"RELIEF FROM ANXIETY" (PART TWO)
3:03 am cst
In the first part of this article on Anxiety, I talked about the physical, emotional and mental
causes of anxiety and a couple of ways to combat it's effects. In part 2, I want to talk about the "spiritual
aspects" of anxiety and see if I can shed some light on the subject...even for myself.
Another word for anxiety
is "fearfulness." Fearfulness is obviously a result of being afraid of something or someone. What
many people don't realize is that most fearful thoughts are "planted" in our minds...they do not occur
naturally on their own. Sure there is the natural "fight or flight" type of fear that warns us
against a predator or impending danger...but that type of fear is rarely used. (Unless we bump into a Rattlesnake
quite often or something).
Most anxiety is caused by thoughts that are planted in our minds by Satan
or others who are using deceit to control us. For example: Most people who fear a bully, do so because
the bully is a grand talker. He constantly warns about all the 'painful and horrible things' that will happen
to us if we don't submit to his every whim. The bully counts on us "believing" his threats in order to
strike fear into our minds, causing us to submit. In most cases, when a bully is confronted he will leave with his tail
tucked between his legs. Sound familiar? (Resist the devil and he will flee from you). It's a Biblical
If there were a "Hall of Shame for Bullies", Satan would rank #1. He constantly fills
the air with his threats of 'pain, gloom, despair, rejection, illness, loss, defeat, poverty, terror' and so forth,
hoping we'll believe it and cower down in fear, neglecting our ability to "do all things through Christ Jesus who
gives us strength!"
When Satan can't get this message across to us in person...he'll send someone
who willingly passes along the 'bully' message. For example: I knew a fellow once, who was a member
of our Church, whom a lady had warned; "God told me if you don't straighten up...you'll be dead in a year!"
This poor guy came to me terrified. Now he was no saint, but he was a great guy doing the best he could to follow Christ.
I consider him a dear friend to this day. I told him, "In Jesus Name, you'll live and not die!"
Essentially...I "uncursed him." This has been many years ago...and he's still living.
sad thing is...we have all been tormented by "bully words" such as these our entire lives. Things like: "If
you don't straighten up...you're going to Hell!" These types of words cause great anxiety in people...yet
Jesus said, "I DID NOT COME INTO THE WORLD TO CONDEMN IT, BUT TO SAVE IT!!!"
Let me give you my interpretation
of most quotes meant to make you fearful: "If you don't do things my way...I'll throw a temper-tantrum
and I won't like you anymore." Pretty sad, huh?
If we desire to overcome anxiety caused by
spiritual forces, we must learn how to immediately identify the words of the bully Satan...no matter who is speaking them.
When we identify them, we need to instantly refuse to believe such "horror tales," and quote the Word of God...something
like, "If God is for me, who can be against me!" This is "resisting" the devil.
In the end he has no choice but to flee...then faith prevails and anxiety is replaced by the Peace of God that passes all
My precious friends...If anyone has instilled fearful thoughts into your mind by Satan's "bullying
tactics," I pray you'll be set free from them...even as you're reading this article. If thoughts of dying,
utter failure, being rejected by God are evident in your life and make you anxious...I want you to know that these words are
NOT TRUE! Your Heavenly Father loves you so much that He purchased you with the royal blood of His dear Son. Anyone
who loves you that much will never leave you, nor forsake you.
I hope this helps.
"Relief From Anxiety"
7:56 am cst
One of the most emotionally and mentally painful experiences is anxiety. It can cause a great
deal of discomfort ranging from bouts of depression, (on one end of the emotional scale), to panic attacks on the other.
Many people experience mild levels of anxiety daily, without even realizing it, excusing it to simple stress.
Although stress does play a major role in anxiety, it is only one of the underlying causes.
Some of the symptoms
of anxiety are: feelings of chronic fatigue, feeling like you never get enough sleep or rest, feeling edgy or angry for no
apparent reason, low level aches and pains, including headaches, backaches, or nausea. It is also common for those struggling
with anxiety to experience nagging constipation or even diarrhea soon after a meal. In some cases of anxiety, people
feel nervous, restless, or emotionally 'uneasy,' without even knowing why.
To understand anxiety, we need
to visualize our mental and emotional health as a thermometer. In normal situations our mental thermometer would
be in the middle. This leaves plenty of room for our emotions to handle the daily trials of living. However, in
many people the thermometer runs very high due to continued stress and even the slightest trial can send them into depression
or mild to major panic attacks. The key for relieving anxiety then, is to take steps to pull our mental and
emotional thermometer back down to the middle.
There are several ways to accomplish this. First,
let's look at the physical health issues that can contribute to anxiety. Since we are made up of chemicals, it is
quite common for us to suffer from a deficiency in some areas. A lack of Iron, glucose or other important chemicals
can deplete our immune system, making it harder to cope with daily trials and therefore bring on anxiety. A daily regiment
of multi-vitamins can help this. An overabundance of certain chemicals, (such as caffeine or sugar), can also
bring on anxiety so it might serve you well to see a physician and have blood tests conducted to identify some of these issues.
Even mild dehydration can also cause the brain to stress, resulting in anxiety.
Also a lack of sleep or "restless
sleep," can quickly cause the brain to struggle to meet daily demands. Sleep is the most vital component
of a healthy mind! Did you know that a person will die more quickly from a lack of sleep than from a lack
of food? Amazing huh? If you're not sleeping well, you should try and find out why. It could be something
as simple as a need for a better mattress, a better pillow, or a more peaceful sleeping environment.
can also contribute to feelings of anxiety so it's important to examine your meds for listed side-effects. These
feelings can be aroused from even 'over the counter meds' like allergy tablets, nose sprays or diet pills. If
you suspect this might be the case, you should ask your doctor about alternatives.
Other things that might be contributing
to your anxiety are stressful events or relationships. Try to examine and identify any daily thoughts, events or relationship-encounters
that leave you feeling stressed. Once you identify them, do your best to change them in healthy ways. For example,
if you have a friend that phones you daily with their latest "world of problems," you might have to excuse yourself
from these conversations for a while. If you are unable to do this, learn how to "change the subject" on them...pushing
the conversation down a positive road. Many people who identify these problems and alleviate them, usually find their
anxiety levels falling dramatically.
END OF PART 1
"DON'T BE A SCROOGE"
11:52 pm cst
Henry F. Potter.
Ever heard of him? He was a very wealthy and powerful man in his time. He was also hated and despised by everyone
who knew him. He had no wife, no children and no friends. He was too selfish to invest in true relationships through
mutual respect, love and honor...instead, he controlled people with his money. If they owed him...he "owned them."
I guess you could say he was Ebenezer Scrooge on Steroids.
Henry F. Potter was a fictional character
in the classic Christmas movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," portrayed by a wonderful actor named Lionel
Barrymore. Lionel was the great Uncle of Drew Barrymore the popular actress.
The sad reality however,
is that there are real Henry F. Potter's all around the world, although the names and faces may be different.
are people who are so selfish that they live for themselves alone and develop the mindset that they are more valuable than
Because of this sick mindset, these people value their opinions, their beliefs, their intelligence,
their wisdom, their needs and wants above everyone else. There is Hell to pay for anyone who stands in their way.
This type of problem is a sickness of the soul. People like this have become deceived into believing themselves
to be valuable when in reality their sickness decreases their value to little or nothing.
It is my belief that
people become valuable based upon their humble contributions to mankind...not financial holdings. In other words, if
you're rich with no friends, family or people who love you beyond your money...then you're not rich at all.
As a Pastor I've conducted many funeral services. In fact, if you "Google" my name in the Google Search
Engine, 99% of the results will be funeral announcements of the services I've conducted. (Never thought I'd
become famous for that).
In that time, I've buried rich people and I've buried poor people...with regards to money. Sometimes
at a funeral for the rich, there are a handful of people...usually bankers, lawyers and so forth. Few if any family
or friends. Of course this is not always the case...but it makes my point.
Also, in that time I've buried
people who left Earth without a dime to their name, but the room was packed with friends, family and community who genuinely
loved and admired this person. I submit that one died rich...the other died poor.
See, here's the problem.
Real relationships take sacrifice and humility. It requires such distasteful things as: forgiveness, submitting to the
needs of others and learning how to be "unoffensive." These are investments some people are just unwilling
to endure for friendship or love. Sad, huh?
Being good at relationships means we've got to learn these
essentials: we are not always right, we are not always the smartest, what we want is not always the most important,
what we say can heal or hurt, we must engage and not neglect and we must give up our masks in order to let the real "us"
1. WE ARE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT: Ever been around someone who could masterfully turn
the blame around to someone else without accepting an ounce of responsibility? Ever been around someone who arrogantly
portrays themselves as one who never commits sin or wrong? Ever been around a person who gets "really
angry" when challenged about anything or anybody? Not a very pleasant person, huh?
ARE NOT ALWAYS THE SMARTEST: There are some people who are convinced that they know more about anything and everybody
than anyone else. They come across as having the best opinion, advice and answer for everything. The problem is...you
can't teach or tell them anything...they won't hear it. They also tend to sit in judgment of anyone who dare
to disagree with them. Are they that smart? No, their arrogant, insecure and immature. Not healthy relationship
3. WHAT WE WANT IS NOT ALWAYS THE MOST IMPORTANT: Have you ever had your kids tell you that
their hungry or thirsty while you're driving in the middle of no where? They tend to get angry and upset when you
can't pull food or water out of thin air. Many people act this same way about everything. I've been a
Pastor long enough to know that I can't please everyone. I've also realized that when some people don't
get their way...they get angry and upset, like thristy kids on vacation. Sadly, we can't pull the car over to the
side of the road and spank them! These people only engage in relationships that cater to their every whim and desire.
4. WHAT WE SAY CAN HEAL OR HURT: Some people have real trouble keeping their thoughts in their
heads. If they "think" it, they'll say it. Unfortuately, this often leads to hurt feelings and people
distancing themselves. Then the person with the "Open Mouth Policy," wonders why people avoid them.
We should think of our words as Honey or Poison. We can control our mouths.
5. WE MUST ENGAGE AND NOT
NEGLECT: Friendships are born and kept alive by dedicating time, energy, thoughtfulness and unconditional love.
These things take effort. Write down birthdays and special days and acknowledge them with your friends...it's important!
6. GIVE UP THE MASKS: People can tell when you're hiding the real you. Have you ever been around
someone who comes across as very...very sweet, but something inside you warns you that this is an act? I bet you have.
People can sense when we are hiding behind a mask and it will make them fearful of you. When you show them you're
human...that you have fears, failures, pain, and so forth, they'll feel close to you and embrace the real you.
I say all this, because I realize that relationships are what keep us from being like Scrooge, or Henry F. Potter.
It's my prayer that you are rich in the truest sense...with mulitple people who love you.
GOD HAS BIG PLANS
3:22 am cst
I want to use your imagination for a minute if I may...
...imagine in the coming days
that all the tribes, nations and kingdoms of the World that have ruled over mankind since shortly after the days of Adam and
Eve...were suddenly destroyed. No more earthly kings, dictators, false relgious leaders or even presidents...they are
all gone. In their place...a new and glorious King...Jesus the Christ. Gone is war...gone is hatred...gone are
the boundries of false kingdoms established by the greed of mankind.
Remember this, God created the Earth and Adam
and Eve to "Be fruitful and multiply," and to "subdue the Earth." In other words, God's intention
was to take the wonderment of the Garden of Eden and spread it throughout the whole Earth, as generation upon generation of
children were born into "One Big Happy Family."
Unfortuately, Adam and Eve sinned and rebelled
against God's plan. Instead of spreading the Garden of Eden and it's blessings to all, they were cast out of
it themselves...thus began the bloodshed, the greed and the fighting that has drawn lines of separation between brothers from
Cain and Abel, until now.
Did you know that in the coming days, Jesus Christ will send His angels to destroy all
the kingdoms and nations of the Earth and reclaim it for Himself? Totally Biblical.
Did you know that He
is currently building the New Jerusalem, which is a City unlike anything mankind can fathom to serve as the Capital of the
Did you know that He plans to share His Kingdom eternally with all who will believe in Him and confess
Him as Lord? It's all Biblical...it's all true.
The Bible even indicates that God will restore His
original plan of having His "New Creation," replenish the Earth and rule it. It's true! The
Bible indicates that you and I will once again take part in the reproduction of new generations of people and begin to fulfill
God's creative purposes...not only upon this Earth...but throughout the entire Universe. The only difference is...instead
of mankind holding dominion, our dominion will come from Christ Himself.
My precious friends...God has big plans
for you and me. It's so easy to look around us today at the horrible shape this world is in and wonder if it will
even survive. It will...God guaranteed it. And you and I will be a wonderful part of this new and exciting time
that will continue throughout eternity.
When you're feeling down, frustrated or blue...just remember...our
day is coming...and it will last forever.
I love you all,
2:10 am cst
The Holidays are a very special time of year for the Stanford clan. We always look forward to it
as a time to share our lives with family and friends...to reflect upon the birth of Christ and to remind each other...through
a gift or small treasure...of our love for one another.
Christmas has always been special for Sharla and I because
of our two Mother's. My Mom, Doris, was an expert at taking very little and having a big time with it...sharing
whatever she had with her kids, family and friends. Mom was a wonderful Entertainer. I don't know of anyone
who didn't love to come to my mother's house around the Holidays.
As I sit here tonight writing, the
memories of an certain event, which happened over forty years ago, comes flooding back into my consciousness.
that night Mom had all five of her children...Betty, Jerry, Theresa, Ricky and me, gathered around the dining room table helping
her prepare for the arrival of Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents for Christmas Eve.
Some of us were using her
antique cookie-cutters to shape Sugar Cookies, while others were making tree ornaments with cardboard, scissors, glue and
glitter. The memory is so vivid that I can almost smell those baking cookies and Elmer's Glue, even now.
A light snow was falling outside, Mom had the record-player blaring music by "The Chipmunks," and the house was
warm and cozy. It was the kind of night that is a "God-given Gift," that cannot be wrapped and placed underneath
a tree, but is more precious than gold. It is this type of moment that Christmas is famous for capturing...if only
for a few miraculous hours.
Sharla's Mom, Sharon is also a wonderful Entertainer. She makes it a point
to get her family together and goes "all out," to make lifetime memories for her children and grandchildren.
My two sons could not even imagine a Christmas without those special events at "MeMaw's and TeeTaw's."
It has absolutely become a part of who they are.
The love of these two women, (Doris and Sharon), for family and
for Christmas has rubbed off on their children. My sister Theresa would decorate everything in sight for Christmas yearly
and every child was a "Guest of Honor," at her celebrations. My sister Betty also is a wonderful entertainer
and decorater at Christmas. In fact, Betty was responsible for our family tradition of driving around town...looking
at Christmas lights and singing Christmas Carols...whenever we could remember the words.
Sharla, (My wife), has
become known to family and friends for her gifts of baked goods and cheerful hosting of parties. She is also known to
American Express for her gift-giving to our two sons! Whew!
Now...with all that being said, I have to tell
you what kind of Christmas entertainer I am. When Sharla and I first began dating I invited her to my bachelor pad to
help me put up my Christmas Tree and drink Eggnog. She was excited and thrilled.
When she arrived,
I went to my shed, brought in my tree, removed the plastic trash bags and plugged it in. I had never "un-decorated"
it. I thought it was brilliant, but Sharla informed me that I missed the whole point. We did enjoy the Eggnog
My precious brothers and sisters...what these wonderful people have taught me, is that Christmas is about
"making memories." As I said, the one I mentioned is over forty years old and is still so precious to me.
Perhaps you grew up with little or no fanfare surrounding the Christmas season. If that's true...CHANGE
IT! Appoint yourself as "Family Christmas Entertainment Committee" and do whatever you can to make Christmas
a wonderful time for your family or friends. I promise you, they'll never forget it...or you.
throw the biggest party on the block...or decorate your house with more lights than Alburquerque. Play Christmas music
until you know all the words to "The Twelve Days of Christmas," or start a tradition of designing your own Christmas
Cards. You don't have to be gifted at it...you just have to want to be a gift yourself...to others.
love you all,