I took a couple of days off last week and drove down to Mississippi to visit with daughter Mary and her family then up to Memphis to visit with son Vann and family. I had a wonderful time but by the time I left O Charlie’s I was worn out, the more than 400 miles had taken their toll and my missed nap had capped the day off with a great need for sleep. I decided that instead of driving 400 more miles I would find me a bargain hotel and get a fresh start the next morning. About 11 I found the deal of the night a room at a national chain motel for $39.95, I had it made. I checked in got my key and went to the room as I opened the door I realized that someone had used the room and left it in a real mess, so back to the office and sharing with the night clerk, he apologized and gave me a key to another room, opened it up and yep, all had been made up, so I got my overnight bag and started to settled in; the air condition was not on but that is not so unusual, I checked the unit, front was missing no button to push but I was not to be beaten, searching to make sure it was plugged in I noticed an overload button by the outlet, bingo, it started, the temp was set at 60 and since there were no buttons, what the heck, better to be too cool than too hot, so now for the television, puncher would not turn it on but I am a master at this, I found a red button on the back and yep, you are right, it came on, now the puncher worked and it was full of channels, some were pale but plenty worked and I only need one to put me to sleep so ok, I have it made, air and TV, then I checked the bed, looked clean, turned down the cover all looked ok, but the floor, the floor was something else so I am back at the office, asked for a number of towels, got them, back to the room I now have a new floor, I am on the go. Got the Ice Bucket, the Ice machine worked, I am in business, coke vendor, not working, but I am not to be beaten there is a service station next door, cokes, candy bar, pack of chips and I am ready for the night. The door seemed a bit unsteady so I put both chairs in front of it made sure if anyone tried to open it they would get jammed against the wall and would not open, odor was a bit strange in the room, maybe it was the new Colorado smell, you know what they call grass, but not sure, never tried it, but was told once that it was what I was smelling so think it might have been the grass of Colorado. Hit the bed found something boring on TV, drink coke, ate chips and candy fell asleep an other than a banging on the door at about two, I said, ‘wrong room go away’, they did, morning came, no hot water, free breakfast, not sure what you would have called it but I had enjoyed all of the $39.95 Bargain I could stand, so off to home with a pledge that I would miss the next $39.95 Bargain. My wife had no sympathy with my night, said that is what I get for being cheap. My advice to you, if you are driving down interstate 40 and you see a sign that says rooms $39.95, just keep on going. Ivan
Like most kids I started a lot of projects when I was young. I raised rabbits, man I had a lot of rabbits in a very short time but got too attached to them and didn’t want to kill them to sell to the market that said they would buy them, dead and cleaned. So I just ended up with a lot of rabbits and a large feed bill. I once raised pigeons for the New Southern Hotel, of course dad had to do the dressing of those and they are not really nice birds in their bathroom habits, A lot of upkeep and very little money in pigeon farming. I raised butter beans one year and had a fight with a mother hen who encouraged her chicks to dig in my beans. She won the battle by flogging me. Butter beans are not worth a flogging to an eight year old boy. Then I decided to raise radishes one year and planted them in a very nice place in my back yard. Being about ten at the time I was very anxious for them to grow so I kept pulling them up to check on them and make sure their progress was good. By the time harvest came I had only a few that had not been ‘killed’ by my effort to encourage them to grow. I am certainly please that God does not do us that way. I am sure there are times when He wishes to snatch us up by the hair, but thankfully, He gives us another day and another opportunity. In a world that is unfair and where we see people who are doing wrong come out like they are the ‘good guys’ it is very easy to become discouraged and give up, just stop. Join the crowd and let our stand for right either change or be hidden. However His word says don’t stop: keep on and in time the harvest will come. God gives us opportunity after opportunity, His love and His kindness is wrapped in His forgiveness and time after time He allows us to start over. ‘I want to thank you Lord for having loving patience with me and not giving up on me when I am difficult and unprofitable and not worth the effort, because if you did I would not have a chance at being your child.’
Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:31
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a man’s true value could be known by those who know him at the time of his living? How nice it would also be if he were aware of their feelings. But then that is not the way with life but it is the way with Christ. Jesus shared with His followers that while sparrows were very cheap to purchase they were still so important that God always knew when they perished. Then he reminded them that they were much more important than many sparrows. A man lives his life, does his best, follows the calling of God and in the best way he knows how he finishes the course, completes his task and then grows old. No one ever notices the task, the finished path, and the worth of the old man. Somewhere people care for his body as his mind covers its self with fog and fades into the shadow as just another of the very old who must be cared for until death claims them. Really does seem a bit of a shame that no one ever says, “You really did well.” Maybe as Christians one of our callings would be to honor the value of other, to learn the attitude of gratitude and express it to those whom we meet. It may seem like a small thing but what about the young man who carries out your groceries, the nurse who attends to you while you wait for the doctor, the child who looks up with those beautiful innocent eyes, just a hello, thank you, what’s your name. Who knows it could really make someone’s day. I still have a letter that a man, complete stranger, sent me when my picture was in the newspaper for an award I received in school. Maybe his secretary sent the letter, I don’t know and it does not matter for when it came along with the article out of the paper and his words of friendship and congratulations it made my day and now all these years later I still remember that moment. We think little of sparrows but Jesus is touched by the death of each. Let us learn to be thankful and grateful to the point that it shows in our lives.
Bring the Cloak
While winter in Troas is usually brief it can from time to time become very cold and this was the winter of the North wind and it sweep across the sea and into the homes not prepared for its long stay and bitterness. Carpus had been very ill. The chill of the winter wind and his ageing health had gotten him down and the fever had invaded his body until his life seemed to be slipping away. The tent maker offered his cloak, it was all wool, twice woven, by the hands of Lydia and colored with her beautiful dyes. It was by far his nicest garment but Carpus needed its warmth and the tent maker had to leave. So the cloak remained. The tent maker had received a letter many month later from Carpus thanking him for his sacrifice, telling of his own healing under its warmth and that of his mother and two of his children in that same fierce winter. Time had now passed and the long nights in the damp and cold dungeon of Rome chilled every bone in his body. His hands crippled with arthritis and now chilled by the dampness and cold added to his misery. This would be his last letter; time was slipping away so the old tent maker asked his young friend Timothy to be sure and come to see him and to come before winter. Then he asked the faithful Timothy to bring him the cloak, the one he had left with Carpus, the cloak made by the hands of the believer Lydia, colored with her dye and stained with her tears and his blood. ‘Do your best’, he said ‘to get here before winter, bring the scriptures, the parchments and my cloak.
What is it that makes America great? I am sure that you could get a lot of answers by asking a lot of different people. We all have our niche, that special portion of this wonderful country that makes it great in our hearts.
We certainly had a great beginning. Our founding fathers took huge risk and many of them paid with all of their wealth as well as their lives. They found themselves out numbered and out gunned, yet they won. They put their faces in the dirt and prayed that God would give His shinning approval to their work and their dreams.
We certainly had great test along the way. No one had tried a democracy like ours and those early years found us struggling but through it all and in spite of our enemies we prevailed. We fought within ourselves and watched more than a half of a million of our men die. We struggled to overcome the disaster and somehow with both sides lifting their hearts in prayer for their cause, God allowed His just cause to be victorious.
We defended our friends in great wars, watched our young men die, and put every American to work winning the battle against evil.
We walked on the moon, went to the bottom of the sea and climbed our economy until it was the great oak tree standing in the middle of the forest of nations showing others what it was like to be built on free enterprise.
We have before us our greatest challenge. Can we recover our character, remember our foundation, return to our values and realize the blessing of our Heavenly Father, founder and creator of, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
Tomorrow will be greater than today, the past will form our future, and it will be greater than our hearts dreams if we will but put our faces in the dust and call upon our founder to return us to our beginning and bless us once again.
The greatest task will be to begin on our knees and to humbly seek His face. America, my home sweet home.
Thirteen years ago today sitting on a bed in a motel in Gatlinburg I watched as you did from your location our world change. My first thought, because I had the sound muted, was that I was watching the trailer for a coming movie, and then I realized that what I was watching was my world, our world, forever changing. To me it is hard to believe that people can hate so hard, be so evil that they would kill not only themselves but hundreds of others, innocent others, others unknown to them and who had never caused them one moment of pain. Such evil as we saw that day comes from what the scriptures calls the abyss, the bottom of the dying but unable to die world.
I was serving as an interim at the Grace Baptist Church in Tullahoma and by their generosity I was able to go to New York and serve as a Chaplain. The dust had settled but your feet still left imprints in it, the city seemed to be under siege, yet everywhere I went people thanked me for coming, paid for my meal, asked me to pray for them and covered me with pictures of their loved ones who had not come home. Every post, window, sign and any other place people could reach was covered with the pictures of those forever wanders who would never be seen again. Families asked me to pray that God would save them, a taxi driver gave his life to Jesus, a fireman prayed the sinner’s prayer, a girl who worked the streets wept as she asked for the forgiveness of God, and I cried the tears of sorrow for a people I had never met, and for my nation, and me.
I pray that today will pass in peace, no death, no attack, no more sorrow but I know that time will not turn back and acts of violence will pierce our hearts again, but we are America, we are Christians, and we will be victorious.
I believe that most people twenty years or older can remember where they were on that Tuesday September 11, 2001. I remember the morning so clearly, almost like it was in slow motion but you know that much of the rest of the day I cannot recall; I think the trauma of that attack and the destruction of those buildings in the World Trade Center so filled my heart with grief and unbelief that the remainder of the day is like a cloudy window.
That Tuesday in September changed our lives forever, on the 10th we thought of our enemies as nations and their leaders, great armies moving at the command of self-appointed demigods, but that Tuesday introduced us to a new concept of hate, not just from nations and there leaders but from individual, men driven by their beliefs, by a religion that drives them to madness, and promises them everything if they will sacrifice themselves. That day we saw what men taught by Satan can and are willing to do. The 600,000 men who died for America in the Second World War did not die for a promise in heaven, not at the request of a God who would bless them with rich lives in the afterlife; they died for their families, their friends, their country, and the freedom for all men which it stood for.
Today the enemy is an army of ones and twos multiplied by hundreds roaming the streets and lands of all of the nations of the world, men who are believers is a power that has a purpose not to give life, freedom, hope, and goodness to the world but one that seeks to destroy all those unwilling to give their souls to Satan’s cause. Today we must pray, today we must turn our face toward tomorrow, for tomorrow will come.
The house mom said that he had been crying for a long time and she just did not know what to do. I went by the house and asked Wayne if he would go sit in the swing with me out in the front yard. He did not want to but he did. I could see that he had been crying so I said, “Tell me Wayne, what has got you upset?” He said, “She didn’t come home”. “Who didn’t come home Wayne?” I asked “Mother,” he answered, “Daddy said she would come home but she didn’t and now it has been a long time and she still has not come home.” I was there now, I knew the problem. I talked to him about the bad dream he had and how he probably had it often; always around his mother and her not coming home. He nodded, and I hugged him and we talked about a few good memories he had when his mother was at home and life was nice. I talked about how much his house parents loved him and how very sad we were that mother had not come home and dad had to bring him and his sisters to live with us. It wasn’t an answer, I understood that, but it helped him get it out and talk about all that was burning inside of him. It is hard at eight to have a hurt so big inside that never goes away. You blame yourself, your dad, your brothers and sisters and even those of us at the children’s home. See when the hurt is so large sometime it just comes out even when we don’t want it to. Wayne was a good kid, he was very little trouble, but the dreams and hurts sometimes just overflowed out of him. Maybe it would be anger, maybe fear, maybe like this morning tears.
Be careful when you judge other people, remember you can never know the giant that lives within, the hole that forms in their heart and the hurt that will not go away. Wayne got better that day, but I knew there would be other days and other tall mountains and sharp curves. All we could do was to hold him and assure him that we were going to be there, we would come back, because we would never leave.
Pray for the people who spend their lives holding the Wayne’s of this world, they are giant people and need our prayers.
A few years ago I was having some leg problems and was required to walk with a cane, I made it pretty well but I must say I did not like the cane following me wherever I went. I stopped at a Cracker Barrel to use their facility and to have breakfast; I registered with the lady at the desk, gave her my name and she said it would only be a minute so I went off to the facility. As I approached there were three young, looked like college students to me, men standing in the doorway, I asked them to excuse me and two of them politely moved out of the way and the third said, ‘Why don’t you die you old ____ and leave more air for the rest of us.’ The others laughed and I entered the restroom. As I was washing my hands I looked down at the walking cane and decided that I was going outside and teach the young smart mouth some respect. The longer I dried my hands the madder I became, I picked up the cane and swung it around, that would do the job I thought and left the restroom mad to the bone. Now God is really good, the young men had left, I didn’t go outside to check on the parking lot the lady was calling my name; my table was ready, better to eat breakfast than look for trouble. I was now safe, I would not get myself broken and beaten, but I was still mad.
When my breakfast came I bowed my head and thought, what is going on, what is wrong with this world, I can’t believe the thoughts I had, can’t believe the disrespect of the young man, can’t believe my own heart. What is wrong with me, I have never hit anyone in my life, never wanted to, what happened to my heart, my head, my relationship with the Lord. What has taken place in our world that would make such a small thing so very large? What had happened to that young man, had life been too easy, was he spoiled, untrained, untaught, just being smart, but why, why the disrespect, why the language, what has happened to our world. I know the problem is sin, but how did we let it slip into our lives and into the very fabric of our being? I am not sure what happened, but I sure don’t like what it has done to me and to the two students who laughed and the one who spoke, this is not life as I have always known it, I don’t know all that has happened but I sure don’t like it.
(From Terry Segarra)
Do read this to the end… It will make your day!
A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger
who was new to our small town. From the beginning,
Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer
and soon invited him to live with our family. The
stranger was quickly accepted and was around
from then on.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my
family. In my young mind, he had a special niche.
My parents were complementary instructors: Mom
taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey.
But the stranger…. he was our storyteller. He would
keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures,
Mysteries and comedies.
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history
or science, he always knew the answers about the past,
understood the present and even seemed able to predict
the future! He took my family to the first major league
ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The
stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem
Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of
us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to
say and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet.
(I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)
Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions,
but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them.
Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home – not
from us, our friends or any visitors. Our long time visitor,
however, got away with four-letter words that burned my
ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.
My Dad didn’t permit the liberal use of alcohol but the
stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made
Cigarettes look cool, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished.
He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments
were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing….
I now know that my early concepts about relationships were
influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he
opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked…. and NEVER asked to leave.
More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved
in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly
as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into
my parents’ den today, you would still find him sitting over
in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and
watch him draw his pictures….
We just call him ‘TV.’
Note: This should be required
reading for every household!)
He has a wife now….we call her ‘Computer.’
Their first child is “Cell Phone”.
Second child “I Pod”
And JUST BORN WAS a Grandchild….
OH MY…. HOW TRUE THIS IS!!!