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…

A Fine Line…


TightropeMany years ago, as I sat alone outside my tent in the final days of the leadership training program waiting for the Lord to show me a sign that would make clear my ministry to help people the most effectually, nothing happened except a pervasive urge to read a section of scripture over and over again. There was no display in the heavens, no unusual, titillating revelation, nothing but an inescapable desire to read Isaiah 58 repeatedly. It wasn’t until some time after that I realized my purpose in life was to help people escape the confines of bondage and to live in the freedom that only God could provide for them. The call to loose the bands of wickedness and let the oppressed go free remains within me unto this day. As such, I’m very clear concerning the fine line between truth and error; between freedom and bondage; between works and the grace of God. Indeed there is always a fine line.

The grace of God is one of the most incredible aspects of our Father, God. Grace is God’s undeserved, divine favor bestowed upon people without a cause; without deserving it; without any works on the part of the people to obtain it. God’s unending grace is on display in the life of His son who fulfilled the law forever setting mankind free from the claims of sin and wrong. You and I could never achieve this on our own. Instead we rely upon the finished work of Jesus Christ. It is called a finished work because it is finished. Jesus lived God’s law perfectly because we couldn’t do it on our own. And in so doing he set us free from the clutches of our adversary and sin and wrong forever. All that we have or could ever hope to be is based upon the grace of God. Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. As such, it always astounds me when people begin to worry that we as believers could somehow take grace too far. There is no end point with grace or it wouldn’t be grace. Undeserved, divine favor will always be undeserved. If at some point, I need to deserve grace or else do something to encourage grace to continue, then I have forfeited that grace. I need not concern myself with whether or not people are using grace in order to sin as sin has its own misery. If God says I will never come into judgment from Him, then I will never come into judgment with Him. To infer that God is not pleased with me also infers that God is judging me. God may not be pleased with my behavior, but He is never displeased with me. Otherwise, my favor would needs be earned from Him and I could never live up to that requirement. If you think about it, we already wrestle with endless accusations that inform us in some way that God is not pleased with us. Yet those accusations can never be true or else it wouldn’t be truly finished. It is finished.

People that choose to live like hell have their own suffering. You don’t have to tell people to stop doing things that are wrong because the wrong itself punishes them and leads them to misery. As someone who has spent some time on the wrong side of the tracks, I can assure you that what people need when they are off track is healthy, abundant doses of love and forgiveness. It is the goodness of God that leads us to a change of heart, not a lecture. The people that do not care about God won’t listen anyway. It’s those of us who do care that suffer the damage. I don’t believe that anyone on their own really wants to rebel against God, but in their deception they suffer loss. Our opponent is adept at leading us astray and when we recognize it (if by God’s mercy we recognize it) then we need a way to come back home to the goodness we have forfeited. Jesus Christ is the way back home having done all for us in ways we could never do on our own. It’s like when someone talks about being greedy and then we, the tender hearted ones, consider it. Yet the people who are actually greedy never give it a second thought! What people need is unconditional love from the Father who loves us no matter what. Human beings are fragile enough without heaping burdens upon their heads; loads too heavy to bear. It is a fine line.

If God set us free then we are free. Absolute freedom is the ability to choose without the fear of retribution or loss. Compliance and obligation won’t get us there. Whenever we do things because of the fear of the consequences, we fall right back into the bondage God delivered us from. All things are lawful for me, but not all things build me up. All things are lawful for me, but some things hurt me and do not help me. You don’t have to tell people that, they already know it. It reminds me of the story of the poor alcoholic in the Foundational class on Power for Abundant Living. He came to church that day looking for answers, not further reminders of the desperate state he was already enduring. He was living that hell and came for help; help that only God could give by His mercy and grace. We, my friends, are no different. We all fall short and by God we know that. We go too far, we get deceived, we chase stupidity and error gets ahold of us. We find ourselves estranged, lost and heaven’s brass. Yet it is the grace of God that helps us get back to that safe place where our worthiness before God no longer comes into question. It is the finished work of Jesus Christ that we anchor ourselves to and then we can overcome and learn and get that much better. If my worthiness before God depends upon my own ability, God help me. Can you not see it? That old enemy of mankind, the accuser, is enough to contend with day by day without making it about me; what I do and what I might fail to do. You are preaching to the choir of which I am already a member. On my own I will always fall short, but with Him I will always win.

My dear brothers and sisters, there will always be a fine line between what is true and what is error. God, in His infinite wisdom, provided a way by which you and I could live in ultimate freedom. Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. Every place I am weak and deficient, God pours in more grace and in that grace enjoyed, I am free to make a better choice, not by compulsion, but by love. God loves us into loving ourselves. God has perfected forever those that believe on what His Word says. Don’t let anything or anyone ever cause you to doubt God’s love for you or to doubt that God has divine favor towards you. You cannot do anything that God isn’t already aware of and He still chose to love you. Live your one precious life in the freedom that God bought for you with the life of His son. Don’t be only half free, but fully free. “Love God, love your fellow man and do as you dang fool please!” Don’t complicate what God has made simple. It is a fine line and it is there for you to enjoy…

Just some good thoughts…

How to Get What You Want…


Have you ever taken the time to figure out what it is you want most out of your life? The question, so simple yet loaded, isn’t really as complicated as you might imagine. I often muse that it’s not that we don’t know what we want, but rather that we don’t want to admit what it is. We sort of go with the flow and head down the paths that seem easiest to navigate. In this, we don’t really choose, but instead grab at the first option, always consoling ourselves with the notion that we can figure it out later. Yet, many, many years later we find ourselves on the same old path, just further down the road a bit. It’s as if actively choosing a destination leaves us vulnerable to the possibility that it might not happen. So, instead of actively pursuing our dreams and all the risk associated with it potentially not coming to pass, we settle for something less. We work jobs we don’t enjoy in career paths that seemed the most logical in terms of being sensible, yet miles perhaps from the those things that make our hearts sing. Inside, deep inside you know what you want most and you can realize those things in your life if you will simply be honest about what turns you on and have courage enough to go and get it.

Most people, sadly, live their lives in accordance with other people’s dreams, never really giving themselves permission to go down paths unique to them. Instead they choose approved paths; accepted paths; well-worn paths where the masses travel. They’re afraid to make their own paths for fear of failure or disappointment and in so doing fall in line with societal expectations, safe choices, and generally rubber stamped options that help someone else realize their own dreams. They give their life and energy and effort to working in exchange for money; money that is always not quite enough to allow them to forgo the burden of having to continue doing the same. They do so because the lion’s share of the profit is reserved for those taking the lion’s share of the risk and in their aversion to the risk (fear), the cycle persists. In America and maybe other first world countries, it seems we have all bought into the idea that the vast majority of our life is to be spent in activities we do not enjoy for those rare intervals of respite and freedom to do what we want. And logically, in our leftover time, we don’t have the wherewithal to do anything else. Our best effort, our prime time has already been promised to another. We find ourselves caught in a trap that we cannot find a way from which to escape. We fault the wealthy for their wellspring of free time, yet wish we had the same. We dream of houses and vacations and fun and freedom, but never quite believe that we can have them. Instead we settle for our lot in life, which really isn’t our lot, but instead a well designed scheme to keep us in place, in line and unfulfilled.

We think it is money or the lack thereof that keeps us bound never entertaining the fact that we ourselves are our own limitation. The man;  the system; the wheel of things isn’t what keeps us from achieving or realizing our dreams, we are. Somewhere, somehow, we have been coerced into believing what it is we can and cannot have. We set limits where there are no limits. We dismiss our innermost treasures as fanciful and get right back to the business of slaving away for the things we do not hold dear. We act as if our lives were predisposed to move in one direction; with one set of options and an already established final outcome, as if God has destined us to do so. We are half talked out of any new endeavor before we have even taken the first few steps. When doors open for us, we are afraid to walk through them or waste away the opportunity researching the pitfalls of moving in the new direction. We don’t get what we want because we don’t believe we can get what we want. Even when we have good ideas or begin to touch upon those things whereby we can have the most impact and be the most fulfilled, we move so slowly and with such fearful caution that we seldom have enough time left to get the job done. It isn’t that we do not know how to get what we want, it’s that we don’t believe we can actually get what we want. Instead of doing, we spend time all day thinking and dreaming, wishing and hoping. Someday we can have it, but not today.

The only way you can get what you want in life is to believe that you can. As long as you don’t believe that you can, it is not going to happen for you. It’s not first about putting the time in, paying your dues, being patient or anything else anyone has told you that eliminates the necessity of believing for yourself. Belief, real belief always has corresponding actions associated with it. Belief is not waiting for the future, belief takes action now. Belief does not wait for all of the circumstances to line up, belief challenges and thereby changes the circumstances. Belief is not dependent upon the right degree or winning the lottery or any contrary thing that says you cannot have or cannot do for any reason, but believes and does anyway. Belief, positive expectant belief is the forerunner to all success in every category of life. You will go as far as your believing takes you and you will not go as far as your believing takes you. And, no-one decides what it is you can believe except you. No-one…

It is never too late to realize your dreams in life. It is never impossible to get the things you want; the things you hold most dear. Quit waiting and wondering about it. Stop stewing and brooding and being so damn fearful about things not working out. Those thoughts haven’t gotten you anywhere good yet anyway, have they? Life, this frightfully short life, isn’t about wandering around wishing and praying for those things that would make your life complete. The life you want to live is available for you to live once you finally stop standing around and decide to do something about. Do something now. Think about it. Pray about it. Set some positive expectations, make some plans and begin to pursue it. You aren’t getting any younger. Go and get it. You already know how. Believe, then for God’s sake, act!

Just some good thoughts…