inward-to-upwardOver the years, I’ve been up on the mountaintops of life and down in the valleys. I have experienced joy unspeakable and heavy duty agitation. And while God has never failed in His goodness towards me, I have often forgotten the secret to living real life with God. Interestingly, the difficult, frustrating times have always seemed to follow a distinct pattern whereby my focus shifts (or gets shifted) away from God and His goodness back to myself and all of my inadequacies. In light of this dilemma, I offer this beautiful work called, “The Secret to a Holy Life.”

The secret to a holy life is to get your eyes off your own inadequacies and onto the Father and His glory.

Our service is first and foremost to God and with God, not always to man.

To walk worthily is to walk with thanksgiving to God first and foremost.

The secret to a holy life is not the labour we do but just to love Him first and foremost.

Then the work we do is not to be well pleasing to Him but because we already are!

~ Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille

Religion persists in getting man to focus on his sins and shortcomings under the guise of helping him to live a better life. It is rife with judgment and an ever growing list of labels identifying good an bad… The focus is always about people and their behavior. And, if you have been a person long enough you are well aware that your behavior sucks at times. Since your heart wants to do what is “right” you chastise yourself and berate yourself with demands to get better and do better! Perhaps you need more discipline! Maybe you just need to work harder; get stronger; purify yourself more; stop doing this and start doing that. Maybe you are just evil! Maybe God is very upset with you! Maybe… The not so obvious problem with this line of thinking is that it drives you further and further away from God and the “real” life He has given you. It subtly turns your focus inward, not upward. Life basically becomes about you. Welcome to the deep valleys and the strangling agitation.

Try as you may, focusing on what you do “wrong” (so called) will never, ever get you to what is “right.” Again.. Focusing on what you “think” you do wrong, will never get you to what you “think” is right! You see, the issue isn’t really about doing right and doing wrong, the issue is about your focus and who/what is number one in your life. Religion has convinced us that a relationship with God is all about doing what’s right. The problem with that logic is figuring out what is “right.” One group says you can’t smoke. Another says you can’t do frontal hugs until you’re married (thanks Duggars). The enemy makes a clever appeal to our ego by promising us that we can do something to make God do something. In reality, we never have to make God do anything as He is already everything we could ever want. And to take it a step further, God sent His son to pay the full price for everything you and I ever did wrong, so we would never have to try and pay that price ourselves again!

Let’s say you had a child that continued to misbehave (according to what you thought was right). You scolded him, chastised him, threatened him, took things away from him and grounded him. Did those behaviors on your part make him do right? Of course not! If anything he simply did what it seemed like you wanted until the trouble stopped. Real change in a child only happens when the child chooses his own behavior without compulsion from others. It’s no different for us adults. We can modify our behavior; exercise discipline and everything else when it comes from a heart that is choosing freely without compulsion. God has done that for us. He has completely set us free in every regard so that we could truly be free to choose right. You get it? Free is free. No law is no law. Nothing you could ever do or not do will change God’s opinion of you! Nothing.

So the secret to real life is to get off your own back and stop making life and happiness all about what you do. Stop looking at your imperfection and focus on God’s perfection instead. Serve God not by clinging to approved behaviors, but by cleaving to God’s love for you and your love for Him. Thank Him for making you worthy no matter what the whole world says to the contrary. Then, you’ll find that you no longer have to work to earn His love and blessings, but will do what you do because you’re well pleasing to Him already!

True life; real life was never about choosing all the right behaviors to stand approved before men. Instead it’s about choosing to keep God first and foremost in your heart and life. Take a deep breath and let go of all that work and stress and anxiety you’ve amassed killing yourself to earn God’s love and protection and safety and a good life. Relax and breathe in the pure reality that He already gave all of that to you!

You are just fine, just the way you are…

Living in the Sun…

October 10, 2014


SunshineForestFall in Utah is perhaps my favorite time of the year. The sun is shining, but unlike the summer, the sun is sort of lowering and producing shadows. The grass looks greener, the mountains look more brown, everything just looks so wonderful! Bliss… So, I’ve learned over the years that God often teaches us valuable lessons in the physical realm that apply most vividly to the mental and the spiritual. With that in mind, so I write…

Our mind has been compared to a garden and we have the glorious privilege of choosing the environment in which it grows (or doesn’t grow…). Sunny thoughts encourage it to thrive and produce a bountiful harvest. Dark, negative thoughts choke the life out of it. But glory hallelujah, we decide! So have you ever wondered why, when we get to choose our thoughts, we would ever choose darkness? Why, when we cast the final vote, would we ever pick dark thoughts?? I know, I know,  mentally you are challenging me right now. After all, life isn’t always positive, is it? Bad stuff threatens and some times actually happens. The world is negative; the Internet is negative; the people surrounding you might be negative. Darkness literally surrounds us. All of this is true, but we don’t have to acquiesce to it unless we choose to.

Hey, I’m a person just like you are. I don’t live in a fantasy land and am oh so aware of the challenges of life. I would be lying if I said otherwise. I feel pain, discouragement and defeat just like you do. I know where you are coming from. But here’s something you need to consider deeply. Maybe, just maybe you and I have been trained in the ways of the world. Maybe we have been unknowingly practicing error for so long that it just feels natural now. Maybe we simply assumed that everyone lives this way and it is just part of being a human being. Maybe? Have you ever learned how to do something incorrectly like swinging a golf club or shooting a basketball or typing with two fingers (which I am doing as we speak)? If so, you know how difficult it is to retrain your mind to do it a different way. You have to consciously work at it! It is hard work; very hard work! But amazingly on those rare occasions when you do it properly (thinking of golf swings now) how effortless it feels. There it is man! Effortless and simple is right, arduous and complicated is wrong. How many times have you heard that life is complicated? Well it is, but only because we have been trying to grow flowers in an unlit closet.

Now, back to what you habitually think. Imagine this scenario… Life is going well; you are happy and good things are happening. Tadaaaaa, the sun is shining! Then you pause to think about it and suddenly you find yourself wondering what could go wrong and just when it is going to happen. Enter the clouds and goodbye happy times. Here’s another… You go to the doctor because something hurts. You aren’t sure why and you go to get some help. Since you don’t know what is going on, you now have two choices about what you are going to think. Which thoughts did YOU choose? You chose terminal disease didn’t you? You see, you have been trained to think that way. It isn’t reality you are considering, it is a choice you are making. And while that choice is ongoing, you spend hours and days worrying about “your reality” that isn’t even reality. A week later, after the labs come back, your diagnosis is a minor infection and you are prescribed some antibiotics. You get better, but you can never get that week back you wasted in the shadows. Play that scenario out much longer and you end up never being able to get back the last twenty years you lived mired in fear. Do some folks get diagnosed with terminal diseases? Sure they do. Bad stuff can still happen. But, you my friend can greatly influence what happens by what you choose to think and thus believe.

This might sound silly to you, but I would rather live 50 years expecting the best and being surprised by a bad thing happening than live every day in fear of that one bad thing happening. To go one step further, in the spiritual realm there are also two choices. One is the eternal sunshine and one is a temporary darkness. How you think; what you think; what you choose decides which spiritual influence gains access to your life. Living in a perpetual cloud of negativity, knowingly or unknowingly, introduces you to a world where tragedy and suffering are the norm. Living in the sunshine doesn’t guarantee it won’t ever rain or storm, but when it does you’re still connected to the Source that always makes light shine out of darkness! And, along the way, you are going to get a helluva good tan and produce a bumper crop!

Please make up your mind today that you are going to step out of the shadows and into the eternal sunshine. Start now. Take your mind (get it..your mind) to task and get it into the light. Don’t do it alone though. Talk to the One that worked in me to write this and ask some questions; lots of questions. He will show you what to do in specifics. Heck, He tells me and I’m nowhere near as good as you! ;-)

There’s nothing comparable to living life in the sun… Nothing!

Just some good, sunny thoughts!

Nobody Likes a Worry Wart

October 1, 2014


Papa Tony:

Proud Papa!

Originally posted on Happiness is...:

According to the dictionary, to “worry” means to give way to anxiety or unease; allowing one’s mind to dwell on difficulties or troubles. So that doesn’t sound even the least bit appealing to me, yet I find myself worrying about things ALL the time. No matter what the situation is, if it doesn’t initially go my way or there is even an ounce of uncertainty, I’m a hot mess. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that I’m not the only one who does this. I’m gonna go out on another limb here and say that as much as I worry about things, it has never, not once, positively changed the situation in any way, shape or form. If anything all it’s done is make me miserable; constantly focusing on things I have no control over. Long story short, it sucks! It sucks a lot!

Fortunately, there’s…

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Be…….. Present.

October 1, 2014


todayIt seems of all the futilities possible in this life, there is one futility that tops the list. It is the futility of trying to live in a moment that isn’t now. Think about that for a moment. (No, really think about it…) The only moment you and I can live is the moment called, ‘now.’ But, we don’t do that, do we? We spend all of our ‘precious now’ living either in the past or in the future.

The past exists only in your mind. Those moments, good or bad, are gone forever. Sure, you have memories, but in reality that time is gone forever. And, whatever happened that lives on so vividly in your mind is no longer anything but a memory. Humans are a very peculiar bunch. You may have spent years doing good things, yet you foolishly cleave to those fragmented times when you didn’t do so well. It seems if you played the odds, you would give yourself a little credit. But, you don’t. And, to make matters worse, you rehearse those fragments and feel the hurt and pain all over again. Those annoying ghosts serve no purpose but to make your present life miserable and distracted. Instead of rejoicing in the possibility of today, you exercise your demons again and again and wonder why you aren’t happy or why your life feels unfulfilled.

The flip side of the equation is trying to live in the future. How many times have you discarded five days while waiting for two? Or pushed to make it through several months while waiting for that dream two-week vacation in the summer? And how about the “put-off” epidemic? Once I get done with college… Or, when I get that dream job… Or, when I find that special person… And that doesn’t even account for those times you feel afraid! You are so sure that such and such a bad thing is going to happen, that you waste days on end only to find out it either didn’t happen, or when it did happen you could actually handle it?

The ultimate problem with not living in the moment is that you miss your life that is happening now. Life is pregnant with possibilities waiting to be born, but you will never see them until you slow that monkey mind down and learn to live in this moment. Otherwise, you won’t see it. Here’s a thought. How many of you feel restless and anxious? Now ask yourself, is your restlessness or anxiety based on now or is it based on your past or on your future? Again, we humans are a peculiar bunch! We are so worried about the long gone past and not yet arrived future, that we can’t even relax and enjoy right now. What if I’m not successful? What if my life goes to hell and I spend my latter days in misery? Really? Really? Call me crazy but it seems that my success in life depends on what I do right now! Misery, like happiness doesn’t just show up unexpected. It shows up based on what preceded it. And, what precedes it is the moment called, ‘now.’

Life really isn’t as complex as we have imagined. You’re worried about your relationship because things have been bad lately (the past…). You think that things may be going to hell in a hand basket (the future…). But, in truth, you have 100% control over yourself in this very moment. You want happiness. You want love. You want warmth. You want harmony. So… Do happiness now. Do love now. Do warmth now. Do harmony now! Yeah, but what about the hurts of the past? (Memory) What if things don’t work out? (Imagination of the future)

This may come as a surprise to you, but God really designed you to live in the present moment. His instruction book clearly tells you to forget the past and quit worrying about the future. And, because He knows all about how your mind works, He tells you that He has forgiven your past (and paid for it – take that karma!) and promises you a wonderful future. But neither promise can be fulfilled while you persist in that dastardly past and future focus.

Children are the best example of being in the moment. When my grandchildren come over, Braylon sits on the couch next to me and plays with my iPad. (He said I’m the Grandpa that likes to sit down – smile)  Wherever I move to, he follows. He doesn’t say much. He doesn’t need much. He just wants to sit next to his grandpa, feeling the love, in the moment.

In microcosm form, that is what life is really about. It’s about people being fully present in the moment and sharing love with one another.  Don’t you see it?  We are all the same.  We all want the same stuff.  It’s not about chasing this and avoiding that; running from this and trying to hold on to that. It’s about being present; living fully in the present moment. And when you finally get it, you are going to find that everything you ever wanted is going to show up, right at the perfect moment; not a minute too soon or a minute too late. The reason it hasn’t happened so far is that you aren’t here yet.

Just be… present and see if things don’t appear out of nowhere, because they have been there all along…

Life is soooo good my friends, in the present moment…

The Absence of Complexity…

September 15, 2014


10565034_10152182433042175_6989850727931467430_nThe trouble with man’s relationship with God and his unattained happiness is the complexity of his belief system. There’s the do-good crowd that believes they can earn God’s favor by a series of righteous acts. Then, there’s the religious crowd that seeks to wear God out with rituals. There’s the “hodgepodgers” who try to work things out with an eclectic blend of a variety of beliefs. There’s an increasing number of “we’ve got our own book” groups. There’s the pity seekers who feel that if they suffer enough maybe God will throw them a bone and the ‘do what you want’ fellas because the Universe always answers… There’s the energy seekers, the sun worshippers, the nature worshippers, the prosperity worshippers, the Christian Scientists and the witches.  Mash that all together with the world’s countless theories for success and pretty soon you figure it’s too damn exhausting to find happiness, let alone find God. But…what if it’s not that complex? What if it’s so simple we’ve been missing it for a lifetime? What if it’s all right there waiting for us, if only we could see it? What if, huh?

The irony is that the older we get, the more confused we become. We’ve gotten so smart, you know? We’ve been reading the instructions for so long we have forgotten how to live. Have you ever taken the time to observe how a child lives? Children in all their simplicity know how to live life, that is until the world talks them out of it. Their little minds and hearts are wide open to learning. They are information absorbing machines. They live 100% in the moment. For them there is no future and no past. They forget their mistakes within seconds of making them. Each moment is a new moment and each moment offers the promise of delight. They expect their every need to be met and become quite indignant when their needs aren’t met. They have complete trust that they will be taken care of at all times. Complete trust! In their purity they remind us how to live. Have you ever thought back to how simple life was when you were a child? So what happened to you and to me? We got too dang smart, that’s what. Instead of growing up and transferring that simple mindset to our adult lives with God, we chose instead to figure out a system. We already know the stupid system isn’t working but we’re adults by God and we can figure it out. And in our desperation, we started listening to every idea under the sun. Somebody done got us fooled folks; somebody!

Life with God is incredibly simple. If we believe, we receive. But, that a mighty big “if!” The reason we don’t believe is because we’ve added a multitude of complicated layers to our relationship with God. It can’t be that simple, we exclaim. When someone comes along and tells us it’s that simple, we don’t believe them. If we are honest we hardly believe anything anymore. We’re entangled in a giant spaghetti bowl of theories and uninformed beliefs. “Someone said once…” and “I heard you have to…” and “What I’ve always done is…” All of it guesswork, all of it complicated, all of it pointless. In order to get closer to that life we have always imagined, we have to get back to the heart of a child.

I remember when I got my first Mac computer. I stumbled around for weeks trying to figure out how to do things. Then someone finally clued me in. They said, think simple; what’s the simple way it “should” work? Then lo and behold, they were right. I was so schooled in the Microsoft world that I had a hard time learning the easy way. Life with God is like that. We have been so schooled in religious beliefs and illogical ideas that we can’t see the forest for the trees. As a great man once said, “We’ve got too much complicated theology and not enough simple believing. We make God too hard!”

If we are ever going to see the true, breathtaking beauty of God and His magnificent provision for us, we’ve got to get back to simplicity. We’ve got to be willing to see things from another viewpoint. We have to view the world with fresh eyes; eyes that don’t already see, but are willing to see. Maybe what you have been looking for, for the past five years has been sitting there right by you, all along. Maybe the big break you have been waiting on for the last twenty years, is waiting for you to finally decide it’s going to happen, so it can actually happen. Maybe you are only one thought away from everything you ever wanted. Maybe. (You are already arguing with me, aren’t you?) Stop analyzing probabilities. Stop trying to figure out how it’s all going to work and just believe, like a child would do. Stop evaluating your behaviors. Stop beating yourself with guilt and condemnation. Stop rationalizing and applying your grown person logic and get back to what is simple. Expect it; believe it; see it.

God loves you and I more than we could ever imagine. God is the greatest provider that ever was and ever will be. God wants you to get your needs met infinitely more than you want it for yourself. He wants to teach you. He wants to show you. He wants you to know! He’s not hiding anything from you, ever. If something is hidden, it’s hidden because of the complexity you have bought into as an adult.

Throw that world of complexity to the side and get back to that guy or gal you once were…You knew all of this stuff at one time, really!

Imagine the exciting adventure that awaits you, when once again you become willing to see. Imagine…

Just some clear, simple thoughts…


NoReligion_Window_Sticker_MAIN1_300_329984.jpgI have never been a fan of religion; any of them. Scratch that! I hate the stuff (swear word thought of but not typed)! Being an ardent lover of God and His son, my issues are never with Him. My issue is with religion and its man-made doctrines that drive men and women bananas. I have never met people more defeated and discouraged than religious folks. All day long trying to follow impossible rules, and impossible standards, stamped by men and issued as if from God directly. Discipline to no purpose. Denial to no end. The torture of human beings. Believing God is tempting them and praying for deliverance from temptation. Looking for godly meaning in catastrophes and disasters. Wanting to punish rich folk for using people, but believing that God is using them!  Guilty for this; sorry for that; regretting this choice and hating themselves for that. And all this being done by perhaps some of the kindest and most thoughtful people in the world. The ones that actually care. The problem isn’t the people, the problem is the religion that drives people insane.

Assuming I may have already pissed you off, allow me to explain. Truth, if it is really truth, must have a logic to it. Illogical and true cannot mix. Think about it. God is angry with you for looking at that woman’s butt, but He’s the one that made it attractive to you (not me honey…theory ;-) ). God forbids you to defile your body with alcohol, yet Jesus’ first miracle was resupplying the wine at the wedding. God gave you sovereign free-will to choose for yourself, but occasionally uses you for His own ends. (Forgive me Father I’m making a point) God makes you ill to test your faith, then asks you to pray to Him for healing.  God made sex feel really good, then expects you to only do it to produce a child. I could go on, but now I’m annoying myself…

You see folks, this aint about me being right and you being wrong, or doggedly defending “my” way of thinking as superior to your way of thinking. This is about applying the test of logic to what you believe. IF God is perfect and all-knowing and all-wise, I’m thinking He is pretty dang logical (insert extreme sarcasm here). Perfection doesn’t need to double-clutch and cough and sputter to make sense of the nonsense. But religion does. Sadly someone has sold us a bill of goods. And that someone has done his job so well, his name doesn’t even come up in the discussion.

I currently live in a very religious state. Is that so bad? Ummm no… I don’t feel unsafe in my neighborhood. I leave stuff unlocked often. There’s an excellent chance of a neighbor upon finding my wallet, actually returning it. People want to help us; take care of us and bless us. My state is one of the safest and cleanest in the nation because of the religion. Yet my state also has one of the highest rates of prescriptions for depression and anxiety per capita in the nation. You know why? It’s damn hard to live that crap! Damn hard. I know because I got caught up in it myself. Someone, or a lot of someones, successfully convinced me that the love and protection I once freely enjoyed with God, required a much more complicated set of requirements than I had previously thought. You can get a lot of power over people if you can attach God’s name to it. So, in order to stay safe, I succumbed and began a litany of ridiculous choices all founded and formed in religion much to the detriment of everyone I came into contact with. I became religious. And while striving so hard night and day to please God, my believing decreased, my prayers answered less, my results – non-existent. Uggh… That it is until I had the good sense or maybe the God-inspired sense to break free. Break free from God? Never… Break free from religion, yes!!!

So why do I write this, you ask? The religious folks don’t want to hear it and the unbelievers don’t believe anyway. Well, I wrote this for you. I wrote this for every person waking up each morning scratching their head and mumbling, ummm I don’t get it. I wrote this for the good-hearted people out there killing themselves to earn God’s love, yet missing it at every turn. I wrote this for the folks that don’t believe the only two choices in life are be evil or be religious. I wrote this for my children and my grandchildren.

The God whom I love and serve isn’t into religion. He is into people and their hearts. 90% of that malarkey you have foolishly assigned to God doesn’t come from Him at all. It comes from religion and the minds of men. And ultimately, secretly it comes from that devious source of evil that seeks only to put you into bondage and torture you. Don’t get mad at me, get mad at the enemy.

There comes a time in your life when you have to stand behind what you believe and say it. In the words of Emerson,“Let us advance on Chaos and the Dark.”

There is a life with God that is sweeter than anything you may have ever experienced. And in that life, you will find that He is always logical and never religious. He is love folks, love…


Self-Made-Man1There I was writing down my goals again and realizing that I have been writing the same crap for years! Same goals, same never-ending list of steps required to reach my goals. I’m going to stop doing this and start doing that, and ease up on this and cut back on that…Requirements, discipline, blah, blah, blah. Of course there is nothing wrong with writing down your goals and even better writing down steps to achieve those goals, but man, what a drag! What a freaking hard way to live. Never satisfied, never enjoying the moments called now. Perpetual work (mental work) towards some future day when… Add to that the mental consternation that goes with figuring out all of the complexities of life with your own little brain and you have a formula for misery. Can you even fathom how many variables life contains and the insanity of trying to control those variables? How many things need to line up with a multitude of other things for you to get what you want most out of life? And further, do you really, honestly think that your little plan, devised by your little mind could, by will power and determination, get a handle on all of the factors that must come together for you to be successful? Really?

I thought these thoughts and asked myself the same questions and, in all honesty, had to admit that my complicated plans with all of their required tasks, while offering the promise of securing “that life” were in reality complex wish lists that did little more than satisfy my intellect that I had devised “the plan” to get where I wanted to go. The tasks, unpleasant. The disciplines, undesirable. The probability of me carrying them out, zero. So, how do people reach their goals? How do some folks attain the unattainable? The so-called fortunate ones who seem to be living the life, what did they do so differently?

I think it’s safe to say they worked hard. That goes without saying. It’s obvious they were clear about what they desired. But, I’m willing to wager a lot of money that on the way to arriving, they were enjoying the journey. No-one does anything well that they don’t enjoy doing. Yes it’s work, but work you love isn’t really work (and if you have managed to touch on that you know what I mean). But work for work’s sake is drudgery and even more so when it doesn’t get you where you want to go. Oh try as you may, discipline your discipline, but in the end you’ll see (hopefully) that the path “you” chose for the fulfillment of your dreams isn’t the path to get to your dreams.

In the most simple terms, the first step to attaining your dream life is believe you can attain your dream life. I will say that again! The first step to attaining your dream life is to believe that you can. Until you get that step down, you are destined to work harder and get less. Your efforts, your energy to do, must be backed by the passion to do and without the first step, you can never get to the second step. Decision always, always, always precedes desire (passion). That solid, sold out, convicted decision produces the energy to do in exact proportion to the decision. A “hope so” decision; a wishy-washy decision; a maybe-maybe not decision can only produce a meager, so-so, half-hearted passion that neither has the energy or the will to accomplish anything. For real!

Doing first things first by whole-hearted decision gets God involved in your life. God, who happens to be aware of every variable, can work with decision. And, by His very nature, cannot work with indecision. Your lack of decision almost guarantees a lack of result and I don’t care how hard you work or how hard you try! It’s not your sincerity that gets the job done. Many sincere people have taken their dream to their grave. It’s your belief that gets the job done and without your cooperation, God Himself can do nothing! Conversely, making the strong decision to accomplish something leads to the strong passion (energy) required to do something which leads to the necessary details and finally to the required result!

How much time have you spent pursuing hopes and wishes? How much effort have you wasted on idle dreams that you don’t believe will really happen nor truly expect to obtain? My advice? Be like me. Recognize that you are tired of your lists and your requirements and your plans. Accept that what you are doing isn’t working and thinking that something magical will happen later is only a fantasy. Instead, take the time to decide exactly, precisely, clearly and emphatically what it is you want to accomplish; what legacy you wish to give to the world. And once you finally get that clear, act with the passion that accompanies your decision. It will be there. It must! And, along the way, give your poor, tired mind a break and cease trying to figure it all out. How you get there matters none, but rather “that” you get there. Let God do His job by “you” making a decision and then just enjoy the day that is today! Enjoy this day and give it all you’ve got. I mean really, if you truly believe that God is getting you where you want to go, you don’t have to spend another moment agonizing on how it is going to happen! You just live and move and expect and see…

Trying to figure out how to live a “self-made” life is a tyranny that will wear you out! You aren’t big enough for that fight. Trust me. But you certainly are big enough to make a decision and let God figure it out. Then, life becomes what it supposed to be – a joyful journey of discovery that ends in victory!

Just some good, clear, free thoughts…

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