2013 From My Heart to Yours

A Time of Celebration

December 29, 2013

This is a new month and with it are new reasons to celebrate. We just finished November with a great offering for the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home. Praise The LORD for His provisions for these kids and the workers in Monticello.

The Razorbacks season has come to a screeching halt and we can lick our wounds, stop circling the drain and dream of a better year next year. Wa-Hoo!

It is the season of celebration for us to remember the virgin birth of our Lord and Savior in Bethlehem as it was foretold by prophets of old.

We now are getting to kick off our Lottie Moon Christmas offering for International missions. What a terrific way to honor the Son of God, sent to save the world. I always love to see God show up and show off.

Matthews 22:37-39 gives a good picture of the commitment to missions that is needed with these words of Jesus, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

It is a time to celebrate when we see how this few in number are used in a mighty way as we release what He has placed in our hands by faith letting Him show us what He can do when allow ourselves to be “Totally His.”


Oh, What Fun

December 22, 2013

This week several of our members as well as other friends went Christmas caroling around the mountain. There were 31 folks that got on the bus driven by Clayton Jones and rode around singing for the elderly and shut-ins on Petit Jean Mountain.

This was the largest group anyone could remember in quite some time and maybe ever to assemble for such an evening of fun and fellowship. Recipients of the revelry commented on not only how good the singing was, but how many people there were.

Bro. Lonnie Gasaway exclaimed, “They just kept coming in!” It was said Mrs. Mabel Brannon tried to corral them into the living room all at the same time and of course had to give hugs to each and every one. Why, it could wear a body out!

What fun it is to sing and share the good news proclaimed by the angels long ago in Luke 2:14,”Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Happy Birthday Lottie

December 15, 2013

Charlotte Diggs Moon was born on December 12, 1840. “Lottie”, as she is known to us, was the nineteenth-century missionary to China who helped launch an annual offering for foreign missions that now bears her name.

By nineteen, she was rapidly becoming one of the most educated women in the South, speaking six languages and earning a master’s degree… but she was a skeptic of the claims of Christianity. In December 1858 she attended an evangelistic meeting of students led by Dr. John Broadus (later one of the founding professors of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary). Lottie went to ridicule and dismantle his arguments.

After going to bed that night, she was awakened by a barking dog outside. Unable to sleep, she began to think deeply about the truth claims of Christianity; reviewing the main points that Broadus had shared. By the time the dog stopped barking, she had begun believing, placing her trust in Jesus Christ for salvation.

She went on to serve in China for 39 years, dying on Christmas Eve 1912.

Praise God for touching her heart as HE touches your heart to give to this year’s Lottie Moon Christmas offering for foreign missions.


The Road to Bethlehem

December 8, 2013

From November through December we revisit the road to Bethlehem in many ways. First we take note of the angel’s announcement to Mary and Joseph.

We remember the virgin birth of the baby in a stable in Bethlehem. I remember the births of my children, grandchildren and great grandchild. I visualize the vast difference between those births and the birth of Jesus.

Almost every need is met in today’s births while in the days of the affair was simple and private. And yet the visitation of the baby Jesus drew common folks as well as royalty.

As we take the trip let us remember how we blessed we are having received and how the journey He made is still the best gift we remember Let us remember His birth is personal, so personal He came earnestly for me and you that we might be redeemed to live forever Celebrate His love for you as related in John 3:16.

 

A Time of Celebration

December 1, 2013

This is a new month and with it are new reasons to celebrate. We just finished November with a great offering for the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home. Praise The LORD for His provisions for these kids and the workers in Monticello.

The Razorbacks season has come to a screeching halt and we can lick our wounds, stop circling the drain and dream of a better year next year. Wa-Hoo!

It is the season of celebration for us to remember the virgin birth of our Lord and Savior in Bethlehem as it was foretold by prophets of old.

We now are getting to kick off our Lottie Moon Christmas offering for International missions. What a terrific way to honor the Son of God, sent to save the world. I always love to see God show up and show off.

Matthews 22:37-39 gives a good picture of the commitment to missions that is needed with these words of Jesus, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

It is a time to celebrate when we see how this few in number are used in a mighty way as we release what He has placed in our hands by faith letting Him show us what He can do when allow ourselves to be “Totally His.”

Give Thanks To God

November 24, 2013

It is always time to give thanks, but it seems sometimes we get more reflective at this Thanksgiving season. It could be harvest that make some thankful even though most of us are not in occupations tied to agriculture.

We could be thankful for the change of seasons, but I know many who will be even more thankful when the warmer weather returns. We could be thankful that we have almost finished another year and look forward to what the new year will bring.

Many are probably thankful the elections are over, and win lose or draw we can get back to less full mailbox and less commercials at least about politics. Whatever your reason, there is seldom a bad reason to give thanks. I started to say not bad reason, but some folks actually give thanks when misfortune comes to others and I think that would not be a good thing.

The main thing about giving thanks is to remember to give thanks and credit to the proper person. The writer of James 1:17 tells us that, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

To learn even as a child to give thanks to God is training that should never leave us. As early as I can remember giving thanks to God at meal times was a part of our families DNA. By that I mean it was natural. It was a part of who we are as much as God blessing us because of who He is.

Giving thanks to God for meals is the beginning but must not stop there. What are you thankful for? Why not write a short note and drop it in the offering plate or give to me at the close of the service. I love hearing what you are thankful for.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!



I Am Thankful For…

November 17, 2013

This year, each day of November I have seen several people sharing with each other something for which they are thankful. By the fifth or sixth day, I noticed some who began this project had stopped or had skipped a day or two.

The problem is not that we do not have things to be thankful for, but that we do not think it is significant enough to count. Blessings come in all sizes and shapes.

Did you get a sunset today (I find many miss the sunrise)? Did you get a note (text) or call from a friend? How about a smile or hug from your spouse or child or even grandchild? I am blessed to get a hug from my grandchildren and even my daughters when I get to see them.

What about the bounty God blesses us with each day as we are able to eat more than one meal a day? Many in other countries do not have that luxury. Even the fact that we can pick and choose our meal is a privilege many in our world and even in our country do not have.

Not just for November, but for every day, write down at least one thing you are thankful for on that day. On those cloudy bleak days, look back and see how many ways God has given you something for which to be thankful.

If you have nothing else, remember Psalms 107:1 that reminds us: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good: for His mercy endureth forever.”


Friends Don’t Let Friends…

November 10, 2013

The picture below was made on a recent road trip to Branson by the Adams, Cody, and Owen families. As I looked at the picture, I had many thoughts run through my mind. One recurring thought was “Friends don’t let friends wear ugly hats alone!”

The event was captured for all posterity by another friend (Wayne Adams) who may or may not have been wearing such a derby.

The couples shared after the trip that they had laughed so long and hard throughout the trip that their face hurt. The couples went to a couple of shows while there, but their laughter came from lively conversations and many words of wisdom from Bob Cody.

Bob Cody, long known for sharing the wisdom he has developed over the years concerning women, was more than willing to mentor Wayne and Nolan as they rode and walked along the streets of Branson and visited many of the shops.

The reason they were able to receive such great coaching was because Anna, Phyllis, and Wanda were in their own vehicle enjoying the conversations that captivated their interest, such as cooking, cleaning, domestic necessities, and the means of keeping a happy husband.

The friendships were evident and remind me of the wise words from Proverbs 27:17: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

We can thank Wayne for snapping this picture to show Nolan and Bob just how astute the hats made them look and saved them from losing their “Man-Cards!”


A Friendly Reminder

November 3, 2013

Two weeks ago I had one of those “senior” moments that happen at the right time and place. My moment happened at the opening prayer during our morning service.

As I walked up to the podium, my mind was on calling on Bro. Henry to lead us in prayer. Well…Bro. Henry had a situation that required him to sit in a pew other than his ordinary spot. As I looked where he “ought” to have been, my feeble mind went into a loop that kept me from remembering names.

 

For some reason, I couldn’t see Bro. Wayne, and when I spotted Bro. Nolan near the front, I felt my troubles were over…except for the fact I couldn’t remember his name. When I pointed to Bro. Nolan, he looked up as if to say, “Who?” At that point one or more folks said, “His name is Nolan!” (I didn’t bother to embarrass them by telling them, “I know that.”)

 

We had a few chuckles about that “entertainment” and about other prayer time mishaps, but all was well that ended well.

 

This past Sunday as I got ready for that time of the service, I spotted Bro. Bob in his usual place on the back row before we even started.

 

When I turned around at the top of the stairs and asked Bro. Bob to pray, I noticed he was raising a sign that said, “Bob Cody.” Just to his left, a sign was raised saying, “Wayne.” Nearby, another said, “Shane,” and another, “Nolan.”

 

Again, I was nearly speechless, and I’m sure that lack supported the clueless expression on my face.

 

Proverbs 18:24 reminds us, “There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” I am grateful for that kind of friends here at Petit Jean Baptist Church. Thank you for helping a brother out!


Trials Bring Character

October 27, 2013

An old local saw miller once said, “The pertiest wood is under the ground.” Well, he wasn’t far from the truth for anyone whom has ever sawn into a stump can attest. The abrupt departure from straight grain trunk to gnarly branching roots provides for a visual feast in abstract organics. Perhaps, stumps are the ultimate conclusion for reclaiming wood. Generally discarded by the normal timber industry, we find them much too interesting to go to waste.

Another general timber discard has the most stunning wood grain of all. Burls, even though highly prized by wood turners and other end users, are mostly cut away by loggers, as they are considered defects in regular lumber. Extremely abnormal swirling grain patterns are caused by damage to the tree from things such as insects and fungi. Burls make for highly figured wood and offer unparalleled elegance and richness when sawn and polished.

The same thing happens with people. Our trials mold and shape, even many times disfigure us to the outside world. These scars, visible and even invisible, make us who we are and are the unique marks of ownership of our character.

Embrace God the creator as He molds and bends you into the finished product He is trying to make. Remember, to thank God for your quirks. As the psalmist said in Psalms 139:14, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

God Thank You for the richness You bring into our lives through adversity.

Yeah, I Did!

October 20, 2013

In the past 40 years I have made a lot of mistakes in my marriage. That being said, I want to thank you for the gift you gave Reta and me for our anniversary.

We also appreciate your prayers and encouraging words for the future. When we began this journey in 1973 we it seemed so simple.

Two words were all that I needed to finalize the ceremony, “I Do!” Those two words sealed the question, “Do you take this woman to have and to hold from this day forward, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, forsaking all others from this day forward until death do you part?”

Sometimes our replies are simple compared to the question that has invoked our response. I have answered many questions in the past 40 years; some longer, most shorter, some with eyes wide open and some half or completely asleep, but probably none as impactful.

The writer of Ecclesiastes 9:9 gives us this encouraging challenge, “Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life, which has been given to you under the sun, all your fleeting days”(Holman Christian Standard Bible).

I do, I did and would all over again.


 

Time Flies When You are Having Fun

October 13, 2013

Many things happened forty years ago. In late May our house and the city around us was hit by a killer tornado. A couple of weeks later, our class graduated from High School amid the rubble which even made national network news. I started a career with Southwestern Bell, and on this weekend in 1973, I married a sweet young girl by the name of Reta.

These past forty years have not all been totally a barrel of laughs, but they for the most part have not been dull either. Before our first anniversary, I entered the military.

Before the third anniversary, we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. Two years later, we were blessed with a second daughter equally beautiful and each with their own group of talents and peculiarities.

Shortly before our fifteenth anniversary, we entered the Gospel ministry. I say we, because it was a commitment we prayed about and accepted as a couple and a family. The weekend of our fifteenth anniversary began serving as pastor of my first church, Valley View Baptist Church in Poinsett County.

Now, twenty-five years later, we look back and see how God has let us see five healthy grandchildren and this year we added a great grandchild.

In reality we have had great fun even in the trials. I look forward to seeing what the next decade will bring. Proverbs 5:18 tells us, Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth (New Living Translation).

I have been truly blessed.


A Good Week

October 5, 2013

Every week is good; some are just better than others. This week we got to go see our grandson, Isaac, playing football. He didn’t play much, but the smile on his face knowing we were there was beyond description.

This week we also were able to see Kayla and see how she is getting ready for her new addition to her family. It has been a whirlwind trip, but the smiles on her face and Jeanie’s and Doug’s was priceless.

We also were able to praise God for reaching our goal for Dixie Jackson State Missions Offering. We are blessed to take what God has entrusted to us and invest it in His kingdom.

Seeing the value of each blessing God sends our way is sometimes hidden by the ‘life’ that flows around us daily. It seems our minutes are crowded and crammed so full sometimes we do not see the value all around us.

This week we also had some light showers and peeking around the clouds was a full rainbow and some even saw a double rainbow. Every time we see a rainbow we are reminded of the promises God has made to us.

Jesus reminds us in Matthew 28:20 that, “I am with you always, even to the ends of the earth.” That is a promise we can carry with us to make it an even better week.


What Do You See?

September 29, 2013

At 14 years of age, the “bad boy” of a little Massachusetts town, was so powerful in his influence for evil that no one was found able to teach the district school which he attended; it seemed “pretty poor soil.” Everyone said the student in question was “bad clear through,” “hopeless,” and “bound to go to ruin.” One day a new teacher came who said he was not afraid to try. The school friends were quick to tell him all the stories of “the Marcy boy.” All advised that he be forbidden to enter the school. However, he was allowed to enter. The teacher analyzed the “hopeless soil,” and began at once to enrich it with kindness, justice, goodwill and confidence, and at the right time, dropped in seeds of ambition, hope and self-respect. The seed took root, developed, grew and began to bear fruit. The promising young student dropped his bad habits, studied day and night, went to college, and graduated with honors. He studied law, answered the call for men in 1812, became associate justice of the Supreme Court, United States senator, governor of New York, and finally Secretary of State. His name was William L. Marcy. He served faithfully in every situation. All of this happened because a good teacher saw in a child the image of God!

Thank you, God for our parents, teachers, youth workers, pastors and friends who planted seeds and prayed for us through the years. Please forgive us for the knot-heads like myself that we failed to see the finished product and let slip through the cracks. Let us keep our eyes open to plant the seeds necessary to change each one’s life.

Based On Our Perspective

September 22, 2013

“Rail travel at high speeds is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia” (Dionysius Lardner, Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy at University College, London, 1830).

Of course, now we know the statement above has proven to be false. Many times our knowledge is based on the limited information we have at our disposal at the time.

Jesus once asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I the Son of man am?” (Matthew 16:13).

They answered Him, “Some say John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets” (verse 14). They gave their answer based on the knowledge the people had at the time.

Then Jesus asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” (Verse 15), and Peter answered Jesus in verse 16, “Thou art The Christ The son of the Living God.”

In verse 17, Jesus affirmed Peter with the assurance that “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father which is in heaven.”

To have a relationship with God, we will not learn how to do so by flesh and blood or books of man, but we will perceive it by a quickening of the spirit of God revealing Himself to us.

God, let us look to You for our answers. Reveal more of Yourself to us daily. Amen.

For The Beauty of The Earth

September 15, 2013

God has so blessed us each day. We are given new pictures to see as He paints the sky for us giving us; clouds, sun-rises, sunsets and infinite combinations each day.

These pictures create excitement, joy and many other emotions. With such depth and range of feelings, we may not always know exactly how to express it.

The writer of Psalm 105:2 gives us three ways we can express our feelings with these words,Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.”

Sometimes we are compelled to break out in song to show our feelings. Other times we are reminded of a Psalm that describes what we want to say.

Finally, it is always appropriate to use our own words to share the experience we are enjoying. We can not only pray, telling God what His handy work means to us, but we also can and should tell others what He means to us.

In the words of the hymn writer George Herbert, “Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and king!”


Dixie Jackson Brings Excitement

September 8, 2013

Every year at this time I am excited as we get to participate in the Dixie Jackson Missions offering.

This is the missions offering effort that benefits the State of Arkansas in general, and our church in particular, has benefitted.

First we benefitted by receiving grants from the Arkansas Baptist State Convention through the funds of the Dixie Jackson Missions Offerings to help build our church building about twenty-five years ago.

I can only imagine the feelings of our members as they received news that they were accepted for the grants and knowing our neighbors all over the state were investing not only dollars, but prayers for our young church.

Today we are benefitted by being able to give back and help our neighbors that in invested in us. It is interesting and exciting to hear of the many ways our dollars help our neighbors and further the kingdom of God in Arkansas.

I am reminded of the blessings the churches at Macedonia and Achaia must have enjoyed in Romans 15:26 as they gave offerings to fellow believers in Jerusalem.

God thank You for the blessings we receive as we bless our fellow Arkansans with our offering this year.

Oh, Say, But I’m Glad

September 1, 2013

There is a chorus in the Heavenly Highway hymnal that goes like this:

Oh, say but I’m glad I’m glad
Oh, say but I’m glad I’m glad
Jesus has come and my cup’s over run
Oh, say but I’m glad I’m glad!

Many days that little song comes to my mind and I am reminded of all the things you do for Jesus and it makes me glad.

The last Saturday of July some of you got together and cooked and served breakfast since I was in Jonesboro with my family celebrating my parent’s 60th wedding anniversary. We missed y’all but had a great time with the family.

This month twice we served the Conway Christian Care Center volunteers supper and again you out did yourself to show how much we appreciate the work they do for citizens of Conway County.

There are many other things that come to my mind each day, week, and month that cause me to say with the apostle Paul in Philippians 1:3 “I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you.”

Thank you, and I am glad to know and serve with you!

 


School Days, School Days!

August 25, 2013

Back to school sales! Tax free weekend for school clothes and supplies! Fresh haircuts, new shoes and new clothes! All these are reminders that our teachers and students are back in the classroom.

When you talk to the teachers most are excited to have a class full of new students, bright-eyed and eager to learn (at least most of them).

Likewise, when you talk to most of the young folks, you will find a wider range of emotions. Some are mourning the demise of summer vacation and the return to the grind. Some have apprehensions about entering a new school and the changes that will bring.

Other students are excited, even eager to return to the classroom for various reasons, including seeing their friends, facing the new and challenging courses, and even getting to meet a new teacher.

With a new school year, we are reminded of the need to pray for the safety of both our students and teachers. There are many other reasons to pray for these students. Pray for that child who goes to school hungry because he/she has no food at home. Pray for that child who is living in fear of abuse at home because of their environment. Pray for the children who have real or imagined self-esteem issues. Pray for the teachers and administrators charged with molding these new students into productive citizens of the future. These issues are just a reminder for us to take the Apostle Paul’s advice in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that says, “Pray without ceasing.”

Two Visitors

August 18, 2012

Wednesday night after church, Wayne Adams took out the trash while we were all getting ready to leave and came back in to report seeing a large doe at the back of the parking lot.

Most of us are excited to get to see some of the mountain’s wildlife that close, so it was good news to us. When we walked outside and there were still 4 or 5 cars in the parking lot and several of us still talking, Carroll Satterwhite noticed in his rear view mirror a young deer walking out of the edge of the woods.

As we watched another deer (possibly its mother) walked out and watched us as intently as we were watching them. This lasted long enough for most of us to notice and get to see them. She timidly looked at us and almost acted as if she wanted to come over and join the conversations.

I am overwhelmed at the sights God puts before us to show the beauty He has created. I remember the first deer and first turkey I saw in the wild. I have seen wildlife at times I should not have been able to see them, and all I can think about is God just loves me that much and lets me see them to enjoy it.

In Genesis 1:25 we read these words, “And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

Thank You God for these great things You share with us.

There Are Some Good Folks Left

August 11, 2013

Every day we see folks who are disgruntled and want to complain about something, or anything. As a matter of fact on Thursday I met one man that really wanted to complain because he couldn’t find a certain kind of candy and as I tried to help him find what he wanted he softened and with a smile showed me he had found a better substitute and told me he would be back next week and would have something else to complain about. We both had a laugh and he went his way.

A few hours later we were ordering at a Taco Bell in Conway and an off duty employ made a suggestion to help Reta and save us some money. Reta thanked the young lady and let her know she appreciated her help.

While discussing the help, Reta mentioned the money she had saved would actually make the company money because the kindness that was shown to her would bring her back for future sales.

From there, Reta and I went to the Wal-Mart on Dave Ward Drive to look for something we had tried to find for Hadleigh. We had made a decision to delay the purchase to think about it.

We already had to run an employee down to find the price and as we were about to leave, another employee came up and asked if we had seen the ones on sale up front.

Needless to say, the one we wanted was on sale for less than the one we were going to settle for.

In both cases, God brought us to the place of seeing some good decent human beings. It is a reminder for us to be the one to do as Jesus asked us to do in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

A Reflection

August 4, 2013

All of my life I have had access to an invention called a mirror. With a mirror we can look at ourselves and see what needs a little or sometimes a lot of attention.

For instance, with my hair and ‘cow-licks’ it has always been a necessity to try to touch up my hair so I am ‘presentable’ before going out in public.

What a shame we don’t have such an invention that would help us look at our lives to see if we are presentable to the world.

We very quickly forget what we look like when we turn away from the mirror, and go our way remembering what we think we saw or what we wanted to see.

This week, as we added a new branch to our family tree, I reflected on how the world has changed since my first daughter was born on April 23, 1975 until on August 1, 2013 we welcomed Hadleigh Elizabeth Scroggs to our family.

I pray as she grows what she sees is not the gray hair and wrinkles, but the reflection of CHRIST living in me. The writer of Psalms 127:3 reminds us, “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD.”

 

 

Decades of Fun

July 28,2013

This month we have had several birthdays, but no one at First Baptist Church Petit Jean has had as many as Mrs. Mabel Brannon.

We were able to celebrate her 90th birthday with her on the 20th of this month. That is 9 decades. When you talk to Mabel she can fondly remember times when she lived at Plain View growing up with her family and living in Conway and her dad’s grocery store.

She can tell you stories about her sisters and her baby brother. You can tell theirs was a family of love, even though some of the times were what many would consider challenging times.

Mabel speaks fondly of her children and the things she did to get them to and from the mountain to school and the extra-circular activities Lee and Phyliss were engaged in that kept her hopping as their greatest cheerleader.

Mabel becomes nostalgic as she reminisces about her years with Roy, the strength and love of her life. She spent some years working at the Museum of Automobiles; not only helping with the book, but also was the friendly face many looked forward to seeing at the car show.

God has blessed Mrs. Mabel with long life, but she has given life to those she met along the way. I am quite certain she has identified with the apostle Paul in Hebrews 12:1 saying, “Run with patience the race that is set before us.”

Grateful For…

July 21, 2013

It is always a blessing to have someone who is grateful for whatever situation we are in. For example, every Sunday or Wednesday when I ask, “Who is enjoying this… (hot, cold wet or dry) weather?” someone will raise his or her hand. Now it is not always the same person and not for the same reason, but nearly always someone is able to be thankful.

It is funny to me that fewer folks enjoy the cold (unless it is accompanied by snow) than are those who enjoy the warm to hot weather. In any case, there is only about one of us who really can enjoy the plum cold weather.

The good thing is that we can each find some reason to be thankful for something each day. I can even be thankful for those who love the hot weather. I am grateful for the warm weather because that temp makes those with arthritis feel better.

Another thing I am grateful for is you! You have given to every mission opportunity that has come your way. I am also grateful for your prayers and for your not just blindly contributing to each cause that presents itself. I know this is true because even with my faith in these projects, you have surpassed my expectations many times–even adding a need or two along the way.

I am grateful for you and for the prayers and support you have given to me and my family. The apostle Paul expresses my thoughts with these words in 1Thessalonians 1:2-3. “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.”


What is Happening?

July 14, 2013

On the way to church Wednesday night I noticed the temperature was 100 degrees as Reta and I left Conway. Just seeing that number made me reach for my phone to see what the temperatures were in other places.

Before I could even check Ardmore Oklahoma I saw the temperature had dropped to 99. What a relief, cooling was on the way! I mean if you can’t set a new record, you may as well cool off.

In a few seconds it was down to 97 and continued to fall until it was 78 degrees. Now if it had not been for one fact I would have thought the thermometer was broken.

That fact was that there were clouds in the sky and it began to rain during the process. In fact, on that July day there was enough rain to not only smear my windshield, but to wash it clean.

Then as we drove out of the shower and on the mountain the thermometer crawled back up all the way to 97 by the time we arrived at church.

While we were there it came a decent shower and lowered the temperature to a respectable 85 at least for a while. The beauty of it all was I get to see firsthand a cooling of the earth by The Master.

The whole scene brought to my mind these words of The Lord in Ezekiel 34:26, “I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.”

The Dynamics are Always Changing

July 7, 2013

Every time I come up the mountain there are changes to be seen. The rocks may have moved, trees have sprouted and put forth leaves and blossoms. The highway has a new crack, or a new dip we had not noticed before.

The same thing is true for people. This week we had a shift on the mountain that is going to change things around here. Linda, our music director, and her husband ‘Fil’, are leaving the mountain. They are moving back to Louisiana to be near their family; and the loss will be hard.

In the same week we are gaining a new couple from Star City. Wanda and Nolan Owen did not exactly move in, but moved up in their camper to start work on their new residence down the road from Carroll and Nadine Satterwhite.

They bring a new set of skills to the mountain. They cannot take the place of the Chapman’s; nor do they want to. They love the mountain and the people up here, and have been coming for several years.

God works in strange and wonderful ways as He blends the folks together for His purpose. We rejoice for Fil and Linda as they get to be near their children and grandchildren; and also rejoice in the new neighbors He has brought our way. The Psalmist in Psalms 136:1 says, “In everything give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: His mercy endureth forever.” God is good… All the time!

Chocolate Milk Gang

June 30, 2013

One Sunday morning early I noticed how nice the parking lot looked. The yard had been mowed and trimmed. I could tell that after the yard was cut, someone had used a leaf blower to clean the parking lot to a fresh windswept look.

That is until you noticed a couple of pieces of debris out of place on the asphalt. It was so strange, so out of place it could only mean one thing… The Chocolate Milk gang had struck again.

This gang has left an impact on many folks here on the mountain. They have left in their wake a myriad of good deeds and laughs along the way. This gang of do gooders consists of ‘Fil’ Chapman and Billy ‘Rooster’ Vance with a supporting cast of Doug ‘The Instigator’ Scroggs and Wayne ‘Straight Man’ Adams.

These guys leave a trail wherever they go, usually of warmth and happiness and a bushel of smiles. As ‘Fil’ wanders off to find new ventures in Louisiana, He still has certainly left his mark.

These guys follow these instructions from the apostle of Paul to Timothy in 1Timothy 6:18, “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the age to come, so that they may take hold of life that is real.”

 

Never Forgotten

June 23, 2013

There once was a Louisiana gentleman named Phil (Fil);
He sought to give his sophisticated Queen Linda a thrill.
No alligator, crawfish or boudain was there locally to be found.
We’ll just settle for a number 16 and headed to Perryville, downtown.
When they took their seat,
They found there was no heat.
In very short order Linda’s teeth began to chatter,
Fil, ever the gentleman asked, “What is the matter?”
Linda with chill bumps growing started to shaking;
“Here” a sister offered, “Is a jacket for the taking.”
“Much as I hate to,” said Linda, “I believe I will.”
“Just don’t embarrass me,” was heard from old Fil.

We love you folks and are going to miss y’all, but you will not be forgotten. We agree with the apostle Paul’s words in 1Thessalonians 1:2 saying, “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.”


Happy Father’s Day!

June 16, 2013

The first Father’s Day celebration was on June 19, 1910. The celebration was the brainchild of Sonora Smart Dodd, who incidentally was born in Arkansas. Her father, William Jackson Dodd, a Civil War veteran was a single parent raising six children on his own. After hearing a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, she felt like there should be a celebration for Fathers as well.

In 1916, Woodrow Wilson wanted to make it an official holiday, but Congress resisted. After two more failed attempts, the proposal came closer as Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers while honoring mothers for over forty years. It still was not until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation, declaring the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, President Richard Nixon signed it into law making it a national holiday.

While there are many famous dads who get plenty of attention, many of us have simple dads who are just faithful to their wives and quietly go about giving the love and attention their children need and deserve. They don’t want or need a medal to do what they are doing: They are just serving where God has placed them.

Their thanks will come one day when they hear the master say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). In the meantime, he will be content with a smile, a hug, and a peck on the cheek.


What Does The Future Hold?

June 9, 2013

As the senior class graduates each year, I am reminded how far I am from my own graduation from dear old Jonesboro High (40 years this spring), and how close my grandchildren are to their own high school graduation.

I remember approaching my big day and making plans to enter the military with four of my buddies. The Vietnam war was winding down and we were going to go into electronic surveillance and see the world. We were excited to think about how we might actually de-code messages that could be of importance to our history and national security.

Less than two weeks from the time I was to leave, a tornado struck our town, our school, our home and my car. My transportation was reduced to a bicycle until I was able to replace my windshield. Some things that I had planned and even counted on were changed in an instant.

My plans and my transportation were ‘gone with the wind’ in less time than it took to fill my ’60 model Chevrolet with gasoline for under a dollar a gallon.

I turned around and the world has turned around several times and I am a granddad and gasoline is over three dollars per gallon with instructions of how to pump it in English and in Spanish.

As fast as our days are going by, I am glad God is in control. The writer of Proverbs 16:1 says, “We humans make plans, but the Lord has the final word.”

Let us accept God’s plans and make them our own.


The Start of Summer

June 2, 2013

Every year at the end of school, Doug, Dad, and I would take a trip to the Old River Club in Scott Arkansas (aka the

O.R.C.) for a week of fishing and fellowship.

We spent the week enjoying some “Dad” time and caught enough fish to put into the freezer so we could have fish fries throughout the year.

The best part of the memories were the times we were able to spend with Dad. Left behind were the cares and concerns of day-to-day activities. If there were issues and trials at home, they never came up on those trips. What was there was 24-7 Dad attention. We learned maintenance skills on the motor, repair and upkeep on our trotlines and yo-yo’s, as well as care for other fishing equipment. We learned fishing techniques and skills that made us feel as though we would be able to conquer hundreds of pounds of catfish in our lifetime.

It seemed as though Dad enjoyed not only these trips, but also he enjoyed the time he got to spend with Doug and me, and with all the family. Mom and Dad valued their children as did the writer of Psalms 127:3 when he said, Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”

Memorial Weekend

 

May 26, 2013

I was reminded this week of a Memorial weekend forty years ago. I had already signed preliminary paperwork to join the United States Army. I would be joining the ranks of family and friends who had previously served in the military.

I would graduate from High School on that Friday and leave for basic training on the following week. On the Saturday afternoon and evening of that Memorial Day weekend in 1973, I remember recording the thunder on my new cassette tape recorder. The thunder was steadily rolling, crash after crash, with one rolling into the next.

That night a tornado destroyed a major portion of Jonesboro, the town we lived in for most of our life. The tornado destroyed much of our house, but our lives, as well as the lives of our close neighbors, were spared.

My plans for the next week were changed. Our graduating ceremonies were postponed for a week so we could clean up the school yard in order to graduate among the rubble of what was left of the school we had spent the last three years of our life.

Four of my friends went on to basic training that week, but I stuck around and helped our family clean up our property and rebuild our family’s house. A year later, I was issued my boots and got my hair cut to serve for the next thirteen years. That memory is forever etched in my mind as we watch the devastation in Moore Oklahoma.

As we remember the folks in Oklahoma who lost property and family members this week, remember those who have served and are serving in our military. The apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we have many reasons to “Pray without ceasing.”


Unsearchable Greatness

May 19, 2013

Great is The Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable. (Psalm 145:3) As I read this psalm this week it caused me to think about greatness and what constitutes greatness.

Some people are known for one thing or the other, and some of us can accurately see there is nothing in us that could be called great. In fact, the Bible tells us that there is none righteous at all.

I find it interesting that wherever you look you can see something God has created for us to see. He has placed many sights, sounds, smells, and tastes here for us to enjoy.

To look at a fingernail, or a hair and think how much detail was placed in each minute part of your body, makes you understand how puny our minds are to try to comprehend just how magnificent our awesome God is.

To say His greatness is unsearchable is not to say we should not look at His greatness, but it reminds us we will not ever be able to exhaust by searching all the attributes of His greatness.

Truly, God is Great and worthy to be praised! Let us praise Him.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

May 12, 2013

It is always interesting to see letters from young children expressing their feelings for their mothers. This week I saw one from a three year old that said her mom likes kitty cats, she is a dog lover. She said her favorite color is blue; green is mom’s color of choice. She said her mom is “3” years old; her mom was “3” about three decades ago. The little girl said her mom has brown hair and blue eyes. Her mom’s hair is actually a shade of red.

The youngster said her mom’s favorite thing to do was work in the kitchen, mom said, ‘not really, but too cute.’ The little girl nailed it on the last question, as she said, “My mom is the greatest mom in the world because she gives me hugs.” The mom’s reaction was just as you would expect, “AWWW, I love this little girl!”

There is nothing like the eyes of a child to put things that are important into perspective. There are many tasks moms (or dads for that matter) may not be so good at, but love hides a multitude of flaws.

Every birth is a miracle, but even greater is the miracle of God as He gives you and me just the mother we need. It is a blessing as He matches us with just what we need. Let us join the Psalmist in Psalm 139:14 when he said, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Spring Training

May 5, 2013

Football teams, basketball teams and about every other sport has spring training. This week we heard the prediction of snow for our state even though we knew it would be short lived.

This prediction coming after several nice warm days made me think this might have just been ‘Spring Training’ or getting us ready for spring. These warm days are getting us in shape for the warm/hot days of summer.

Are we ready for spring? Are we ready for the warmer weather that will usher in summer and the hot days that follow? I am not sure there is anything that can get us ready for Arkansas weather.

However, that is what many of us enjoy about where God has placed us. His world is an exciting place to live, especially around here where it is said, “If you don’t like the weather, stick around and it will change.

The writer of Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Not only are we special, but so is the world that God made for us.


Train of Thought

April 28, 2013

“The U.S. standard railroad gauge (distance between rails) is four feet, eight-and-one-half inches. Why such an odd number? Because that’s the way they built them in England, and American rail