Know How To Operate The Digger

Our good friends Ed and Renee Carr came for a few days visit while traveling the country in their RV. Ed has background in electrical engineering. The conversation got around to Barb starting to put up Christmas lights (she goes all out so she has to get an early start). That led to talk about extension cords, and that led to talk about running wire and setting boxes in the yard to plug Christmas lights into. I had already checked utility line locations. So, I rented a trencher machine that afternoon and we proceeded to dig trenches. I could not get the machine to stay engaged in the digging mode, so I worked the heavy, cumbersome machine with one hand while holding the lever forward with the other hand to keep the machine digging. I knew there was a better and easier way, but I could not figure it out and I was under a time deadline. I made it work but it was extremely hard to dig the trenches. I was humiliated by my ignorance, but I kept doing it. We had received some instruction on its operation, but either I was not told how to do it or I missed it when it was told. Anyway, I persisted in what I was doing and got the job done with it absolutely wearing me out.

Sometimes we miss God’s provisions and instruction of operation for his way and his power. We get through life, but it is a lot harder and costs us a lot more. The Word says God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, missing out on what they could have had in God’s plan and purpose for their lives (Hosea 4:6). He wants us to be led by his Spirit and power. Jesus’ sacrifice took our sins away for our connection with God. His resurrection from the dead assures us he is alive to impart to us that same Spirit and power of God. It’s all there for us, and it is by hearing of it and believing it and acting on it that we receive his power to incorporate into life and successfully get the job done that God has for us to do. The Bible plainly lays all this out before us. We are to hear his instruction in the Word and learn how to operate God’s powerful machine. Jesus said if we are yoked up with him life is easier (Matthew 11:28-30). With him is forgiveness and freedom from death-dealing sin. There is healing. There are gifts of wisdom and knowledge beyond our own wisdom and knowledge. There are miracles. A supernatural prayer ability is available to all believers for when we don’t know how to pray, and much more (1 Corinthians 12:6-11). But we miss all of this if we are not properly instructed or if we miss the instruction that is given to us. Hear his instruction, receive his power, and operate in full throttle with greater ease in life.

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How God Weaves His Tapestry In Life

Larry McDonald sold me chemicals for landscaping when I was landscaper at Ouachita Baptist University in 1999. David Golden involved me in the Team National Business. What I saw excited me about the potential income. One day when Larry came by to get a chemical order, I told him he ought to look in to this business, that it looks good. He graciously replied, “Yeah Jackie, I will look in to it sometime.” Two weeks later he came for a follow up and by then I had learned more and was more excited about the business. I said, “Larry, this business looks really good! You really ought to look in to it! I tell you what I’ll do, I’ll hook you up to somebody who can give you more information.” He agreed to get more information. I did a three-way call with him after he left, with Dennis Martin. Larry was heading back to Texarkana. The connection was terrible due to a thunderstorm. I think he had to pull over on the side of the road to do the call. He and Dennis made a connection, Larry and Debbie got into the business and went straight to the top. If you know Larry and Debbie, you know why. The shared income that came off their success and other team members of the business, enabled me to quit the landscaping job and fulfill a dream Becky and I shared. We went to Rhema Bible Training Center and trained for ministry. The next year after graduating, we went to India and taught in a Rhema Bible Training Center there. There were about 200 students. Fast forward. 2015 Becky goes home to be with the Lord. I remarry. Barbara and I pastor a small outreach church, Lighthouse Church, Benton, AR. It was in our heart to support a missionary. A connection was made to us via email, one of my students in India of 2003, Chris Surya. He had been doing ministry all that time and praying for full time support. We got hooked up with him and the Lighthouse Church sends him monthly support enough that is now enabling him for full time ministry. He maintains a wonderful ministry to orphans, widows, outreach on the street, leadership training, regional outreach, establishing the church, and more. Now, he is assisting persecuted Christians in India, calling for prayer and doing what he can to help.

God works in the midst of life, threading his love, his life, and his provision to bring about hope, help, and healing through faith and obedience to his Word. His grace has put the provisions in place through Jesus Christ. We take his Word and persistently apply it in faith with an attitude, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me” trusting God to back his Word up with signs following. It is God weaving a beautiful tapestry working in the midst of life, bringing about his purpose unto his glory. All praise to the name of Jesus.

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Let’s Call It A Day

I can remember as a kid growing up, working with my Dad on the egg farm and working with him on construction jobs. Living on an egg farm with 12,000 layers kept me and my brother Joe, along with my Mother plenty busy for years while Dad was doing construction work. He/we built the place, then for years we worked it after the chickens were moved in. One job I remember in particular on building the chicken houses: Dad cut oak logs and got them to the farm, and me and Joe used a straight hoe to strip the bark off. These were the main support posts of the houses. Whew! I remember that was hard work. We were glad when a day was done of stripping logs. There were about 120 logs to strip, so you can know it was a formidable task for two boys. There were blisters. There was aching fatigue. But we got ‘er done. It was always music to our ears to hear toward the end of the day, “Okay boys, let’s call it a day.” Another task I remember was when Dad built some block outhouses in Burns Park up on the other side of Little Rock. He put this little kid to rubbing the concrete blocks with a grout mix to fill in holes and cracks with a rubbing stone. That is what the specs called for. That event is forever “rubbed into” my memory. I was so glad when the boss (my Dad) came around and said, “Okay, son, let’s call it a day.” Ohhh! That was the most wonderful sound of my life. I would pick up the tools and get ready to go. I had stuck with it. I had done what the boss told me to do. The task for the day was done. Now it was time to head home.

In the household of God, there are tasks to be done. Sometimes it takes some tough endurance to do what the “Boss”, the Lord, wants us to do. Jesus summed it up in one illustration. He said “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). There were a lot of times I wanted to quit, but I did not quit until the day was done. God has called us to accomplish a certain task or tasks. He provides food, shelter, and a good future of continuous care and provision. All he asks of us is obedience. God gives grace, ability and power as we walk with him and obey him each day. As we continue in this grace of Jesus Christ, who totally identified with us as man, we will accomplish the task he wants us to accomplish under his supervision.  Jesus did it to show that we could do it through him. Then, when the day is done, he will say, “Let’s call it a day”, and we go home with the Lord.

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A Tribute To My Brother Joe

When I think of my brother Joe, “always ready to help” comes to mind. We lived by each other just outside Arkadelphia. When my wife of years past was going through the physical trial she went through, with me being care-giver to her, he was my sounding board when it seemed like I just could not keep going. There were times when the money got tight. He bailed me out, knowing that I would pay him back. He was a Viet Nam war veteran. He loved his country and we shared many of the values we were raised with. He stepped on a land mine in Nam which was intended to blow up right through his body. Instead, its detonation delayed a split second which only got his back side instead of his life. He carried some of that shrapnel for the rest of his days. Because of what he did, and what my other brother did, and my cousins, and a host of others, I have the utmost respect for these men who served under our flag and what it stands for. I have zero tolerance for those who spurn what these men have done for all of us. In fact, the physical afflictions and disease that helped carry him to his grave was probably directly connected to the service he performed to insure the freedoms we all enjoy. Back when we were boys feeding chickens together on the egg farm at Poyen, he could get the best of me in every way except one. I was like a little biologist always messing with critters. When I wanted to get back at Joe all I had to do was go catch me a snake and I could run him all over the farm with that snake in my hands. We laughed about that his whole life. He never did like snakes – of any kind. I will burn some wood this winter that he cut and split and gave me. He’s been a wonderful brother to his “little brother”. I am satisfied he was ready to cross over to the other side by stepping through The Door into the other room. I expect to see him again. My last contact with him was with a reading of Psalms 23, a prayer, a kiss on the forehead, and I told him that I loved him. From that scripture it was shared that because of what Jesus has done, he was taken care of through life, and this same “Great Shepherd” is taking care of him right on in to eternity. That’s the wonderful thing about our Lord. The beautiful work he has done of taking our sins away and having resurrection life to impart to us all, is ours to receive as a gift. Turning from our sin to embrace the all-loving Savior is our entrance into his everlasting life. Joe left here during Independence Day celebration. The next time I see Joe, we will have the celebration of our life!

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Sweet Baby Bunny

“Oh, there’s sweet Baby Bunny!” we commented as we watch the little bunny navigate the back yard feeding here and there. We’ve been seeing him a lot at the archway beds that are overflowing with various flowers and the morning glory vines growing on the archway. I did notice that he was feeding on some of the Morning Glory leaves. My thoughts: “Well, it’s ok to have a few of the lower leaves. That won’t affect the beautiful vine growing on the archway.” Let me insert here. We are having a big back yard wedding at this archway in August. I very carefully guided the morning glory vines out of the rose bushes and up the trellis. We want that area to be beautiful for the ceremony. This morning as I noticed Baby Bunny feeding, again I noticed that he was at the archway bed. As I walked with the dogs around the yard just checking on things, I happened to notice an upper morning glory leaf wilted, then another, and another. “What’s this?” I thought. With a closer examination I was stunned to see morning glory vines shredded and lying around on the brick pads on which the archway sits . They were all cut except one, maybe two vines. It had happened earlier in the day. Cute little Baby Bunny has done a number on me. With everything grown up around where the morning glory is planted, blocking the sunlight to that spot, it will be hard to get more plants started. I’ve got a plan, but the damage is done. Sometimes we allow things in our life that starts out sweet, cute, fun, and feels good and right. But in the end, it robs us of the greater glory in life. Had I known, I would have put a protective wire mesh screen around those plants. I will do that for the remaining intact stems. A lot of effort and care has been invested to produce the beauty that we desire there. There is loss because of ignorance and failure to deal with the situation as it developed. That is why it is so important to know the Word of God and God’s way of doing things. His way works every time. Through the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf, he has provided enlightenment to guide us out of ways that are vulnerable to loss and into ways of abundant life and beauty. I will redeem as much of the remaining morning glory that I can and try to replant, but the loss is irreversible. And, that is where God meets us – broken, hopeless, impaired, and in an impossible situation with our vines shredded. Jesus said to a man in that kind of situation that if he could believe, all things are possible. The man cried out in tears, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:20-27). Through the Master Gardener, the man got his miracle. Take your brokenness to Him. He is your Answer!

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Come Expecting

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was expecting. Here is how it happened: The angel said to her, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). Our church sent a man to ministry training school for two years. He graduated and is to hold his first “revival” meeting the first week end in June, here in his home church. A lot of churches hold revivals in June, July, and August. Our pastor has exhorted us to “come expecting” God to move in our lives and in the lives of the visitors who come. How do we “come expecting”? When a woman is expecting, what has happened? A male and a female have gotten together and a seed was planted. That seed has been nurtured and grown until the time of birth has drawn near. When the contractions start and continue and the water breaks, it is time to get to the place of birth. In a hospital, that is the maternity ward, which is a place where women get together to give birth to their babies under medical supervision. New life is brought into the world from the maternity ward. One function of the church is to be like a maternity ward. Each person, in daily life, is to spend time with God in prayer and the Word, walking in fellowship with the Spirit and each other, living in harmony with each other. The seed of God is planted in each of our hearts. Word life begins to grow, influencing our life. Then when the church meets together, each person has a “holy thing”, the life of God in each of our lives, to bring into the church and share. This awesome plan is the way it is done in the Bible (1 Corinthians 14:26). So it is not a matter of just coming to the meetings to watch the preacher perform. If we “come expecting”, we have already made a vital contribution to the meeting by spending time with God in prayer, in hearing from God, and then coming together with a mind to be a yielded vessel to simply move with the Holy Spirit. This is important because God desires to have his way in the church, the salt of the earth. Without this salt, the world goes its way with no spiritual influence to preserve it and bring out the best flavor. It putrefies. It goes from bad to worse. We see this happening. It is time for revival in every church. We are to “come expecting” God to move in each of our lives, our faith uniting, yielding to him to turn from sin, receive a fresh infilling of his Spirit, and walk in total obedience to him. God, in his abundant life, has given us this wonderful mercy and salvation for the whole world! Church! Come together expecting!

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When All Else Fails Read The Directions

When all else fails, read the directions. Have you ever heard that? We all have a tendency to get into life and do things our way and mess things up, then we finally have to back up and read the directions to get it all put together correctly. It is much simpler and better, with good directions in hand, to just go right by the book step-by-step and get it right the first time. God has a basic way for us to live this life successfully with his full blessing upon us. First, he wants us connected to him in spirit, in our inner man. Then he wants us empowered and led by his Spirit in daily life. He wants us to abide in his presence each day so we can receive his instruction and guidance to navigate through the ever twisting hoops of life. We get connected up with God by being “born again” (John 3:3). God is holy, we are unholy. We can’t be connected with him the way we are. When you realize and earnestly desire the need to be connected with God, you come to him just as you are and understand that Jesus Christ died for you, paying the penalty for all your sins, errors, and all. He made the connection for you to be one with God. With that understanding, you call upon him asking him to cleanse you and receive you as his son/daughter. It is by the righteousness and work of Jesus Christ that we have mercy with God, sins forgiven, and we become one with him. We live in a spiritual world, and we need the power of God’s Spirit in and upon our lives to combat life’s challenges and carry out God’s will and plan for our lives. When Jesus went back to heaven, he promised to send this power to believers. Today, as we receive cleansing from Jesus and are connected to God, we are empowered by receiving the gift of his Holy Spirit. Jesus taught us to ask for the Holy Spirit just as a child asks a parent for food to eat (Luke 11:9-13). As we lay our life before God for him to do with us whatever he desires, and we earnestly ask him to fill us with his Spirit and power, he will do that for us. With the infilling of the Holy Spirit we receive specific operations of that Spirit to help us in daily life. The first thing we receive is a supernatural prayer language. That is our “walkie-talkie” from God to effectively communicate with “headquarters” when we don’t know how to pray, which is most of the time. There are other operations to assist us, and as we walk with God each day we learn and experience more and more of his goodness, power, and direction for us in life. These are some of the basic directions he has given. Read and follow the directions God has given and start living free.

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A Good Choice To Make

A preacher, who is a plumber, went to one of our church attendee’s home to do a repair. He noticed tall grass growing out from around our church van that had been set aside due to a declined use in the ministry. For a long time, we intended to sell the van, but due to one thing or another, we just never got our act together to get it running and to the church parking lot to offer it for sale. He inquired about it because his young church is growing in an outreach ministry, and they need a van. The customer gave our name and he contacted us. The church board decided to give him the van. At the same time that he came to the house to do the paper work, Barbara’s daughter, who is very confident with this type paper work, just happened to come by the house for a visit on a late lunch break. She normally comes by about 11:30. On this day she happened by about 1:30, while the pastor was at our house. She assisted with correctly signing over the title to the young pastor. In 2013 the van was purchased for $11,000. It was our joy to sow the van into their ministry for a dollar and other considerations, plus, we are now hooked up with a ministry of like mind. The pastor was thrilled to get this ministry tool for which they had been praying. We all feel like the good timing and the connections that were made are “a God thing”. It was like the van was just set aside for this particular ministry to have.

It’s a beautiful thing to see God orchestrate things to bring about answers to prayers. There are many promises to those who “fear” or “reverence” the Lord. If we place God in the forefront of our life, acknowledging and giving place to the work that Jesus Christ has done for us, giving him honor, loving to spend time in his presence, God will honor the desires of our heart. “Delight thyself in the Lord; and he will give thee the desires of thine heart (Psalms 37:4). Delighting in God is a high form of reverencing God. Jesus taught that when we honor him, he will honor us. When we all walk together in one mind delighting in the Lord, in his Word, in his Spirit, and in following his ways, he is delighted in honoring requests made to him for his plan and glory. In this way, we often see his timing in things and the arrangements that he sets in place. Then, as we recognize what he is doing, even more delight and reverence and praise is evoked in our hearts toward him. He wants to be in our lives, in the small things and the big things, to bring about good for the good of all. We can choose to have him in our life, and it’s a good choice to make.

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God Wants To Help You

Our church is a part of the prison ministry at the Work Release Center at Haskell. Since the Covid 19 hit, we have not been able to go into the prison to minister, so when I have something on my heart for them I print it up and drop it off there to be distributed in the different buildings. I would always give them a print out of the lesson when I could go in there, so now they still get the print out, but just not the person. The following is one of the lessons that I thought you would all enjoy and benefit from:

When God sees a heart purified by faith, he gives the Holy Spirit to empower you to clearly hear and follow him. He wants us to walk in his plan and purpose for our life and walk in his supernatural power, overcoming all things. Jesus and the early church demonstrated how the Holy Spirit operates in and through our lives. God wants to work in your life today in the same way by purifying your heart, filling you with his Spirit and power, and giving you his directions and his goodness in your life. Lay aside any prideful thoughts that are keeping you from personally eating of his Word and drinking of his Spirit. Lay aside any fear and skepticism. Make place for some time with God, just you and him. Hear the word of the gospel of Jesus Christ and believe that his righteous life and perfect blood sacrifice is the only thing that makes you right with God. Give him your life, your goodness, your sin, and your efforts to be right with God and turn to Jesus as your only right standing with God. You are choosing to put your life into his hands. This is how your heart is purified by faith (Acts 15:7-11). With a heart purified by faith do what Jesus said and ask the Father for the Holy Spirit fullness. Pray for a God encounter, for God to come upon you in power (Luke 11:9-13). When the early church was filled with the Spirit they spoke out praises to God, they shared the gospel of Jesus Christ, and they spoke out loud in other languages, supernaturally. In this way the gospel of Jesus Christ, the healing power of God, and the directions and plans of God were made known. It is the same for us today. God sees your heart, your inner being, your hidden inner motives and desires. When you “give your heart to God”, you are opening your life to him, with all the good, bad, and ugly, with all your strengths and weaknesses, and you are entrusting your life into his care, keeping, and guidance. With that commitment to him, yield your mind, your body, your breath, and all your life to him. Speak out praise and thanksgiving to God. Be filled with God’s presence in Jesus’ name. Jackie Calhoun, Lighthouse Church Benton 5-6-21

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Tell the Dogs to Get Into the Truck

Rolling down the interstate, I pulled over at the Flying J truck stop to gas up. While I was gassing up at the pumps, I observed a rather large lady, who was parked in a space in front of the building, trying to get one of two of her large dogs into the back seat of her truck. Talking and pointing was not working and pushing and pulling was not working. Finally, with much struggle, getting the front two legs in first, she sort of pushed and pulled and dragged the dog up into the seat of the truck. The other dog was standing by watching the whole show. He was not going in for her either. A man, I’m assuming her husband, walks out of the building and around to her and the dog, and says something. The dog hesitates. He says something again, and by appearances it was said with more sharpness. The dog promptly obeyed and jumped in the seat of the truck.

I think we all understand that we, the people of God, are the hands, the feet, the body, and the very presence of Jesus on the earth today. We also need to understand that we are the expression of faith and the voice of Jesus on the earth today, too. We carry his authority by faith, but we must give expression to that authority if it is going to be effective. Jesus said to speak to the mountains, the dogs of life, the obstacles, the things needed, in order for them to manifest, move, or change. We must know our place of operation in life and voice the authority that is given to us. We are the officers who give the orders. In the morning when I first get up, the first stretch that I do of my series of stretches, is that I get on my knees and bow down with my face to the floor to start loosening my back. It’s also a good position to submit my life to the Lord Jesus for that day with praise, thanksgiving, and making my requests known unto him. Here’s a good way to pray: “Thank you, Lord, for the faith, righteousness, and authority of Jesus put to my account, the wonderful gift that I did not work for. I praise you, and I speak to…“ and, start naming your mountains, and telling them the way it is going to be. You are not asking, you are telling them the way it is going to be. The man did not ask the dog to get into the truck, he told him with authority. Let the man, Christ Jesus who lives in you, do the speaking. You just give voice to him. He does not ask, beg, or plead. He speaks with authority. Tell the dogs to get into the truck. They obey the man of authority. See things move, change, and fall into place in good time. Give God all the praise, glory, and honor.

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