Abundance. It is a wonderful concept. Having more than enough of what we need. It seems to be a good thing to be rich in supply. We often hear that the only people who worry about money are those who don’t have enough of it. Having “more than an adequate quantity” of anything would be downright unbelievable for someone who typically runs out of everything at the most inopportune moment. Much of society sees things from a “scarcity mentality,” expecting to never have enough, to never get ahead in life. Not in any way. Not in the least. Having a scarcity mentality can be quite painful for the individual, and tends to create a lot of unnecessary fear, anxiety and desperation.

Focus on abundance, not on lack. What you focus on will materialize in your world. Maintaining a scarcity mentality will have you tripping over examples of lack. You will find them everywhere. You will see evidence all around you that reek of negativity, failure, insolvency, famine, drought. You will become increasingly negative. You will suddenly realize that you are nowhere near living an abundant life. Not surprisingly, this realization often causes many Americans to decide it’s not worth worrying about. It will be whatever it will be. They believe it’s too late to prepare, and so they plop down on the couch and turn on Play Station 3 or click On Demand and watch a movie. Some will grab their keys, get in the car, and drive to their favorite bar. Forget about what’s coming. Let’s drown our fears and misgivings with shots of Jim Beam.

We all hold onto beliefs about who we are and what is possible (or not possible). Have you ever asked yourself how true are these beliefs? I have often been plagued by statements such as, “I’ll never be rich,” “There’s never enough,” “I’m not good enough,” I’ll never be happy,” or “I don’t have a head for handling finances.” Self-limiting beliefs such as these keep you stuck in a scarcity mentality. When you believe money is not within your grasp, you get discouraged and give up. You won’t even try. When the running script in your head is I’ll never have enough to save for the future, you don’t put money away, and, therefore, you never compile a nest egg. You create a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we believe something is not in the realm of possibility, we don’t bother wasting our energy trying to attain it. For us, it’s not in the realm of reality.

It may be surprising to learn that the first thing you can do to break free from scarcity mentality and start moving toward abundance is to be thankful for your paychecks. Gratitude is a critical element of learning to be thankful for what you have. It will help you to move toward abundance. If you think you’ll never have enough, then not surprisingly you will spend everything you earn. Saving money will not seem like a worthwhile habit. Compound that belief with the “biblical” statement that money is the root of all evil, and you have literally millions of American Christians thinking that accumulating wealth is not sanctioned by the Bible. But note this: The statement Money is the root of all evil is not exactly the wording found in Bible. The Scripture tells us that it’s the LOVE of money that is at the root of all evil. (See 1 Timothy 6:10.)

God cares if our needs are met. Matthew 6:25-26 says, “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns – and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are they not much more valuable than [the birds]?” It is interesting that the birds don’t have to think about whether their needs will be met. They are not preoccupied with the thought that there is no way they can survive the year. Not on this small amount of food. Of course, birds don’t worry or rationalize or play the victim. Birds do what birds to. They rely on the Creation of God to supply their food. They plan ahead. They simply go and get what they need. They eat, and they provide for their young.

Steven Barto © 2016







Logan’s Outlook

He towers tall over his tiny kitten, sitting in his power chair,
Simply smiling, sentient, all but savvy,
Knowing how happy and blessed is he;
Bound to his chair, yet free; intelligent enough to win a spelling bee.

Packed to the top of his brain with stats,
Possessing the soul of a global travel brat;
He sails around the world without leaving his home,
Able to rant and roam.

Reading the riot act to his opponent in
Call of Duty: Black Ops, not focusing on what he can’t do;
Applying aptitude and attitude to a challenging life of
Adversity and affliction, admonishing God just won’t do.

Admiring the capable child or athlete with an appreciation
For the frolic and revelry they show and tell,
Thrilled with the entertainment they present,
And the wonderful competition they wage.

Logan’s outlook obviously embodies an ostensible
Conclusion that, regardless of what he bears,
He will always be thrilled with being alive,
Content to learn and thrive.

©2016 Steven Barto

The above poem is an homage to my nephew, Logan, who was stricken with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in the first few months of his life. SMA is a type of muscular dystrophy. He interacts with the world from atop his power chair. Very smart and observant. Loves sports, especially football. Favorite team: The Steelers. I truly love and admire Logan and wanted to write something that would at least hint at the great young man he is despite his situation.

Things I’ve Learned About Human Nature

  1. When our communities were tribal-based, the good of the clan came before the good of the individual.
  2. Man is a social animal, and he is not designed for isolation.
  3. There is a God-shaped hole within all of us that cannot be filled by sex, booze, drugs, gambling, career, cars or big houses. I’ve heard this concept described as the “hole in the soul.”
  4. It’s better to leave a legacy than a personal history.
  5. When we choose to counsel and help others whose life has gone off tracks, our past becomes an asset rather than a liability.
  6. Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations. It is sometimes associated with other terms such as true altruism, or complete love.
  7. Unfortunately, acts of evil aren’t terrifyingly inhumane, but rather all too human.
  8. Man is hard-wired to take credit for everything good in his life, and to blame God for everything wrong in his life.
  9. We are a snapshot or facsimile of God. Our godlikeness is the path to our greatest fulfillment.
  10. We’ve all heard that the unexamined life is not worth living, but consider too that the unlived life is not worth examining.

Does Your Life Reflect What You Say You Believe?

The Holy Spirit has really been making me focus on this subject matter, so I decided to repost it. I welcome open dialog and look forward to your comments.

The Accidental Poet

Many of us call ourselves Christians (which by definition means “Christ followers”). Sometimes, when we honestly evaluate our relationship with Jesus, we realize we are not following Him. We are more like “fans” than followers. Though I believe in the assurance of our salvation, I also believe that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. (Phil. 2:12) When it comes to where we will spend eternity, we can’t be afraid to ask the hard questions and take an honest look at the answers that our lives offer. Is it possible that when asked, “Are you a follower of Jesus?” you quickly respond, “Yes,” only to be exposed as nothing more than a fan on that final day when we face the Lord.

Many people take the wrong road in life. Only few find the narrow path. If that’s true, then wouldn’t it make sense for us…

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Insane Impulse?

How is the alcoholic to account for that insane impulse which prompts him to reach for the first drink that starts him off on another binge? Is it a sane act? Is he obsessed? Is it the result of an urge which is sponsored by irrational thinking? Does it involve thinking at all? Does sanity in an alcoholic implicate his power to accept or reject that first drink? We think it does as we do not believe that he can help himself. We believe and know from experience that a power greater than himself can remove his obsession, straighten out his thinking, and restore him to sane thought and behavior.

Those who disapprove the use of the word sanity in Step Two are usually alcoholics who have been fortunate enough to escape the more serious aspects of alcoholism. They reason that they were perfectly normal between drinking bouts. The alcoholic who did himself no serious damage during his drinking career should find solace in that fact. He should take a broad view of the insanity of alcoholism, however, as most of us were surely deranged over varying periods of time.

He must also remember that in the progressive development of alcoholism the power of reasoning is slowly demoralized. This encourages deception as to our real mental health and fitness; it breeds a superior feeling of false security. Evidence to support this fact is found in the following danger symptoms commonly seen in all alcoholics:

  1. Acceptance of that first drink as we minimize the knowledge of the physical and mental suffering of the past by saying, “This time it will be different.”
  2. The continued use of alcohol to escape the realities of life and dependence upon it for energy or courage to accomplish given work.
  3. The necessity of the drink “the morning after.”
  4. Our inability to be self-critical of the sanity of our behavior over prolonged years of drinking – our refusal to consider the harm we have done to ourselves and others.
  5. Childish faith we placed in excuses for our drinking and the alibis we thought we were getting away with.
  6. The reckless abandon we displayed in drunken driving – the argument that we drive better drunk than sober and our resentment toward those who differed from this opinion.
  7. The acute physical condition we reach and the continued suffering we endure from uncontrolled drinking.
  8. The financial risks taken – the shame, sorrow and often poverty that we inflict upon our families.
  9. The asinine resentments that clogged our minds – our decided loss of responsibility – our retreats to childish levels of hilarity – the erroneous assumption that we can “take it or leave it alone’ – our unnecessary squandering of money.

These are a few of the infinite number of danger symptoms that indict alcohol as poison to alcoholic men and women, and prove that their power of reason is affected, as well as their behavior, when even small doses of this drug are consumed.

There is no point in deceiving ourselves regarding the fate of the alcoholic, the uncontrolled drinker, if he continues to use alcohol. He has just two escapes from drinking. One is insanity. The other is an alcoholic death. The purpose of the AA program as a “way of life” is to avoid both by arresting the disease of alcoholism. As alcoholics, we cannot undo our past behavior. We can, however, use the knowledge of our escape from insanity and alcoholic death as an incentive to contact God for help in keeping us from future drinking.

From The Little Red Book: The Original 1946 Edition, Published August 1946.