Saturday, December 03, 2016

Earnest Prayer

Are you still praying for America with earnest as before the election? I read an article the other day, When Change Doesn’t Last by Kerry Duke, that says exactly what I wanted to portray this week in my article, so I thought I would share it with you.

A Confederate soldier was captured and sent to a Maryland prison in 1865. While there he decided to write about his experiences as a soldier in the Civil War. As he described “the vices of army life,” he revealed an old familiar side of human nature. Gambling was a favorite pastime of many soldiers. Some were so addicted to it that they would bet half of their food rations in a card game. Any soldier who tried to live right was ridiculed, and a soldier seen reading his Bible was mocked. A funny thing happened, though, when battle began: “When the shot and shell began to whiz by them, splintering rails and tearing off tree tops, with comrades falling around, they began to realize the great need of religion. One good battery with a good supply of grape and shell holding an elevated position could bring hard-hearted sinners to repentance. It did not require a dozen old sisters with their turkey wings begging them to repent of their sins. They were truly good then. But the great trouble was in keeping them so. If his life was spared the sacred resolution would not be long remembered. In less than a week the Bible reader would be a thing of the past, when gambling would go on as before and would not stop until the next signal for a fight was heard...” How suddenly men change their attitude when the fear of death fills their souls! Later in 1942 during World War II Army Chaplain William Thomas Cummings said, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” When men walk through the valley of the shadow of death, pride gives way to fear and stubbornness turns to humility. Sadly, that change can be an easy come, easy go experience. Many go right back to the same old selfish way of living after the storm ceases. In fact, when they have a relapse from their newfound religion, they are usually in a worse condition than before (Luke 11:24-26). They become more hardened in rebellion and less affected by the next sign of danger. Pharaoh was notorious for this fickle behavior. When the plagues threatened to destroy his empire, he appeared to humble himself. “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart” (Exodus 7:15). His seeming change was only for a while. Strangely, many of the Israelites who left Egypt did the same thing. When God descended on Sinai with thunder, smoke, and lightning and caused the earth to shake so violently that they trembled, the Israelites seemed committed to serving God. After their feelings had subsided forty days later, they rebelled and worshipped a golden calf (Exodus 32). When the tragedy of 9-11 occurred, church attendance in many places soared. People prayed more and talked about God openly. They said, “We will never forget.” But they did. As the horror of those images faded from their minds, they went right back to their comfortable and carefree life. Like Israel of old, their goodness was like early dew that soon vanished (Hosea 6:4). Not all men in the Bible who were humbled by tragedy reverted to their carelessness after the danger had passed. Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:11-16), Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4), and the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24) learned their lesson. Whether we are on a battlefield, an operating table, or a dangerous highway, we all decide what we will do with the trials of life that bring us to death’s door. ...witness to God’s power in answered prayer and keep praying in earnest.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Respect Works Too

It is said that there is no “me” in team. I think there is plenty of room for “me’s” on any team, as long as one knows that their particular skill, great or small, ought to be refined to its fullest for the success of the team. In recent years I have simply disregarded most professional sports for several reasons, but have remained faithful to my NASCAR and the “good guys” San Antonio SPURS, where respect for their profession, fans and one-another remains high. Not to jinx them, but I’m glad to see the “boys” are back in town. The Dallas Cowboys are winning, but what I see is respect once again. Dress shirt and ties (bow tie) when being interviewed, America’s Team, proud and working together.

Life before the computer: *An application was for employment *A program was a TV show *A cursor used profanity *A keyboard was a piano! *Memory was something that you lost with age *A CD was a bank account! *And if you had a broken disk; It took surgery to fix it! *Compress was something you did to garbage; Not something you did to a file. *And if you unzipped anything in public, You’d be in jail for awhile! *Log on was adding wood to a fire *Hard drive was a long trip on the road  *A mouse pad was where a mouse lived *And a backup happened to your commode! *Cut, you did with a pocket knife *Paste, you did with glue *A web was a spider’s home *And a virus was the flu!  *I guess I’ll stick to my pad and paper; And the memory in my head. *I hear nobody’s been killed in a computer crash; But when it happens they wish they were dead! I and millions of other baby boomers, and their parents, had to roll up our sleeves at the onset of the computer age with an industrious attitude of changing our lives and moving the country forward. We worked together to learn and be more productive. Respect America, again!

[Ecclesiastes 9:10] Solomon, the teacher, wrote: “Whatever you hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” An industrious person is attentive and active. An industrious person is committed and conscientious. An industrious person is dedicated and diligent. An industrious person is focused and faithful. An industrious person is hardworking and helpful. An industrious person is studious and steady. A Christian is an industrious person. Paul exhorted, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). He further exhorted, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as  we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12). Being industrious translates down to two things: heart and effort! Paul exhorted, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24). We serve with all our heart because we are serving Christ. We serve with effort because in this life only we have that opportunity. Johannes Sebastian Bach, the great German composer and musician said, “I am obligated to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well.” Is that not true of Christians? Are we not obligated to be industrious? Can we as the servants of Christ be less? Solomon wrote, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men” (Proverbs 22:29). I want to stand before “the King” respectably.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Still Alive

I woke up the other morning and while lying still, and quietly greeting my Lord, thanking Him for another day I get to play and strive to get things right, I thought, “I must be dead!” for nothing hurt. The usual back pains and other muscle aches seemed to be at an absolute minimum for the first time in a long time. My euphoric state of mind was rudely interrupted when my faithful bedside clock sounded it’s scheduled wake-up call with a little rock-n-roll to get the day started. Reaching to silence the noise, so not to awaken the whole house, was literally a pain in the neck, and reality set in, I was alive.

Ah, The Golden Years! A row of bottles on my shelf, Caused me to analyze myself. One yellow pill I have to pop, Goes to my heart so it won't stop. A little white one that I take, Goes to my hands so they won't shake. The blue ones that I use a lot, Tell me I'm happy when I'm not. The purple pill goes to my brain, And tells me that I have no pain. The capsules tell me not to wheeze, Or cough or choke or even sneeze. The red ones, smallest of them all, Go to my blood so I won't fall. The orange ones, very big and bright, Prevent my leg cramps in the night. Such an array of brilliant pills, Helping to cure all kinds of ills. But what I'd really like to know, Is what tells each one where to go? ( Life is like a toilet paper roll – the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.

[Ecclesiastes 12] (From the World Bible Translation Center, Inc; Easy-To-Read Version) “Remember your Creator while you are young, before the bad times of old age come – before the years come when you say, ‘I have wasted my life.’ Remember your Creator while you are young, before the time comes when the sun and the moon and the stars become dark to you. And troubles come again and again like one storm after another. At that time, your arms will lose their strength. Your legs will become weak and bent. Your teeth will fall out and you will not be able to chew your food. Your eyes will not see clearly. You will become hard of hearing. You will not hear the noise in the streets. Even the stone grinding your grain will seem quiet to you. You won’t be able to hear the women singing. But even the sound of a bird singing will wake you in the morning because you won’t be able to sleep. You will be afraid of high places. You will be afraid of tripping over every small thing in your path. Your hair will become white like the flowers on an almond tree. You will drag yourself along like a grasshopper when you walk. You will lose your desire to live. And then you will go to your eternal home. The mourners will gather in the streets as they carry your body to the grave. Remember your Creator when you are young, before the silver rope snaps and the golden bowl is crushed; before your life becomes useless, like a jar broken at the well; before your life becomes wasted like a stone cover on a well that breaks and falls in. Your body came from the earth. And when you die, your body will go back to the earth. But your spirit came from God. And when you die, your spirit will go back to God. ...The most important thing a person can do is to respect God and obey his commands. Why? Because God knows about all the things people do – even the secret things. He knows about all the good things and all the bad things. He will judge everything people do.” If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself for sure. But God gives wisdom to young and old alike, that the process of aging will yield more comfort with the Creator in one’s heart and mind to soothe the failing earthly body. Yep!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Don't Stop Praying!

I really don’t want to get on a rant here, but, it’s very hard to swallow, and even harder to comprehend, the reactions being showcased by supporters of the liberal agenda throughout the country following the national elections. The elections process has not changed, but what is reflected in the outcome of this election is the fact that the mood of the people has changed. What they see in the operations of the government isn’t working for the citizenry that are footing the bill to pay for conveniences others are abusing and extorting. I can’t help but to believe what we’re witnessing in the protests (tantrums) across the country is the product of a spoiled America that has never before been told “no, you can’t have that”. They have grown up under the gist that everyone is a winner and if one cannot achieve top notoriety, a rules change is in order. The problem that brings about is, there are too many rules! And when a rule or law turns around to bit the law-maker it then becomes someone else’s fault that “I’m still being oppressed!” I’m sorry, but everyone can’t always have it their own way. Life isn’t like ordering a hamburger. “Today I think I’ll have my burger without onions or mustard, and I’m going to tell others they shouldn’t have onions or mustard either.” No two people on this planet are the same and forcing me to patronize an agenda that I do not believe in is simply wrong. I believe everyone should stop at stop-signs, but I don’t believe abortion is the only way to stop unwanted pregnancies. I’m not out to force anyone to think my thoughts or live as I do. All I ask is that I retain the right to express my ideals, and like many in this country, I saw that right slipping away. What’s happening in this country right now is not working and to the surprise of the “meism” community the people have spoken.

[Romans 13:1-5] “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.” I believe the prayers of millions have been answered and without fanfare those millions will continue to submit themselves to the governing authorities as God has directed. The collected conscience of God-fearing citizens of this country wants representation of their values and God-given rights to live a peaceable righteous existence. “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Pray for those who are protesting and especially for those who are antagonizing them into violence. Pray for the safety of our president-elect and all those whom he appoints to secure the offices of our government. Lord grant him, and them, wisdom in their leadership abilities and I pray they look to you for guidance in all they do. God is listening. Continue in prayer for our country – the battle has just begun.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Serve God - Save Country

WOW! I am impressed at seeing the daily turn-out of voters during the recent period of early voting. I pass by our local poling place several times a day and have always seen an extended line of folks waiting their turn to cast their vote in the national election, and our local city and county election. My wife and I invested a little less than an hour exercising our right to vote. I’m not an analyst, nor do I listen too closely to those who say they are, but it appears a sleeping giant has been awakened and I can only pray it’s the for too long silent majority that has decided to stop grumbling, “...someone has got to do something about our out of control government”, and is actually finding the time to do something about it themselves. By the time a lot of you read this, the votes will have been counted and a new President will have been announced. I pray every eligible voter took the time, how ever long, to stand in line and express their convictions as to the leadership they are willing to follow. This is a republic, constituted, “We the people...” but “WE” have been letting our leaders run amuck for far too long. Just because the voting is over it’s not time to crawl back under a rock someplace to grumble until the next election. Put our elected officials’ promises to the test. Remind them - your vote put them there and you expect results. Talk to them. We are not government puppets. We should be pulling the strings.

[Hebrews 1:10-12; 13:8] “Jesus Christ (the Word of God; John 1:14) is the same yesterday and today and forever.” This being true, then, God will deal with His “people” the same today as he did in the past. Undeniably, this republic that we live in is based on the principles of righteousness found in God’s Word (the Bible). Here’s a Bible study for you to emphasize what is going to happen to this country if “We the people” continue to ignore the righteous principles that made this country the greatest the world has ever seen. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). One candidate’s campaign slogan is, “Make America Great Again.” I’m certain that some of the promised policies of that campaign would be advantageous, but they are not things that will make America great again. Allow me to share with you what will make America great again. 1. A deeper knowledge of God’s word (cf. Hosea 4:6; 2 Kings 22:8-17; Revelation 1:3). 2. Godly homes (cf. Psalm 127:1; Genesis 1:27-28; 2:18-24; Hebrews 13:4; Ephesians 5:22-33). 3. Love and unity (cf. Mark 3:24; Acts 10:34-35; 17:26-27; John 13:34-35; 17:21). 4. A stronger work ethic (cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:10; Gen. 2:15; Nehemiah 4:6; Romans 12:11). 5. A servant mentality (cf. Philippians 2:3-8; Galatians 5:13; John 13:12-17; Romans 12:9-21). 6. Less materialistic and more spiritualistic (cf., 1 Timothy 6:10; Matthew 6:25-34; Colossians 3:2; Ecclesiastes 12:13). 7. Arm citizens with the sword of the spirit (cf. Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; James 1:21; Romans 1:16). In his inaugural address, John F. Kennedy proclaimed, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” We can wait around on our elected officials and hope they implement policies that will result in national greatness, or we can start today, individually, implementing those things God says will make us great. “...if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14). Nothing, not even death, can separate you from God, except YOU! (Romans 8:35-39). Serve God; Save country.