Hugs

I still remember when we first realized that there was something wrong with our son.  It was devastating to us.  They told us that he would never tell us that he loved us and that he would never look us directly in the eye.  We were mortified as you can imagine.  I set out to prove them wrong.

I remember one night sitting at our son’s bedside as he was sick and praying.  As I prayed and begged God to know His presence I felt Him put His arms around me.  What a comfort.  I don’t know what it is about someone hugging you that gives such comfort.  Maybe it is the personal touch.  Some people require deep touch.  I mean then need not just a superficial hug; but, then need squeezed like you really mean it.  They find comfort in deep pressure.

The other day our son came into the living room and initiated a hug.  Glory to God!  He went back to his room to watch his movie.  I walked into his room and asked him if he needed anything.  He proceeded to fold his arms (which is an indicator of “no”) and raised them up a little.  He was telling me that he did not need anything.  Needless to say I cried like a baby.  He came to me just to give me a hug.  I guess he needed it.  I know that I certainly did.

Look at Mark 9:36-37, “And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.”  If you need a hug today and those around will not do it, I would reach out to Jesus.  He has the strongest arms you will ever rest in.

So, how are you doing?

 

Strings

Friday evening my wife and I watched a show on our local PBS station titled, “Note by Note:  The Making of Steinway L1037″.  It was very interesting.  I would like to order the DVD copy of the program.  I did not realize that Steinway located in New York.  That was really awesome to me.

One thing I noticed was how “hands on” the process of making one of these nine foot beauties.  As I watched each person they interviewed I hear from them a zeal for their job in the process.  It is their life.  They took great pride in that work.

I watched as the instrument was strung.  I immediately thought of the life of a Christian.  I thought how God takes the strings of our lives and tunes them to the exact pitch He desires for our individual lives.  Some strings are tuned tighter and give a higher pitch.  Others are not quite as tight and give a lower pitch.

It was amazing to watch these “masters” as they carried out their part in making the instrument.  It takes an entire year.  It is just like God because He does not get in a hurry.  God is more concerned with out character than our comfort.  I know this is not what we want to hear; but, it is the truth.  God has a plan for our lives and we must yield to that plan.  Look at Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

So, how are you doing?

My dear friend Brother Wes Gates sent me the following and I felt I needed to add it.  Here are his words of wisdom and truth.

“Note: each string has its own size and physical/mechanical properties.  One cannot replace a bass string with a high string…just wont work…

Maybe we in the Lord’s work should spend some time discovering OUR place rather then trying to copy or imitate a “higher” or lower string, most of us ain’t troubled with the latter choice. eh…”

Right on target Brother Wes Gates.  Thankyou!

Prayer

Very early in my ministry I did some counseling with a young couple that were having deep marital problems.  I remember the lady relating to me a story of an accident that she had been involved in. She related to me how she had called out to God in prayer.  There was one problem.  At the time of the accident she was not born again.  You see God will only hear the prayer for salvation from the unregenerated person.  The truth of Psalm 66:18 comes in to play.  I know this verse deals with those who know Christ as Saviour.  Yet I believe it has wisdom for us here today.  Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:”  The problem is “iniquity”.  Sin separated people from Holy God.

Even those of us who know Christ as Saviour have to deal with sin.  If we are living in sin we can rest assured that God will not hear our prayers.  He, Who is Holy cannot hear prayer from unholy people.

Today is Sunday.  It is the LORD”s day.  Some people who say that they are Christians will not even darken the door of His House.  Yet, they will “pray” and expect God to hear and answer their prayers.  One man labeled Proverbs 28:9 as “The Non-Church Goer’s Prayer”.  Proverbs 28:9 says, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.”  This is serious.  People who do not attend Church have turned away their ears from hearing God’s Law and the Word of God says that their prayer is an “abomination” (something makes God want to vomit).

So, how are you doing?

Borrowed

The other day I noticed a member of the photography club that I belong to had a nice lens for sale.  I was looking really close at it.  Then I noticed that I could not afford to pay the asking price.  I moved on.  I am sure that I might have been able to rent a lens like it for the day if I could afford a huge deposit that would be refunded.

I purchased a re-manufactured lens a couple years ago.  I hated it.  I did not take one good picture with it.  One evening I went on a photography club shoot and I ended up using the lens.  To my surprise, the images were much better.  No, I don’t have any idea what the difference was; but, I will take it none the less.

As I thought about this experience it came to mind that a lot of people are trying to ride on the coat tails so to speak of others.  They are just drifting along and borrowing things, ideas, etc…

One thing is for sure.  You cannot borrow your faith.  You must make it your own.  Faith by nature is your own because it is the taking of God at His Word.

So, what of your faith?  Is it strongly based upon the finished work of Jesus Christ or do you have wavering faith?  Just get close to Christ and He will bolster your faith.  I promise.

So, how are you doing?

Today

I have been down sick for almost a week.  I have been so physically weak that I cannot hardly do anything but lay in bed. Some would say this is due to my ever increasing age.  I have lived a pretty good life.  I have by all means not always done right by no stretch of the imagination.  Most days I have tried to live in such a way that others are better because of me and not bitter.

Yet in the grand scheme of things this means nothing.  It is not whether I do more good than bad.  It matters little that I have not pushed down anyone’s grandma or stolen hubcaps off of a moving car.

So, what does matter? God and my relationship to Him matters most.  My family matters.  My Church matters.  My friends matter.  Today, is the fourteenth (14th) anniversary of my thirtieth (30th) birthday.  A cake made by my wife will be very nice.  A missed opportunity to preach will break my heart; but,  I am too sick to fulfill my commitment.  Cards and well wishes will fill my day (I hope).

The greatest part of today is that I still belong to Jesus.  I am still His child and Heaven is still my eternal destination.  What of you my dear reader?  Do you know for sure if you died right now that Heaven is your eternal destination.  Contact me and let me show you how you can know for sure that if you die today that you will go to Heaven.

So, how are you doing?

Pointed Out

Today is another copied writing of my friend Russell Dennis Jr.  I hope you enjoy this on as well.

Pointed Out

In history, he is only known as Farmer Roberts, but his encouragement directed the way to victory in Texas.

In the late winter of 1836, Mexican General Santa Anna had crossed the Rio Grande River with 6,000 troops.  After annihilating victories at the Alamo and Goliad, in which over 500 men fighting for Texas independence had perished, General Santa Anna pushed forward to defeat the main army commanded by General Sam Houston.

Houston, whose ragtag forces numbered less than 1,000, had cautiously retreated towards the then existing boundary of the United States.  General Houston harbored the hope that the United States military might help and engage the Mexican forces.  Like George Washington 70 years before, Houston sought to save his army for one decisive battle.  That battle occurred in April when General Santa Anna divided his forces.

The road that the Texas army was traveling came to a fork on Farmer Robert’s land, with the left branch leading to the Trinity River and retreat, while the right fork led to Harrisburg and the enemy.  As the column approached the fork, everyone wondered in which direction the general would lead.

Farmer Roberts had his own view on the subject, and when Houston drew near, Roberts pointed to the right and shouted so loudly that all could hear:  “That right hand road will carry you to Harrisburg just as straight as a compass.”  The marching men took up the cry: “To the right, boys, to the right!”  And all proceeded to the right, with General Houston not saying a word.  (Brand, H.W. Lone Star Nation. New York: Doubleday, 2004. p. 442.)

On April 21, 1836, 25 miles southwest of present day Houston, TX, the defining battle erupted.  In eighteen minutes, the motley, but determined group of Texas freedom fighters defeated the larger Mexican force at the Battle of San Jacinto capturing the Mexican President.

Pointing people in the right direction sometimes brings wonderful and lasting results.”

So, how are you doing?

A Solemn Warning 100 Years Ago

I took this from my friend Russell Dennis Jr. and the e-mail publication of Heritage Baptist College.  I hope you enjoy reading it.

A Solemn Warning 100 Years Ago

“One hundred years ago, the Midwest experienced the Great Flood of 1913.  In the United States prior to that time, our country had only seen two great weather related disasters: The Johnstown Flood (1889), and the Galveston Hurricane (1900).

On Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913, the rains began in Indiana.  Several storms passed through the state, and the rain continued more than three days.  The resulting runoff of water produced floods never before seen over such a large area.  The flooding caused severe damage and great loss of life.  Hardest hit by the Midwest flood was Dayton, Ohio, where 360 people perished.

The high water flooded Indianapolis, displacing 7,000 families.  Estimates are that less than 50 people died in the city, yet one man contended that the figure should have been much lower.

E.C. Brennan lived at 124 W. Raymond St.  When he learned of the impending threat from the breaching of the Morris St. levee.  Brennan got on his motorcycle and rode down Kentucky Avenue, Division St, Morris St, and the adjoining lanes warning people of the danger.  Some folks followed his advice and moved to higher ground, while others to their peril, simply closed their doors and went about their daily routine.  (Drinker, Frederick. Horrors of Tornado Flood and Fire Memorial Edition. Harrisburg, PA: Minter Co. 1913 [p. 178])

The levee did break, and many were swept to their deaths.

One hundred years later, the spiritual levee in the United States seems ready to break.  We need to warn everyone to flee to the protection of Jesus Christ, who commands the highest ground.”

So, how are you doing?

How’s My Driving?

I was thinking about a friend the other day.  He and I shared stories of being complained on for our superior driving habits.  Maybe not.  This caused me to think about II Kings 9:20, “And the watchman told, saying, He came even unto them, and cometh not again: and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously.”

As you and I travel down the road of life we form certain habits.  These habits can influence our driving.  I am not talking about literal driving.  I am talking about how we live our life.  As I travel this road of life does my driving influence people to follow me which should ultimately lead them to follow Jesus?  I hope it does.  If it does not then I have a bigger problem.

What is we had on the back of our “gospel vehicle” we had one of those stickers that said, “How’s my driving?  Call 1-800-Heaven”.  I am afraid that some of us would be called into the office so to speak and counseled about our driving habits.

So, how are you doing?

Grass

While channel surfing a few days ago I ran across one of our favorite cartoons, “3-2-1 Penguins”.  It was an episode I had not seen before.  There was a planet with lush, green grass all over it and a nice white fence down the middle.  The sheep on each side of the fence were complaining about the grass on the other side of the fence being greener.  They ended up in court where it was suggested that both groups switch sides.  They did and still complained that the grass was greener on the other side.

Sound familiar?  It does to me, unfortunately.  I have been accused as a child that I would complain even if I were hanged with a new rope.  I don’t know about that, really.

One of the greatest passages in all of Scripture on green pastures is Psalm 23.  Here we are told in Psalm 23:2, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”  The sheep that lie down in green pastures are sheep that have been provided for and are comfortable enough to lie down.  Sheep are nervous animals and will not just lay down anywhere.  They have to be calm, cool and collected because of the Shepherd’s care.

As you go through life do you look at the fences and think that the grass is really greener on the other side?  I hope not.  If you do then you need to put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and then you will see that the grass is all the same color; but, you view of your circumstances are drastically different.

So, how are you doing?

Seeing

Elisha found himself surrounded by his enemies.  His servant was a little short sighted, you could say.  Sometimes we don’t see things like others see them.  I often think of a story Dr. Jack Hyles told of his childhood.  He was watching his mother cross stitch and he noticed that the underside looked gnarled, knotted and not very appealing.  His mother commented to him that he was looking at things from the bottom side like we look at life from the earthly perspective down here.  God sees things from the top like his mother was seeing the pattern and how to fill in the correct colors in the correct places.

When we are going down the path of life and we come to a place where we cannot “see” we need to ask God to open our eyes that we might see.  I like II Kings 6:17, “And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”  Sometimes we get spiritual cataracts so to speak and we don’t see clearly.  It is then that we need to ask God to open our eyes and help us to see as He sees.

So, how are you doing?