We were robbed!

image

Happy New Year!

This is the time for reflection and change in our lives and hopefully life’s lessons have taught us well enough that we are heeding the call and understanding what we must do to be better. By heeding the call I mean you are actually listening to your inner reflections on your past and adjusting accordingly.

It seems that for some of us our inner voice is “spot on” with reality and helps us out greatly in our decision making. Then there are others who’s inner voice is wounded and we need a little help to make sure what is said is correct and not detrimental to us.

This is all important because we live among thieves. Thieves are all over the place and we all have a little thievery in us. We all don’t loot or rob people at gunpoint, but what I mean is we steal another persons time, energy and space. We rob people of their joy and happiness and we steal ideas and concepts, friends and lovers and items of clothing like there is no tomorrow. It’s hard to be angry with someone when at some level you are doing the same thing. However, as we mature our thievery should subside. We should not be as taxing on our friends and families and we should be more giving with our own resources.

image

So when you evaluate the people in your life, this tends to be a common denominator when deciding who should stay and who should go. As we get older it becomes more difficult to deal with theft. So we excomunicate them from our lives.

To help you with this task of elimination, I submit four categories of thieves. The first is called commensalism and these are the thieves that are like suckerfish who ride along with the shark to grab his leftovers. These fish do not bother the Shark, but they exist and thrive because of the shark. These would be your family, particularly your kids (17 and under) and older parents. There is such an obligation to help this bunch that this really becomes a labor of love. In addtion, you may have brothers or sisters in Christ who you have helped them get out of foolishness in the past and since they continue to get better, you continue to help them progress in anyway you can. This group will burn a lot of your energy but the results are priceless.

The next group is parasitism and these are the folks are flat out selfish. Family is not excluded from this category. These folks do almost everything at your expense. It is their consistent selfish behavior that makes them so toxic that you have to decide how much more you can take. With this group, over 90 percent is them taking from you. It is even possible for you to be in denial of this and allow them to continue.

The next group I refer to as spitefulism. I may have invented this word but the meaning is real. This is when two people are together and their brain’s pleasure center allows them to be so taxing on eachother that both are suffering from the interaction. I have seen these couples in counseling. They have come to me and neither party wants to give up anything. This proves that some people should have never hooked up. How do you stay in a relationship where both people are miserable and neither wants to get help. This behavior leds to eventual self-distruction.

image

The final group is mutualism and this is exactly what it sounds like: Both parties benefit from eachother. In this relation you don’t mind giving so that there is no thievery. This can be with a spouse, sibling or friend.

So now you have been blessed to see another year. The longer we live, the better life should get. If life is not getting better, this is the first indicator that something is wrong. Choose this day who will be in your life. Part of our free will is having the choice to chose our circles. Choose wisely my friend. Because although there is not a precise measure of your stress to life ratio, what is certain is that stress is killing you. Not only is stress killing you, but there are already people plotting for your stuff.

Happy birthday to me

image

Today I turn 49 years old. It is hard to believe that when I was 16 years old I did not think I would make it to age 30. It was because there were gangs in Detroit and Black males between the ages of 18 and 34 were killing each other or going to jail.

So, I made it…and some. I have learned so much between the ages of 16 and 32 and now 32 to 49 I believe that I have arrived in a few areas and I would like to share.

image

First, I am thoroughly convinced that I am overall a good person and I love me unconditionally. I make mistakes, I am flawed, I still carry a level of inmaturity and I’m OK with all of that. I love being me and I would not trade that for the world.

Second, I do not have or own anything that I am not willing to part with. Understand what I am saying, all material things serve as my enjoyment, but I can give them up in a heartbeat. Furthermore, my “status” in life does not define me. I am a pastor, author, business owner, psychotherapist and family man and if it all ended today it would be well with my soul. The reason is because I understand that all of these things came with an expiration date. If my bible study is correct, my real treasure is in heaven.

image

The last thing I will share is that I am most proud of this truth: I am my own man. I am free to do as I please and I chose to serve Jesus the Christ. I understand that whatever I set my mind to do, I can do it. I am not loyal to any earthly group and my belief and ideas are not shared or pressured with a common interest. I am a driver. I make things happen and I fix things. I have many items available to help in my tool belt and I am an agent of change. I am a healer.

So as I celebrate the day of my birth, I thank all who thought to give me a shout or post something on social media. I am praying for continued growth, health and strength but most importantly that I can always live with the person I see in the mirror. Thank you God that I am not a sellout and I understand that I have been purchased already and my soul is not for sale. More on this in 364 days!

Finally

image

After more than 5 years of blogging I have finally reached the title of author. Although I have been a published journalist for years and I have a published dissertation floating around out there, my passion for helping others and my desire to glorify God have come together to produce this book.

The title: The Sincere Milk of the Word, Volume 1, I shall not be moved: A study of fear was placed on my heart in 2006 when I started Clydestyle Services Group. I always knew that I would be the type of psychotherapist who would mix theory with scriptures to help my clients. I have been apart of much healing and I am grateful for that. If God be willing I will have three additional books published in 2016 including a book on grief and Volume 2 of my current book.

The cover of the book was created by two very talented people. My cousin Marcus Mayberry — who is the best tattoo artist in Michigan — did the original artwork from a dream I had. He captured it perfectly! Then my personal graphic designer, Maggie Young, brought it to life. I shared the dream with her but never gave her the colors of the book. Believe it or not she matched the colors of the book from my dream on her own. I am extreme blessed to have each of them in my life.

The following is a segment of the introduction from the book which will explain a bit more of what this book is about. Preorders are continuing and today through Nov. 15th you can purchase the book for $12. Just go to http://www.clydestyle.org and click on “my book” tab and follow the paypal instructions. The official release date is Nov. 24th and there are several release parties scheduled. There will be more information about that forthcoming. Thank you all for your support.

A taste of the Prologue:

. . . This book is not meant to be a personal account per say as it is a spiritual journey with common sense application that has eternal benefits. I hope that is not vague. This is not a textbook, a dissertation for scholars or some exegetical discourse. These are the words of an unworthy guy, in an unlikely occasion, with the opportunity to magnify the Lord. If after reading this book you feel closer to God, then mission accomplished. If it causes you to evaluate some areas of your life where you have struggled then I just hit a homerun. And if it makes you smile, cry, shout and/or change for the better, then I present that as my evidence that God’s hand guided this work.

. . . This book is written for regular people who are searching. It is written for the person that has been made to feel less than. It is written for the person who occasionally experiences some suicidal ideation or just simply feels they are buckling from the weight of life. There is hope in this book. There are clear biblical principles presented here that should make your spiritual walk easier. You will feel that you understand your purpose in God’s plan and how to go about executing that plan.

. . . Many could not put two scriptures together and make sense and although they were acquainted with Christ (basically had followed Mark 16:16), they had no depth or second teaching to learn how a life in Christ works. So, without being taught they began to do and learn God based on Hollywood’s version. Movies taught them about God and fairytales were their application — and it was not working for them. So, instead of living this life like the child of the King they lived in fear — spiritual paupers left defenseless against their own vices.
This book will correct this scenario and put you on the path of righteousness.

Who is really to blame?

image

So the month of September went out with a bang literally as America has suffered another mass shooting.

The usual things took place after the shooting including major media coverage, a speech from the president and social media debates.

Friends we have a serious problem.

Now of course we have all heard the ridiculous argument that guns are harmless by themselves, but that goes directly against why they were created in the first place. Mass shootings bring out the worst of our society. It shows that the freedoms we believe we have only provide a cover up for the real truth — that we are enslaved to our political system and process, that only provides for the greedy and oppresses the needy.

There have already been 9,948 killings by firearms this year alone, compared to about 3,521 total terrorism-related deaths since the 70s in the United States. Moreover, The Washington Post reports that, 2015 has yet to go eight days without a mass shooting event–one in which four or more people are killed or injured by gunfire–with a total of 294 shootings taking place in just the 274 days of the year, so far.

It is interesting that other countries like America have passed laws that have stopped their mass shootings. Our media — as much as it racially profiles other crimes — has yet to produce a profile on mass shooters — another interesting tidbit.

My point in this message is not to eliminate guns altogether because they do serve a purpose and I carry one myself. There are those of us who work in professions that expose us to varied personalities. As a psychotherapist I deal with mental health and people who are challenged mentally and emotionally — the very reason our law enforcement officers carry.

image

I am a great supporter of ammo regulation, eliminating the sale of automatic and semiautomatic weapons to the public and psychological evaluations before purchase. It should also be illegal to sell firearms online.

I know this is not popular and I am well aware of our constitutional rights. My only question is whose family member has to die in a mass shooting before our government takes a serious look at this problem?

God forbid this to happen, but I wonder how soon we could expect new gun laws if the Pope during his visit had opened fire on Congress and killed 28 representatives with an AK 47 assault rifle. It’s ridiculous, I know, and this Pope is definitely a Pope of peace and unity, but still the point remains. I am tired of seeing these types of deaths when all we have to do is pass a law. Our country is better than this.

The Truth about death

image

Death gets a really bad rap I suppose because it can be so sneaky. Death doesn’t always come timely and it sucks if it happens too soon.

There are much older folks wondering why they are still here and some young folks wasting their life away and it seems that there could be a better use for that life.

From the very beginning we were introduced to death in the negative for God told our first parents that death was the result of disobedience. Since then, mankind has been running from the death sentence. As if death was the sheriff carrying bounties for us all, we attempt to cheat death.

There is another way of looking at our friend — yes I said friend.

Without death, how can we measure life? What actually makes life precious is the fact that it doesn’t last. Further, death was not just given to us as a result of disobedience, but a reminder that this world is temporary and that we should make good use of our time while we’re here.

image

Moreover, our God will transport us to himself in a vehicle called death. You cannot get to God without it. With that said, death can be a beautiful thing, like a flower with a prickly stem. The prickly stem does not take away from the beauty of the flower. Likewise, untimeliness cannot lessen the true effect of death.

For some of us, death will have a sting. For those that are in Christ, there is no sting. The worst part of death is the sting, but if you have been born of the water and the spirit into the family of God, the sting is gone. And death only hurts on the time-side of life, not the eternal side. Therefore, as a great songstress once said, “…living in Christ we know that death is our friend. It will take us home.”

Make death your friend today. Believe that Jesus died according to the scriptures and he was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures. You don’t need a degree in biblical studies to understand the facts of the gospel and the fact that the savior himself said he that believes and is baptized shall be saved.

Death is coming. Will it be your friend or foe?

Questions or comments welcomed!

Is it really yours?

image

You know the old saying that if you let something go and if it comes back to you, then it truly belongs to you? I just wonder how practical the application of this saying would be today. I mean, I think that some of us may have taken for granted the people in our lives. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the importance of people under our jursidiction and we really need a wake up call.

So imagine if you are the boss over a company or you are managing several employees, do you think that if they were released and given another job making the same money, they would stay with you? In the business world we believe sometimes that people get trapped and they don’t have choices. Are we taking advantage of them and treating them horribly because we can? As a leader are you making the environment your employees work in beneficial to them so that they can do the best job possible? Or have you made the place so in your favor that your colleagues hate the company and you? It should not take an episode of “Undercover Bosses” to make you do the right thing. The highest boss is watching and you will have to answer to him.
image

Let’s take this a step further and look at the family because I wonder how many children would stay with their same parents. For those of you with children, do you believe that your offspring would gladly stay with you if they had another opportunity. I’m not talking about riches or a bigger house, I’m speaking pound for pound, comparing apples to apples, given a choice would your children stay with you? That’s a hard question for some and not meant to ruin anyone’s week, but we need to take a step back sometimes and see if what we think we are accomplishing is good and for the betterment of the people God has placed us over.

Now for the finale, when you look at your marriage do you believe your spouse would come back to you if he or she had the option to leave with no strings attached? Think before you answer. Do you make your spouse feel that he or she is the perfect match for you? Do they feel God’s full blessing being with you or would they rather be single? Is this even something you can talk about? Has chasing after success in life or bitterness or past failures turned you into an asshole? Don’t look at me, I didn’t say it your spouse may have! I just want you to take an honest look at your situation.
image

Life is too short to spend the rest of it with someone who repels you. So before they sneak and talk to an attorney about their options, wouldn’t it be more cost effective for you to have that “come to Jesus talk” with them and say you’re sorry and you want to be better? If you really and truly love the person you are with, you owe it too yourself and your spouse a true confession and a heartfelt apology. Then you would spend your life prioritizing things in order of importance and you would begin with your relationship.

Don’t listen to the voice in your head that says this task is too much. It is just what your relationship needs. Be the leader you claim you are and lead in this effort to make your life better.