Monday, March 31, 2008

Did You Know?

He was a fiery young Episcopalian preacher named Dudly Tyng. He was bold, fearless and uncompromising. His father, Rev. Stephen H. Tyng, was a "pastor" at the large Episcopalian Church of the Epiphany in Philadelphia. Dudly served as an assistant to his father and finally succeeded him in the pulpit. More and more people grew upset with him because of his bold and straight-forward speaking. He eventually resigned and with a group of faithful followers organized the Church of the Covenant. Tyng began holding noon-day services at the YMCA. On Tuesday, March 30, 1858, over 5000 men gathered to hear him preach. As a result, 1000 of these men responded by committing their lives to what was preached. The sermon was referred to as one of the most successful of the times.
During the sermon, the young preacher remarked, "I must tell my Master's errand, and I would rather that this right arm were amputated at the trunk than that I should come short of my duty to you in delivering God's message." The next week, while visiting in the country and watching the operation of a corn thrasher in a barn, he accidentally caught his loose sleeve between the cogs. His arm was severely lacerated and his main artery was severed. Four day later infection developed and as a result of shock and a great loss of blood, Dudly Tyng died on April 19, 1858.
George Duffied, a "pastor" of the Temple Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, preached his morning sermon as a tribute to his departed friend. As he closed his sermon, he read a poem of six stanzas that he had written stating it was a result of the dying words of his esteemed friend. The poem went like this: "Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross! Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss. From victory unto victory His army shall He lead. Till every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed." Did you know?

Friday, March 28, 2008

What Do You Think?

I would like to hear from you and find out what you think determines someone who is spiritual and someone who is fleshly. This is should make for a good discussion and hopefully some true insight, so write away......

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Daughters Are Special!

Daughters are extra special! All my children are special to me, but my daughter, she is extra special. It is true that daughters are "sugar and spice and everything nice." I do not want my other daughters to think I don't think they are not special to me (the ones by marriage). They too have a very special place in my heart.
From the very beginning, my daughter had me wrapped around her finger. She could work her dad. It made her dad overly protective in some areas and putty in her hands in other areas. She could bat those eyes, use that sweet, simple tone and get her dad's attention. I protected her, even up to the time she married Darron. Darron doesn't know how lucky he is for me to "let" her marry him!!! :)
Enjoy this father's letter to his daughter's boyfriend....
"Dear Spike,
I have been unable to sleep since I forced my daughter to break off her engagement to you. Will you forgive and forget? I was too sensitive about your Mohawk, tattoo, and pierced nose. I now realize motorcycles aren't really that dangerous! Also, I really should not have reacted that way I did to fact that you have never held a job. I am sure, too, that some other very nice people live under the bridge in the park. Sure, my daughter is only 17 and wants to marry you instead of getting her college degree on a full ride scholarship. After all, you can't learn everything about life from books! I sometimes forget how backward I can be. I was wrong. I was a fool. I have now come to my senses and you have my full blessing to marry my daughter.
Your future father-in-law
P.S. Congratulations on winning the Powerball lottery!!"
Daughters are very special! I love all my daughters and as those have come into my family, they too have learned the art of stealing the heart of this father! My flesh born daughter has taught them well and if they read this, I pray they will always know how I feel about them. I now have two granddaughters. One has learned the secret of maneuvering me and the other I am sure, as she gets a little older, will learn too. What is bad about all this, I know it happens and the spell they put me under is too great to fight against!!! To all my daughters......I love you very much and you will always be special to me!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Did You Know?

Horatio G. Spafford was born in North Troy, New York in October of 1828. He had deep religious roots and was a devoted student of the Scriptures. As a young man, Spafford established a successful legal practice in Chicago. Several months prior to the Chicago Fire of 1871, Spafford had invested heavily in some real estate on the shore of Lake Michigan. The Chicago Fire completely wiped him out. In need of some rest, he arranged a European trip taking his wife and four daughters in November of 1873. Due to an unexpected last minute buisness development, he had to remain in Chicago for a few days but he sent his wife and four daughters on ahead as scheduled on the S.S. Ville du Havre. He planned to follow after his business dealings. On November 22, the S.S. Ville du Havre was struck by the Lochearn, an English vessel, and sank in twelve minutes. It took several days for the survivors to land in Cardiff, Wales where Mrs. Spafford wired her husband, "Saved alone." Spafford boarded a ship to join his bereaved wife. As his ship passed the area thought to be where his four daughters lost their lives, he penned these words: "When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul."
We can hear the inspired words Paul wrote from God: "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God." (Col. 3:16) The songs we sing should have meaning to us as we sing with thankfulness to the Lord. That only comes if we allow the word of Christ to richly dwell within our hearts. It becomes more apparent in times of turmoil.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

God Said No!

He stood up during the assembly. He was an older gentleman, quiet spoken. The words came out of his mouth, "I want to thank you for your many prayers offered on behalf of my son. He is 21 years young and he died yesterday of the hepatitis in Abuja. God answered our prayers and He said 'No!'" With tears falling slowly down his cheeks but with a confidence I had never seen, he continued, "Our God is a wonderful God. In my sons death, may God be glorified. To God be the glory in his death and in our lives!" As he sat down, the congregation in one accord said, "Amen!"
This happened at one of the assemblies where I was given an opportunity to preach while I was in Nigeria. I sat there, listening, with tears in my heart thinking to myself, "How many of my brothers and sisters in the states could do what he did? In fact, how many would give God glory and thank Him for saying 'No' in the death of one of their children?" My mind went further and I thought, "How many would even show up for the assembly when their son just died?" Many of my brethren would be in shock, wondering why God did not answer their prayer. We have great difficulty in God telling us 'No' but when something happens the way we ask God for, we rejoice and thank Him for answering our prayer. It reveals how little we really trust our Lord and understand our God. We rejoice when things are answered according to our requests and we question if God even hears us when He is really saying 'No'! Just look at Jesus who asked 3 times for the difficulty He was facing to be removed. God said 'No' three times. Paul asked God 3 times to remove the thorn in his flesh. Three times God said 'No'! David prayed fervently that his new born child would not die and God said 'No'! In each case, God was glorified in the life of the individuals. No moping about. No depression. No staying home because they just can't function today. Just giving thanks, rejoicing and finding a great strength beyond themselves to move forward.
I learned a lot in Nigeria that day. I am ever so thankful for what God revealed to me through these dedicated brothers and sisters. I found myself encouraged by their faith shown and it made me give thanks to God because I am His child. This Nigerian Christian man was at the lectureship each and every night (one full week) while I preached, glorifying God. It makes me ask, what would you do? That means some serious soul seaching and honesty in heart.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cookies...A Love Story!

An elderly man lay dying in his bed. In death's agony, he suddenly smelled the aroma of his favorite chocolate chip cookies wafting up the stairs. He gathered his remaining strength, and lifted himself from the bed. Leaning against the wall, he slowly made his way out of the bedroom, and with even greater effort forced himself down the stairs, gripping the railing with both hands. With laboured breath, he leaned against the door frame, gazing into the kitchen. Were it not for death's agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven. There, spread out on newspapers on the kitchen table were literally hundreds of his favorite chocolate chip cookies. Was it heaven? Or was it one final act of heroic love from his devoted wife, seeing to it that he left this world a happy man? Mustering one great final effort, he threw himself toward the table, landing on his knees in a rumpled posture. His parched lips parted; the wondrous taste of the cookie was already in his mouth; seemingly bringing him back to life. The aged and withered hand, shakingly made its way to a cookie at the edge of the table, when it was suddenly smacked with a spatula by his wife. "Stay out of those," she said, "they're for the funeral."
Some marriages are just about this cold and ungodly. I recently had shared with me a situation of a Christian couple where the wife thought she was having a heart attack. The husband was so unconcerned that he would not even offer to help by asking, "What do you want me to do?". Cold, hard hearted and calloused had become his nature. How do people become this way? They
have left God! They have turned with all their hearts toward serving the devil and his desires. What is worse, they are unhappy, trapped in their own misery while blaming their mate for their misery not realizing sin has completely mastered them. Until they desire to turn to the Lord with their heart, there will be no relief and find no freedom. Sin is a terrible taskmaster and it creates so many marital problems, personal problems and mental issues. The words of Jesus ring clearly, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28) No rest from misery, game playing in the mind, depression and unhappiness until one comes to Jesus! And we have His word on it!!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

An Experiment!

I just want to see if this is worthwhile. This will be "OPEN QUESTION BLOG". If you have a Biblical question you would like to ask, write it and I will try to answer if from God's word. So go ahead, ask away if you want.....

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Lonely Position!

In my 28 years of preaching, I've witnessed many bizzare things. What never ceases to amaze me is how many in Christ Jesus can assemble with the saints week after week, yet have so little concern for the ways of God. I've seen young mothers continually sow to their flesh, until one day they leave their family to chase what they think is a dream life (in the form of another man). Their own relationship with their husband is lacking and someone gives them a little attention they have longed for and off and running they go, completely setting aside God in the process but telling themselves (and others) they love the Lord. I've watched men and other preachers, teach classes, serve as elders/deacons and do things completely opposite of God and His teachings. God's word seemed to have little impact on their personal lives. As I have aged, and hopefully gained a little wisdom, I can see things coming in people's lives just by their attitude and actions. I do not mean I know their future, but there are patterns people follow and you can watch it happen, while they are so blind to what is going on. When people do not take God's word to heart, they will be led down a path of pain with disastrous results and when it gets to that point, it is very difficult to put anything back together.
Sometimes preaching is a lonely position! My mind thinks of Isaiah when God told him to preach the same things over and over to the people, while they would not respond because they had such insensitive hearts and dull ears (Isa. 6:10). Isaiah asked, "Lord, how long?" God replies, "Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, houses are without people and the land is utterly destroyed." (Isa. 6:11) In other words, keep preaching and not concern yourself with the results. That is God's department.
The preacher Timothy was told, "Preach the word!" (II Tim. 4:2) Why is this so critical when people seem so uninterested? Because there will be a time when God's people will no longer want sound doctrine but follow their own ideas and a course of the world you cannot do anything about. (II Tim. 4:3-4) But God wants to make certain each and every one is given the opportunity to hear His word of truth so that each is without excuse! Too many preachers are concerned about what the people will think of them rather than what God wants done. They feel responsible for people's lack of response and interest so they turn to gimmicks, stories and entertainment. Preaching can be a lonely position!
I have come to realize that some brethren will go the way of the world/devil and there is nothing you can do for them. I know there will be people that will embrace certain things and ideas that no amount of teaching the truth will penetrate their heart. There will be some who desire God's word, grow in Him and recognize spiritual traps and dangers to avoid because of God's word. I know some will deceive themselves, not even aware of what is happening to their personal lives. Still others will accuse others for their own failures and delimas. People will find the assemblies boring because of their deadness inside their soul and they will try to stir something in another direction. It can be lonely preaching sometimes on this earth. Jesus experienced it. I know what I need to keep doing: Preach the word for the sake of all and leave the results to God! Preaching the word is a great comfort and blessing knowing all is up to God, not man.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What Children Teach!

The story goes like this: there was a little boy who came home from church services. His mother took him but his father never would go. It would puzzle the little boy at why his father would never go to services. This day, when the boy came home, the father was going to see what the boy was learning. The father asked, "How was church today?" The little boys eyes shined as he said, "You know what we learned?" The father said, "No! What?" The little boy said, "We learned that God drowned a whole army of Egyptians in the sea!" The father responded, "Son, I have to tell you the truth. It has been discovered by scientists that at the place where the Israelites crossed the sea, the water was only 6 inches deep." The little boy looked puzzled for a few minutes, then with a big smile said."WOW! That is amazing how God drowned a whole army with 6 inches of water!"
Children have the most pure and innocent thought processes. They show us God many times. I love being around little children! No wonder Jesus, when His disciples asked, "Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" (Matthew 18:3), calls a child to Himself, sets him before them and says, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:2-3) We need to learn how to trust and follow purity in our attitudes and mind set. We need to learn to be humble as a child. They teach us how to trustingly and humbly live and Jesus knows it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Pain, Oh the Pain!

I am in the middle of remodeling the house. I have taken down all the wall board in the house to replace it with new dry wall, new tape and mud, putting in more insulation. I took a complete wall out between the living room and dining room and put up a beam as it is a load bearing wall. I have taken up all the carpet and put down hardwood floors in the kitchen, dining room and living room. I am replacing all the interior doors with new ones, putting up crown molding and new base board throughout. My son is building in a cabinet in the end of the living room for all the electronic components. This has been a major undertaking and my dear wife has lived with a mess for two months now. I can finally see the end and I know she is rejoicing.
What I have learned is two things: (1) I am very thankful for my three sons for the great help they have been in all this. I could not of done any of this without their help. It is so wonderful that my children live in Jefferson City, something I would of never dreamed of but have a very deep sense of gratitude. I think it would kill me now if they left! (2) I am too old to get up and down like I use to. After a day on my knees, pulling, pushing and stabilizing hardwood flooring, I get up, standing like a 90 year old man, trying to stretch my back out, my knees ache (even with knee pads), my hands and fingers hurt and I quietly tell Resa, "The pain, oh the pain!" In which she replies, "You're not that bad!"

Monday, March 17, 2008

They Belong To God!

Jesus was questioned about taxes, to pay or not to pay (Luke 20:19-26). As Jesus called for a coin, He asked whose image does it have? They replied, "Caesar's!" Jesus responds, "Then render to Caeasr the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's."
Take a few moments and look closely at your children. Look deep into their eyes. Maybe this is asking too much from some parents. Whose image do they bear? They may have your features or your mates features, but look more closely. Look beyond the eyes, the features, all the physical and see whose image do they bear? It's the image of God!! They bear the image of God engraved on their soul. "Render to God the things that are God's!" School will demand their time and energy and we want them to learn....but they belong to God! They will want to follow their desires at times, not thinking about where their desires will lead them...but they belong to God! Work will will ask them to be diligent and time consuming....but they belong to God! Friends will want their affections....but they belong to God!
I wish parents would exert more energy and time, whatever it takes to make absolutely certain to take care of their child's soul. Parents get caught up in the world too much and offer too much of the world to their children. It is heartbreaking to watch mothers and fathers given such gifts (children) from God and take those gifts to use for the wrong purposes. Recently I witnessed a child telling his parents he did not want to be around "church people." I heard another young child say they did not like any of "this God stuff!" Another child spoke out plainly, "I hate church!" I can only imagine how God must feel, the Creator and One who made that child in His image, only to watch parents take that gift and turn them away from the very One they belong to. When children have little yearning for God, it tells one what mom and dad emphasize. The world hates God and when our children find a disliking of God, take close inventory. Too much world, too little God! The result is everlasting consequences and parents will be held accountable. Prepare their hearts. Prepare their souls to meet the One to whom they belong!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Busted For 25 Cents!

A fellow stopped by Burger King for a cup of coffee. It was miserably cold outside. Burger King gives 25 cent refills. Hardees refills are 50 cents. He keeps both a Hardees and Burger King coffee cup in his vehicle. As he got in line, he realized he had picked up his Hardees cup by mistake. The wheels in his head started turning. He didn't want to lose his place in line and go back out into the cold. He suddenly put a scheme in motion...he positioned his hand ever so carefully over the words "Hardees" and the big star logo on the cup so the cup could not be detected. His place came up in line. "What can I get for you?" the fellow behind the counter asks. "A refill please!" responded the coffee cup deceiver. He holds up his cup, quickly lowering it knowing his next move would be to the station where he can pour his own coffee. The man behind the counter says, "That's 27 cents!" Whew...he had done it. The man did not even look at the cup. Then the next thought hit: how could he continue to hold the cup in secret, get out his change to count it without letting go of the cup? His mind started working again. He pulled out some change in his pocket and told the man behind the counter, "Here you are. Take out what you need!" The man behind the counter picked out 27 cents. Whew, one more time...the plot had worked and he was headed to the coffee counter to pour his own cup. As he turned away, the man behind the counter said, "Uh, sir, the coffee machine out there is out of order. I'll have to get you some coffee from back here if you will hand me your cup!" BUSTED for 25 cents!

How many times people play games, trying to get ahead while putting their character and integrity in jeopardy over small simple things. What is worse, the Lord is very aware. God spoke loudly, " sure your sins will find you out." (Num. 32:23) Jesus said it this way, "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous in much." (Luke 16:10) The Lord is aware of each and every thing going on in our lives. As Paul pointed out to the Corinthian brethren, "...He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness." (I Cor. 3:19) In other words, when one tries to be deceptive or take advantage of situations, you are not getting by thinking you have out-smarted someone. You have revealed your character and that is before God. If we would deceive for 25 cents, what about bigger things?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Still Brings Tears

While in Nigeria this last year, there were so many things that took place. What I saw at times shocked me. I realized how easy we have things and how sheltered we are from real difficulites of others in this world. The thousands of people that lined the streets all day, even along roadsides out in the country. People with limbs missing and leperous. Children running up to your car wanting a hand out that would break your heart. Others would open your door, cleaning the windows looking for a handout. People selling chickens, snakes and all sorts of fruits/nuts to eat. (You had to be cautious about buying something because so much was contaminated.) I took showers and had to be very careful of not getting the water into my mouth or eyes because it too was contaminated. I went to a Nigerian hospital with malaria and saw the filth they work in. We know so little of such things here.
To this day, there is one thing have not been able to speak about. While speaking at the lectureship in Jos, Nigeria, there were about 200 preachers from across Africa that came to the lectureship. It was wonderful to see dedicated men, so willing to preach in such a hostile enviroment. One preacher really caught my attention. His name was Benjamin. He was a man in his late 20's. He wanted to meet with me the last day of the lectureship. As we met outside and began to speak, he was headed back to northern Nigeria to his home where he preaches. He had a couple of new scars on his face that I noticed. He was preaching in the middle of Muslim territory and was one of the first and only preachers to be able to make headway in the area. He thanked me for the classes I taught and the lessons I brought each night. He had a great confidence and faith in the Lord. He hugged my neck, kissed my cheek with tears of gratitude flowing down his face and then said he had a two days journey to return home. Then he said, "Please keep me in your prayers. I know that I can be killed upon my return home as I am hated by the Muslim's in the area." The scars were from a beating he had received recently from some Muslims for teaching about our Lord and Savior. As he walked up the hill, he turned, waved at me with a big smile and pointed to keep looking up. My heart filled with happiness and sorrow. His dedication and zeal were refreshing. I realized this young preacher in his cause for Christ would probably have a short life. I thought of Paul's meeting with the elders from Ephesus for the last time. It made me think if I could do that and I knew the answer. It caused me to do some serious soul searching.
Since returning, I received an e-mail from one of the preachers at the school of Biblical studies in Jos. This young was killed two months after returning home. It is difficult to speak about and I have said very little, even to my own family. A man dedicated to the cause of Christ. I met so many that really loved the Lord and their dedication in a hostile nation was encouraging. But there is not a day that has gone by, that some time during that day, my mind still sees this young man so committed to spreading the good news, waving, smiling, tears flowing and pointing to keep looking up and it still brings tears to my eyes.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

We Need Wisdom!

We need wisdom. That what is see as lacking in the lives of many. A person's behavior demonstrates their wisdom. People that are self centered, concerned more about how things affect them or when jealousy arises, reveals their source of wisdom and it is not from God (Jam. 3:13-16).

Advertisements bombard our airwaves about looking younger and staying fit. Pills for dieting or controlling ones life, new exercise equipment that you only have to workout for 15 minutes and you're done! Money making schemes, books on self-esteem and enhancing surgeries are the talk of people. The world's instructions on how we can become better are filling our minds. Many in the Lord's body are listening and responding to what they see and hear. Wisdom is shown in behavior!
I see parents raising children to be scoffers and foolish rather than training them in the wisdom and instruction of the Lord. Children have no understanding of the Lord or concern for the church, the body of Christ. If parents are foolish and scoffing, showing little to no interest in the things of God, where will they lead their children? Wisdom is seen in one's behavior. I heard a child tell his parents that, "I don't like this God stuff!" Children are out of control. They hardly respond to the voice of the parents and parents just allow it and accept it as being a child. Our young people are growing up with little direction or correction about godliness and holy behavior. Wisdom is seen in one's behavior. Parenting, godly parenting, is based on wisdom from God (Jam. 3:17-18).
The church at Colossae was instructed to conduct themselves with wisdom toward outsiders (Col. 4:5). Paul prayed for the brethren at Ephesus to be given wisdom from God in order to gain understanding (Eph. 1:17). Paul warned the Corinthian brethren about fleshly wisdom and the effects on ones behavior (II Cor. 1:12).
Where does one begin to find the wisdom from God? "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (Prov. 9:7) It starts with fear of the Lord. No fear, no awe or respect of God and one will gain no insight! You will be left to your own thinking and desires. That's the wisdom of the world. Parents need wisdom! Grandparents need wisdom! I need wisdom! The question remains, where is the source I gaining it from? You correct a wise person and they will love you. Correct a fool or scoffer and they will show you dishonor and become offended (Prov. 9:7-8; 15:12). Your behavior will always show your wisdom!

Monday, March 10, 2008


People are good at trying to manipulate people with guilt. Guilt is a powerful tool and is needed when people are in sin. But more and more are using guilt on others to get their wants and ways. I do not allow others to use their guilt on me!

I receive numerous e-mail forwards. Some I really enjoy, some I delete. What is unique about some I receive are those that are religious in nature. Some "mood" music set in the background along side some story tied back to Jesus. Then at the end it goes something like this: "If you love your Lord, then send this e-mail to 10 people you really care about!" There are variations of the ending, but most 'challenge' ones care or love for the Lord and others.

My mind goes back to the cross, when insults were being hurled at Jesus. "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" (Luke 23:37) "Are you not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!" (Luke 23:39) "He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One!" (Luke 23:35) "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!" (Matt. 27:40) Not once did Jesus have to respond to prove anything. He was not going to allow anyone to manipulate Him with insults or guilt to prove anything. His proof was doing the will of the Father and let the Father determine all things.

What about us? I do not need to forward an e-mail to someone to prove I love the Lord or care about others. If I must prove my care and concern for others by returning an e-mail, there is something terribly wrong. My love for the Lord is seen in my actions toward His name. To do things for Him is not to prove anything to anyone else. It is to do His will and learn how to please Him in all respects (Col. 1:9-12). If there is no condemnation in Christ, (and there isn't - Rom. 8:1), then why do people use guilt to get a response?

Friday, March 7, 2008

It's A Wonderful Life!

It was 34 years ago and as a 19 year old, extremely immature young man, that I walked down the isle with Resa. She is beautifu, then and now. Often I have asked how I ended up with a lady like her but no matter how anyone might wonder the same thing, I give thanks to God for bringing her to me. She led me to Christ. She shows me Christ and how to love, sometimes the unlovable (me).
The result of our marriage has been three children, two boys and one daughter. I love my children but I know every parent would say the same about thier children. I have no doubt that my children love me. One thing I have wanted and still want is my children to go to heaven. I am passionate about that. I want to spend eternity with my family. I tell them that often! I don't hear parents speaking on that much today. Most seem more interested in jobs, education or defending the ungodly actions of their children or blaming others for their children's lives rather than teaching them the reality of eternity (even when they are grown).
My children are all married and have brought in some of the most wonderful mates into our family. I have another son, who I highly respect and love. I have two more daughters that bring such joy and kindness into our family that words cannot describe how I feel about them. They all make me proud. I know there will be mistakes and difficulties, but with the grace of God and hearts set on His ways we will make this eternal journey.
But with all the above comes one thing: I miss my children in their youth. I miss that little hand that reaches up and puts their hand in mine. (My grandchildren bring back those memories.) The hand in hand walks with their love and dependence on you. I miss the sitting on a couch and the kids curling up beside me to be close and want to be held. I miss those innocent eyes looking at me with trust deeper than any ocean. I miss the teaching times of showing how things work or what to do. I miss the embracing because of hurts. I miss listening to their questions that pop into those little minds and their simple understanding about God. The Lord was so wise and wonderful when He spoke that children are a gift from God!
The years are gone and now my children reach out to teach me! They try to take care of me and I know the day will come when I might have to rely on them. But for now, I will hold to the memories, rejoice in the Lord on their account and continually give thanks for the wife that was so instrumental in helping me, guiding our children in the right paths of the Lord and loving me. What a wonderful life!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

All Talk but No Heart!

He was 46 years old and a professed believer. As he spoke to me in private, he shared with me he was having a mid-life crisis. He has been married for 23 years and related how his marriage relationship had changed and found it unfulfilling. His final words rang in my ears, "I just don't love her anymore! Am I free to move on with my life and be happy?" The statement and question are both loaded with fleshly desires. I asked one simple question, "Is she in Christ?" He nodded his head yes. I pointed out that she is not only your wife, but your sister in Christ. His face became set. I proceeded, "Would you simply love her as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her?" He grimmiced and said, "You don't realize what you're asking of me." I questioned, "Then would you love her as a sister in Christ?" His face grew more gloomy. As silence hit for a few seconds, I asked the final question, "If you don't love her anymore, and refuse to love her as Christ loved the church or as a sister in Christ, would you love her as your enemy and pray for her?" He shook his head back and forth and stated, "Why are you making things so difficult for me?"

Over the years I have had people come with the same mind set as this man. People who profess to believe in the Lord Jesus yet when it comes down to following Him, they balk. They want the eternal life Christ has to offer, but on their own terms. Our Lord and Savior does not work that way! (Just read Luke 18:18-27) It has to be your heart willing or you get nothing. So many are miserable because they are not willing to walk where the Lord wants them to walk with all their heart and find themselves trapped in their own desires.

Why do people fall "out of" love with their mate? Because they fail to practice the love of God for their mate! The one that does not love does not know God (I John 4:7-8). The one that does not know God does not have eternal life. The one that does not love takes up living in death (I John 3:14). It's not a mid-life crisis! It's a love for the Lord crisis! If a husband or wife finds themselves struggling with their love for one another, they need to examine their relationship with the Lord! That's where the problem really lies. Put on Christ and His love and walk in His love and you will find the love that you thought was missing. If one refuses, it will only take them deeper and deeper into themselves and their own desires while destroying the marriage relationship as well as their relationship with the Lord. It is easy to talk about the Lord and His ways, but if our heart is not tied to the Lord, with a willingness to love Him and follow, then we are all talk and no heart!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

How Long Do We Have?

Bear with me in this blog, please and read it all. I was sent this forward from several people and I thought it was worthwhile writing, but not completely for the reasons it was sent.
"About the time our originial thirteen states adopted their new constitutioni in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, has this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2000 years eariler: 'A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates wh promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 year, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith
From spiritual faith to great courage
From courage to liberty
From liberty to abundance
From abundance to complacency
From complacency to apathy
From apathy to dependence
From dependence back into bondage'

Professor Joseph Olson of Hemline University School of Law in St. Paul Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the 2000 Persidential election:
Number of states won by: Gore: 19 Bush: 29
Square miles of land won by: Gore: 580,000 Bush: 2,427,000
Population of counties won: Gore: 127 million Bush: 143 million
Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Gore: 13.2 Bush: 2.1

Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory Bush won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of this great country. Gore's territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare. " Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the "complancency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation's population already have reached the "government dependency" phase. If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal invaders called illegal immigrants, and they vote, then we can say goodbye to the USA in fewer than five years."
As I reflect on the above written, this is not only true of nations, but true of OT Israel. Read your Bible and you will see some of these very facts happen among the people of God. Not only this, but you see the very things happening in the church today. Israel was doomed because of their apathy and dependence, but not on God. Our nation is doomed because of our apathy and dependence upon the government. The church today is falling into the same mind set of apathy and dependence by following everyone but the Lord. We have lost the saving message for the world and our own lives. We have turned to the entertainment mode to move us. For many, they have become dependent on some man orchestrated experience (they call it spiritual) to motivate them in the assemblies. The gospel has lost it's power and flavor in many of my brethren's lives. Many want to capture the zeal they once knew, or create a zeal but are turning to the wrong sources and ideas to find it. They are not even aware of what is happening to them. The only question left is: how long do we have?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Be careful little mouth what you say!

People are too free with their mouths! They give no thought what they say and how their words affects others. There are those times when things need to be said for the betterment of all but wisdom is needed to know when (Ephesians 4:29). When tempers flare, the mouth can easily let loose and say things that one might regret later.
There was a little boy who had a bad temper. He would throw temper tantrums and would be disciplined by his father. One day, his father gave him a bag of large nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, not only would the discipline come but he would have hammer a nail in the back fence. One the first day, the boy had driven 17 nails into the fence! Slowly but surely, each day the nail driving was going down. Finally the day came when the boy did not lose his temper at all. He excitedly showed his father the fence with all the nails while not having to drive another nail in it. His father kindly embraced him and said that each day you do not lose your temper, pull out 5 nails. As the days passed, the young boy finally pulled out all the nails. The father took the young boys hand and said, "You have done well, my son! I want you to look at the holes in fence. This fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave scars like the holes in this fence. Saying your sorry is right, but the hole is still there."
"He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly." (Proverbs 14:29)
I was singing the song and the verse with my granddaughter, "Be careful little mouth what you say. Be careful little mouth what you say. There's a Father up above looking down in tender love, so be careful little mouth what you say." She quickly put her little hand over my mouth and said, "Shhhhh!" Message received!