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Does Jesus Need Another Revolution

I am a product of the 1960’s and 70’s. At 18 I fought in the Vietnam war. At 21 I embraced the hippie culture and at 22 I was born into the Jesus Revolution. |I cannot talk of one without mention of the others.

Whatever spin one wants to put on each of them, in my opinion the Jesus Revolution (cover story  by Time Magazine article June 21, 1971) by far had the greatest impact on my life. The Vietnam war and the Hippie culture are fading memories but Jesus remains embedded in my life forever.

The Vietnam war was a blight on American society, our young being killed everyday at a rapid pace. Young men and women rebelling against their parents society that created a culture of young disaffected youth who ran for the hills, started communes  living together off the land with their drugs, sexual liberation and music that encouraged rebellion from a society they did not want to be part of.

From this tornado like atmosphere the Jesus Revolution was born. A spiritual phenomenon that spread worldwide.  The young and disenfranchised searching for a better life that was not being fulfilled with anti social  causes and drugs.  The youth of the day found a solution in Jesus.

Young people having their lives radically changed in an almost supernatural way.  It was not a revival. It was a revolution, a complete turnaround from the life they had been living to forge a new way. Young people, many who knew nothing of church, Jesus, God or christianity had their hearts radically changed almost instantly were ready and willing to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth.

Having already left their world behind, denounced materialism, stuck their noses up at a society that they wanted nothing of, they were ripe for the task of going into all the world and preaching the gospel to every creature. Youth reaching youth with the love of God in the name of Jesus.

Many churches were just not prepared for this Jesus Revolution and didn’t know how to react. We were not accepted, we were the dregs of society, the lowest of the low, not worthy to be called Christian. Many of us were taken in by those who were already fighting against the church’s inability to change. The non denominations took us in. Many went with those who started their own brand of christianity, many I am sure went back to their old lives.

Now forty-five years later I wonder with a  nostalgic ping in my heart where have all these bygone revolutionaries ended up. I can only speak for myself and I took a day or so to reflect on this.

It took me off the streets, off of drugs. It changed my  thought patterns and way of thinking.  Love became my mantra. I met my wife during this period  who has become my best friend. In our past worlds we would have never met. The children born to us are by far our greatest assets. I daily thank God how my life turned out as Jesus continues to  live in me and balances an often turbulent journey.

Is the world in need of another spiritual revolution and not just continued revivals? Are the youth of this generation dissatisfied enough to want radical change in their lives. Are the youth who have Jesus as their guiding light prepared to reach this lost generation?

I hope so.

 

 

 

 

Building A Relationship With God Is Prayer

Prayer is, at root, simply paying attention to God –  Flannery O’Connor

I was going to end with the above quote as an afterthought but decided it should be the in the forefront of what I want to talk about.

Prayer has not been the strongest area of my life.  The way I was taught to pray never fully resonated with me.  Prayer was something you said in words or waited on God in quiet to speak to you in scripture, more words. Not that there is anything wrong with that but that was all I knew about praying.

I have never been able to grasp the concept of public prayer whether it is me doing the praying or someone else. I know it has its benefits. But for me it never helped in my intimate personal relationship with God. Now don’t get me wrong here, I am not saying there is no place for public prayer or praying using words. I am sure you can remind me of dozens of scripture verses on the subject proving me wrong. That is not what I am trying to convey.

I learned to pray by audibly using words, me talking to God using the language I are familiar with and trying to listen for Gods voice using the means that I was taught and became most comfortable with. Reading. This method became stale over time and it was one that never fully completed my desire of communicating with God.

I have been experiencing a more complete prayer life by using  all of the senses that God gave me. Becoming more aware or as Flannery O’Connor stated,  “paying  attention to God” and I might add by using all of my senses.

Imagine when someone passing you on the street smiles at you. How do you react. Do you smile back or do you put yourself in defensive mode by  averting  their eyes and ignore the smile. Or could it be God trying to communicate to you by implying, “go ahead, smile back, it will make you feel better and lift your spirits.”

How about the first time holding hands with that boy or girl you really like and getting that tingling feeling that electrifies your whole body and   imagine God standing behind you thinking ” Ha, I knew this was a good match”.

The smell of your favorite dish cooking on the stove after a hard day at work, your heart filling with appreciation as you watch your partner scurrying around the kitchen preparing the meal. How did he know I was craving Spaghetti. You can almost see God standing at the stove stirring the pot of sauce and as he looks at you with a cheeky smile not wanting to take all the credit.

Your teenager seemingly going off the rails and your heart is heavy with fear as she runs out of the house slamming the door yelling you’re the worst father in the world. You can envision God following her out the door turning before leaving and giving you a nod as though to say “don’t worry, I got this”.

You laugh uncontrollably at a one liner by a stand up comic and God whispers in your ear, ” You know, I wrote that line for her”.

It would be unforgiving of me to not mention that first sip of coffee in the morning. Savouring the taste and toying with the idea that maybe there will also be coffee in heaven.  This time I am reminded of the written word that teaches us to pray,  “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Just saying.

So your busy day is done. You are exhausted and it is one of those days when everything that could go wrong does go wrong. As you lie in bed staring at the ceiling with your hands behind your head feeling like a flawed human being. You sigh, hoping that tomorrow will be a better day. On cue, God speaks directly to your heart; “I do my best work with flawed.”

Let’s pay attention to God by using all our senses.

 

 

So You Don’t Fit In!

Feeling out of place? Not fitting in? Are you watching those around you making strides in ways that make you envious?  Are you dissatisfied with your christian life. Envious of your christian brethren who seem grounded and living the perfect christian life?  Is there a slight temptation of envy as you watch your friends and colleagues making their way in a society you feel alienated from? Do you have any friends at all?  Do you feel you have passed your used by date?  Be encouraged.  You are not alone. As a matter of fact you are in good company.

As the years have passed me by  I have on so many occasions gone through the motions of loving God and my neighbour as commanded in the bible. Although I have tried my best to fit into the contemporary christian lifestyle but there has always been this nagging feeling there is something missing.  Not only missing but the undeniable fact that I just wasn’t fitting in.

Time caused me to redefine my relationship with God, Jesus and his church. Over a long period of time  I came to conclusion that I could never be part of today’s religious mainstream church. It was not in me. I could never be a part of a society that is not designed for the life that God has given me. This has alienated me for many years,albeit self alienation, until recently I came to the realization (not a revelation or epiphany) that I was not meant to be part of either. I was purposed for something completely different. I was meant to be a misfit. In context or language that best describes what I am, a stranger and pilgrim on this earth.

Now don’t get me wrong. I believe that those that do fit in and are making a place for themselves on this earth, helping their fellow-man, the poor and under-privileged of this world are also exactly where they are meant to be, along with those who  have found purpose and usefulness in the church, their religion or their way of life. Even those who are successful in the field of their calling, gifts or talents. There is nothing wrong with that. They are where they are meant to be.

Our calling is different. Yes, calling. God has a different plan for us. But we must come to terms with the fact that if we don’t fit in it is  for a reason. The bible calls people like us a “peculiar people”, we are strange and different.

Once I faced the truth about my place in this world and have stopped struggling to fit my square life into the worlds round hole I stopped trying to define my life by societies and religous standards. I have accepted that God in his infinite wisdom has given me the calling of a stranger and a pilgrim as I try and weave my way through the maze of life.

In my opinion there has been no greater stranger and pilgrim to this world than Jesus. He made it very clear to his first disciples that in order to follow him through this world then they were required to give up everything to follow him.  You have to give thought to what ‘ everything’ means to you. I know what it means to me and I am excited about the future that I have left in this life as a “peculiar” people.

So you don’t fit in? Great, join the club.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay In Tune – God Is Always Speaking

God really works in some mysterious ways. It’s like He is continually figuring out ways to amaze me in the little obscure things he does.

I have a long time friend who went off the grid for a few years. Out of the blue I get an email from her. It was short and sweet. She tells me that she re-read an email that I had sent her quite some time ago (23 months to be exact) and how much it helped her when she re-read it.

The email I sent her was also attached so I decided to read it and see what was so insightful that my friend had to write me after such a long time.

I was pleasantly surprised. I had not only helped my friend get through a difficult day albeit  two years after I originally wrote the advice but it came back to me in a Dear Me sort of way. It was exactly what I needed to hear on the day.

God does work in some wonderful and unusual ways. If we can stay in tune with his still small voice which in this instance comes via a friend sending me, inadvertently I might add,  some of my own advice right back at me.

Now how cool is that.

God is always speaking. We just need to learn to listen.

 

 

Who Said I Had a Choice

I read an article a few years ago.  A journalist was interviewing a successful author who made his living on writing horror.  Many of his books were made into movies, TV Teleplays and TV shows. One of the questions the journalist asked, “why did you choose horror as a genre?” I can envision the author staring right through this journalist as he answered, “who said I had a choice?” He didn’t expound on his answer neither did the journalist ask a follow-up question.

“Who said I had a choice” as though some unseen force was on his shoulder whispering words as his hand worked furiously putting pen to paper trying not to miss a word. Whether his answer was meant to be literal or metaphorical it had quite an effect on me  non the less.

A question I have been asked over the course of my christian life. Why did you choose to become a christian. That question confused me but  I had my stock answer at the ready. “When I was 22….and I went on like a kookaburra”. This was a gray area for many years. I never gave serious thought to the answer.

Growing up in the Jewish faith I was sheltered from the knowledge of Jesus and Christianity.  I had no idea what the the Christmas hype was all about or the billboard signs that read, repent or perish. As I got older the name of Jesus was quite popular in bars and pool halls and I could never figure why this guy Jesus was so popular with some of my girlfriends when they shouted out his name with delight.

I travelled across America from the east coast to the west coast  when I 21. Stopping in Los Angeles to visit my sister I felt like  I  was transported into a strange new world. Charles Manson was on trial for his gruesome murders. Girls walked around in flowing dresses that almost touched the ground. Young people my age wore jeans with patches and rips in them, not the kind that the young people  get in shops today. Hippies I believe they were called. To top it off I was walking down the street in short sleeves in January. Not at all like my eastern seaboard upbringing.

Meandering down Hollywood Blvd I could see two lone figures up ahead seemingly engrossed in conversation.  As I walked past I heard these words. “Jesus was Jewish”. I thought, Huh, so Jesus was a real person. I continued on without breaking stride.

Some time later as my friends and I were leaving California heading back to New Jersey I was sitting in the back seat watching the sun set over the pacific ocean. I had this peacefulness that came over me. The seed was planted.

Eight months later I was hitching across Canada with my dog Sunfish. A beautiful Shetland Sheepdog that some hippies gave me while camping in the Blue Ridge mountains in New Jersey just a few months prior. She was my best friend and greatest travel companion. No problems getting rides.

Pitching our tent at a free campground I  borrowed a bicycle from a fellow camper. Peddling  down the  country road with Sunfish jogging behind I heard a thud. Jumping off my bike and turning to see where the sound came from I saw Sunfish lying on the ground lifeless. She was hit by a car. My first and only dog was killed. I carried her back to the campgrounds and buried her in the woods. That would become the saddest day in my life.

Numb from my loss I packed up my belongings and headed towards the highway. I took a ride as far as the driver could take me. Dropping me off virtually in the middle of nowhere I walked aimlessly and took the first dirt path that lead off the highway. Open fields on both sides with cattle or sheep far in the distance grazing on the lush flat land. Up ahead a loan oak tree standing with its heavy branching almost touching the ground. Beyond the tree was nothing as far as the eye could see until rolling hills met with the skyline.

Dropping my pack at the base of the tree I slumped to the ground my back leaning up against the oaks trunk. My mind dull with the thoughts of not having my new best friend by my side.  The last thing I remember was tears sliding down the sides of my face as I fell asleep.

Waking the next morning the sun breaking through the boughs of the old oak I realized I hadn’t moved my position. Something was noticeably different. The sadness was gone,  replaced by a sensation I had never experienced before in my 22 years of living. I was overwhelmed with the an unmistakable feeling  of happiness. I recognized this feeling as love and it was so overwhelming I thought I would explode.

Grabbing my pack, with a smile that was starting to hurt, I hurried down the path to the highway to catch a ride to God knows where. All I understood at the time that I had this great feeling of joy, happiness and love that I somehow had to share it with others. To this day I cannot explain what happened to me during that night as I slept under that oak tree. What I do know is this, it changed my life forever and I knew right away it was Jesus.

Much later I learned that my experience was a phenomenon known as being born again.

Now if I am asked why I chose Jesus being a Jew I can say with complete confidence, “who said I had a choice”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midlife Crisis: God’s Way

In retrospect, my late forties was when it all started. I didn’t know it was a midlife crisis. I thought more along the lines that I had lost my way, I had wandered off the path that God was leading me on but somehow got lost.

I spent so much time trying to get back to the path , it felt like I was stuck in quick sand. I couldn’t have been more wrong about the way I was seeing things.

When I was twenty two I had an experience that changed my life in a big way. I later learned that it was what Christians call being born again. God took over my being, everything was God this, God that, Jesus loves you, Jesus loves me, man Jesus even loves my 8th grade teacher who gave me a failing grade.

I was so full of this new phenomenon in my life I even tried to convert my ever-loving and understanding Jewish parents. Not only did I deliver the “you will never make it into heaven unless you repent and give your life over to Jesus” followed by “you need to give up everything to follow Jesus, like the early disciples did”.  But that is a story for another time.

I was on fire for God, my faith grew in leaps and bounds, I went from being a babe in Christ to trying to take over the world for God single-handed. I learned to witness, preach the gospel, read my bible, pray, spout bible verses, be a missionary in foreign lands, teach others to teach others. Got married, had kids, cloned my children in the way. I was a man on a mission. In my own eyes I was the perfect child of God.

Gradually without warning my self-made persona started to crack. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong and I felt hopeless and helpless to do anything about it. God surely abandoned me in my time of need.

From going from believing that God spoke to me at every turn, his presence ever so immediate, feeling so special that nothing could touch me. His voice became less obvious. His presence hidden from my daily life.

I felt like I was doing something wrong, surely God was mad at me to hide himself from me. I was taking this all too personally. I wasn’t seeing the forest for the trees.

Most recently I have been encouraged by one of our most revered bible characters; Moses.

Here was a man who was not only spared from death as a child but because of the foresight of  his parents he not only lived but was raised in the house of the ruler of the most powerful country at the time.

The bible doesn’t really say but using our imagination Moses must have had the world at his feet. A prince being prepped for great things in his adopted fathers kingdom. He was probably full of himself too.

Driving through the cities in his fancy chariots, attending all the best parties, strutting through the streets flexing his muscles feeling the top of the world as the peons bow as he passed.

Then in one moment of insanity that all comes to an abrupt end when he kills a fellow Egyptian as they were picking on one of Jewish slaves. You know the story. He had to flee and wound up in the middle of nowhere  tending cattle for a man who took him in and gave him one of his daughters to marry. A new unexpected life.

Around the age of forty Moses virtually lost everything he had lived for, Driven away you may rightly point out by his own stupid impulsive bad temper or sense of justice.

So our dear Moses spends the next forty years in virtual exile. Talk about a midlife crisis.

I would love to have been a fly on the wall or tent and take in all that Moses suffered and learned during that time. From a brash “I can do anything I please” upstart to a man so broken that when God said “OK buddy, I think your ready, your people are ready, all the pieces are in place, its time for you to do what you were born to do”, he virtually begged God to pick someone else.

The bible doesn’t say much about what Moses went through inside but now I can sort of relate and understand to some degree of what it takes to become ready for the call.

Perhaps it took Moses forty years because he was so resistant to change or there was so much to strip away of his old life. Either way God is patient as He waits for us to shed the past and prepares our hearts for the future.

The last twenty years of my life has built up to being one hell-of-a midlife crisis. For the most part I hadn’t understood God’s plan.

To be honest  I still don’t. But God is giving me some semblance of understanding that He is in control. If it takes one year or forty years, God is will wait till we are ready for whatever it is He needs us for.

Now I believe I have turned a corner. I understand now that God has not been angry with me but has used the situation that I had gotten my self into so as to make me a better man by stripping me of myself.

God may not be prepping me for a higher calling in this world, or a greater mission with more meaning than what I am doing now but I do know that God doesn’t make mistakes and he doesn’t waste the life  that he gives us as long as we see Him in everything that comes our way.

Have you felt that God has abandoned you?  Do you feel its going on far too long? Are you at the point of giving up? Do you say “I can’t can’t take this any more” more often than you should?

Then yes, welcome to the club, you are going through a midlife crisis: God’s way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words That Work – We Have a Wise God

We press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God… Ph 3:14  The christian world, those who strive to find God’s calling in their lives continue to press forward each day, hoping they will someday find that elusive calling or purpose in their lives that God promised.

Perhaps it’s God’s way of keeping us struggling forward knowing that  he has to dangle the bait in front of us to keep moving, never stagnating, never being completely satisfied with this life on earth.

Content? Yes. Satisfied? Never

We have a wise God.

A Glimpse of Heaven

How much do we really know about heaven. There are many accounts of those who say they have been or have had contact with those that have already gone before us. There are thousands of near death experiences of those who left this world for a short time say they went to heaven but had to return because it wasn’t their  time for one reason or another. During their brief stay they have tried to put into words what they experienced.

Then there are those who have had dreams about heaven not to mention the multitude of psychics who proclaim their gifts of being able to contact those that have left this world.

There are many movies on heaven with the help of creative minds that has probably given me the most food for thought when it comes to life after death.

Then of course there is the bible. Heaven is mentioned close to six hundred times giving pastors, preachers and teachers of the Good Book thousands of sermons or classes on the subject over time.

I am not a theologian, a psychic nor have I had a near death experience. I have not had any dreams or visions about heaven nor do I see myself understanding completely what the bible teaches about God’s heavenly kingdom.

My thoughts on heaven have come from all the above  and I must say I have not drawn any satisfying conclusion to what I believe heaven will be like at least from an earthly physical standpoint.

I have been thinking about heaven on a more consistent basis the last few years for a variety of reasons, one being that I am beginning to feel the finish line is not that far away. It’s probably the only thing we can count on in this life, is that we will die and that something has to happen to us after we die.

Paul stated himself, “if in this life only we have hope in Christ we are of all men most miserable”  I Cor 15:19  In other words if we live only for this world and in our service to God only for the benefits that this world has to offer then it will be a un-fulfilling adventure in itself.

When Jesus taught his disciples how we should pray in that infamous sermon on the mount in the book of Matthew, the words, “thy (God’s) will be done in earth as it is in heaven”,  a prayer I had read hundreds of times and must have said a thousand times without understanding its relevance.

Maybe heaven is not that far away. Aside from the miraculous spiritual aspect of God giving us a new life physically and a new life born again spiritually then maybe he also wants us to understand the connection between the two.

I have come to believe that in each one of our lives, young or old we are having experiences that gives us a glimpse into what heaven is like. I started thinking of some of the memorable experiences that I have had that could very well be a link between both worlds.

Experiencing the birth of my children has to be way up there.

Holding that child for the first time, sitting on the bed next to my wife with that baby in my arms, his/her eyes still closed but the warmth of our bodies connecting the feeling is actually indescribable. Handing the baby back to its mother and realizing that we have done something special in bringing a new life  into the world watching the baby take its first suck of the breast had to be one of the most rewarding times in my life. In retrospect it was far greater than that. God was giving me a glimpse of his will being done on earth as it is in heaven.

When I blurted out, ‘look at what we created’, I now know my wife was gracious in her allowing me to accept some of the credit. My part in that creation was rather small, literally and metaphorically speaking. I can almost see God at each birth looking down on me with a wry smile and his arms folded across his chest, a big sigh and a shake of his head. But he let me think I was king of the mountain even if for only a moment knowing that the baby’s first night home will change my tune.

That is only one little experience in my 67 years on this  earth. When I first started writing this post over a week ago I couldn’t get any traction. I finally got the point, this is not about me. This not about how many experiences I have had that could connect heaven and earth. This is about all of us having these earthly experiences that connect us  or act as a conduit between heaven and earth that allows God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

I saw a movie recently that the police or security agencies had this software that could take hundreds of partial images from various cameras placed around a city or country. These images were then put up on a large screen in no specific order. Together they looked like pieces to a jigsaw puzzle all jumbled up. None of the pieces were clear enough or gave enough information to give a clear picture of who they were looking for. When they put all these pieces into the program, wallah, they were all pieced together to form one solitary picture of their suspect.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could do the same. Take our seemingly insignificant mortal experiences that relate to our connection to heaven and program it to show us a fuller picture.

Individually our experiences along these lines are like a drop in the ocean but together we could probably come up with a fairly good overall picture of what heaven is like through our early experiences. But until then we may need to be sufficiently satisfied with the few that we have individually.

I believe I have had enough of these links to satisfy my curiosity that God will is being done on earth as it is in heaven.

Now I am starting to see my life on earth in a different perspective. Heaven comes to earth everyday. We just need to keep our eyes and ears open to see and experience it.

Have you had a glimpse of heaven?

Words That Work – Peace of Mind? Oh What A Feeling

When Paul wrote to the  Philippians, “the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)  I am sure he was talking from experience.  Peace in our hearts and in our minds at the same time is like taking a vacation in Heaven.

In the early years after the death of my son, peace of mind went missing and my heart was a constant raging sea. Months could pass before experiencing peace that I am sure I had taken for granted my whole life.

Watching my 36-year-old son suffer with bipolar I have failed to understand his pain. When he writes from time to time on his Facebook page that he had a great day and was enjoying peace I started to realize what was important to him.

When my good blogging friend, from Missing Peace struggles to find meaning to life the title of her blog tells it all.

Through my own experience I have learned that peace of mind and heart are as important to the soul as is water, food and sleep to the body. Without them we will not be at our best.

All Paul pointed out, the peace that God gives passes all our understanding. Like turning on a light switch. Most of us don’t understand electricity and how it works but we know we can see when the light is turned on. Peace is a similar necessity of life.

Peace comes more regularly these days although the visits are usually fairly short but I have learned to appreciate and be grateful for when it does come.

So, if you want to ask God for peace of mind for yourself or for someone you know who really needs it just claim Philippines 4:7 when you pray, “Lord bless my loved one with the peace of God which passes all our understanding knowing that our hearts and minds will be protected by Jesus himself”

Peace of mind? Oh what a feeling.

The Old Fashioned Way Suits Me Just Fine

Last week I received an unexpected call from a dear friend. I hadn’t heard from her in almost six years. Our families had been friends years ago and as it happens when we moved cities we lost contact with each other. We chatted away for a few minutes going through all the politically correct conversation when two people haven’t talked or seen each other for some time.

I finally had to say, “Janice (not her real name), I know you didn’t call out of the blue to talk about the weather, what’s on your mind”. She laughed as she knows me too well. Get straight to the point is my middle name.

“You’re right” she said, and went on to tell me about a self-help program that she had been using for about a year and how much it had helped her and her family and even friends that I also knew well. She was adamant it could be a blessing to me also.  She reassured me that she still believed in God and Jesus but this program helped her so much she just had to share it with others and thought of me.

If you know me you would know that I should have chosen to be a detective or prosecuting attorney as a career path. I opened up my investigation by asking, “what’s in it for you Janice?”.  She told me nothing. She just wanted to share some good will. The next ten minutes she must have felt like she was before a grand jury or worse under the spotlight being coerced  into a confession to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I know Janice and her husband and I know the type of people they are. Honest, of good character and I know she would never offer me something if she didn’t think it would be good for me and Rhonda (my wife).

I have had my own experiences with self-help programs, one I was fully into for a year. AT the time I felt this particular program could help me in certain areas I was having difficulty in so I made the decision to commit to the program lock stock and barrel for one full year. This I did and I threw myself into reading, learning, researching, listening and watching everything I could get my hands on and it wasn’t cheap.

When I completed my year, precisely  to the day I had a good look at my progress, where I was at in my life compared to a year ago and I had to admit this particular program had been a blessing and had helped me in areas that I had been quite weak in. It hadn’t changed my life radically but I got enough out of it to feel satisfied that the year was well spent.

Weighing up the pro’s and con’s on deciding if I should continue the program was a blessing in disguise. It made me look at what I had in my life that brought me to where I was before committing to this self-help program and where I could go if I continued.

The scales seemed to be evenly balanced but I eventually decided to let the program go and not continue. What tipped the scales for me was this; I had realized that this program was so much like a religion in itself. Everything outwardly was working some good in my life but I was becoming dependent on this programs doctrine. I knew it was starting to become like a religion to me and I had no room in my life for two religions.  My beliefs and commitment to the Lord over the past forty years of my life were in jeopardy as I could see that this program albeit very good outwardly was eroding some of the basic fundamentals of my relationship with the Lord that I had painstakingly built up over the years since I was a young man.

I had to think about why I felt I had to commit to this self-help program in the first place. I wasn’t happy with my life, too many ‘bad things’ were happening to me, my personal struggles seemed like they would never go away  and I felt God was not working for me any longer. God seemed distant and unapproachable. I was starting to doubt God’s place in my life and my place in the world. I was looking for another way to find truth and purpose.

It was a wakeup call, I decide against continuing the pursuit of happiness with this new way of thinking. In plain english, there was no room in my life for two religions, two beliefs, two God’s. The one who had worked well enough throughout my life, He could just as well work well for me the rest of my life. I just needed to get back to basics.

I did look at the material Janice gave me via the programs web site but I already knew my answer. I communicated with Janice that this particular program was not for me. She understood and we promised to keep in touch. We said our goodbyes and I thanked the Lord for the opportunity to reaffirm my faith and love in a God who although sometimes seems distant and unavailable is always there either right next to me, walking in front leading the way, a step behind to make sure I don’t stumble and fall and then there are times when He even has to carry me because I am to weak to make it on my own two feet.

Trusting God has a lot of merit, its been tried and proven over countless years by millions of men and women of God. It’s the old fashion way and it suits me just fine.

(Footnote: I want to make it clear that self-help programs can help in areas of our lives that need work on.  Medication can help, it takes away the pain, even if for only a short time to give us rest and peace of mind. A good movie helps keep our mind off our troubles if only for a few hours. Helping those in greater need than us is also rewarding. Laughing is a great way to feel good. Talking to someone who understands is encouraging. Reading a good book takes us out of our world for a short time. The list goes on but most of these things do not cure or heal the greater need. Trusting God does.)