Ten Pews and a Cargo Trailer

The inside of the church has been receiving a facelift. Part has been painting, and part has been replacing the old pews with modern padded chairs. Pastor Barbara expressed to the church one Sunday that she was praying about swapping the pews out with chairs. She asked everyone to be praying with her about that. Later in that week she mentioned to the property owner she was desiring this. He said that would be fine, and that he just happened to have some nice padded church chairs. He paid fifteen hundred dollars for some chairs from another church moving into a facility. They had their own chairs and did not want the ones that were already in the building. He had the chairs stacked and covered in his storage building. He said we could have them if we wanted them. Barbara determined that we would need about 70 chairs. We went and looked at them and there were 75 chairs. We gladly received the chairs that same week with thanksgiving unto God. God had provided before we ever asked. Now, to get rid of the pews. It was advertised and some were picked up by some people. With 10 pews left, a man from Tupelo, Mississippi came for them with an 18-foot cargo trailer. The pews were 10 feet long. We had the task of getting all ten pews in that trailer. They would not fit end-to-end. The trailer was not long enough. The pews did not stack one on top of another. There was the driver and three of us men and Barbara. It was like working a puzzle. We would try to envision the best way for it to go, then try it and have to try another way. We all had our envisioned ideas and suggestions. If one way did not work, we would have to take it out and turn it around and try it another way. The pews were very heavy and hard to handle. It took everybody making suggestions, being proved wrong, trying another way, submitting to another one’s suggestion, and trying that. We all had the mutual goal to get ten pews on the trailer. We all worked together toward that one goal. It was not my way or your way that was important. It was whatever is the way that works, that is the way to do it. In this way we got all ten pews in the trailer in the midst of sporadic rain. After the man drove off, the bottom fell out. This is the way things are accomplished in the kingdom of God. It is not my way or your way that is important. What is God’s way as revealed by the Word and Spirit of God? This is what will work. Sometimes we have to admit our idea of it was wrong and back up a go at it a different way. In this way, God’s goal of reaching the world for Jesus, with power, can be accomplished.

Menu

Clean the Windshield

Many years ago, I worked as a loader for a crop duster. He had a couple of planes at the time. One was a large plane that looked like a huge vulture with wings curved down on the ends. The other was a small tail dragger known as a “cub”. With this plane we would go into the backwoods areas around Sparkman, AR where there were cotton fields scattered around of various farmers. I would drive the eighteen-wheeler semi-truck that was outfitted to carry loading supplies. I would snake my way back through the woods on little dirt roads to get to a staging area in a cow pasture big enough for a landing strip. It did not take a lot of run way for the loaded cub airplane to take off. By running the cows off the runway area, the plane could safely take off and land. However, with the cows just removed from the area, there were deposits left behind. A plane with its engine that close to the ground creates a lot of suction against the surface of the earth. This air that is sucked up from the earth is very forcefully blown back over the airplane which creates lift which causes the plane to fly. Even when the plane has landed and sitting there with the engine going in idle mode, there is still a lot of suction going on. Part of my job in loading the plane was to clean the windshield of “deposited material”. That meant that when the pilot came in for another load of cotton spray, and turned his plane around, with him sitting there in idle mode, I would step up on the tire and wash the windshield. Sometimes it would be right over a “deposit” on the ground, and the suction would pull the deposit from the ground and abundantly splatter it all over me, the windshield, and other parts of the plane. The windshield had to be cleaned from that “deposit” along with what was picked up taking off and landing. With the new load, he would take off, do his spraying, return, and we repeated the whole process. Sometimes in life the “deposits” fly. It is not pleasant, and it must be cleaned so the job can be completed. How we deal with the bad, stinky stuff in life often determines the outcome. God gave abundant provision through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the beating which he endured, to clean all our stinky stuff. God’s provision is to wash all our sins and sicknesses away. The Word is abundantly clear. This provision is applied to the windshield of our life by our repentance from sin and faith in the accomplished work of Jesus Christ. Sickness is also covered in the covenant. It was demonstrated by Jesus, the disciples, and the early church. We can’t use the small rear-view mirror of life to see where we are going. Keep the windshield clean, look ahead, and keep flying.  

Menu

Time For An Update

I like for the number of words for this article to be five hundred words – not four hundred and ninety nine and not five hundred and one, but exactly five hundred words. That is not a requirement by the publisher. It is just something I like to do. For some time now I have noticed the draft of the articles sometimes appearing to be a little longer on the paper than at other times, but I just attributed it to maybe using some longer words or something.  One day I noticed the word count on the computer saying that I had five hundred and seven words. I proceeded to edit out unnecessary words. I took two words out. The count then read four hundred and ninety. My education from Arkadelphia elementary school taught me that five hundred and seven less two is five hundred and five, not, four hundred and ninety. I knew I had a computer issue. I tried to figure it out and could not. I took it to my computer repairman. He could not fix it. My version is a 2007 version of Word. It is so old Microsoft has quit supporting it. It is like driving a Model T Ford for which you cannot get parts to fix it. So having written this article today, my computer is going back into the shop to get an updated version of Word installed that will work correctly and be completely serviceable. There will be about five hundred words in this article. My OCD tendencies will just have to be at rest for today and until I get my new version going.  Sometimes, in the Lord, we need an updating. Things that have worked well for us in the past have become “stale” and “mundane”. We need a refreshing, like a cool dip in the water after a long hard day’s work in the hot summer time. God has made full provision for the “version” of our daily walk with him to be “updated” in an ongoing way. This provision is very simple. It is “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:20-21). It is committing our life into God’s hands to allow him to remove what he desires to remove. It is to believe for and receive a fresh infilling of God’s presence, power, and provisions that is for us in Christ. In Christ we have forgiveness of sin, and fullness of the Spirit with supernatural peace, joy, and supernatural spiritual gifts. In Christ we have healing of heart, mind and body. Jesus said blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. We can say the pliable ones who release the past and grasp the promises of God in Christ, are updated and functioning in a new ability. These receive fresh provisions from God. Like a computer, we can all use a discarding of the old with an updating to the always available, uplifting, powerful, presence of God.

Menu

When the Rain Comes

The annual Blue Diamonds ladies over fifty basketball team held their multi-family yard sale at our place last Friday and Saturday. It is a big event here with lots of stuff and lots of people coming through. I had the task of managing the cars as they came through, and the team of working women managed handling the stuff. Saturday it rained and then the sun came out on three occasions. It was tarps to cover things, then uncover and dry things off that got wet, three times. The first rain was first thing in the morning before they could finish setting things up. This put those of the team who were there in the house sitting out the rain yakking. It so happened that the women present had a keen interest in the things of the Lord, and the conversation went that direction. I was the only rooster in the coop so I just sat by and listened. I figured this was a women’s seminar and I would do best to keep mum, listen, and learn. My wife, Barbara, has been walking with the Lord for many years, and she is quite exercised in prayer and hearing God’s direction, and she does not mind ministering and praying with people in public places such as Wal Mart, Cracker Barrel, or any other place where need arises. Questions came to her like a Philadelphia lawyer on the hottest case in the county. “How do you know God’s voice?” and “What is the approach you can use to reach people for Jesus?” “How do you overcome fear?” This was the general tone of the questions and conversation, replete with testimonies and experiences of how God has worked in people’s lives. As I listened, here is some of what I heard. The basis of living a life of walking with God starts with falling in love with Jesus. Barb was rescued as she was flipping a car in La Grande, Oregon back in 1996. At the same instant it was happening, her Mom was prompted to pray in a Benton, Arkansas Sunday school class. God used other people just loving her with the love of God to draw her to himself. Later, Barb was diagnosed with 5 years to live with emphysema. She was supernaturally and instantly healed through the working of Jesus Christ. This Jesus, she fell in love with. This Jesus has gotten her through much and continues to be her closest companion. It is through love of and yieldedness to him that a person can walk with God. Does that make a person perfect without ever any fault or failure? Absolutely not! But what it does do is it puts you in relationship with the person who is perfect and who is without fault and without failure, and, who always has your best interest in mind. His name is Jesus. By loving him and yielding your life to believe him, you will find his directions in and through your life.

Menu

Beauty in the Back Yard

In our back yard we often see a plethora of activity, particularly in the spring of the year. The mamma Robin, protecting her baby learning to fly, refuses to back off of the persistent squirrel wanting to eat seeds on the ground. With a flogging, pecking attack she runs him up a tree. The striking black and orange Baltimore Orioles, on their migration to Mexico, Central, and South America, stops in for a few days to enjoy the purple grape jelly from the jelly jar stationed among the feeders. There are five or six of them fluttering around enjoying the sweet fare and the seeds. They also love to indulge in pieces of orange. The red, white, and black Grosbeak steadily pecks away, getting as many seeds as he can from one of the feeders. A Blue Jay will swoop in and with his raucous carryings on, run them all away for a moment, but when he leaves they come right back. The bright red Cardinals, our year-round guests, join in with the group, enjoying the various seeds that have been placed before them. It seems they all know when the feeders have been freshly filled and the word gets around. With all this, the Robins are hopping around with their amazing ability to just hop over to a spot and with one peck pull up a wriggling worm. And they do this all over the yard! I can go out there and earnestly look for a worm and not find one worm. And with all this, a beautifully painted butterfly will drift onto the stage and with his calmness in being carried by the wind, and show his beauty for all to see. It is particularly entertaining in the spring for at this time the whole show has the backdrop of the blazing red roses. These two extended beds flank each side of the archway that leads to the rest of the back yard. All of this is framed all across the very back yard by the bamboo fence topped with lattice that I built when we widened the creek. The neighbor across the creek was kind enough to let me have the bamboo that we cut, and that’s what I did with that. We can all enjoy and glorify the Lord for the beauty of his marvelous creation. God is a creative God who enjoys beauty and diversity. Just studying the animals on earth attests to this fact. He did not have to do all this, but he did it to provide the “garden” for us to live in, maintain, and enjoy in God’s presence. Sin spoiled it all at one time, but Jesus took our sin upon himself. Because of Jesus we can be reconnected to the presence of God and enjoy him in all things. What a wonderful God! What a wonderful Savior! We can enjoy his goodness now and for all eternity through Jesus Christ! Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ our precious Lord!

Menu

Don’t Walk Right Past It

I went to one of the big chain hardware stores to pick up a couple of sections of gutter, and I hurriedly picked up other needed parts, picking up an outside corner when I needed an inside corner. So, next day I went back to Home Depot and back down the aisle that the gutter was on, to get an inside corner section. Just as I approached that area, some pieces of foam caught my eye and led my thoughts of what I could use that for, as I continued to walk. As I neared the end of the aisle, I was asking myself, “Now where is that guttering? I sure thought it was on this aisle!” I walked down a couple of other aisles and said out loud, “I’m sure that gutter was on that first aisle!” I walked back to that aisle, looking intently for the gutter, and there it was – it was there all the time. I was just distracted and walked right past it. The Bible tells us just as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation (Hebrews 9: 27, 28). I was “looking” for the gutter the other day, but I got distracted and missed it. The next time around I was looking with a greater determination and found it. That is the difference between casual looking and committed looking. That is like the parable of the ham and eggs breakfast: the chicken was involved, but the pig was committed. Jesus came the first time and mighty things occurred. Jesus rose from the grave and gave us his Word and Spirit by which we can operate in this life. If we are casual believers who are “looking”, we might be involved, but we don’t see the Lord in mighty ways. We are easily distracted and walk right past his working in great power. When we are truly committed and determined to see the Lord as who he really is, he will certainly appear without sin unto salvation, healing, and deliverance. Then, in that final hour of our life, that salvation is still there, operating in grace and mercy to safely carry us over to the other side.  That is why we do not want to be caught up with distractions of any kind. We want to know and enjoy his full salvation here and now, spirit, soul, and body, and enjoy his eternal salvation with him in heaven forever. There is a real heaven, and there is a real hell in the realm of the spirit. It is up to us to lay aside the distractions and get our mind on the business of making sure we are prepared to meet him in judgment. Jesus’ sacrifice will carry us through if we turn from sin and ask him into our life.

Menu

Influences

We have an open pavilion that provides cover for our two cars. It sits near our house. It is convenient to step from house to automobiles. There is a bird nest in the pavilion. Mr. and Mrs. Robin have raised their feathered family there for years. We can always tell when there is a family being raised in the nest, for there will be a generous amount of “evidence” splattered on the hood and running down the side of the car. So, the practice is to just leave the car part of the way out from under the pavilion to give the family a little space. When that family is grown and gone, it will be okay to pull all the way into the shelter of the pavilion. We are influenced and make adjustments in our lives by the activities of others. Here is another item. One time I used a shower body wash out of a bottle instead of a bar of soap. I squeezed out a generous amount on my rag, but for the life of me, I could not get a good lather up to wash in the shower. That happened more than once. I concluded that body wash was not for me. I will just stick to using a bar of soap, and, I did that for years, operating under the premise that body wash won’t cut it. I did hear some others say that they used body wash, even preferring to use it. And here is another item. For years I did not drink cold water. You think, “No cold water! That’s crazy!” Well, it was not a fetish to me. I just did not require it. The only time I would drink cold water was in a restaurant, when they would bring out that tall glass of ice filled water. I would just sip it a little. That was it. There have been changes and adjustments in my life. After the bird gets the family raised, we just park under the pavilion as we normally do. Barb bought some body wash one day and I tried it, and I love it – lathers up, smells real good, too! Now, I love the bottles of cold water I grab out of the refrigerator on a daily basis. We are all influenced by people, practices, ideas, and experiences that play out in our daily lives for years. Often these things, rob of good things. It is the same in our spiritual life. We are often influenced by people, practices, ideas, doctrines, and experiences, or lack of experience. These influences actually lord over us and dictate to us how we live and what we can have or not have. Through the work of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, God has already provided for us to have and experience good things – forgiveness, healing, and fullness of life in every way. Change your thinking, and take the good things God offers you, and enjoy life more.

Menu

Which Way Your Blades?

We have one of those wind vanes in the back yard that is two wheels mounted on the same shaft. The blades on one wheel are angled one way, and the blades on the other wheel are angled the opposite way. When the wind hits the wheels one wheel turns one way and the other wheel turns the opposite way. The harder the wind, the harder and faster the wheels turn in the opposite direction. One windy day as I sat in the back yard, my attention was drawn to the spinning wheels. As I watched them spin, I realized we can be like those spinning wheels. The same wind of the Spirit of God that causes a person to go one way, is the same wind of the Spirit that causes another person to go the other way. It depends on how the blades are angled. As God deals with us all in various ways, if we have our blades angled toward what God wants and desires then as he deals with us we go in the direction he wants us to go. If our blades are angled toward what we want regardless of what God desires, as God deals with us, we will go in the way we desire, and, the harder the wind blows the harder we go our way. Winds of adversity can cause some to harden and go away from God, while that same wind will cause another to submit to God and call upon him and receive his deliverance and direction. How your blades are turned is just the way it is. But the good news is that God can turn our blades if we so desire him to. We can live a life of being hard and bitter and complaining about every gust of wind that comes along. Or, we can look to the Lord and call upon him to change our blades. Help us to see things from his perspective.  Help us to wait before him so that every wind that comes along, we will hear his Word and follow his Spirit to navigate whatever we are facing. Knowing his faithfulness, when we submit to him in this way, we can just start thanking him for the answer right up front. Keeping our blades turned to him with faith, praise, and thanksgiving processing the wind to his glory. What Jesus did for us positions us to receive the winds of God and the winds of adversity in such a way that we can live in victory in all “weather”. The blood cleanses from sin, the Spirit empowers within. It is the wind of the Spirit of God that we want to catch upon the blades of our life so we can spin in his love, his power, and his glory. We just call upon the Lord to birth a change in the direction of our blades. As we are changed by his power, we can spin in his plan for our life.

Menu

Rats

With the extreme cold weather we have had here in the south, varmints seek to find places of warmth. One morning, I walk into the kitchen and find shredded white plastic bits all over the floor. The night before, I had put a new trash bag in the receptacle, and the full trash bag I just set on the floor in front of the receptacle. Seeing the bits of plastic, I moved the filled trash bag only to find several holes in the bag with one big hole spilling out coffee grounds. “Oh me, we’ve got a rat in the house!” I proceed to set a large snap trap with peanut butter. The next morning I am lying in bed and as my eyes open to see the red digital clock reading 5:39, I hear the sound of a snap coming from the kitchen. I knew the sound. I bounce out of bed and with just my underwear on I rush to the kitchen. Sure enough, I find a rat. He had eaten the peanut butter and was lying beside the trap, still alive! Somehow, it hit him to only stun him. “Okay, so what am I going to do now? I’ve got a live rat that I’ve got to do something with quickly, and I don’t want to grab him with my bare hand; he might bite me.” I noticed in the trash receptacle a large envelope. I got the envelope and with it being used as a glove, I grabbed the rat. He started squeaking. “Okay, what am I going to do now? I’ve got this live rat in my hand and I can’t run outside in my underwear…” I notice an empty tin can in the trash. “Okay. I know what I can do.” I grabbed the can, held the rat against the wooden trap on the floor, placed the edge of the can on the neck of the rat, and applied enough pressure to hear multiple crunches. Then I knew that rat could do no harm. Now my job is to determine the entry points and address that so the rats cannot get in the house again. Sometimes we can have rats in our house spiritually – a bad perspective on life and bad attitudes.

Sometimes we can have rats in the house physically – sickness and disease. Jesus did the work so we can set the trap and deal with the “varmints” in our lives. We believe on him and call on him to undertake. We listen to what his direction is for us. We do what we must do to bring an end to the residency of the rat. It is not pleasant, but to keep from damage being sustained, we must deal with the rats. The good news is that Jesus did the work for us to be liberated in our spirit, soul, and body. This is what the gospel is all about – exterminating sin, sickness, and satanic oppression. The gospel is God’s rat trap.

Menu

The Sky is the Limit

From early in life I always wanted to play the piano. My Mom and Dad gave me a guitar when I was a boy, and I learned to play it, but somewhere along the way I started wanting to learn the piano. I think it was when the ends of my fingers would hurt so much from pressing the strings, I thought, “Boy, it would be a lot easier to just peck on a flat piano key!” When I went to college I figured this would be just the right time. They have pianos in little practice rooms, and I could take an elective and learn to play the piano! Nope! I lasted one day in class and dropped it. It was like they were talking in a different language. Too far advanced for me at that point! So years rocked by. Long story short, I got myself a nice electronic keyboard for Christmas and started out 2020 with my own electronic keyboard. It came with its own operating manual, so now, the sky is the limit! It has over 554 “voices”, or different sounds. Most of the time I use only one voice: the Grand Piano. Another voice I enjoy is the Tremolo Electric Piano for certain songs, but there is organ voices, saxophone, guitar, percussion voices, and on and on it goes with all kinds of sounds. If a person has a mind to learn it, one can do just about anything with that keyboard in the way of making and managing sounds and music. You can make a car horn honking sound, a jet plane sound, laughing, a machine gun, on and on, not to mention all the different musical instruments. It is all there for application and for the benefit of all, but the key is what I said: “If a person has a mind to learn it”. The benefit of beautiful music played and enjoyed is in direct proportion to one giving oneself to learn and apply by practice.

It is the same in the things of God. Everything we need for every situation is there for us in the Lord. It is by faith in God, by the knowledge of the Word, and by the flow of the Spirit. That is Father, Son, and Spirit. I mean, everything we need is in him. There are 8,810 promises of his provision and ability, everything we need abundantly above all we are able to ask or think, but most people give themselves to know one thing, the voice of forgiveness. And that is great – to have possession of the “keyboard” and have forgiveness. But let me tell you, the Word must be revealed to us by the Spirit, and as we give ourselves to know the flow of the Spirit by practice, by actually yielding to him personally, then, and only then, will we experience the music of God’s glory manifested through Jesus Christ. The sky is the limit if we give ourselves to know Christ. 

Menu