The Power Of Remembering

Memories are powerful influencers. Our family over the years was not one to call and talk to each other every day, or every month, or even in a year’s time. This year I determined to change that. I now make it a practice to call my elder brother, Richard, who lives near Atlanta, GA once a month, usually somewhere in the first part of the month. Mom, Dad, Sis, and Joe have passed on, so now it’s just us. We both enjoy catching up on our latest escapades and activities. Richard is twelve years older than me, and I have always looked up to him. When I was about seven and he was in college, he would let me hang out with him. I knew a lot of his friends and he took me a lot of places around town. He had an old beat up Ford pickup truck in those days that had no doors on it. It was cold weather and he took me with him on a trip down toward Gurdon to see somebody about something. When we returned home, I was so cold and stiff, he had to come around and lift me out of the seat of the truck and carry me in the house. That incident stuck in my mind ingraining a picture in my mind of a caring brother. One day I learned that his favorite color was green. From that moment until now, my favorite color is green. When I shop for shirts, I find myself always gravitating toward the green shirts. The positive influence he stamped on my life endures to this day – and I’m now 71. One time he said when it is raining, you should never go over 55 mph since the possibility of hydroplaning increases dramatically at speeds faster than that. You know what I think of every time I am driving in the rain? Yep. I remember that statement Richard made.

When we walk in a relationship with the Lord Jesus and we “hang out together with him”, he has a very positive, lasting influence on our life. Proverbs 18:24 says there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Jesus wants to be our ruling Lord so we can hear his guiding word for our good, but he also wants to be the friend to us who is even closer to us than a brother. Not only does the influence of Jesus in our life afford peace, joy, consolation, and a joyful, confident anticipation of spending an eternity in his presence. He also provides supernatural strength, healing, and health if we will remember, believe and apply his Word and Spirit in our life. Daily communion is all about remembering what Jesus has done for us. By hearing and remembering his Word and yielding our life to his Spirit, we can enjoy his supernatural power and loving care for us daily. By calling him and talking, we can enjoy his continued positive influence in our life.

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Do What Is Pleasing To The Master

We have two little twenty pound terrier type dogs who are brothers, Waylon and Willy. Barb saw Waylon by the shop, and with one look into his eyes asked him, “Waylon, what are you guilty about?” It looked like a leaf hanging from his mouth. Upon closer examination, we discovered what we saw was a little baby bunny hanging out of his mouth. I gently took the little rabbit from him. It was still very much alive, apparently unharmed except for a small scratch on its back leg. I said to Waylon, “Waylon, show us where you got this. Take us to the den.” We stood there. I repeated the command. Slowly and sort of sadly, going against everything in his nature, Waylon started walking toward the back line of the property, along the path through the woods, to a tree near the back line. He went up to its base and just stood there looking down. Sure enough, there was the hole down in the ground, lined in fur and leaves, with two other baby bunnies in it. With much petting and reassuring praise to Waylon for his good work, I returned the captive back to its little den and covered it with leaves. I have kept an eye on them each morning and each evening for days now, and the mother rabbit has continued to care for the bunnies. At this writing, the baby bunnies are about ready to hop out of their little confinement to get out and make it on their own.

It was very obvious that Waylon was doing something he knew would not be pleasing to his master. Guilt was written all over him. When we are carrying guilt, we are not really happy. It gnaws at our inner being. That is good. That means we can do something about it. If there is no gnawing, that means there is no conscience concerning natural and wrong. The good news is that as we find ourselves to be guilty, we can relinquish our natural way to our Master and he will go with us to the source of guilt to make things right. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ has been offered once for all so that as we find ourselves guilty, we can lay it all out before him for resolution. Guilt brings a nagging burden that we carry every day. When we take ownership of what we have done wrongly or harmfully, the Master will work with us to make things as right as they can be made. Sometimes consequences cannot be reversed. The one little bunny was dead a couple of days later. I removed it from the nest for the two others to continue to grow. We must give our burdens to the Master and make sure it does not happen again. He will help us stay in line. The key is to commit our lives to please the Master and to trust him to take care of things beyond our ability.

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God’s Way To Bring About A Healing

Cleaning up some very large bamboo cane along the creek that borders our property, rewarded me with some very fine splinters in one of my fingers. It happened to be the same finger that I shot a nail through, and into the next finger, a couple of years ago. And, a couple of days before I got the bamboo splinters, in that same finger I had already gotten a couple of splinters off an old door I was sanding. The finger painfully swelled and needed surgery to really fix it, but I opted for the antibiotic only from the medical field. After preparation for self-surgery – alcohol, sharp knife, etc., I realized the one set of splinters was broken off too deep for me to deal with, and the bamboo splinters were too fine to even be seen, much less to be dug out. Plus, the pain to dig around so deep – it was way too much. So, I just let it go and continued with the antibiotic. Now, with the month or so that has passed, that finger has a hard knot within it. No doubt, the flesh has encapsulated the cane splinters as the defense mechanism God has set up to deal with such neglect of remedy. Now, there is no pain, just a knot a little less than the size of a black-eyed pea in my finger. I guess it will be there till my dying day.

Here’s the deal. In life we get splinters between us. We’ve all been stuck and we have all stuck somebody with a harsh word, a misunderstanding, a misdeed, and on it goes unlimited. We can go to the heavenly Father and deal with it his way, or we can just let it go and get calloused over the matter. God’s way to deal with offences is that we each humble ourselves before God and before each other. We are to lay the cards on the table of how we either gave offence or were offended. We are to confess our faults one to another. Then, we are to pray for each other. According to the Word, this is what brings about a healing (James 5:14-16). The offence, the splinter, is not just internalized and calloused over. It is removed and real healing takes place, because our mutual trust is placed in God who is the healer. This is how the Master Physician handles it. We might make a shallow apology and live in a calloused condition, but doing it God’s way brings complete healing. Complete healing is better. The offense, the splinter, being calloused over, is a condition of hardness. We want to remain tender toward God and toward each other. Doing it God’s way helps us to be sensitive to God’s needs and desires and to each other’s needs and desires. Jesus Christ paid for us to have overflowing abundant life. Abundant life is living in peace, joy, harmony, and with a mind to love and help one another.

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The Loving Master

A little over ten years ago I rescued a couple of pups out of an eight foot deep dry well that was under an old house. Their breed is unknown, but they have strong similarities to a Cairn Terrier and a Portuguese Podengo Pequeno. Whatever they are, they have been my little furry buddies for these years. They did live in the house when I lived in Arkadelphia with free access to the fence enclosed yard via doggie doors. It was discovered that pet dander was causing breathing problems with my wife. So when we moved to Benton, I built the little boys a house. They are twenty pounds each, so I built a house in proportion to their size. It has wall to wall carpet on a thick foam pad. It has a padded sleeping box inside, and I have provided both a heater and an air conditioner to take care of seasonal extremes. All the padding and carpet is easily changed out from time to time as they become soiled. Their little house is raised with an open dirt “basement” underneath so they can lay in the cool dirt under the house in the hot summer time and still see what’s going on around them. They have a lookout deck positioned so they have full view of the back yard and a view of the driveway and street that goes in front of our house. Their house is in an approximately 12 x 12 fenced yard, joining to one of our storage sheds. I try to turn them out to walk them twice a day for good health. Their names are Willy and Waylon, and they will sing a tune when they start chasing one of the rabbits that hang out in the back yard.

Every day I see a picture of God’s love in action. I provide for them everything they need, and I am greeted with unbridled love and joy. They know I won’t hurt them and I will protect them and rescue them when they get in trouble. Their training is by word repetition, and reward. Displeasure is shown when they do those things they know not to do. God’s love for us is such that he has provided abundance of all we need through his Son, Jesus Christ. He will never do bad things to us. Satan, flesh, and life itself will do that. Sometimes we get ourselves in trouble. But God’s love is there to rescue. We can be confident in that. When we know our loving Father, we trust him, knowing that together with him we can make it through. When we submit to his discipline, we are free to “run in the yard” in liberty. When we walk with him by his word and in the power of his Spirit, we experience unbridled love and joy in daily life. It is not a chore to walk with him. It is the highlight of the day. Father God is a wonderful master.

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Love Lifted Betty

Barbara’s sister, Betty, vowed she would not get on an airplane under any circumstances. Betty would not even get on a Ferris wheel! Her husband, Dewayne, started having classic symptoms of a heart attack. Betty and Dewayne live way out in the country, a 40 minute drive into Little Rock. With the 911 call, it was decided he would be air lifted to the hospital. The helicopter landed in the pasture behind their house, and as they loaded Dewayne and made preparations to depart, Betty was invited to go on the helicopter with Dewayne. Betty’s reply was this: “I’ve been by his side for these sixty two years, and I am not going to be apart from him now.” With the assistance of the pilot and the medic, she stepped on one’s bent leg while the other one steadied and helped to lift her right into the co-pilot’s seat. They strapped her in and away they flew. She did fine with the short flight to the hospital. They got them safely to the hospital and Dewayne is doing well. We visited with them a few days after the incident after they went back home, and got the whole story in full detail.

The power of love will enable us to do things that we thought we could not do. We have watched Betty stand by her man in many incidences for many years. She stands before all as a faithful wife and a faithful believer in the Lord, who reflects some of the same love that God has for us all. The Bible says the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. When we yield our lives to the Holy Spirit, to be filled with the Spirit to overflowing, as Betty did at an early age, we have the love of God dwelling in us. While our natural love might fail, God’s love in us will never fail (1 Corinthians 13: 8). It is God’s strength that resides in us by the Spirit of God to enable us to do the will of God and overcome natural fears and inhibitions. The Bible says this love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). This is the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit to overflowing. This was demonstrated on the day of Pentecost with the first church. They were hidden behind closed doors for fear of those same Jews who had killed Jesus. After they were filled with the Spirit, with no fear, they boldly confronted the Jews and all the gathering people with the good news of the resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Through the infilling of the Spirit and the operation of the love of God in supernatural healing power, multitudes of people were reached with the gospel and lives were changed for the better. This is the answer for our world today – our hearts and lives changed by an encounter with Jesus Christ in the power of God’s Spirit of love.

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Two Sides Of The Coin

Life is like a coin given to us. How we spend or invest it determines the return received. That coin has two sides. On one side is the Almighty, All-knowing Sovereign God, whose name is “I AM” (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58). With God is his supreme purpose, plan, power, and his unlimited provisions. He is the One True God to be feared and reverenced as such. The secret things belong to God but that which is revealed belongs to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of the law he has given (Deuteronomy 29:29). That brings us to the other side of the coin – Man’s Responsibility. We are responsible to get all the knowledge and provisions of God that we can. He has provided full salvation in Christ. To neglect or only get part of what God has for us is in Christ is to deny ourselves abundant life now, and eternal rewards hereafter. God has revealed that we are to be born again by the operation of his Spirit working in our lives revealing the love of God and the finished work of Jesus on our behalf (John 3). In our commitment to follow Jesus, we are to be baptized, immersed, in water just like Jesus. To live out the will of the Father on earth as it is in heaven, we are to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and give ourselves to learn to be led by the Spirit in everyday life. God has revealed there is one Body in Christ in which Jesus Christ is Lord, with a singular mission to get the good news of Jesus out to the whole world (Isaiah 52:7, 8). There are over 30,000 denominations of Christianity, yet we are one Body in Christ. Through Christ we are one coin with God. That is awesome! We experience results of being one with God’s purpose, plan, power, and provision, by keeping our focus being on Him instead of on particular religious views and practices. In this way our lives exhibit his love for us and his power working in our lives. With our focus on him, his Word, and his Way, we remain true to him instead of denying him by an infinite number of religious distractions (Acts 2:38, 39; Romans 8:1-14; Ephesians 4:1-7). This is the coin given to us to either spend on ourselves or invest in the kingdom of God. If we spend it on ourselves, we only get what we spend it on. The good news is if we invest our life in the kingdom of God, not only do we get abundant life to enjoy here now, but we also have an exponential growth of eternal rewards laid up in heaven. The apostle Paul is still winning souls for Jesus today through his focus on God and his writings. He invested his coin wisely. We can do the same. It is never too late to start a fresh walk with God.

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How Many Pencils Do You Have?

Some of us can remember the days of the timed test. In some sort of educational setting, a test was administered in which we penciled in our answer by filling in the little circles by our chosen answers. In some settings we were told to be sure and bring at least two #2 hardness pencils so in case one broke we could continue the test. It was foolish to come take the test with just one pencil. If the soft lead broke, you could not finish and you risked not passing the test. It was wise to bring at least two pencils to the test.

Jesus taught in the end time the kingdom of God would be like ten virgins awaiting the coming of a bridegroom for a marriage ceremony. They all had ceremonial lamps with oil in them for their place in the ceremony. Five of the virgins had vessels of extra oil with them as a reserve. The bridegroom was a long time coming, so they all got sleepy and lay down and slept. Finally the call was made and they all got up and trimmed the wicks of their lamps to make them burn brightly. During their time of sleeping, the oil of five of the virgins had burned out and they had no oil with them to refuel. They started trying to get some of the oil from the reserves of the other five virgins, but they were told to go and get their own oil. While they were gone to get their own oil to replenish their lamps, the bridegroom came. Those that were ready went into the ceremony with him, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came back and knocked on the door saying “Lord, Lord, open to us.” But the bridegroom answered them, “I say unto you, I know you not.” Jesus concluded the analogy by telling us to “watch”, to “stay awake” (spiritually), because we don’t know when he will be coming and we will be meeting him face to face (Matthew 25:1-13). The five virgins came to the time of the test with only one pencil. They had no back up, no reserve. When life uses up or breaks our pencil, we don’t have time to wake up and go find another one in order to finish the test. We are to be ready with a reserve. It is foolish to not have a reserve. The foolish virgins had it in their minds that they had all they needed, nothing lacking. But there was more needed in order to pass the test that life offers. Jesus taught that we be born again, baptized in water, and baptized in and led by the Holy Spirit. With this, we have a reserve from which to draw each day. With this we can be ready. We are to keep the extra pencils of living in his Word and Spirit each day so we can write our ticket of victory with God!

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Grab The Right Cup

We enjoyed a trip to Branson for a couple of days doing various things, with the highlight of the trip being to see the sight and sound production of JESUS. This is truly a spectacular portrayal of the life and ministry of Jesus. I highly recommend anyone going to see it. You can’t know what it is like until you go see it. Meanwhile, back at the motel one morning, I got up and went about getting one of those in-room cups of coffee. As with many motels, they had a little tray with clear plastic cups on one side for water and paper cups on the other side for coffee, with the packets of coffee, tea, and sugar in the middle. Being preoccupied with waking up, when the coffee was brewed, I grabbed one of the clear plastic cups and had to take my pocket knife to get the plastic off. It didn’t want to tear. So I did that and poured my coffee. I did not think about what I was doing until I was walking over to a chair to sit down and realized how hot that cup was in my hand. “Well, I’ll be! I grabbed the wrong cup!” I thought to myself. But I decided, “Well, for all the trouble I went to for this one, I’m just going to keep it.” So, I held it up around the top rim to drink it until I got it drunk down some. When Barb saw what I was doing, she asked, “Is that coffee you are drinking out of that cup?” I said, “Yes” and explained to her how it came to be. She just shook her head.

Sometimes we just settle for things that are less than the best. We just get by, figuring to get that which is designed for us, is more trouble than it is worth. Had I been paying attention to what I was doing, I would have gotten the paper cup which is insulated against the heat. Life can dish out some pretty hot stuff that can burn us or even cause us to drop the cup. We need to take all that God offers us in order to most effectively deal with things. When Jesus paid the price for us, he not only took our sins away, but he provided that we can live our life in the supernatural power of his Word and Spirit. Two provisions can help us to handle the hot things in life much better. To “stand on his Word” means to believe, confess, and take action in life according to the promises in his Word. To be “filled with and led by his Spirit” means that we yield to and receive the power of his Spirit by faith. Then, by “stepping out in faith”, we can experience the supernatural operation of the tools and weapons of the Spirit provided to help in daily life. We just need to grab the right cup. Luke 11:9-13.

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Grab The Right Cup

We enjoyed a trip to Branson for a couple of days doing various things, with the highlight of the trip being to see the sight and sound production of JESUS. This is truly a spectacular portrayal of the life and ministry of Jesus. I highly recommend anyone going to see it. You can’t know what it is like until you go see it. Meanwhile, back at the motel one morning, I got up and went about getting one of those in-room cups of coffee. As with many motels, they had a little tray with clear plastic cups on one side for water and paper cups on the other side for coffee, with the packets of coffee, tea, and sugar in the middle. Being preoccupied with waking up, when the coffee was brewed, I grabbed one of the clear plastic cups and had to take my pocket knife to get the plastic off. It didn’t want to tear. So I did that and poured my coffee. I did not think about what I was doing until I was walking over to a chair to sit down and realized how hot that cup was in my hand. “Well, I’ll be! I grabbed the wrong cup!” I thought to myself. But I decided, “Well, for all the trouble I went to for this one, I’m just going to keep it.” So, I held it up around the top rim to drink it until I got it drunk down some. When Barb saw what I was doing, she asked, “Is that coffee you are drinking out of that cup?” I said, “Yes” and explained to her how it came to be. She just shook her head.

Sometimes we just settle for things that are less than the best. We just get by, figuring to get that which is designed for us, is more trouble than it is worth. Had I been paying attention to what I was doing, I would have gotten the paper cup which is insulated against the heat. Life can dish out some pretty hot stuff that can burn us or even cause us to drop the cup. We need to take all that God offers us in order to most effectively deal with things. When Jesus paid the price for us, he not only took our sins away, but he provided that we can live our life in the supernatural power of his Word and Spirit. Two provisions can help us to handle the hot things in life much better. To “stand on his Word” means to believe, confess, and take action in life according to the promises in his Word. To be “filled with and led by his Spirit” means that we yield to and receive the power of his Spirit by faith. Then, by “stepping out in faith”, we can experience the supernatural operation of the tools and weapons of the Spirit provided to help in daily life. We just need to grab the right cup. Luke 11:9-13.

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Stung!

While traveling in the hot summer time, a wasp was deflected off the little side glass pointed toward me and ended up resting on top of my left leg. I looked down and saw it sitting there and thought to myself, “Well, I’ll be! There’s a wasp sitting there on my leg!” I pondered a moment on what I should do and decided, “I’ll just fix him for good.” So I made sure I had good control on the steering wheel and that I was clear of traffic on the road, and I slapped that critter on my leg with a good hard slap to kill him. Much to my surprise, I drove the stinger right into my leg. With angry irritation, I said out loud, “Dadgummit, I stung my own self with that wasp just sitting there!”

So much for murderous vengeance in my heart – it came back to bite me! Isn’t that the way it usually works? We go about getting at somebody and we end up hurting ourselves. These days people don’t know what the Word of God says, and we end up stupidly slapping a stinger into our leg and blame it on God or the devil. We are told in the Word of God that he who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the just, even they both are an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 17:15). Tongues waggle on facebook and phones at the drop of a hat before all the facts are ever known, or even cared to be known. Put this with the truth that we will definitely reap what we sow, and we get a not-so-pretty picture (Galations 6:7, 8). It might feel good coming out and make for juicy conversation, but much of what is spoken simply amounts to hard-core slander. If what we are relating is not a fact, it is a spiritual felony to relate it. It is called speaking evil (Ephesians 4:21-32). Then people wonder what hit them. Such sin is an open door to sickness, weakness, despair, depression, and even premature death (1 Corinthians 11:29, 30). Adam and Eve believed and sided with a lie in the Garden and brought trouble on themselves and everybody. First, make sure what you hear and relate is true. Just because a person is a wasp, does not mean we need to be slapping them. Remember, Jesus himself taught us to be careful what we say. Words carry spiritual force. If you’ve got a wasp on your leg, you best brush it off by prayer, forgiveness, and asking God to bring hidden things to light. That does not mean you let people walk on you. It means you keep your heart clear and trust God to deal with them his way. Jesus dealt with evil people to their face and he warned his disciples of them, keeping his focus on God’s will for his own life. If you don’t, you will end up slapping a stinger into your leg.

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