Better Days…


It’s funny how life is at times. You sort of go along to get along and adapt yourself to the times and conditions, the best you can. Crazy things happen and continue to happen and you somehow figure out a way to cope with it. Often, you find yourself endeavoring to compartmentalize and where possible, minimize or attempt to minimize, how things are affecting you and what is going on inside your heart. This is, in so many ways, the human experience. The phrase, we are all in this thing together, is not a cliche, but the reality of our condition as an interconnected people on the earth. And in similar fashion, sometimes it takes a dramatic shift in those conditions for you to realize just how bad things had gotten when you are, at last, presented with a new set of options; hopeful, encouraging options. In this I submit to you, there are better days ahead.

In our quest for truth and sincere desire to place ourselves on the side of right, we can be led down paths that disagree with who we are at the very core of our beings. We can find ourselves supporting some cause that promises good, yet forces us to ignore too much bad. Sometimes, our idealism and wishful thinking can blind our eyes to the stark reality of things as they really are. We can get deceived in the appeal of the message and laud the message so reverently, so desperately, that we miss the rest of the message veiled within the message. The acid test of the truth; the reality check to apply is whether the truth is true in every aspect and engages every component. Being forced to ignore and disavow some parts in favor of other parts is to deny the common sense that God gave to every man. Further, to believe that evil is hiding in the good or that the apparent good cannot be trusted, while vehemently denying the existence of the obvious bad, is not sound. God does not work through evil to bring about good. God never asked for us to compromise on right principle in exchange for some greater right principle. And while every man has faults and failings, those faults are known to the man and he is loathe to deny them privately or when confronted publicly. Wrong is wrong is wrong though the entire world says otherwise. Every man is therefore known by his fruits. Good fruit cannot come from a corrupt tree and corrupt fruit cannot come from a good tree. In a sense one needs to look no further. To say, as a Christian, that an allowance must be made or certain behaviors ignored that would not be allowed or ignored in those people we hold most dear, is hypocrisy at the highest levels.

Sadly, these past four years have been a blight on the American experience. We, as a nation, have been forced to flinch and halt and stutter, desperately trying to make sense of what has been going on. Inside we know it’s wrong. In our hearts, we have felt embarrassment and shame in terms of the things we know to be right. Try as we might to justify our opinions, more often fears cleverly appealed to and fanned, has led our nation to become divided. In our temporary insanity, factions have formed, not based on securing the greater good, but instead appealing to a more base level inside of us, stoked by the terror of losing some favor, some position, some enjoyed good. And just as a corrupt tree produces only corrupt fruit, actions and beliefs based on fear cannot help but to produce more fear, more division, more destruction. This has been the American experience these past four years. This is not a political struggle or attempts to champion conservative or liberal ideas or agendas, nor has it been about bringing about a better experience for people all over the world. It has been about the power that fear has over people causing them to abandon even their most basic and simple principles in an attempt to fight against an enemy not in evidence but potentially in evidence in the days ahead. Fear that villainizes people of color or immigrants or any group that is different than one’s own comfortable circle. Allowing people to choose their own lives, right or wrong, good or evil, is at the foundation of our country’s beliefs and any attempt to take away that free will or exclude it from our existence by rules and regulations is contrary to the very concept of a free people. There was a time when we understood this.

Thankfully, there are better days ahead, not because one man has all the answers or because one man alone can right the train and move it in the right direction. But rather, because a world where common sense is ignored; where real facts are discarded as lies; where the reality of things is discounted and maligned is not a world we can survive in, let alone thrive. The promise isn’t found in a Democratic party or a new President, but instead in a healthy return to common sense where words mean something and actions are judged for what they are, not what someone hopes they will be or by what other influences claim them to be. A world where black is black and white is white. A world where wrong is wrong always and right is offered the same privilege. A world based on foundational principles that offer every man a choice in participating in what is, not in what reportedly is while clearly contradicted in every apparent, visible action.

In this, as a nation, we must learn the lesson, namely, to never again allow a person or an idea to prevail over what is obvious or by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Never again America, no matter the political party.

Trust thyself; every heart vibrates to that iron string (RWE).

Bless God, there are better days ahead!

Religion And God (Are they the same thing?)


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

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

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

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

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

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

I love you.

Just some good thoughts…

When the Dust Settles…


You know, it’s no marvel that many folks spend the majority of their lives living from one turmoil to the next. The world and its negative circumstances, the impending and ever present threats concerning the future, the agitation and tumults of daily life, all loom on the horizon assaulting folks minds from sunup to sundown. And all of that turmoil and distress has one important object in mind, namely to prevent you from seeing clearly and discerning properly. Imagine how different your life might be if you could cut through all of the distractions and really see. What would you do differently? What would you do if the dust settled?

Most people, and you know it’s true, live and subside on a steady diet of fear. Fear of sickness (got one in mind), fear of not having enough, fear of not measuring up or being pretty enough or not having the right body. Fear of not getting their needs met, fear of something bad happening to them or someone they love. Fear concerning the planet or the sun or the melting icebergs. Fear of not being loved and feeling love and missing love. Fear of the future, fear of the past coming back to haunt them, fear of being present in the moment. Fear all day every day from the moment you wake up in the morning until you lay down your head to sleep at night. People have subsisted on fear for so long that they no longer even recognize its presence. Fear has been normalized as part of life. Fear drives and drags people around in its wake pushing and pulling them in directions they never intended. If people manage to escape its grasp temporarily, they quickly fall back under its spell. Fear rules the world and the systems of the world. Often, very often it has ruled you! Yet for all that power fear holds over people (and its very powerful), at the end of the day, it is all a grand, cleverly designed illusion to control the hearts and lives of people. Fear is the dust that prevents you from being able to see.

Clarity of heart and mind is the missing ingredient in an unfulfilled life. In order to move confidently in the direction of your dreams, you have to be able to see. You have to be clear about who you are and what you want and where you are going. You have to cut through that mountain of clutter obscuring your view and discern just what the hell is actually going on. The world with its teeming masses clamoring after this novel invention and that new threat to their existence live the majority of their lives unclear and confused. They fail to get their honest questions answered. They live their lives perpetually attacked by an opponent they can neither see nor feel. They pray to a God they neither know nor understand. They plod along herded and corralled into wrong thought camps with no possibility of escape. It never dawns on them that there is a part of life they have yet to experience for themselves. They conclude they’ve already reached the end, figured it out and can choose wisely on their own. Yet, they cannot and they cannot because they cannot see! It is only God who is able to make the dust finally settle so that you can see and He does it with the light of his Word. Absent the Word and the truth in life, you are destined to a life of fear whether acknowledged or not.

Once you begin to get some truth into your heart and life, things become very clear for you. It starts to dawn on you that many things that are said and done as truth are in actuality cleverly, crafted lies. You begin to be able to discern both the good and the evil influencing your life. You start to understand how life really works and stop wasting your time striving to things of no avail. You quit working so desperately hard to fix yourself or to improve your bad behavior or to keep grinding at all costs to make something good of yourself. You see, the world presents to you a picture of life with suggestions in how to improve it. Yet, those improvements, those efforts, those arduous solutions are not solutions at all because they center on you for you and all about you and they deny the God that made you! Absent God and His love you will never be able to really see. You will simply be blown about with every wind of doctrine, clamoring to try this new source of help and that empty promise of the answer you need. It doesn’t work and it never has worked… Real life isn’t all about you (or me) but is about the God who created you. He is your only true provider and your only genuine source of help. He has the answers you need. He offers the healing that has no limitation. He knows and understands your heart; has heard your every prayer and wants to set you free from fear and its attendant misery. He is your promise of love and goodness and peace. He alone has the power to make the dust settle so that you can finally see clearly and can understand His wonderful, sincere and perfect will for your life!

This life, as you already know quite clearly, can be very tricky to navigate. You will daily be deluged with thousands of opinions and ideas and suggestions. You will be confronted with both evil and counterfeit good. You’ll be presented with a myriad of potential beliefs all offering something they cannot truly give. Yet, when all of the shouting and the clamor stops, when all of the fighting and tumult is ceased, when all of the falsehood and error goes away, when all of the pressures and the agitation subsides, behind it you will hear the still small voice offering you the clarity you have always dreamed of and then you will know the dust has settled at last.

Just some good thoughts…

 

I’ve Been Blind for Awhile Now…


In life, just because you cannot see something does not mean it doesn’t exist. There are whole vistas of life and understanding to be discovered once you finally get the eyes to see. People trudge along their journeys lifeless and hopeless never quite discerning; never really seeing; never able to make sense of life with all of its varied and manifold twists and turns. And because they have not experienced it they don’t believe it and in not believing it, it escapes them. Often life is more about what has been obscured from your view than it is about seeing what is right there in front of you. Maybe there is more; much more, for you to learn still. Maybe you have been blind for awhile now…

In order to see what is available to see, your mind needs illumination. Darkness is always the absence of light. You will remain unable to see what direction you are traveling as long as you are traveling in the dark. To think you are already illuminated yet continue in futility is a sure indicator that you remain in the dark. To grossly assume that your limited life experience or past education has provided you with all that is necessary to understand life is to cut yourself off from the very essence and fiber of life. You do not know what you do not know. All of the natural, breathtaking reality of nature surrounding you serves to capture your attention. Whether it be the brilliance of a sunset or the intricate depth of a flower, all are designed to lead you to a question; the next question. That question urges you to the light. In the light life, real life, is found.

The reason people live their whole lives in darkness is because they do not know or understand the truth. They have unknowingly lived in darkness for so long that they cannot even consider that light exists. The glimpses of light they have experienced are quickly chased away by the darkness. They are led away unmercifully time and time again, herded with the masses into uncertainty and fear. They do not seek light because they have been sold on lies concerning the light. Religion, posing as the light, feeds them error upon error, producing only more darkness. Religion informs them of all the things they must do to find the light, then chastises them for being unable to find it, attributing it to sins or hidden faults preventing them from finding, seeing or experiencing. Every wrong path pursued, be it intentionally or out of ignorance, leads only to more darkness. Error works to harden the hearts of men, and once hardened, can no longer perceive. Darkness is a cruelty that can only be remedied by the light. Otherwise man remains blinded and unable to see clearly.

Light comes from God and from God alone. The light is found in the truth of God’s Word. Ask yourself how much of God’s Word you understand and you can accurately predict how much light you enjoy. Most people, sadly, know very little about God’s Word and worse much of it has been manipulated and distorted to be something it is not. In place of unparalleled freedom people are enslaved. Instead of being a source of encouragement and edification it is turned into a touch point for accusation and criticism. People falsely conclude that life with God is all about their behavior and what they are doing and shouldn’t, and aren’t doing, but should. They make God the morality police and as such avoid Him like the plague. I’m pretty certain God already knows how you are living, yet like any good parent worth his salt, loves you anyway. You pray for healing to a god that supposedly made you sick. You endure unspeakable tragedies and console yourself with some mysterious higher purpose. You daily assign evil to the only good and live in abject fear of destruction and loss. Brothers and sisters, you have got it all wrong. God is only good always! God will never do anything to harm you, no matter who you are and whatever you have done! That is love and that is light…

Once you begin to understand God’s Word and His purposes, you find the light for which you have been searching your whole life. God’s Word illuminates your path. The truth enables you to separate good from evil. God’s Word helps you to finally see all the things you have formerly been unable to see. Once able to see, you become free to experience real life. You find the love and the joy you have only heard of before. You discover the peace of God that surpasses all human understanding and in that peaceful state are able to quickly spot the imposters when they arrive. You no longer have to live your life terrified about what tomorrow may bring. When you have a need, God, not your human wisdom, meets it. If you are sick He will heal you. What you cannot understand He will explain to you. The parts of life that formerly enslaved you, will no longer hold you bound because of the light that lives within your soul. Have you been blind for awhile now? Well, now is the time to see…

If your heart is open and if you are willing to admit that maybe you don’t know, you can learn. You can both see and experience all that God intended for life to be. You can live on the high road. You can escape the clutches of religion and bondage and walk in complete and total freedom, never again held in by anyone or anything! You can discern error for what it is, error, promoted and espoused by evil to keep you away from the true light. God is not hiding any of this from you, but something else is and you owe it to yourself to figure that out. The life you are yearning for is yearning for you as well. Maybe you have been blind for awhile now. The truth will make you see…

Just some good thoughts…

 

Buried Feelings…


As far as I can tell, projections you may put upon your pets aside, human beings are God’s only creatures that came from the factory equipped with feelings. That alone should have arrested our attention! Human beings have feelings and those feelings are vast and complex. There are more feelings than there are descriptions for them. Some people say you should honor your feelings, while others say to ignore them. Some folks are described as emotional, yet others appear emotionless. Men attribute feelings to women and women demand more feelings from men. Have you ever wondered why people have feelings? What is the purpose for your feelings? Can you feel too much or too little? And most importantly, why would God have given you the capacity for all of those feelings if they didn’t have any value in your life? You feel how you feel for a reason. But, have you taken the time to figure out the reason? Or, have you learned to bury your feelings instead?

The feelings that you experience are a barometer of your soul. And, like any good barometer, they provide you with important information concerning your internal weather patterns. Sometimes your feelings are sunny and warm and at other times your feelings are gloomy and foreboding. Some feelings are turbulent and agitated while other feelings are peaceful and calm. Feelings provide both warnings and confirmation. Certain feelings have no clear description associated with them like when you feel something is right. Other feelings are painful and inform you something is very wrong. You can feel anxious and apprehensive. You can experience feeling afraid.  But, you can also feel confident and assured. Strangely, sometimes your feelings point out a lack of meaningful activity (boredom), yet also signal an overload of activity defined as stress.  With all of the vast world of feelings at your disposal, there must be some intention behind them. Though infinitely complex, to you they are always understood, though sometimes needing further examination. Do you understand your feelings and receive the message they contain for you or have you learned to not give them much credence and go on about your merry way?

Feelings have been described as being no guarantee for truth. And while that is certainly true, feelings do represent the truth about where you are in your journey. Your feelings, both fleeting and long standing, exist to act as a compass to guide you in the right direction. Feelings are not the “truth,” but do indicate your position in relation to the “truth.” When you are off track, you feel miserable and defeated. When you are right on, your feelings are light, pleasant and enjoyable. Feelings of apprehension do not necessarily indicate something is wrong, but do indicate more thought and understanding may be required. To consistently ignore your feelings is to run headlong into the unknown, risking life and limb. You are feeling what you are feeling for a reason! Learn the reason. Most people don’t feel their feelings because they have no feelings, but rather because the world has succeeded in numbing their feelings. A callous isn’t formed from being tender, but instead from repeated rough treatment. Thus, having strong feelings isn’t an indication of weakness, though it is reported as such, but rather points to a heart that is still tender, soft, pliable. The more you understand your feelings and acknowledge them, the more successful a human being you will become. This insulting notion that a real man is devoid of feelings is an affront to his Creator. A man is a man because he feels and a woman is a woman because she feels, though their feelings be as different as night and day.  Burying your feelings as an act of self-preservation provides a completely opposite result than was intended!

Human beings are social creatures. Yet each creature feels independently. In order to get along, each others feelings must be considered. Relationships do not end because of bad feelings, but rather because those feelings eventually go unexpressed. Every time you ignore the feelings that well up inside you, and do not express those feelings where appropriate, you do yourself a disservice. While seeking harmony with another, you cause disharmony within yourself. To play a role as an actor or a politician while being untrue to your own feelings, is to live a fraudulent life. You feel that you may know and you know that you may grow. Even anger, while feeling unpleasant and toxic, simply acts as a signal that something needs an immediate remedy. Anger ignored comes back with greater velocity until the pressure builds to a breaking point. How much destruction could be avoided simply by faithfully speaking up and expressing honestly how you feel?

To feel is to be human. Not feeling may aid a business endeavor, but eventually the one not feeling will have to come to terms with himself. You cannot be successful and prosperous while ignoring your feelings. Oh you can for awhile. You may garner for yourself much wealth and riches, but you will have paid the price with your very own soul. Listen to what your feelings are telling you. Feelings of boredom inform you of activities left undone, meanings ignored. Agitated feelings point to disturbances and call for a calming solution. How good we feel when we find the answer! Feelings of satisfaction point towards completed efforts. While feeling unfulfilled indicates greater purpose to be discovered. Use your barometer! Pay attention to the weather. It may be stormy today, but storms do not last forever. See your feelings for what they are – indicators, and adjust yourself accordingly.

Our great God equipped you with those feelings to help guide you on your way. Don’t ignore them! Don’t discount them as petty and meaningless. They are not your truth, but will certainly help you discover it. Trust yourself. Trust how you feel though the whole world disagrees with you. Don’t live in a world governed by other people’s feelings. Instead live in a world where you honor your feelings, right or wrong and adjust yourself accordingly. You feel that you may know and you know that you may grow! Don’t bury your feelings! Feel them, experience them and see the message they have been communicating to you. It’s never too late. Feel…

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

What Do You Think?


It’s interesting during these times of increased uncertainty and fear that there would also be an increase in depression. Depression by its very nature refers to the act of lowering something or pressing something down. You don’t start with despondency, you arrive there. If you have ever been depressed, you know how terrible it is robbing your life of all enthusiasm and energy. And despite where you end up, chemical imbalance acknowledged, much of what happened to you happened because of what you were thinking. What do you think?

All thoughts are not equal. Some thoughts bring life and joy and peace. While other thoughts work to shatter your entire nervous system. What you think does matter! Certain trains of thought, if persisted in, will bring about great detriment to your life. Entertaining thoughts of fear and worry work to steal away your life force. They literally suck the life right out of you. If you continue in them and do not thwart them, they will bring you down into the great valleys of life. And, once you find yourself down there, it is damn hard to find your way back! Fear thoughts make you sick. Fear thoughts fill your mind and body with anxiety. Fear thoughts are the ultimate destruction and they have no logical end point. Fear thoughts are always a lie threatening some future day. And since you cannot live in the future, they will continue to work you over until you fold! Fear thoughts are not overcome with logic and more and more understanding. While it is true that ignorance leads to fear, at the end of the day, fear thoughts must be starved out. Each day spent in fear is a day lost. What you think and what you refuse to think does matter. It matters more than almost anything you can do in this life. 

That thought would have such a powerful and lasting effect in people’s lives, yet remain so misunderstood is one of the great mysteries of life. Your life, my life, literally hinges upon the thoughts we allow and encourage and those we refuse and reject. Your thoughts are one of the few things you can control in this life. And, aside from some rather vague generalities concerning being positive, we have been largely uninstructed in this regard. It is a common belief that people live their lives while thinking along the way, rather than what people think actually forms the basis of their lives. Good thoughts, right thoughts, true thoughts bring abounding peace to their possessor. Right thought introduces energy into your existence. Proper thinking leads to warm and sunny circumstances. Good thoughts open your heart to the goodness that is in the world and allows you to see it. True thoughts bring clarity and genuine understanding, shining a bright light on all that is false and harmful. Thoughts of guilt and condemnation, while appearing noble, actually rob your life of all vigor and grace. Hateful, judgmental thoughts bring harshness and cruelty to yourself first then to all others you come into contact with. While thoughts of love and kindness serve to soften and warm, bringing healing and every good possible. All of the various and unlimited, possible outcomes are wrapped up in the thoughts you entertain most frequently. 

The time to focus on and correct your thinking is today. You are only responsible for the thoughts you think right now. What are you thinking about? What thoughts race across your mind? What thoughts seem to settle in the background like dark specters, offering all the reasons why you cannot be happy or why you cannot finally relax? We all want to be happy, but we don’t all think the thoughts that are happy. Instead we sort of let our minds run like a motorboat, then act surprised when we end up at destinations we neither chose nor encouraged. We seem to wish that life would just work out no matter what we thought. We think failure, fear failure, expect failure, then get pissed off that we failed. How could we not? If you live your life being deathly afraid of some negative variable, get ready to face that variable! God didn’t do it to you, you did it to you! You have a solemn responsibility to control your thinking. You decide what you are going to think about or at minimum what you are going to keep thinking about. When you find yourself struck by some sudden negative element in your thinking or for that matter in your life, you have a decision to make. What are you going to think about? Are you going to cooperate with evil by spending your days contemplating some awful variable or are you going to think something else? They’re your thoughts! They have always been your thoughts…

It is never too late to turn your life around. You change your trajectory by changing your thinking. You don’t have to control and manage every thought, just your next thought. You decide. If you are feeling depressed, lacking energy and vitality, chances are you have been thinking about the wrong stuff, a lot! If you feel miserable and defeated, you are not thinking soundly. Your emotions follow your thoughts and not the other way around. If you feel agitated and distressed, fearful and anxious, ask yourself what you have been feeding your mind. What are you thinking? Believe it or not, you are responsible for the things you put into your mind. Oh sure, sometimes weird stuff pops in, but you don’t have to let it stay. I’m not talking about drowning yourself in positivity, despite whatever is going on. I’m talking about stop drowning yourself in negativity. Stop encouraging those thoughts. Stop feeding them. Stop giving them space in your mind. You aren’t just being human, you are squandering your resources. Every happy person you have ever met has had the same mental challenges you are having, they just refused to let them win! What do you think? 

Just some good thoughts…

Clean Up Your Environment…


Much can be said about your environment and what you choose to live in each day. Some environments are healthy and serve to promote growth. Other environments are toxic and slowly eat away at your core. Dark and dreary spaces rob your heart of the sunshine of living. While bright and cheerful abodes freely admit fresh air and revitalization into your soul. Clutter and unattended to accumulation choke and stifle. Well placed and well intentioned objects promote peace.

Human minds, like your living room, must be meticulously maintained and well cared for. Failure to do so will eventually lead to anarchy. Every non-beneficial thought you let go of will soon gain ascendancy over your life. Every un-confronted  criticism, every darkening shadow, every unaddressed burden, every threat to your future will work together against you to suffocate your heart, rendering it callused and useless. Yet, most people only render a half consciousness regarding their thoughts and even less confidence in their ability to control them. Worse still, only a tiny majority recognize that the space in their heads is theirs and theirs alone to manage and if necessary, clean up.

I know it sounds trite and the expression is completely worn out, but you are the only you, you have got. Your mind is the command center of your life. Out from your mind, your heart come the issues of your life. I’ll say it another way. That which you think about the most; that which you dwell upon; that which you choose to faithfully consider is how your life turns out. That person you pity at your high school reunion who seems as if life has gotten the better of him isn’t so because of fate or bad luck, but rather because of a failure to protect his mental environment. If you knew how much your thoughts impacted your life, you wouldn’t be so frivolous concerning them. Every negative seed “the wind” blows in will, if left unattended, produce a weed. And like every good weed seeks to do, will eventually ruin your garden. Your lack of energy, your absence of enthusiasm, your perpetual feelings of fatigue are more from your mental environment than any lack of sleep.

The circumstances you encounter, the trials and the difficulties, the weighty burdens come not first but after. Your thinking is the primary cause. And while the world may be engulfed in evil, irritation, suffering and annoyance, you don’t have to be engulfed or submerged in it. There is a way out and that way out is found in changing your thoughts. Feeling negative and frustrated and futile are temptations which must be fought against. Submission to the negatives in life is like settling down in a filthy home that you have the capability to clean up. Clean up your environment. Locate the unwelcome guests one at a time and replace them one at a time. Your goal isn’t a vacuum (though you may need to vacuum). Your goal is replacement. You have to locate something that is wholesome, edifying and true to replace that which is unhealthy, damaging and false. But, do it you must!

It may seem like controlling your thoughts is an impossible task given the sheer speed and volume with which we think. But your task isn’t all of your thoughts, it is your next thoughts. When it comes to life, when it comes to your existence, when it comes to your personal experience, what are you saying to yourself? Are you being kind to yourself like you are to a dear friend, though despite his foibles, you continue to love? Are you exhibiting patience like you would offer to a child? Are you extending to yourself a new beginning; a thousand new beginnings, like you would to someone that you’ve determine to forgive? Are you? Or are you faithfully engaged in berating yourself, criticizing yourself, comparing and weighing yourself against others? The Instagram model whose body you have been coveting may have spent a lifetime cultivating it, yet there you are actually hating your own wonderful flesh in response to it. You see, the beginning of healthy thought begins with the things you think about yourself. Are you really such a bad person or are you perhaps much like everyone else; battling absurdities and weakness and errors, yet continuing on in spite of them?

Building up your mind, building up your heart takes time. You can’t expect to change a lifetime of wrong thinking overnight, just as you wouldn’t expect your body to show signs of change after the first few days of exercising. But persistence in controlling your mind will produce a lifetime of results. Controlling your thoughts doesn’t just consist of the things you say about yourself, but also comprises the things you say about your life, your relationships, your job, your boss, you name it. Every negative viewpoint, every false assumption, every rehearsed and expected failure you envision cannot help but to produce more after its kind. Maybe, just maybe your life sucks because that’s what you have been confessing for the past twenty years. Maybe you can’t catch a break because you don’t expect to catch a break and then somehow that is God’s fault. Your life is far, far from being destined or predetermined with our wonderful God having supplied you with the one thing you can control, if you really want to!

If you take nothing away from this but one solitary thing, know that your thinking is vitally and crucially important in determining how your life turns out. Clean up your environment. Don’t allow anything to remain that pains you or causes you to feel unrest. Banish fear and worry as both have failed miserably in preventing anything from happening. Cleanse and purify your estimation of yourself by refusing anything that makes you feel bad about yourself or lessens you in your own sight. Thinking good things, expecting good things, envisioning good things is no harder than doing the opposite with the only exception being breaking out of the things you have habitually practiced. It’s all right there for you folks if you will only take heed and do it… Clean up your mental environment!

Just some good thoughts…

 

What Came First, Your Thoughts or Your Results?


maxresdefaultRecently, I found myself embroiled in a Twitter battle with someone I don’t know and many others I don’t know over the topic of depression. A guy posted a little ditty about being depressed along the lines of, “if you’re depressed and you know it, clap your hands.” So I replied, tongue in cheek, with a similar ditty about changing your thoughts. Some recognized the levity, but quite a few others insisted on teaching me about depression and how it wasn’t that simple and show me some evidence that changing your thoughts can change brain chemistry and so on. Essentially the group argument consisted of well-intentioned people defending the chemical nature of depression and apparently the fact that your thoughts have nothing to do with it and even more incredulously, that there’s nothing you can do about it. So depression or any other mental malady, what came first, your thoughts or your results?

First let’s clarify one important reality. Yes depression, particularly clinical depression can be tracked to chemical changes in your brain. But, and hear me out on this one, to conclude that the depression you are experiencing has nothing to do with what you are thinking, is categorically nuts! If that was the case all of us would be potential victims to any mental malady that came our way and would be powerless against it. You’re living your life happy and blessed then boom, you spiral down into depression or anxiety or anything else that chooses you! Life does not work that way. However, if you are paying attention, you will recognize that the world will always have an excuse for you to stay trapped in your personal conundrum.  It will always have you draw some conclusion where you basically agree there is nothing you can do about what you are experiencing. The result? You end up actually defending your problem’s right to have power over you and have lots of science or other man-made intelligence supporting your beliefs. Your thoughts came first!

Depression begins with depressed thoughts. Anxiety begins with anxious thoughts. All known phobias began with fearful thoughts about something. Now stop right there. If what I just said pissed you off in some capacity, you have to ask yourself what it is you are defending. To think that your thoughts didn’t precede you present reality takes away your responsibility for your life and hands it over to someone or something else. The world is chock full of victims with well-rehearsed stories about how they don’t have a choice when actually they always have a choice. The choice with mental maladies, and by the way I’ve been there, is to control your thinking in the here and now. Is it really that simple? No, it’s not simple at all, especially if you have gotten yourself into some deeply grooved ruts! But, it is the only way out! You have to decide to think something else or stop thinking certain things, before you can even begin to see the way out. Wallowing in the chemical nature of your problem is simply resignation to defeat. Your thoughts came first!

In contrast to mental maladies and anything that pains or hinders our lives, let’s consider happy people or people who remain positive and hopeful about their lives. What do they do that maybe you don’t do? Are they really predetermined for success? Are they just the result of good fortune heaped on them randomly with no discernible reason why? The same world that spends considerable time with increasing evidence to convince you there is nothing you can do about your problems, also maligns and disparages being positive and reduces it to foolishness by implying positive people simply spout positive bullshit in contrast to their worsening issues. Really? Is that all that positive people do? In reality, positive, happy people experience the same garbage and conflict in life that you experience. The difference is that they fight back with their thoughts and refuse to surrender to science or anything else that chips away at their well-being. They can acknowledge that today was a freaking horrible day, but don’t expect tomorrow to be the same. When someone lays a rap on them that implies there is nothing they can do about something, they beg to differ over and over and over again. Your thoughts came first.

Part of controlling your thinking, and for the love of God it is something you can do or God wouldn’t ask you to do it, is to be cautious about what you take ownership of… Is it a disease or is it your disease? Is it depression or is it your depression? Just because a doctor gave it to you doesn’t mean you have to own it. I know, there I go again with my Pollyanna bullshit! I mean, the perfectly reasonable, logical thing to do is to accept your fate and get in line with the rest of the sheep following and cascading over the cliff to their own demise! Being realistic depends wholly on what you consider to be real. Science isn’t in opposition to God it’s of God (you smarties…). The opposition shows up when science, so-called, refutes what God says and makes it appeal to the ego of man who always knows more than he actually knows! If you and your scientific realities know the answer, then fix your issue and let’s get back to living. Alas, your thoughts came first!

One thing you can and should own is your own life! You certainly don’t need to own the negative assaults upon you day by day, but you can and should own your results. Own it! Accept where you are. Accept responsibility for the things that haven’t worked out. Taking ownership is always the starting point for any life revisions you may need. As you  put your hands firmly back on the wheel, you will discover that God has given you control if you are willing to take it! Say what you may my friends, your thoughts came first!

Just some good thoughts…

 

You Can’t Fix What You Can’t see…


615928784Whenever you speak of solving problems or repairing broken parts of your life, there is always the assumption that you actually know what your problems are and where your life might need some repair. To rashly conclude your life is in no need of any revisions or improvement makes you a dummy.  But, if you are willing to at least consider that there may be something better out there for you, there are some things you have to get clear about first. You cannot fix what you cannot see…

I’m sure by now you are fairly clear on the reality that there is a right way to go and there is a wrong way to go. When you go the right way there is no downside to you or your life. There’s no negative price to pay or some sacrifice of something that is needful. The right way feels good and is good. There are no strings attached, no hidden snares, no “gotcha” waiting to get you. Conversely, the wrong way sooner or later makes itself known by reaching up and smacking you in the face! The cause may seem far removed from the effect, but the effect is always there as it necessarily must be. However, the wrong way carries with it another deleterious effect which you may not be aware of, namely its capacity to blind your eyes to its existence. In the same way that “right” clears your vision, “wrong” obscures it!

“A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” There’s no walking the fence when it comes to right and wrong. Choosing right is going to bless you and choosing wrong is going to hurt you. The method in which wrong seeks to harm you is by hiding its effects on you. If you have a disease hidden in your body, the sooner it is discovered the better. The longer a disease process has to work on you, the deeper its influence on your body and the worse your chances of surviving it. Wrong, of which “disease” is a member, works the same way. For wrong to continue to have access to your life, there has to be some principle or maxim or belief you are unknowingly perpetuating. The wrong way is often a very subtle distinction. The glutton eats himself to death because food is to be enjoyed. The rich man loses his health and family and eventually his life because life is supposed to be prosperous. You cannot fix what you cannot see…

The first step in getting results is not only to choose right, but also to stop choosing or allowing wrong. Wrong is not the excitement or spice of life it purports itself to be. Wrong isn’t the fun in life that you’ve been missing or the sin God doesn’t want you to do because He isn’t into your enjoyment. Instead those things are simply wrong’s commercial, advertising a claim that isn’t true. God not only treasures enjoyment, He wants you to find that enjoyment in your own life. Again this is part of how wrong hides itself in your logic. In its true essence, right is all of those things you are seeking, even if you cannot see that at the moment. Right is the love, the joy, the peace, the abundance, the prosperity, the health you are sincerely after! But for right to have its way, you have to lay aside the wrong…

Perplex yourself no further in futility trying to figure out why the good things you want in your life aren’t happening for you. No, no, no don’t start there. Begin by identifying the wrong things you are clear about and put them all aside. Stop doing them. Stop indulging them. Stop putting up with them. Now don’t you get all religious on me by refusing yourself nachos or wine in the evening or having sex with someone you love. That bondage is more wrong. I’m talking about those things you know in your heart aren’t right. Those habits of thought and action that have been promising you the same results for years; good feelings, peace, happiness, yet consistently giving you something else; bad feelings, guilt, general unrest; those are the things of which to rid yourself. If every time you do a certain behavior you feel bad about it, for the love of God stop doing the behavior. Don’t ignore what is, in favor of what you hope might be. You can’t fix what you can’t see…

Deciding you are going to forever stop a pattern of thought or a behavior on its own is like putting yourself on a perpetual, strict diet. It only works as long as you remain determined or until a delicious cheeseburger keeps showing up. Instead, the better way to stop something is to replace it with something else. Replace that obvious wrong with a new behavior or a new approach. The best of the best would be to see the wrong for what it is – wrong, and stop putting up with its lies. Decide to see for yourself the error and deeply consider the negative effect it has had on your life; if the effect is only that you no longer like yourself. That’s enough on its own.

The more you adamantly decide to put off the wrongs in life, the more clear your vision will become. Like the former drug addict or alcoholic, you will see maybe for the first time the stupid things that have been plaguing your life. You finally get a glimpse of the wrong beliefs you have been harboring in your heart for years and years. Glory, hallelujah you can see! And in seeing you can change or repair any aspect of your life that wasn’t the best and get on a new course to victory, love, peace, joy and abundance. Or said another day, get on the right path. You surely can fix what you can see! I promise you.

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

Clarity…


hero-obscurity-and-clarity-03152017I’ve often thought, it’s not an effort thing that holds people back from their pursuit of the things that matter most. We all likely procrastinate and push aside future hopes and dreams for the comforts of the moment. But when we finally wake from our comfortable lethargy, we innately know that we have to move if something good is going to happen for us. We suddenly want to go fast and get there quickly, but we can’t really move fast and get their sooner because we do not know the road ahead. Alas, in life you seldom get to know the road ahead, especially when traveling in unchartered territory; the mysterious place you know you need to get to but you’ve never been there before. Thus what you need most isn’t more effort or energy, directions or more speed! What you need, my friends, is clarity, crystal clear, sharp and vivid – clarity…

Those nagging issues that have been plaguing you for years have likely done so from a lack of clarity. It’s not that you aren’t clear that something is bothering you or distressing you in some fashion, but rather you haven’t taken the time to get clear about what is going on. Some things in life come at you with such subtlety you are scarce aware anything even happened. All you know is that suddenly you feel agitated from an apparently unknown source. That source, though far removed, gains access by the thoughts you are entertaining. Perhaps a family member has intimated something is wrong with you, later vaguely confirmed by a co-worker. Instead of maintaining control of your thought life, you begin to consider what they implied and before you know it you are wrestling with an issue not grounded in reality necessarily, but rather someone’s negative judgment on your life. Thus clarity isn’t about proving yourself to those who would judge you, but instead getting clear on what you have been thinking about and whether or not it is profitable to keep thinking along those lines. I think you may be surprised by how many so-called helpful criticisms are actually grounded in evil, albeit carefully hidden from view.

How many times have you found yourself writing out some goal you would “like” to accomplish that is very familiar because you have been writing it for the past ten years?! Instead of signing up for a motivational seminar or reading yet another book on “feel the something yet do it anyway” clarity begs the question, “Is that goal something you really want to do?” Is the thing important to you and do you really want to do it? Or, more clearly, is the goal something you want to do yet maybe doubt you can do? Or, focused better, is your goal something you are capable of doing yet fear might not be something done well or something that may be criticized by others? Clarity tells you it is your life and all of the choices are yours and yours alone! If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it! If you cannot gather up enough excitement to even begin the project, then maybe the project isn’t worth it to you. Wherever you may arrive and whatever conclusion you may draw, just be sure you took the time and made the effort to be very, very clear about the why…

It may interest you to know that truth is always clear and contrary to popular opinion doesn’t hurt! The truth is the starting point for reality. The truth isn’t simply the opposite of a lie, which you can boldly declare when you catch someone in error, i.e. “The truth hurts doesn’t it?” No way! The truth is the absolute reality of a thing; the very essence of what is real. Its polar opposite is error which is always confusing, always muddied, always elusive and hard to pinpoint! When you feel confused or bewildered, error is definitely on the horizon or most likely already a part of the picture. Error strings you along, sometimes for years, chasing after things that aren’t real or do not matter. Error sucks away your time and your life energy! Clarity, on the other hand, cuts through the mud and clarifies the picture. Clarity settles you down and relieves you by revealing the real problems and the true sources of disturbance. Clarity eliminates fear by ridding the mind of the phantoms hiding in the closet.

You may have heard of the truth being referred to as light. Besides coming from a Source that is pure light, truth enlightens and illuminates. The truth sets you free, not by deciding not to lie anymore (how simple-minded is that?), but by revealing error for what it is…error. Once you finally can discern what is going on, you can now free yourself from things that formerly bound you up and defeated you. Clarity comes from the truth and is true. It’s the image at the bottom of the pool not distorted by the water. Clarity is peaceful assurance that comes about when the lights are on and everything is revealed. Walking on a cliff top is only dangerous if it’s dark outside. Otherwise you can see the edge and avoid it!

Your life is worth taking the time to get clear on some things. Your happiness is important enough to decide you are going to track down the cause of the things that perpetually defeat you. There are answers to these dilemmas and just because you don’t know the answer yet doesn’t mean you cannot ever find the solution. Behind every truth in this life is the great Architect of Life and He is more than willing to get you where you need to go if you are serious enough to make the decision!

Choose clarity. Choose life…

Just some good thoughts.