind and a heart and we are responsible to guard it from intruders. Intruders get in when we fail to control our thinking and as such allow deceptions access to our minds. Just as my downfall was engaging in a conversation with the hackers, your downfall comes from consideration of things that are not true. When Eve was deceived in the beginning, it wasn’t the existence of evil that defeated her, it was her consideration of the things evil said to her. (It was a heck of a lot bigger than eating a silly apple, but I digress). Eve’s downfall and eventually Adam’s downfall came as a result of considering and trying to figure out what the enemy of mankind was proposing. The same holds true today. The way that evil gets inside our minds and hacks us is by our consideration of what is being presented to us. Being human we think we can figure it out and as such give it space in our minds. We mull it over. We worry about it. We give it audience and the next thing you know we are all screwed up inside and confused. Have you ever noticed that no matter how much worry you give a thing you can never quite get to a solution? You analyze, you evaluate, you process it and it just leads to more and more distress. It is a trick and a trap from which eventually it will be hard to escape. The solution to fear producing thoughts is to refuse their entrance. Don’t scratch that itch! Do not try to take it on with your finite human knowledge. Instead you have to replace those thoughts with things that are true. God’s Word is true and has the remedy to everything that has ever bothered you or imprisoned you. You can avoid being mentally hacked by knowing what is true.

All of us at one time or another have been hacked in our minds and hearts. We have lived in fear and doubt and uncertainty for so long that we think it is a normal way to live. We dismiss it as being part of the human condition. We do all sorts of shenanigans to assuage our fears such as trying to be a good person or do good works or whatever it is we can think of that might help offset the bad things that are surely coming our way. It never dawned on us that someone or something has been lying to us. Our starting premise has been wrong. We have been communicating with a hacker. Fear is man’s only enemy. Fear has ruined more people’s lives than all the other things combined. It is our fears that allow our enemy access to us and it is our fear that brings bad things to pass in our lives. Fear is a believing expectation for something negative to happen and believing equals receiving. The things we so desperately fear end up coming into fruition in our lives. And then we exclaim, “I knew it” when in reality we helped bring it to pass. There is a reason the number one admonition in the Bible is fear not! Fear is a hacker attempting to gain access to your life and then infect the lives of others also. You get your mental account and your heart back by gaining control of your thinking.

So, what can you do once you realize you’ve been hacked? Unlike Instagram, you have access to something greater than any problem that has ever come your way. The first step involves terminating communications with the hacker. Stop giving those lies access to your mind. Stop trying to figure it all out. The basis of your troubles are spiritual and no amount of reasoning will make that clear. Instead steer your heart towards something that is true. Make the decision to stop trying to figure out your troubles and hand them over to God who is especially adept at problem solving. Just give them to Him and don’t take them back. Rehearsing your troubles hasn’t been successful thus far, has it? Quit beating that dead horse and try something different. Cast all your care upon Him for He careth for you! In other words, let it go. Pray about it and then let it go. Just the act of refusal sets on course the answers you need in order to prevail. God wants to solve every problem that has ever come your way and He has the power and ability to do so. Find someone that can teach you the truth. Don’t go to the world as it’s the world that screwed you up in the first place. Don’t rely on religion or philosophy or science. Rely instead on the truth of God’s Word which is the only thing that sets you free. God sent His Word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions. Learn to shut down the hackers and get your heart and mind back!

Have you been having a tough time lately and wondering what is the point? Do you find yourself distracted with cares? Have things become increasingly difficult for you? Does happiness and peace of mind seem to evade you? If so, you have probably been hacked. But, not to worry. With God there are always solutions and answers greater than the skill and cunning of any hacker. You can get your heart and mind back if you will only go about it the way God says to do it. Humble yourself and get your needs met. I finally was able to recover my account using the deeply hidden and obscured video selfie method which worked after 9 tries. Thankfully God makes it a lot easier than that.

Just some good thoughts…



harmonyIt has taken me many years to learn what I’m planning to share with you tonight. What I’m about to say is for all the people who yearn to see the power of God in their lives. It encompasses a little known secret crucial for the Christian man or woman who dreams of living the more abundant life promised in the Bible. As you may have already noticed by now, there is more to being a believer than simply getting born again, though that in itself guarantees a life that will last forever. But, what about the here and now? What about the joy promised in God’s Word? What about actually getting your prayers answered and having access to God’s power and His goodness in our day by day lives? Many Christians, sadly, talk of God’s ability and willingness to help them, yet fail to realize those promises in their experience of life. And absent any results, seek to explain away their shortfalls by assigning mysterious reasons for the lack such as God having a higher purpose and so on. God’s promises in His Word are very real and He desires above all else that we obtain all that He has lovingly promised us. The secret is found by getting in and remaining in harmony with God.

Harmony or fellowship with God is something we must do with our minds. The contest that rages day by day takes place in our minds. The thoughts we think and continue to think matter a great deal. We literally remain in harmony with God by that which we choose to think about; that which we choose to refuse and those things that harmonize with God’s Word. Every time we entertain thoughts that are not in harmony with God’s Word, we limit God’s ability to work in us and for us. The more we entertain these negative thoughts, the less harmony we have with God. Negative thoughts serve to separate us from God in our minds. Once we have accepted our Lord and Savior and believed in our hearts that God has raised him from the dead, we have God’s seed born within us. Nothing can separate us from His love and care. His love for us remains unconditional and there is nothing He won’t do for us. But, and it is a very big but, we can become separated from Him in our thinking. Wrong thoughts convince us of lies such as “God is angry with us” or “God is punishing us with negative consequences because of our sins.” These falsehoods burrow themselves deeper and deeper into our subconscious minds. It is never that God is unwilling to meet our needs, no matter how poorly we may have behaved, but rather that we lose our confidence in Him. We get out of harmony with Him and His Word. Living out of harmony with God is the reason our prayers are not answered. Being out of fellowship with God is why we feel miserable and defeated. It is never good works of righteousness we must do to get back in harmony with God as our Savior solved that problem forever. (It is finished) Instead it is our minds. We have to learn how to get our minds back in harmony with Him. Every time you and I get fearful, which is darkness, we are out of harmony with Him. Every time we persist in condemning ourselves for some sin Jesus paid for already; every time we judge ourselves; every time we deny who God alone has made us to be, results eventually in broken fellowship with Him and from that dark place we cannot access God’s power that we need so desperately in our lives. Again not because He is unwilling, but rather because we, by our own thoughts and actions, are not in fellowship with Him. Harmony with God is the key.

Think of harmony with God as your relationship with Him. (Not His relationship with you that never changes.) In order to have a good relationship you must remain loving and open in your heart to the one you seek a relationship with. In the human sense, once you begin to harbor negative thoughts about another person or assume their negative thoughts concerning you, the relationship begins to suffer. Instead, loving relationships assume good intent. Loving, trusting relationships expect good things from the other person involved. When outside things begin to influence our relationships, we become less trusting and loving and begin to harden our hearts towards the ones we love. We seriously doubt they have our best interests at heart. We look for and expect more and more trouble. This is exactly how we get out of harmony with God. God is good always and never is the source of our difficulties, ever! Instead we begin to harbor negative views towards Him. We start believing and thinking things that are contrary to God’s Word. We ask for His light while we sit in the darkness. Instead of resting in His promises to us, we are full of doubt and worry about getting any result which almost guarantees we won’t get any result. The problem isn’t God. The problem is our failure to get in and remain in harmony with Him.

Being in fellowship with God, where all of the power and results and answers for life are found, requires that we do something different with our minds. We have to learn how to renew our minds. We have to put off all of that pervasive darkness we have been cleaving to and think God’s Word instead. We must consciously change our thoughts that are contrary to the truth back to thoughts that are in harmony with the truth. You know why? Because it is the truth. The rest is all just error playing out in a thousand different variables. For example, God promises to preserve our health and if we need it, restore our health. That truth will be challenged with sickness, disease and anything else that is contrary to it. We will find ourselves very tempted to get afraid and worry and fret. Doing so is believing the darkness and will result in our getting out of harmony with God. When we are out of fellowship with God, heaven is brass and nothing happens, despite our heartfelt prayers. The solution is to get back in harmony with God. Simply say, “Papa, Im sorry I got so afraid and I choose instead to believe what your Word promises me. Thank you for healing me.” Now you are saying what God’s Word says and now you are back in harmony with Him. In harmony with Him, in the light, is where God’s power will be found for your life. Naturally you will be tempted with many other things that challenge the truth of God’s Word in your mind, so you must follow the same process time and time again. If you get out of harmony, get back in as quickly as you can. When you recognize your mind has gone south, get back into fellowship with Him. When you feel miserable and defeated, get back into harmony with Him again. You find God in the light.

The more than abundant life promised in God’s Word is dependent upon you remaining in fellowship with God. The more you stay put, the better your life will become. God is not after your pleasing works done to persuade yourself you are worthy in His sight. He wants your heart. He wants your freewill love. He wants to do for you ALL that you could never do for yourself. He is your Father. He is your Papa. He never judges you and He always wants the best for you. Stay in harmony with Him in your mind. Remember what He has already done for you. Find out who His Word says you are and replace that old image you have been carrying around with you. You don’t please God with your good works. You please God by believing His Word. Cultivate that close, endearing relationship with Him and let Him do for you beyond all that you could ever ask or think.

It is that good. He is that good.

Just some good thoughts…


iStock-1055448892.2e16d0ba.fill-735x490It doesn’t take too many negative circumstances before it becomes apparent how much of our lives we don’t actually control. Oh we think we do! We drive ourselves bonkers trying to think through every possible variable to maximize our chances at success. We plan and exercise diligence. We read up and study, and if it’s dangerous, we put in extra time. And all we are really after is some safety and some security. The illusion of control is what sends a person over the edge when they fall victim to a robbery or something worse. We all like to feel secure and we all seek out circumstances that aid in that pursuit. But, have you ever considered how much of our lives we actually do control? Or, to put it another way, are we spending maybe too much time trying to control something that we never controlled in the first place?

Certain things happen in our lives that we didn’t see coming. People get sick or are diagnosed with diseases that despite their best efforts in maintaining healthy habits, happened anyway. People lose their secure jobs and find themselves unemployed. Time and chance happen to them all, as the saying goes. When these events happen, I think it teaches us that our reliance cannot be based entirely on our human efforts. Sure we should do our best and we all know that if you play with fire long enough, you are going to get burned. But, some folks do play with fire and nothing seems to happen at all. Other folks cannot seem to catch a break. This alone instructs us that there is often more to situations than meets the eye. There are forces at work outside of us, perpetually plotting and scheming to bring about negative results. For this the world is usually blind. Instead people try to take on more than they can actually control and are the worse off because of it. You can literally worry yourself to an early grave. You can be so afraid of some potential negative outcome that you end up working to bring it to pass in your own life. There must be a better way. There must be something we can do to multiply our chances for success while minimizing our chances at failure or defeat. Notwithstanding, all of us are going to be punched in the mouth at times and how we respond will ultimately define the result of the contest.

If you really think about it, was is it that we actually control? We cannot exercise control over the economy. We do not control health or healing. We can make healthy choices, but we do not control it. Physicians do not cure, they help facilitate cures. We do not control the weather. We cannot control mechanical things or ensure their continued operation. Ask anyone whose air conditioning goes out in the middle of summer. We alone cannot guarantee our children’s safety. We cannot guarantee anyone’s safety. We cannot control the people we have relationships with, though we are loathe to admit it. In short, most of life, most of our lives we do not control at all. Why spend another moment in futile worries and frets over things we never controlled in the first place. Why run the multitude of foul thoughts through our minds threatening this disaster or the next? Why drive ourselves to the brink making sure we do everything in the right way and at the right time, terrified if we misstep that calamity is right around the corner? There actually is Someone that has control over every variable and we owe it to ourselves to find who He is and then relinquish all back over to Him. Grasping and clutching, hanging on and clinging to our illusions of safety do nothing but exhaust us and take our energy for doing anything good. Relinquish the control you have been trying so desperately to maintain and learn how to trust Him instead. Do your best and let God do the rest! Or as life has taught me thus far, God will do His best for me despite my efforts, good or bad. Maybe the good just helps me feel better.

There is literally only one thing we as humans can control and that is our thinking. (Please read that again!) Stuff is going to come at us. Negative events will take place. At times, we will suffer losses. But, no matter what is going on, we can still control our thinking. We can decide, though all hell paints another picture, that what God said is true, is true. The enemy of mankind is the master of deception. He seeks to persuade you of things that are not true so that you will cooperate with his devious plans for your life. If you don’t fold, you cannot lose as another great man once remarked. Your job, my job is to stop wasting away our lives thinking about things that are not true and focus instead on things that are true. All of your very best thinking does not heal your body, God does. Your discipline of will does not cause you to prosper, God does. Your tortuous exercise routine doesn’t guarantee your longevity, God does. All of that mind boggling stuff you are putting yourself through day by day in an effort to be safe, to stay safe, does not keep you safe, God does! Controlling your thinking means keeping things straight in your mind. You control what you will and what you will not think about. You decide what you will believe and what you refuse to believe. If God can feed one of His guys with a raven, I am sure He can take care of you. Instead of investing all of that effort in your to do list, invest that effort in learning what He says He will do and then in learning how to trust Him. Can you imagine how much easier your life will become when you finally let go of all those things you didn’t control anyway? Control the one thing you can control and see how much better things get for you.

God knows all, sees all, is omnipotent and all powerful. Shoot, He can see the future! He knew what you needed long before you knew. He made provisions for you well in advance. He knows how to heal you. He knows how to prosper you. He knows how to solve all of your heart needs; every single one of them. He is everything you will ever need. And, all He wants from you is your love. He wants you trust Him. He wants you to reach out to Him and lay your heart out before Him. He doesn’t need your good behaviors, He wants your heart. His design for life was that you would go to Him for everything you ever needed. He knows all of the variables and His thoughts are above, far above your thoughts. He wants to do for you what you cannot do for yourself. When you finally turn it all over to Him, you can rest a bit. You can relax. You can start to enjoy your life instead of wasting it away worrying over a million things you cannot control. And best of all, when negative stuff happens to you, He will turn it around for your good and show you things you could have never imagined before. He is a God of abundance and it is all there for you.

Loosen your grip brother. Relax your hands sister. God is in control no matter what it looks like. Control the one thing you can control and see how wonderful this life can be.

Just some good thoughts…

Holiday Musings…


The holidays are always the most interesting time of the year. All of us grew up in the enchantment of Christmas; a time where for a short period it was about the other people and not ourselves. People were a little nicer; a bit more compassionate; more kind to their fellow man. As children, most of us experienced the magic whereby we could hardly sleep in anticipation of the gifts we would receive on Christmas day. It was the one day when all of our dreams might come true. As we got older, we rightfully accepted our duty to produce that same feeling in our children and the people whom we loved. How glorious! How beautiful! How grand! No matter your beliefs, no matter your background, no matter your upbringing, Christmas was always a special time reserved for families and dear friends. Then, just like that, the holidays were over and we grudgingly returned to life as usual. The time for giving had eclipsed and it was back to the pursuit of number one. Maybe there is a lesson in Christmas? Holiday musings are in order.

What is it concerning Christmas that works so powerfully to change our views about people? Many say that Jesus is the reason for the season. But, is he? Most bible scholars will freely admit that the birth of Christ did not occur in December at all. More appropriately, Jesus is the reason for all seasons. The very idea of a man that lived for others; that sought the good of others above himself; the determination and drive to bring about God’s will in all situations; the enduring love and willingness to heal all that were oppressed under the burdensome hand of the devil, this was the life of our savior, this was God’s perfect man. In many ways, he exemplified the concept of Christmas in that his focus was the happiness and deliverance of others. He didn’t live this way for a month or so according to tradition, he lived this way his entire adult life. He was God’s representative on earth and as such he came only to do good for all that needed him, both in his present time and throughout the future. Perhaps the good feelings of Christmas, whether based on the pleasant memories of our past or based on a change of our perspective in the present, remain to teach us a valuable lesson; continue to exist to offer a small taste of the life that God intended for us, a time where everyday is Christmas at our house.

Christmas is a time when we finally let our preoccupation with ourselves go and turn our focus outward. We joy and rejoice in the intended effect our gifts will have on those we love. We think of all the people we embrace and look for ways to express our love for them. Instead of carelessly glossing over and taking for granted those we hold most dear, we seek rather to honor them no matter the cost, so that our love for them is increasingly evident. For us, it’s not about the money, the expense, but instead it’s about actively seeking their good, their blessing; their hearts. In this, we taste the goodness of God and experience for ourselves the true intention and heart of our Creator. We learn, even if for a relatively brief time, that it is more blessed to give than receive and that in giving from the heart our hearts are satisfied and blessed. We touch on the grand design and for a short respite forget ourselves. Oh the blessing and delight that Christmas represents.

Christmas is a time when we draw back from the hustle and bustle of life and recommit ourselves to our people. We finally take a break, a much needed break from the rat race and endless striving for something we don’t have, and settle down to our base, our foundation, our happy place of family. And,  though far from perfect, our place of safety, blessings and love. We stop trying to make our family into something they are not and instead embrace them for who they are, good and bad, because we love them. We share our fondest memories and remember how we all waited in gleeful anticipation for the great day that was on the horizon. In some way, we all tasted and felt how good life could be and we embraced it with all of our hearts. Christmas, steeped in tradition and a conglomeration of many ideas and beliefs, still served to teach us a different way; a way based on looking for the good in others instead of the bad in ourselves. And, every year we are blessed with that same pleasant reminder of how good life can be.

This Christmas, no matter your beliefs or upbringing, let yourself experience the love and blessings that your family and friends supply for you. Don’t let the moment escape you. Don’t fret yourself over something you cannot afford or worry yourself with meeting every demand. What your children will remember most is not the Xbox or the the new car, but instead the love you shared with them during the season of goodness and love. The love you felt and recall so fondly is the love they will remember as well. Put the Christmas music on. Watch the Hallmark movies. Serve up the hot chocolate in your pajamas reserved for the holiday season. Drink wine, bake cookies, make the place as festive as you can for in so doing, you encourage the love and goodness you enjoyed that lives on until this day. Ahh it is Christmas time and the love of God is all around you. Embrace it. It’s Christmas…

Just some good thoughts.

Dealing With Your Feelings

feelingsIt is peculiar to me that something that affects our life as much as our emotions do, would be the subject of greater education and study. It’s like we all grew up with this menagerie of feelings, yet seldom have we learned to understand what those myriad feelings are communicating to us. Most people, it seems choose rather to try and escape certain emotions while encouraging the existence of others. But, what if our feelings are communicating important messages to us? What if we took the time to evaluate our emotions; why they occur; when they occur and used them to help us move in a more beneficial direction with the promise of a better future. Do you know what your feelings are saying to you? Are you aware of what is behind your emotions and where they originate? Are you dealing with your feelings?

We humanoid units are incredibly sensitive creatures and by sensitive I mean have the capacity to experience a wide range of emotions. Some folks whole existence is based upon their emotions, while others seldom give their emotions much thought. It would seem that both scenarios are lacking. Our emotions are easily manipulated, if you haven’t noticed already, and to place your sole trust in them as the citadel for decision making would be foolish. Conversely, excluding all emotions as pointless or frivolous would serve only to rob your life of its richness and blessings. The wiser option would be to seek understanding regarding what your emotions are communicating to you. We have all had that experience whereby suddenly we feel a sense of dread or become agitated in place of the peace we had a few moments ago. Usually a little thought regarding what you were just thinking about reveals the thief; usually some vague fear or concern about a thought you just processed. The point of your emotions was to alert you to some change inside your head that needs to be addressed. All anxious or nervous feelings point to the same reality. Ignoring those thoughts with their subsequent feelings; medicating those thoughts; distracting yourself away from those thoughts leads only to more of those feelings. Your job in that instance was to deal with the intruder! By the time you are experiencing anxiety, it is a sure sign that you have been letting something go and now suffer from misplaced fears labeled as anxiety. Anxiety is only a common phenomenon today because people have stopped paying attention to their thoughts and to their feelings. We have become a nation of letting stuff go. We move too fast; try to do too much; endeavor to live up to impossible and unrealistic standards. We are quite literally led about by our noses staring at images and words and opinions lacking in any conceivable substance or help with our lives. We compare ourselves, measure ourselves, recognize our so-called deficits and lack and from there try to carve out a peaceful and happy existence. We are told when we should be married, when we should make our first million, what we should already have by now, where we should live and on it goes. It’s no wonder our feelings are trying to tell us something. They are telling us something isn’t true! 

Have you ever tried an experiment where you simply allow your emotions to be what they are and not try to escape them? How about when you are feeling bored? What are those dreaded boredom feelings trying to say? Is it really just a lack of activity? Or, have you entertained a series of thoughts that succeeded in taking the wind out of your sails? Boredom says you have nothing to look forward to, but is that really true. If you simply stopped running from those feelings with endless activity you might find that you don’t need more activity, but maybe need to reframe your thinking. Perhaps you need to stop trying to live in your future and embrace what is happening right now. Whenever you travel back in time or attempt to future travel, your emotions won’t cooperate and will bring you something you need to deal with today. In this way, your feelings are these fantastic barometers for your soul. They are ever pointing you to something, somewhere in the million details of your existence. Unpleasant emotions call for immediate action. Pleasant, joyful emotions encourage your continuance. In this is the only time that “if it feels good do it” was ever true. Trusting your feelings only falsely presumes everything you ever feel is an indicator of truth; that something is actually true. Then you spend your entire life waiting to feel good about something that may not feel good now, but has a huge payout in the future. The point is to pay attention to your feelings! Don’t cut yourself off from their messages, but instead investigate them without fear and follow their subtle promptings. Those experiences you have that bring joy to your heart are to be welcomed and repeated often.  Helping others, being kind, having great compassion, loving and forgiving others lead to immeasurable bliss. Don’t forsake them.

The next time you are feeling out of sorts, unhappy or down in the dumps, think about what you have been thinking about. Have you perhaps been focusing on what you don’t have or where you fall short? Have you been spending too much time thinking about life instead of actually living it? Or, have you fallen into perpetual self focus which leads only to more and more recognition of what isn’t right or needs repair. If you want to know, you can know as they are your emotions given to you by God’s wisdom to help you live your life that much better. Don’t ignore your feelings or write them off as foolish, but instead pay attention to the message and if needed take the necessary action. Sometimes our emotions are simply trying to get us to take some action we know we need to take, which as soon as we do it, opens the windows to a flood of positive feelings. The message, “handle your business!”

It is always your choice whether or not you take the time to deal with your feelings. But, you owe it to yourself to do so. You’ll know when you’ve got it right by the peace you experience inside. Feelings of peace and contentment are the ultimate measure of right thought. Peace is the end of the fight when you, at last, prevail. Deal with your feelings. You won’t be truly happy until you do. 

Just some good thoughts…

Take Your Needed Respite…

respiteThere are times in your life when you find yourself confused, bewildered, worn out. Most people let time sort of glom together and before you know it, an hour turns into a day, a day turns into a year, a year turns into a lifetime. Instead of taking control of the minutes, handling the issues of the moment, wrestling with the unrest, we let things go hoping difficulties will pass and peaceful feelings return. What we fail to see is the necessity to take on every challenge, every threat, every false word that is whispered in our ear. In so doing, our troubles mount up and gather strength. Simple changes become complex changes. Peaceful thoughts become agitated and agitation clouds our vision further. All this could have been avoided if we only took our needed respite.

The challenges that confront human beings are similar for us all. We all get pressed and pressured. We all have to contend with fearful considerations. We all face circumstances that portray loss in some capacity and threaten our future. The key involved in being successful isn’t to finally get to a place where we are no longer attacked, but instead making the decision to take on every mental assault, as it happens, when it happens, every time it happens. There is a reason God exhorts us to live one day at a time. The day you can handle. Endeavoring to live in the past and in the future you cannot handle. When you let things that are bothering you go, eyes fixed upon some future day, you miss the moment that is now and more importantly the fight that is now. And like a fighter, every shot absorbed adds up blow by blow,  until finally you go down. The situation demanded something of you now, not later. You were provoked and prodded and you needed to act. You needed to take it on when it was occurring. You needed to take a respite and get back in control.

Incredible as it seems, you can only live your life right now. You experience now, you feel now, you live now. You cannot live in your future and trying to do so is exhausting. Real life is found in your experiences which you might miss a lifetime if your focus isn’t on now. You are either happy or unhappy today. You are enthusiastic or miserable today. And, you are either peaceful or distressed right now. If you are distressed, unpeaceful, agitated, take some time and figure out why. What are you thinking about that is causing your distress? What threats have entered your awareness that you have failed to confront? What are you so afraid of? Answer those questions successfully and your peace will return. One of my favorite things I tell myself when I feel unrest is that I have nothing to be afraid of in any capacity and that my God is over all. There is no value in acting like you don’t feel something that you are feeling. It’s not healthy or honest to act as if things aren’t what they are. If you are bothered in any way, large or small, take it on and for Lord’s sake, stop running away from it. Fear only takes advantage of you when you retreat! Stop running from whatever it is that is after you! Turn and take it on. Challenge it. Refute it. Quote God’s Word concerning the situation. In essence, win the fight that is happening now. Your peace will return at the end of the conflict. Wishing there was no conflict or trying to escape the conflict will not work. You are in a fight. Sometimes the fight is easy to win. At other times, the fight is intense. But, no matter the form, it is a fight. When it dawns on you, you have been knocked off center, take a brief respite and get it straight. Don’t just move ahead or ignore it. Take it on, all comers, at all times.

The absolute beauty and joy of life comes after you have taken on the challenges that oppose it. Don’t get lulled into the illusion that your life is a collective effort and as long as you finish well, you win. No, my friends, life is a continuous series of right nows, with your experiences and enjoyments happening right now. You don’t need to concern and fret yourself with winning at life. You must needs concern yourself with what is going on right now, today, the only day you can live. Win the moment, win the hour, win the day. Take on those things that have plagued and hampered you. Challenge the stories concerning how your life will turn out. Do whatever it takes to get back to being peaceful and live there. When you find yourself frazzled, take the respite you need and get back to your abundant life, right now, today. There simply is no other way.

Just some good thoughts…

Unpack Your Bags…

When you return home from a vacation, you know one of the first things you need to do is unpack. Oh you can leave the bags sitting there with plans to fish out the toiletries in the morning, but you won’t be very comfortable until you supply the effort necessary to unpack. Leaving your stuff in the suitcases leads to feeling unsettled and becomes exacerbated with every passing day. The dirty clothes start to smell and you become aware of things you are missing, at least for a little while. Your mind, your thoughts about things, your conclusions formed also need to be unpacked at times in order to get back to happy living. You have to take some time to unpack.

Have you ever taken the time to contemplate how many things enter into your thinking in a day? One solitary thought leads to another thought and before you know it you are starting to form some conclusions about certain situations. Some thoughts seem centered upon your inadequacies while others pick at your capabilities or areas where you struggle. Mistakes you may have made are somehow compounded and joined with other mistakes leading to unsavory opinions of yourself and your motives. Before you know it, outside of your awareness, you have unknowingly arrived at a destination concerning yourself that is neither true nor substantiated. And, similar to the lazy traveler, you have to give yourself time to unpack it all and get back to what is right.

Failure to take the time you need to digest life’s experiences and your thoughts concerning the same lead to packing around baggage you likely need to unload. Unbeknownst to you perhaps are hundreds if not thousands of microscopic bits of unguarded and unwatched thoughts littering their debris on your mind and heart. That which you fail to control seeks to control you. At first blush, you clearly recognize the errant thought and its effect upon your tranquil state. But, those thoughts not dealt with and confronted lead to more thoughts stacking and adding and conglomerating until at last you find yourself distressed. Many, if not all, of our agitations in life come from these deftly planted ideas and notions that have been left to themselves to blossom and to grow. They grow and multiply because they have been ignored or glossed over and never challenged for the lies they actually represent. When you find yourself troubled, as you necessarily must, your task isn’t to simply move on and let it go, but rather to give yourself time to unpack it all until you get back to the equanimity that is your birthright.

Human beings as a whole have failed to take seriously the importance of right thought and as such get blown about with every wind of doctrine, afraid of this new threat, terrified of some unknown possibility, batted around to thing to thing to thing. In the helter-skelter of confused and disparate thinking, anxious, divided and distressed, they run and stagger and halt and keel never actually taking the time required to sort out the mess and settle upon some real conclusion. It never dawned on them the importance of taking back control of their organ for thinking by allotting the necessary time to unpack it all and get it straight. They must needs pull out the stinky garments one by one until all are gone, the threat dismissed, the situation resolved, the peace returned. Unpacking is required for all that would seek to live in peace.

In order to unpack you must first recognize that which you have packed. You thought the thoughts and you entertained the possibilities. No matter what may be going around you, you are the one thinking the thoughts. It is your mind and it is the one thing you have complete control over. Oh, you may not be the author of every wild beast that flashes across your awareness, but you are the gatekeeper who determines if it is allowed to remain. The competition for your happiness, for your peace of mind, for your overall well being, takes place within the confines of your own mind. We are all assaulted, we are all attacked, we are all subject to seemingly endless accusations and annoyances, but we don’t have to lose the fight. We lose not because we have been harangued but because we supplied no effort to fight back. We fight back by taking the time we need to get things straight. It is not a matter of how much time it takes, but instead have we taken the time we need. Enough time is defined as the rest returning to your soul. Unpacking leads to the promised rest.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of prayer is the opportunity to unpack all of our nonsense and foolishness with Someone far greater than us in terms of insight, understanding and ability. As such, we lay it all out there with great honesty of soul. We tell of our hurts and our troubles, our pains and our dysfunctions. We elucidate our vexations and sources of discomfort with an expectation of answers of peace that help our souls return to the reverie we need so dearly. We talk things over. We get things straight. We sort it out. We clean it up. We start fresh. We get back up. We resolve ourselves to win next time. We learn what we can learn and are that much better off in the next fight. We don’t pretend something is what it is not, but instead we say exactly what it is believing it does not have to remain that way! We lay it all at the feet of our Master and in so doing relieve ourselves of a whole world of burdens and pain.

Do you find yourself troubled about many things? Do you feel confused and divided inside, knocked about from pillar to post? Are you suffocating in the effects of wrong thought and wrong believing? Do you find yourself underwater and barely able to breathe? Start today by making the time to unpack your baggage and get to the clean, fresh air where you can breathe in new life with all of its limitless possibilities… They’re your bags, after all. Unpack them!

Just some good thoughts…

Settle It. Solve It. Resolve It…

There are times in life, when you are an avid believer in God and His Word, that God will open the eyes of your understanding and show you something that will absolutely change your life! Just such a thing happened to me this weekend. The subject of the teaching was accessing God’s peace in your life and how, in order to experience and enjoy that peace, you have to take the time to settle the things in your heart that remain unsettled, unsolved and unresolved.

Peace typically occurs at the end of a conflict. It has been referred to as the absence of strife. Peace can follow accomplishment or a job well done. Peace is also defined as undisturbed well being. It is knowing that everything is going to be okay. Peace is something God gives to us as His children. Yet for all the magnificence that God’s peace is in our lives, we often fail to access it. We fail to access it because we go about obtaining it in the wrong way. We tend to believe that peace is something we have to work for by “living right” or by giving up something; by adding something; or by abstaining from something. Such is the life of the typical Christian believer, ever condemned and guilty, never measuring up, always unworthy! I cannot tell you how many Facebook and Instagram stories promote how unworthy we are before God, implying that if we only “did better” or worked harder we would arrive. Well, here’s newsflash for your weary soul – there will never be anything you can do that will make you worthy before God! Making you worthy is something God had to do for you! The sooner you come across that realization, the closer you are to enjoying God’s peace in your life. What a cruel, dreadful, awful trick the enemy of God has placed on God’s people since the world began. Who the hell wants to worship and serve a God that is perpetually unhappy and displeased with His children? Are you perpetually displeased with your children? Don’t you have a little forgiveness for their foolishness? Do you not extend them some mercy at times? Don’t you just love them for who they are irrespective of their behavior? Well, it’s fair to say the God of love can do even better than that! When you find yourself caught in that arduous trap it isn’t God that you are serving anymore, instead it is the commandments and doctrines of men, made by men in an attempt to access a God they neither know nor understand. There is no peace in living that way (and definitely no love).

Peace is something that God freely gives to His children. In order to access that peace in your heart you have to settle things in your heart. You are not going to be able to settle all the things that aren’t right in the world, but you can settle them in your own heart. You do so by believing and accepting what God says over what everyone and everything else says. You remain unpeaceful because you (and I) have all these things going on inside of us that are not resolved. God says that He gave us His son as a payment for all the sins we may commit in a lifetime, past, present and future. Accepting Jesus Christ’s finished work for you leads to peace. BUT (and it’s a helluva big but), your failure to accept that reality in your heart leads to a lifetime of dwelling on and living in every stupid thing you ever did throughout your life! Of course the sin and error is wrong and leads to pain, You don’t need me to tell you that. But, remaining in it is worse, especially when God, the only true judge, has already forgiven you in the life of His son. God solved your sin problem and mine forever. Our Savior’s work is finished, it’s done. Until you resolve that in your own heart, you won’t enjoy the peace God has freely given to you.

Another way believers get talked out of the peace God so dearly wants for His children is by living under the negative judgment of man, including yourself. You do not have the right to judge yourself. When you negatively judge yourself, you reject God’s plan of redemption already enacted for you. Judging yourself and allowing yourself to be judged by other people is wrong. It is not humble to refer to yourself as a worm for God, lowly and defeated. Thinking this way not only robs you of God’s peace, but it serves to work the purposes of your insidious enemy, the accuser of the brethren before God night and day. Similarly, living in the past, rehearsing and cataloging your every mistake, remembering and cleaving to your lowest moments, denies God’s true opinion of you as His child and crucifies afresh His son that died for you. You may not be able to forget all the dumb stuff you have done throughout your life, but you can resolve to settle the matter in your heart. Leaving it unsettled and undone leads only to fear and an incessant focus on what is not right about you!  (Have you ever been there?) Settle it in your heart. Forgive yourself and let it go. Let it ALL go and simply move ahead. Walk out a new man, a new woman, fresh, alive and vital for the day at hand. Walk out with your head held high, a son or daughter of the most high God! Once you really decide to let it all go and refuse to unearth it, you will find yourself living in the peace God has already given you. Resolve it in your heart once and for all.

The good life you dream of is not found in riches and cars and houses and more and more stuff. It is found when you know and understand Him, the God who so loved you that He gave His only begotten son for you. It is found in the joy and love and peace that only God can provide for you. It’s not about you, for goodness sakes, it’s about Him. You don’t have to spend your life feeling like you don’t measure up before God which leads only to increasing fear and doubt and defeat. You have not been found wanting and there is literally nothing you have to do in this life to be at peace other than fully accept all that God has already done for you. Settle the matter in your own heart. Resolve the matter in your own heart. Solve the matter in your own heart by believing what God says is true in every situation that ever confronts you. You will surely be challenged in this life, but God will make sure you always win! Always…

Get peace…

Just some good thoughts…

Annoyingly Annoyed, Agitated and Angry!

Have you ever found yourself just completely and unapologetically annoyed with people? Have you ever spent the day angry about everything? What is it that happens to us on certain days or maybe even for certain weeks when we have literally no patience left for circumstances and situations? What burr got under our saddle? Who are those thorns in the flesh? What has gotten us so pissed off? And, from whence does that agitation originate? Indeed, how did we end up so annoyingly annoyed, agitated and angry?

If you are anything like me, you know that sometimes people and situations just bug the living shit out of you! Oh try as you might to return to your positive status quo, you just can’t seem to locate it. Something happened to you. Something somewhere somehow got to you. Are you just grumpy or hungry or sleepy, or is there another variable involved? Your emotions, as varied and complex as they are, are still fed by the thoughts and feelings you are accepting or confronting. Your mind does not function in a vacuum. Words and opinions and experiences all work to take you somewhere be it good or bad. Words carry with them tremendous power to shape your mindset and encourage or discourage you. Opinions, though always personal in nature, work with you when you share them and work against you when you disagree. Experiences must be interpreted and they are done so in the light of what you are thinking at the time. Some days we want to write off as bad days, close up shop and start fresh tomorrow. Other days we feel we have energy unlimited and can do anything we desire. Just what exactly is going on?

Every single thing you put into your mind has some kind of effect on you. Every. Single. Thing. There are no such things as benign thoughts. Every Facebook post, every Instagram meme, every so called news report or article, every conversation, every skillfully crafted advertisement, every text string, every email, every LinkedIn posting, every single asinine campaign ad, every reality television program makes some type of impact on your mind. You see it, you read it, you rehearse it, you contemplate it, ending in some type of effect on how you are going to feel. If you are not careful, soon you find yourself swept away and annoyed. For me, it’s not differences in opinions that bother me, it’s the general absence of any fathomable logic or common sense. It’s group think. It’s all or nothing processing where all choices are centered in either A or B. How absurd? There is good and evil and a whole world of choices in between. Americans in particular seem to have been lulled into non-thinking largely based on the cheap effects of social media. Empty words, empty ideas, completely illogical concepts and gross generalizations based on some bullshit someone else came up with. Reading it and considering it absolutely fries my soul! But, as has been the case since time began, the problem isn’t all the outside influences trying to captivate and capture our minds, the real problem is in our consideration of those irrational concepts and lies. Lies, lies, lies all craftily designed to dull and diminish our God-given capability to think for ourselves.

The solution to our dilemma is not to fuss and fume and fret ourselves over the latest line of insanity to assault our minds, but instead refuse it. This precarious notion that being an adult means having to patiently sift through the garbage bin, politely agreeing to disagree, trying to find logic in illogic or acting as if everything is true just a different kind of true, is abject delusion and nonsense! It was the consideration of evil that led to the first man’s demise and it will, without doubt, lead to yours as well. Your job, my job is to separate ourselves from it. Stop listening to it. Get away from the people that promote it. Well, you can scroll past it they say. Yes, I can but I’m worse off for having done so. Every small piece of poop you leave on your shoe is part of a collective larger piece of poop on your shoe, you will be left with in your mind. Stop arguing with them! Quit trying to interject something logical into something that isn’t logical to begin with. Nuts is nuts is nuts is nuts! Walk away from it. The reason you are feeling so agitated is that you keep giving the source of agitation access to you and isn’t your former friend that is behind it! Clean up your friends list! Better, stay off the feed for awhile. Figure out what it is that is upsetting you and remove its access to you.

Finally, recognize what it is you are saying to yourself or worse, what you are saying about yourself. No one in their right mind is opposed to their own selves. By the time you are angry with yourself and no longer like that person staring back at you from the mirror, something has already worked you over. Something has succeeded in diminishing your worth to the point where you remain perpetually angry with your very own self! You are a human being and like all humans will find yourself unknowingly participating in some absurdity from time to time. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to blow it, miss the mark, fail in your efforts and generally fall short of the person God called you to be. The nature of error preexists in your bloodline. Instead of being angry with yourself, figure out what it is that you are telling yourself about yourself. If it is causing you unrest it is probably not true. God, like any good parent, doesn’t make you better by pointing out your flaws but rather by pointing out all that is right about you. He graciously provided the ultimate solution in the life of His son. God isn’t mad at you, you are mad at you! After you clean up your friends list, take some time to clean up your own mind as well. Purge your thoughts of every accusation, every consideration of something being wrong with you.

These days we live in feel like the pinnacle of annoyance, agitation and anger, but they don’t have to be. There’s a better place to live. Calm yourself down a little bit and figure out what you have been feeding your mind that has you so pissed off! Anger and agitation do nothing but diminish your soul! Get above it on the high road where God lives. I don’t know about you, but I feel better already!

Just some good thoughts…

Escaping the Agitation…

We live in a crazy world, in a crazy time. If you are remotely in touch with your feelings you know that agitation is running amuck. Facebook has succeeded in getting you heated. The news is deeply under your skin. The President continues to tweet and you continue to read it. People you thought you knew are not the people you thought you knew at all. The masses, at least the American masses, have become so polarized and entrenched that they are conveying messages they don’t really believe, agreeing with arguments they don’t really support in defense of a team of which they aren’t really a part. Madness. Agitation. Confusion. You know you don’t like it; how you feel; the battle lines you are drawing. There has to be a way out of it. There must be a solution. Surely there is an answer! Well, there is, but it is going to take a little humility on your part. You are going to have to set that massive human ego aside and do something different. Can you escape the agitation? You better believe it!

Agitation at its core is the absolute opposite of peace. In a war, you cannot expect any modicum of peace while you are still engaged in the fight. In life, conflicts will always appear; will always challenge your thinking; will ever be right around the corner quietly awaiting your arrival. And once you arrive, it’s on like the break of dawn. Some things in life are worth fighting for, but sadly many things are not. They key is found in being able to discern the difference. Perhaps the most worthless fight in life is earnestly trying to make someone do something or agree with something or support something they do not support. When you are fighting for justice, there is no value in trying to convince those of injustices done when their aim is not justice. You are not going to educate someone out of racism. And although racism is born of ignorance, you cannot teach a student who is not yet ready to learn. Instead, you have to let that sleeping dog lie. Align yourselves with the people who do what is right and give not another second to those who do not. You cannot change evil. You can’t work hard to convince evil. Evil will continue to be evil and good will continue to be good. Work with those on the side of good. Otherwise, you will continue to find yourself in a fight you cannot win. You will continue to experience agitation and nothing will change as a result of it. The only loser will be you. Walk away from the evil and cleave to the good.

You cannot get peace from agitation anymore than you can get potatoes from onions. If you keep planting onions you are going to keep getting onions. Expecting your onions to turn into potatoes when they are onions is absurd. If you really want potatoes, the only logical course of action is to plant potatoes. Likewise, if you want peace you have to plant peaceful thoughts. Spending your days rehearsing and sharing the wrongs done to you will only lead to more wrongs done to you. How could they not? Every wrong thought repeated is a wrong result received. Maybe you went through some really shitty things. Well, God bless you. But listen, the way out of those things is to move in a different direction. Remaining in the crap, rehearsing the crap, lamenting the crap, complaining about the crap simply serves to keep you in the crap! Step out of the shit hole! Wipe the remains off your shoes and move ahead. Really move ahead. Let it go! Learn what you can learn, make some promises to yourself and move ahead. You cannot expect to dutifully remain in the agitation and hope for some peace. The peace isn’t found in the agitation. Your peace is always there for you, but you have to cooperate with it and center your focus on thoughts that bring you peace. Step away from the agitation and move towards the peace.

You can literally, unless you are on acid, only think one thought at a time. So, what are you thinking about? Are you cussing out your boss? Are you still fighting with your wife saying all the things you wished you would have said in the moment? Are you dwelling on everything you don’t have? Are you rehearsing all the things you don’t like about your life? If so, you are wasting your time! Worse, you are working against yourself to bring more and more trouble towards yourself. If you are honest, you are just fighting with your own thoughts. Crazy huh? Fighting against your own thoughts, when they are your thoughts… Change your thoughts. Stop thinking about the stuff that makes you nutty and puts you on overdrive! Stop letting Facebook and stupid memes and lying conclusions, run your life. Quit letting the media tell you how to think. Stop agreeing with senseless, idiots promoting opinions they neither originated nor understand. Just quit it! You are on a treadmill from which you have the freedom to step off. Don’t fret. Don’t fume! Don’t swear yourself to revenge. Step off! Get on track with something good and kind and useful instead.

The world we live in today has unparalleled access to our hearts. In the old days, you just read about this garbage in the paper. In the old, old days someone had to tell you these things in person. You never had access to the heinous opinions of other people because they would never tell them to you in person. But today, everyone has a voice; everyone has an opinion, everyone has something to say but most of it is just bullshit, rehearsed, repeated, undigested bullshit. And there you are reading it and allowing it to transform who you are! It has been said the greatest thing the devil ever did was to convince the world he didn’t exist. I would say the greatest thing he ever did was to invent social media, damaging souls and spreading division by the millions.

Unplug, check out, do whatever it is you have to do to stop feeding on what’s wrong with the world. It’s not choosing to be uninformed, it’s choosing to be informed by things that are actually true. Brothers and sisters, let it go! Walk away. Don’t look back! Don’t let agitations and tumult cut your life short. God’s peace is there for you if you want it but in order to receive it you have to let something go… Escape the agitation!

Just some good thoughts…