From My Heart to Yours

 

 

                   

 

 

Bro. Bill Scroggs

Thank a Veteran

November 11, 2018

World War I veterans are gone. WWII veterans are passing away at an alarming rate as are Korean vets. Vietnam Veterans and even the veterans of the first Gulf war are senior adults. For years it was hard for me to think of the veterans of today being so young. Then I think of how young we must have looked to our mothers, dads, grandparents and veterans who went before us.

I think of changes in equipment and technology that has improved to help the lives of the soldier’s families in the past 40 plus years since I went to basic training. This generation has grown up with a cellphone in their pocket since junior high or in some cases earlier. We had to stand in line to make a call home on a payphone at least until we were able to make friends with the communications units.

The inconveniences pale in comparison to the scars and wounds many of these young men and women carry with them both physically and emotionally, having seen and lived through injury and inflicting injury to folks near their age. Since the 1970’s our military forces have been voluntary meaning of their own free will they serve our nation

Jesus willingly went to the cross to pay the debt we owed, laying down His life for ours. When you say your prayers thank God for our men and women in uniform who protect our freedoms and for Jesus who died to make us free indeed.
Bro. Bill Scroggs

The Time Change

November 04, 2018

One of the customs of Americans that creates confusion and lots of discussion of opinions is the moving forward and backward of our clocks during what we call Daylight Savings Time. Many people would love for us to stay on Daylight Savings Time year-round while others like the change back and forth and still others want to just leave it alone altogether.

Personally, I like the extra daylight in the afternoon we enjoy during the spring and summer months. I also enjoy the one Sunday (today) per year that we can grab the extra hour of sleep, unless we stayed up later because we got an extra hour.

The truth is we have the same twenty-four hours each day to use and how we choose to use it is up to us. Whether early, late or somewhere in between we must use the time and talents God has given to us. The writer of Ecclesiastes 9:10 reminds us, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”

Remember whether we have more daylight or less, use your time wisely.

Bro. Bill Scroggs

The Speed of Life

October 28, 2018

Wow, 2018 is quickly slipping away. November is just a half a week away and we are less than 60 days from Christmas which means 2019 is peeking around the corner.

Each year has its blessings and I am reminded that God has been good to us as He is good all the time. God is not the God of minimums, but He is the God of abundance. Too often because of the ‘speed of life’ we miss the blessings of every day. It seems we go from opportunity to opportunity (trial to trial) without realizing what our awesome God has done to carry us through the last one.

One of the blessings that touches me is the privilege of getting to serve with you here at FBCPJ. Thank you for all that each of you do to make our church special not only for each other, but for our guests. The apostle Paul reminds us in 1Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Thank you for being a blessing to me and my family.

 

Raise Your Hand
If You Want To Be Normal

October 21, 2018

I remember a few years ago when I was a teenager that most of the folks I grew up with apparently had a fear of being ‘normal.’ Everyone in their effort to be individuals became just as weird as everyone else.

You would think that as time goes by folks would grow up. However, judging by the photos I see on Facebook and other places, the guys seem to still be trying to look like each other. Most of them have the same haircut, (wide part) and colored gray or at least silver streaked. Their beard and mustaches are colored to match their hair.

I really can’t believe how so many of these guys my age are trying to look like senior adult men… But, I digress. The normal now is still not what I want to be. I do not want to act and look like the crazies of my generation or like the radicals of this day either.

We must reflect these words of 1 Peter 2:9, “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

I don’t want to be normal when I can be one of God’s unique and yes, even peculiar people.

 

There is Action, Suspense, Scheming…

October 14, 2018

The main character is a strong determined man with a mission on his mind. He has assembled a rogue team of friends to help carry out his plan. The operation begins to break down as the team dissolves. One of the more trusted, (the treasurer) conspires with the enemy. The main character accuses the toughest one of being weak and even says he will deny knowing him. The three closest friends including the toughest one and the one who said the main character loved the best, fall asleep during the most important prayer meeting of their lives.

Of course, I am talking about Jesus and his disciples, one of whom betrayed Jesus (Judas.) One betrayed Him three times even using profanity to deny their relationship. And… heaven only knows where the others were as Jesus walked alone to the place of the cross. However, that is only the beginning of the story. After His death and burial, it was found that the tomb was empty. Jesus had risen from the dead!

The story never gets old! In fact, it grow sweeter as we insert ourselves into this part of the thriller, obeying Jesus as He challenges us with the same words he used to call the followers of the first century in Matthew 16:24, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

What a Fun Weekend

October 7, 2018

Last weekend was a fun packed weekend and even the largest partiers were not able to take it all in. Friday night was EHC Picnic. Followed by breakfast at the church and then the 5k Praying Ninja Warriors walk/run (only Ariel, Easton, Abigale and Jeffery ran). By now the Battle of the Bands had started and some were able to attend while others were able to attend the Morrilton Homecoming.

Sunday Evening we were blessed by several songs and groups singing the oldies and then got to enjoy the “Warsher Womens” bringing down the house. The evening was topped off with tacos and cherry cobbler and other treats!

We even survived with Wayne and Phyllis away getting to see their youngest of six grandchildren baptized. We are reminded by the writer of Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” This weekend most of us got a good dose of that medicine and that was truly needed.

Praise The Lord!
Bro. Bill Scroggs

Because You Care

September 30, 2018

Missions work cannot just be put into a bucket or two. We actually have three major emphasizes for our missions, International (Lottie Moon), North American (Annie Armstrong) and State (Dixie Jackson) offerings. While we support these annual offerings, we also support the Conway-Perry Association and the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home on an ongoing basis.

Then we get to help with the Oppelo Food Bank and the Abundant Life Pregnancy Center in Conway County. Let’s not forget the drive for peanut butter or oatmeal in which we get to participate through the Conway County Care Center and we always have needs that pop up in our neighborhood. These are not obligations, but ways we are blessed which let us share with others as God has blessed us. We are reminded of this blessing in Luke 12:48 with these words, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”

On behalf of those we get to help, “Thank you for caring.”
Bro. Bill Scr

Just Wait Until Next Year

September 23, 2018

The above statement seems to have become as much a part of the Arkansas Razorback’s rally cry as ‘Woo Pig Sooie.’ With the new changes in our program this year there have been a few changes. Even after just three games the new philosophy has become, ‘It’s going to take a few years to get the losses turned around.’

This is not especially good news to those of us who are becoming more senior as the pages of the calendar are torn off. Now realistically, most of us are not clamoring for a national championship this year, but we would like to win some or at least not lose in such an embarrassing a manner.

I am not giving up on our team just yet, in fact I hope we get pleasantly surprised. The truth is, we will be disappointed if our hope is in a man or team. The only real hope is in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the real deal! In fact, He assures us with these words in John 14:6, “I am the way the truth and the life.” I like that! As a matter of fact, it is great to be able to stand with a consistent winner, not later, but now.

Have You Ever Noticed…

September 16, 2018

There are hundreds if not thousands of shades of paint colors from which to choose. Yet, no selection can totally capture the brilliance of a sunrise or sunset. Anything man does to try to duplicate a picture in his eye is replaced in the next second by an even more magnificent view. A drop of rain sliding down a rose petal or the sun reflecting off a ripe apple, each scene is met with greater vision… if we look around.

As much as we notice the clouds, the flowers and fruits, do you see the beautiful people around you? There are smiles, frowns, furrowed brows of concern and even bristles of anger. Sometimes we see individuals as they are and sometimes the true feelings are completely camouflaged. Someone appears completely happy, yet they can be hiding guilt, shame, hurt or a multitude of other feelings.

Each of us is unique and each of us is complex, yes, too complex to be summed up by a snapshot or quick glance. We are reminded in Mark 12:31 to: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The principal of our Dixie Jackson State Mission Offering is to see and notice our neighbors around our state who life may have scraped off the brilliance and bruised the shine. Remember the question in Luke 10:29, “Who is my neighbor?” The answer is: ‘Whoever God puts before us that we can.’

Bro. Bill Scroggs

She Was A Fine Christian Lady

September 9, 2018

A 107-year-old lady passed away in Star City. She was a friend of Wanda and Nolen Owen. When Wanda told me about it, she made this comment, “She was as fine a Christian lady as you could ever know.”

As I thought about that I thought about what a great testimony she had left. Many times as folks grow older we hear things about how cranky or crabby they got as they grew older. In some cases, our crabbiness is mentioned no matter how young we are. The fact is a couple of folks I worked with had the motto: ‘Life forces me daily to add to the list the number of people who can Kiss My Grits!’ What a blessing to see and hear about someone who lived an exemplary life and has gone on the be with the Lord.

I can’t go back to yesterday, but hopefully my walk and talk from here on out will be a better example just from hearing of the legacy of this fine lady. Let us live in Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight O Lord my strength and my redeemer.”

Bro. Bill Scroggs

Living On The Edge

September 2, 2018

There was a commercial a few years back that said, “If you aren’t living on the edge, you are taking up too much room.” That sounded kind of funny until I started thinking about trying to live on the edge at this age. Then I started to realize, ‘the edge,’ changes throughout our entire life.

As a child, ‘Don’t,’ was a challenge to see what the thrill would be. ‘Don’t touch that stove!’ ‘Don’t jump off of that!’ ‘Don’t…!’ and on and on.

Then in youth the dares and stakes became larger as well as the consequences. Then somewhere, usually about 25, your brain matures so we start making rational choices. Even then, occasionally, we find the desire to take a risk or so. And as we grow more mature we find that growing older is not for the weak of heart.

Many take the risk of surgeries and even take the meds prescribed by our physicians even after reading the potential side effects. So, as the one living on the edge, rest easy knowing Jesus said in Matthew 28:20, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

Bro. Bill Scroggs

                                                                                                                   An Interesting Interruption

August 26, 2018

On my walk back from the post office the other day, my tranquil thoughts were disturbed by angry yelling coming from a truck at the intersection about a half block away.

The truck was on a cross street and was loudly discussing the fact that a car was not moving from the street on the right in front of him. The funny part was the car had a stop sign and the truck’s street did not.

The car finally went ahead, and the truck drove on with the driver still giving the driver of the car what for. If I had been 2 minutes earlier or 2 minutes later, I would have missed this episode.

How many times are people in the right place at the right time to catch us in our moments of weakness.

I was reminded of the psalmist’s words in Psalm 141:3, “LORD, set up a guard for my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.”

Lord, Help us.

Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall

August 19, 2018

Can you recall where in the Bible that scripture is found? As a matter of fact, those words were penned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Many times, good sayings may be attributed to the Bible when they are actually from a secular source. It is important to know where our advice came from and in some cases, to avoid the words of wisdom because of where it came from.

The writer of Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” These words ought to be an encouragement to us to be able to live strong, pure and holy lives in the world today.

The truth is we all face adversities and trials in this world, but God’s word, The Bible, gives us instructions and a path to follow so we are not bamboozled by a world that lives by bumper sticker theology.

We are encouraged by the Apostle Paul with these words in Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And 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.

 

 Beautiful Summer Rains!

August 12, 2018

How precious are the drops of rain we are blessed to receive throughout the months of June, July and August.  We have been blessed with some decent rains throughout the past several weeks, but as August hit, it became very dry.  However, this week we received some nice rains. These showers of blessing came at just the right time.

In reality, this is what God does for us every day. He daily gives us the drops of mercy and grace in just the amounts we need. Even with all of his afflictions and trials, the apostle Paul received confirmation from God that, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

As we give thanks to God for each visible and invisible gift of love, He gives to us each day our daily needs.

 

            Home Again

August 5, 2018

1900 miles later and it is great to be able to be home. We had a couple of things on our list to accomplish while we were gone. And, as it happens on any vacation, there are always variables that enhance the trip.

One of the top objectives of our trip was to see our friends, Phil and Linda Chapman. We were able to have a nice visit on our first day out. It was great to see them face to face and reminisce about their years on the mountain. The next day we relaxed and saw the sites of downtown New Orleans. There were several interesting sites, but none that I feel the necessity to drive 600 miles to see again. Wednesday, we made the pilgrimage to the site of the Tabasco factory. While it was mildly amusing, I can now say, “Been there, done that.”

The last day we got to stop by and see my sister and wade out into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  The visit with my sister was a highlight, the gulf, not so much.  The best part of our vacation was getting to spend some minutes with Reta, clearing out our minds before school starts.  Of all the sites we saw, none was better than Petit Jean Mountain and the chatter of the fellowship of breakfast on Saturday morning.

What a blessing to, “Praise the LORD who has given his people peace, as he promised he would.” (1 Kings 8:56)

 

Why Does… ?

July 29, 2018

Have you ever just wondered about something? I often find myself asking Why, How, What or other questions about some aspect of architecture or even structure in nature.

This week I kept looking at a strange feature in the outside structure of a building. Why was there a cross beam in front of some of the windows? As I continued to look it became apparent to me that it was a honeycomb structure.
The pattern God gave the bees was not just an interesting pattern, but a structure of strength.

Look around today for the confirmation God has placed before you to remind us of these words in Psalm 139:14, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Then let us add the first three words of that verse that says, “I will praise Thee.” Yes, the answer to many of our questions can’t be answered by man’s answers, but by God’s answers. You (we) were made to praise and bring honor to God.
Bro. Bill Scroggs

This World is Not my Home

July   22, 2018

I remember when a few old timers would sing that song and at the time I thought, ‘what a quaint old song’. 

In the current world situation, I find not only myself singing the song, but some of the rest of us youngsters singing it without knowing the original words.

The things we held dear and felt were secure are no longer a sure thing. We learn over and over not to hold dear the things of this earth and to look forward each day to the time of reunion with loved ones and our Heavenly Father.

I think about Enoch and the words, “He walked with God and was no more” (Genesis 5:24). How sweet it would be to just draw closer and closer to God and see less and less of the violence, bickering, pride fullness, prejudice and hatred that is rampant even in our own state.

We are to be the salt and light in the world, but we are not to get comfortable with the way it is.

The apostle Paul, in Romans 12:2 reminds 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, wil                           

Walking With God

July 15, 2018

When we think about walking with God, one of my first thoughts turns to Enoch. Enoch was the man who walked with God and was no more.

His walk was so special that God just took him to heaven to be with Him. As special as that was, my thoughts turn to others that walked with God on earth with the trials of the day.

I am reminded of a young man named Daniel. Daniel had a close walk with God that did not take away the challenges of the moment, but we find God walking with him whatever we do, God tells us he will be with us always, even to the end of the world. (Matthews 28:20).

May we walk with God through the smallest or largest trials wherever we encounter them.

If You’re Happy and You Know It

July 8, 2018

As we have celebrated our independence there was no reason for anyone not to be happy… Or was there?
First off at one time England and its citizens probably were not happy when we declared our freedom from them, but hopefully they have at least gotten used to the idea.

There are some who are terrorists that just want to make us miserable. Our reasons to celebrate give them excuses to try to take away our joy. They want to make our lives uncomfortable and keep us in fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” When someone is so unhappy that they want to destroy your happiness, you can know they are far from God and need Him.

The truth is, most of the time when someone destroys our happiness it is because we let them. It is because we forget that our joy and happiness come from within and not from external circumstances. So when we have that joy, joy, joy down in our heart it will bubble up and come out, and our face will surely show it!

  My Country Tis of Thee

July 1, 2018

Sweet land of liberty, land that I love. As we approach the celebration of our country’s birthday, we have a lot of pride in who we are and from where we have come.

 Grit and determination in our beginnings were fueled by our faith in God and a sense of unity of purpose. Not only has a lot of our country lost their faith in God, but we see multiple divisions within ourselves. Many of the fractures we now have in our country can be attributed to the fact that much of our country has turned their back on the precepts and values of God.

We are reminded by the writer of Psalm 33:12 who said, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.” Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

 Is there any hope for us as a nation? Yes, if we follow these words from the writer of 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 

Twice in My Life

June 24,2018
Ever since I was a cub scout I have carried a pocket knife. The scout’s motto is “Be Prepared”, so to meet my obligation I kept one in my pocket. When I was in junior high we would drop knives, so I kept two or three in my pocket to try to trade up for what I wanted. If I got a good one I would quit carrying that one and get another cheap one to have to trade.

When I went into the army I was told to leave all knives at home. Sure enough all knives and certain fingernail clippers were also confiscated. I really think that was just a ploy to make us buy stuff at the PX because about 2-3 weeks later we were able to buy them.

I have a cheap little knife I have kept up with and carried for over 20 years. I was always looking for a small “Sunday” knife to carry in my dress pants and this one works. It has now been considered ‘contraband’ twice and that within 10 blocks. The first time was when I was visiting someone in the Children’s Hospital a few years ago and then again last week as I tried to go into the building for the Miss Arkansas Pageant. They didn’t even look in my Altoid box so I thought about putting it in there and slipping it in.

The writer of Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”’

I decided it would be better for me to be obedient and in doing so set a better example. God help us to make better decisions to bring honor You.

Bro. Bill Scroggs

Announcements

: HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

June 17, 2018

The Baby bottle campaign ends today, so please get your bottle
to Ann Vance.

Let’s keep in mind the Food Pantry. Donations may be left in the
fellowship hall.

Mable Steward Brannon
Our sweet Mrs. Mable joined other saints in heaven on Friday, June 15th. She and her husband Roy Brannon were leaders and Charter Members of FBC of Petit Jean

She spent many years working at the Museum of Automobiles and treasured getting to greet visitors and share about Petit Jean Mountain. She loved to tell stories of her growing up around Plainview, Ar., Mr. Roy;s time being a personal guard of Mr. Rockefeller and of course, her daughter, Phyllis and son, Lee. She was famous for her delicious CHOCOLATE PIE! Mrs. Mable will be truly missed by FBC Petit Jean. To God be the glory for her life.

Services will be at 2:00, Tuesday at FBC Petit Jean.

Never Alone

June 10, 2018 

When we are born we are cared for by our parents, grandparents or other caregivers for the first several years of our lives. As we grow we develop friends and are nurtured by Sunday School teachers, pastors and others along the way. Then when we went to school our list of friends grew as well as our independence from our parents and family.

Our circle of friends waxed and waned from time to time according to our activities. At times our relationship with family and even God is moved to a lower priority if we are not careful. Through the middle and later decades of our life our group of friends change. I am no longer surrounded by girls’ softball folks, army buddies, band parents or even coon hunters.

Sometimes even in a crowd as our priorities change we can feel alone.  However, whether lost in a crowd or in the wilderness, you are never by yourself. The writer of Deuteronomy 31:6 reminds us of God’s care with these words, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

 

Peace With God

June 3, 2018

Looking around we see a lack of peace all around us. We see country against country, neighbor against neighbor and even brother against brother.
Every time peace is mentioned we turn around once or twice and the prospect of peace has evaporated.

Pride, greed and hatred are running rampant. What a shame. Everywhere we look someone is looking at how they can cheat someone else because they are not satisfied with what they have.

Our problem goes back to the age-old problem of sin. Man has always wanted what we were not supposed to have. When we sin, it separates us from our relationship with God.

But… God Himself desired for us to be brought back into the right relationship with Him. In spite of our messing up God wants us back with Him. Romans 5:8 puts it this way, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

In spite of all we have done, God wants to make it right for us. Romans 5:1 reminds us, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

With all the problems in the world the good news is we have peace with God. Praise The Lord!

Memorial Day

May 27, 2018

The official birthplace of Memorial Day is Waterloo, New York. The village was credited with being the birthplace because it observed the day on May 5, 1866, and each year thereafter, and because it is likely that the friendship of General John Murray, a distinguished citizen of Waterloo, and General John A. Logan, who led the call for the day to be observed each year and helped spread the event nationwide, was a key factor in its growth.

General Logan had been impressed by the way the South honored their dead with a special day and decided the Union needed a similar day. Reportedly, Logan said that it was most fitting; that the ancients, especially the Greeks, had honored their dead, particularly their heroes, by chaplets of laurel and flowers, and that he intended to issue an order designating a day for decorating the grave of every soldier in the land, and if he could he would have made it a holiday.

Over the years as with many of our holidays, the true significance has been overshadowed by recreation and materialism. Let us not fall into that pattern.

God bless the soldiers and families who gave of themselves to protect the freedoms we hold dear. Remember the words of the Psalmist in Psalms 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.” May God bless the U.S.A. once again as we return and remember HIM.

Give Thanks!

May 20, 2018

As you read this I can just hear some of you saying, “Good grief Preacher this isn’t November and it sure isn’t a cold spell!”

But… Yes, I say Thank you! Every time I look around there is another reason to Praise GOD and give thanks for you. Why should I/we wait to give thanks for all of GOD’s blessings on us.

We just finished the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and exceeded our goal of $1600. And then with a project born of a vision by Phyllis Adams and carried out by Wanda Owen, we added another $300+ to bring our total over $2000! Names were gathered, lists compiled, papers folded, cut and holes punched to complete the project. Thanks to Wanda for all she did.

Thanks to all who have worked on the property next door. E.Kaye and Cecil Jones, Clayton and Linda Jones, Gwyn and Greg Gasaway, and Ann Vance. Then we have Wayne Adams, Nolen Owen, Bob Cody and Clayton Jones working on the parking lot and church through the re-roofing process.

Thanks for all the things large and small to keep our property looking great inside and out. The property next door is taking shape in part due to volunteers (more to follow about that later) and will present many opportunities to serve over the next several months.

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Bro. Bill Scroggs

 

Our Mothers

May 13, 2018

I always knew our mothers held a special place in our lives, but for the first six decades of my life I never had to celebrate a Mother’s Day without mine. A friend of mine lost his mom when we were about 11 or 12 and I remember his reactions at the time. Another friend, when I was in early high school, lost his mom and it was even more devastating for him because they had a closer relationship.

I remember Reta losing her mom several years after her dad had past away and it was different even from the passing of her dad, but at the time I still had my mom.

Since I became a pastor in 1988, I have conducted the services for several mothers. As I preached many of those services, I realized that there was coming a time when I would say goodbye to my mom and knew it would have a deeper meaning after that time.

Now that mom has gone, when our family talks or gets together, we laugh and reminisce about days in the past with mom and someone always brings up something mom taught them and often wishes they could ask her where … (something) is or how she did something. I often wish I had just a minute to tell her one more time that I love her. No, I would not bring her back for that, just wish I had told her more often.

The writer of Ecclesiastes 3:2 reminds us,” A time to be born, and a time to die.” Spend time with your parents while you can and parents spend time with your children.

Bro. Bill Scrogg 

Unity

May 6, 2018

Unity is more than just a word that seems elusive, it is something we desperately need. This year’s theme for The National Day of Prayer was Unity and there is probably no greater need for our country and world.

Unity is splintered at almost every turn. We see peace and unity split by fear, hatred, distrust, prejudice and everything in between. The world can’t begin to hope for unity until we are able to find it in our families, neighborhoods and yes even our churches.

Unity, like love, is easy to say, but requires action, even work to make it happen. We have to be willing to let others be first and even right from time to time. Paul tells us in Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.”

For unity to come, we must let it begin in and through us. When unity comes it is like a breath of fresh air. The writer of Psalm 133:1 puts it like this, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Bro. Bill Scroggs

Hang In There!

April 29, 2018

Nearly every time I have a conversation with my dad whether on the telephone or in person he will say, “Hang in there” as we are finishing the visit. It is a little thing, but sometimes even a tiny word of encouragement goes a long way. The fact is I have almost not even noticed that he was saying that, as well as so many little witticisms he used when we were growing up.

What made me even think of it this week was that Reta has for several years bought caterpillars for her classroom to watch as they ate their food and then attached themselves to the lid and hung upside down until they began to hatch from their cocoon.
No one had to tell them to attach to the lid and spin their cocoons, but by instinct they did what they were supposed to do. Probably in the wild it was more important to climb up on higher limbs to keep from being washed away by rains and maybe even to protect them from predators.

While nature gets their commands from their DNA we are blessed to have our parents or others to give us instructions even if it is for the simplest tasks. The writer of James 1:12 gives us these words of encouragement, “Blessed is a man who endures trials (hangs in there), because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those who love Him.” God Bless you and Hang in there!

Bro. Bill

 

Can We Say, “Spring Has Sprung?”

April 22, 2018

Gentle April showers, check. Thunderstorms every few days, check. Fresh ticks and buffalo gnats, check. Things are blooming, check. A layer of pollen covers everything, check. The warmer temperatures are here to stay, maybe, or maybe not so much. We have had nice weather this week in fact it has even been hot by some folk’s standards. It definitely is time for spring to be here, after all it is a month past the official date of spring. The camp sites are filling up, trails are bustling with hikers and there is activity all over the mountain.

The writer of Zechariah 10:1 gives us this refreshing picture of spring, “Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone.”

We might could say, ‘Spring has Sprung,’ but get real, this is Arkansas and spring means it can change at any time when you think you have it all figured out. All in all though, it is a great time to Praise the Lord!

The Loss of Another Friend

April 15 ,2018

This year, 2018 has started off with the loss of several of our neighbors here on the mountain. The latest of these is Mr. Hank Shaw. Hank had battled leukemia for some time. He had tried conventional methods of trying to overcome it and then some not so conventional and even experimental methods.

Hank moved to the mountain in 1959 and lived here with the exception of a few years in the military and a time in college for almost 60 years. Hank loved his family, his wife of over 50 years, his sister and his son. He called himself just a regular guy that loved the outdoors, his family, his mountain and his dogs.

Psalm 121:1-2 naturally would be a couple of Hanks favorite verses. He paraphrased slightly by saying, “I will lift up mine eyes unto this mountain from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth.”

His help welcomed him home and one day we too will get to join him where there is no more pain or sorrow.

It Is Just Arkansas Weather

April 8, 2018

It seems that every week we see something strange in our weather patterns. Many folks comment on the weather. In fact, as early as the 1800’s, Charles Dudley Warner said, “Everybody talks about the weather, But nobody does anything about it.”

Obviously, it has not changed much. We have had spring almost all winter and now that ‘spring’ is here we have Freeze warnings! It must be that global warming Al Gore warned us about. It is always good to have a voice of reason. If you complain about the cold this weekend someone will quickly add, “You will want this cool in August.” When we were up to our ears in rain in February, someone added, “Be glad, we will need it for planting season.”

We can’t change the weather, so we better just enjoy it. The apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:11 to learn to be content in whatever condition we find our self. When we learn to be content with where we are and whatever comes our way, we can sit back and watch while others waste their time fretting and complaining. Then comes the good part. We get to see that all the fretting and fuming never really changes a thing.

Rejoice! It is just Arkansas weather! And… again I say Rejoice!

He Is Alive!

April 1, 2018

Can you imagine the conversations on the first resurrection morning? The women first spoke to the angel of the Lord at the empty tomb who informed them that Jesus was not there, telling them to see where He was laid and then told them to go tell the disciples. As they ran breathlessly back to town, probably all they could get out was “He is alive!” With all that had transpired in the past forty-eight to seventy-two hours, there surely was no need to ask, “Who?”

There were few to none who had not witnessed or heard what had transpired. Many were processing what all of these events would mean to them, their culture, their government, their ‘religion,’ and truly the world.

He had been sold to the Romans by the ‘religious’ leaders many trusted. He was betrayed by one of His own followers. He was to be the Messiah, yet now lay in the grave. Yet… It is all changed by the words, “He is alive!” To many, that may have been even more confusing, but with Jesus alive, things were different. They were better, the living could go on. Praise The Lord, He is Alive!

In all the darkness surrounding our world at this resurrection season the good news to the world is still, “He is Alive” No Fooling!

It Is Official!

March 25, 2018

Without so much as a whimper or a squint from the eyes of Punxsutawney Phil, spring has officially arrived!
The birds are singing, flowers are blooming, tornados are hitting, and temperatures are rising into the eighties! And… except for the tornados these are welcome sights.
Even though this winter was not terrible, except for the part of not getting some good snows, most are welcoming these latest changes.

A beautiful addition to our church property is the flag pole standing where the old maple tree stood for so long. The folks who worked to help choose the pole and flags did a great job and with the nice spring wind blowing it looks marvelous!

The folks have started planting some crepe myrtles and other plants to give the property to the south additional beauty. We are waiting with anticipation to see how this project comes together. With this nicer weather I am sure Miss E. K. and Miss Ann will have something each of us can do when you get ready to volunteer.

With all of the beauty around us we can rejoice with the writer in Psalms 122:1 who said, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of

What Hat Should WE Wear?

March 18, 2018

As I write this, I think back to past Hat Days! Days where we have seen a lot of thought and creativity, as well as a few of us that have no creativity and it shows. The same can be seen in real life. Many of us have occupations that come with hats and many times our hats were a reflection of our personality. Some hats have a certain purpose while others are simply for fun or advertisement.

Over the years I have worn many hats. Some were required while others were indications of my support for my sports teams. Some of my hats were an indication of my preference for all around seasoning and others are to express my love and allegiance to my Lord. Sometimes a person’s hat is out of character and they might as well leave it off.

The Apostle Paul gives us this advice in Colossians 3:10, “and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.”

More than outward appearances may we put on the new man to show the world our Heavenly Father Who created us.

Is It Here?

March 11, 2018

With ‘It’ being spring, we can only hope spring is breaking through. The ground hog says, ‘Almost,’ but there is a lot of confusion. I mean this week we have seen temperatures from below freezing to seventy degrees. Daffodils are blooming and a skim of ice on the water in the ditches. Trees are budding, and robins are bob, bob, bobbing along. We definitely have enjoyed some spring like showers which will help keep the burn bans away as well as prepare the ground for crops.

Hopefully the Flu season has just about run its course, and we will all begin to breathe a sigh of relief. Today our time changed to Daylight Saving’s Time. I always like having more sunlight at the end of the day than earlier.

The writer of Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” I think we are ready for a new season.

Bro. Bill Scroggs

You Have Got To Be Kidding Me!

March 4, 2018

We have just completed the wettest February in history. I do not remember hearing anyone that was wanting more rain. In fact, most were wishing for it to slow down or stop at least for a little while. However, as I listened to the sounds of nature the other night, I heard the frogs ‘calling for rain.’ At least that is what the old timers used to say when I was growing up and the frogs were hollering.

As I listened I thought ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ Everyone is about saturated, the burn bans are lifted, the ponds, creeks and rivers are full and someone or something is not satisfied?
Then I wondered to myself, ‘Or do we not understand the language?’ I mean I don’t speak frog any more than they speak English. Could it be that what I perceive as being ungrateful was really the frogs using what they had to lift praises to God in their own way?

The writer of Psalm 150:6 reminds us who should praise the Lord with these words, “Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.”

Heaven forbid that I should remain silent and let a frog praise God in ways greater than I do.

Another Legend Goes Home

February 25, 2018

This week the world lost legend as Heaven welcomed another resident. The Reverend Dr. Billy Jack Graham left this earth behind to be reunited with his wife and a host of family and friends. Much has been printed and many tributes filmed and recorded as people from all walks of life have shared what an impact Dr. Graham had on their life.

I personally have been to see Dr. Graham in a crusade where possibly many of you attended. It was easy to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit both in the stadiums he filled as well as when he was on television, either live or recorded. What a blessing to have been in the presence of several great servants of GOD in my lifetime. In almost every case I was impressed by the feeling of humility that surrounded each of these men.

For several years myself and others have asked and or wondered who the next evangelist to the world will be. Franklin Graham, Dr. Billy Graham’s son is coming along, but does not exude the power or charisma his dad did. The question of his successor was raised this week and almost in the same breath the question was asked, “Or has he been aborted?”

That question is haunting as millions of babies continue to be killed each year and our legends pass into eternity each day. God help us.

 

Uncle Lonnie Gasaway

February 18, 2018

When I first met Bro Lonnie I heard one after another call him ‘Uncle Lonnie.’ I heard many referring to him as “Uncle” and him responding as a loving relative. After a short while I began to wonder how many folks he was kin to, or… were there not many forks in the family tree up on Petit Jean.

Very quickly I came to understand that Brother Lonnie Gasaway was ‘that uncle,’ not the weird uncle that everyone avoided, but “That Uncle” everyone wanted to be around and was compelled to listen to as a gifted storyteller.

You didn’t have to be around Bro Lonnie very long to know he loved his wife, Agatha of 69 plus years, his daughter Gwyn, his son Greg as well as a host of nieces and nephews both biological and otherwise claimed.

He was an avid sportsman, especially loving those Razorbacks. He stuck with the Hogs winning or losing, but his smile was ear to ear when the Hogs were winning.

Bro Lonnie loved to sing, and you could see him singing every verse even if he didn’t have his hymnal opened. He was rejoicing and praising God and his savior Jesus Christ. ‘Uncle’ Lonnie is now with The Heavenly Father compiling tales to share when we get to have our reunion with him.

Love Is…

February 11,2018

When I was a child, I spake as a child, but when I became a man I theoretically put away my childish ways.

As a youngster we made Valentines boxes for our cards and sent cards to each person in our room. I remember paying special attention to details on the cards for that one or two or three special girls to be sure it was worded just right to convey my exact heartfelt sentiment. I also remember being very careful to pick out a totally generic card for that “creepy girl” that might get the wrong idea on such an occasion and try to take advantage of it.

I wasn’t like my brother who wouldn’t send a card to the “creepy girls” unless mom found out and made him. Then I think he pitched them in the trash, so those girls couldn’t get confused as to his intentions.

As we grow older we understand what love really is and how God loved us even if we were the ‘creepy’ ones and sent His Son, Jesus to pay the price for our imperfections.

Yes, you are special to God. He loves you just as you are and desires that you return that love to Him.

WELL…

February 4, 2018

As I write this I can hear at least one of our men say… “That’s a deep subject” to which another will quickly add, “Yep for such a shallow mind!” And I can resemble that this week.

Dealing with the Flu this week was not on my radar… or agenda. In fact, I tried to leave it off my calendar completely. I find that I always get to learn something when I slow down. Some things I get/must learn over again. My mind is not as sharp as it needs to be when I am down to the point of having to take extra meds. To try to write or read takes longer because I keep losing my place or dropping off to sleep.

I am alert enough to realize it makes good sense not to try to make legal transactions after sedation. I make “badder” or “worster” decisions than usual. I see how Reta feels when I like it about 68 degrees. When she says, “It’s not that cold,” I know I have a situation.

I learn how to empathize with you in your plight as you empathize with me and my bunch during our trial. I learn again how weak I am and how to let go and depend on God. I am reminded of the last words of Jesus to us in Matthew 28:20 teaching us, “To observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” And that’s the Good/Great News!

 

Troublesome Times Are Here!

January 28, 2018

Just as the words of the song from Jesus is Coming Soon, we are living in some exciting and interesting times. They could be called troublesome times as well as they could have been most of our lives. We have had racial trials, economic trials as well as wars and rumors of wars. As we look through history we can see that probably every generation could have said the same thing.

The good news is that whatever comes around tomorrow, will not surprise God. He has already seen and knows our next week, next month, next year and for that matter, our next breath.
In fact, knowing God is in control and is with us through it all is a great source of comfort to me. Knowing that His plans for us are good helps when we see the blithering idiots who think they are in control.

It is good to have a shepherd to lead us as we see in the 23rd Psalm, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
Praise God!

 

Not A Creature Was Stirring

JANUARY 21, 2018

The temperatures fell and fell and fell some more. For even me the cold was beyond noticeable, it was inconvenient and even imposing. You could even say it was rude, I mean it was all up in our business.
When I went out to take the trash I could feel and almost taste the cold through the chatter of my teeth. It was so cold I almost put on a jacket just to take the trash out to the street.

One thing strangely missing was the sound of birds and squirrels. I heard not one sparrow, starling or finch. There was not even a squirrel scampering, rustling the leaves, chattering, teasing and intimidating me. Now that was a strange feeling. Cold and strangely even eerily quiet. It was as if the cold had frozen the sounds. The silence was broken as the engine in an automobile slowly turned over and started. Even the sound of the engine seemed muffled. It was bitterly cold.

As the temperatures rose above freezing on Thursday, guess what? Yep, the birds were singing, and the squirrels were chattering, and all was closer to back to normal. Every creature was doing what it was born to do. Even the animals know to do as the psalmist says in Psalm 150:6, “Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD!”

Let us Praise Ye The Lord!

That Kind of Day

January 14, 2018

Have you ever had one of those days that never seems to end? I mean a day that started off in a way that was not as well as you might have wished. Maybe your alarm didn’t go off and you woke up late. Then something was wrong with the clothes you had planned to wear and your coffee maker messed up so your breakfast didn’t go as planned. Your car is on empty and since you are running late, you coast into work barely on time, running on fumes both physically and emotionally. What a great day to have an evaluation at work and maybe announce job cuts in your company. What a great day to rejoice and remember to quote Romans 8:28, huh?

But, what about THIS kind of day? You awaken refreshed by a good night’s sleep, before the alarm goes off, ready to face your day. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and their fragrance literally fills the air. You have a spring in your step, a smile on your face and psalms and songs on your heart and tongue. You just enjoy your fellowship with God.

It was probably just such a day as in Genesis 5:24 that tells us, “Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” Now that is the kind of day I would love to have.

Cold Enough

January 7, 2018

The least necessary question asked this week would be, “Is it cold enough for you?” In fact, even the warmest blooded among us have been satisfied. I do like it cool, but it doesn’t have to be in the single digits for me to be happy.

In the summer the question is just changed to, “Is it hot enough for you?” The truth of the matter for me is that it is almost always hot enough for me. I mean you can always add more layers to stay warm, and put on more clothes than the law will allow you to take off.

The reality of it is that there are days of the year to please everyone. And if we just admit it most days are at least tolerable.
We are reminded in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

While we wait on the warmer, embrace the cold and if that doesn’t work for you hug a friend… unless they or you have the Flu. Then just knuckle bump.

The End of The  Year

December 31, 2017

As the days of the year are counted off I start noticing about November how quickly the year is winding down.

As we look back, I can remember when the years changed from the 1900’s to the 2000’s, and the concerns there were with computers from cars to refrigerators to banking issues. And… like most fears we have faced before, we survived with little to no disruptions to our lives.

Now we are already into the second decade of Y2K, we still face each new year with its own set of opportunities and challenges. What will 2018 bring? What economic, political and cultural trials or blessings will this year present to us?

No matter the direction our year goes we can depend on God who knows everything about our next days, our next month and even this year and the years ahead. God has reminded us in Matthew 28:20, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world”. With that in mind we can face our new year with a sense of confidence and excitement.

When Out On The Lawn

December 24, 2017

In the Christmas poem “Twas The Night Before Christmas,” the line “When out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter” conjures up some interesting visions. And I won’t even begin to try to describe the trauma I get when I imagine them “throwing up the sash.” I guess my mind just makes some weird turns, maybe even ‘U’ turns.

But really, when we think about the real first Christmas, think about the noise the angels made before the shepherds. What a special praise fest. I am sure the praises were the inspiration for the shepherds making haste to go into Bethlehem to see the Christ child.

After all the commotion at the manger, the angels left and the shepherds went back to their fields glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Despite all this excitement, Mary was able to keep all these things and pondered them in her heart.

It is important for each of us to celebrate the birth of Christ. Some will celebrate with a “Hark!” while others, “How still we see thee lie.”

Merry Christmas to all!

Bro. Bill Scroggs

Christmas is Coming!

December 17, 2017

It is always fun to watch the younger children as they begin to anticipate the days of gift ‘receiving. They have the wide-eyed wonder of what ‘Santa’ is going to bring them and even get excited just to get a glimpse of the old whiskered one.

This past week after going to a Christmas parade where participants were warned not to dress like Santa because the ‘real’ Santa was going to be at the end of the parade, Hadleigh has been so excited to tell everyone about the ‘real’ Santa.

For thousands of years the messiah was promised, and the world was told the ‘real’ savior was coming. Yet when Jesus came and was born in simple surroundings, most of the word missed Him because they were looking in the wrong places. Don’t miss the real reason for the celebration by getting caught up in the wrappings and trimmings of the season.

The real joy to the world is found in Luke 2:11 with these words, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

Bro. Bill Scroggs

The Road to Bethlehem

December 10, 2017

Over two thousand years ago a young couple made their way to Bethlehem, the city of David for a census called for by Caesar Augustus. While they were there the time came for Mary to give birth to Jesus who came to bring salvation to all of the world.

As I thought about the circumstances and the trials they must have had at that time, I thought back about forty years ago when Reta was expecting our first child. We were warned not to travel any farther than necessary in the last four to six weeks, so we pretty much stayed put for the last few weeks. We only lived about a mile away from the hospital and I remember us planning the route and timing the trip a time or two. The longest part of our journey was getting Reta into and out of the car. There were few unnecessary trips made during that time due to Reta’s discomfort.

Luke 2:1-4 tells us, “it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

Every bump on the road to Bethlehem was an answer to prophecy for our benefit. Jesus made the trip from heaven to earth to be born of a virgin, going through all that was necessary to bring salvation to us.

Bro. Bill Scroggs

 Leaving Your Mark

December 3, 2017

This week as I was thinking about the approaching CHRISTmas holidays, I pondered on the fact of celebrating the birth of Jesus.  There are very few men or women who have their birthdays celebrated for very long after they have left this earth. There are some, but they are most often remembered for giving us a day off more than for who they were. We celebrate the birth of Jesus more than any other birth and for most of us, instead of our memory waning as time goes on, we see our passion for the ‘true’ reason for the season growing.

The life of Jesus is remembered not only in the Bible, but we even today find ourselves motivated by the words from His mouth and the words written by eyewitnesses.  We find these words and actions of Jesus drawing us closer to God day by day

We also remember the death, burial and the resurrection of Jesus. There is so much Jesus left for us to remember Him by.  We can only leave the legacy we want by reflecting the love of Jesus that has impacted us.

Matthew 5:16 reminds us , “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

 

Oh, The Pushing and Shoving!

November 26, 2017

What a terrible sight! The pushing, the shoving, the growling, the gnashing of teeth, the elbows flying and the all-around confusion. And then after lunch… the family began to discuss politics with as much fervency as they used to devour the feast before them.
Conversations about a subject one is passionate, many times reveals the depth of character of the person, or the lack thereof.

The game known as ‘Black Friday’ is an interesting time that some people endure in able to get a bargain, while others thrive on the risk and challenge aspect of the game more than the products they get. At the end of the day, our differences are what make us strong. The apostle Paul gives us this advice in Romans 12:16, “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”

 

Take Time To Give Thanks

November 19,2017

It is that time of the year when giving thanks is getting squeezed out by the commercialism of mass marketing Christmas. Our country if not the whole world has so chased the dollar value of the season that it leaves both consumers and retailers frazzled and more than a little bit disillusioned about the reason for the season.

The weekend set aside to say thanks has been so pushed and pulled out of shape for what it was intended, that it is not recognizable. In fact, one retailer is trying a novel new approach. They are setting Thursday aside to let family and friends enjoy the time and give thanks. What a deal! It may actually blow people’s minds enough to be profitable for them.

Whatever the rest of the world is doing, take time to give thanks this week for all the blessings you have.
Give thanks for family, friends and for the real reason to give thanks to God for His gift to us, His Son, Jesus. And… take this advice from the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “ In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Veteran’s Day

November 12, 2017

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

Fast forward to 2017, a time when our culture is so wrapped in it’s own sense of self-importance we need to be reminded that someone, nay many someones, paid a price for our freedoms. God has blessed our country to allow us, not only the freedoms we enjoy, but to help protect others around the world from oppression even though many have failed to embrace our help.

In addition to thanking our veterans, we must give thanks to God for His protection of our veterans and this country. Remember these words in Psalms 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is The Lord.

You As An Individual

November 5 ,2017

Have you ever thought about how weird you are? I mean there is absolutely no one like you. Psalms 139:14 reminds us of our uniqueness and the ability to celebrate that characteristic with these words, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

I remember as a young person wanting to be an individual not in a freakish way, but to dress and act in a way to set myself apart.

So… I bought myself a couple of pairs of bell bottoms with a 2-inch cuff to go with my 2-inch, two toned tan and brown stacks (shoes for those not of my age). Of course, I had a pair of red-white and blue shoes to go with my white belt. The more I tried to ‘fit in,’ the more I found myself not me. I quickly grew out of those phases and even though I was different than a lot of the world at that time, I recognized me and liked who I was.

We are reminded by the apostle Paul in Romans 12:2, “And 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.”

 

Pastor Appreciation

October, 29, 2017


The time for a pastor to appreciate the fold God has entrusted to him cannot just be limited to one month a year, or one day in the month of a year. I am blessed to be your pastor, not just in October, but throughout the year and years. Y’all are a blessing to my family and me throughout the year.
Reta and I are enjoying this weekend because some of you stepped up to help make breakfast for our friends and neighbors this Saturday morning. I appreciate Ms Ann Vance stepping up to volunteer, not only her talents, but to also enlist others by volunteerism, coercion, black mail or whatever means necessary to get the job done. How ever you were enlisted or drafted, I appreciate all you do every day.


The apostle Paul expresses my feelings for you with these words in Philippians 1:3-5, “I give thanks to God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
I appreciate you and give thanks to God for you. Thank you for the many ways you extend your appreciation to me.
Bro. Bill Scroggs

A Weird Thing

October 22, 2017

When you start a journey, if you have no idea how to get there, you can go old school and get out a map, or go to your GPS, or google it on your computer, or just take out your phone and ask SIRI to find the route. The next choice is do you want the closest route or the quickest route. You may also want to choose a scenic route to see attractions you may have previously missed. In other words there can be many ways to get to the same destination.

When you are born we start on a journey that begins with directions from parents and other kin folks or caregivers moving or carrying you from place to place. As we grow our mobility increases and so do our choices. Our journey brings us closer and closer to eternity. We were born with a bent to sin which must be paid for. The path leads to judgement in hell.

However a weird thing happened, Holy God sent His Son Jesus to pay the price for us. Romans 5:8 reminds us, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God’s Love for us is weird indeed.

Bro. Bill Scroggs

 

Born To Be Mild

October 15, 2017

Every August to September Arkansans go Pig Crazy and Hog Wild with the start of a new football season. By October, however, reality has again set in, and we have established that we are not the powerhouse of the SEC…again. We again settle in to a season of once again being out of the running for the national championship or even for the leader of the SEC.

Instead of wild we find ourselves mild. I don’t think many of us woke up hoping to be known as mediocre. Each of us is made unique and special in our own way.
We must not only accept our limitations, but we must also capitalize on our strengths.

In Matthew 5:5, we are reminded these words of Jesus: “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” With that in mind, we should realize that walking with God is much greater than anything this world has to offer.

When our ways are pleasing to the LORD, all else falls into place, and that fall triumphs all other accolades on earth.

Bro. Bill Scroggs

A Mine Field

October 8, 2017

Most of us grew up in simpler times. We could play outside until dark without fear. We could walk to and from school without worry about abduction, stalking and a million things children and parents must be concerned about today. Now children are taught about “stranger danger” and other things they will have to worry about before they lose their first teeth.

We grown folks recognize potential dangers all around our children and grandchildren. Even things as simple as riding a bicycle is complicated by helmets, goggles, elbow and knee pads and gloves. The cost of the safety equipment can easily eclipse the initial investment of the bike. These childhood trials pale as the youngsters grow into adolescents with predators all around from the playground to the internet.

As parents and grandparents, we must help guide our charges through the mine field they face growing up by every means possible. We teach, train and set the examples for them to follow. Then we must pray for God to intervene on their behalf when we can’t be everywhere we are needed.

The writer of Ephesians 5:15 reminds us how we must behave in these perilous times with these words, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk–not as unwise people but as wise—” (HCSB).

Bro. Bill Scroggs

To Tell The Truth

October 1, 2017

An old show that has been revived is “To Tell The Truth”. It is funny to see how many people are fooled by the ones who are lying.

We live in an age when too many make their living by fooling others. Some fool us by illusions called ‘magic,’ and lots of us enjoy that whether or not we ever figure out how it was done.

We even like watching someone skilled in card tricks and other illusions, but we don’t like someone to plain old lie to us. That is why we are disappointed when our elected officials contort, stretch or in many other ways mutilate the truth.

It is great to know some things are straight and honest from the beginning such as Paul said in Titus 1:2, “In the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.”

To tell the truth, GOD is the real deal.

Bro. Bill Scroggs

Does a Game Change Anything?

September 24, 2017

By the time you read this the headlines will have been written considering the game between Arkansas and Texas A&M.

Arkansans will be reading about what a ______ (great, mediocre or disappointing {fill in the blank}) job the coach, team or certain players did this week.

All this past week the buzz around has been about the importance of this game to coach Bielema’s career. If he loses he will be closer to becoming unemployed. If he wins he is safe for at least a day or two.

As hours of these questions were discussed this week many others around our nation and even our half of the world were dealing with real world problems.

Some were returning to their homes to view the damage or lack thereof from the hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida.

Just south of us Mexico was reeling from one earthquake when hit by a second more deadly one.

For those folks, our piddling problem doesn’t even compare. Regardless of the outcome of the game(s) let us remember to pray for our neighbors dealing with true reality and not just a game.

Living For Jesus

September 17, 2017

One of my favorite songs is the title of this article. The lyrics were written by Thomas Obediah Chisholm and the first verse goes like this:

Living for Jesus a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.

These words playing over and over in my memory serve as a challenge for me to reach for a closer more consistent walk with Jesus, which in turn draws me closer to my Heavenly Father. The more I live for Him the more I see that God Himself desires that we walk with Him and live in a closer relationship with Him.

The writer of 2 Peter 3:9 reminds us of God’s patience toward us with these words, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Let us live for Jesus so others truly see Jesus in us.

 

Bro Bill Scroggs

You Don’t Grow Old

September 10, 2017

George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” With that in mind, we know some folks that will never grow old. A week ago, E. Kaye “Speedy” Jones and accomplish Ann “Houdini” Vance once again showed up at their canoe race with tricks up their sleeve. Arguably the two most senior entrants, they probably had as much or more fun than anyone there.

Part of their charm is that they know they are headed to ‘the land where you will never grow old (heaven.) It is said that it takes less muscles to smile than to frown. Certainly, these two young ladies have helped each of us to smile and use less energy.
The writer of Proverbs 17:22 tell us, “A joyful heart is good medicine (HCSB.) And E. Kaye reminds us every day, “Rejoice!”

Saying Thanks

September 3, 2017

We can collectively say “Thanks” to God for the showers we received this week. We did not get the massive amounts of rain that was predicted, and we can praise God for that. Most of Arkansas missed the storms that were supposed to hit, and instead we got a nice amount of rain to replenish our trees and lawns. We can thank God for the safety of His protection through the storms that many others had.

This welcome rain, and rains we have received this summer, will allow our friends camping out to have a fire this weekend. For those of us who have sat around the fire swapping stories and just fellowshipping, this will be another blessing to give thanks for as memories are made.

I am thankful that many years ago Arkansas Baptists started a Disaster Relief program through the Dixie Jackson State Missions Offering. Today we have teams in the south Texas area, feeding folks that were affected by the storms. It is a blessing to have the Disaster teams in state, but even greater is the blessing of being able to help our neighbors (missions) wherever they are in the world. The apostle Paul reminded us of this as he quoted Jesus in Acts 20:35 with these words: “I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Bro. Bill Scrog

Above and Beyond”

August 27, 2017

Today marks the beginning of our month long effort for the Dixie Jackson Offering for State Missions. Each gift will be used to help spread God’s word right here in our state. Please pray and give as you are led. Together we can make a difference!

Above and Beyond

Above and Beyond is the theme for this year’s Dixie Jackson Arkansas State Mission’s offering. As I pondered this, I felt a twinge of pride for our group of believers.

Above and beyond fits Petit Jean First Baptist Church. We are a group that opens our doors weekly to our neighbors and as we talk to them, we find that they feel comfortable here with us whether in worship or breakfast or community meetings, voting or any of the many ways we open our doors to our friends and neighbors.

This past few weeks we again went above and beyond by helping Sharon and Luis Leon get to The Mayo Clinic for Luis’s surgery. As you read this they should be in the motel waiting for a couple of fast and furious day leading up to Luis’s surgery on Wednesday the 30th.

You are there with them in prayers, concern and finances. Truly you have gone above and beyond in helping to meet these needs. You have shown on earth the spirit of these words from Jesus in Matthew 25:40, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Bro. Bill Scroggs

    

Better to Remain Silent…

August 20, 2017

Have you ever watched life without turning the volume up? A week or so ago I watched a situation play out that may have been even funnier without sound than with it. As I sat at a stop light, a couple approached from the side to cross. The lady quickly ran across and looked back to see her husband still on the other side. She began to frantically motion for him to come on across.

You should know this was about mid-afternoon and I was the only vehicle on the road. The man shook his head no and pointed at the light motioning with his hand and mouthing the words, 5, 4, 3, 2… I could not help but laugh as I watched her level of frustration escalate. I could not hear what she was saying, but as a husband of 40+ years my imagination may have been more exciting that the realty. And, I could see the playful excitement in the husband’s eyes as he watched her reaction.

Remember these words from the apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:15, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk–not as unwise people but as wise—(HCSB)”
After all you never know who might be watching or listening. 

 

How Blessed We Are!

August 13, 2017

We have good news and bad news mixed in with every day, and with that we must choose how we respond to the negatives.

My dad put it this way, “Some days a man eats a bear and some days a bear eats a man.” We live in a world where there are a lot of sad and terrible things that happen in our lives. Many people just focus on the bad things and express it as “I just have bad luck.” I have even had some people tell me, “You’re just lucky.” I know the truth, I am blessed beyond what I deserve, but lock has nothing to do with it.

The truth is God is working on our behalf if we just give Him half a chance because He loves us and is concerned about our well-being.

Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us how concerned He is about us with these words, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” What a blessing that is.

Rev  Bill Scroggs

Dog Days of August

August 6, 2017

 

As a youngster, the words ‘Dog days of summer’ were haunting to me. I knew it had something to do with the continual, unrelenting heat that came with the last of the summer vacation. Mom once said the days were so hot and not even fit for even a dog except to just lay around. Of course, with the popularity of air conditioning things have changed a lot.

While I went through this season as a growing boy it was my opinion that I could feel the choking ‘dog’ collar tightening as the start of school loomed more and more inevitable.

These days can bring excitement. The youngsters ‘get’ to start their new school year hopefully in a new grade. Reta gets a new classroom of pliable students to mold into the scholars that she can send on up the line for their next mentors.
The wise writer of Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

What God calls purposeful for us we must not call bad (a dog,) but embrace as the ‘day that He has made and rejoice in it!’

By Rev. Bill Scrogg

Yea! School Is About To Start

JULY  30,  2017

There were two things that made our summer fun come to a screeching halt. The first thing was the announcement for ‘Back to School Sales!” and the other was the start of the ‘Christmas in August’ mission effort for the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home in Monticello.  When I was younger, the announcement of those two events stirred up fear in my heart for the inevitable start of the beginning of the school year.

Now as I have matured I try to ignore the back to school sales but I look forward to our offering for Christmas in August. In fact we so look forward to it we start in July so the offering can be there before the youngsters start school. We will be sending the offering soon so pray about what you want to give and let’s give these kids a good start to their school year. Also pray for these children.

Pray for their safety as well as their future so God will use this offering far greater than just for the money.  Remember these words of Jesus in Matthew 25:40, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

How Will The Headlines Read?

July  23, 2017

Many years ago, a friend of mine was under conviction for his sins and many times he asked me, “How will my headlines read?” As he related to me a recurring dream of being arrested and his sins being broadcast to the whole world. After many months or even maybe a year or so, his dream, no, nightmare came to pass. While he and his family lived through this nightmare, it could have been avoided had he heeded the warning.

Almost every week we see a public figure brought to humiliation by their actions. In today’s world, there are cameras and recorders in almost every public location you enter. So many things come to light that may not have been exposed in the past.

We are reminded by the writer of Numbers 32:23 that there is a time of accounting and making known of your deeds with these words, “Be sure your sin will find you out.”

The good news is that our relationship with God can be restored and He wants it to be restored. He provides the way in 1John 1:9 in this way, “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Now that is great news!

Bro. Bill Scroggs

 

Level of Commitment

July 16, 2017

The very attitude toward commitment has changed in our lifetime, and not for the better. In days gone by, deals were made on a handshake and sometimes even without a handshake. In fact, the financing for the purchase of my second house was arranged with just a phone call to a banker I had not even met at the time. The way I was treated by that bank as a young man, led to my loyalty to that bank thirty plus years later and two moves away from that town.

Today people change jobs, cell phone carriers, internet providers, cable or satellite company and on and on. We have no sense of commitment to anything past the immediate meal before us.

I was reminded of Peter when he stepped out of the boat to walk on the water committed to walking with Jesus and taking his eyes off Jesus, Peter began to sink. In his failure, Peter was exposed by the outward appearance of his wet clothing. The problem today is there is seldom any outward evidence of the failures of commitment and if there is, it is largely ignored because we know someone who is worse than we are.

The good news, no, the great news is that God is committed to you. He encourages us with these words in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

 

 

Have You Ever?

July 9, 2017

Almost every week someone starts a conversation with the question, “Have you ever?” It doesn’t matter if the subject is sports, gardening, movies, health issues or practically any other subject, the stories begin to fly. Everywhere we go there is a world of people with experiences most of us would never believe. Each of your friends has a story from their life that could help explain why they are the way they are, or why they are where they are in the process. Some people jump into life creating many of these interesting responses while others are content to sit on the sidelines and let life roll on by.

The truth is you are different from everyone you know. For some you can say, “I wish I had this trait or that trait” that your friend has. For others you say, “Thank goodness I am not like them.” We can thank God with the Psalmist in Psalms 139:14 that said, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Thank You Lord for making me as I am. Even with the quirks I have and without the weird quirks of my friends.

 

 

Let Freedom Ring!

July 2, 2017

In our lifetime, we have enjoyed the freedom of being able to worship as we please much like our parents and grandparents. The methods, frequency and even fervency has changed due to technology, transportation and methods of communication. These changes have not all been for the better.

Men and women in early America faced hardship and challenges to carve out this country that we love. Many gave their lives to forge the principals of our freedom for the life liberty and pursuit of happiness we enjoy today. The trouble with trying to live in the shadow of our forefather’s dreams is that too many times the passion is lost through the lack of struggles and the presence of complacency.

Our nation was created and dedicated on Godly principals abiding deep within the fibers of our founder’s DNA. The convictions were so engrained in their hearts they were willing to fight to have the privilege of thinking for themselves and worshipping the God they loved.
America was made great because they lived and died by this knowledge and conviction found in Psalm 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” May we return to those principals and convictions so we can let Freedom live in our hearts again.

 

 

Thank You

June 25, 2017

Last weekend y’all helped to celebrate my birthday. I want to say thank you, though that seems inadequate for the things y’all have done, not only last week, but throughout the year. You are a special group of friends not just to me and my family, but each member of our church knows the bond we share is greater than just acquaintances and greater than even most friends.

You have made me and my family feel welcome from the first visit to the mountain. Even just talking to Mrs. Tommie Adkins the first time on the telephone, I sensed something special about this church. Over the years I have witnessed it again and again as many folks, (now friends) have experienced the same thing. There is a love and bond here that must be shared.

Thank you for sharing that love and compassion for my family and me once again last week. 1 John 4:7 tells us, “Dear friends let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” This is evidence of your love, Thank you.

 

Happy Father’s Day

June 18, 2017

Over the years I have observed many different styles of dads. Some were very tender and compassionate while others were harsh and even cruel. Some had the patience of Job and others were as quick tempered as a rattle snake, ready to strike at the slightest provocation.

I can remember dads who used the time with their children as teaching times not in old schoolmarm sort of way, but in a nurturing style, promoting learning. They would use little things to teach principals taking each lesson in bites their children could handle. They would rejoice in the successes and encourage further growth. Other dads that acted like they were irritated to ‘have’ to be with the brats (and no wonder, they were brats). If their little one asked a question they were met with a sharp rebuke either physically or verbally or both. Many times you would see the child recoil in fear even before action was taken because they knew what was coming.

In myself, I have seen several of these dads. Some of their examples helped mold me into the man I am today, mellowing to make even stressful events productive learning tools for my children and grandchildren. Consider these words of Malachi 4:6, “He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

Let us become the dads and granddads God wants us to be. Then it will be a Happy Fathers Day.

 

Abilities Unlimited

June 11, 2017

Every day we find one more thing we are not able to do. Mobility limits us in ways that did not slow us down yesterday.  When we drop something, we think before we bend over to pick it up because it is further down than it was when we were younger. Also, when we get bent over, it takes more effort to get back up.  But, when we see our strong women and the things they can do, it is an inspiration to each of us. They are like the Energizer Bunny. They are “still going” and “still going.”

A few years back a couple of our ‘seasoned lady citizens’ decided to take up canoeing. Now mind you it was cool weather when they started and by mid-summer they were competing.

George Bernard Shaw once said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”  So, as we think about our diminished ability, we should perhaps remember that the children of Israel were small in their own eyes because they saw themselves as grasshoppers.

We must pick ourselves up and remember these words from the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Living under these thoughts helps up to see that our abilities are unlimited.   

 

Expecting

June 4, 2017


When we wake up each day we have certain things we believe are going to happen. For instance, we think when we get into our cars, we expect them to start and take us where we want to go. When we go to the wall and flip a switch we expect to see the light come on. If we go to the refrigerator we expect not only the light to come on, but for our milk to be cold and tasty.

I hate to pour the milk onto my cereal only about half way full to see chunks spilling onto my cheerios. The expectation then is turned to disappointment especially if that is the last of the cereal and/or we have no more milk.

Even though we have many things that are dependable, things of this world can sometimes disappoint us. However, we can depend on God.  Hebrews 13:11 reminds us that God and His Son Jesus is: “the same yesterday, and today and forever.”

I am glad that God is not only dependable, but exceeds our expectations.

 

Memorial Day

May 28, 2017

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.

How America chooses to celebrate this special weekend is as varied as we really are. While some who have lost a relative or friend will place more importance on the significance of the holiday, others will just pocket the time and live it to the max on themselves.

That being said, maybe it should remind us that is what freedom is all about. That is part of the sacrifice the men and women gave and that we have the privilege of making choices every day whether anyone else likes it or not.

We ought to respect and honor the folks who gave their lives for our freedoms, but that was not part of the deal they made when they agreed to serve our country. After all it would not be freedom if we were required to celebrate it a certain way.

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.

 

We Are Blessed

May 21, 2017

Many times in my life a question has come to mind.  That question is, “Why have I been so fortunate to live in this country at this time?”  I have been blessed to live in an age where we can have the comfort of climate controlled houses and even heated and cooled transportation. We have the ability to keep our food stored at a safe cool temperature for days or even freeze and keep it for months.

Our food can be prepared in the convenience of our homes with stoves, microwaves and other kitchen appliances.  We can pick up a simple meal from the window of our car or sit down in a restaurant offering almost any venue one can imagine.

In less than a half a day, with the transportation we have, we can be in one of the six states that border our state or possibly any of the other state that border those states.

All of these things, as great as they are, do not compare to the blessings of being a child of GOD. We have direct access to HIS power, strength and love on a daily basis because HE loved us enough to send HIS Son Jesus to pay the price for our salvation so we can have everlasting life (John 3:16).

For sure, we are blessed! 

 

Mother’s Day

May 14, 2017

What is the difference between a mother, a mama and a mom? First and foremost, mom is much simpler to spell. I don’t believe even the most cultured mother ever tried to teach her child to say ’mother’ as their first word.

‘Mother’ is the more formal term of endearment given to the lady who cooks our meals, washes our clothes, doctors our skinned knees and tends to our broken hearts and bruised feelings.

A mother becomes a mom as she helps to catch fish, tadpoles, grasshoppers and worms (especially for the little boys), and tolerates an occasional frog, bug or minnow pulled out of a pocket.

A mother becomes a mom as she takes her brood on outings to the library, the local park, the pond, creek, or other swimming hole.

A mother transforms to mom as she evolves into a teacher, nurse, psychologist, chef, or a myriad of other tasks she is required to handle in a day’s time. God gifts the mom to be able to ‘make it better’ while still handling many other opportunities every day.

A mom or mama becomes a mother as she ages gracefully with her children. As her children become how old their mom ought to be (somewhere between 40 and 50 usually), a metamorphosis takes place. It is like going from the familiarity of ‘Doc’ to ‘Doctor’. The child begins to understand what mom has done and has gone through, and gives her the respect she has earned as a mother.

I thank God for all the great mothers, who were or are terrific moms to kids, or as dad would say, ‘warts’ everywhere.

 

 

We Could Use a Little Rain

May 7,2017

We could use a little rain. In reality we can use a little less and we can only use a very little. We have had enough rain to satisfy almost any person and too much for most of us. In fact, most of us want a few days to recuperate and maybe get caught up on our yard work.

As the spring rains come and go, we will again be looking for a little rain before we know it. The excessive rain we have experienced this past week, or so, has shown us again just how limited we as humans are. Poor and wealthy alike have seen their property destroyed. Matthew 5:45 remind us that it rains on the just and the unjust. We see very quickly that things are not as important as people.

Our cooperative program dollars, as well as Dixie Jackson State mission’s offerings, will be used to help our neighbors across Arkansas and the rest of the mid-south that has been affected by these storms.

God, thank You for the rains we have received. Thank You for blessing us to be able to help our neighbors and in doing so, reflect the love You have shown us. And we could use a little less rain, at least for now. Amen

 

Sealed With A Kiss

April 30, 2017

When I was young, (and I was once), I sometimes got a note with the initials ‘S.W.A.K.’ Somewhere down the line I was informed that meant ‘Sealed With a Kiss.’ This came to my mind as I was contemplating the kiss of Judas that sealed the deal that identified Jesus as the leader of the Jews whom the Roman soldiers were seeking. This kiss of betrayal did not ultimately seal the fate of Jesus, but forever in history has sealed the image in our minds of the one who sold a friend for thirty pieces of silver.

A gesture considered to be an act of love, was bought for approximately a month’s wages in his day. Considering each piece of silver worth a day’s pay, it would never be thought of as just ‘all in a day’s work.’

The true fate of Jesus was not sealed with that kiss, it was actually put into play from the foundation of the world when God provided His Son as the ultimate sacrifice for us. In Ephesians 1:4 the apostle Paul says it like this, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”

Our Lord and Savior received the kiss of betrayal to seal with a kiss the love of His Father toward us.

Challenges

April 23, 2017

From conception to the grave life is filled with challenges. Our first million or so challenges were beyond our control, and praise God we had a Creator that guided us through the first nine months.  After that we begin to face some challenges we can control and even some challenges we create. Some of the challenges we face can come from external sources.

I am thinking about the times of which we are aware  in the Bible, where the devil challenged God’s servants, including His Son Jesus. First, the devil tempted  Eve and Adam, then challenged Cain with his relationship with his brother. What about the challenge to be obedient and follow God for Abraham, Noah, Jonah and a host of other servants of God?

In the same way, we can find ourselves tempted or challenged, if you will, on almost a daily basis. We are faced with, at the very least, a diversion of our attention and loyalty to God. Probably most of our challenges could be solved by following Matthew 6:33 that says. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”

And yes, that too, is a challenge.

 

Victory in Jesus

April 16, 2017

“I heard an old, old story. How my Savior came from Glory.” These words from the familiar song, “Victory in Jesus,” stir memories not only of the song, but also of the victories each of us have had as we walked with Him.

We remember the saving power that brought us from our captivity in sin to a relationship in His presence…there no longer to be a palace slave, but to become a child of The King of Kings.  From debtors to sin and spiritually bankrupt, we become heirs of The Heavenly Father. No longer are we rejected as we rightfully should be, but we are accepted as “family” because of the blood of Jesus that sets us free and covers a multitude of sin.

We didn’t straighten up, but we were brought into a right relationship with God because of the sacrifice of His Son Jesus.  In Romans 5:8  we are reminded by the apostle Paul, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God, thank You for this victory. 

 

Powered By

April 9, 2017 

Everywhere we look we can find a thirst and, in some cases, even a need for power.  At one time, an advertisement appeared entitled “Powered by Intel.”

Most of us remember the two country boys who asked the question, “Has that thing got a Hemi?”

Especially during this time of the year, we see many commercials for emergency generators to provide power after storms knock out our electricity.  On his television show, Tim the “Tool Man” Taylor always called for “More Power!”  Most of the time such a request resulted in disaster.

Also, many advertisements exist claiming extra strength, muscle, and timely endurance through vitamins and supplements. Ultimately, the trouble with most advertisements is they over promise and under deliver.

The apostle Paul gives us encouragement today with these words in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me!”

Now that is a promise with real power.

                                 

 

The Birds Are Singing!

April 2, 2017 

“The sun is shining, the birds are singing and catfish are flouncing!” That is a phrase my dad used to say many times a year in our life when his day was going good.  I now find myself using a similar phrase on a regular basis.  My expression goes like this, “The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the fish are biting, and look where I am.”

I use that phrase at work as an opportunity to start or end conversations. The person I use it on many times will ask, “Are you a fisherman?”, and I get to answer, “No. I’m more of a wisher man. I wish I were fishing.”

We are breaking into spring, and if you listen just a little, you will hear birds all around you singing. As I listened to some this week, I thought that they too, must be rejoicing in the sunshine and warmer weather.  It is exciting to see and hear the sights and sounds of spring. They remind us to, “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD” (Psalm 159:6).

The birds are singing! Let’s join them!

 

Weak After Weak

March 26, 2017

We live in a time when week after week we see one crisis after another in our country. As far as that goes, we go from one dilemma to the next, day after day, week after week and month after month all across our world. The more man tries to fix the problems, the more clearly we see that man’s solution will not cure many of the problems the world is facing.

God knew the problem man faces is rooted in sin. The apostle Paul summed it up this way in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  Man’s weakness only sees weak answers to our problems (gun control, immigration reform, larger prisons, destruction of nuclear weapons, etc…). Each of man’s answers falls short because of weak thinking.

The answer comes when we understand that Jesus is the answer. Isaiah 55:9 reminds us that, “God’s ways are higher than our ways”.

The solution is simple. We must give our weakness to God who is able to use our weakness to show Himself strong.

 

March Madness

March 19, 2017

The motto of the NCAA basketball tournament is March Madness, but it could also describe the weather we have seen this month.  The past several weeks has given us temperatures below freezing as well as climbing into the eighties.

The warmer weather caused many trees and flowers to bud early and in some cases to flower. After the freezing weather, snow and sleet, I saw several flowers laying on the ground.

It is an interesting year and I am sure we have not seen the last of the opportunities. And… I am fairly certain we won’t have to say, “it was boring.” So far we have been spared from any major storms of ice, snow or tornados. We know God has protected us through it all and He has promised to: “be with us always, even to the end” (Matthew 38:20).

We will be able to say, “God is good all the time” and “All the time God is good.”

 

Well, Well, Well…

March 12, 2017

What an interesting week. There have been some beautiful blue skies with warm sunshine. We, also have enjoyed rain mostly with storms with which we were not quite as happy. And even now as I write this, there is a forecast for more thunderstorms and a possible dusting of snow for this weekend.

And to boot, we understand we will be losing an hour this Sunday under the guise of daylight savings time.

At least we can’t say it has been boring, but the good-news is God has assured us that, “He will never leave us or forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5).

Knowing that, we can say, ‘Praise The Lord!’

 

Give Us This Day

March 5, 2017

Jesus taught us to pray in this way in Matthew 6:9-13, “give us this day our daily bread…” As we pray this we can realize, He already has. He has given us the bread of life, His word.

We are told in Matthew 4:4, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.  “The Holy Bible is the Word of God and if we receive and enjoy His word each day, it will give us the strength to face each day.

The prayer of Jesus also reminds us that God gives us forgiveness as we forgive others, reminding us to be loving to others as He is loving toward us. The prayer reminds us instead of being a sponge, to be a channel of blessing letting God’s love flow through us.


Whether the Weather

February 19, 2017

Thank goodness our weather is not controlled by an overstuffed rodent pulled from his comfortable liar on the 2nd of February. However, many wait patiently to see Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction and even more, wait to see the predictions proved wrong.

This week either side of the argument can be made in fifteen minute increments. Sometimes I think GOD has a sense of humor that HE uses to show us just how little we really know.  We get up and dress in a heavy coat because it is below freezing and are in short sleeves by the middle of the afternoon.

Sometimes we flip from channel to channel watching multiple weather forecasters to see if we can get a more favorable opinion.  After all, each of them was possibly right for at least fifteen minutes. 

It is a good thing that GOD has it all under control. The writer of Daniel 2:21 reminds us, “HE changeth the times and the seasons: HE removeth kings, and setteth up kings: HE giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding.”

 

God So Loved

February 12, 2017

If February is known as the month of love surely GOD is the personification of love. All that we are and all we ever shall be is because HE loved us from the beginning to the end.

GOD is our creator. HE said in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our own image.” We are HIS crowning creation. He created the universe and said, “It is good.” HE created the animals and said, “It is good.” HE created the plants and said, “It is good.”

Then… when GOD created man HE said, “It is very good.” As HIS ultimate creation, I can only imagine HIS broken heart as our sin separates us from HIM. Yet HE loved us and provided not only a way, but the only way to a right relationship with HIM.

“GOD so love us that HE gave HIS only begotten SON that whosever believes in HIM shall not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).”

That is love beyond description and is absolutely out of this world!

 

Come All Christians,
Be Committed

February 5, 2017

I came across the title above while scanning our Baptist Hymnal. What caught my attention is the way this could be twisted either positive or negative. Most of the world seriously thinks we ought to be committed.  Not in the way we would like to be committed, but in a looney bin.

The truth is we must show the world we are committed. Like never in our lifetime, the world needs to see our dedication to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 16:24, (and us today,) “If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

That is the level of commitment we must strive for.

 

 What Makes You Feel Alive?

January 29, 2017

The title is a question that was part of a commercial that was on television as I prepared for this article.  Since I only saw a portion of the ad, it sent my mind into a series of questions concerning the focus of this question. 

Was it toothpaste? Was it deodorant? Was it a vacation destination? In reality, no matter how they try to sell it, external forces seldom bring joy to us, but rather bring disappointment instead of the promised results.

Jesus gives us not a solution, but ‘the’ solution with these words in John 10:9-10, I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

What a blessing when we come to God through Jesus (because He is the only way) we get to really live.

Now that will make you feel alive! 

Is It Contagious?

January 22, 2017 

During the flu, cold and virus season every time a cough or sneeze is heard we are driven to protect ourselves from the maladies at hand. Demonstrations have shown just how far a cough or sneeze can travel through the air. Compound that with a hug or handshake and see how quickly a bug can be transported around a room.

But there is something even more infectious, yes even more contagious than the flu, cold or virus and that is Love.

Communicable diseases debilitate and cramp the body but LOVE affects the world. 1 John 4:18 reminds us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.”  Yes, “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

LOVE is contagious, indeed infectious. Let us spread GOD’s perfect LOVE  to others.



Given Enough Time

January 15, 2017

Given enough time, many things can happen. Given enough time, most of us learned how to ride a bike. Given enough time, most of us learned how to swim. Givenenough time, most of us learned how to read and write. Given enough time, most of us settled down and got married. The settling down had to be given a little more time for some of us, if we ever did.

Given enough time, there are many things we can learn to do, but… for some things, there just isn’t enough time. Some of us will never have enough time to straighten up, and none of us will ever have enough time to get good enough to deserve the love GOD has given to each of us.

The writer of Galatians 4:4-7 reminds us that, “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.  Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

Thank GOD, HE had enough time for us.

Cold Enough For You?

January 8, 2017

I doubt there is anyone reading this who can say, “I wish it would have been a little colder this week.”  Even us diehard cool weather fans were more than satisfied for it to warm up a bit. This kind of weather will put icicles on your chill bumps if you’re not careful.

I think sometimes GOD uses some interesting ways to show us humans that HE is still in control in ways that are unexplained to us. Man whines about global warming and HE shows us single digit temperatures in Arkansas.  Next week we will see the 50s to 60s, and everything in between.

I say, “Rejoice!  These sub- freezing temperature are temporary”.  Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the LORD always; again, I say Rejoice!”

 

The World in Solemn Stillness Lay

January 1, 2017 

The last week of the year is always a time to “breathe a sigh of relief” from all the hustle and bustle. It builds from October through November and climaxes in December, then decrescendos to a quiet few days, only to begin all over again in January.

This time of the year I always think of the peacefulness of Bethlehem.  After the Angels heralded the birth of Jesus and the visit of the shepherds,  peace then settled in on the manger once again.

It gives me time to re-tool and reflect on the new year ahead. This year my solace was interrupted by a couple of aggravating events, including monthly inventory. But, challenges tend to put things in perspective, and that is good, too. It allows us to see how temporary things can be.

Philippians 4:8 reminds us, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”

Thank you for letting me enter a few minutes into my own world of ‘solemn stillness laying.’