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Before I go into the subject matter of my next journal entry, I wanted to share something funny with you.  In my last entry I talked about a memory I had concerning my older brother Rick.  A few days after posting it, Rick called to tell me he read it, and that although he couldn't remember the event, he forgave me and wanted me to quit feeling bad about it.  I thought that was just great! 

I also received an email from a dear friend who was very touched by the story, which is why I write my thoughts here to begin with.  I'm so glad they do touch others from time to time.

My friend commented on "how transparent" I am in these writings.  Believe it or not, it's not easy to be that transparent, but I've learned that if normal people cannot relate to me, I'm really not acheiving my goal.  I just don't want anyone to think I'd just 'blabber anything' about myself in foolishness.  I try to be as open and honest as I can for a very specific reason.  To demonstrate that all of us have weaknesses and all of us must depend daily upon the grace and mercy of God.

Now onto my new entry...

I have to tell you that as a minister, I've heard lots and lots of comments from people over the years...both positive and negative.  I realize it's part of the job...and the subject matter I deal with.

But I must say that of all the negative things I've heard, I've never had anything hurt me personally as much as being accused of "lack of spirituality."  Over all my years of ministry I've had about four occasions where someone openly questioned my spirituality and depth of spirituality, based upon something they "saw" or "didn't see" in my walk.

The reason this hurt me so deeply is because it questions my intimate and personal relationship with Christ, which is where all true spirituality flows forth from.

I've come to realize that many Christians have various notions of what true spirituality is.  Some believe that true spirituality will resemble a pentecostal form of worship only, while others believe it must constantly walk in the miraculous with demonstrations of healings and so forth on a constant basis.

Now I tell you the truth...I've seen numerous miracles with my very own eyes.  Much of what you've read about in the New Testament, I've witnessed first-hand in my life.  I'd testify to it, under oath at the Supreme Court in Washington, if called upon to do so.  However...

...I've also come to realize that although this is a wonderful form of spirituality in action, it does not determine how truly spiritual a person is...or isn't.  Let me explain.  Do you realize that when Jesus sent His disciples out to "heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out demons," that Judas Iscariot was among them???  This very man who is Biblically labeled a betrayer and a thief worked miracles!  How?  Because he was granted to do so in the name and power of Jesus Christ, not himself.

I don't know who I'm writing about today...maybe it's me...but I believe someone who is reading this now feels spiritually inadequate due to things said to you by others...or things Satan has said to you...or you have said to yourself.

It's so easy to look around us and compare ourselves to other Christians or to other Churches and feel like we're lacking in area's of spirituality.  This is a horrible feeling and is a trick of the devil to make you feel worthless.  Don't fall for it.  Judge your spirituality by one thing...and one thing only: Love.

There came a point in my own life personally, and in my leadership role as a Pastor, where I realized that "loving one another as I have loved you," was the greatest and deepest form of true spirituality.  As I read I Corinthians 13, I saw the words of an aging Man of God, relaying a deep truth, "miracles, prophecies, faith, moving mountains or even giving your life as a physical sacrifice mean absolutely nothing...IF YOU DON'T LOVE!"

At that became my spiritual pursuit.  It also became the focus of my preaching, my teaching and what I looked for in choosing leadership.  I honestly thought everyone would be thrilled at my deep revelation and embrace it whole-heartedly.  Some did, others did not.

I realized I could be the busiest, greatest preacher I could be...but my own kids might fall by the wayside, believing their Dad loved the ministry more than them.  I realized I could pray for and pursue miracles for every service in order to elevate myself and our Church to entrall the masses...but to do so, might come at the expense of simply loving people through divorces, family deaths, sinful failures and broken-hearts.

Paul teaches us that "although you might have miracles...but have not are nothing."  (Paraphrasing).

I tell you now...since I've earnestly pursued to "Love as He Loves," I feel more deeply spiritual than at anytime in my life.  It might not appear so to some...but I stand before God and tell the truth.  I've learned that "Love never fails."

Although I've been accused and even ridiculed for being "unspiritual," I tell you before God...I have learned to love.  Someday when God reveals the hearts of men...including me, this truth will be known to my doubters.  Remember this: Judas Iscariot worked miracles, but he also betrayed our Lord to be crucified.  He didn't love.

So the question of spirituality comes down to love.  With that being said, "How spiritual are you?"  I'm guessing you're much more spiritual than you thought.

I love you all, and I mean it.


4:13 am cdt 



I want to introduce you to my brother Ricky Dale Stanford.  He is three years older than I, and currently lives in East Texas with his wife Ginger.  Together they raised two beautiful girls who are now grown and living in Corpus Christi.

Rick and I were very close growing up.  We played together, fought together, sang together and got in trouble together. I always thought that Rick and I would be together...always be close.  I was wrong.

As life dictates, we both grew up and went our seperate ways.  He to the military and me...on the road singing.

I said all that to say this:

As a counselor I teach a subject called "Life-links."  These are events in our lives that can affect us all the way through our lives.  They can absolutely "form" who we become, even though they may seem insignificant to others.

One such life-link for me happened this way...

When I was about 8 years old and Rick was 11, I was invited to go to a friends house to play.  This boy was an only child and had all kinds of toys and animals and things to do and I was excited to go.  I had been there before and had told Rick all about it.  On this day he asked if he could go with me.  I didn't want him to.  I wanted to go and have fun on my own...I didn't want to share this experience with him.

He asked Mom if he could go with me and she said yes.  I was angry and being a brat, but it wasn't wise to "buck Momma," if you know what I mean, so we walked out of the house together.

It suddenly dawned on me that Rick did not know the way to this boy's house, so I ran away from him and hid...knowing he'd have to return home.  It worked!

After I was sure the coast was clear...I went on to the boy's house.  However, as I walked...I began to get a sinking feeling inside.  Something inside me did not feel good and I couldn't shake it.  After I got to the boy's house, nothing was fun.  No matter what I tried to do, it just wasn't fun.  I couldn't shake the thought of what I'd done to my own brother.

After about twenty minutes, I left and went back home. 

Rick never said anything to me about leaving him that way...and later it dawned on me that Rick was much faster than me and could have kept up with me when I ran away from him in the first place.  In other words, realizing I didn't want him to go...he simply went back home, feelings hurt.

The next time I was invited to this boy's house, I asked Rick to go.  He did, and the three of us had a marvelous time.

Over the years, I've thought of that instance on numerous occasions.  To this very day, I hate what I did to him.  Why?  Because he was my brother and I truly loved him then, as I do now.  I had selfishly hurt him and placed myself above his feelings. 

Here's what that event has taught me as a "Life-link." everything!!!  Many, many times I've longed to spend days with Rick and have longed to feel close to him as I did then.  As I said, however, adulthood took us seperate ways, so it's a wonderful treat for me any time I get to see him or hear his voice on a telephone.

That horrible feeling I experienced that day, I realize now, was the Holy Spirit of God teaching me.  Teaching me that "loving one another as I have loved you," is not just nice poetry, but a reality if we want to live a life free of enormous regret.

I now have two sons of my own that seem to 'mirror,' who Rick and I were then.  They argue, fight, get jealous, and sometimes just treat each other pretty onery.  I work very hard to teach them the value of being brothers and I've even told them this story.  I want them to remain close their entire lives and I pray the love between them will grow and grow and grow.

Rick probably doesn't even remember this event.  It doesn't matter, it changed me.  I try very hard to be sensitive to others, to always try and make them feel "included" and loved by me in whatever I'm doing.  I have found that true love does not want to leave anyone behind...does not want to leave anyone out.

My precious friends...every moment we have with one another is precious.  Our life is a vapor and then it's gone.  I pray that we can learn to savor every minute we have with those we love and learn to actively include them in our lives as much as is healthy and is possible.

Leaving Rick that day is still one of my greatest regrets.  It's not a mistake I'll ever...intentionally...make again.



1:56 am cdt 


Now Here's Some Juicy Gossip!!!

Tonight I was sitting at Pizza Hut with several friends, following our usual Wednesday Evening Bible study.  I had the "Pancho Villa" sandwich, which is packed with Jalapenos so I'm suffering now, even as I write.  Talk about a 'gut-buster.' You'd think I'd learn!

While there, I found myself in a conversation about Ham.  Not the wonderful pork product that graces so many Sunday dinner tables, but Ham, the Son of Noah.

As most of you know, Ham got into real trouble with God because of something that happened between him and his father.

The story goes like this:  After spending years building the Ark, being laughed at, ridiculed and slandered, the rain began to fall.  After weeks and weeks of rain, feeding animals and cleaning up poop, the Ark finally came to rest on a mountain.  Noah's first order of business was to grow a vineyard.  Then...after harvesting the crop he indulged himself in a little too much wine and became drunk.  He passed out, drunk and naked in his tent.  The first to discover this was his son Ham who, upon finding him, went out and reported what he'd seen to his two brothers.  The other brothers, Shem and Japheth, then took a cloth and covered their father, refusing to look upon his nakedness.

Now why did God get angry with Ham?  Because "LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS, it doesn't expose them!"  Instead of covering his father out of love and respect, Ham dishonored him by exposing him and his fault to others.

You and I live in an age were "gossip is all the rage," and is even big business.  You can't even buy groceries without passing twenty or thirty magazines at the check-out stand, filled with the latest gossip provided to us by professional "gossip columnist's."

It might be big business and seem like innocent fun...but my friends, I dare say...God still hates it.  Why?  It is self-righteousness at it's awful worst!  It's the old "look how awful these people are, while I'm so Holy," mindset.

I have seen firsthand the heartbreak and humiliation caused when someone is "ratted out" for the sake of someone else's personal pleasure, amusement or selfish gain.  God help us.

The whole Gospel is written around the precept that the Blood of Christ "COVERS IN LOVE" (like Shem and Japheth), our sins and transgressions, rather than exposing them to our shame and embarrassment.  What is covered at the Cross, ought to stay at the Cross.

Truth be told...we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  There are plenty of "exposures" that could be wrought on any one of us if knowledge of them fell into the wrong ears.  I dare say, we all have something we are thankful to have covered by love.  After all, He remembers that we're mere flesh.

Sadly, when someone has been exposed it can literally ruin them.  Ruining people is not the business God is in...He restores them.  Jesus said, "I came not into the world to condemn it, but to save it."

Remember this verse?: "If anyone is overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, lest you be overtaken in the same fault."   It takes "spiritual people" (not to be confused with self-righteous people), who deeply love, in order to cover that person's failure, and restore them wholly.  Sadly, it seems this is a rarity in the Body of Christ presently.

Let me give you an example:  What's the first thing you think of when you hear the names: Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Bakker?  Most people would instantly identify with their very publically exposed sins and subsequent loss of respect and integrity.  Where these men wrong?  Of course.  Is the Blood of Christ able to cover them?  I believe so.  Sadly, their sin will long over-shadow any good things they may have accomplished.

I think by now you see my point.  Old Satan is out there fishing everyday...using juicy gossip as the bait.  Please don't bite.  As tempting as it is to "share a concern," or spread the sultry news...simply resist.  Let your love cover the naked.

Remember this: "For by whatever measure you judge, it will be judged back to you."  That statement alone, out to make us keep quite...and let God alone be Judge.

I love you all.


P.S.  I'm so happy to report that over the last two months, this website has had nearly 10,000 hits!  I've prayed that God would use it all over the world and that's a good start!

1:51 am cdt 


We live in a very negative society.  Our newspapers, newscasts and gossip sessions, focus primarily upon negative events happening around the world, leaving us feeling fearful, suspicious and depressed.

Negative thoughts breed a host of negative and destructive results.

This fact is highlighted in the first Chapter of Deuteronomy (in the Old Testament) where God is exceedingly angry with ten of twelve spies who came back from the Promised-land with a negative report.  Two of the twelve were positive.

The report of the ten envoked a vicious emotional and mental response in the Children of Israel that caused them to lose faith and become full of fear.  Why was God so angry?  Because He had been with them in power and action since the moment Moses stepped into Egypt to free them! 

This story is evidence that negative thoughts, words and actions can literally destroy the faith that God has gloriously placed in His people through His power.

I have seen the powerful and awesome effects of people who are positive and full of faith.  I've seen them move forward without fear and witnessed the power of God move with them, defeating their enemies and producing incredible miracles.

I've also seen the tragic, meanness and evil that negative words and actions can have upon a single person, a family, a congregation and even an entire community or Nation.

I've seen people literally destroyed by the negative words and actions of others.  I've seen Churches fold, families split, ministries ruined, suspicion rampant, and faith fall at the words and actions of people being used by Satan to destroy.

I've personally been the target of the negative and mean-spirited words and actions of others and I can tell you...without God, I could not have lived through it.  It brought me great sorrow, made me question my call, made me feel weak and powerless, defeated and hopeless, depressed and broken.  In other words, Satan was using someone to spread rumors, innuendos, and suspicion in order to destroy me, thus the work God has called me to do.  Their actions and words left many people with just enough doubt to forsake me.  Trying to defend yourself at these moments is practically useless.  It's very hard to take doubt out of someone's mind once it's established.

If you've ever been on the receiving end of this type of hurt, you know it is enormous and can take years to get over.

My greatest prayer for Christians around the world is that we all "come to our senses" and realize the damage we can do by thinking, speaking or acting in negative ways.

I literally beg each one of us to forsake any negative words, suspicions or innuendos that are thrown our way, regardless of who the contagious person is.  Think about this: 

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 
(I Corinthians 13:4-8)

Does this sound negative to you?  Of course not.  It is love that produces the positive attitude needed for faith to flourish.

My precious brothers and sisters, we are the Light of the World.  We cannot afford to harbor negative thoughts or feelings, nor can we afford to hang out with people who do.  We must be full of positive thoughts if faith is to move us toward our victory.

I remember once in an planning meeting that I was sharing a vision for a new ministry God had planted into my heart deeply.  With enthusiasm and faith I explained what God had spoken to me.  In one short sentence one person in the group said, "I just don't have a vision for that."  Those few words of doubt and negativity nearly ended that vision for good.  It has taken years to get it back on track.

Our negative thoughts will eventually come out as negative words and they are like cancer...they spread quickly and they destroy life.  Please, please, please think this over and examine your own life as I am mine, and fight against all negative thoughts and emotions that are working against you.

The last thing I want is to stand before an angry God who is displeased with me for spreading a negative report amongst His people.

I love you so,

2:26 am cdt 


When I was a boy my mother would load all of us kids into her station wagon and take us to "Mr. Burger," in Amarillo, Texas.  At that time you could get four big burgers for one dollar, so she could feed us all for a couple of bucks.

In those days soft drinks came in a white "Dixie Cup," that had perfect red hearts lined around the top.  (Anyone remember those?) 

Interestingly those red hearts were the same size and shape of a birthmark I still carry on my right forearm.  Looking back now I wonder if God reached down and touched me there during my creation.  Why?  Because it is a constant reminder to me that I "wear my heart on my sleeve," both literally and emotionally.

One of the things I truly dislike about my personality is that I'm very sensitive.  Most of my life I've found that I get my feelings hurt pretty easily.  I don't like it one bit, and I've often prayed that God would give me tougher skin and make me just a little bit more 'hard-hearted.'  As you know, hurt feelings are not fun...they...hurt!

One instance that comes to mind was during my first experience in a recording studio where the Anchor Brothers were recording their first album.  I was recording the lead vocals to the familiar song "One Day At A Time," and there is a very high part in the verses.

For those of you who know me and have heard my voice, it is quite low.  Hitting this high note was very difficult for me and the producer made me sing it over and over and over to get it right. 

After about a hour and a half of trying I was nearly in tears and felt defeated.  I had assured myself that I couldn't sing at all, that it was a serious mistake to try and that I was wasting valuable studio time while all the other singers waited for me to finish so they could do their parts.  It was an awful experience!

Finally the Record Producer called me into the control room and sat me down...and then began to speak. "Reydon," he said, his face red, "If you're going to be in this business you're going to have to toughen up!  My name is going on this record just like yours and if I allow that note to be flat...every-time someone hears will be flat.  Now I want you to take a deep breath, go back in there and sing that note like I know you can!"

Whether it was from my anger, hurt-feelings or sheer bitterness I'm not sure, but I walked in there and belted out the note completely in tune.  Everyone in the studio sighed with relief as though a baby had finally been born without any drugs for the pain! 

With all due respect...I still dislike that song!

Eleven albums later I had finally learned how to take criticism during recording and move forward without taking it personal.  Which leads me to this...

...I've learned that if my feelings are hurt I ask myself: "Is this a legitimate hurt?"  In other words, is the thing that's causing me discomfort a "real" hurt or am I placing too much emphasis on something that's been said or done?  If I realize that this is the case, I give myself a good swift kick in the Levi's Jeans and move on.

If it is a legitimate hurt, I then ask myself: "But were you hurt legitimately?"  In other words, did the person who 'said or did' the thing that hurt me, mean to do so.  9 times out of 10 the answer is "no" and I can easily forgive them, without even mentioning it.  Jesus said, "It's inevitable that offenses will come."  This is true.  We all hurt other people's feelings sometimes without meaning to at all...and we've all been hurt by people who didn't mean to.

If I feel that they have legitimately intended to hurt me, that is a different story!  When this is the case I pray that God places a nasty rash upon them that itches like crazy and is located in a place that would be embarrassing to scratch!!!

Not really.

If it calls for me to approach them, I try to do so in a moment when we're alone.  It's so easy to "share your hurt" with others looking for allies, but that behavior is sinful and not a good thing.  It might feel good for the moment, but then you become as guilty as the person who hurt you to begin with.

The Bible is clear how we should deal with those who've offended us.  It's not fun, but it's the only righteous method of making things right, or at least attempting to. 

Hurt feelings can really mess with our thinking and behavior and can even feel like "temporary insanity."  At these moments, we should step back, allow God to help us and then...just let it go.  Time and the Holy Spirit can bring healing if you allow it.

Finally, I have pleaded with God to make my skin thicker and my heart harder. (As I said earlier).  His response?  "If I did that, you'd lose your greatest ministry gift, Reydon.  Your compassion."  I guess that wouldn't be a very good trade, would it?

No matter how hard I rub...that heart-shaped birthmark on my forearm still shines through.



1:48 am cdt 


If you've read my journal for any length of time you know that I have been in the ministry for a long time.  I recently had a birthday, but instead of admitting to it...I say, "I'm celebrating the 25th anniversary of my 21st Birthday."  Makes me feel younger!  Or as I tell my wife, "I'm still immature so it makes up for my age!"


In all my years of ministry I've attended hundreds (if not thousands) of various Church services and have been aquainted with thousands of people.  In that time I've come to realize that there are a lot of suspicious, superstitious and even paranoid Christians...some to the point of sheer silliness.

I've seen, for example, some Christians who constantly worry that they may be under the influences of demons everytime something in their life goes haywire.  (Jesus said: "As long as you are in the world there will be tribulation.")  In goes haywire for all of us!  It rains on the just and on the unjust...and things go haywire for the just and's just life.  I think we give the devil too much credit sometimes.

In fact, I knew of a woman who loved wind chimes.  A preacher told her "wind chimes can draw demons," and she flipped out!  She destroyed all of her wind chimes...but her trouble didn't go away.  When I heard this story I was like: "Huh?"

I guess somewhere in the scriptures there is a warning against hanging wind chimes on your patio!  "Thou shalt not hangeth thy wind chimes close to thy grill or thy might indeed be inundated with demons!"   Hum...nope, don't believe it's in there.

Another time I was witnessing to a friend about Jesus when he told me, "Reydon, I just can't quit smoking.  I've tried and tried but I just can't quit.  I could never be a Christian and smoke cigarettes.  As bad as I hate to admit it, I'll probably go to Hell for smoking."  I felt so sorry for him.

"And when thou becomest tempted to puff upon a Camel...thou shalt put it away from thyself quickly lest you burn eternally in Hell."  (Nope, not in my Bible).

I told him, "Bob, there is not a single scripture that mentions smoking in the entire Bible.  It may not be healthy, but it won't send you to Hell."  (Now I'm not advocating smoking here, but this guy's eternal life was on the line and I have a responsibility to preach ONLY the scriptures). 

"What about the scripture that says 'do not defile the temple of the Holy Spirit?'" he asked.  I told him, "Bob...listen to me.  Jesus said it's not what goes into the body that defiles it...but what comes out of it!"  (Meaning words). 

Still, he didn't get it.  He just couldn't believe against what he'd been told in a thousand sermons growing up.

Another time a dear friend came to me with a question about his daughter.  She suffered from seizures and having read the story in the Bible about the boy with epilepsy who was actually demon-possessed, he was greatly concerned.  I asked him, "Can her seizures be controlled with medicine?"  "Yes," he answered, "She never has one while on her medication."  Then I told him, "We can't fix demonic possession with medicine my brother.  This is just a illness...not demonic possession."  I could literally see peace come upon him at that answer.

Precious Brothers and Sisters...I'm not trying to downplay the seriousness of the evil that's in our world.  However, as Christians we must have faith in our GOOD SHEPHERD!  We must believe that we are a greater threat to our world...than our world is to us!  (A quote from Evangelist Mario Murillo)

A shepherd does two basic, he leads the sheep to green pastures in order to feed them and two, he protects the sheep from predators.  King David echoes this trust in our Good Shepherd in the 23rd Psalm.  "Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL, for YOU are with me!!!"  I submit to you that, as Christians, the fear of evil is of more danger to us than actual evil.  Why?  He is with our worry is needless.

I've seen Christians become so concerned about silly stuff that it literally takes their focus off of the protection and goodness of God.

I encourage you to examine your own thoughts and beliefs and throw out any superstitions that might be side-tracking you.  If you like wind chimes or example...hang em up!  God made the wind...not Satan.  God made music...not Satan.  God made our ears...not Satan!  See my point?  I hope so.  I so desire to see Christians live in the peace that Jesus died to give us...not wandering around afraid of every shadow or non-existent spook.



12:55 am cdt 


Psychology works like this:  Thinking equals Feelings and Feelings equal Actions.  If you want to change the way you act or have to change the way you think.

If you've ever seen a film about a therapist sitting down asking questions of a client, while taking is because the therapist is trying to determine how that client thinks.  Once this is discovered, the therapist can go to work to help the client learn to change the way they think (perceive and understand information).  If successful, changing the way a person thinks, will help them to change the way they feel and subsequently change the way they act.

Thankfulness is a powerful tool in changing the way we feel when we find ourselves lonely, depressed, struggling financially and so forth.  Why?  Because true thankfulness requires us to approach God with a humble and hopeful attitude, resulting in more positive emotions...and thus more positive actions.

According the the Old Testament, the Children of Israel had great difficulty understanding this process.  Instead of being thankful for all that God had done for them, they continually complained and the result was the destruction of their own faith due to their negativity.  Once their faith was destroyed, they lingered and died in the wilderness.

Negativity is a "faith crusher."  Thankfulness, however allows us to develop a positive attitude, resulting in positive emotions (feelings) and finally, positive actions.  In other words, thankfulness leads to faith and hope.

The opposite of faith is fear.  Fear is a mental attribute that causes great emotional pain.  Fear however, is rarely realistic.  In other words, fear uses images from a painful past to make us leary that it will happen again if we attempt and fail.  Fear also works by "prophecying" into the future what "might," "could" or "will" happen tomorrow or beyond.

What many of us fail to remember is that fear based upon past events is unrealistic, but can cripple us in the present.  Fear based upon the future is also unrealistic and cripples us in the present. 

Interestingly, the Bible is plain that we only have one day to concern ourselves with and that is TODAY!  The Bible tells us, "Today is the day of salvation."  I used to say...and still believe that all the promises of God are good for only one  Sure there are promises that relate to our future, but we must embrace them today in order to secure the peace they provide.

When we can push past our fears and begin to actively thank God, our circumstances can change and they can change in a hurry.  How?  Because faith rises above our fears, dispelling the myths of yesterday and tomorrow, allowing us to focus on the blessings and power of God today.

As a Counselor, I often encourage people to use their imagination.  As children we used it constantly!  It allowed us to be cowboys and indians, firemen or whatever else we dreamed.  Yet as adults, we force ourselves to deal only in the "realities of Life," which can reduce our faith in a hurry as we focus on the negatives around us.

We must remember however, that God gave us an imagination for a reason!  The Word tells us "without vision people perish."  Our imagination is a gift that allows us to "see without seeing."  In other words, it allows us to see in our hearts and minds, what "could be," rather than what is.  That's what faith does!!!  It allows us to "call forth those things that are NOT as though they ARE!"  The root word for imagination is "imaging."  In other words, the ability to see "mind pictures" that we cannot see with our natural vision.  Without this inner vision...we perish according to the Word.

So, If you're ill today, use your imagination and begin to see yourself well again.  As your mind begins to focus on your health rather than your sickness, your "feelings" will respond in kind and your attitude will take on faith.  Then, your faith will take on action and the results are limitless.

If your alone, having gone through a divorce or such, use your imagination to see yourself whole and happy again, in a great relationship with someone who deeply loves you and is committed to you.  This principle works in regards to all things.

The bottom line here is: "Faith works in the atmosphere of a positive attitude."  Positive attitude is developed by using your imagination to "see" positive things coming to you.  This can all begin as you search your life for things you are thankful for.  Sometimes it's hard, but we all know life is never easy and this is no exception.  But...YOU CAN DO IT!!

I so long for each of you to reach the peace and joy of living that Christ promised.  In a phrase: Abundant Life.  We can only begin by using our imagination to give us a vision for a healthy and happy future.

Blessings to All,


6:32 am cdt 


"Someone Committed Suicide? Pass the Biscuits Please"
In the Spring of 1967 a 23 year old girl by the name of Roberta Lee Streeter wrote and recorded a song for Capital Records that was to become a mega-hit and catapult her into a songwriting legend.

The song was intially placed upon the "B Side" of the recording, but radio stations quickly picked it up and in a few weeks it was a smash across the Nation and eventually the world.

The young woman changed her name to Bobbie Gentry and the song was entitled: "Ode to Billie Joe."

The lyrics are told by a 'phantom observer' to a mealtime conversation that takes place around a dinner table, on a farm in the deep South.  It begins as everyone is seated to eat dinner and the mother casually states that "I got some news this morning from Choctaw Ridge, today Billie Joe McAlister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge."

The song then goes on to record various comments from the mother, father and brother of a young woman who seems stunned by this the point that her mother asks her, "Child, what's happened to your appetite?"

The father says, "Well, Billie Joe never had a lick of sense...pass the bisquits please."  It's obvious by this comment the father didn't think too highly of the dead boy.

The brother then proceeds to make a few "recollections" of his own, verbally remembering a time when he and Billie Joe placed a frog down his sister's shirt at a picture show, how he 'thought' he'd seen him at a Sawmill yesterday, as well as talking to his sister last Sunday night.  He concludes these remarks by asking for "another piece of apple pie."

If you've heard the song, you know the rest.  What is interesting to me, however is Bobbie Gentry's reason for writing it, and what the story actually means.

The song is written with a lot of mystery.  It leaves the listener trying to answer questions that are simply not answered in the lyrics.  Questions such as: "Why did he jump to his death?"  "What was he and the young woman talking about on Sunday night?"  or "What did the two of them throw from the bridge as observed by the 'Young Preacher,' a few days before?"

Believe it or not...many people have argued over the exact meaning for years.

One group believes it is a story of an "Interracial Relationship," where the young woman has had a love affair with Billie Joe, (She's black, he's white) and the result was a pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage.  The child's body was thrown by the couple into the "Muddy waters from the Tallahatchie Bridge."  Overwhelmed by guilt, Billie Joe decides to take his own life by following the child into a watery grave.

Another group believes the song is a story about a sexual relationship between the young woman and Billie Joe, which must be kept secret because the girl's father detests the young man.  A resulting pregnancy and abortion leads the couple to discard of the fetus by throwing it from the bridge.  Overwhelmed by guilt, Billie Joe jumps to his own death.

Then there is the movie.  Made in 1976, it stars a young Robby Benson as a young man torn between his blossoming romance with the young woman mentioned in the song, and his exposed homosexual affair with a local man.  Unable to come to grips with his guilt and disgust, he commits suicide by jumping off the bridge.

Then...there is the truth.  When asked what the song meant, Bobbie Gentry flatly stated, "It's about how indifferent we can be to the suffering of others."

The song itself was recorded using only an acoustic guitar and a keyboard to add eerie string arrangements.  The rest is Bobbie Gentry's voice serving as the 'story-teller.'  Perhaps then, it "is" the mystery of the whole scenario that attracted listeners by the millions to the song.

Nevertheless, the point of the song is true.  In just a few well-written verses we discover just how judgmental, suspicious and uncaring humanity can be...even at the tragic death of others.

I have to tell you that the reason the song touched me is that I know a lot of people just like "Billie Joe McCalister."  People who walk through life tormented by something, something that few people even care enough about to even ask, "What's wrong?"

How easy it is to become so busy with our own lives that we fail to see when someone is so desperately hurting...hurting enough in some cases, to end their own lives.

I remember being in a Church service were something about a young woman in the audience drew my attention.  Without pointing her out, I began to reach out to her by proclaiming that as long as Jesus is matter what you're suffering, you can start over with your life and find peace.

After the service was over she came to me with tears streaming down her face and said, "Had I not heard you tonight, I'd be dead tomorrow!  I already had my suicide planned out for tonight."  I never felt so humbled and thankful.

My brothers and sisters, Jesus said, "Open your eyes, the harvest is all around you!"  Please take the time this week to look around you and reach out to those who are hurting, lonely, dejected,  and rejected by others.  It might not make you popular with your neighbors, but it'll make you popular with God.  You might even save a life.


2:35 am cdt 

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