What do you see in your mind?

October 15, 2018

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack Freed used this quote to write about the wonder of our minds – “To different minds the same world is a hell and a heaven.”  (J.B. Priestley). Jack’s post talked about how our brains perceive things and he shared a book, It’s All in Your Head, that modern school kids are using to explore how their brains work. A fascinating statistic that Jack cited is that science only understands what about 10% of the brain does, with 90% still to be discovered.

We use such phrases as “in my mind’s eye” and “it’s all in your head” to describe how we perceive and react to the world around us. Some people’s brains work differently. Try todepression2 imagine having two minds inside your brain, one which sees the world as heaven and one that only sees darkness and hell. A bi-polar person may actually be living that experience, although only one of the minds may be in control at any one time. Schizophrenics may house many minds, perhaps with more than one “mind” fighting for control at any given time.

The mind is where fantasy and reality are supposed to be sorted out and kept in order, but for some that process doesn’t work well and we say of them that “they are living a fantasy world.” For some an imbalance in the brain may drag them into the dark pit of depression. Fortunately, for people suffering from depression, science has discovered solutions that can maintain a better balance within the brain and allow them a more “normal” life.

It is interesting that we have evolved to the point where our brains are contemplating insightthemselves and how they work. Much of the work in this area of science has focused upon how the brain controls various functions of our bodies or how it gathers, sorts, stores and recalls the information that it encounters in order to build our knowledge base. Yet to be understood is how the brain is capable of original thoughts. It may be that most of what we think of as original thoughts are really just well organized paths of discovery of the origin of something or the solution to a problem.

An even more interesting question is did our brains invent the concept of God or did God invent our brains so that we could “see” Him in our minds. Having been a Star Trek fan from the very first episode on TV, I can conjure up a vision that talking with God is like the Vulcan mind meld, with God playing the role of Spock. Imagine how far back God must have to throttle His mind in order to have a conversation with the small minds thatwoman-praying He encounters here on earth. When you talk to God through prayer, what do you “see” in your mind’s eye? Does God sound like James Earl Jones when he answers you?

It is inevitable that religion and science intersect, even in contemplating or own minds. I like a little saying from Einstein – “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” As scientists study our brains and the minds that they house, they will come to dead ends where the next steps can only be explained by religious belief. Where science stops is where God begins. Perhaps we should spend less time contemplating why things are as they are and spend more time just appreciating the beauty of things as they are. Stop and look at the beauty all around you. Anne Frank put it this way – “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” 

It is in the appreciation of that beauty that you will “see” the hand of God in your mind. Have a beautiful day!

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You are never alone with God in your life…

October 5, 2018

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this little quote –

“People love company, even if it is only a small burning candle.”  (George single candleLichtenberg)

That quote caused me to think that it is out of our aversion to being alone that we give voice to our pets, speaking for them and sometimes carrying on conversations with them, if only in our minds. I also remembered the Tom Hanks movie Castaway and the volleyball he called Wilson. For the Hank’s character, Wilson was a companion and that meant he was not alone.

Yet, we are never really alone, if we have God in our lives. He is always there, ready to listen to us and sometimes to talk back to us (if we are ready to listen).

“God is with you – wherever you may go and no matter what life brings.” – Joshua 1:9

For many people, the flame of that small burning candle in today’s quote represents God, bringing light into our lives and overcoming the darkness that might surround us.

helping handsIf you are a person who feels uncomfortable or even fears being alone, try reaching out to God in those moments of panic or fear. He is there; ready to answer your call.

A side benefit is that you can have a much more intelligent conversation with God than you can with your dog/cat or a volleyball. Try it the next time that you feel alone. He will be there.

We are not alone.

 


Find God; you’ll be glad you did…

September 20, 2018

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog come this challenging question from Zig Ziglar –   “Will you look back on life and say, I wish I had, or I’m glad I did?”

coulda woulda shouldaI’ve posted her a few times about not ending up with a bad case of the “coulda, woulda, shoulda’s” in your life. Most of those posts concerned making good decisions in life. Most of those decisions involve being able to distinguish good from bad, right from wrong or maybe constructive vs. destructive behavior.

A core principle that should guide most of those choices may be stated – “do unto others and you would have them do unto you.” Underlying everything upon which you might base the decisions in your life is the foundation of your faith – what you believe in. Bob Dylan put believeit rather starkly when he said – “you either believe or you don’t believe, there ain’t no in between.”

woman-prayingSo it is in life; you either walk with God or you walk alone. You may both turn to God for help with your decisions, and trust in the direction that He takes you; or you have nothing to turn to for help and find no happiness in your decisions, no matter how things turn out. In the end, will you be looking back and saying, “I wish I had found God in my life”, or will you be saying “I’m glad that I had God in my life to guide me?”

gods-hands-2

Don’t end up saying, I coulda, woulda, or shoulda; say instead, “I found God”.

You’ll be glad that you did.


God’s role – is it preventing or coping…

August 12, 2018

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this quote – “God is never late, but He sure misses a lot of opportunities to be early.”  (From Mike Watson)

That quote begs the question of what is God’s role in our lives? Do we expect Him to get there early and prevent bad things from happening to us or do we turn to Him after those things have happened as the source of our strength to get through them and go on with life. For most of us the answer is probably yes to both. We may pray for God’s help when facing life’s problems and we most certainly do when handed one of life’s setback.

I’ve shared my use of the little quote from the Bible, “Not my will, but Thy will be done” (Luke 22:42). I find it to be a help both going into situations and for dealing with things that have occurred. One of the main things that it does is relieve the need to feel like I’m in control of everything. In reality, we are in control of very little but our own reactionsbored2 to things and events.  Trying to maintain the delusion that we are in control just causes frustration, anger and self-destructive depression.

In praying to God that His will be done in our lives ahead of some upcoming event or confrontation of a problem, we might best ask Him to help us do the right thing, make the right decisions and handle things the right way. The term “right” will be determined by God as the events unfold, but a good guideline would be to keep that old question, “What would Jesus do?” in mind. Keep in mind, also, that things may not go as we had hoped or wished that they would, but they jesus-as-lightalways go the way that God intended. Sometimes we have to step back from things and try to discern the lesson or good that can come from the outcome.

What is God’s role in your life? Is He the guiding light, showing your the right things to do or do you turn to him as the court of last resort when things haven’t gone according to your plans? The good news is that He is willing and able to play both roles in our lives and will always be there for us. That comes from another saying from the Bible – “I will never leave you or forsake you” – Hebrews 13:5

So, it’s really up to you to decide when you turn to God for help. Most of the time it is less woman-prayingpainful if you turn to him early. It’s not really that God misses lots of opportunities to be early, it’s usually that we don’t turn to Him until it’s almost too late. So, pray early and pray often. God is standing by to answer.


What Maypole do you dance around?

May 1, 2018

From today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this delightful quote – “Life is like a Maypole.  Life is colorful  Bright  vibrant and always fun   For children and fools.”   (Mason Hartley)

Jack went on to tell about Maypole dancing in May in Scandinavia as a way to celebrate Maypole_Swedenthe end of winter and the arrival of Spring. In a larger sense, it is a metaphor for the celebration of life. As Hartley pointed out, children seem to find fun in life no matter what is going on around them. One can see that in the occasional news stories of children finding a way to play in the midst of war-torn countries. For them life is always fun, bright, colorful and full of things to discover.

Hartley seems to say that, in adulthood, only fools find the same wonder in each day. I would submit that it is not fools who can see the bright, vibrant hope in each day, but rather Christians who wake each morning and thank God for another day. God is our Maypole each day and we should celebrate each day that God has given us with joy and thanksgiving.

When we lose our childhood wonder and the ability to play and “grow up” to be a serious adult, we also lose some or all of our ability to dance around the Maypole. For many that includes losing touch with God. With the growth of the body comes the development of the mind and the rise of our ego. It is from that ego; that springs our need to feel like we are in control of things; and, in that, we lose touch with the God that we innocently accepted as children. We begin to think of each day as ours and not God’s. chasing moneyWe begin to believe that we can control things, manipulate things and decide outcomes to events and not to trust that God is in control. Many may substitute something new in place of the Maypole – success in business with promotions and more money – and dance around those goals in the belief that having more of everything will bring happiness.

It is only when we return to our belief in God that we are free to once again be happy, dance, and celebrate each day. When we finally say to ourselves and to God, “Not my will but thy will be done”, we can regain that childlike wonder at life and find a way to play again and enjoy the life that God has given us. No, we are not fools. Perhaps the fools are those around us who still think that they are in control of things and have lost contact with God.

If God is not at the center of your life, what Maypole are you dancing around? How’s thatgods-hands-2 working out for you? Don’t play the fool; return to the only true thing that you need to center your life around. Dance around God and be happy again, as if you were a child.

Have a wonderful day and find the time to dance.


Make the fourth choice…

December 24, 2017

Jack had an interesting quote recently in his blog Jack’s Winning Words

“In life you have three choices…Give up…Give in…or Give it your all.”  (Charleston Parker)

Those are the choices from the kind of human, ego-centric point of view that most of us use in life. Quotes like that are the fodder of coaches and leaders everywhere as they rally the team or the troops. There’s certainly nothing bad about deciding to give it your all in life, whether it be to the demands of your job or to the needs of your family.

Striving to do your best is always a worthy goal; however, as we take time today and tomorrow to reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas, I would submit that there is a fourth choice in life…Give it to God. You don’t have to give up on life or give in to the temptations of life; instead give yourself to God and let Him handle your fears and trials. Let Him give you the strength to resist the temptations of life and the endurance and perseverance to give it your all. With God on your side all things are possible.

So, this Christmas, as we give thanks to God for giving us the greatest gift of all time – His Son Jesus – let us also give Him a gift of ourselves. Give yourself to God and you will not have to give up or give in and you will be able to give it your all.

Not to belabor this little prayer that I’ve written about often here; but, the easiest wayman praying that I’ve found in my life to give yourself to God is to prayerfully say to Him…Not my will but thy will be done.

Make the fourth choice.

Merry Christmas to all.


You decide what kind of day to have…

October 25, 2017

From a list of quotes that I keep on hand came a really meaningful one from Stephen Covey – “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

I’m sure that we all know someone, (perhaps it’s you) who is always lamenting their bad luck and complaining how life seems out to get them. They blame their state in life on the circumstances that have befallen them. Perhaps you also know someone who is athis-is-me Pollyanna-type who always finds a way to make lemonade out of the lemons that come their way. Which are you? Which would you rather be?  The one has decided to be unhappy with life and the other will not let life ruin their happiness. You decide what kind of day you will have.

Let’s face it; stuff happens. Life does not always go as we had planned or hoped. failuresSometimes we just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and something bad happens. Sometimes we actually make the bad decision to be at that place. Whichever it is, you are then faced with more decisions about how to react to things that are happening or that just happened. Perhaps another quote sums up your situation best: “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” —Charles Swindoll. Since your day is made up of events that you will react to; you decide what kind of day you will have.

I’ve posted her before about reacting to things and problem solving, so I won’t rehash those bits of advice. I think the main thing to focus upon is recognizing that you are reacting to things that are happening around you or to you and that you’re making decisionsdecisions about what to do next, instead of letting some knee-jerk reaction control your future. By being conscious of your situation, you can choose to react in a positive way, rather than a negative way. You can choose to move forward with your life in a positive way, rather than shrinking back or retreating into depression. You can be in control; not of the situation, but of your reaction to it. You decide what kind of day you will have.

In my post – Life is lived somewhere in between – I mentioned a little prayer that I use almost daily to put myself in the right frame of mind for the day – “God help me make good decisions today.” Keeping that little prayer in mind forces me to acknowledge that, right-and-wrongwhile I may not be in control of the things that are happening, I am in control of the decisions that I make in reaction to what is happening. Realizing that causes me to take a little pause and ask myself, “What is the right thing to do?” Just that little pause and that thought will allow you to see what God is telling you to do and you will make better decisions. You decide what kind of day you will have.

Maybe you forgot to say that little prayer this morning and life has already thrown you a curve ball. Maybe your initial reaction to that situation was a knee-jerk response thatwoman-praying took you off in a bad direction. It’s never too late to turn back to God and say “A little help here”. Maybe you need to ask for God to help you recover from a bad decision. God will always be there for you and it’s never too late to ask Him for help. It’s as simple as this little prayer – “Not my will but thy will be done.” You decide what kind of day you will have.

Have a great day! It’s your call.