2015 From My Heart to Yours

The End Is Near

December 27, 2015 

Now that I have your attention, you will notice I didn’t say which end. There are many “ends” and not all ends are bad, nor are all ends good.

The end I am referring to is the end of 2015. It has been a decade and a half since 1999 and I still sometimes am astonished to have to start writing the year with a 2 instead of a 1.

This year I passed into the sixth decade of my life. I added another grandchild to the eight I have. My oldest grandchild (Courtney) entered college and the second one (Emma) began her senior year in High School. My youngest daughter (Rebeca) finished her Master’s degree. All in all, it has been a good year for our family.

It is now time to look ahead to what 2016 will bring. We already know it will be a year of cheating, backbiting, bickering, name calling and several other bad situations. But… that is just in the area of politics. Hopefully God will raise up some God fearing leaders who will lead our nation back to a nation whose God is The Lord (Psalm 33:12.)

The end is near for 2015, I wonder what 2016 will bring!

Happy New Year!


Hark The Herald Angels Sing

December 20, 2015

This past Sunday, some of us were blessed to be able to sing in the choir and share the Christmas story with the ones who came to our service.

The ones who came to the service to hear our cantata were blessed to hear some great talent from the few who were faithful to give of their time and abilities.

While the Bible does not say the angels sang, they did make a joyful noise as recorded with these words in Luke 2:13-13, “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

All that aside, the Bible also tells us in Hebrews 13:2 that sometimes we may have entertained angels unawares.

I thought about our choir, I thought about the angels God put together on this mountain to proclaim to our part of the world, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a savior is given which is Christ The Lord!”

Joy to The World!

December 13, 2015

Joy to the world, The Lord has come. That is what the CHRISTmas story is all about: God sent His Son that we might have everlasting life.

The creator of the universe looked at us and our situation. He sent His Son Jesus as the answer to our problem. God did this not because He had to, but because He loves us.

He not only loves us, but loves us unconditionally. Given the depth and breadth of His love for us, I wonder how I would act if the roles were reversed. Could I be willing to let my own offspring go through all that Jesus went through for a world that may or may not even care?

The answer is ‘No,’ with my finite mind I would wipe out the world and spare my child. Yet God spared not His own Son for my sake and yours. The joy comes from the fact we are given forgiveness and eternal life in the process. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.

Now with the joy of The Lord, we can say as the apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice!”

International Missions

December 6, 2015

This is the month for receiving our Lottie Moon International Missions offering. This missions offering became a part of my Christmas tradition as early as I can remember.

As a boy, possibly less than six years old, I remember going to WMU Circle with our mother where missions were taught. About the same time I remember becoming a Sonbeam, which was a mission’s class for the children of the WMU moms.

When I was around eleven years old I became a Royal Ambassador which was a lot like Boy Scouts except we learned about missions and how to carry the message of Christ around the world. The girls of this age group were GA’s which were the Girl’s Auxiliary of the WMU.

The Royal Ambassadors were formed about five years before the Girls Auxiliary because the WMU ladies of that day felt the need to train the young men to be mission minded and it not to just be a ‘woman thing’ to care about missions.

The next step as I grew older was the Pioneers mission group. The young ladies at the same age became Acteens.

I am grateful to those before me who helped shape my mission concerns and for parents who made sure we were trained through these organizations as the opportunities arose.

It was through this training I learned these words from the apostle Paul,”We are ambassadors for Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

 

Thankfulness

November 8, 2015

As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, I thought of the ways we are taught to be thankful. From the earliest point of remembrance, most of us were taught by our parents, grandparents, or even siblings to say “thank you” for gifts we are given; whether it is a piece of candy, a toy or a more valuable gift.

When we start school or even earlier in Sunday School, we are taught by teachers to say, “thank you” for things we receive. We learn to share and give thanks when someone shares with us.

As we mature, the lessons learned during these earlier years becomes almost second nature. At some point, the meaning of the value of what we receive starts to sink in as we understand that in order for us to receive, there is a cost to the giver. Therefore, the level of gratitude grows as we appreciate what is given to us.

It is about that time we begin to give thanks to God for all He has done for us. The writer of 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us that we are to, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

After all, for us not to say “thank you” to anyone, and most especially to God, would be downright rude.

 

 

Living For Jesus

November 1, 2015

“Living for Jesus, a life that is true, striving to please Him in all that I do.”

These words in the song, by Thomas Chisolm, sum up the way a Christian should live. This is a song that gets on my mind and gets me thinking as I go through some days.

If we are not careful the mundane can grip and cause us to stumble in our walk with God, yet to live for Jesus gives us the ability to cope in situations beyond comprehension.

Living for Jesus means dying to self so it is actually Him living in and through us. I can remember as a young man the thoughts as Paul had when he said in Romans 7:15, “the things I want to do I don’t do and the things I don’t want to do I find myself doing.”

I then began to understand what Paul was saying when he said the good that I do is not me, but Christ that lives in me. Every day we make choices, and when we happen to make the right choice it is because we have grown in Christ and He is the one making the choices for us.

In Christ we are a new creation, we no longer live the way we once lived. Our desires are not the same as they once were.

As we live for Him He lives in and through us. As the hand moves the glove, He is what moves us to be what He wants us to be. And when we are obedient He is able to do through us what our new creation wants to do.

Living for Jesus, a life that is true!

 

Living For Jesus

October 31, 2015

“Living for Jesus, a life that is true, striving to please Him in all that I do.”

These words in the song, by Thomas Chisolm, sum up the way a Christian should live. This is a song that gets on my mind and gets me thinking as I go through some days.

If we are not careful the mundane can grip and cause us to stumble in our walk with God, yet to live for Jesus gives us the ability to cope in situations beyond comprehension.

Living for Jesus means dying to self so it is actually Him living in and through us. I can remember as a young man the thoughts as Paul had when he said in Romans 7:15, “the things I want to do I don’t do and the things I don’t want to do I find myself doing.”

I then began to understand what Paul was saying when he said the good that I do is not me, but Christ that lives in me. Every day we make choices, and when we happen to make the right choice it is because we have grown in Christ and He is the one making the choices for us.

In Christ we are a new creation, we no longer live the way we once lived. Our desires are not the same as they once were.

As we live for Him He lives in and through us. As the hand moves the glove, He is what moves us to be what He wants us to be. And when we are obedient He is able to do through us what our new creation wants to do.

Living for Jesus, a life that is true!

 

Your Footprints

October 25, 2015

As you read this, I will be missing you. Reta and I are at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Southside, the previous church where we served. Emmanuel is celebrating 50 years as a church this weekend.

It will be a time of fun as we get to see folks we served with and see babies who grew up while we were there and who now have babies of their own. We will see youth who are taking positions of leadership, as they have grown into responsible young men and women.

We will miss some of our friends who have moved off and some who have gone on to be with The Lord.

We will miss folks who have wandered off into the world and are no longer serving God. We will get to see some of those people because they will attend the celebration just to see who shows up. Maybe something will be said to heal whatever caused them to leave, whether it was something someone said or did or if it was a time in their life when they just decided to no longer walk with God.

This past weekend, I had a tender moment when I came upon some creative engineering that could probably come from our friend, Brother Bob Adkins.

There are many things in every church where someone has left their footprints for someone to remember them. These footprints can bring encouragement to us to keep the faith and keep on keeping on to encourage someone else.

Remember these words from the writer of James 4:14, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

Are the tracks you are leaving leading someone to God or away from Him and into eternal darkness?

 

We Didn’t Lose, Did We?

October 18, 2015

This week the Razorbacks had a week off instead of just an off-week. While I was thinking about that, I thought, ‘At least we didn’t lose.’ But then I was reminded that it would be possible not to play and still lose.

There have been injuries during off-weeks that could be called a loss, and there have been many weeks when the players have used the “free” time to get into trouble keeping them from being able to play the next week–or maybe for the rest of their lives.

Sometimes the off-weeks keep the players from building on the week before, whether it was a win or a loss, and they come out sluggish the next week because their timing is off. It is hard to practice with the intensity found in most of the SEC games, so the edge you have been trying to develop can be dulled.

It has been said, “practice makes perfect,” but that is not entirely the truth. The truth is, Perfect practice makes perfect. Poor practice still makes poor performance.

The writer of Hebrews tells us: “run with patience the race that is set before us.” We must practice righteous living no matter who is looking, or even if we think no one is looking, because certainly the Heavenly Father sees and knows.

And we for sure don’t want to lose His approval.

 

Our Healthy Seniors

October 4, 2015

A few years ago someone, I think it was Linda Chapman, got us involved with “Walk Across Arkansas” and we saw some of our folks becoming aware that we could do more than we had been.

About a year and a half ago a couple of our ladies started canoeing and enticed others to join them. Then, some of our ladies started Strong Women and our ladies continued to challenge each other to become healthier.

Now, we see these ladies encouraging each other to participate in the Senior Olympics. Mrs. Ann Vance trained and was encouraged by her partner in crime Mrs. E K Jones along with Mrs. Jeanie Scroggs and possibly others. With the encouragement of her friends Mrs. Ann brought home several ribbons and a challenge to a couple of other ladies to come along for next year.

These challenges remind me of these words of the apostle Paul in Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us.”

It sounds like us men might need to step up our game to be able to keep up with these ladies either way as we get healthier we are all winners as we stand up to represent our Lord.

  

Unexpected Response

September 27, 2015

There are actions and reactions that bring predictable results. When I was in training there were flow charts that would send you on one path or the other based on the condition or indicators you observed.

I remember the process of learning where you learned not to think about the expected outcome, but to follow the directions on the flow chart. It went against all I could process to take the correct answer rather than the answer that was logical.

This week a crop of lilies popped up unexpectedly beside the path between the church and parsonage. Where most flowers had bloomed and faded away as the temperatures went higher and the ground grew harder due to lack of moisture, these flowers poked their beautiful heads up to show off their abilities to the glory of God. After all it was God who created them.

Have you noticed all of nature responds to their creator with every fiber of its being to bring glory to God who created them? While the plant’s response was unexpected by me, it certainly was the proper response to rise up and glorify their creator.

Our response should be to do as Jesus asks us to do in Matthew 5:16 with these words, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
 

Faith

September 20, 2015

Three weeks ago, faith and hope in the Razorbacks was running high. Then on the 5th of September we faced a team from Texas (ETEP) which was by no means an Alabama or LSU, but our Hogs struggled to put even this supposedly weaker team away.

Last week, with win number one under our belt, confidence grew somewhat as we faced another ‘lesser’ team in Toledo and expected a little fight, but felt like in the end our team would walk off the field 2-0.

Well ‘holy Toledo!’ this team came to play and put the whopping on the Razorbacks. This loss caused some of the less faithful fans to lose faith in the 2015 season.

This week we played Texas A&M and while I don’t yet know the outcome of this weekend’s contest. Diehard fans are stoked and fired up ready to win all the rest of the games. Now that is faith and probably more of us are hoping we don’t embarrass ourselves further.

Since we have struggled with the first two teams, my hope and prayer is that we do well and our young men come away with few injuries.

In Hebrews 11:1 the writer tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” While our faith can falter in our sports teams, we still can have hopes for a decent season.

In our relationship with God we know He can never fail, so our faith is increased as we see the consistency of His faithfulness. Football is only a sport and teams can disappoint us, but God is good all the time.

 

 

Answered Prayer

September 13, 2015

Name three prayers you have had answered in the last week… in the last month… in the last year. Some folks may have trouble recalling answered prayer while others will be able to name one after another.

Many will not remember because they have trouble asking for things that they are abler to control and others have trouble asking for things that are bigger than they can control.

Some folks are able to remember answered prayers because they are constantly praying and asking God for even the so called ‘little’ things in life. Jesus taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread.” So it is important for us to ask God even for the things we have or think we have control over.

James tells us we have not because we ask not and when we do we ask amiss. What the Bible is teaching us is to depend on God by asking for His provision and then recognizing it when He does provide for us.

If we were to write down our requests and then record answered prayer and provisions He gives us in spite of us forgetting to ask we would be amazed.

Count your many blessings… Name them one by one, and it will surprise you what The Lord hath done…


Welcome to Petit Jean First

August 30, 2015

Last Sunday we welcomed Billy and Ann Vance to First Baptist Church Petit Jean. This was not the first time Billy and Ann have been welcomed, nor will it be the last.

However, it was different. Billy and Ann have been attending for several years and have joined us in all sorts of activities.

From prayer meetings to Bible studies to fellowships to work days to breakfasts they have not only attended, but joined in. I can’t remember what happened exactly but one time our biscuit maker was not able to be here at the last minute and Ann jumped in and made a pot full of biscuits and bailed us out for our breakfast.

Billy even helped secure us a mess of Mississippi catfish for a fish fry. Of course, with Billy’s road trips there are loads of stories, new friends and enough laughs to keep the lucky travelers grinning from ear to ear and enough memories to keep you smiling for months to come.

In fact you will not be able to think about this couple very often without thinking about some project Ann has conjured up and got you involved in or something Billy has done to trick someone.

Billy and Ann are the kind of neighbors and friends that most of the mountain folks are. While they became official members this past week, they have been a part of us for a long time, and this just enhances our connections.

These are two more reasons we can say with the writer of Psalms 122:1, I was glad when they said unto me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

 

 

Rats!

August 23, 2015 

I am not talking about the cute little critters we see on the side of the road eating grain or grasses. I am not talking about the nice healthy specimens raised to become lab experiments. I am not even going to bring up those shiny haired, beady eyed snacks cultivated to feed domesticated snakes.

I am referring to the slang word, an interjection used to express disgust or disappointment in the situation going on around us. For instance, “Rats, it is hot again.” “Rats, it rained on my day off.” “Rats, it is too wet to mow.” These are just a few of the number of challenges we face each day.

If we let ourselves, it is easy to find a reason to be down or disgusted with our plight in life. I mean…isn’t that the world’s way? I want bigger, I want a different color, I want a faster one, I want more.

In Romans 12:2, the apostle Paul gives us this good advice about whom we should follow with these words:”Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect, will of God.”

Mrs. E. Kay Jones has another “R” word and that is “Rejoice!” I agree with her, and I want to be found rejoicing with her.

In Philippians 4:4, the apostle Paul states words we should remember, words we should follow, and words we should share with others: “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say Rejoice.”


Future Forecast

August 16, 2015

When we were young there was always a weather forecast, but the predictions were not nearly as accurate as they are now.

In our lifetime, ultrasounds have made the prediction of the sex of a baby almost 99.9% accurate. I liked the good old days when the accuracy was probably 60-80% accurate. I was the one who enjoyed when the doctors were wrong and names and outfits were picked out that didn’t match the child.

The unpredictability factor is what makes horse racing such an interesting sport. In fact I never get into the draw of horse racing until there is a possibility of a horse winning the Triple Crown. Then even with all the odds in favor of one horse there is enough doubt to keep millions of people losing their money.

There is a prediction I would like to make concerning the next several months. There will be enough hot air from the approximately twenty politicians running for president to perpetuate the global warming rumor through the next election cycle.

I long for the day to come when a man/woman’s word is as good as their bond. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 5:37, “Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”

It makes us want to pray as Jesus taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6:10, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Amen and Amen.

 

 

Acceptable

August 9, 2015

When you start a project, there is level that will achieve the results that are desired and there is a level below the desired results. Then there also is a level that is above the status-quo.

When you are in school, the grades range from A to F with C being average and acceptable being from D through A. What is acceptable is a matter of perspective.

For some, a B is not acceptable because the person has the ability to do 100% A work. Then there are others who struggle to earn their D by giving the best they can do.

Being acceptable to God fortunately has nothing to do with our abilities. For us to be acceptable to God is as simple as receiving the sacrifice He gave for us of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul reminded us to, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). He continues to remind us, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).

To be acceptable to God is the most important thing of all.

 


Where Were You

August 2, 2015

A year ago a set of twins came to the mountain. Ariel and Easton were born and entered into the hearts not only of their family, but also into the hearts of their church family.

Their sister, Brooklyn, grew into a helper for her mother taking on the new role and responsibility of big sister. Brooklyn helped entertain her new brother and sister and taught them new skills as they grew this year.

It doesn’t seem like a year has gone by. It has been fun watching Ariel’s and Easton’s development; from the time they were carried into church in their infant carriers, until the present, when they enter with smiles and help us sing.

We can remember where this journey began as this family dedicated their children, including Brooklyn, to God. We were blessed to be able to celebrate this event with them.

This next year we will see an increase in their mobility as they continue to grow and expand their horizons. Knowing God is watching over them, wherever they roam, makes us wonder where He will lead them. In Jeremiah 29:11 we are told, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

May God continue to direct each of our paths.

 

 

Acceptable Noise Levels

July 26, 2015

When we were growing up, as good as the telephone had become, it was sometimes hard to understand the person you were talking to.

At times we would hear people talking over the static and even though we might not understand every word we were happy to just hear someone else’s voice and just to get a chance to hear from anyone.

We have gone through somewhat of the same challenges with cell phones as they evolved from car phones, that actually had decent service (when you were in a place with towers), to a brick-like bag phone, to flip phones, to smart phones that are in reality mini computers capable of taking picture, making videos and many other functions.

This week we actually took a step backwards on the scale as we spent some time with a little over half of our grand-kids. The roar around us would probably violate all kinds of noise ordinances, but for the most part it was a joyous, happy roar. With all the chatter it was good to see and hear the enjoyment of life and each other.

While listening to all the racket, as my grandmother would call it, I was grateful for healthy children and grandchildren that wanted to be with us, who knew how to pray and wanted to ask the blessing. I thought how much it must please God when He listens to His children. The writer of Psalms 100:1 reminds us to: “Make a joyful noise unto The LORD all ye lands!” And remember you are acceptable to Him as a child of God, you are in the family!

 

 

Do You Remember

July 19, 2015

Do you remember playing outside until after dark? Did you chase and catch fireflies in a glass jar? Did you play car headlight tag after it got dark enough?

Do you remember when the United States was the number one superpower in the world, and when the United States spoke and the world listened?

Do you remember playing Cowboys and Indians and no one was offended (especially since many of us have Indian ancestry)? Do you remember playing army and most of the time you played against an invisible army since no one wanted to be the Russians?

The reason no one wanted to be the Russians or any other enemy was because it was a given that the US was going to win and no one wanted to be the loser. The enemy we face today is not always apparent. Many of our leaders that we thought we could trust, especially since we had the equalizing powers of the executive, legislative, and judicial branch, have proved they do not have our best interests at heart.

The Bible reminds us in Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Let us remember our Creator and Heavenly Father who is faithful and trustworthy. In God we trust!

 

Christmas in August

July 12, 2015

Since I was a young lad, I have been involved in Christmas in August. As a young boy I liked being a part of this mission project because I saw grownups I knew and respected getting involved with it.

In my twenties and thirties, I stayed involved; knowing the value to the children since I had children of my own. My heart was made tender by the birth of each of my girls and knowing this ministry was for girls and boys that were not able to live with their parents for one reason or another.

During my thirties I was able to visit our Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home with Reta and our girls. At that time I saw great kids, from not so good circumstances, being loved and cared for by a group of people representing us. I saw these children being well cared for and being given an opportunity to change their lot in life.

That single event and subsequent trips back, more than any campaign or publicity, drives my desire to give to the Christmas in August mission’s opportunity and other causes of the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home.

Pray and give as God directs you in this missions effort.

 

Freedom

July 5, 2015

Most of us have never lived a day under the oppression and ownership of another country. We have been blessed to live in The United States of America. Many of our ancestors either fled their countries or willingly came to America with the dream of freedom and hope for a better life for themselves and their families.

However, even in The United States there are millions of citizens and visitors who live every day of their lives under the bondage of sin. Many have never contemplated the level of their captivity and its cost to their family and themselves.

God looked down throughout history and saw the great need of mankind and knew what man thought his problem was, only a symptom. God knew sin was man’s problem, while man looks at outward signs such as failing health, debt and a myriad of other worldly problems.

God looked at us with our plight and sent His Son, Jesus, to set us free from the bondage of sin that has held each of us captive. We are reminded by Jesus in John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

My prayer for you today is that Jesus has set you free to ring the bells of heaven and truly let freedom ring!

 

Consistency

June 28, 2015

We live in a world of change. Things that we thought were absolute have come and gone. New technology has been replaced by newer technology. Bigger, more comfortable cars have been replaced with smaller, more fuel efficient automobiles.

Telephones have become smaller, more streamlined and now, as our generation has aged, they are suddenly larger so you can see and dial the numbers.

Six ounce cokes became twelve, then sixteen or twenty ounce bottles, and, depending on who you ask, a bottle is either a serving or up to two and a half servings. In order to keep calories down on the candy bars, the sizes have changed to make a fourth of the candy bar a serving.

As our society has become increasingly more tolerant toward sin, we have drifted away from moral absolutes. Things that once caused men to blush are now common place; even in the casual conversations of women, and a lady is pretty much a thing of the past.

With all the changes going on around us, I have noticed one thing that keeps up with inflation. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). The wage or price for sin is still death. No matter how the terminology changes to try to make it acceptable, the price is still the same. Sin is still wrong and brings death, no matter how accepted the world tries to paint it. It goes back to the old saying, “No matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, it is still a pig.”

Look at these words from Isaiah 5:20-23, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own opinion and clever in their own sight. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, who are fearless at mixing beer, who acquit the guilty for a bribe and deprive the innocent of justice.”

I praise God for His consistency in this world today. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

 


Happy Father’s Day

June 21, 2015

The first Father’s Day celebration was held June 19, 1910 at Spokane Washington. That makes this the 105th anniversary of the first celebration.

None of us were around to remember the first celebration, but we can remember one or more Father’s Day celebrations from our past. I personally have no bad memories, though I have some friends whose most vivid memory is a bad or sad time.

Some of my fondest childhood memories were times Dad would load us children up and go off on adventures. Sometimes it would be swimming at Walcott State Park or maybe a creek or river. Sometimes it would be a fishing trip; whether a creek, lake, river, or pond.

As a parent I remember the patience of Dad when dealing with five children with as many demanding needs. As a parent, the demands made me appreciate all the sacrifices dad made for us.

When I became a dad I, was humbled on the first Father’s Day celebrations of my children. Rhonda was born in April and Rebeca was born in May so both were close to Father’s Day and made my heart tender knowing with the privilege of being a dad came the responsibility.

Thanking God for my dad, I am grateful to God as my heavenly Father and for who He (God) is in our family’s life and what He has taught my dad and each of us.

Matthew 7:11 reminds us, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” What a challenge!

 

Everyone Gets Opportunities

June 14, 2015

In about 1990 I was blessed with a 1976 blue truck. Within a few months of the purchase a young boy ran a stop sign and hit my truck. I bought some parts from another truck to make it into a multicolor piece of work.

Our girls never could fully appreciate the value of a classic modified rig such as I had been blessed with. So, with the help of a couple of friends I sanded it down and primed it. Not wanting to prime it red or light primer gray we primed it a dark charcoal gray.

When we finally got it ready to paint the temperature was about 20 degrees too cold to paint. Knowing the experts paint every day and in all temperatures I got some advice and my two friends said, “That ought to work, so us amateurs added some “extra” hardener to my white paint.

One of the benefits of the extra hardener was it made the paint very shiny. Man, the paint on that truck was so shiny it almost glowed in the dark.

A disadvantage was the paint was so hard it had no flexibility. So when the first rock peck came the paint started cracking like an egg. Soon my white truck became colored like the cows on Chik-Filet.

As if the paint job was not enough to keep me and the girls humble the old coon hunting truck developed a quirk in the wiring so that the horn would honk at inappropriate times. It would honk when we let the girls off at school or when we picked them up from their friend’s house or hangouts.

God let me bless one of our friends with that truck and he was able to rewire the steering column and get many more miles out of the old truck.

This week a young man I know was going through a similar trial with his car and we got to have a good laugh as he told his tale of woe.

Galatians 6:2 reminds us to, “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” I may not be able to eliminate his problems, but I am certainly able to relate and pray for him.

Each challenge you have prepares you to be able to minister to someone God brings across your path this week.

 

Heavenly Sunlight

June 7, 2015

A week of sunlight has sure looked good! It will go a long way to help dry what land is not under water, and evaporate what is standing.

Some of the folks that are dealing with the increasing waters are able to have hope that the worst is over and better days are ahead. Sunlight is good not only for our soil and plants, but also for our health both physically and emotionally.

With as much rain as we have had, our neighboring areas have had the driest May ever. What? How is that possible we might ask. But, we can remember some times when our clouds have dissipated before our eyes and we have had to do with a lack of rain.

As clouds this week turned to sunshine, I did not find anyone who was not enjoying the beautiful weather. As inconvenient as the excess rain has been, it was a blessing to have the moisture for our grass, trees and crops.

Matthew 6:45 tells us, “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” In other words it is to our benefit to praise God for whatever He gives us each day.

Thank You God for the sunshine and blue skies you gave us this week.

 


How High is the Water Mamma?

May 31, 2015

Over the past couple of months we have had plenty of water. During the month of May several cities have had not only the greatest amount of rainfall for May, but the largest amount for any month in recorded history.

Rivers, lakes and streams are approaching or exceeding previous levels. Now these high levels are after many safeguards such as dams, leveling land, watershed projects and straightening rivers have been completed and served us well.

It again proves to us that man’s best efforts are still no match for God’s power. Sometimes we think we have arrived and there is nothing we cannot control. We have controlled billions of gallons of water each day to produce electricity and at the same time limit the flow of water either in a positive or negative way.

Yet for all the engineering and knowledge we have incorporated into our lives and the creature comforts they allow, we find when it all shakes out we are still just a speck on a small planet in a small solar system in a galaxy among only God knows how many other galaxies larger and smaller.

We are reminded that God thinks about us with these words from Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

As the water rises and we pray for our neighbors we know God cares for us.

 

Memorial Day

May 24, 2015

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many will celebrate the day off without giving a thought to the men and women who gave their lives to protect our country and others around the world to keep us free and safe.

As each year passes we are reminded that our peace and safety came with a price and that price continues to grow as the terrorists continue to show us how vulnerable our soldiers are and in turn how insecure it even makes our loved ones.

I am proud of the men and women in uniform serving our country and stepping up to answer the call as countless soldiers have in the past.

We are reminded of these words from Psalms 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” As we remember the ones who gave their lives, let us remember our creator who made us the country we have been.

May we return to being a nation whose God is The Lord.

 

Are You Ready?

May 17, 2015

When we ask this question, we are reminded of the winter’s ice and snow storms and the preparations we made in case of bad weather.

It seems as we go from one season to the next, the question is just as relevant. First, are you ready for the snow and ice? Next, have you got your umbrella in case of rain and we have seen some pretty good deluges in the past couple of weeks.

Before we can turn around it will be storm season with more than just rain, thunder and lightning. We will be having to take precautions from tornados which we hope will always go around us, but it is better to be prepared than have to try to just ride it out.

The summer brings its own challenge as the temperatures rise into triple digits. The heat is bad enough, but the prolonged heat dehydrates not only us, but also our flowers, trees, animals and even the soil of our foundations.

Then the weather turns cool and it starts all over again. The answer you hear more times than not is, “I might as well be.” And yes… you might as well get ready because the cycle is inevitable.

The writer of Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 reminds us with these words that there is a season for all things, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.”

Just as preparations are important on earth, it is imperative to be prepared for the judgement hereafter. How you answer the question, “Are you ready?” makes all the difference in your eternal destination.

Seriously, Are you ready? If not, let’s talk.

 


Happy Mother’s Day!

May 10, 2015 

The celebration of our moms is a blessing for those of us who still have our moms. One of our first memories most of us had probably involves our mom. After all she was the one who carried us for nine months and then held, fed, nurtured and changed us for the next month to a year until we began to develop our independence.

Until we became independently mobile, she was our main source of transportation. Mom also was a cook, cleaner and maid. Mom was one who took us to swim, took us to the library, played football and baseball with us, helped us memorize our parts for plays, and a million other things.

When I think about how special Mom is I am reminded of these words from the angel to Mary in Luke 1:30, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.” When a girl becomes a mother no matter how much she wanted a child and thought she was ready, there is some apprehension.

What a special task to bring a child into the world and be trusted with raising that child to become a responsible adult. Never take lightly the correction and encouragements your mom bestowed on you to make you who you are today.

Happy Mother’s Day to our Moms!

 

WHYDONTCHY

May 3, 2015 

The title may look confusing to you, but I believe you will find it to be a familiar term once you understand it. I was first introduced to it either in junior high school or at church about the same time. During those formative years someone suggested, “Whydontchy (why don’t you) do this or that.”

Most clubs at school or in the secular world have a person or persons who are in charge of the recruiting for projects. This person finds it easy to come to you and ask, “Whydontchy do this project for us?” Maybe you are one who has been recruited or maybe you are the recruiter, but you soon find out who the Whydontchys are and who the Whoeldoits (who will do its) are.

We need to become as Paul, ready to do whatever comes next. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:6 , For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. When Paul even thought of the next step, he was ready to go, ready to serve wherever God was ready to use Him.

Let us be like the old hymn, Ready by Charles D. Tillman says, “Ready to go, ready to stay, Ready my place to fill; Ready for service, lowly or great, Ready to do His will.” If we are then, ‘Whydontchy?’ Isn’t it funny that this hymn has disappeared from the new Hymnals?

 

 

A Year Ago

April 26, 2015

I remember well a year ago the storms that afflicted our neighbors in Mayflower and Vilonia.

For a few days before that weekend there were advance warnings that conditions were going to be right for major dangerous storms. Now having lived in Arkansas for all of my life I took these reports with a grain of salt.

Our television stations have spent millions of dollars to have the latest and greatest equipment to predict and pinpoint storms and the direction it is expected to take. So it only stands to reason that the buildup over a period of time tends to lull you to sleep as the forecasters try to one up the other stations.

One year ago as we left church and the mountain we heard on the radio a tornado was in Pulaski County headed to Mayflower and then to Vilonia. My instincts told me this was for real and I felt compelled to reach out to two of my co-workers who were in the path of the storm to be sure they were ok and let them know we were praying for them. Both were spared as were their families.

As I reflected on these warnings and the destruction our state received, I am reminded of prophets of God who have throughout history warned of destruction and many times were ignored.

The apostle Paul reminds us that one day each of us will stand before God and it is imperative for us to be ready with these words in romans 14:11, “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

This could be your last warning. Are you ready? I pray that you are.

 

 

Visitors Welcome

April 19, 2015

Signs often announce, “Visitors Welcome” but should they really be necessary? Hopefully when a visitor gets inside the door, if not before, he/she is made to feel welcome.

We are blessed to have visitors often and the fact that many return is evidence that they feel at home, or at least welcome, when they pass through.

It is a blessing when they feel comfortable enough to share their talents and abilities with us. We have had some very pleasant surprises from our visitors and even have had some stay extra to help us with our Easter and Christmas Cantatas.

When we have visitors, we pray that they leave as blessed from being here as we are blessed to get to worship with them.

We are encouraged by these words from the writer of Hebrews 12:1-2, “Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Remember, you may be entertaining an angel, or you may be the angel someone needs to see today.

 

 
Welcome Surprises!

April 12, 2015

Easter Sunday dawned with no rain! Then just minutes after the sunrise service the rain started. Not in buckets full, but softly sprinkling, gently soaking in just like we need.

The rain did not discourage the faithful from attending church, nor did it keep a good number of visitors from attending. The Satterwhites’ return to the mountain was a welcome surprise that helped raise everyone’s spirits, especially Nadine and Carrol’s.

It was good to have a number of visitors fill the seats, giving our choir someone to listen to our Cantata. Seeing and hearing folks in the congregation was a blessing as we saw positive responses to the program.

It was good to have park hosts visit with us, and it is always a blessing to have a ministry on the mountain for visitors to be able to worship with us.

It was great to see Kayla, Robbie and Amelia, along with Robbie’s folks. It is always a blessing to see our young folks who have grown up coming back to share their children with us.

The greatest surprise is the risen Savior, who we get to spend time with daily because of the resurrection. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 28:20, “Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the world.”

He Arose!

April 5, 2015

The celebration of Easter is about our gratitude to God for His invaluable gift to us. First, God sent His Son, Jesus that whosoever believeth in Him might have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Next, He allowed Jesus to live a sinless life enduring like temptations such as we have in our daily lives. Jesus was able to resist the temptations by remembering and quoting the words of God, proving the power in God’s word.

Then as Jesus went through the pain, suffering, humiliation and loneliness of His walk from the Garden of Gethsemane to the courtyards of Pilate and Herod, God allowed Him to endure all that was necessary to fulfill centuries of prophesies and put Him into the position to make atonement for our sins.

As Jesus went from trial to trial and endured the beatings heading up to Gol