Are You Living In the Present?

When you saw this article title, did you relate to it? I’ll be honest; I sure did. That might seem strange considering I wrote the article, but when I reread the title a couple times, I realized it was an eye-opener for me and it made me really stop and think. Maybe it’s an eye-opener for you, too, so I’ll give you an idea of what got me out of living in the present and what I do to focus on staying in it. Maybe it’ll help you change course if you need to.

What I’ve really noticed is lately I’ve been getting way ahead of myself. In other words, I haven’t been taking time to really connect with what’s right in front of me in my life right now. I’ve inadvertently missed important things that I should be aware of, appreciating, perhaps taking action on, and definitely expressing gratitude for, including the little things, all because I was not living in the present. I also noticed that not only was I causing unnecessary stress for myself by focusing on things that haven’t even happened yet and may not happen at all, but I had also overlooked something that was very important to me that was right in front of me right now. Clearly I would’ve noticed this if I were living in the present.

I had had several intuitive nudges about something I’ve been considering for a long time, and I had set those nudges aside because I was busy ruminating about the future and what it will bring. More importantly, there were things that I had overlooked or dismissed because of being caught up in not only looking too far ahead but also questioning whether or not there is something missing and what I should (the dreaded “should” word) be doing. And with the moment of awareness this article title brought me, I realized I had missed some opportunities with family and also my business that I had been taking for granted, not to mention the intuitive nudges that led me to taking positive action once I returned my focus to living in the present.

“The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days waiting for better ones ahead. ~ Marjorie Hinckley

So along with the rumination about the future and potential results came stress because I was concerning myself with things that hadn’t even happened yet or may never happen. And, I know for sure that doing this is just a colossal waste of time and energy. Putting all this together brought me back to the present and was a direct lesson for me to get back into and stay in it. Sure it’s important to plan for the future and keep an eye on the horizon. But, stay aware of living in the present so you recognize and appreciate everything that’s here for you right now– today. Life goes by way too quickly to miss any of it.

I don’t think there’s anyone who can say they haven’t gotten caught up in the future or perhaps even stuck in the past at some point or another. Even the best of the experts find themselves looking outside the present moment now and again. It’s human nature, especially in the West where society has historically been less connected to this holistic mind/body/spirit mentality. I’m happy to say that’s changing dramatically now. What a blessing this is, not only for us but for our children, grandchildren, and future generations, too.

So if you’re reading this, you’re likely already at some stage of awareness and consciousness. And if so, you understand that consciously redirecting yourself to living in the present has enormous lasting value. One of the things I like to do to keep myself more grounded in the present is to do a simple meditation for a few minutes each morning and/or evening, whichever works best for any given day. Doing both is even more beneficial but it doesn’t always fit the schedule.

Meditation is very helpful because it not only allows you to stay in the present, it also allows you to step away from the noise of life to connect or reconnect with your inner wisdom. Don’t let the term “meditation” scare you if you’ve not yet experienced it. There are very simple forms of meditation you can do. I’ll share a simple one with you here that you may want to try if you don’t have a meditative practice of your own. The important thing about any meditation or any inner or outer work you do for yourself is to be sure it feels good to you and you resonate with it.

If not, you’ll not experience the full benefit. Here are the steps to this simple meditation. Step 5 allows you a couple variations, and you can choose either or come up with your own. Both variations work well for me, but it’s all about what works for you-what you resonate with. Just relax and do what feels right. You may wish to start with this meditation and as you gain more experience and are more comfortable, create your own. Here we go:

1) Choose the time of day that works best for you to meditate and allow about 15 to 20 minutes for your meditation. If you wish, you can surely go longer, but sometimes when learning to meditate you may find yourself being bored or unable to focus, so shorter sessions are a good way to get started.

2) Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Be sure to wear clothing that is loose and very comfortable so your body and mind can relax and let go. This also better allows energy to flow through your system.

3) Choose a place where it’s quiet, you can get comfortable, and you won’t be interrupted. It’s very important to choose a location that’s very quiet and where you can sit or lie down comfortably. It’s also very important that you not be interrupted. Meditation is a time for quieting the mind and releasing life’s noise.

4) Once sitting or lying down comfortably, close your eyes and take 3 or 4 good, deep, slow breaths. With each breath, inhale fully through your nose, hold it for a second, and then exhale from your mouth with a quick “pahhhhh” sound until all the air is exhaled. I’ve experimented with the brief hold of the breath and a couple different ways to exhale, and the method above really relaxes me more than any other. I invite you to try different methods and see what feels best to you, too, but this is a good one and it’s easy.

5) Two simple variations to Step #5:

a) How to enter your meditative session and ask for general guidance: After you complete the few deep breaths, keeping your eyes closed simply greet your inner wisdom with a hello and speak your intention to connect with it. Then, simply ask, “What do I need to know today?” With eyes still closed, be quiet, be still, and listen and observe the stillness for that guidance.

b) How to enter your meditative session and ask for guidance on something specific: You may also ask for guidance on something more specific. In this case, after you complete the few deep breaths, keeping your eyes closed simply greet your inner wisdom with a hello and speak your intention to connect with it. Then simply say, “I ask for your guidance on __________,” (fill this in with a short description of what you need guidance on). Then with eyes still closed, be quiet, be still, and listen and observe the stillness for that more specific guidance.

That’s it for this simple meditation. Simple is always better because it doesn’t cause confusion. Keep your question simple and to the point for best results. There is no way of knowing when the guidance you request will come. It could be almost immediately or within hours or even days. Just know it will come. Do your best to be patient and pay attention to ideas, visuals, auditory messages, circumstances, people, opportunities, and anything else that comes to you that seems to have “come out of the blue.” That’s your inner wisdom, intuition, or higher self responding with the guidance you requested.

The beauty of meditation in terms of staying present and not getting stuck in the past or reaching too far into the future is that while in your meditative state, you are in the now-you are present. And, when performed daily or consistently at some level, you easily stay in touch with the present and connected to your higher self. This brings calm, clarity, and confidence, and keeps you open to your highest (soul) perspective.

“Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.” ~ Sonia Ricotti

Debt Negotiation – Should You Rather Go For Professional Negotiation Or Self Negotiation

The recent events in the US economy have opened up many new avenues to manage finances, such as debt negotiation. Debt negotiation is one way of getting rid of accumulated arrears. By adopting a proper course of action a person with unpaid bills can easily manage to reduce a major chunk of his or her unpaid bills so that they can get a fresh start and move on with their lives without much worry about paying a colossal pending interest from their previous transactions.

Why Would Anyone Need To Negotiate a Debt Reduction?

The answer is simply the fact that people have recently faced much mayhem in their lives owing to the current economic recession. Many lost jobs and many watched their businesses go down as unprecedented events in global and local economy took place. Many hardworking people lost their jobs and were left without much hope for an early revival. The only way they had was to continue spending on their credit cards just to survive. Such people now require a fresh start so that they can again get back on their feet without a lurking bill collector in the shadows.

Why Would Banks Agree To Negotiate?

Considering the fact that people owe to the banks and other financial companies, it would be legal for them to force an individual to pay back and chances are that the law will also side with them. But the other side of the coin shows that people aren’t in a position to pay back. This puts everyone in an awkward situation, especially the financiers as without cash they are bound to collapse. Banks need cash flow to continue business as usual, so they find this as a better option to reduce the payable amount so that people pay something instead of nothing.

Will The Banks Negotiate With Everyone?

The answer is simply “NO.” They will attempt to get the maximum out of their clients and as long as the client is under legal pressure of some sort they will give in at some point. So they will try their best to deny a reduction by all legal means. To manage a reduction a person has to know all the legal rules and regulations so that they can handle their case in a manner that the creditor is unable to deny their demand.

What Makes Professional Settlement Companies Better Choice than Self Negotiation

The fact that financial cases, especially bankruptcy are dealt under federal law amply highlights the importance of the matter. When we prefer to employ professional legal aid to resolve any legal matter then this makes a professional settlement company the first choice to handle a negotiation on your behalf. Professional negotiation is conducted by qualified attorneys who know the ins and outs of financial laws and offer anyone a better chance of striking a great deal which self negotiation can never get.

Considering all the above facts it is up to you to decide what is best for you!

The Confession of Sins – Is 1 John 1:9 a Part of God’s Will for the Present Dispensation of Grace?

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Guilt is a killer. A killer of our joy, our peace, our enjoyment of intimacy with God. It is one of Satan’s most effective weapons against the sons of men. Psychiatrists and doctors tell us that unresolved guilt is the number one cause of mental illness and suicide. Over half of all hospital beds are filled by people who have emotional illnesses. Guilt kills relationships, both among people and with God. We cannot freely forgive others until we first receive that forgiveness from God.

Our gracious and loving Father has provided a full and complete deliverance from sin and guilt. But if we believe a lie and fail to deal with guilt in the way God has dealt with it, we fall into a snare and
it becomes a most grievous and cruel weapon against us.

Guilt is that moral sense of blameworthiness that each of us feels when we know that we have done wrong. It is not necessarily bad, for it tells us that we have sinned and that something must be done about it. Just as our bodies should hurt when they are diseased or injured, so our God-given conscience should hurt when we violate what we know is right.

At the beginning, we must realize that God has not dealt with the guilt problem in the same way throughout Bible history. This is of utmost importance to know, for so many of the problems regarding guilt are made worse by people trying to obey God’s commands given to people of other dispensations. For example, under the law of Moses, the children of Israel were commanded to “afflict your souls” as the high priest made atonement for their sins through animal sacrifice (Lev. 16:29-31). The writer of Hebrews elaborates on this Day of Atonement and the inability of the law to provide complete forgiveness.

“For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

“For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

“But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Heb. 10:1-4).

Although this was a merciful provision in Israel for the time then present, the law was inadequate to make the worshippers perfect in conscience in relation to the guilt problem. The very fact that the sacrifices had to be repeated was a constant reminder that God’s forgiveness was given out piecemeal, i.e., on an installment plan. It was never completed. God’s people were expected to lament and afflict their souls, which is the antithesis of a perfected conscience. Indeed, far from being a satisfactory answer for guilt, Paul tells us in no uncertain terms why the law was given.

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19).

God graciously provided the sacrificial system of the law to temporarily atone (cover) the sins of his people until the “precious blood of Christ” could be shed to purchase eternal redemption for us.
Those living before the Cross were “saved on credit,” so to speak, until the fullness of time arrived for the complete removal of our sins. Even in portions of what we call the New Testament, forgiveness was conditional and therefore not complete (Matt. 6:12,14,15; 18:34,35; Mark 11:25,26; Luke 6:37c). The revelation of the Mystery through the Apostle Paul by the ascended, glorified Christ was yet future from the perspective of Matthew-John. And so the capstone of divine revelation concerning the total forgiveness of sins remained missing until that time. All of this is essential to understand throughout the remainder of our study.

With this in mind, there is one Scripture which in this writer’s view has caused untold harm and detriment to the people of God. Not because the verse itself is faulty, for all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable, but because religious leaders have so miserably misinterpreted and misapplied its original intent. What makes this all the more tragic is that it comes not from the enemies of Christ but from sincere, well respected, Bible-believing Christians. The verse I speak of is 1 John 1:9.

In order to view the verse within its context, I ask you simply to prayerfully consider the following passage from 1 John 1:1-10.

1. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

2. (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

3. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

4. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

5. This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

6. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.

7. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.

8. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

9. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.

Are you confident that you understand verse 9 in context? Let us see. Although men have many variations of interpretation on this verse, we will mention here only three of the most popular.

1. It is a salvation verse which tells the sinner how to receive the forgiveness of sins today.

2. It is a restoration verse.

a. Restoring one to salvation or,

b. Restoring one to fellowship

3. It is a verse pertaining to the Jews under the Kingdom program of Prophecy and has little if any application to the Gentiles today under the Body of Christ program of the Mystery.

For the time being, I would like to pass over numbers 1 and 3 and deal directly with number 2. The other two will take care of themselves as we come to understand the passage. Part 2-a is the most easily answered. This is the view that a saved person can become lost again through backsliding, carnality, losing faith, etc.

Often a person is told that his sins are forgiven up to the time he is saved. From that point forward the merits of Christ’s death are beneficial to him only as he is faithful to confess his sins to God and thus stay cleansed in His sight.

First of all, regeneration or the new birth is spoken of as a one time experience. No Bible passage speaks of being born again and again and again. During my college years, I attended a tent meeting for three nights with some friends. I couldn’t help noticing that the same people went forward each night after the sermon to receive forgiveness. One night the evangelist quoted 1 John 1:9 and made the statement that no one with unconfessed sin will enter heaven. When I pressed him about this after the meeting, he finally conceded that John probably meant the grosser forms of sin. This underscores another problem with this view. How many sins did God allow Adam and Eve before they were cast out from His presence in the garden of Eden? Only one. And all they did was eat a piece of fruit that the Lord told them not to. How many unforgiven sins do you suppose it will take to banish you to the everlasting burnings? Only one. God is holy and of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity. If your forgiveness depends on your confession of sins, you better be diligent not to forget even one.

The second reason 1 John 1:9 cannot refer to a restoration to salvation is that eternal life is a free gift. It is given by God’s grace not merely to the undeserving, but to those who deserve the exact opposite. If God rescinded His gift, that would make Him more gracious to His enemies than to His own children. God does not take back the gift if you become unworthy. We were never worthy to begin with.

Thirdly, God wishes for us to enjoy the gift of salvation. Salvation is of the Lord. Man’s only responsibility is to believe. Does God want us to walk through our Christian lives with a cloud over our heads? Those who believe that their forgiveness depends on their continual confession of sins soon find that their Christian experience has turned into “a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.”

The Scriptures tell us that upon believing that the Lord Jesus died for us and rose again we are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph. 1:13,14; Rom. 8:31-38). With the gospel of the grace of God, we have the pleasure of declaring the total forgiveness of sins. This brings peace, joy, and stability. More about this later.

Number 2-b above also speaks of restoration, not to salvation or even to maintain it, but rather to fellowship. Those who hold this view understand clearly the teaching of eternal security and the
preservation of the saints. The issue this time is intimacy with their heavenly Father. Our relationship is like the Rock of Gibraltar, steadfast and immovable. On the other hand, our fellowship (we are told) is like a tiny thread which the slightest sin in thought, word, or deed can break. Perhaps the best illustration of this view is the fellowship between a father and son. If the son sins against his father, the intimacy formerly enjoyed by both is broken and the pleasure of each other’s company is strained. The blood relationship of father and son remains intact, but the fellowship must be
restored by confession of wrongdoing. Likewise, Christians have a blood relationship to our heavenly Father through His Son Jesus Christ. While nothing can break our relationship as sons of God, fellowship
can only be restored by acknowledging the sin and an apology made, preferably with a pledge not to repeat the offense. This re-establishes the sweetness of fellowship and the pleasure with which both
Father and son can relate to each other.

Believers who seek to practice this often speak of “keeping short accounts with God,” that is, making sure you confess sins regularly so your account does not build up with unconfessed sin. Psalms
32, 51, and John 13:1-20 are often quoted to confirm this position.

This view of 1 John 1:9 has more to commend it than the previous one. “Confession is good for the soul” is a truism which holds good for all ages and dispensations. Indeed, Proverbs 28:13 says,

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth1 and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

In my formative years as a Christian, this view seemed to me to be logical, balanced and right. I knew many respected Bible teachers who taught this. Through the years, however, I believe the Spirit of God was pricking my conscience to show me things which revealed the shortcomings of this approach. Among them were:

1. It is based on a performance system of conditional blessing, and shifted my gaze away from Christ and His grace to my own faithfulness (or usually failure) to confess.

2. If what I believed concerning confession was true, I was probably “out of fellowship” much of the time, and so were most believers.

3. There were many things in 1 John Chapter 1 which are inconsistent with this view.

4. Concerning the popular father-son illustration, several rhetorical questions could be asked to show its weakness. What if the son fails to confess wrongdoing? Should the father continue to show him the cold shoulder until he does? What kind of father would that make him? Would this be a fitting picture of how our loving heavenly Father deals with His children today under grace? Further, the phrase “faithful and just” more aptly describes the judge in a courtroom than a father in the family room.

5. I had to honestly admit to myself that I found it extremely difficult to confess all my daily sins on a consistent basis.

6. This view of 1 John 1:9 must, of necessity, occupy a major plank in a person’s belief system. Without regular confession of sin, the promise of continual cleansing is rendered null and void resulting
in broken fellowship. And who wants to be out of fellowship with God?

7. Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, is silent in all his writings on confession of sins for forgiveness, parental or otherwise.

8. Paul’s epistles give us a positive affirmation of total, complete and unconditional forgiveness for all those in Christ Jesus.

A few examples should suffice,