2016 From My Heart to Yours

Silent Night, Holy Night

December 25, 2016

As someone who has just survived one of the most harried retail seasons of the year, a Silent Night, Holy Night sounds pretty good.

Then in our state we have seen and hear about senseless murders, even that of a couple of innocent children at the season of Joy to the world. Even the joy of this gift sharing season is tainted by pushing, shoving, drivers cutting each other off and then you have the uncivil actions of the customers also.

It makes you want to sit back and watch the world in solemn stillness laying to see the newborn King.   However, we can not, no, must not be silent. It is the occasion to Rejoice, praise and give thanks to God for His gift to us, His son, Jesus.

Luke 2:11 reminds us, “Unto us is born this day in the city of David, a savior which is Christ The Lord.”    Rejoice!

A Warrior At Rest

December 18, 2016 

First Baptist Church Petit Jean was formed in the hearts and minds of a handful of believers living on Petit Jean Mountain. One of those early visionaries was a spunky redhaired lady name Tommie Lou Adkins. She along with the love of her life Bobby Lee Adkins held at one time or the other almost every position available at the church on Petit Jean. From church clerk and treasure to Sunday School teacher and nearly everything in between she served well to bring the church from dream to fruition.

One of her greatest passions was missions, challenging our church to pay forward the investment others had made in our church.  Her battle in this life is over and she has passed the torch to others to keep alive the dreams of missions she began.

In 2 Corinthian 5:8 Paul says, “I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Yes, this warrior is at rest in the presence of the LORD, yet her legacy lives on.

 

 Jesus Is The Reason

December 11,2016

In Bethlehem, God gave to us
 The source of Christmas joy;
 A star shown on a miracle:
 The virgin birth of a boy.

He was born both God and man,
 A Savior for us all,
 The way to get to our heavenly home,
 If we just heed His call.

So as we shop and spend and wrap
 And enjoy the Christmas season,
 Let’s keep in mind the sacred truth:
 Jesus is the reason.

                              By Joanna Fuchs

 Whose Child Is This?

Sometimes at a family reunion, maybe at church or wherever, you will hear the question, “Who does this child belong to?”  Often it is answered by looks or maybe by how they are acting.  A child may have an identifying mark such as ear shape or size or color of eyes. You may have heard someone say, “He acts just like his dad.” That is not always a compliment, but it could be.

What a blessing it would be to have said of us, “He acts just like his heavenly Father.” We would be so blessed if others were able to identify us as children of the King of Kings!

Let it be so that others identify us by our walk just as the early believers in Acts 11:26 “were first called Christians at Antioch.” 

 

 The Missing Lamp

December 4, 2016
 

      In a certain mountain village in Europe a long time ago, a nobleman wondered what legacy he should leave to his townspeople.  At last the decided to build them a church.

      No one saw the complete plans for the church until it was finished.  When the people gathered, they marveled at its beauty and completeness.  Then someone asked, “But where are the lamps? How will it be lighted?”  Then he gave to each family a lamp which they were to bring each time they came to worship.

      “Each time you are here the area where you are seated will be lighted,” the nobleman said.  “Each time you are not here, that area will be dark.  This is to remind you that whenever you fail to come to church, some part of God’s house will be dark.”

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

The Dallas Cowboys are on a roll this year with an eleven-game winning streak. The owner of the Cowboys has made available to the police officers of North Little Rock an all-expenses paid trip to the Cowboys last few home games. The smiles on faces of the recipients were priceless. Some would never be able afford such a fun experience.

Now someone has filed a lawsuit to stop this act of generosity extended to these families. Now, if it were to one family that might be able to benefit Jerry Jones, it might be a conflict. But this gift was extravagant beyond imagination.  The gift hardly compares to the gift GOD gave to us, but with similar results. The writer of James 1:11 tells us, “He (Jesus) came unto his own, and his own received him not.”

The gift of GOD, HIS Son Jesus is extended to all.  Do not reject HIM, but please receive, and welcome Him into your heart, home and life.

 

 


In God We Trust

November 27, 2016
 

The motto for the United States of America is: “IN GOD WE TRUST.” This was not always so, but has been for as long as any of us can remember especially since the motto was made into law before any of us was born. 

Our forefathers passed the Act of April 22, 1864 to mint our coins with our motto on them. Since that time most of our coins have included our motto. Since 1908 our one cent coins have included the motto and the ten cent coin has included it since 1916.

 On July 30, 1956, the President approved a Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress, declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States. IN GOD WE TRUST was first used on paper money in 1957, when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate. The first paper currency bearing the motto entered circulation on October 1, 1957.

Having celebrated Thanksgiving this week, I am thankful for leaders in our past who have had the guts and forethought to identify with our creator. The writer of Psalms 33:12 reminds us, “Blessed is the nation whose GOD is the Lord.” Let us remember or we will look back and remember what brought on our demise.

 


Giving Thanks

November 20,2016

In 1623, three years after landing on Plymouth Rock, Governor Bradford first proclaimed a thanksgiving feast and praise service with the pilgrims. This was not just a get-together to shoot the breeze and pat each other on the back, bragging on what they had done. It was recognized to be an event giving thanks to God for placing them in the places to have a bountiful harvest and protection from both critters and the elements. They were not only protected from the native Americans, but also developed friendships with the locals.

Since that time, Thanksgiving has evolved into a retail monster. A day for Americans to consume 46 million turkeys to fuel a shopping frenzy which begins the Christmas season. 

Take time to Give thanks 1) Early, give thanks every day not just on Thursday. 2) Often, give thanks at all times. 3) For everything, give thanks in all things. 

Take Paul’s challenge in 1 Thessalonians 5:13 that says, “ In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”

Give thanks not because the world tells you to, but because this is God’s will for us.

 

 
The Election Is Over… Now What?

November 13, 2016 

The past 15 months of campaigns has pretty much left America split and even the ‘winners’ frustrated at how to be gracious winner’s. The first step is to remember it is GOD who got us to this place and THANK Him for what He has done, THANK Him for what He is doing, and PRAISE Him for what He is going to do.

The writer of Psalms 75:6-7 reminds us, “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.”

Now we must pray more earnestly, not just think it is over. We have the opportunity to reach out and follow the advice of the writer of

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

 


Winning Strategies

 November 6, 2016

The 2016 baseball season is down to the last few pitches as I write this, or maybe not as it just starts into the 10th inning. The entire season for both teams comes down to these last few minutes which will leave one team a champion and the other a runner-up.

Then as if it had not drug on long enough there was a rain delay to start the 10th inning.  Sitting waiting for the game to resume, coaches and players will replay mistakes and decisions that could have finished off the other team earlier.

Likewise this Tuesday will be the final day to vote for the candidates who started running about 24 months ago.

Some of the early contenders could have possibly beaten the leaders now as all the facts come out. Both contests will be settled by whoever hangs on to the very end.

The apostle Paul give this advice to us as Christians in Hebrews 12:1-2, “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”

The Cubs finally win!

Living For Jesus

 October 30, 2016

A song that I remember from a very early age is, “Living for Jesus,” a song written by Thomas O. Chisholm. I would dare say it was one of the songs I heard from my parents and grandparents at an early age.

I remember thinking that living for Jesus must have surely been in the days of the apostles. Then I remembered the challenges of Peter and the other apostles. Denying Jesus Himself, being persecuted and many other situations.

Then as I heard seasoned adults singing the song, I thought it must be easier when you get older. But as I talked with older friends, even in their late 90s, they told me it was not necessarily easier; it was still tough to live for Jesus.

It is a challenge to live for Jesus, but not an impossibility. The easiest time to live for Jesus is the age you are now. You can’t go back to yesterday, nor can you wait until tomorrow because it will have it’s own trials.

But, if we live for Jesus today, we will be right where we need to be to live for him in the future.  Living for Him is easier, knowing that Jesus says this in Matthew 28:20, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

 


Turn of Events

October 23, 2016

Think back to the days when you were growing up and dreaming about where you would be as you grew older. Are you where you thought you would be?

Did you surpass your expectations, or did life bring you some interesting twists and turns along the way? I do not even begin to know at what point our dreams meld, or change, into the realities of life.

Every person you meet and interact with either shines and polishes who you are, or creates an irritation that chips away the very fiber of your being. The irritant can be something you can use to form something of beauty, as the oyster does to the sand that irritated it, turning it into a pearl.

The truth is, even things that bother us can be used to increase value in us. Remember the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 8:28 where he says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

God, Thank You for the twists and turns that refine us in to who You want us to be.


Thank You

October 16, 2016

This week Reta and I celebrated another anniversary.  These milestones are always made better when the moment is shared with friends.

We understand that we didn’t get here by ourselves. First, both sets of our parents lived up to their vows of ’till death do us part’, giving us an example to follow.

Throughout these 43 years I have been blessed with a terrific partner. She has been my greatest cheerleader and my most steadfast supporter through good times and tough times. She has seen my highs, as well as my struggles and low points, and walked with me hand in hand.

Our journey has been spiced by our two children, nine grandchildren, and Hadleigh, as well as many children who have been in and around our family over the years.

Family and friends both tempered as well as encouraged us during these four plus decades. No friends have been closer than our church family, praying for us and with us through surgeries and illnesses, as well as rejoicing with us during victories and expanding family. You have truly lived these words of the apostle Paul in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”   Thank you for being along for the ride with us.

Thank you for remembering our anniversary with a gift; but most of all thank you for your friendship. God bless you and yours.


Our Neighbors

October 9, 2016

This week, we watched as hurricane Matthew moved closer to our coasts. As communications have improved we can see instantaneously the effects of the damages.

We also can see by satellite the size and wind speeds; and more data than most of us need, or want, to know. We can see where it is going to hit, and if our friends and family that might be affected.

Much has changed in the coverage and ability to warn folks who could be in its path, well in advance.  Stores and supply chains along the route have the ability to have on hand the necessary emergency supplies.

This also allows us, who are not in harm’s way, to remember to pray not only for the ones hit, but also the ones who might be along the path.

The apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 12:15 to “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” We can pray for neighbors we do not know, rejoice with ones spared, and weep for friends we may never meet this side of heaven.

Thank You God, for friends we will never meet.


Where Does It Come From?

October 2, 2016

Almost every night when I get home from work and Reta gets home from school, Hadleigh is in “come alive at five” mode.  She is ready to romp, play, jump, and run everywhere as fast as she can.

It is like the only two speeds she has are off and on. And about the only noise level is LOUD! After about an hour, more or less, I am more or less mesmerized and zoning near comatose as she bounces around from one game, or puzzle, or book to be read or pile of blocks to be stacked and knocked over.

In about two hours she is like the energizer bunny: ‘Still going’! While she is bounding and rebounding, we just say where does she get all that energy and where can we get some?

In the same line of thought, we realize our get up and go has got up and went. If it were a job, it would be work, but as great-grand parents it is an investment in our children, our grandchildren, our great grandchildren and so on in perpetuity. The writer Proverbs 20:29 reminds us, “The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.”

 

What Can You Hear?

September 25, 2016

Every day, we hear sounds that we ignore or take for granted. Some of the sounds we hear others may not be able to hear. Notice I did not say enjoy. Not every sound brings joy.

Some sounds bring pain to your eardrums; either physically, or sometimes financially. There are high pitched sounds or loud sounds that cause physical discomfort to you, and there are sounds like scraping or banging or many other noises when driving down the road that makes you say, “That sounds expensive.” And sometimes it is.

Since the early sixties, our dad has had some hearing loss and therefore he misses some sounds. That is not saying that it is not a blessing to miss some things. But this past couple of weeks, he mentioned hearing a noise in his car. Now, that was strange enough to me since a lot of times he can’t hear it thunder. 

Sure enough, after a little while I heard it too and we were able to narrow it down enough to be able to take it to the shop to get it fixed. That was one of those expensive hearing tests, but I am glad God lets dad hear things like that so it can get fixed before he gets hurt or hurts someone else.

This past week Sharon heard a noise she described as a ‘freight-train’. After listening, some of the rest of us could hear it. She heard it because it was a sound that was in her hearing range. Some of the rest of us heard it after we listened closely.

Sometimes we hear when something is out of the ordinary, sometimes we hear something that startles us, and sometimes we hear when we listen. Luke 11:28 reminds us to listen with these words, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

 

I Have a Friend

September 18

Many conversations start with “I have a friend…” “I have a friend who…” “I have a friend that…”

These conversations lead in many directions, but the common denominator is the conversation leads from a bond of the storyteller to a connection with the listener.

Sometimes I am amazed at the friends I have and the levels of friendship we enjoy.  I have friends who are affluent as well as others who are on the lower end of the scale.

I have friends I can relate to on a military level as well as friends who have no military experience or family associated with the military.

I have friends who have no relationship with GOD and others who have an active relationship with GOD and every level in between.

The most important friend we can have is GOD. The writer of James 2:23 says, “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”

How awesome it would be to hear our Heavenly Father say, “I have a friend named (fill in your name)…”


Remembering

September 11, 2016

You will never forget where you were and what you were doing as events such as this disturbed your lives. We remember where we were on the day that President Kennedy had been shot.

Most of us remember where we were and what was going on when Elvis Presley died, and also, when Bobby Kennedy was shot.  We have memory grooves etched in our brain reminding us of what took place that day.

We remember the day when the Challenger spacecraft exploded before our eyes; killing the first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe. I remember putting myself in the place of her husband losing a spouse and being left to raise his children without a mom.

We recall how it felt as President Ronald Reagan was shot, along with his press secretary James Brady.

Fifteen years ago most of us were jolted awake as we watched over and over again the replay of the planes being flown into the Twin Towers.

Each event serves to remind us that life is short and we must make the best of the days we are given. The writer of Psalm 144:4 reminds us of our frailty with these words, “Man is like a breathhis days are like a passing shadow.”

God, Thank You for today’s breath and help us to be good stewards of the time and breaths You give us. Amen.


Give and Take

September 4, 2016

This weekend a couple on the mountain, Billy and Ann Vance, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. In 60 years of the average marriage there are millions of decisions and possibly as many if not more adjustments or compromises if you will.

Compound that with these two unique and intriguing transplants from Mississippi and you could have a real best seller. On this journey we find a farmer turned fertilizer salesman married to a housewife corralling the young’uns that becomes a black belt in Karate.

The combination of the special traits of these two special individuals molded their family into a unit that has touched others not just in the two states we have seen, (Mississippi and Arkansas) but all over the United States and many other parts of the world.

As varied and active as this couple’s lives and visions are we can only imagine the conflicts they have faced and embraced together. Just in the short while we have known them we have seen them go through health challenges and even in the face of these opportunities Ann and Billy have followed grandkids all over the country participating in sporting events, graduations etc.

Ann found time to walk all over the mountain with a pack of folks and inspire a group to start a Canoe race on the mountain. Billy can be found traipsing back and forth to Mississippi gathering up lawn mowers to repair and delivering ones he has already nursed back to health, still finding time to make at least one trip per year to see his favorite team Notre Dame and take one or more guys with him.

Some people say marriage is 50/50 but in reality it is much deeper than that. Each party has to give 100 percent to the effort. Jesus told us in Matthew 19:5, “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”.

Their differences make them stronger and encourage others to follow their footsteps. Congratulations Billy and Ann Vance!

Repaying the Favor

August 28, 2016

In the 80’s someone cared about missions in Arkansas. Someone gave a dollar or some dollars to The Dixie Jackson Missions Offering for Arkansas State Missions.

Actually several people cared and gave several dollars showing their love and concern for fellow Arkansans. Some of those dollars helped support mission churches around Arkansas and to build young churches like First Baptist Church Petit Jean.

It was 1988 while the church on Petit Jean Mountain was still meeting in a mobile chapel supported by Dixie Jackson Mission offerings that I grasped what state missions meant and could do.

Our church in the delta of northeast Arkansas was comfortable, (though not as nice as our building on the mountain) and stable. It was pointed out that there were other congregations in Arkansas that needed help and support just as others had helped us years before.

I was happy to learn we did not have to send our money overseas to do missions, but that missions included helping our neighbors like the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home in Arkadelphia and helping support new congregations that were in parts of our state that we may never even get to visit.

This year’s theme, “Living the Gospel” is what Jesus would have done. He didn’t just have a lot of classes and seminars, but taught His followers in small bites of daily life how to live, how to respond and how to give.

These words from the apostle Paul in 1Thesalonians 2:8 exemplify what missions is about, “We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”

Now we as individuals and as a church get to repay the favor that someone else did for us.


An Empty Shell

August 21, 2016

As a boy I remember summer evenings filled with a loud racket outside. The noise was so loud you could hear it not only outside; but also inside with your windows closed, or in your car with the windows rolled up and air conditioner on.

As if that was not enough, when you would go outside there would be creepy bug looking shells on the trees, on the sides of the house, and I have even seen them on the side of the tires on my car.

If you happened to see one of these critters, the real insect, you could see that it was a weird looking insect that only his mother could love. The shell that was left is scary in itself. It has bulging places where its eyes once were. Then, when you pick the skeleton from the place it was left by the insect, you will find on the end of its legs, hook like claws built for climbing and holding on.  I can almost picture those appendages being used as weapons.  I would hate to have one turned loose in my hair on a dark night. At the very least it would scare you to death, or make you hurt yourself.

When you realize it is an empty shell, you remember the insect is probably still alive. The really good news is that when you look at the empty tomb, you will see it was vacated.  The tomb is an empty shell and Jesus is risen and alive! As Matthew 28:6 says, “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.”

The empty tomb is a reminder of the true Victory in Jesus!

 


In Training

August 14, 2016

This week we have seen many world class athletes competing for medals at the Olympics. Many of these youngsters have trained from the time they were a small child

Many of the stories behind the journeys are as interesting as the events they are participating in. The obstacles they overcome as well as victories along the way paved the way for the competitions.

One thing that is consistent with most competitors, and especially the winners, is the persistence to keep on until the task is finished.

Many of you remember the rather large comedian Jerry Clowers whose country humor is well remembered and quoted many years after his passing.

A story Jerry shared was a time he was flying to one of his meetings and a passenger sitting beside him, recognizing him, offered to buy him a drink. Jerry responded, “No, I can’t, I am in training.”

Seeing Jerry’s rotund size the other passenger asked, “For what?” Jerry then answered, “I am in training for heaven.”

Yes, Jerry Clowers was a Christian and used such opportunities to share his faith with others.

Let us follow this advice from the writer of Hebrews 12:1, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”

It is not enough to start, but we must finish well.

That Reminds Me of a Song

August 7, 2016

Some of us are blessed with a memory of hundreds of songs. Some are classical, having been to dozens of choir and band concerts as well as going to sleep in my late teens to a college NPR station that only played elevator music until it went off the air at midnight.

Some are old country ballads and folk type songs which were Dad’s favorites, as well as what stocked the bargain bins at KMART, WALMART, TG&Y or whatever discount store we happened to be shopping in at the time.

Most are Hymns and praise music from the earliest corners of my recollection from churches we attended or from Maw-Maws own voice singing them to and with us.

So either a tune or lyric can at any time trigger a song or at least the first line of hundreds or maybe thousands of songs. So at one time or the other, many have been my ‘favorite’ song; even having several ‘favorite’ songs each day. The song can become my favorite either by the message, the tune, or the messenger (the one delivering it).

My current favorite is “Standing On The Promises” sung by Hadleigh from her car seat in the back of MeMe’s car. Wednesday to and from the mountain, that was the song she just started singing on her own. That triggered precious memories of singing with my Maw-Maw and other family and church singalongs.

What a blessing to live in the moment the apostle Paul spoke about in Ephesians 5:18-19 where he said, “Be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”

 


Goodbye July

July 31, 2016

July is winding down and we have not seen temperatures as hot as it could be. We have even seen a few showers that have kept the grass needing to be mowed as well as keeping the ground from cracking completely.

A lot of hot air has been let into the atmosphere this month in Ohio and in Philadelphia. While there have been a few bright spots, by and large it has been more of the same with another trip to the polls with your stomach in knots because you are choosing to vote for the lesser of two evils.

A bright spot and cool breath of fresh air is that we have been able to participate in our annual Christmas in August by receiving an offering to help support the young people at the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home in Arkadelphia.

This offering helps to get these children ready to start the school year. We are blessed to be able to participate in this offering and have a part in the lives of children we may never meet, or maybe even one who might become the governor of Arkansas, a senator, a representative, even the president of the United States, or the next Rev. Billy Graham leading our country into revival and a closer walk with GOD.

This is an opportunity that we have to act as Paul advises in 2 Corinthians 9:6 where he encourages us: “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly or of necessity (i.e., not because someone has talked you into it), for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2Cor. 9:6).

After all, we do not have to give this offering; we get to participate in the mission effort. GOD bless you as you serve HIM!

Given the Situation

July 24, 2016 

I can remember the discussion concerning some of the Arkansas Razorback teams. One week the team would beat a ranked team and spirits would be high that we might win a national championship; the next week a cupcake team would come in and mop up the field with our men. The comment was made, more than once, “it will be interesting to see which team shows up.”

We live in a time where many of our countries’ leaders are guided by where they are and what is going on at the time. We see men and women acting and re-acting differently based on where they are and who they are with.

They live publicly one way and different privately. They may even have multiple public and private lives based on where they are and what is going on at the time. It is as if we have to wonder ‘which person is going to show up this time.’

Our generation has been so indoctrinated in the methods of situational ethics. We must go back to the principals set forth in God’s word, The Bible which tells us in James 5:12, “Let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay.”

We must return to the God of our fathers who kneeled to seek wisdom and strength, to be able to stand for righteousness at every corner. We must walk with God daily to be able to stand for truth in every situation. Ephesians 5:15-17 reminds us to, “Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”


Real, Imagined or Intentional

July 17, 2016

Tuesday evening as we settled into our seats to watch the play “Moses” at the Sight and Sound Theater in Branson, I was listening to a voice behind me that sounded somewhat familiar. Being 200 plus miles from home, I dismissed it as someone with an Arkansas nasal twang.

Then a stranger wearing a Kansas City hat looked down our row and said, “Rick”. I looked down the row to see who was going to respond and he repeated, “Rick, how are things on Petit Jean?” Now I had not responded because no one had called me ‘Rick’ in like forever, (because that isn’t my name).

The voice sounded familiar, and I probably would have recognized him without the hat, but there in the flesh was Bro. Robbie Tingle.

When I told him my name was Bill, he said, “I know, but I couldn’t help it!” Knowing Bro Robbie, it probably was intentional and that is one of the things to love about him.

As things worked out, there was a row or two of Arkansas Baptists behind us. You just can’t get away and not behave.

Bro Robbie and Dr. Sonny Tucker send their greetings and look forward to returning to worship with us.

God reminds us that we are never really alone. He reminds us in Matthew 28:20, “Lo I am with you always, even to the end or the age.”


Half Empty?

July 10, 2016

The age old question, “Is the glass half full or half empty?” is determined by ones’ perspective of the situation.

The answer is not always the same even by the same person. Whether it is half full or half empty could be based on what is in the container.

We have now passed the mid-year point and depending on your point of view you will look at 2016 as half over or half started.

As a Christian we realize all of this is temporary, and we have only just begun on the journey that lasts for an eternity. We can relate as the writer of Psalms 118:24 says, “This is the day that the LORD hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” 

Every morning we wake up it is an opportunity to “Rise and Shine” as a child of GOD. When we take that attitude we wake up knowing we are just beginning, rather than all washed up.

GOD, Thank YOU for the future ahead rather than just a look back.

 

The American Dream

July 3, 2016

The early Americans had a dream that motivated them to leave their part of the world to travel to this country in search of something better for their families.

Most came for religious liberty with the hopes of fertile ground and an opportunity to carve out a place for themselves. They wanted places of safety and the freedom to worship as they pleased.

The next generation continued to forge a country that became not only successful in agriculture but also industry and technology. This success shaped and changed the dream.

The dream became to own a home and car as they became available and popular. This increased to two or more autos and in many cases a boat and or motorcycle and or ATVs as the dream expanded for our generation.

To keep the dream alive most if not all homes are fed by two income families and the god most Americans serve is the god of materialism. Compromises are made as Jehovah God becomes less and less important to the average family.

Is it any wonder that it hardly caused a ripple when our own president said, “We are no longer a “Christian” nation”? God forgive us.

The writer of Proverbs 14:34 reminds us with these words, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”

God forgive us and let us return to a nation You can bless and exalt. Amen.


Happy Father’s Day

June 19, 2016

I was blessed to have a dad who devoted most of his time and energy to raising his family. He was a fix it kind of guy who had the ability to repair, rebuild, or create something with little or nothing.

I came across a quote this week that says, “Do not educate your child to be rich. Educate him to be happy. So when he grows up, he’ll know the value of things, not the price. – Unknown.”

Several times in my life I have watched him take something that seemed to be beyond help and hope and bring it back to a usable state where others would have given up. In doing so he demonstrated the importance of perseverance and also not to throw something or someone away too quickly.

Dad gave us a lifetime of memories of happy times. Though we were not the wealthiest kids on the block, sometimes I think we were the richest. A young man reflected on what his dad gave him for presents. He said his dad would give him fishing poles and tackle but what he really wanted was for his dad to take him fishing.

Our dad made time for fishing trips and excursions to the swimming hole even though most of his life he worked six and a half days a week.

Dad taught us the importance of worship and spending time with God. Because of dad’s influence and impact, all five of us young’uns and most of his grandkids will be worshiping God this morning. Dad not only believed “Spare the rod and spoil the child” (Proverbs 13:24), but he also lived by faith in Proverbs 22:6 that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  

Thank You God for our Christian dads training the next generation leaving a legacy that will make a difference.

That Goes Without Saying…

June 12, 2016

Many times when talking to friends, we can almost finish one another’s sentences. Sometimes phrases are so overused there is no need to repeat them. In fact, after a while they just die a natural death.

This week I passed a church sign that would change from one phrase to the next as you drove by. The only trouble was that as I approached the sign it showed the times of the church. Then when I was very close the message changed to, “God is Always” and I drove past before the message changed.

My first inclination was to turn around to wait to see the entire message. But due to traffic and the need to move on, I continued on my way; contemplating what it might have said. And… I tho