A Lie for the Truth

False ReligionA Lie for the Truth

I really have been trying not to go here but I feel compelled to. I know that in past posts I said that it wasn’t necessary to defend your faith by arguing and fighting as the world does. I still believe this to be true, but after prolonged interactions on various Google+ communities, I am flabbergasted!!! I am at a loss as to why people believe what they do about God. The ideas, the lines of thinking, the beliefs run a range too vast to really describe here! People, so many of the people I have encountered have literally chosen to believe a lie for the truth.

It could be that I have just been living in a bubble, nice and warm, convinced that there was a vast majority of people that, while not exactly synched with me concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ, believed certain essential core truths. Boy was I wrong! The divide is huge and as time progresses the gap is getting wider. I haven’t cornered the market on truth and in my opinion there is but one truth: Jesus Christ is Lord! Given this, I could never just accept a bold lie for the truth.

Actually I shouldn’t be surprised by this. The bible, oh by the way, there are a great many people out there that don’t hold any reverence whatsoever for the bible, describes these last days very clearly. I shouldn’t be surprised that “right” is steadily being re-defined as “wrong” and vice versa. There are no boundaries and as time progresses, the very thing that helped us hold a clear path is being undermined. If you think the bible is nothing but a bunch of fairy tales and made up stories and you still call yourself a Christian, something is very, very wrong. But to just believe a lie is the truth!!!??? As a Christian, how do you do this?

The latest argument that has my head spinning is that since the bible was written by False Religion 2sinful, fallen men, it can’t be trusted, that the mistakes that are inherent to human nature have ruined and jaded any good that could come from using the bible as an authoritative source for living in this world. I’m just old fashion. If God said it I believe it and it doesn’t matter who He used in the Holy Scriptures to convey this truth. Call me a fool but I’d rather err on the side of the Almighty than take a risk with the philosophical proclivities of fallen humanity. A lie can never be truth! Notice I didn’t say a lie cannot be true. Lies are true all the time. People spew them by the boat load but the same cannot be said for truth. Truth stands no matter what you or I do or say. Yet some would rather believe a lie for the truth because, because, because….I have no idea!

It just blows my mind but at the same time I do realize that people aren’t just going to take the bible at face value, especially when there have been countless interventions by religious bodies to shape and mold the bible to their purpose. I also acknowledge that there are some things in the bible that simply do not make sense without context, without spiritual insight, and with a modern day prism of examination. I also acknowledge that our understanding of the historical texts is impeded by modern technology which actually hinders us from seeing through the eyes and experiences of those who lived during biblical times. Yes, technology has helped us retrieve and review that which was before, but it has also dulled our spiritual eyes and ears. We hardly know how to seek Him for ourselves without assistance from the Internet!!

Given all of that, one thing endures that helps me navigate these difficulties. I have my faith so in reality I don’t need any empirical evidence to embrace the bible as true. For me a lie will never be truth. What really helps me is knowing that despite the ages, the decades and centuries that have passed, God’s Word still found me! His Word, despite the best efforts of religious organizations and bodies untold, still changed my life and opened for me the door to eternal life in Jesus Christ!! If that isn’t proof enough that the bible is real, that His Word is true, that nothing else really matters in this life as long as He is in me and I in Him, then nothing is. A lie for the truth is just a lie.

But as for me and my house…we will continue to trust and belief in the Lord God of our salvation and His Word!!!

Cancel that Date with Hate

Cancel the Hate 4Cancel the Date with Hate

So what do you do when faced with someone under the influence, the influence of hate? I say Cancel that Date with Hate. There is nothing written in any book, in any song, in any form whatsoever, that mandates that you have to subject your life spirit to hate’s poison. We sometimes are faced with so much hatred, so much bitterness, so much anguish and turmoil that our spirit driven lives get bogged down, even sullied occasionally.  We can sometimes inadvertently become magnets to such negative energy when we ourselves start to wear clothing not meant for us, when we discard the whole armor of God.

During this very political season and the one to follow, you will see the enemy’s horns more and more and in almost every place you look.  Reading through various social media sites it’s very easy to spot.  People don’t really discuss the pro and cons of a thing, they just scream blindly at one another, casting disparaging remarks upon one another, using the vilest of language and the anonymity of the Internet as a cover.  And if you dare to step in, participate, comment from a corner tempered in reason, you will certainly experience the hatred first hand.  I think because of the anonymity of the Internet, people are emboldened to be as rude as possible, as hurtful as possible, and spew as much hate laced hyperbole around as possible.

But the Internet isn’t the only medium where this red devil shows its tail.  You see it on the highways and byways, the street corners and office spaces we encounter in our daily grind.  It’s the whispers and the mean spirited comments that are spoken when speakers think no one is listening.  You see it even on the play grounds and classrooms all across America.  It’s unavoidable as long as one draws breath. The longer one is exposed to so much negative energy, the more likely they will lose focus on that which is good, on true life, on the promises that lie ahead.  So I say Cancel that Date with Hate.  Let someone else take up that dance card.

What do you do when the enemy attempts to destroy you, belittle you, and push you down into submission?  This after all is one of hates many objectives.  Some might say you punch him in the nose and teach him not to mess with you!  How many bullied children do you think that actually works for?  How many little guys, when faced with a towering pile of fat, muscle and intimidation, rise up, cock back and launch a haymaker smack into the nose of their antagonist?  Odds are that there are very, very few that do and succeed.  Why?  Human nature?  Fight or flight instincts?  Common sense?  All of the above?  So if the little guy does go on the offensive, the majority of the time he…or she is going to get their clock punched because the bully normally has the numbers and the size and the experience.  Whenever this tactic does work it’s because of the element of complete surprise and timing.  So how then do you Cancel that Date with Hate?

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Easy.  The Word of God says that if we resist the devil he will flee from us (James 4:6-8).  Does this mean that we lay hands and fight the devil?  Is this what is meant by resistance?  Not necessarily.  You resist by refusing to participate in those activities that enrich the enemy.  When you submit your life to God you are resisting the enemy.  When you draw closer to God, He comes closer to you (James 4:7).  Darkness will never be able to overcome light, never has and never will (John 1:5).  The enemy cannot withstand the presence of God in your life.  There will always be an over balance and overabundance of power in you when God is in you…and the enemy knows this (I John 4:4).  The bully may be a roaring lion but that is all that he is.  He knows his end and you must remind yourself of that elegant truth as well.

But how exactly do I Cancel the Date with Hate?  Hatred is one of those emotions that craves company.  So practice resisting the enemy by walking with the Lord and steer clear of those filled with hate.  Don’t participate, don’t engage, don’t touch and agree on statements of hate, and don’t even walk in the same paths as those that revel in hate’s toxic atmosphere.  Don’t be drawn in.  In other words don’t expose your goodness to darkness (Matthew 7:6), don’t lay down your integrity or your good name.  The playground bully can’t be a bully if there is no one to bully.  The playground bully draws strength from fear but perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18) and God is that love!  When you draw nigh unto God, when you find your secret place in Him, His shadow will be your cover, your protection and insulation from all the fiery darts of the enemy (Palms 91:1; Ephesians 6:16).

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Last, when confronted by the hatred of others in whatever form, remember who you are.  Remember who is at work in the life of the hate speaker.  Confront hate with the peace of the Lord God Jesus Christ.  Turn the other cheek and by this I mean, refuse to engage in a verbal confrontation.  Use your tongue to speak life and that more abundantly.  Use your tongue to create a new reality, a new condition in the life of the hate speaker and then exercise your will upon that which you have spoken.  Pray on that planted seed and watch it grow and produce new life in that which was dead.  This is how you Cancel the Date with Hate.  The enemy won’t get it, he won’t understand it, but he will flee from you and in his place…a garden of peace abides!

Vision and Dreams

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Vision and Dreams

How many of you make it a habit to write out your vision and dreams?  I believe that there are probably a great many of us that believe this is important to do but don’t.  We understand the theory and the promise behind this exercise but often times when it comes right down to putting it into practice, we fail big time!  We fail to take advantage of what’s offered in our vision and dreams.  Maybe not all of you… ok well, just me then (smile)!  I want to take a quick few minutes to talk about why (If you’re like me about transformative envisioning), it is vital to the process of growth that we write out our vision and dreams and make them plain.

I honestly and truly believe with all my heart that when God’s word tells me that as a man thinketh, or believes about himself, so is he or so he will become.  I believe this.  I take it literally because it comes from the Word of God, but I also believe it because there have been too many respected scholars and philosophers who have affirmed this basic, fundamental principle through various teachings and writings.  We experience visions and dreams for a reason.  Our minds really don’t stop processing information when we close our eyes at night (see Nature, The Journal of Neuroscience).  I believe our best work occurs when we focus and experience vision and dreams.

Now, I believe that this essential truth is often mislabeled or misapplied by the secular world but there is no denying how true this is (see Nature 2).  For example, scientist can explain the color of the sky but I believe its hue comes from the finger of God.  Does this mean that the science is wrong?  Of course not.  We may quibble over attribution and credit but the central tenant remains true, the sky is blue!

So when the Lord says that I am what I think, that my thoughts have the power of transformation, I believe it completely.  When He says to me that the power of life and death is in my tongue, I don’t quibble with that statement.  I take it as fact.  When He says that salvation is as near as the words out of my mouth, that if I will confess Him as Lord and Savior, I will be saved, I doubt nothing!  I rejoice!!!  I see the evidence of this every time I look in the mirror and recognize that but for the grace of God…

Yes, this all works fine and dandy for Christian believers but what if you’re not of that belief?  What if you haven’t come to that revelation of faith? What should I know or care about vision and dreams?  You can still be transformed by the things you say!  The tone of your day is often set by the very first thing you experience or say in the morning.  Have you ever stubbed your toe getting out of bed or walking to the restroom?  Do things tend to go downhill afterwards?  Think about it.  What was your reaction when you stubbed your toe?  Those words shape what follows!

This is what this post is about and this is why I say to you that vision and dreams are very but what you also have to put into motion are your words!  Faith without work is dead!!  The work affirms your faith and gives substance to your faith.  You put your words into motion by writing!  Write your visions and dreams out.  Write down your visions and dreams and revisit them often.  Make it a daily habit to write WHAT YOU want to SEE HAPPEN.  Your visual cortex is directly impacted by what you write and vice versa.  One reinforces the other and when you write the vision you really do make it plain.  In other words, making it plain actually means to make material, to make real, to bring what was invisible into the visible realm.

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This is what I want you to do every morning and it is very simple…even a caveman could do it (sorry if I have offended any local Neanderthals).  After you pray, meditate or conduct your devotion, sit down for a brief moment in peace.  Don’t get started on the next thing, just give peace a moment to settle on you.  Take out a piece of paper, tablet, cell phone or any device that will allow you to write.  Think in your mind of one thing that you really want to see happen, be completed, or achieved in that day.  One goal, start with one and write it down.  Concentrate on that one thing and nothing else.  Don’t worry about any other aspect of what you want to see happen, i.e. what it will take to accomplish, how much, how long, whom will need to get involved, etc.  Now write your thought out just as it was formed in your mind.  Write it a second time.  Write it five more times for a total of seven.  Try to keep the vision to a sentence or two and later you can expand that as needed.  By keeping it short you don’t get distracted with unnecessary verbiage.  Short and sweet and to the point!

What you have just done is given your vision and dream some preliminary form.  As you see it and read it, your vision will continue to gain clarity and that is what you need.  The clearer the vision the stronger the transformation from the immaterial to the material will be.  This is why when we sometimes ask God for help or assistance, our aid doesn’t seem to come or when it does come it is in a form that we hadn’t even imagined.  Of course, when we get the help we seek, we’re probably satisfied to get it in whatever form it comes!  What I am sharing with you is how to achieve specifically that very thing you hope for with specificity.  You have to be specific and focused when it comes to receiving the thing you want.  If you ask God for anything, any kind of way, then don’t be surprised to receive whatever!

Our Master said to ask and it would be given, to seek and it would be found, to knock and it would be opened (see Matthew 7:7).  You have to ask specifically for the specific thing with specificity.  You have to seek with intensity in order to find exactly what you want.  Last, you have to knock on the door, the right door, in order to enter the room you intend to be in.  All of these things come from a focused clarity and intent.  This is how you begin to actualize your vision and dreams.  Write them down, revise them with specific intent and focus on the dream some more.  The vision will continue to become clearer and clearer until what you are writing is laser focused and on target.  After that you’ve done the most important part.  In the past perhaps you did not receive what you asked for because you didn’t ask and when you did you may have asked incorrectly.  It’s time to change all of that!!!  Gain a strong foothold on your future and write the vision, make it plain.  Once the vision has taken form and become material, it’s much easier to run with it and receive it!!!!  Vision and Dreams have a real purpose in your life so don’t neglect the gift that God has given to us.

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Dreams

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                                                               Dreams.

If you’re not dreaming, you’re not living up to your full potential!!  Dreams are the essential lubricant for positive results in life.  You can’t really perceive all that’s possible while you’re awake and conscious.  As human beings we’re limited that way.  The mind just can’t process everything that you are capable of when the hand of God is upon you!  So God sends us dreams and has given us the ability to Dream so that we can truely be all that He has purposed us to be.  There are literally no limits to what’s possible which means it is up to the realm of the imagination to close the gap between what you don’t have and what you have.

You are what you can imagine!  Your imagination is a true gift from God.  It is in the capacity to imagine a thing that the creative process really takes off.  Dreams are a safe way to receive the powerful word of God in a process that allows us, mankind, to stay sane.  No man has seen God at any time outside of the body and person of Jesus Christ.  I think this is why Dreams serve such a vital purpose in the communication process between God and His creation.  It is through our Dreams that we come to see in a vision what God wants to communicate to us.  Our dreams serve as a language medium between the material and immaterial.  Our Dreams also allows us to craft material with which the Holy Spirit of God can work with.  It is part of the process in any event.  I will discuss other elements in another post.

More precisely, Dreams help us envision the impossible.  Dreams help us see our way into greater heights and possibilities without the distractions of naysayers and negative people.  In our Dreams we can do anything and be anything and achieve anything.  This kind of positive enegry is very powerful.  It sets the stage for an environment of real change because once you receive this positive energy you can step off more easily on faith.  You can reach for what you have envisioned without doubt and with great confidence!!  With no one dragging you down you can do all things through Christ!!  This is the great benefit of Dreams.  They really help you walk in confidence and trust because in your Dreams you are victorious.  It’s not just a slogan!

So don’t let anyone crush your Dreams.  Those Dreams are essential in the creation process.  Your tomorrow and the successes you see, the victory you’ve claimed, and the prizes that are awarded to you are depending on the health of your Dreams.  Don’t let anyone steal that from you.  Just remember that those Dreams are your private communication with the Master Creator and they are meant for you.

So I say Dream big and Dream often.  Meditate on the visions that the Almighty has given you and don’t worry about how those Dreams will come to pass or be realized.  That’s not your job.  Your job is to Dream it, live it, and walk in it with confidence!!

Blurred Vision, Part 3

I put part one and two into this blog via video and audio, now we’ll switch things up a bit and put pen to paper.  I spoke from the hip in the first two installments but I have a feeling this one is going to open me up even more.  When you write, your thoughts become clearer and more focused.  I think this will help me bring some essential nuggets to the surface, things that aren’t very easy to share.

Maybe that’s the point though.  The more painful the disclosure the more helpful the message??  We’ll see.

Blurred Vision part 3

In the first two segments I touched on a process that leads to false happiness or hollow fulfillment.  There is a game of deception that goes on with many men…and I speak of men because I am one and this tends to happen to us allot.  I’m sure my sister folk experience this too but with men it is especially potent because we are visual creatures by design.

The eye is the first barrier that breaks down in this game of deception.  William Shakespeare is purported to have said that the eyes are the window to the soul.  I don’t know if that’s true of him or not.  But, I do believe that Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body.  If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Matt. 6:22-23).  My take on this is that we become deeply affected by what we see.  The eye serves as a gateway to the inner man.  So it follows that when we are led astray it often begins with what we see…or think we see (I think if Adam and Eve were here they might lend credible testimony to this).

Now in previous posts I shared about my early experience with pornography and how crippling it was to me emotionally and spiritually.  What I didn’t share was how the transformation worked within me to revive my fallen nature and create a false new man, a false new person driven by internal lusts and appetites.

Once you get this thing inside of you it becomes an alternate voice, a quiet whisper in the night, something always lurking in the subconscious waiting for an opportunity to express its need.  There are times when you can suppress it and ignore or obscure it with some other activity.  In most cases, however, it only ducks its head and waits.  It presents itself as a deep, longing void, an empty space that nothing can fill except for the object being presented.

When it is active and unrestrained, it alters your vision.  Remember, vision leads to life and prosperity because without it we perish.  So if your vision is changed, altered, diluted, obscured or outright changed, then so also is your life.  This deception that worked within me changed my vision often.  I thought I saw what was good for me and once I thought it…once it materialized in my mind (Law of Attraction) it came to me.  What I saw showed up in my life and since I thought it was good and right it was easy to pursue.  I saw things I thought I wanted, things I thought I needed.  These things manifested in my inner thoughts and added to the poison already coursing through my spirit.

Blurred Vision part 3 v2This game of deception is very cruel and takes no prisoners.  It will make you lie to yourself, to your friends and family, to anyone in order to justify itself.  You begin to really believe the lie.  In the process lives are hurt and other people pay a price for your changed vision.  The crazy thing is that the more you meditate on this new thing, the stronger it becomes.  It’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I had an affair and in this affair I was actually sure beyond a doubt that the grass was greener on the other side.  I told myself so many lies just to make the new reality work, to make the pieces fit nicely.  I hammered out any rough edges and called it a job well done because the product suited my altered vision.

The more I dwelt on the object presented to me by the deception, the more real it became.  Literally, the thing I saw in my mind came true in almost every detail.  The details in turn fed the hunger.  I was so lost.  I was so hurt inside and didn’t even know it.  I was dying.  This thing was like a cancer that grew unchecked.  I know that over time the symptoms started to show and those around me that loved me and cared about me prayed.  I will discuss the cure later but for now suffice it to say that there was no treatment…not as long as what I thought I saw…I thought was real!

Men and brothers, there is a way to break out of the game of deception.  I hope you come back for the next installment where I will begin to share with you how I broke this cycle and regained my true and clear vision!

Dealing with Life’s Disappointments

Dealing with Life’s Disappointments

Don’t you wish that each and everyday of your life was nothing but joy and happiness, no valley lows, just mountain highs?  Well, that might get old after a while and you might not experience growth of any significance, but aren’t there days when you just wish it was always sunshine?

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This roller coaster we call life can sometimes get the best of us.  Many times you might wish life could just cut you a break and dish out a bed of roses instead of thorns.  On the face of it, this sounds fantastic.  I mean who wouldn’t want days filled with nothing but bliss?  No worries.  No concerns other than the next laugh, the next hug, the next ray of sunshine.  What would we look like if our present realities reflected this?

A life without stress of any kind would produce what?  A longer lifespan some might venture.  After all, isn’t stress one of the biggest killers in America now.  Isn’t stress one of the greatest health concerns we have?  So if we could eliminate all stress, what kind of people would we be?  Honestly, I don’t think we could exist without it!

Difficulties, hardships, challenges all have purpose in our lives both physically and emotionally.  Each time we put stress on the physical body what happens?  It changes.  The body responds to stress.  Ask any weight lifter about what his goal is in the gym and he…or she, will say that they are looking to breakdown muscle fibers in order to create new growth.  Tear down the muscle and the body begins to repair and rebuild, and it will generally rebuild sufficiently to meet the new strains being placed on it.

In Marine boot camp, our drill instructors put us through hell…and they enjoyed it!  They made us do things that had nothing whatsoever to do with combat or the new job skill we would be learning.  The stress was put on us to develop mental and emotional toughness.  Our drill instructors tortured, humiliated and pushed us beyond our limits to test us and prepare us for what might possibly happen on the battlefield.  I hated my drill instructors but to tell you the truth, after it was all over I knew that I could do anything, face anything if I had to.  I was mentally and physically stronger after going through the process and this helped me a great deal once I hit the fleet.

I think life is like this too.  We go through things, harsh things, troubling things, the kinds of things that you would only think happen in nightmares…but those things are not without purpose.  I can’t pretend to understand why we suffer what we suffer.  Everyone has a different trial to face, but I do know this that we are never alone as we face our challenges.  It might feel like that sometimes, like you are the only one suffering financial collapse, relationship troubles, health issues, etc, but you are not.  Even if no one close to you or far from you knows what’s happening in your life, God knows which means you are not alone.

Next, if you believe what I’m saying then you should also know this that your trial has purpose!  The key is to make that purpose a divine purpose!  A purpose tied to His will and not your own.  If you believe that God has oversight of your trial, then you can draw strength from knowing that God’s plan is not and has never been about your destruction!!!!  He has always wanted what would prosper you and elevate you to the place He intended you for all along.  If we can get our heads around the fact that He cares for us, then our trials won’t be viewed as burdens but opportunities for growth!!