Is It Working For You?


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I often wonder, what’s the point of being a Christian if your life is just like everyone else’s life. I mean think about it. Surely there is a benefit, indeed many benefits to having a relationship with God and if there aren’t any tangible benefits, maybe we are doing something wrong. For many, it seems that being a believer means you believe in God but not necessarily in the power of God. You are pretty sure that God exists, but when it comes to the life you live, not much seems to happen. People pray for God to help with them difficult times, but don’t pray for God to provide solutions for the difficult times. It’s sort of like God is there for you, but doesn’t do anything to change whatever it is you are facing. Maybe people don’t understand that there is the power of God that they can access. Or, perhaps they have prayed so much with so little results that they have resigned themselves to go through the motions never really expecting anything good to happen. If God is perfect, and I believe that He is, then we must be doing something wrong. If I never receive any results to my prayers, I must be doing something wrong. Why would God promise us so much in His Word if we could not experience those things for ourselves? Is God unwilling to intervene in our challenges? Are our concerns, our troubles not worthy of His consideration? Is this life we live presently supposed to be hard and our task merely to endure it patiently? When it comes to what you believe, is it working for you? 

If you’ll notice the media of today it is fraught with a beggar mentality. We are instructed to be thankful that we woke up or experience other benign benefits that all living people experience. There’s nothing wrong with being thankful of course, but waking up seems fairly fundamental to living creatures. The subtle message implied is that therein is the limit for your expectations. Wake up, be glad and endure another day powerless to effect any change. My words have no intent to criticize, but instead to shake up the lethargy the world engenders. God’s promise is not reserved only for your future life, but for the life you live right now. God wants you to be happy now! God wants you to be healed now! God wants you to prosper now! God wants you to live abundantly now! The reason you don’t experience this reality is because you don’t believe it to be true. The world has reduced God to be the morality police, concerned only and always with what you do right and what you do wrong. He is not seen as a Father providing loving care for His children, but instead an angry judge perpetually displeased with His creation. It’s as if He is wholly unfamiliar with your humanity and your needs associated with that humanity and is more concerned with rules and requirements most of which run at cross purposes with what you want to do! You’ve been told that God does not have time for your petty needs and that it is selfish to pray for yourself. It is no wonder people live the way they do. Instead of days being filled with excitement and enthusiasm for living, people trudge along in perpetual misery, lost, confused and without hope. If you are living this way, it isn’t working for you.

Your first step in your quest is to find out what God actually says about Himself. If you are going to pray for His help, you need to know what He says. I can guarantee you that a lot of what you have heard about God is not true. Instagram is chock full of people whose job it is to make stuff up! “God only gives His toughest battles to His strongest people!” Who says? That’s not what God’s Word says, that’s what people say. It subtly implies God is loading you with hard times as a test or something. We are all in the fight; in the battle, and we get our asses kicked when we don’t know how to fight back. You have to learn what God says about Himself. You have to learn who God really is. Once you begin to appreciate the vastness and the ability of God, you will have no problem going to Him for help. But first, you have got to get all that worldly garbage out of your head. If your first thought when you pray is about how you have been living, then you are doing it all wrong. God doesn’t answer your prayers because you are so good, He answers them when you believe Him, and you will have a hell of a hard time believing what He says when your focus is on yourself and everything you do and do not do!  By the grace of God I am what I am! That is how you win. No-one deserves God’s goodness, yet He offers it to everyone! If you aren’t getting your prayers answered, it isn’t working for you. 

Much of the hinderance we face in getting results is based upon our expectations. We expect so little. It’s no wonder as the world works hard to persuade us thus. We think we oughta be grateful when it’s all going to shit and learn to accept “what cannot change!” Well, who said it cannot change? If God is my Father and I’m struggling or suffering in some capacity, then it stands to reason He would want to help me. To assume otherwise is to assign monstrosity to God. To consider that He would allow evil to work me over in order to produce something beneficial is of equal horror. Sometimes I think we just have to slow down a bit and think. If God is love, if God is light and in Him is no darkness at all, then I must have something confused somewhere along the line. God desires to answer your prayers more than you want to pray them! But, in order to do so he needs a little cooperation on your part. He needs for you to do something with that mind of yours. You can’t be full of negativity and darkness and expect God to shine the light. You cannot be convinced that nothing is going to happen when you pray and expect something to happen anyway. Life does not work that way; lotteries perhaps, but not life! If things are not working out for you, chances are you are not doing something with your mind. 

There are a multitude of things God is reportedly telling you not to do but most, if not all of it, is not from God at all. There are some things God says not to do and it may surprise you what those things are. The number one admonition in the Bible is to fear not! Fear and all of its devilish companions are your primary problem. Doubt, the precursor to worry, stops your prayers in their tracks. Worry, the precursor to fear, stymies your every move. Fear, the precursor to misery and suffering not only prevents you from getting what you want, but actually serves to bring you the things you do not want! Read those sentences again. Fear is your main problem. Fear runs the world. If you will notice your thought life, even for a brief period, you will see the prevalence of fear. You are afraid that you and your loved ones are not safe, so you do all kinds of shenanigans to make them safe. You are afraid your health will be compromised, so you work hard to get it all right. You are afraid your need won’t be met, so you drive yourself mad working to make sure you are okay and that all your needs will be met. The problem with fear is that is has you doing all the right stuff for all the wrong reasons. Your core belief, when it is fear, is wrong and cannot help but bring more of what you don’t want. Before you can get your prayers answered, you have to rid yourself of fear. You must learn to recognize fear and challenge it with God’s Word. Otherwise, your mind won’t be in the right space to receive from God. That, my friends, is your part. You cannot expect God to give you roses while you are earnestly expecting weeds. God will not overstep your free will as much as you may wish otherwise. Obeying God is more properly obeying His command to fear not. You loose the grips of fear by letting God do His job while you do your job. God’s job is too hard for you to do and your job is yours and yours alone. Are things not working out for you? The likely cause is fear and you owe it to yourself to learn to overcome it. 

Being a child of the most High God should be the greatest thing ever. You have access to the greatest power in the universe and He exists for you. There is nothing God will not do for you. There is no challenge, no shortcoming, no former defeat, no sickness, no lack, nothing that can overcome the power of God in operation for you. Life does not work for anyone outside of Him and with Him you can only win. Is it working for you? I hope so and if not then get busy learning who God is and what He will do for you. It is there for you if you want it my friends. It is always there…

Just some good thoughts… 

Good Vibes…


Palm-TreesMuch research has been done concerning the energy levels that all of us are producing. Some folks even go as far to say that our energy levels meet before we actually meet. New Agers call it vibrations and posit that higher level vibrations or frequencies attract other high energy frequencies. Higher level vibrations encompass things like love, positivity, abundance, kindness and gratitude, while lower level frequencies consist of things like fear, worry, anxiety, poverty and lack. Whatever you want to call it, however you want to frame it, there is such a thing as good vibes and good vibes appear to lead us to good things. The questions then become, are you living with good vibes or bad vibes? Are the vibes you express automatic or is there something you can do with your mind to encourage or if needed, discourage them? And finally, are the vibes you find yourself living within a product of your circumstances or are they something you are putting out in every situation that you encounter? 

Whenever we travel to southern California to visit our children, I always feel as if the vibe in that sun soaked environment is more relaxed and conducive to good times. The people we encounter seem more comfortable with themselves and the conversation with strangers is almost always pleasant and warm. Conversely, some folks find the California vibe distasteful, filled with liberal thought and people lacking the capacity to understand real world issues. Yet despite that rather narrow view and even more compelling to me, those folks with lots of resources, as evidenced by their beach zip codes, appear so calm inside and willing to engage with others as if they found a secret to living and are content to share that kindness and goodness they enjoy with other people. It was just the strangest thing. So, I have to ask myself, is there some magic in the land of sunshine or is it the vibe I’m sending out in anticipation of a good time? I’m guessing it is the latter! 

As I flash back on that brief, long-weekend jaunt, there was something different I was doing with my mind. I purposefully determined myself not to think about pending issues at work or rehearse difficulties I might encounter. I refused to worry about anything going on. In fact, I decided I would be flexible and wherever possible, just go with the flow. On our first full day, my plans got rearranged by circumstances, but instead of allowing it to mess up my adventure and remain pissed about it, I changed my mind and changed my plans, consoling myself with the idea that I was going to have fun no matter what we did or when. I purposefully greeted people with kindness and warmth and was hopeful I could positively impact someone’s day simply by treating them well. I didn’t complain or bitch about anything. I dwelled on all that was sublime about being with my family and refused negatives no matter the form they showed themselves in. The more blessed and happy I chose to be, the better things felt and the better the end results. And, as I dwelt in good vibes nirvana, it dawned on me that perhaps I should pursue every day in this manner. 

If you really give it some thought, what is it that takes away our happiness or our positive expectations; our good vibes? Most of the time it is circumstances, not so much what is going on around us, but more so our thoughts and beliefs concerning those events. People are both happy and miserable under the same warming sunlight. Whether we would like to admit it or not, we choose fear, we choose worry, we choose negativity and complaining. We hold our own selves back waiting and waiting for it to appear that good things are lining up for us. It never enters our conscious thought that good things and good times are waiting for us to get on the same frequency from whence they originate. We fail to hold up our part of the bargain, but instead beg God to turn things around for us, despite our own sour thoughts and negative disposition. We but half live our lives, afraid to embrace pure positivity should we become disappointed in our expectations, all the while remaining half negative and half positive just in case. In this we are deceived and are coerced into cooperating with the very things that seek to hold us back. The choice to be happy and to remain happy is always ours and ours alone. We don’t really need it to look like things are going well before we decide to act as if things are going well. We just need to change our energy. We need to improve our vibe. We need to be it before we see it!

After you have engaged in the proper amount of reflection concerning this, while all the while staving off thoughts that suggest it isn’t you but rather the circumstances that surround you, test the theory with a personal decision to put your quest for good vibes into action. Choose right now to be happy and stop dwelling on the things that are endeavoring to bring you down. Stop being so negative about everything. Quit rehearsing defeats that may have occurred and lay aside those nagging fears hell bent on predicting your future. Nothing can accurately predict your future as well as you. Lay aside those incessant complaints about people, your job or your circumstances. For God’s sake let it go. No man living ever improved his circumstances by bitching about them. Act as if today is the best day of your life. Look for the good in things, where good exists, and leave all of that monumental fear of loss with God, the only One with power enough to prevent it from happening. Change your thoughts for real. Oh yes, you are going to be challenged. For sure, circumstances will pop up to remind you of something negative. Things will appear to spell some pending disaster or impossible potentially life threatening health issue. That is the contest you (and I) find ourselves in.  Almost as quickly as you work to make positive changes, negative challenges will appear not as reality but instead an ‘imagined’ reality to drive you back into your former lifestyle of defeat. You won’t know until you try and if you never try, you won’t know! What have you got to lose? Put those good vibes into the crucible of your experience and see for yourself. Good, good, good vibrations lead to good, good, good results and they are not limited to the golden coastline of California…

Just some good thoughts.

 

The Revolution


If people live in a difficult environment long enough they eventually band together and demand a revolution. Revolutions happen when the people become so wearied with a certain unfair order of things that they can no longer abide by its rules. It tends to occur in constructs that oppress people; systems that don’t have the same concerns for all individuals and seek rather to promote only the good of the few. And for all that a revolution promises to all the citizens, it typically begins with a handful of committed souls. Is it time for a revolution in your life?

The way that life was designed to be and the way life actually is are often miles apart. People, human beings have been sold a bill of goods and then, overpaid. Absent any information to the contrary, people collectively and perhaps experientially have formed an entire world of conclusions about how things work and have given themselves over to cooperate with the wheel of things, the system; how life reportedly functions. They accept inner turmoil and agitation as natural and even to be expected given all the concerns that accompany adulthood. People are chock full of anxiety on every front. We can’t relax, can’t sleep, can barely function outside mind dulling medications and the like. We’re afraid of disease and disaster and threats of every kind. We’re pessimistic and negative to the point where any good thing is to be closely questioned and carefully examined for its veracity. Happiness, true happiness is always fleeting and short lived. And, no-one seems to ask the question – why? Why is my life so difficult and unpredictable and downright scary? Why is it so hard to get the things I need and want? Why is there such a struggle all the time and even more, what is the reason for my struggles? Maybe it’s time for a revolution!

When things go wrong at work and the company is losing money, people invest their entire souls into figuring out the solution. If your car breaks down, you somehow work out how to get it fixed or replaced. If you have health concerns you go to the doctor. If your child is struggling, you spend untold resources to remedy the situation. If you are unhappy with your abode, you make moves to make it better or even purchase a new home that makes you feel more content. Yet, when it comes to your life, your every day existence, your one precious shot at this thing, you determine in your heart that you have to take it; that you have to find a way to survive. You settle for how things supposedly are and accept it as reality. But, are you sure it is reality or is just your reality? Are you really confident that you know what is going on or are you just guessing? Most people, sadly, are just guessing. They have this vague notion of what life is, usually passed down from their parents or teachers and they resign themselves to that form of life. After all, it’s just the way life is! But, is it? Is life supposed to be hard and then you die. Was it intended in the grand design of things that you as a human just needed to eat shit everyday and be happy or grateful, as some often quote, that you woke up? Everything living wakes up, but that doesn’t mean everything is really living. Maybe when it comes to your thoughts, it’s time for a revolution.

The Designer of this thing we call life certainly didn’t intend for life to be miserable with people barely averting this disaster for the next disaster. It wasn’t part of the plan for people to be pawns at the hands of wicked despot deceiving them at every turn. Man was not intended to live out his days with doubts and fears increasing, terrified of everything and powerless against it. But, this old world has certainly done an excellent job of promoting that existence. People, most people are simply, completely unaware of any viable alternative. They cringe at the thought of life lived with God having been convinced of the impossibility of such an existence. They imagine this frightfully awful life filled with rules for what you can and cannot do. They are convinced they will have to give up everything when all they really have to give up is the fear and the lack and the defeat. People don’t know because they don’t want to know. They are too afraid to even investigate another option, all the while living full of despair and disappointment. God never intended that your life should suck. God never willed upon you your defeats and your losses; your difficulties or your troubles. God’s will has always been the polar opposite for you. It’s high time for a revolution!

There is an alternative. There is a better way to live and in that way there is unparalleled freedom. Just because you haven’t experienced it yet does not mean it doesn’t exist. Haven’t you been wrong enough in your life to be able to accept that possibility? Haven’t you suffered enough in your own, private heart? Aren’t you weary by now of going it your own way? The life that God is offering you is almost unbelievable. Yet it is truth. God is not judging you or angry with you for your so called sinful ways! God loves you and wants you to know the score. God desires to heal you and help you and rescue you. God wants you to live your life in peace and enjoy your days on earth. God wants to answer your every question. God is love and earnestly desires that you experience His love. Yet, He has to wait for you. He will not overstep your freedom of will. He will not force Himself upon you. But know this, He heard every prayer you ever prayed. He knows what is wrong and knows how to fix it. He already knows you and exactly what you need. Won’t you let Him help you?

Do you need a revolution in your heart? Well, get committed and start today to find the answers you need for your life. It’s your one and only life on earth and you aren’t getting any younger. Start the revolution today. God is listening…

Just some good thoughts…

Get Honest and Get Answers!


14533-woman-fake-smile-mask-happy-sad-wide.1200w.tnI have never been a big fan of going to the doctor. I suppose I don’t like my fate resting in the words or expectations of a medical provider. Yet, when I find myself at the doctor’s office, chances are I have some medical malady that is not going away on its own. I’ve probably already diagnosed myself  with several incurable diseases compliments of WebMD and decided in desperation to give the local Doc a try. I’m looking for good news so I agree to disclose only 30% of my symptoms. “Just say the right words Doc and I will be out of here!”

The aforementioned scenario, though silly, approximates how humans deal with their lives when fear is involved. Fear stops people from being honest. Fear predicts a dreadful outcome so the less a matter is discussed, the better! Fear stops you from getting the results you desire. Fear hides out in your thinking and prefers to remain hidden through a myriad of distracting variables. Fear does not wish for you to finally get honest with yourself because it knows when you do, you will be well on your way to finding solutions. But, get honest you must!

This is going to sound like a crazy thing to ask, but when was the last time you were completely honest with yourself? I’m talking take your shoes off, loosen your belt, lay it all out honest! When was the last time you admitted to yourself that something was actually wrong with your life and needed to be repaired? When’s the last time you told that great doctor of your own soul ALL of your symptoms without fear of what it might mean for your life? No-one is a greater fan of positivity than your’s truly, but that doesn’t negate the need to acknowledge when something has gone wrong. If your leg is broken, it’s broken and no ridiculous amount of a good attitude is going to fuse the bones back together.

A common method of thinking nowadays seems to encompass the notion that if you are being positive, you cannot give space to anything negative occurring in your life. This seems especially true for the believers. It’s as if acknowledging something has gone astray means you are no longer renewing your mind to be a positive person. Well, here’s a shocker, believers aren’t instructed to change every negative thought to a positive thought. They are admonished to renew their minds to what the Word says is true. Negative things are absolutely going to happen to you. You are going to be deceived off course. You are going to find yourself pushed and pulled in various directions. At some point you might even discover that your life is totally sucking right now and you are in desperate need of some divine guidance! That’s life folks, and to think otherwise is not being honest with yourself! You are not going to get better until you can finally get honest with yourself once again…

Where in the world did you ever get the idea that admitting something is wrong is some kind of testimony or predictor of the future? Unless I’m missing something, every aspect of life has the potential to go wrong at times. It’s not whether or not you ever get off course. Success is in recognizing you’re off course and getting back on track. Your life; your one short go round is immeasurably important for you. Who convinced you that your own personal happiness isn’t worth a discussion, or that you have to smile about everything no matter what? Honesty expects a change. Honesty demands a different result. Honesty lays the damn issues out there no matter how they look and keeps them out there until something positive enters the picture to remedy the situation. People are so desperate for an answer that makes sense; one that fills the void in their hearts, that they resort to all kinds of distractions to avoid the pain. Some drink to excess. Others fill their lives with a never-ending stream of activities. Some seek the perpetual mind loading of social media. For others it’s an escape to drugs or sex or anything powerful enough to numb the reality of unhappiness down at the heart level. The solution? Get honest with yourself!

Our fast paced world of today doesn’t have time for your problems. When asked how you are doing, you must reply with “fine” as anything further takes too much time! We’ve been arm-twisted into thinking our personal issues are selfish and to spend time discussing them with anyone is an “all about me” attitude. How difficult it becomes to pretend you always have it together and have need of nothing else. How absurd it is to ask people to serve and to help others when they are all bogged down, submerged in some personal dilemma! People today, more than ever, needs answers to the difficulties going on in their lives. They need a little light to shine in on their darkness. But before that can happen, someone has to admit to having a little darkness! Be honest folks…

I find myself at times playing the same little shenanigans with God that I play in the doctor’s office. Twenty or thirty seconds into a discussion with God about some grating issue, I quickly chastise myself for not thinking properly and then change my mind into everything is okay mode, while my leg remains obviously broken. If my leg is broken I don’t need a frikkin pep talk, I need for my leg to be healed! If something isn’t right in your life, you don’t need to just decide to be happy, you need the mother&*%*(ng answer! Haha there’s always an answer; a solution if God is involved! Your job is to be honest with Him and lay it all out there. He sees through our bullcrap anyway, so it makes perfect sense!

Most of us have been talked into letting things go and concluding that is just how life is… Well, that’s not how life is and the moment you quit settling for garbage or hand me downs and start expecting the best, the sooner it is going to arrive. Be brutally honest with yourself and with God. Call a thing a thing (thanks Iyanla)! You have absolutely nothing to lose except fear. If you are suffering in some capacity or feel stuck and trapped, know this, God is never stuck and has the life you’ve been waiting too long for and is most willing to share it with you. That is if you can step down off the pedestal of “I already know” and ask for a little help. Be honest my friends and live the life you still dream of living…

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

Alignment and Harmony…


factom_harmony.width-800Many moons ago I learned about this thing called, “alignment and harmony.” Basically, staying in alignment and harmony refers to your relationship with God and you, the variable, doing your part to keep your head in the space that God occupies. Remaining in alignment and harmony is where all of the believer’s joy and happiness come from in this life.  Being out of alignment with God is the number one source of misery and defeat, and leads to an inability to tap into God’s power or to get your prayers answered!

It has been my experience, as sad as this is to say, that most Christians seem to be living a fairly miserable life. They’re usually submerged in sin-consciousness, overly concerned and focused on the so-called rules for Christian living. They’re born again and have God’s spirit within them, yet they lack the power promised by God to make their lives abundant. The reason for this is that through either ignorance concerning God’s Word or wrong teaching regarding God’s Word, they are out of alignment and harmony with God. You can be uber-religious and totally out of alignment with God. You can tell if you’re out of fellowship with God by how you feel. If you are full of anger and frustration, you are out of alignment. If you have no love for yourself and other people, you are out of harmony. If your mind is filled with bitterness and complaining, you are out of fellowship. If you spend your days working hard to make yourself approved and righteous before God, you are in the wrong place and will suffer as a result of it. You are not in alignment and harmony with God.

This old world works night and day to get you out of that good space where love holds first place. It seeks to make you negative and chips away at you day by day with subtle and not so subtle attacks on your thinking. It wants to fill your mind with worries and fears. It presses you to focus only on yourself and have little or no concern for others. It wraps your mind into various media events hell-bent on dividing and causing angst. Then, as you indulge it, you get further and further away from God and your own happiness, joy and contentment.

Your personal relationship with God, your Father, is your most important relationship on Earth. As such, you cannot allow misconceptions and wrong ideas to cloud the beauty of that relationship. You are on this Earth to find out who God is and how to get His spirit within. Then, to learn how to operate that spirit producing power and joy in your day by day life. You have to cut through the error of religion and see God for who He says he is. A lady reported the other day, how God uses people and often has them doing things they don’t like! To which I responded with a hearty “bullshit!” It’s lies like this that keep people away from God. The only being that uses people and makes them do things they don’t like is the devil and his host of evil companions. When things people tell you don’t make any sense, they’re probably not true.

Staying in alignment is no more complicated than deciding to walk in the light. It’s recognizing when you have gone south, for whatever reason, and getting back to the light. It’s not days spent in guilt and condemnation begging God for forgiveness. It’s simply a recognition in your heart that you may have misstepped and a decision to get back to the light. Walking in the light isn’t following some strict creed of rules for living, but rather keeping your mind in the right place. It’s deciding to love and be kind and patient with people and to love, and be kind and patient with yourself. It’s cultivating a tender heart like God’s heart and through modifications to your thinking, keeping your heart soft and pliable. A hard heart doesn’t show up overnight, but comes from years of wrong thinking and unresolved issues.

Alignment and harmony is really relationship advice. It starts with God, of course, but applies to every relationship you have. Husbands and wives can get out of fellowship with one another. Carrying resentment and refusing to forgive lead to walking in darkness where there is no sweetness of living left. Thus it is your duty, for God’s sake, to get those relationships repaired if you can and be the one who initiates the light. Married couples, out of fellowship with one another, have no power with God and miss out on a golden opportunity to believe together for great things!

Perhaps the worst thing; the most dastardly of all, is when the darkness persuades you to  be at odds with yourself. It’s when you are no longer in alignment with your very own self. If you are not even for yourself in this life, what chance could you have at happiness and fulfillment? Those harsh words and negative ideas about yourself do not come from God. The accusations, the perpetual reminder of past missteps, the questioning of your character and goodness are weapons in the enemy’s arsenal that he has been using for years on mankind. Don’t believe it. Get your head to the light, where God is and see if that doesn’t completely revolutionize your life!

Being in alignment and harmony with God is the greatest thing in the whole world! It’s an unparalleled sweetness and joy like you may have never experienced before. It’s walking with confidence and power knowing that God will answer your every prayer. It’s being so tight with God that nothing can make you afraid. It’s riding in the high places of the Earth! It’s God’s will for His children in order for them to live the more than abundant life He promised them. It is the way, the truth and the life!

Stay in fellowship…it works!

Just some good thoughts…

 

When Your Problem Becomes Your Problem…


ProblemAlerts.jpgBy nature, in order to have a “problem,” means there is some aspect of your life that you find yourself incapable of solving. You’ve done your best thinking. You’ve looked at it from every angle. In short, you’ve devoted yourself 100% to it and yet your problem remains. You may have even resigned yourself to a life with the “problem.” However, there eventually reaches a point where your problem becomes your problem!

We all have bad things happen to us. Some things that happen to people are so indescribably evil, there are no words to explain it. Other people just sort of get stuck with some dilemma they find themselves living a lifetime trying to escape. Catastrophes, extreme losses, losing it all, all have the potential to take away your lifeblood and reduce life to mere existence. Lower down the scale many find themselves a victim, not to something that happened to them directly, but to the repercussions of some grand mistake; some error in judgment; some momentary lapse that became the defining factor in their lives! Again, the apparently inescapable problem became their life problem.

No matter what may have happened to you or what insurmountable problem you may face, there is always a solution. The trouble permeates when it becomes your sole focus in life. You can spot someone suffering in this way immediately because it is the only subject on which they speak authoritatively. They unknowingly dwell in it; they breathe it with every exhale; they consume it and drown themselves in it. Instead of being a problem from which they can still escape, it becomes their reason for living, their red badge of courage.

Ironically, the way to escape it, is the exact opposite of what appears. In the words of a wise man, “Dwelling on the darkness won’t bring forth the light.” Dwelling on what went wrong, what you did wrong, why something went wrong, all serve not to remedy the situation, but rather to affix you, the sufferer, deeper and deeper into the problem. And sadly, if you remain fixated on the darkness long enough, your chances of escape become slimmer and slimmer. You are never, ever going to out-think the darkness by remaining in the darkness. Instead, like all people in the dark, your task will become more and more insurmountable. The reason people are locked into some tragedy or failing that happened twenty-five years ago is because they never let it go. You cannot overcome unless you eventually let it go. In fact, you aren’t going to begin to solve your problems now until you finally learn to let them go.

Life was never intended for you to be the party of the first part, the second part and every other part. You are a human being for God’s sake and much of life escapes your control. When the doctor says you have an incurable disease there’s not a damn thing you, the human being, can do about it. You are fighting against spiritual powers of which you may know or understand very little. Instead you, the finite human being, are supposed to eventually admit you do not know what to do and beseech the help of the One that knows exactly what to do. Absent God and left to your own limited devices, you are simply going to lose. But, if you can get to the place where you wake up, you hand those life-long issues over to God and let Him do what He promised He would do all along!

Goodness knows that some of the things that may have happened to you are awful and painful and arduous at best. That’s not to minimize their grave impact on you at all. You’re stuck because your problem is beyond your human capability to deal with it. Your solution is to let it go. Give it to God every time it lands itself back in your lap. Stop thinking it, fearing it, rehearsing it, addressing it and embracing it. The inescapable problem is bad enough without giving over your entire life and mind in defense and admiration of it. Your problem is not the supreme thing in life. It is not to be your primary thought in every situation. It may have become that but it doesn’t have to remain that. God is supposed to be your supreme thing and your primary thought in life. Dwelling on God and what He says is dwelling in the light. In the light, the solutions become clear and obvious. Maybe your solution is healing. Maybe your solution is to finally get past a terrible event. Maybe your solution is a radical change in your thinking and manner of living. Whatever your solution may be, it can only be found in one place and one place only – the light!

Darkness is a slippery character and is well schooled in how to defeat a human being. Evil and wrong don’t just hit you with a sucker punch you never saw coming, but instead seeks to take away all that is important to you. It’s goal, like trapping a bird in a cage, is  to snare you into some mode of thinking that guarantees more and more trouble will replicate itself in your life. For this reason, you need something bigger than yourself to set you free.

All of us, at one time or another, have found ourselves trapped in some grand dilemma. Everyone of us has had a problem whose solution escaped us. We’ve all been stuck, distracted and caught up into some thing that has been gaining more and more power over us. And like a rodent we seek to remove from our situation, in order to rid ourselves of it, we have to remove its food source. Literally, you have to stop feeding it! You have to steadfastly resist your human tendency and ego that is striving to figure it out and choose rather not to give it any space in your thinking. It’s not easy to do, but is required if you want to win. You have to seek God’s help and continue seeking God’s solution until you realize it in your life. God is faithful and will provide what you need, but you have to do it His way. Every time your problem presents itself to you by knocking on the doors of your mind, you have to give it back to God where it belongs. God will deliver you my friend, with the duration dependent entirely upon your faithfulness to keep your mind fixed on the light! It can be done. It will be done!

How do you prevent your problem from being your life’s problem? Make your problem God’s problem and let Him figure it out. There is no other way…

Just some good thoughts.

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


Chapter Eight

The Fruit of the Spirit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[1] Romans 6:22

[2] 1st Corinthians 14:17

[3] John 3:16

[4] Hebrews 12:2

[5] 1st John 1:4-7

[6] John 10:10

[7] Colossians 3:15

[8] Philippians 4:6

Heaven’s Brass and Unanswered Prayers…


Heavens-of-brass...-300x252I was thinking today about how many people there are that pray for things and how many people don’t seem to get any results. I’m not talking about hopeful, casual utterances, I’m talking about sincere people with real needs who pray heartfelt prayers about vitally important issues. You know what I’m talking about, right? Heaven’s brass; nothings happening…nothing! So the crucial, vital question is why!

What I’m about to tell you may clash with your theology. It may smack up against your preformed ideas. It may even make you get a little angry, so just hear me out, okay?

There may be a multitude of reasons why your prayer life feels like an exercise in psychology, but those reasons really center around a few main points that I hope to make abundantly clear.

First, let me clarify some general truths that you need to understand. The answer to your prayer or lack thereof isn’t a function of God’s decision. God isn’t answering with a resounding “NO” because He has another idea or a better idea or anything else that moves the believing responsibility from you to Him. Sure Father knows best, but Father, the perfect One, doesn’t make your decisions for you. He can enlighten you, teach you and help you, but He isn’t going to decide for you. That always was and always will be your job. If my son wants an Xbox, and let’s face it they’re expensive, I do my best to get him an Xbox. Imagine me giving him a board game and explaining why it will be better for him with some ethereal reason that doesn’t make sense to me or him. Side-note* Nothing is too costly or too expensive for God!

Next and almost as important centers around the confused and erroneous notion that God answers your prayer based on your good or bad behavior. God is not Santa Clause;  a fictitious story we make up to appease our children during the holidays. (I’m not mad at Santa and perpetrated the same stories…) Do you really think you could become good enough to somehow earn God’s goodness? Lord, if that was the standard we all would have forfeited answers to prayer yesterday! And, even if you are feeling particularly righteous today, how much further do you have to go to get to God’s perfection? That, my friends, is a hamster wheel of epic proportion! (Trust me…)

The final “biggie” is entirely composed of your actual expectation. In your heart of hearts, what do you think is really going to happen? I mean the real you, not the Facebook advertisement version of you. Can you even conceive that God could actually do something about your dilemma or are you simply throwing the words out there in hope that maybe, just maybe the stars would align; your ship would come in; you would finally catch a break and whatever else goes along with happenstance and luck!

The truth concerning answered prayers and softening your relationship with heaven is found in alignment and agreement. You have to align your prayers with God’s promises to you and agree with Him about it coming to pass. It’s not a question of His will (no matter what such and such told you), it’s a question of your belief. I’ll say it another way. Do you know what God says He will do for you? (Seems logical to find out if you are praying to God) If you know what His promise is to you, do you believe God can do it? If you believe God can do it, do you believe He will do it for you? In order for you to get an actual, tangible, solid, real answer to prayer, your response to all of those questions has to be a resounding “YES!” Not God’s answer, your answer! God’s answer is already yes!

Whenever and wherever your prayers do not come to pass, the answer will always be found in you (not in God); namely are you in alignment with Him and are you in agreement with Him. I should clarify that by alignment I mean are your thoughts lined up with what He said? If you aren’t careful, you take a statement like that and turn it into a religion. You start preaching that being in alignment means always doing everything right and before you know it you have the 1st Church of the Aligned Order. See above truth concerning earning God’s blessings!

In order to receive anything from God, you have to somehow get your old noggin lined up with the promise of God and become absolutely convinced that it will come to pass. What the situation looks like or what people say is possible or what has been scientifically proven to be true doesn’t have a blessed thing to do with it. God’s power and ability are unlimited! With God nothing is impossible. If He can raise someone from the dead, what can’t He do about your dilemma? I’m assuming you aren’t dead yet, are you?

I don’t know how to say it any more clearly. Answered prayer is predicated upon your fully persuaded belief that God both wants to and has the ability, to do it! If it didn’t come to pass (in terms of your life and not other people’s lives) then you weren’t yet fully persuaded! But, the fat lady hasn’t sung yet because you still have time to get your old, obstinate mind fully persuaded. Your work in prayer doesn’t involve becoming righteous, it involves working to become convinced. You have to get to the place where, in your mind, it has already happened. Begging, pleading and bargaining simply means you still have doubt and as such you still have some mental work to do. Welcome to the human condition. Welcome to the fight where you choose spiritual realties over five-senses appearances. When it comes to choosing to believe God, you cannot count on the senses evidence or signs or indicators. You just decide and joyfully see for yourself!

Believing God is simple, but not always easy. But, alas it’s how it works and the system isn’t changing anytime soon. Believers believe and if you are going to invest in prayers, you may as well learn how to do it effectively.

It may surprise you, but God wants you to learn this even more than you want to learn it. Would you expect anything else from the God of love you have been communicating with so persistently?

Get your prayers answered folks! That’s what God wants for you in every situation. He’s God people. He’s cool like that! 😉

Just some good thoughts….

 

 

 

The Death Spiral of the Negative Mind…


shutterstock_80347894A great man once said, “Negatives are like mosquitos on a blood hunt!” The world in which you and I live is ruled by negativity. The media is negative. Facebook is negative. The news is negative. Living in the world, we almost cannot help but become negative. So you have to ask yourself, is all this negativity the natural way to be? Does being negative simply mean you are being realistic? Is it better to be negative and thus avoid getting your expectations dashed? Does negativity actually motivate you to become something good? Have you, my friend, become negative yourself?

What does it even mean to be negative? In math terms a negative is a number less than zero. To answer in the negative means to say no! A negative attitude is characterized as disagreeable. It closely ties to criticism and refusal. In photography it means to have the light and the darkness inverted. Now just stop right there for a moment. Deciding to be negative means less than nothing. You choose to say no rather than yes. You tend towards being disagreeable rather than promoting harmony. (Facebook anyone) It enjoys criticism and refuses rather than accepts. It means you’ve got your light and darkness mixed up. Indeed, your light and darkness are mixed up.

Remember when you were a youngster? How long did your negativity last? 10 minutes, when Mom said no? Then you got back to your pursuit of happiness as quickly as you could. You somehow chose, with your innocent processor, to let disagreeable stuff go and change your focus back to the good. Then the world starting mixing you up. It convinced you that you were less than zero. It taught you to say no to everything and be suspicious of anything good that showed up. People tried to tell you but you disagreed because you knew better. You got real critical of everything and everyone and mostly with yourself. Finally, you started to confuse the darkness with the light and even preferred it. You refused the goodness as fanciful and believed the darkness is what is real. Thus you entered the death spiral of negativity with no hope on the horizon. Is this not true? How many people just expect things not to work out? How many folks are afraid of good things happening because they won’t last or something is going to take them away? How many good people spend their lives looking over their shoulder and waiting for the other shoe to drop? How many kind hearts live in perpetual fear of what might happen, hasn’t happened yet, but is surely going to happen one day? The Death Spiral…

Once you allow yourself to become negative, your focus shifts to the negative. You start looking for the negatives. You’re just looking for trouble and almost always find it. Then, one negative event leads to another negative event and the cycle is in full effect. The problem isn’t life and the reality that bad things happen. The problem is that you got talked into shifting away your focus from what you want to what you don’t want! Your dreams and your prayers went from, “I want” and “I need” to “Please don’t let” and “Please take this away from me.” Instead of being thankful; so extremely thankful, you dwelled on what you don’t have and why you don’t have it. Negative…less than zero, can you see it? Here’s a newsflash that you might find unsettling. Your life will continue on the death spiral until YOU decide to change your thoughts. YOU have to get YOUR head out of the garbage can and look up. Look to where you want to go and go there! Stop looking back and rehearsing the hurts of the past. Stop dwelling on the things that didn’t go right. Stop blaming, criticizing, refusing and ruminating, and just move your mind to a positive place. Until you do, this old world will just eat you alive….every day…until you die.

The opposite of negativity is being positive. Now, because people have their light and dark messed up, they want to chastise you for being positive. You stick out like a healed thumb! You’re not being realistic. You’re not thinking maturely. You’re being all Pollyanna and foolish. LOL! As if expecting the worst of everything makes any sense. As if the reality of life is suffering and never blessings. As if grown ups are supposed to be miserable. As if being lighthearted and jolly is worse than feeling melancholy and depressed. As if…

People that say those things don’t yet understand life. Life isn’t some predestined ride ending in a destination you don’t get to choose. God does not have the dice loaded against you. If anything is loaded against you it is your misunderstanding of the control you have in your life. It is you, not clearly recognizing that your tendency toward negativity actually produces bad results as your tendency toward positivity actually produces good results. It is YOUR life and YOU are producing something. Seems only reasonable that you would want to produce something good.

Why not separate yourself from the herd and start expecting good things? Look, do the math! If you expect something good 75% of the time and the good only happens 50% of the time, I’d say that beats the hell out of below zero! I’ll bet many of you would pay good money for something positive happening 10% of the time. And, while you are separating yourself from the herd, start separating yourself from the negativity. Stop watching the stupid news. Stop getting caught up in racial, political and economical debates on Facebook. Stop letting people and friends and relatives convince you of things that aren’t true.  Choose the light. Choose the things that encourage you and help you. Choose to believe that there is another way; God’s way and He is the one who dreamed this whole thing up…

Once you start smacking at the mosquitos they start to overwhelm you. Just go inside, it’s easier…

Just some good thoughts…