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…

You are Good Enough!


e61575f6ba345c0d95694deee5f23d5fToday I had the privilege of attending the funeral service for one of our fallen law enforcement officers. As the speakers came up one by one, each one clearly a person who truly loved God, all offering heart-warming stories about their relationship with the officer, all had one common theme; namely concerns about not being good enough. These weren’t people living on the fringes of society, committing crimes and taking advantage of their fellow-man. These were people deeply concerned about doing the right thing, setting a good example and leaving behind a lasting legacy. Yet, they all echoed the same fear, one of not being good enough. So my question for you is, are you good enough?

Ever since the beginning of time, man’s heart has longed to be righteous before God. The true nature of man is goodness and though he often struggles to accomplish it, his heart yearns to do right and to be right. It doesn’t matter if a man loves God or rejects God, the wrongs he commits pain him and the good he does, rejoices his heart. It is a universal condition and because of that, the enemy of mankind works hard to exploit it. Imagine working hard day by day to please God, only to be left with a feeling that you somehow don’t measure up. Therein is the rub… You don’t feel like you measure up because on your own you could never measure up. Likewise, you don’t feel good enough because of your own works you could never be good enough. God knows this and has made a way out for you and me!

Each of us was born into the world with the nature of wrong built right into our blood stream. It was never intended that we start that way, but it is the way we ended up. Your very own life blood carries within it the seeds of error, sickness and death. You fall easy prey to temptation and wrong choices because the seeds of wrong live within you. But God, who did not intend this condition, made a way for you and I to live above it.

The way above it to make the decision to get born again (Romans 10:9-10) and to accept God’s free gift of righteousness; to accept Jesus Christ as your savior from sin; to accept his perfect walk before God to atone for your imperfect walk.  True humility rests in understanding that you cannot lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. A humble heart is one which knows that it cannot of its own accord do anything! There’s nothing humble about perpetually feeling bad about yourself. Humility isn’t found in condemnation and feelings of inferiority. You certainly wouldn’t want that for your children, so why on Earth would you believe that God wants that for His children? The reason people think this way is because that’s what they have been taught. They have it drummed into their minds and scorched into their hearts that their walk before God, indeed their happiness before God, depends on what they do and do not do. And, while we all know that doing wrong makes us feel bad, we fail to realize that attempting to do good or to do better has no natural end point. How good is good enough? How many good works are required to earn our own righteousness before God? Again, therein is the rub. It is the enemy behind this false logic, ever working to bring us misery and frustration.

In order to do good you first have to believe you are good. The boy who believes he is a good boy will do good works because of his goodness. The boy who feels he is a bad boy will continue to do bad because of how he feels about himself. Oh he may work to make himself good, but his good won’t ever be good enough and as a consequence his good works will end in resentment. God tells us that we are good, not from any works we have done, but because of God’s goodness towards us. It’s the goodness of God that leads a man to a change of heart. God created His righteousness within us when we got born again leading unto good works. The good works we do aren’t to be loved by God but because we already are loved by God! That’s the truth…

In this short life, you cannot allow yourself to get trapped into the fallacy that you can, by your good works, make yourself good enough. All that belief will do is make you a slave, and not to God, for that matter. You’ll spend your life rehashing some mistake you made twenty years ago. You’ll dwindle away your days in self-evaluation and heart hardening condemnation. You’ll be chock full of criticism and judgement towards others because of how damn hard it is to be you! It’s not God’s will for you to live that way. Life with God was never intended to be a checklist of requirements to accomplish before your little stamp book is full enough to earn a ticket into heaven. Instead, life with God was intended to be sublime, with you never having to earn anything from God, but rather living in the greatest freedom; free to love; free to give and free to serve!

I know the people I listened to today are wonderful people with a heart full of love for God. I just wish I could share with them a better way; a way where the focus of our lives is on God and His goodness, not on ourselves and how we might strive to be good enough…

You are good enough. You know how I know? Because God said you are…

Just some good thoughts…

Ps To that brother and comrade that gave his all, you were good enough!

 

Who Is Your God, Anyway?


th06-openpage-cart_1985044fAs I live this life, I’m consistently faced with many things that cause me to scratch my head, but nothing perplexes me more than the believers who don’t believe. I should add, I recognize there are more viewpoints concerning God than there is sand on the seashore, but one common grain sticks out every time. People just do not believe, it seems, in God’s capacity to actually help them in their lives. They pray prayers not to get a tangible answer, but instead to soothe some psychological need or something. They follow rules of conduct or practice morality not to enjoy a positive result, but in order to hopefully escape some negative possibility. They attend meetings not for encouragement or enlightenment, but to punch tickets during spiritual labor-day. It just seems so arduous and pointless. What good is your God if He lives a billion miles from you, unable and unwilling to help you with the smallest of details of your life? What’s the point of all of your hard works and sacrifices you do for your God, when at any moment He can pull the rug out on you for no apparent reason at all? Why even call Him your Father if He would do less for you than any earthly daddy would do? Why people, why?

If there is one thing that annoys the holy bejesus out of me it is going through the motions. It’s like hanging out with people you don’t enjoy. It’s like laughing at jokes that actually offend you. It’s saying bad food is tasty and asking for seconds. It’s all ritual and acting and hypocrisy. So, why would anyone participate in that foolishness? Usually it’s because of some fear or some rejection or some nebulous loss occurring. And, people do that very same thing with God. Instead of taking their shoes off and talking turkey with God, they reform their language to sound holy and dole out false platitudes before ever getting to anything real. And when they get to something real they add so many qualifiers that it’s probably hard for God to follow along 😉 (if it be thy will, if thou wilt have time, if you’re okay with me having that, etc…). I have to tell you folks, something is wrong with that picture. I aint being critical of your beliefs, because I know someone taught you that stuff, I’m just asking you to rethink your shenanigans. If God is who He says He is, then I’m pretty sure He can see through all of our crapola. If He could create an entire world and all the life forms, it seems He might be able to fix something for you once in a while. If He is everywhere present, seems you shouldn’t have to look up to find Him, nor assume any posture neither go to any location to speak with Him. If He’s your actual Father, seems like there wouldn’t be much He wouldn’t do to help you if He could and reportedly there’s nothing He cannot do! You see what I’m saying? Something is amiss…

Just by sheer logic, and I mean down to the guts of the matter, there ought to be some grand benefit to being God’s kid; in being a believer. If there is no benefit, why in God’s name should anyone choose it? Why would I spend time bestowing the virtues of God to you if God never did anything good for me? That’s not being sacrilegious, that’s being honest. Why would you tell someone you will pray for them while they’re sick if you don’t believe God will heal? Why should you teach your kids about God if they get nothing out of the relationship but maybe a promise of a one-way ticket to heaven someday? Sure heaven is most appealing, but what about today? Look, it has to be a helluva lot bigger than that, don’t you think? The way most people believe God and who they think God is, if it were me, I would have chucked Him in a long time ago!

Well good people, that is not who God is, at all… God is everything you ever hoped He would be and then some! He ardently desires a relationship with you, not for you to prove something to Him, but to allow Him to prove something to you. He doesn’t want your rituals and your rigmarole anymore than you would want that from your children. Your behavior before Him and whether or not you sin was never His issue. You were born into this world dead in trespasses and sins and there’s nothing you can do by your own works; your foolish, pointless works, to fix that! All your focus on sin and mistakes does nothing more than to talk you into doubting who He is and what He will do, for you…

The real reason you never see Him in action or get to enjoy His goodness is because of one thing and only one thing ~ you don’t believe Him. I don’t mean believe “in” Him, I mean literally believe Him. Believing, true believing, is the polar opposite of going through the motions. It is the north when play acting a role is south. It’s getting good and damn serious about getting your prayers answered! It’s about an intimate relationship with your Father who is closer than your very breath. It is a reliance on Him opposing a reliance on yourself. You can be a self-made man if you want, but how is that working out for you thus far? Life is big and serious and tricky folks and you were never designed to do it all alone. You never want your God to be yourself.

God in His unending grace and overflowing mercy doesn’t expect much from you at all really. But, one thing He does require is that you believe; as in flat-out, no questioning, no doubt; assured of a good outcome, peaceful, quiet believing. Your prayers are a conversation with Him, not a monologue or a speech. He knows the answer to your question and is most pleased to share it with you, if you believe He can and will. He, alone, made that body you inhabit and He can fix any part of it at any time without a doctor or a medication. There is no incurable with God! Sometimes your problems have developed over a long time, in much error, like gum deeply matted in the fur of your dog. And for you and your hair’s sake, it may take a little time to extricate you from your troubles. But, be assured, the repair was underway from the very first time you voiced your dilemma to Him.  God loves everything about you, both big and small and has something great for you no matter the size of your issue. That is who God is folks and why He is everything you could ever want Him to be!

Do yourself a huge favor in this short life and stop searching for some mysterious cause or some silly behavior you need to fix and learn rather how and what to believe. Your work; your real work is to convince your stubborn, human noggin to believe what God says over and above what it looks like. And when you learn how to do that, you will find that God is exactly who He said He is… Then, you will love Him with all that you are not because you are supposed to, but because it’s your only logical, thankful response to Him for all that He is doing for you!

Just believe baby, believe…

Just some good thoughts…

 

Religion and How It Ruins Your Relationship with God…


6a00d834515f9b69e20168e5c36718970c-800wiIf you are born again of God’s spirit, your relationship with Him should be the sweetest thing this side of heaven. However, for most, it seems, it is just the opposite. Well, there’s a reason for this and that reason is called, “religion.” Sounds like quite a contradiction, I know, but being religious and having a vital relationship with God are often miles apart.

The issue isn’t the sincerity of the believer or their heartfelt desire to walk with God. The crucial issue centers around what the believer “thinks” is required in that relationship, which, when religion gets involved, contradicts the Bible on every front. Religion, in its thousand-fold forms always, always, always put the emphasis on what man is or isn’t doing. Conversely, true Christianity’s focus is always, always, always on what God has done and will do for you, the believer. Now, just let that simmer for a minute…

Look, I aint trying to bash your religion, whatever that might be, I’m just trying to tell you some stuff that I know is true from the Word of God, which if you dare to believe and understand it, will completely change your life and your relationship with Big Poppa!

First and perhaps most important, God is not following you around monitoring your behavior. He’s not condemning you, making you feel guilty or convicting you by the holy spirit (whatever the hell that means)! Surprise! God already knows your behaviors and thoughts aren’t always righteous and as such made a way to make you righteous before Him without it being based on your (and my) ever fluctuating behaviors. His son, Jesus Christ (who, by the way didn’t have a sin nature in his blood) walked perfectly by his free-will, so you wouldn’t have to! Your job is to believe in his sacrifice for you and thus God reckons righteousness unto you, because you chose to believe! Come on now, do you really think your sincere commitment not to cuss or smoke would really make you righteous in God’s sight? It’s just silliness; a silliness promoted by religion that ever seeks to make it all about YOU and not all about God! Note* Insert whatever foolishness you’ve been taught in place of no smoking and no cussing!

Who in the world wants a Father who constantly abides to criticize you and point out what you aren’t doing and should be doing or are doing that you shouldn’t be doing? Lord have mercy, do you do that with your kids? Well, if you do, stop it, because that crap is evil. There is someone who is accusing you day by day, but he isn’t God! And, just for the record, almost the entire book of Romans focuses on this issue because it’s that big! (Book of Romans…in Bible)

Next, I have to address the Facebook meme frenzy, whereby God is doing some dastardly sh*t to you to make you better, somehow, someway! Like… God saves the toughest challenges for His strongest people or God’s testing you to make you better or anything that implies that God does negative stuff to make you worthy or humble or whatever! This, my friends, is a lie from hell! God doesn’t need the stupid adversary or evil to perfect you. Where did you ever get that insane idea? From religion, that’s where you got it. It comes from a lack of understanding regarding evil and in that ignorance attributing everything that happens back to God. What possible purpose could God have in causing a disaster where people are killed? It’s nuts, if your brain works, but somehow acceptable in religion. You know, God is mad at the ______ (insert who you are mad at today) and that’s why that happened. Again the focus is on what? The people and what they are and aren’t doing! What a fantastic delusion! Get rid of the source of the problem, blame it on God and totally screw up the sincere believer.

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. No darkness…at all…ever! Just for the record, supposedly giving people sickness is darkness. Killing people is darkness. Making life generally hard and annoying for some vague, unknown lesson is darkness. Threatening people with a life lived in perpetual torture called, “hell” is darkness. There’s no hell as described afore, in the Bible. Who the hell (pun intended) would run it? So, who told you all that garbage? Religion did, that’s who! To help you, you ask? No, to control you! It has nothing to do with your relationship with God and everything to do with your relationship with the people who seek to control you! Maybe that’s too blunt for you, but by God, it’s the truth and if you are ever going to feel good about your relationship with your Heavenly Father, you need to know the truth!

Time fails me to speak of bead counting, chanting, lighting candles, repetitious prayers, going without, kneeling, going to this place at that time, avoiding that place, sacrificing, not drinking, cussing, smoking, no sex, no caffeine, no medicine, no, no, no, no – arghhhhhhhhhh, misery! No wonder you don’t want to talk to God except on Sunday when it’s required! No wonder the mention of His name makes you uncomfortable. No wonder you don’t share your heart with Him, after all, He might figure you out! Newsflash!!! He already knows all about you (duhhhh) and still loves you! He is God, for God’s sake! Do you really think there is some aspect of your humanness of which God isn’t familiar? Really?

Religion really is the opiate of the masses, but unlike other opiates, doesn’t make you feel better. You have to give God more credit than that! Seriously? Beads? Chanting? Saying the same crap over and over again? Would any of that bless you as a Father? Mother? I think you really might be after, above all else, their heart! Well, it may surprise you that God is after…..wait for it…your heart; your free-will; unforced or coerced; just because; for love’s sake; heart… God wants to give all His greatness to you! He wants to help you and heal you and restore you and make you smile. He desires to give you life and that you have it more abundantly!

Like I said, I aint mad at your religion, or whatever your allegiance is to, or what your folks taught you or what your pastor said. My aim is ever and always your freedom to live and enjoy this life. I didn’t make this stuff up. This is God’s Word of “religionlessness” for you.

Just some good, free thoughts…