"THE DAY OF YOUR FUNERAL IS APPROACHING"
1:29 am cdt
"For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears
for a little time and then vanishes away." James 4:14
Have you ever breathed upon a mirror
and watched as the vapor of your breath flashes upon the glass...only to disappear a moment later? That is how this
scripture in James metophorically describes the quickness of a human life. Here and then gone.
not a very fast writer as I have a tendency to re-read what I've written quite often, trying to make sure I've said
things in an understandable fashion. This type of writing is actually discouraged because it can easily break the flow
of a thought. Most writing instructors teach that you should write your article the entire way through...and then...and
only then re-read it and make edits so as not to break the flow.
My point is, that with every article I write...valuable
time has passed me by and has been spent forever. The clock of my life is ticking and the hands will not reverse.
Of course I value my writing because I write to encourage and help people, which is what I've devoted the
"time" of my life to, so it's a worthy cause in my mind, so obviously it is "time well spent."
My point however, is that our life is passing us by with every breath...every second, every minute, every hour, every day,
every month and every year.
In the scheme of Eternity, our lives are minutely brief. The key is
to spend as much of our time as possible on important things...rather than wasting our time with things that have no bearing
upon Eternity or loving relationships.
When I worked in radio in the Eighties, I lived fifteen miles from the
station. Therefore I spent a total of thirty minutes per day...six days a week for ten years driving to and from work. That
equals 1,560 hours of driving spent just going to and from work. That equates into 65 days of my life!
When we start looking at our lives in that way, it really does show how quickly we spend every minute that we've
been granted...sometimes without considering "how" we are spending our valuable time.
My precious friends...as
sure as you're reading this article now...the end of your life and my life upon this Earth is approaching. Only
God knows how many minutes we each have left. The countdown to our funeral is well underway. I'm not
trying to sound depressing here...I just want to remind you and encourage you to spend your valuable time here on things that
truly matter. In short...spend your time loving others. In all honesty, loving others is the only
thing worthy of spending our time on.
I promise you this: When we spend our life on things that matter, people
will remember us fondly and our life will have mattered to others as well. When we spend our lives only on ourselves,
our memory will quickly fade and our life will have had no lasting value to anyone.
I used to sit in the bleachers
of our small little league baseball park, watching Joshua and Nathan try to play ball. Oftentimes, I found myself bored
and wished I was at home watching a Western on television or something. Now that my sons are rapidly growing up and
will soon enter lives of their own, I suddenly treasure those moments at the baseball park and could kick myself that I didn't
enjoy them more...treasure them...savor them.
Our life is short...a vapor. Learn to let go of the temporary
worries and cares of life that steal your time from the people who need you and want you and want your love. Don't
waste your time trying to please people who don't value you or your time, and don't waste your time with people who
are unwilling to invest some of their time back into you.
Wisdom tells me that love and time equals value.
When I give someone my time, it is an expression of love that tells them, "You matter to me, you are important and worthy
of love." How often do we get so busy that we can't even find the time to make a phone call, send a text message,
or make a visit to someone who desperately needs a moment of our time? If you're as busy as me, I know you too find
it hard to give people the time they deserve and need. However, when that becomes the case...perhaps it's time to
rearrange our schedules to include the people we love...and that need our love.
I love you all,
"THE ROAD TO BITTERNESS" (Part 2)
12:01 am cdt
"Be angry...and do not sin. Do not let the
sun go down on your wrath." Ephesians 4:26
As I mentioned in part one of this
article, bitterness is the result of unresolved anger...left to simmer until it reaches a boiling point endangering emotions,
thought processes and even lives. That is why the Bible wisely tells us to deal with our anger as quickly as possible...preferrably
before the sun goes down on the day.
Some scientific evidence suggests that prolonged bitterness can even cause
the brain to "rewire" itself, causing long-term emotional and attitude problems for those who refuse to let go of
Again, we must remember that anger (thus bitterness), is the result of being hurt by the words or actions
of others...or even hurtful circumstances that often plague us in life. This anger comes when we feel abused, devalued,
insulted or injured in anyway. When we realize that what has happened to us wasn't "fair," it hurts and
that hurt brings anger. The scary part is that anger wants (and oftentimes demands) retribution.
those who have caused us to suffer to suffer likewise for the pain they have caused us. Obviously this is not a Christian
attitude...but it is a human attitude, regardless of our religious beliefs or practices.
We see this evidenced
in the story of Jonah. Jonah had been insulted, injured and mistreated by the people of Ninevah and he wanted them to
suffer for it. Instead, God commanded him to go and preach to them that they might be saved. "You've
got to be kidding me," was Jonah's response. (I'm paraphrazing a bit). "I won't
do it, Lord. They've abused and hurt me and I would rather take the first ship out of here, and let them burn in
Your wrath than to speak a single kind word to them!" We all know the rest of the story. Jonah flees...only
to be trapped by an enormous storm at sea...thrown overboard and swallowed by a whale, where he remained for three days...before
being "barfed up" onto the shore...just outside Ninevah.
Here's the point...our unresolved
anger and bitterness is not shared by God. He choses to preach repentance and offer forgiveness, rather than hoping
for people's destruction or hurt, which is what our anger demands. Secondly...Jonah's anger only made him
miserable. My guess is...had God brought destruction upon all the people who had abused Jonah, it wouldn't have
relieved the pain he felt from their abuses. Maybe for a few days...but no longer. Why? Because it would
not have changed what they had done to him.
We must also remember that unresolved anger has another
name...unforgiveness. Unforgiveness only makes us miserable...it doesn't stop the offer of salvation
from God, nor does it take away the events that made us angry in the first place. Unforgiveness makes us mean and judgmental
people...and that's a real sickness. It's a sickness of the soul, the mind and the heart...eating away at our
joy like a fast-growing cancer.
In short, forgiveness is not only a gift we give others...it is a gift we give
ourselves because it sets us free from the anger, which only serves to make us miserable inside.
a one of us who haven't been hurt and hurt deeply. We have experienced the depths of pain and anger, longing for
certain people to pay for what they've done to us...because they hurt us so bad. Still...in the end, making them
suffer will not relieve our own pain. Only forgiveness and moving on will do that for us. It doesn't mean
we have to keep being abused...only that we will not allow that hurt to control us any longer.
I love you all,
"THE ROAD TO BITTERNESS" (Part 1)
2:25 am cdt
"Be angry, and do not sin...do not let
the sun go down on your wrath." Ephesians 4:26
Anger is a very unpleasant
emotion...both internally and externally. Internally it can consume our every thought, making us feel anxious and overwrought,
it can make our hearts beat faster, cause our face to fill with blood, our blood-pressure to rise and a host of other
unhealthy reactions. Externally, it can cause us to do awful things to valuable property or to others that we usually
regret, (and regret a whole lot), a short time later.
What many people don't realize is that most
instances of anger are rooted in hurt. When someone says or does something that hurts us deeply, anger
is often our reaction. Why? Because the human heart and human emotions are ill-equipped to deal with
pain and it can overwhelm us at times...causing our feelings to overflow, drowning our ability to cope with the pain.
When we become unable to cope with the pain, having no solution present...we grow frustrated and angry...and anger
always comes forth.
Anger is a powerful emotion and rarely stays hidden...even for strong-willed people.
In short...anger always exposes itself and does so in various ways. In some people, anger exposes itself by angry facial
expressions...such as tightening of the lips...creases in the brow and so forth. In others, anger exposes itself by
a quick slide into introversion. In other words, the person grows silent...too angry to speak...or uses silence as a
way to return pain to the perpetrator. Silence is an unhealthy manipulation tactic...but is a quite common reaction
In other cases, anger exposes itself with harsh words or actions that are meant to return the hurt upon
the person who caused the pain in the first place. It is not unheard of for innocent bystanders to also become the victims
of a person's anger...simply because they are available. In some cases, external actions based upon the emotion
of anger can be deadly. Most murders, rapes, robberies and other vicious crimes all have a link to deep anger.
Now...although anger may seem like a horrible attribute of the human-being, it is important to read our scripture again.
This scripture actually tells us to "be angry." But isn't anger sinful? No.
a normal reaction to pain that is caused by others or our circumstances...and anger is also an attribute of God.
The Bible clearly tells us that God gets angry. What the scripture tells us is that anger is normal...acting
upon anger is where sin comes in.
The problem with anger is that it is an emotion that MUST BE DEALT
WITH QUICKLY or it will lead to sinful or unhealthy thoughts and actions. Most people do not know how to deal with anger
in a healthy manner and therefore find themselves with great pain and thoughts of revenge. Anger that is
not dealt with becomes bitterness...affecting a person's ability to find and enjoy healthy relationships.
A bitter person is suspicious, stand-offish, unpleasant and even mean. None of these attributes foster healthy or lasting
relationships and sabotages an angry person's personality. The result is...the love they seek evades them,
only adding to the anger and pain. It becomes a vicious cycle.
Dealing with anger is never easy...but it
is vital. First, we must understand what hurt us to begin with. Instead of focusing solely upon what the other
person said or did to us, we need to focus upon why it hurt us. Was it because we are "too sensitive" in that
area? If so, we need to understand our sensitivity and learn how to cope with our weaknesses.
should ask ourselves whether or not the offense was intentional or non-intentional. If it was intentional...we should
remove ourselves from that person until meaningful repentance is given. We all know the words "I'm sorry,"
can hold much weight or no weight based upon their sincerity. We also know many people use those words as a simple way
to "band-aid" their intentional action. In that case the words are meaningless and should be ignored.
This is not a forgiveness issue...until there is repentance.
If the offense was unintentional we should
simply give the person the 'benefit of a doubt,' and forgive their words or actions as a part of their weak humanity...something
that plagues us all. It's a gift we can give...because we will need it ourselves someday.
(End of Part
I love you all,
"THE PAIN OF REJECTION"
10:57 pm cdt
"He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and
acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him."
Most biblical scholars agree that this passage of scripture
is describing the life of Christ. I too believe this and in all honesty...it breaks my heart. How could someone
so loving...so beautiful...so selfless and giving be despised and rejected? How can that make any sense? It just
goes to show how awfully cruel this life can be. When the greatest among us can't fit in...can't find acceptance...where
does that leave the rest of us?
I have to say that of all the emotional and mental pain I've experienced in
my own life, rejection ranks right up top. Rejection hurts so badly because it devalues us so much. We all want
and need to be loved...but love requires that we put our hearts on the line and sometimes, we are met with the rejection of
that love. How could that "NOT" be painful?
What I don't understand is "why" some
people choose to reject others to begin with. I don't know if my mind is wired wrong or if I'm just weird, but
I can't imagine rejecting anyone...knowing how badly that rejection hurts and makes a person feel devalued.
does it hurt so badly?
Because as we grow up we come to realize that we are either accepted or rejected based upon
the sole choices of others. It's like a slave on the auction-block scanning the crowd as people yell out prices
for a life. Rejection happens when we place our love on the line and it is valued by others as...worthless.
Nothing is...or feels worse than that.
I've tried to make it my personal goal to make everyone I come into
contact with feel valued by me...because they are. I try to make sure that I pay close attention to everyone around
me, including people who serve me at resturants...or even a stranger for whom I open a door. I've learned that simple
acts of kindness show value and people long to be valued.
Divorce hurts deeply because it is often caused by rejection.
A rejected child can carry life-long scars that leave them feeling worthless and this often causes behavior that reflects
What I really wish...is that everyone could know the power they hold in their hands by either accepting people
or rejecting them. If they knew how powerful this issue was...maybe they'd be more thoughtful. Sadly...many
people simply don't care. They are so caught up in "self-love" and "self-importance," that they
feel it is their right to love or reject whomever gets in their way or might take a moment of their time. If you read
the Bible, you'll see that Hell is the future for such selfishness...that's how sinful it is.
of this: "I was hungry and you did not feed me, I was sick and you didn't come to me, I was in prison and you
didn't visit me..." Those are judgments based upon rejections...and they are the words of Christ.
My prayer is that if you've ever rejected someone...you ask forgiveness and shy away from such hurtful behavior.
Secondly...if you've experienced the pain of rejection, that you come to know that their is a Savior who understands your
pain...has experienced it deeply...and values you greatly.
I love you all,
"SAYING GOODBYE TO MY DAD"
3:42 am cdt
As most of you know, my Dad passed away last week. He was eighty-three years old and did not have
to suffer very much at all for which I'm very thankful.
Dad left home when I was three and never returned to
live with us again. For many years I was hurt and bitter for his actions...but I was never bitter at him. Time
and maturity has taught me that things happen for a reason and I'm sure he had his...and they were legitimate to him.
I was very blessed to visit with Dad in his hospital room just two days before he left this world. In that conversation
he apologized for leaving me and I gladly accepted his apology. Forgiveness was not an issue, because I had dealt with
that years ago with the help of God.
What disturbed me was the final words we had. While standing at the
foot of his hospital bed I said, "Well Papa, I'll see you soon...either here or up there," and I pointed toward
Heaven. He shook his head "no" and pointed to Hell.
"You're not going to Hell, Dad,"
I said pretty firmly. "That's what I deserve," he responded. "That's what we all deserve,"
I answered back.
Shortly after returning home Dad passed away and the thoughts of those final moments began to
torment my mind.
Then a few nights ago I was sleeping and began to dream. In that dream I was back in the
house where we lived when I was born...on Vinewood Street in Amarillo, Texas. I was aware of the presense of my brothers
and sisters and Dad was lying in a hospital bed. He was very nervous about dying and was asking me questions about his
Soon, I could hear the voice of God speaking to me, asking me to relay a message to my Dad. "Tell
him this," the Voice began. "Tell him that I have saved him...that he will never see death or Hell.
Tell him that I've loved him from the foundation of the World and have paid for all his sins."
(in the dream) began to relay this message to my Dad. A look of warm peace came upon his face and he closed his eyes
and went to sleep...and I woke up.
What a precious dream of confirmation from our loving Father. I know my
Dad believed in Jesus...even though he doubted himself. Thankfully, salvation is not earned by believing in ourselves...but
is a free gift given to all who simply believe in Jesus Christ.
Life is difficult and we all have failures, poor
decisions, sins and mistakes that cling to our past. Thankfully, the mercy and grace of God has washed that all away
and His love has covered a multitude of sins.
I love you all,
2:02 am cdt
2:01 am cdt
"CONTROLLING OUR EMOTIONS"
4:06 am cdt
In one of the first Psychology classes I attended, the Doctor said something I'll never forget.
He said, "Don't ever let someone else control YOUR emotions!"
He then turned to me and used
me as an example by saying, "If I say, 'Reydon...you're making me mad,' what I'm really saying
is Reydon, you control my emotions...instead of me!" I've remembered that teaching so often as I've
tried to learn how to keep control over my own emotions...not allowing the words or actions of others to control me or affect
me too negatively.
As I've mentioned before...our emotions are very powerful indeed. They control "how
we feel" about our lives, our relationships, and our futures. Emotions can range from happiness and elation, to
severely upset and depressed. One can only imagine the emotional pain, for instance, that leads someone to take their
own life. I say it again...emotions are very powerful.
Our emotions are subjected to several influences,
but they can be broken down in to two categories: Internal influences and External influences.
influences that affect our emotions are the result of thought processes within our own minds that perceive how our lives are
progressing or regressing. If our lives are in turmoil, it is easy for our minds to consume us with thoughts of
painful visions. Frightening visions concerning our past...or present or our future can leave us feeling deeply
upset emotionally. When we're upset emotionally...our pain is often unbearable. I've often said that no
pain matches the pain of a broken heart. I still believe that.
External influences that affect our emotions
are the result of the words or actions of others that leave us feeling abused, hurt, ridiculed, abandoned, rejected and unloved.
It is also common for painful experiences or events taking place within our lives to affect our emotions in very hurtful ways,
leaving us feeling very sad, hurt, angry or confused.
What makes our emotions so vulnerable to pain is our "lack
of personal control" over other people or events that often transpire during the course of our lives. We cannot
stop other people from saying or doing things that might hurt our feelings and therefore we often feel at the mercy of our
Controlling our emotions therefore is no easy task.
The first key to controlling our emotions
is to "understand" our emotions. It is our emotions that make us "feel," and that's a large
part of being alive. We "feel" because we are created in the image and likeness of God and He feels too.
Sadly, too often our experience with emotions is painful rather than happy and blissful.
In order to understand
our emotions we need to know "why we feel the way we feel." If someone says, "You're
no good and I don't like you," that is obviously going to be a painful experience emotionally...especially if
we place credibility in that person. This is a normal response to a negative action. Understanding that can help
us get through the emotion more quickly.
Although we cannot control the words or actions of others...understanding
why those words or actions hurt our feelings is a good place to start if we are to control our emotions.
step in controlling our emotions is to "admit to ourselves" when we feel bad about something. For whatever
reason, many people do not like to admit that they are experiencing negative or hurtful emotions as the result of the actions
of others. If we feel jealous for example...we feel embarrassed. Most people do not want to admit that emotion
because it is viewed as petty and weak. However, denying such an emotion exists only worsens the feelings and comes
across through bitterness or anger. In short...denying our emotions only allows them to spread like wildfire into other
negative emotions...resulting in feeling worse instead of better.
What are your feelings now...about your life?
Are you easily manipulated by others for fear of losing their love or friendship if you disagree or refuse them? If
so...others can control your emotions very easy and you become easy prey for abusive people.
My precious friends...if
you're feeling bad...allow yourself to examine the reasons. Are you allowing others to control your emotions?
If so, learn how to stay in control of your own emotions, filtering through the negative ones and asking God to help you deal
with them swiftly.
I truly love you all,
DANGEROUS MIND GAMES
11:30 pm cdt
As I've said earlier in this series on the mind...the mind is a powerful, powerful creation able
to accomplish incredible feats. It can also be a very dangerous weapon that can be used against us or other
people if things go wrong.
We have all read stories about people who have developed serious mental problems,
which resulted in dangerous thinking (such as dillusions or hallucinations) which led to serious actions...including
mass murder and other irreversible acts of destruction.
The fact is, some brains do not function properly
due to birth defects, brain-damage through injury, substance abuse or chemical imbalances. When the brain works incorrectly,
the thoughts can be seriously affected leading to dangerous or even deadly actions. The story of David Berkowitz...the
"Son of Sam," serial-killer is a classic example of this.
Also, Psychology teaches that certain personalities
have a greater tendency to think 'negatively' concerning life and events, while others tend to think more positively,
(based upon personality alone...which is inherited and not viewed as a simple 'character flaw.')
patterns can and do affect the way a person feels emotionally, (bad thinking equals bad feelings...good thinking
equals good feelings), but they can also affect relationships, job performance and the ability to function well in society.
In short...negative people are a product of negative thinking or negative environments...after all, negativity
is an attitude toward life, developed in the brain. I personally do not believe that anyone simply "chooses"
to be negative...but is inclined to be so based upon a series of issues...such as the personality DNA I just mentioned
or growing up in a negative environment.
Whatever the reason...dangerous thoughts always lead to pain...whether
internally or through external events.
It is quite common, in fact, for even healthy minds to enter into
a dangerous series of games that can leave us feeling emotionally tormented and drained...and can quickly begin to affect
our self-esteem, our relationships, our job performance, our financial stability and a host of other important areas of our
Listed below are some of those "Dangerous Mind Games" that are common and can truly cause
a great deal pain in our lives...and even take years off our life through stress-related illnesses. I pray you consider
them and work on identifying them within your own life and how to "change the way you think," if any of them apply
1. WORRY. Worry is a strength-draining, self-defeating mind game that
can truly cause great pain and problems within a person's life. Worry results when we allow fear to start directing
the "mind movies" which play continually inside our heads. Worry causes us to "forecast or prophecy,"
bad things into our future, whether or not these thoughts are based in reality.
We fear losing our
job, losing our income, losing our marriage, losing our children to drugs, getting sick, stepping on a snake, getting attacked
by a Great White Shark and all kinds of things. Worry is a terrible game the mind plays...and the result is stress,
fear, anxiety and panic...none of which are healthy or pleasant.
The human Self-Esteem is based solely upon our own view of ourselves in comparison to other people around us. A young
girl, for example, can look at the beautiful young models that grace the covers of fashion magazines and...through comparison...view herself
as severely lacking. This is true for everyone. We all have a tendency to compare ourselves to others and the
mind will 'grade' us on how we stack up. This can result in one of two bad things...self-loathing and defeat...or
pride and arrogance.
The truth is, however, that God created each one of us unique. We all have a
different DNA, different finger-prints and so forth. If God intentionally created us different, we should never judge
ourselves based upon what we see in others. Wanting or feeling a need to 'be like someone else' is a horrible
mind-game and is self-defeating and painful. It is also a goal that is unattainable. A person can look like Elvis,
sing like Elvis, move like Elvis...but they will NEVER be Elvis. Trying to be like anyone else cheats us...and is always
a cheap imitation.
3. Straying from Reality. Another painful 'mind-game'
people often play with themselves is delving into thoughts that have no basis in reality or are hypothetical at best.
For example: I once had a young woman come to me for counseling whose husband had been tragically killed in a trucking
accident. She was truly a mess. Her thoughts were filled with "things she could have done to prevent
this horrible accident," which led her into serious emotional distress.
The first thing I asked her was
to tell me "what happened in the accident." At first she looked at me somewhat surprised because
no one had asked her that before. No one wanted to talk about it with her for fear of upsetting her. The truth
is...she was already upset and NEEDED to talk about it. As she replayed the event...scene by scene...taking care to
offer the facts as she knew them, I saw her demeanor begin to change.
My reason for doing this was simple.
I wanted her mind to concentrate on the "facts and reality" of the event, rather than all the "exponential
thoughts" that often accompany these kinds of tragedy.
Let me explain...
...oftentimes when something
tragic happens, our mind begins to try and answer questions that are unanswerable. "Did God do this?
Did Satan cause this? Could I have prevented it? What if I'd done something different?"
These are questions that quickly take us from the "reality" of the event into the murky waters of confusion and
mental torment. By helping this young woman deal with only the "realities of the event," I was able to help
her heal much more quickly. I saw her a few weeks ago and she is doing wonderfully and is in a new and loving relationship.
Other emotions that can be the result of mind-games are: jealousy, judging, bitterness, depression and so
Our minds are very powerful. Remember a car has a gas pedal and a brake pedal. Both help keep
the car in control. Controlling the mind means there are times to use the gas pedal...but more often than not...we must
also learn to use the brake pedal to stop unhealthy thinking from bringing us unwanted emotional pain and distress.
I love you all,