Thursday, September 17, 2009


Have you every started your day with a groan and a sigh? Your energy level low and you had rather be somewhere else and not face your immediate responsibilities? So many of us operate on feelings, we forget that we still have the power of choice. Do you operate your life as a thermostat or simply a thermometer?

By The Way there is a big difference between the two. A thermometer simply tells us what is but a thermostat tells us what we want it to be. It was mighty hot that morning in church. I have determined through much personal experience to not mess with the church heating and cooling system. I ask the custodian to check the thermostat and he said, “No wonder it is hot, someone has reset the thermostat on 80 degrees. I remember this morning checking it and it was set on 70.” The next Sunday the same thing happened. This time I went against my better judgment and checked it myself. What I discovered was that the custodian, who was new in that position, had checked the thermometer. It was 70 before the service began and 80 by the time we concluded. In fact the thermostat had not been set at all. All that was running was the fan. I punched a few buttons and the problem was solved. The custodian never did figure out the mystery.

I had the power to set the temperature not just tell what the temperature was. Choice is one of the wonderful gifts God has given to us. We do not have to be a slave to our feelings. We do not have to be satisfied with the temperature of our lives. It will take a conscience effort but we can set our thermostat. We can choose to see the good, to go after our goals, to rejoice instead of complain.

You may have physical or emotional problems you are dealing with and this will, admittedly, make setting your thermostat a little more difficult. But we have the help of the Lord who created and engineered our H/A system. (Heating and Air or it could represent our spiritual Health and Accountability system.) To use another analogy, “It is sometimes more convenient to curse the darkness than turn on the light.

The Psalmist declares in Psalm 118:24 This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

We have a choice to rejoice. We have a choice to live this day, which is God’s gift, in a way that will glorify God, edify ourselves and bless those around us.


Saturday, September 5, 2009


Broco Jim reminded me that my last blog was growing moss. Well, the way he stated it, “It was ’smellin’ because of it’s age.” And I needed to come up with some fresh spiritual food.

Now that got me to thinking… sometimes a dangerous thing for me to do. But By The Way I did recall a sermon I heard one time preached by a “shore nuff” country preacher. He entitled his message, “What do Hit Meen Ta’bee Spurtule? And as I remember, he hit the proverbial nail on the head.

What Hit don’t meen:
1. Jest always beein in church … kaus most of the Christin livin that meens anythang is did out side the church walls

2. Allways coating Bible versis … kaus they is ment to bee lived and not jest spoutid off.

3. Condemin ever body else fer not talkin and actin like you … kaus when you got a fone poll in yore eyes you cant see to pull a toothpic outa the other fellers eyes

4. Hollerin and throin a ruckis and puttin yore brane in newtrule in church whiles you let yore motions go krazy… hit meens lovin God with yore hart and mind and havin some reel no-in and beelevin in the Bible.

5. Findly, hit don’t meen that you nos moren any body else bout how to figger out what the Bible meens … kaus if yore a shore nuff Christin then you gots the Holy Ghost in you fer a teecher like ever other Christin and they can figger out what hit meens with His hep.

What Hit do meen:
1. Lovin God with all yore hart, sole, mind, and strangth.

2. Lovin yore na-bore like you loves yoresef.

3. Talkin to God on a reglar bases… that meens prayin.

4. Doin what God tells you ta do … that meens readin yore Bible on a reglar bases.

5. And makin shore you got yore sins repented of sos nothins in betwix you and God that wood keep you from good fellership.



Saturday, August 1, 2009


Most all of us have had our children or grandchildren come to us with a picture they had drawn in school or a Sunday School class. Maybe scrawled on the paper with crayon and in yet undeveloped printing ability were the words, “I love you mom.” Or “I love you daddy.”When we were younger and drew pictures for our parents they probably looked a lot like those we now receive.

Do you remember what your parents would often do when you gave them the picture? They would say something like, "Honey what a beautiful picture, I love it", and then they would put in on the refrigerator. Even though it wasn't the prettiest picture in the world it meant a lot to them because you gave it to them, and you did it out of love for them.

By The Way when we worship God we don't have to be the best singers in the world it
just has to be from our hearts. That doesn't mean we should not try to sing nice for God, only that worship should be from our hearts. Like the pictures we drew for our parents, worship should be us giving our best to someone we love. To God it is a beautiful picture that He would put on his refrigerator!

Read Psalm 98 slowly and deliberately and see what God thinks of our worship

1 Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
2 The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
4 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn— shout for joy before the LORD, the King.
7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands, Let the mountains sing together for joy; 9 let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.


Monday, July 27, 2009


What a joy it was to fill in for Dr. Jim at Gaither BC while he and Virginia were away at a Bangladesh missionary reunion. I really enjoy speaking about the Old Testament tabernacle. I enjoy getting into costume, and taking folks back in time about 3300 years or so. There is so much information about the tabernacle from the Scripture and Jewish writings in the Mishna and the Talmud.

By The Way it is not just information we deal with when discussing the tabernacle, it is a beautiful application of Old Testament typology of New Testament truth concerning the necessity of sacrifice in order to approach God. Christ is both the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, and also the High priest who in type performed the sacrifice on Yom Kipper (the Day of Atonement).

The tabernacle was a place where God demonstrated his living presence in the glory cloud, and showed the way for sinful man to approach a holy God.
Bro. Jim did such a great job putting together the model of the tabernacle. I will be sharing this message Sunday morning, August 9 at Burlington Baptist Church. I will be sharing it again at Western Grove Baptist Church on September 20, and in a revival in Paducah, KY on September 27, with Bro. Jim and I teaming up on a meeting.
Contact me if you are interested in this teaching, or other first person Biblical characters, or revival meetings and evangelistic crusades.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


When I was a young boy growing up on the farm I was not unlike most boys, I was afraid of the dark. I have discovered since those days that it is not only children that are afraid of the dark, grow-ups are too.

Sometimes dad would ask me to go to the barn lot after dark to make sure the gates into the barn were closed. After I had gotten a little older, I could carefully, yet nervously, make my way to the barn lot if I had a strong flashlight. While I was younger, I was too afraid to go, and so dad would go with me. Sometimes he would not even have a flashlight, but would depend on the light of the moon. I discovered that as long as dad had hold of my hand I was not afraid. If he turned loose, fear would begin to flood into me.

By The Way, later in life as I reflected on those times I realized that I was not really afraid of the dark, nor was I afraid of those unseen monsters that might be lurking around every corner. What I was really afraid of was being alone. As long as I had the right person with me I could face anything, monsters and all.

It is the same for all of us during every season of life. All of us have a darkness we may be called upon to penetrate, and monsters we may have to face. But what we really fear is facing the darkness and the monsters all alone.

Your darkness may be failing health, or lose of a friend or loved one. Your monster may be financial problems, family problems, or wayward children. You may be afraid as you think about dying. What you really fear is facing those things alone.

What I learned as a boy was that I had an earthly father that I knew was sufficient to take me anywhere I had to go and face anything I had to face. What I know now is that I have a heavenly father that is committed to being with us 24/7. Now, He must be “your” father, and He will be if you have received His son, the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.

As a child of God we have His promise in Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. God has said,
"I will never leave you;
I will never abandon you." — Deuteronomy 31:6
6 So we can be sure when we say,
"I will not be afraid, because the Lord is my helper.
People can't do anything to me." — Psalm 118:6(New Century version)



As I was growing up our menus quite often included pinto beans. I remember when mom was preparing to cook a pot of beans; she would often say to me, “I need you to ‘look’ some beans.” What she meant was for me to open the sack of beans and as I poured them in the pot I was to look for tiny rocks, bad beans, or some other piece of debris that might have gotten packaged with the beans. I got pretty good at ‘looking’ beans. We also did the same thing with leaf lettuce out of the garden. We ‘looked’ the lettuce before we included it in our salads. I usually found something I would have to discard, throw away. In other words I got really good at looking for the bad among the good.

By The Way the practice of looking for the bad is all too common even among those who claim to be Christians. We ‘look’ our neighbors, our friends, our pastors, our government leaders, and even our family members. We get so accustomed to finding the bad we miss the good. I am not saying we should be gullible, and undiscerning. But as believers we are to emphasis the good, and encourage the positive.

Paul said in Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I once heard a story about a gentleman moving into a new town. As he entered the town, he stopped along side the street and called out to a man on the sidewalk. He said, “I am new in town and just wanted to know what kind of people live here.” The local gentleman asks, “What kind of people lived in the town you are leaving?” “Oh,” said the newcomer, “some of the meanest, most unfriendly people I have ever been around.” “Well,” came the reply, “that’s the kind of people you will find here.”

Later that day, another gentleman came into town planning to leave his former home and move to a new residence. He saw a gentleman walking down the sidewalk, and he pulled over. Though he was unaware of it, it was the same man who had talked to the first newcomer. He ask the gentleman, “I was wondering, I’m moving to your town, and just wanted to ask, what kind of people live here?” The reply came back, “what kind of folks did you have in the town you are leaving?” Said the newcomer, “some of the greatest, nicest people you would ever want to meet.” “Well,” said the local, that’s the kind of people you will find here.”


Friday, July 10, 2009


Recently we had a rain storm that dropped several inches of water in a short period of time. Some streets looked like creeks. It is amazing how much water is carried aloft in clouds.

One of the basic things we learned in general science class in grade school was how the water vapor cycle worked. Water evaporated from earth’s great seas and oceans, and the rising water vapor formed clouds. When the conditions were right, the water condensed and the droplets became too heavy to stay aloft and fell as rain.

By The Way, I have heard from critics in the past who think this notion of a world wide flood, as in the day of Noah, is ludicrous. They say there is not enough water in the world to cover the entire earth including the mountains. But recently I heard an interesting discovery on the History Channel. It has been scientifically demonstrated that there is more water below the surface of the earth than above the surface. In fact, they stated because of the shifting plates in the earths crust water has been trapped in pocket deep within the earths crust. This water becomes superheated and at times spews forth as heated geysers, like “Old Faithful” in Yellowstone National Park. Now scientists are saying that if all the water from below came to the surface it would cover the earth to as much as one and one half miles higher than the highest mountain.

As I read the account of the flood in Genesis, it states that the great fountains of the deep were broken up. The indication is that water came both from the heavens and from beneath the earth. It seems the more we discover about our planet we more we face the truth that the Scripture is true, even in areas were science often lags behind.

The bottom line is simply this. I can trust the Word of God to tell me the truth, whether, scientifically, geographically, mathematically, historically, and especially spiritually. As one of my seminary professors said, “Though the Bible is true in all that it purports to be true, the greatest truth is not how the heavens go but how to go to heaven.”

Scripture says, 2 Tim 3:14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness...


Tuesday, June 9, 2009


We recently returned from a visit with our son-in-law, daughter, and grandkids in Florida. We enjoyed a lot of site seeing. One other thing we enjoyed was eating out. It is always interesting to compare menus, service, prices, and the quality of the food. I became aware of something on this trip that I had not previously given a lot of thought. Almost as important as the quality of the food is the “presentation.” The presentation is everything from how well the waiter or waitress serves the food, to how it looks on the plate. Often average food seems much better if it is presented well, and timely.

By The Way, a good spiritual comparison could be made as to how we present the Gospel to an unbeliever. Presentation is not everything. The truth of the content of what we present is most important. Paul said in Gal 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!

But our presentation is important. Here are some “no-no’s” when it comes to presenting food or presenting the Gospel. (1) Not being sold on what you are trying to recommend. Who would want to order a dish that a waiter or waitress seemed less than enthusiastic about? A strong recommendation from a pleasant server goes a long way in prompting me to order a particular dish. An unenthusiastic witness for Christ is a definite turn off to a lost person.

(2) An unpleasant voice and a disrespectful demeanor are extremely disconcerting. We were in a deli in Saint Augustine, FL, where the delis cook/waiter was loud, and very offensive in his approach. We almost left before our food was delivered. It was not an enjoyable experience. In witnessing for Christ, we must have a humble spirit, and a non-threatening approach. We are not charging Hell; we are sharing the greatest news in the world with someone who is important. They need to see our sincerity and genuine respect.

(3) Not being familiar with the menu creates suspicion in the customer. A waiter or waitress needs to be acquainted with their products. That does not mean, of course, they need to know what the cook or chef knows, nor do they need to be an expert on particular cuisine. But they do need to be able to explain the basics of the menu. A witness for Christ does not need to know the whole Bible, nor do they need to be an expert on doctrine. They do, however, need to have a certainty and a personal knowledge of the message they are sharing.

(4) Finally, the presentation does not end when the food is set on the table. A good waiter or waitress will come back several times to check on the needs of the customer. Presenting the Gospel is not just a one shot approach. When we share the gospel with someone, rarely do they respond with a commitment to Christ the first time. We need to go again and again and build a relationship of love and trust. Our presentation may extend over a long period of time. I do not mean we are to share the same verbal message but we are to share ourselves. What we have to offer becomes more beautiful and meaningful when we give a presentation that is loving, consistent, and over an extended period of time. Oh, sometimes the best waiters and waitresses are new on the job. It is often true that new believers have not learned the bad habits of those who have been Christians for years. Hence they do not have to unlearn some bad presentation habits.

We do have the promise of the Scripture in making our presentation. Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (NIV)


Friday, May 29, 2009


“I’m Baack!!”

What does hitting a deer with a pickup, cleaning up debris from an ice storm, a sermon from a funeral, and a dying man with cancer have in common? Well, this was truly one of those By The Way moments.

A few days ago I was in Community First Bank to do some business. While waiting for another party, I saw Joe Bill Dearing, one of my former church members. He began to tell me a story (something he loves to do) that seemed to especially excite him.

It seems that he had quite a lot of debris in his yard from limbs that was the result of the winter ice storm we experienced in this area. He had a friend and neighbor that told him of another neighbor who was interested in sending a group of men with chain saws and trucks to clean up his yard. He was reluctant at first to accept any help, saying he would probably pay someone to clean it up. But his neighbor insisted that this other neighbor very much wanted to help. So his friend introduced him to Bro. Bob, who is on the staff of First Baptist Church, Harrison, which was one of the locations that housed and fed many who had come to this area to help in the clean-up. Even though Bro Bob lived close to Joe Bill, this was the first time they had met. Bro. Bob insisted that getting a team out to help him would be a blessing to him and the team, so Joe Bill agreed. Well, the team that was supposed to come to Joe Bills house could not make it. Instead there were two men from two different churches in Marshfield, MO, that showed up. Joe Bill invited them in during a rest time from the brush and limb cleaning up process.

They began to talk about their respective churches. Joe Bill was anxious to share with them a little of the history of his church, Union Baptist. Joe bill got in such a big way with his history lesson that he invited the two men to accompany him and he would take them on a tour of Union Baptist and surrounding area. In process he passed by a house of a man who was dying of cancer. This man had been given a short time to live. His yard was littered with limbs. Joe Bill said to the men, “now there is a place you guys need to help clean up, and maybe in process you could share a witness with this dying man. Joe Bill and many others over the years had prayed for this man and had talked to him about the gospel, but to no avail. By the time the tour was over it was time for these two men to return home to Missouri. But they promised that they would be back the next day and go to work cleaning up the yard of the man with the cancer. Before they left, Joe Bill gave them a CD of the funeral I had preached for Joe Bill’s wife, Dennie, who had died about three years ago. Apparently they listen to the CD on their way back to Missouri and were moved by the message.

The next day those two men showed up ready to go to work. Joe Bill went with them. After they had finished cleaning the yard they went inside the house and began to talk to the gentleman with the terminal cancer. God used their witness and right there they lead the man in a sinner’s prayer. Joe Bill said he recognized the wording of the prayer because it was the same one, word for word, I had used at Dennie’s funeral to encourage the lost to accept Christ as savior. As the men left that day they were rejoicing in this dying man’s salvation. Before they left to go back to Missouri they gave the CD back to Joe Bill and ask him to take it to this new believer so he could listen to the message. He was not able to do that because the man died before the sun arose on another day. Joe Bill had the comfort in knowing that this man, whom he had known for years, went to sleep on this side and woke in the arms of the savior on the other side.

Oh, what about my old blue Toyota pick-up hitting a deer? I did hit a deer while on my way home from Prayer meeting at Union Baptist Church one Wednesday night while driving through the Gather community. It did quite a bit of damage to the truck, and took the life of the deer. Well, in Joe Bills words, “The fellow at the body shop that I got to fix your pick-up, while you were on a mission trip to New Mexico, had a brother. This brother was a neighbor, whom I met because I had made acquaintance with his brother who had the body shop. This brother was the one who introduced me to Bro. Bob from First Baptist Church.” Joe Bill continued, “If you had not hit that deer I might have never met the man at the body shop, and therefore might not have gotten to know his brother. If I had not gotten to know the brother, I might have never meet Bro. Bob. And if I had not met Bro. Bob I might not have known about the group that was cleaning up the limbs and brush, and would not have met the two men from the two Baptist churches in Missouri. And if I had not met them they would not have been here to witness to my dying friend. But it did happen just the way God put it together and today my friend is in heaven. Now, it sounds like a God thing to me!” All I could say was, “Amen!!!”

Psalm 37: 23 When people's steps follow the Lord, God is pleased with their ways. (New Century Version)


Monday, April 27, 2009


I saw an unusual western the other evening. It was really a sci-fi western. The location was a small western town in a desert area. A stranger came to town to deliver a simple message; “destruction is coming, a whole horde of poisonous copperheads are headed for the town.” His message was simple, destruction is coming, prepare, or get out of town while you still have time. The problem was, no one believed him. Everyone in town had their own plans and dreams and ideas about what was important. The sheriff was a coward and most important to him was just playing it safe. The girls in the bar thought what was most important were keeping the customers happy. One young man had his eye on one of the bar maids and felt the most important thing was to win her to himself. He was also interested in finding some easy money. There was one really mean hombre who wanted the stranger to stay so he could win his money in a card game. When that did not happen, his obsession became to kill the stranger. Each character was different yet alike in one thing; they held their own priorities, and were unconcerned and unbelieving about the destruction that was shortly coming their way.

The climax to the story came when they realized that they had to work together to save the town and its inhabitants. They discovered that the real enemy was not each other, not the personal circumstances that life had handed them. The real enemy was the snakes headed their way.

A twist in the story came at the end when after killing most of the snakes, they discovered that they were only baby snakes, and momma was in their midst and she was as large as a dinosaur. Again they worked together and were victorious. The last scene was everyone leaving town heading their own direction in life, but having learned a lesson they would not soon forget. In the process they actually learned to respect each other.

By The Way, I realized that the TV show I was watching was a moral play about life itself. Often we are so focused on our agendas, our desires, and our needs we forget who our common enemy really is. We thing that neighbor is our enemy who complains about the location of the property line between us. We presume that the world is our enemy, when as a Christian, the world is our assignment. We think that our enemy is anyone who keeps us from getting what we want. The Scripture says “Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack.” 1 Pet 5:8 (Contemporary English Version)

The Devil sends out his “babies” or demon angels to destroy us and if they do not succeed He may come himself. We need to realize the “God Factor.” 1 Peter 4:4Children, you belong to God, and you have defeated these enemies. God's Spirit is in you and is more powerful than the one that is in the world. 5These enemies belong to this world, and the world listens to them, because they speak its language. (Contemporary English Version)

We must realize that God’s people working together, with the Spirit of God living in us can defeat anything the enemy throws at us. It will mean changing our priorities and our often narrow opinion of our fellow Christian pilgrims.


Monday, April 13, 2009


I pulled this article up from a piece I had written for a church newsletter some time ago. It still seems to make a good deal of sense. I do wear hearing aids now but read on…

My wife sometimes says, “Ray, you have selective hearing. In other words, I hear only what I want to hear. In the days of young Samuel, while he was living with the old priest, Eli, God spoke to Samuel. Eli, had not heard from God in so long it took him some time figure out that is was indeed God speaking. Eli advised young Samuel, “say ‘speak Lord, thy servant listens.’”
This was the beginning of a great spiritual relationship between God and Samuel. Someone has aptly said, “God has given us two ears, and one mouth, which may mean God wants us to listen twice as much as he wants us to speak. And maybe by our actions we are saying, “Listen Lord, thy servant speaks!”

Why is listening so important? When it comes to our relationship to God, if we don’t listen we miss His instructions, and we miss his will. And that could be spiritually tragic. When it comes to listening to others, if we don’t we destroy any opportunity for true fellowship. If it involves those closest to us it means we miss the opportunity for intimacy, understanding, and real togetherness. We may also miss God’s will because God often speaks through those closest to us.

The Scripture says, “…be still and know God...” Psalm 46:10. It also says, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:31. The Scriptures express the importance of hearing from God. Jesus Christ the son of God said that he only said those things he heard the father saying (see John 14:24 and 15:15). Maybe it would be good, if we shut up until we heard God speak.

We need to actively listen instead of trying to formulate our next response. Maybe our life with our wives and husbands, and our friends would be more productive and less stressful if we learned to listen before we speak.



I’m glad to be back in the blogosphere. Lots of other stuff has been going on. But hey, have you ever sat and watched a cow chew her cud? I grew up on a farm with plenty of cows. In the summer time I would sit and watch the cows as they lay in an afternoon shade chewing their cud. They would lay there almost as if they we half asleep. They looked so contented as they just chewed and chewed. They would swallow after chewing a while and then another cud would be released from one of their four stomachs and they would begin chewing again. Now it is important to remember that they had spent the morning grazing the grass in order to have something in their stomach to chew. If they had not worked grazing that morning there would have been nothing to chew in the afternoon.

By The Way, the word “meditate” in the scripture is related to the word that means to chew the cud. It means to masticate, to chew on. Here is what the psalmist says about it in

Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

A contented Christian, like a contented cow needs to meditate, to chew their cud. But in the Christians case what they chew; what they meditate on is the Word of God. But in order to have something to chew believers need to work at ingesting the Word of God.

Notice John 16: 4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.


Thursday, February 19, 2009


I have dealt with depression most of my life. In the last few years it has gotten more severe. I know that God could heal me and remove the depression, but instead, at least for now, God has chosen to give me His grace to deal with it. So, although I am not pastoring as I have before, I am still very much in the ministry and am preaching every week.

By The Way as I was spending time in devotions one morning this past week I came across some comments by Henry Blackaby that really spoke to me concerning how God often ministers to those of us who deal with depression.

In 1st Kings 18, 19 we have the story of how Elijah faced the prophets of Baal and God answered his prayer by sending fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice he had laid before the Lord. Shortly after, the drought of three years was ended. But after defeating the prophets of Baal, he received a death threat from Jezebel. His hope was shattered, and despondency and depression set in. He wanted to die! God helped Elijah …

Based on how God dealt with Elijah in his depression we can learn something about HOW TO DEAL WITH OUR DEPRESSION

1. The Lord did not rebuke him for his feelings. (WE SHOULD FEEL NO GUILT OR CONDEMNATION)

2. God sent an angel to provide for his physical needs. (KNOW THAT GOD WILL PROVIDE FOR OUR NEEDS)

3. Then, the Lord revealed Himself (GOD WILL REVEAL HIMSELF)

4. God reminded Elijah that He was quietly working among His people. (GOD CONTINUES TO WORK)

5. Next, He renewed Elijah’s mission by giving him new orders. (GOD WILL GIVE US NEW ORDERS)

6. Finally, God reminded Elijah that he wasn’t alone. (GOD SHOWS US WE ARE NOT ALONE)

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;

Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;

Leave to thy God to order and provide;

In every change He faithful will remain. —von Schlegel

Yours for living victoriously,


Saturday, February 14, 2009


Some years ago I was encouraging one of my church members to start coming for the Sunday evening service. His excuse for not attending was as he said, “preacher, you serve me so much spiritual food on Sunday morning I just could not handle any more. What you give me on Sunday morning fills me up for the rest of the week.” I started thinking about what this gentleman said. I finally concluded that his problem was not one of digestion but one of appetite. Many Christians think they have a spiritual digestive problem when instead they have a problem with spiritual appetite.

I like the way the “Message” translates Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:6 "You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat. We need to hunger and thirst for God. We need to seek his face not just his hand. That is, we need to desire His fellowship, not just desire something from Him.

By The Way I was looking through some poems I had written several years ago and found one that reminded me of a desire I need to constantly rekindle in my on spirit.


I will seek you in the morning
When the twilight wakes the sky
I will breakfast at your table
Morsels money could not buy

I will sip on Heaven’s water
As I contemplate the day
I will seek to walk beside you
And to hear the Words you say

I will seek to fill my calling
To a work ordained by one
In whose image I am made
And sets the path that I should run

There’ve been times the sky has darkened
By the clouds of stress and strain
But you fed my soul, dear Jesus
When I called upon your name
RFE (1994)

Oh how important it is to hunger for fellowship with God. The more we eat at His table the more our spiritual appetite is stimulated. God is glorified and we are nourished.

Bon appetit!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009


During this recent ice storm we have been reminded of how important it is to be connected to a power source. We have underground electrical cables, and so the storm did not affect the power lines that come to our apartment complex. But we were still without power because the break was farther down the line. The source of the power was cut off from our apartments so we could not get any of its benefits.

We were very fortunate that our power was off only about one and a half days. During that time I would go into a dark room and instinctively I would flip on the light switch. But no light would come on because we were cut off from the source of power.

By The Way power to live the Christian life comes from a source that does not originate in us. Jesus promised the disciples, “…But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” (Acts 1:8a, NIV) Left to our own energies we would not be able to live the Christian life. Someone has aptly stated, “the Christian life is not difficult for us to live…it is impossible.” It is impossible, that is, without the power of the Spirit of God working in our lives. Paul in Ephesians 5:18 says “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.” (Amplified Bible) Paul is telling us who belong to Christ to be under the control, the power of the Holy Spirit. We are to be connected to our heavenly power source. It is when the personal storms of life come that we realize how important it is to be connected to the Divine power source.

Arkansas along with Kentucky was declared by the federal government a disaster area. That declaration made it possible to get immediate help to repair lines and work on the infrastructure that was damaged. It will also help with money for relief and reconstruction. A Christian who is not solidly connected to our spiritual power source ought to be declared a spiritual disaster. It is truly an emergency situation when a believer is not under the control and power of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately many of us do no see this as an emergency situation.

Christ taught us that the Holy Spirit was our constant teacher and guide, and any time we had a need He would always be ready to empower us to say and do the right thing. Jesus says in John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” (NIV)

Some folks have never been wired in the first place and it is impossible to be plugged into the heavenly power. When a person is born of the Spirit of God, he is “wired” to receive and benefit from the power of God’s indwelling presence. Some who are wired are temporarily disconnected from the source. What ever our need, God, the Eternal Master Electrician, is ready to go to work on our behalf. We need to give Him permission to start doing in our lives what is needed.

Let the Power Flow!


Saturday, January 31, 2009


The recent ice storm here in Harrison and surrounding area is the worst in years. Power is still out to most of those in outlying areas. It has tested our resolve and called on our creativity, just to make it through until power is restored. It has reminded us again of the power in nature; a nature which was created and is overseen by an omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful), and omnipresent (everywhere present) God.

We were more fortunate than many, in that our power was restored after about one and one-half days. Many will probably be without for as much as two to three weeks. After the power is restored there will continue the clean-up, which will probably last well into the spring or summer.

I have observed that an ice storm can be beautiful and yet very destructive. I can go outside our apartment and simple focus on the way the trees and shrubs, loaded with ice, sparkle in the sunshine. If I temporarily forget the wider effects of the storm, I can admire the beauty of a tree decorated with nature’s icy ornaments. But when I think about the damage it has caused, its beauty is overshadowed by it's destructiveness.

By The Way there are things in life that can appear beautiful, but in the end they are very destructive. The Scripture declares in Hebrews 11:24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of the king of Egypt's daughter.25 He chose to suffer with God's people instead of enjoying sin for a short time.26 He thought it was better to suffer for the Christ than to have all the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking for God's reward. (New Century Version)

What beautiful surroundings Moses could have continued to enjoy, what an opulent lifestyle he could have continued to indulge in, but he knew that the beauty and opulence were for a short time. He chose the right way over the bright way. Who among us would want to continue to have the beauty of the "ice show" at the expense of our safety, our warmth, and our ability to get around?

Beauty indeed may be in the eye of the beholder, but as Christians we must never be gullible enough to believe that external beauty always tells the whole truth about a person or an event. We must always be on our spiritual guard in order to see both the external and the reality behind it. If we are not fully attentive we can suffer a spiritual setback and be hurt or even derailed from our God given mission. There is beauty in creation and in all of nature, but we must learn to respect it, as we respect the God who created it. God is still in charge. He is God before the storm, during the storm and after the storm.
I remember the ice storm of 1999. Again the trees and grass were beautifully adorned with a thick layer of sparkling ice. But I was foolish enough to think I could drive my pickup down the hill from the house where we lived at the time. I almost went over a large bank when the truck started sliding, I fell several times, my son and I got so cold we were almost frost bitten, and I could not get chains on the pickup no matter how hard I tried. I experienced the power behind the beauty. But because I did not respect that power I crawled back to the house, cold, bruised, and frustrated. May that not happen again.

My prayer is for God’s protection on those who are helping to restore essential services, and that all of us may learn the lessons God is teaching us through the storm.

Happy huddling


Friday, January 23, 2009


I have been working in my guest room/office/storage room/etc room today, making it ready for guests. Joey, Angie, and the girls, Shelby and Maddie are driving home from Ft. Campbell, where Joey, my son-in-law, is stationed.

The bed was covered with papers, files, and other assorted things we had not yet gone through from our recent move to this apartment. I found all sorts of neat things. In fact I probably would have finished the job earlier if I had not stopped so many times to check out things I hadn’t seen in a while.

Anyway, I got to thinking about how we can get in gear when we know we have company coming. We want to be ready for them. We want the apartment to be ready and of course a clean organized room where they will be sleeping.

In my mind I got to thinking about another visitor that will soon be coming. He is not just your ordinary visitor. He is really more than a visitor. He is the Landlord. No, not the earthly landlord, but the heavenly one. You know by now that I am speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ, who said He was coming back. He told us to be ready for His coming.

Notice what the Scripture says in 1 Thess 4:16 The Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And those who have died believing in Christ will rise first.17 After that, we who are still alive will be gathered up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with the Lord forever.18 So encourage each other with these words. (New Century Translation)

To be ready is more than being saved, but being ready by having our lives cleaned out, and organized according to a Biblical priority. We do not want to be embarrassed when he comes.

By The Way there is something else that I have realized from all this preparation for visitors. To get things ready, and get things in their right place is good for the guests when they arrive. But, you know, having things clean and straightened makes life more enjoyable while we wait for the guests to arrive. It lowers ones anxiety level to go into a room that is clean, straight, and ready for occupants. I think the same is true of our preparation for our Lords return. We will have a better time and greater joy if we have things ready even though His return may be a while.

Happy preparing!


Monday, January 12, 2009


I really love my ’98 Buick Le sabre. I have had it in the garage for repairs for about a week and have missed being able to drive it. During that time I have had to drive Marie’s 2001 Ford Explorer. She loves her car also. But not having my car for a while got me to thinking. Is it more important to have a place to go, or is it more important just to be able to go… anywhere?
When the price of gas went up we did cut back on our travel. When it started coming down I got the driving fever again. I have come to the conclusion that I just like going. I can decide where to go after I take off. You know, that is not the smartest thing to do. Now understand, there is nothing wrong with just driving around for the sheer pleasure of it, but it can become a waste of time and high priced gas.

By the way, it occured to me that there are a lot of people who live their lives that way. They are always going, but are not sure of their ultimate destination. We live in a "going" world. We can go faster than any generation before us, but I am afraid that we have less understanding of where we are going, why we are going, and how to get anywhere in particular.

Every nation and culture has had a sense of history. But all major cultures except the Hebrew people viewed history as cyclical. It went in circles and was always repeating itself. The Bible was written from the viewpoint of linear history. There was a beginning and we are traveling toward a grand climax. Someone has said, “If you do not know where you are going, any place will do.” History in general is His-story. Our personal history, our travel through this life, should also be His-story.

We should really enjoy this journey through life, but one thing that makes the trip so enjoyable is knowing our ultimate destination. And we can know our ultimate destination if we are personally acquainted with the travel planner, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Many of those around us do not know that they can know for sure what their ultimate destination is. We need to tell them about heaven, how to get there, and how to enjoy the trip.

Over and over Jesus said to those who would listen, “follow me.”

In John 14 Jesus said “4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”


Saturday, January 10, 2009


We live in a day of sound bites, symbols, sayings, and shallow commitments. You rarely see someone wearing a cap or tee shirt that does not proclaim a product, a pronouncement or a political statement. Now, I do not have a big problem with such things, but I do have a problem when the person wearing such does not reflect what their symbols or words imply. If you are going to talk the talk, then you need to walk the walk.

I remember stopping at a red light and noticed the car in front of me had a bumper sticker that read, “Honk if you love Jesus!” I honked a couple of times, but the response I received was a fist shook in my direction. I thought about calling the police and reporting a stolen car. I figured that the guy driving the car could not have been the owner, since he did not acknowledge what the bumper sticker implied. Yep, I thought, that guy has stolen the car from the real owner. But I did not call the police because I regretfully came to the conclusion that in our day you certainly cannot tell a book by it’s cover, and you cannot assume that everyone who uses bumper stickers intend to live up to their message. If we expect folks to believe what we advertise, we must live up to what we advertise.

Notice what James says in James 1:22 Do what God's teaching says; when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves.23 Those who hear God's teaching and do nothing are like people who look at themselves in a mirror.24 They see their faces and then go away and quickly forget what they looked like.25 But the truly happy people are those who carefully study God's perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God's teaching says. Those who do this will be made happy.

By the way, did you see the championship game Thursday night between Oklahoma and Florida? I could not help but notice that Tim Tebow had “3:16” in the blacking under his eyes. Now here is a guy that not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. The guys in the broadcast booth were talking about the character and sincerity of this guy. Tim is the real thing. For a 21 year old young man, he is already a symbol of what it means to be a man’s man and an humble Christian wrapped up together.

My prayer for Tim is that he will continue to put Christ first in his life regardless of all the human accolades he receives and the sports awards he garners. I know that many of you were saddened that Oklahoma did not win the game, but as a Christian how could you not have respect for a guy like Tim Tebow.

I do wonder, however, if someone from the ACLU saw the Scriptural reference under his eyes, and are preparing to protest. When the ACLU gets upset, it is usually because someone is doing the right thing. Go Tim!!

BLOG THOT: "It is ok to advertise as long as you are sold on the product."

Friday, January 9, 2009


During this first part of 2009 I have been thinking of “Time.” It is interesting that in the Greek new testament there are two words often translated “time.” But they have different meanings and refer to two different things.

One word is “chronos,” and is from that word we get our English word, chronology. It refers to time in general. It denotes the quantity of time, and the passing of time. It refers to duration, whether long or short. The other word is “kairos.” It refers to a measure of time, the opportune or seasonable time, the right time, a limited time, to what time brings.

In short “chronos” refers to the movement of time. “Kairos” refers to the opportunity a certain moment or season brings us.

By the Way “Chronos” time can be broken down in many ways. There is nothing we can do about the chronology of time. It can’t be slowed, saved, or sped up.

• 1 picosecond (1 trillionth of a second) - about the shortest period of time we can currently measure accurately

• 1 nanosecond (1 billionth of a second) - 2 to 4 nanoseconds is the length of time that a typical home computer spends executing one software instruction

• 1 microsecond (1 millionth of a second)

• 1 millisecond (1 thousandth of a second) - The typical fastest time for the exposure of film in a normal camera. A picture taken in 1/1000th of a second will usually stop all human motion

• 1 centisecond (1 hundreth of a second) - the length of time it takes for a stroke of lightning to strike

• 1 decisecond (1 tenth of a second) - a blink of an eye

• 1 second - an average person’s heart beats once each second
Then, we examine the higher, more tangible, elements if time:• 60 seconds - one minute

• 60 minutes - an hour

• 8 hours - The typical workday in the U.S., as well as the typical amount of sleep a person needs every night

• 24 hours - a day. The amount of time for the earth to rotate one time on its axis

• 7 days - a week

• 40 days - about the longest a person can survive without food

• 365.24 days - a year. The amount of time it takes for the planet earth to complete one orbit around the sun

• 10 years - a decade

• 75 years - The typical life span for a human being

• 5,000 years - The span of recorded history
How is it we can measure time from its most finite position to its known extent, yet we cannot know, realize or accept what hour we are in right now?! That is where “Kairos” comes in. “Kairos” is our opportunity within the “Chronos” to make a difference.

What we do with our God given opportunity is all that counts. At the end of 2009, we can say, 365 days are gone and can never return, we will never see them again. But if we used our opportunities to honor God, and bless others, the results of that are not gone, but will go on bearing fruit.

I am not a seer, nor do I have special powers to look into the future. But if I am reading my Bible correctly and am seeing current events properly, we are living in most significant time since the first century. Perhaps we have a better opportunity than any generation before us to take the Gospel to every people. Christ says when that has been done, then the end will come.
“Carpe diem,” is a quotation from Horace's Odes (I, xi) is Latin and means ‘seize the day’, in other words ‘make the best of the present moment.’ Though the term in Horace's Odes was used with the idea of just living for today, and getting all the pleasure you can, I think the phrase can be sanctified and become a watchword for believers. We must as believers seize the moment. We must make the most of the opportunity God has given us.

Paul says in Ephesians
5:14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:

"Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.