He is Risen!

Jesus is Risen

 I was planning to spend the day perhaps at the beach, going out and being out and about. Unfortunately I’ve had a long few days and I’m tired. While others are out enjoying Easter I’m recovering from my long week. All’s not lost, because as I sit here I started thinking about Easter, and the message I heard in Church yesterday. While I generally don’t lift entire parts from the Church message, I’ll make an exception this time, the academic in me is screaming plagiarism.

As I was thinking about the Easter holiday, I wonder how many people are celebrating it as the resurrection of Christ? Why is it now about Eggs, and Bunnies? The answer to those questions takes me to a place where I wanted to examine the Historical references of Fed-ex truckJesus and his life. There is a central point here, while there’s large disagreement among historians, they all seem to agree on a few facts. They agree that Jesus of Nazareth was real, and he was crucified. Where they depart is the resurrection, and that’s a central part of the Christian faith. Without the resurrection, we’re not redeemed, and our sins aren’t forgiven. If Jesus didn’t die for our sins, and wasn’t resurrected the third day, then our faith is a lie. It’s interesting though, historians don’t disagree that his body can’t be found, they disagree that he was resurrected. That’s interesting to me, it reminds me of that old saying, “seeing is believing.” If I told you there was a hidden sign in the Fed-Ex symbol, would you believe me. Have you ever seen the arrow on the Fed-Ex truck? Belief is one of those amazing things, once you see it and believe it’s there, it’s hard to un-see it. That’s how I feel about my faith, I’ve seen God in my life and I believe he’s there, and now it’s hard to un-see him. For those who don’t believe there is a God, it’s mostly because they don’t see him. In the case of the sign on the Fed-ex truck not because you don’t see it means it’s not real, trust me it’s there and it’s obvious to me, but not because you don’t see it means it’s not real.

So why was the message from church so profound? For a reference read Luke 24: 13-34, it’s the story of Jesus on the road to Emmaus with a few of his disciples. This story took place the day after his resurrection. Just like the example of the Fed-ex truck, his disciples who should have obviously known him, didn’t recognize him. As my Pastor Steve summarized, there could be a few reasons for this:

  1. Heading the Wrong Direction (verse 13): When you’re focused on sin and the carnal desires of our human nature, it’s hard to see God in everyday situations. Sometimes even when he’s right in front of us, if sin is our central focus in life, it’s hard to see God.
  2. Consumed with our Lives (verse 17): Sometimes life is busy, with work, family, bills, kids sports practices etc. Life gets too busy and God becomes secondary. Life is complicated and we inadvertently forget to put God first.
  3. Personal Agenda for God (verse 21): Do you pray for God’s will in your life, or do you go to him with a list of demands praying “Ok God make this happen.” Are our lives modeled after God’s plan for us, or is it OUR plan for what God should do in our lives?

This story is a great example of perhaps why it’s impossible for everyone to see God. There’s historical evidence for his life, Science and medicine has thought us more about the conditions surrounding his death. While there is still skepticism about whether he actually died, if you examine the evidence for yourself, common sense tells you it’s impossible to survive such torture. What you’re lift with is the truth, and some people see that and refuse to believe.

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. Only a fool despises a parent’s  discipline; whoever learns from correction is wise – Proverbs 15:2;5

Another way of seeing that passage is to think of it this way:

  • A wise person hears the truth and adjusts their behavior: Presented with the historical and biblical evidence for Jesus, they choose to believe that he’s real, and they adjust their behavior. They stop living a life of sin, they live a life that is according to the bible, and they’re intrinsically motivated to do it. They choose to live a life that’s not filled with sinful desires. Additionally I find it interesting that there are secular laws also pointing that some of the sinful acts noted in the bible, are harmful to human coexistence.
  • A foolish person hears the truth and adjust the truth to their behavior: When presented with the same evidence, dismisses it, not because they don’t believe it, but because it doesn’t support the life they already follow. Take for example living a life of partying and drinking, drugs, sex and all other desires. Some may hear that the bible strongly prohibits that kind of lifestyle, so they choose not to believe, why because they’ll have to stop that life. It’s interesting take any celebrity that has embraced the life of partying, sex, drugs and the likes. Even society thinks they’re on the wrong road.

So as you spend this Easter Holiday, are you celebrating it by hunting for Easter Eggs, or are you embracing that Jesus is real. Are you believing that he died on the cross for our sins, and that he was resurrected! Since historians don’t disagree that Jesus lived and suffered, then WHY would anyone endure this torture. As a side note think about the beating he received, and what it would be like to be crucified, it’s a brutal scene. Sorry hope I didn’t ruin our Easter meal.

Seeing is believing

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You only see as much as I let you See!!

I’ve always felt a bit hesitant to share my thoughts, writing a Blog is one of the scariest things I’ve done. It tells you how I’m doing, where I am in my dark corner and what are my thoughts. I’ve always been a private person especially when it came to my emotions. Whether it was my childhood, or my time in the Military, sharing my feelings isn’t easy for me. This year it’s about being more authentic, and also being vulnerable, letting people see the real me. I’ve been a bit hesitant to share my blog especially on Facebook. I think sometimes especially with social media, people tend to only show their best, you don’t see them when they’re in the trenches. What you see is only their best, the fun times, the laughs the cute pictures of their adventures. Of course that’s never the whole picture, you’re seeing it through the lenses they’d like you to see. It’s like taking a breath-taking picture of you at the Top of Mount Everest, we didn’t see you crawling to get there, and we’re definitely not going to see you fighting for you life to get back down.

I’ve been following The Daily Love for some time now, and I’ve found it to be a great inspiration. I especially like that the writers tell you aboutKathleen their struggles, you get to see them battle daily just to get where they are. For me that’s encouraging because I see an expert having a hard time, I’m no expert, so it makes sense why I would also struggle. In reading about their quests for happiness, I find that I’m not alone, we’re ALL struggling to make sense of our lives. Some people are just doing it for all the world to see, WOW and that’s extremely brave. One of my favorite writers by far is Kathleen Chelquist, I love reading her posts because she always seems to bear it all, she’s not afraid to be naked, and show who she really is. She published something today, it gives a bit more back story about who she is. I think she’s incredibly brave, and thought I’d share it. Here’s her newest entry in her blog: “Are You HERE Kathleen?”

Kathleen again gets to the heart of why I write, YES I’m struggling with the things I write about, however that doesn’t mean that what I have to say doesn’t have any efficacy. I can’t say that I’ve suffered with depression as she has, I have my moments when I don’t want to talk to ANYONE, and just stay in my room; yes I make a great roommate! I think it’s also important to let people in, life is about choices, I’ve chosen to live the way I do and for the most part I don’t regret my life. I write because I don’t want you to struggle if you don’t have to, have you ever said “I wish someone had told me this!” Well that’s what my writing is about. If you find that you’re focusing on who I am, rather than the message I’m passing on to you form God/The Universe (you believe or not believe in the things you do, the choice is your), you’re going to completely miss the message.

Inspirations comes from the Least unlikely Source!

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Today I decided to forgo my usual Sunday Hike/Run, it’s the best way for me to reset and get ready for the week ahead. I decided to spend some time writing instead. Got outside and even found time to spend with a friend I hadn’t seen in weeks. These past weeks haven’t been as great as I’d like them to be, I’ve been struggling to figure out my life, and my future. Although I’m doing really great with my spiritual walk, and learning quite a bit more about myself as a person. I’ve been feeling like my career hasn’t jumped off as I though it should by now. Don’t get me wrong I believe that there is a greater divine plan for my life, although I don’t want to stand in the way of that; trying to stay patient hasn’t been my strong suite.

I’ve read a lot of posts lately that tells me I’m not alone, I feel for many of you who are going through actual real problems. I think I was a bit caught up with what’s happening to me, and I haven’t been focusing on anyone else. That being said, sometimes I feel that this is the season for really good, or really bad in many of our lives. I’ve had friends that have been through some tragedy with people close to them. I’ve had ones who have had paradigm shifts, and those are not easy to deal with; basically everything that you thought was your life is uprooted. I’ve been spending time trying to nurture those relationships, and let those people know that they have people around them who will love, and help support them through this time. So I guess it’s not a surprise that I needed to spend some time contemplating my future.

box surpriseAs I’ve contemplated my future, the biggest issue for me is my career. I’ve looked for spiritual guidance, and I feel that I’ve been getting the signs out there in the Universe wherever I turn. But like many others, I’m sometimes stubborn, and don’t always heed the signs; “hey what’s that one sign know right?” I’ve even gotten a really good suggestion from a friend, but the one that I got today that blew me away was from a most unlikely source. I had to laugh about it, because here I was fearing what the future held, and the person I least expected  offered me what might be the most promising option. It really confirms that sometimes things come in a package that you’re not expecting. It also affirms for me why it’s good to talk to others about what you’re going through. I used to be one of those ‘fixers’, I don’t need anyone’s help “I’m a man I can fix EVERYTHING.” I’m not even going to worry about pointing out how wrong I was about that, I guess with life comes new perspectives. Along with a great option I even got some words of wisdom to go with it. It think you will be my new Inspiration  (you know who you are, don’t worry I’m not going to reveal your secret identity)

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less that perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”

I would have been ready to take on whatever challenge was coming my way, then she backed up the first inspiring quote with yet another.

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

Wow talk about inspiring someone to action, that got me ready to jump on any challenge that was coming my way. I think I’m going to cut those two out and frame them, I think they’re that good!

So what challenge are you facing in your life? Is there a specific challenge that you might be facing? Think of all those great athletes or famous figures, they didn’t get to where they are because they’re special. Although some of them do posses a special brand of courage and bravery for standing out. Imagine what they told Mark Zukerberg when he talked about this “Facebook” idea, they probably didn’t just open a door for him. I’m certain that he had hundreds of challenges just getting funding for his idea, not to mention all the rest building the company. So my take away is this, so it will be hard starting a new career, so what? I already know I’m not motivated by money, or external pressure from my manager. The thing that matters to me the most is the satisfaction I get from helping others, so why not be bold. Go after what I desire, and don’t let others tell me what I can’t do!

Stay tuned, I anticipate that the next few weeks will be interesting, but in a good way! I can feel the excitement and anticipation building, I’m feeling good about all the options I have ahead of me. And just to think, all of this was made possible because someone read my blog. Hey wait someone actually read my blog, and it moved them to action!

Time to Hit Reset!

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The past few weeks have been frustrating! I’m making really good progress in my spiritual life, and I’m learning to be more in tuned with others around me, but I’m struggling with my work life. If you’ve been around me in the past few months, I’ve been able to pick up on other’s struggles, and been able to offer encouraging words when needed. Have you ever wondered why psychologists go to psychologists to figure things out? Perhaps it’s that some of us are good at expelling advice, but bad at applying some of those lessons to ourselves. I’ve been letting work get me down, I’m not necessarily where I think I should be, and it’s making me unhappy. But as a friend so brilliantly pointed out “so you’re not where YOU’D like to be, but you’re where you’re NEEDED.” For the first time in weeks I started looking at the bigger picture. I’ve been praying and asking for patience, and what do you know my work life was testing my patience.

So I decided that it’s time to change my thinking, in my heart I know I’m being pull in a different direction. I’m now starting to understand my purpose and my gift, although I want to be at the finish line, to have my own Counseling Practice. I’m not quite there yet, I think I was getting too far ahead of myself, I needed to take things one step at a time. Of course as I stopped thinking about where I wanted to be, and started paying attention to where I am right now. Things at work actually started turning around. Now that I think about it, I wrote about living in the now in my last post; there I go again not taking my own advice.

Ok so now that I’m thinking about the bigger picture, what next? What’s most important to my life? Last week the messages I heard were about being bold, by taking a step into the unknown and having faith that things will work out. This week it’s about setting my priorities right, I have an idea of my end goal, but what’s important to me? Since I’m thinking big picture it’s time to fill in the gaps. I’m working on a new set of core principles for my life: 1. God (spirituality), 2. People (relationships), 3. Everything else. If there is any one take away from this week it’s this. I should live in the now, don’t worry too much about the future or the past; I have no control of those two. While I’m here in the now I’m doing my best, I learnt this principle from “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel. It’s kind of remarkable how much easier life is when I just do my best, yes some days I won’t be at 100%, but I can still give my all. Just by taking these few simple steps, I was able to turn my mood around, things are looking up, and I’m starting to feel like my old positive self again. Hope these words can find a way into your hearts and thoughts. Maybe you’re having the same problem; things aren’t going the way you’d like. Then ask yourself, am I doing my best? If you’re not giving it the best you can, then start! If you’re already giving your best, then relax things will work out in a way that best uses the tools you have right now.

Accepting who I am!

It’s been some time since I’ve written, and I feel as though I’ve learnt so many lessons that I don’t know; where to begin! I guess I’ll go with Happiness. For those of you who actually read my various rants, you’ve probably started to see a theme, that I’m on a self-improvement kick, and I’m learning to accept certain things. What I’m not saying is that you should just accept who you are, if you hate yourself, then NO don’t accept that. I’ve been slowly making some progress, I’ve been trying to align my personal and spiritual life. Instead of focusing on the things I can’t control, I’m putting my energy to being more Loving, more Kind, and Tender. For me I feel those three are the basic tenants to life.

I’ve felt a transformation in myself, and I think others are starting to notice it too. I’m happier, and I do things without expecting anything in return, I’m learning to be more selfless rather than selfish. I have to say though it’s been a struggle, I can’t always be the happy optimistic person, I do have my bad days sometimes. What’s remarkable though is that I’ve been following other’s who are far more experienced than I, and even they have bad days. So the lesson in that is even the experts have problems staying happy all the time. So a novice such as myself (that what I think of myself), it’s no wonder that I have my daily struggles.

Part of being Happy with myself also involves being happy with where I am. I’ve seen how my new perspective on life has helped others. I’ve come to believe that I have a gift for helping others understand the unknown, or perhaps just confirming what they already know. It’s been a journey exploring that, learning to be connected to others. To sense their pain and struggles without being told. I have to say that’s been the most remarkable part of all this. I’m definitely a believer in prayer and meditation, I know that we all have our own Gods; not to worry I’m not judging you, but I think it’s important to believe in a higher power.

Before I get too carried away in this, I should make this last point. I’m starting to believe that everything I’ve experienced in all of my life, has lead me here. I’m here at this exact moment, because there is someone reading this, hearing exactly what they need to hear, at this exact moment. YOU’RE exactly where YOU need to be, yes things have happened in the past. However if you’re reading this, perhaps for the first time you’re ready to receive this message. The past is behind us, you can’t change it, but the Universe or God (depends on your belief system), has given you many opportunities to see this lesson. The only thing you really have control over is what you do next, the past has already happened, it’s too late. But you can make the decision to be happy in the next minute. As I stated earlier I’m struggling to keep this up daily. However it’s transformational, there are so many things that I’ve been struggling to stop doing, now I don’t think about them as much, not that I’ve replaced that with Happiness. Just to be clear I’m not talking about that momentary happiness you get, say when you eat Ice Cream, or get Roses. I’m talking about the one that starts from within you, and grows out like a light. So let your light shine out, let it take you on an adventure, wake up tomorrow seeing the world for the first time. Recognizing that you’re here today, because you’re dreams are just around the corner.