Friday, February 27, 2009

The Mind

Of all the things we can know, how can we agree on what is important to know, so that we can know what there is to know. And if we disagree on what is important then we can never feel free the impediment of intellectual inadequacy.

In the city which I live, a radio news station has as it slogan, "all you need to know" listen to us. They make the decision as to what you need to know; but how do they know all I need to know. I have priorities of knowledge. For instance, I care more for international news than local news; what is happening in terms of human beings at a global scale; they broadcast who won the state lottery! It makes no difference to me whether someone else won the lottery! It will make a difference to me if I won the lottery, but I don't buy lottery tickets! Consequently, radio stations don't tell me what I need to know; and what about all I need to know!

The only person who can decide all that I need to know, should know all about me and reveal what I need to know about me.

Jesus has given us the basics of the basics of what we need to know. He answers the fundamental, intellectual questions that you will ever have.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Evil Heart

The Heart Prison features the hard heart. There is another kind of human heart which is more deadly, and more dangerous --- the Evil heart. However good you think you are, there is a evil side to all of us. A dark side, if given the opportunity, will unleash an evil the world has never seen.

Your thoughts and intentions are simply filled with evil toward yourself, others and God. You say you don’t have an evil heart. Yes, you may not be bad as your neighbor, but you are as capable of everything your neighbor does. Believe me, only you haven't exasperated yourself as much as you have exasperated your neighbor. Would you like to be freed from you evil heartedness?

Well your heart is the control-center of your being. The control center of everything you are and do, comes from the heart. Unless your heart is reformatted and restructured you will never be released out of your heart prison. You will be a prisoner for life. You will never have hope, never have comfort, never have courage, never have goodness about you.

What does it take for you to be freed from the heart? It is a single, simple, total answer to the situation. It is God who can free you from your heart-prison.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Outlasting Marital Unhappiness

I was thinking…

A journalist who has written a series of books on family and marriage is suggesting that the longer a marriage lasts the more adjusted a couple is to each other. In spite of a diminishing libido, “Older couples, compared to middle-aged couples, expressed lower levels of anger, disgust, belligerence and whining and higher levels of one important emotion, namely affection….emotional stability steadily improves.”

Then the author considered if unhappily married people should split up. Does divorce make people happy? Her “short answer seems to be rarely…unhappily married adults who divorced or separated were no happier, on average, than unhappily married adults who stayed married to the same partner. Only one in five of them was happily remarried. More surprisingly, a majority of those who remained married pronounced themselves happy at the end of the five-year period.”

Every marriage goes through difficult times, rough patches, and strained periods. If you want to leave because you are unhappy, studies and reports show that you ought to hang on, in the middle of your unhappiness. At the very worst, a known unhappiness (unless your life is being physically threatened) is better than an unknown unhappiness. And if the potential for known unhappiness to turn into known and unknown happiness is likely as you get older, hold on. You can outlast your unhappy marriage season to a better adjusted relationship of affection. I know!

However, you need spiritual, supernatural, salvation to facilitate your move to maturity. Ask me how.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Heart Prison

Your heart may be incarcerated by one of the following: heartache; loneliness, forsakenness, lovelessness, brokenness, despair, hopelessness, faintness, or even hardness.

Hardening of the heart is far more difficult to treat than the hardening of the arteries. We have tools and technology of the finest kind to deal with arteriosclerosis. But spiritual arteriosclerosis cannot be dealt with by any human. It takes God to do that!

The callouses around your heart have been created by you to protect and defend yourself. Instead of having a tender heart and a tough skin, you have a tender skin and a tough heart--a heart as tough as a bed of nails. Tough only on the outside because on the inside you are fragile and breakable.

A hard heart is evidenced in a small heart toward others; a selfish heart towards ourselves; a cocky, prideful heart towards ourselves and others. If you are hateful, you have a hard heart. You carry a murderous intent in your heart, and that in itself is good enough to kill.

Your hard heart may be evidenced in feisty independence--you want to run your own life; you sponsor yourself; you run over people; you don't care for those around you or under you.

Well what does it take for you to be freed from the prison of the heart? There is a single, simple, total answer to the situation. Only God can free you from your heart-prison.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Red Tigers

I was thinking about a little proverb which goes, "Sow a thought, reap an action; Sow an action, reap a habit!" Habits become second nature; and the second nature needs to be changed. How will you be able to reprogram your second nature?

I recall one day, I heard my son saying a bad word. I gently confronted him about it. He said that he did not want to use the word again, but the bad word was stuck in his mind, so I gave him a thought experiment. I said, "Son, I want you to not think about red tigers for the next twenty seconds." He tried to not think about red tigers, and he said, "daddy, that is impossible. I had to think about red tigers, not to think about them." So, I said, "Son, I want you to think about green tigers for the next twenty seconds." Very soon he was able to do that and smiled exuberantly. That's the key, "you've got to think of green tigers not to think about red tigers."

Your red tigers are your bad habits. Till now you have intellectually struggled with them, but you don't have the spiritual resources to deal with them. You need divine power, divine help. You welcome God into your life, asking for divine resources for your daily life. Now, start some putting some green tigers in your life.

Praying to God, loving your neighbor, learning God’s truths, asking questions of His followers, will all help you with green tigers.

You can beat the red tigers if you want to, if you replace them with green tigers. Your power will come from God himself. You can re-pattern years of bad habits.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Breaking Bad Habits

Let’s review some steps I offered you last time to breakdown the walls of a habit prison: watch out for ignorance, watch for faulty thinking, watch out for temptation, and fourth, pursue the change of behavior.

These are great steps, with no intrinsic problems with them. You may even have the desire to break your habits. Except, you don’t have a chance to break them unless you are in relationship with some one greater than your habits, and even yourself. I mean God.

So the next step is to want a relationship with the God who can help you break your own definition of life, and find his provision of life. Do that!

At that point you will receive divine resources along with God’s life to give you the power to animate and energize your will for victory and freedom, to learn new habits, to restructure your old habits. Good habits are learned the same way bad habits are learned.
Your deep-seated compulsion is driven by the unconscious. You cannot control it. So pray to the One who is able to give you a way of escape when you are tempted with evil. Use your temptation as a trigger to pray for some one else too. You will be re-patterning. You have to learn an entire different pattern of thought and life. It’s tough, but it’s possible, since you are not facing it by yourself!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Freedom from Bad Habits

Someone once said, "The only thing I can't resist seems to be temptation."

Bad habits, like allergies, can be developed at any time in life--whether it is compulsive internet surfing or impulsive shopping sprees. You need to beware.

First, watch out for ignorance. Second, watch for faulty thinking. They are self-delusions even though they are very comfortable. Third, watch out for temptation to pursue wrong. Fourth, pursue change of behavior.

Frankly, what I've just prescribed for you is not humanly possible. Even self-help programs use divine help as their first step in their 12-step process in overcoming addictions--one day at a time.

Bad habits are not only bad because they affect your body. They also affect your relationship with God. Since God is the only One who could help you with bad habits, you have to relate properly to him to win the victory, obtain the freedom from bad habit prisons, addictions and compulsions.

So, ask God to save you. He doesn't ask you to give up your badness and then come to him, for you simply do not have the resources to do that. All you need to acknowledge is your badness, and tell him that you want him to free you from the bad behavior and then come to him in faith.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Consequences of Bad Habits

When we look into the mind of a prisoner of bad habits we find several truths.

One, you have acknowledged your problem in private though you may never want to acknowledge it in public. Breaking your habit is a major concern of yours, but you are unable to control the impulse to indulge in the self abuse.

Two, as in most bad habits, you cannot undo the time that you have lost by just stopping the practice.

Three, even though participating in the bad habit makes you feel good for the moment, you feel worse off afterward.

Four, you may be attempting to deal with boredom. Since there is nothing to do, you find something wrong to do which becomes a behavior pattern in your life. Or, you may feel like you deserve to do a little wrong. After all you have done so many good things, and worked hard, and you want to reward yourself with doing wrong. Or, the people you move with try to pull you down their path. They don't feel good about themselves when you are around them. Instead of becoming like you, they entice you with their offerings.

You have to wake up. Understand that you are evading the real issue, deceiving yourself, creating fantasies that will never be achieved. Your life is at risk, your mind is declining, and your faculties are expiring. The sins you sowed one by one, you will reap two by two.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bad Habits

We have been looking at a prison view of life--or life as a prison. Some prisons relate to our limitations as human beings. Yet others are prison constructs we build for ourselves, or have let others build around us as we live life.

Bad habits are prisons which we have cultivated and accumulated over life. We started them while we were young. And we have been in their grip since then.

Take tobacco, drugs, or alcohol. What started out as a status maker has become a life breaker. You desperately want to break the habit, but you can't. You are in a habit prison.

What about other compulsions? Gambling is a habit that simply grasps you in its clasp. You started betting about simple, ordinary things. Now, your life is caught in its steel web and you can't break out. Bad habits could be beating your wife, stealing from your boss; or the compulsion of shopping with its attendant problem of getting caught in debt.

Why should you be concerned about bad habits? Because habits are actions, and actions make character. Actions write the story of life; they are the milestones and the turning points; the high points and the low points. They speak louder than words to those around you; they may even speak louder than words to yourself. Listen!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Answer

In my last post, I mentioned that there are questions and doubts that God welcomes, encourages and answers. I can make that assertion about questions and doubts for the following reasons.

First, God’s command to love him with your mind allows you the privilege. Ask any question you want. Second, God’s Son, exemplified the gift of answers to seekers and non-seekers, searchers and challengers. Feel free to ask any question relating to your salvation and eternity. Third, what God says is truth and the nature of truth is to adhere to itself. Whenever a claim is made, it voids counter-claims. You must know why you believe what you believe. Do you? Would you rather believe something that is false? Please don’t recommend what you believe to be false to others—you are in a personal contract to believe what is true rather than what is false; and you ought to practice social courtesy to not leading others astray.

Therefore, pursue questions of clarification in the areas of the truth, salvation, and counter-claims.

Intellectual growth assumes you ask particular kinds of questions. God has built you with the capacity for questions. He doesn't want you to be gullible. Your mind is part of your personhood and humanness. Therefore, use this capacity to study and investigate all truth.

Let's reach for truth as we reach for life together. God encourages, welcomes, and answers honest questions from any person.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Seeker

A man known for his honest doubt, Thomas, one of Jesus' disciples, eloquently expressed his doubts concerning Jesus' resurrection. He blurted, "Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." These were strong conditions, but they were clear criteria for truth.
There was a willingness to honestly investigate the evidence for the event and follow-through with belief.

These kinds of questions and doubts, God welcomes, encourages and answers. If you are a seeker, you can ask any question you want and you will find adequate answers. History is filled with men who asked questions about God. They asked the questions of seekers, meaning although they doubted, they would be willing to believe if God would show them the truth.

History is also strewn with the questions of brilliant men who did ask fine questions but found heaven constipated. There were no answers to them, not because there were no available answers, but simply because they asked as skeptics. They doubted too, but were unwilling to believe.

Doubt, my friend, is not unbelief nor faulty in itself. Only dishonest doubt will not find an answer, for there are no questions that can be asked which have not been asked before. And, there are no questions that can be asked which have not been asked and answered before!

Don't be afraid to ask questions about God, truth and reality.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dishonest Doubt

Its good to use your mind, to ask for policies of personal belief, under what conditions you will believe something to be true, and under what conditions you will disbelieve something that you have already believed to be true.

Osho Rajneesh, once untitled, then acharya, then bhagwan, then acharya, now untitled, was a popular Indian guru in the West. At the heyday of his career many years ago, he even incorporated an entire city in the U.S. under his name, Rajneeshpuram. He was known the world over for his one hundred Rolls Royce cars and his doctrine of unhindered freedom. What caught my eye was the sign outside his main lecture hall, “Please leave your shoes and your minds outside."

People do leave their shoes outside religious sites to show respect for the place. However, leaving minds outside was rather novel peculiar to Rajneeshees. That's a bad use of the mind.

How do you get out of the prison of skepticism, while maintaining a healthy use of the mind? Again, I point you to the Son of God. When asked what was the greatest of all commandments, He did something very unusual. He highlighted the dimension of the mind in His restatement of the first commandment that people in His religious milieu believed was given—loving God with your mind. You may need to leave your shoes outside. But you never leave your mind outside when it comes to loving God.