Old Feet

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  • I watched him remove his shoes and socks and then I saw his feet. Swollen, very red, twisted, peeling, to tell you the truth I had to look the other way. Then I remembered the years at camp Linden and his great work with kids.  Then there was Brazil , Belize , and Mexico . I saw the lady he prayed with helping her to come to Jesus.  The young man he visited in prison in Mexico , the children he gave gifts to, the lives he touched. I remembered a day long ago at Camp Linden when I knelt beside him and promised Jesus that I would do anything He wanted me to do. The earthly feet have traveled about as far as they are going to travel, but the work they did is beautiful, young, still growing, and shall last eternally. Not bad for worn out feet, not bad.

    Ivan

Published in: on April 28, 2017 at 9:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

God’s Joy

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  First Thessalonians 5:16-18

God’s Joy

See how much our joy and happiness means to God? God is so much like a parent; He loves it when His children are happy. You can just see Him with a great smile on His face as He hears our giving thanks and rejoicing. Yet to hear so many Christians speak you would think that somehow God gets His kicks out of making life miserable for us.  How ungrateful and unscriptural such thoughts are, nothing could be further from the truth.

God desires that our lives be so filled with joy that we can rejoice always. Stop being so miserable about all that is going on, stop seeking your joy from a political party, election, and the economy and discover it in the treasure of God’s Son.

All that is of this world will in time fade to nothing, we will not take it with us, we will not send it on before us; stop measuring your life by what you have and who you are and remember to allow yourself to know to Whom you belong and that He holds the future.

Nothing except what you have done to honor Christ will make one bit of difference when you get to glory. I hate to say this but I find a lot of people unhappy with life because they have forgotten who is in control and who is going to win.  Read the bible, God wins.

You are on the winning team, live like it. Rejoice; let others see Jesus in your life.  Stop the bitter strife and the ugly comments and get about the Master’s business.

Published in: on April 26, 2017 at 11:57 am  Leave a Comment  

My Grandfather

His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as new fallen snow. Rev. 1:14

My Grandfather

My grandfather, Arthur Raley, was about six feet tall and all the time I knew him his hair was white like snow. I asked my grandmother once why his hair was so white and she said, “Your grandfather is like Jesus, he is a really good man.”

Years later as I read this passage I realized where she got her answer from and smiled that after all of those years together she still could call him a really, really good man.

All of the grandchildren called him Dad, not sure why but we did. He was a man of very few words, I never remembering his telling any long stories. Being a part of a long conversation, he just was a great Listerine.

I think our world would be a much better place if we had men of fewer words, who really listened to the dreams and desires of others.

Dad was a good man, and so was both of his sons and all three of them together never said a popcorn sack full of words.

Ivan

Published in: on April 24, 2017 at 8:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Who Do You Work For?

Who Do You Work For?

Nehemiah was a Godly man who found that he serving an ungodly king in an ungodly land as no more than a slave. But Nehemiah was an unusual man in that he knew he was not really working for this ungodly king but rather he was working as a servant of The King, God.

Instead of feeling sorry for himself and always complaining about the hard place life had put him in he served his earthly master as though he were serving God. You see Nehemiah discovered that as a believer he was always in the service of God. Reading the story you will discover that he did such a great job that God opened the door through this ungodly king to send him on a great mission.

Now most of us when we work for a boss we don’t like, maybe he is unfair, maybe he is a lousy boss but instead of seeing ourselves having been put there by the Lord we just spend all of our time complaining.

I am sure that he could have found much to complain about but Nehemiah realized that his real boss was God and, that God had placed him there for a purpose and he would do a really great job because he was not working for an ungodly king but for his King, God.

Who do you work for?

 

Published in: on April 18, 2017 at 9:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Turn Around

When a man turns away, does he not return? Jeremiah 8:4

We turn away but we do not want to return, why? It might be that we don’t want to admit that we have turned away. As soon as you stop and ask for directions you are admitting that you are lost, confused, not sure.  We don’t like to admit to any of those things. After all we are the smartest generation, the best educated generation, and the wealthiest. How could we need help?

Could we use some help with our economy, maybe medical plans, how about help with getting along with others. We might need some help for the future, the long, long future of forever. But still we are either ignorant of that need are we just keep putting it off until there is nowhere else to put it; time is up. Business owners need help government officials need help just getting along. I sometimes wonder if we are waiting for another 9/11 or December 7, 1942 to cause us to put aside our petty difference, get our heads together and receive the help we need.

A man never turns until he is willing to admit that the direction he is headed is wrong. In our government, in our business world, no one wants’ to admit that they are wrong. They cling to deceit; they refuse to return.

Stubborn all the way to defeat and even into eternity.

Published in: on April 17, 2017 at 9:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Friend Not Remembered

A Friend Not Remembered

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking the rooster crowed. Luke 22:60

I saw them gathered outside the church door, all the preachers who had just left the meeting. As I approached I noticed that they were all joining in on a – Rip your fellow minister apart – party.

They were just spreading more gossip and enjoying all of it. They asked me what I thought and I paused a moment and said, “Have you ever heard him pray?” With that I watched as they begin to break up and move toward their own cars.

I was sure that two of the men knew exactly what I was saying; they had to remember when the friend they were destroying had prayed for them and held their hands in a time of personal hardship. The accused man had been one of only two of us who had attended the funeral of one of the preacher’s new born son. Another was about to lose his church when this ‘friend’ he now forgot had helped him pull it together.

 It is so easy for us to climb onto the trash building over another, it makes us seem so much taller, but in truth we are not, we are just standing on garbage and we have just forgotten a friend. The rumors were flying through the Low Country and in time would cost the man they were stabbing to lose his job and his heart. Years later the truth would be known and all of them were wrong, but that is not the point, the point was they had a Friend Not Remembered. Be careful when you find others guilty; remember Jesus is a friend who will never forget you.

Published in: on April 13, 2017 at 11:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Prayer Not Prayed

Prayer Not Prayed

Then Jesus said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch and pray with me.” Matthew 26:38

Have you ever forgotten to Pray? She met me as I was coming out of the drug store and with wonderful excitement said, “Pastor thank you so much for praying for mom. She is doing great, the surgery went perfect and she will be home in a few days.  Thanks pastor for praying for mother.”

I am not sure of my response but it had to be quiet of this I am very sure for the last time I had prayed for her mother was when she had approached me in the hallway at church and asked me to remember her and the surgery in my prayers.

I had walked away praying for her mother but in fifteen minutes I was in the pulpit and to my knowledge that was the last I remember of the request until she caught me coming out of the drug store. I was so ashamed, I had forgotten to pray.

I wonder how many prayers have been left un-prayed. Jesus wanted the disciples to pray, so it had to matter. God does hear and answer our prayer; otherwise Jesus would not have asked them to pray. Maybe Peter would not have denied Christ, maybe there would have been more disciples at the cross, maybe, maybe – but they did not pray. I wonder how many sermons are a flop, because someone forgot to pray, people are sick today because someone forgot to pray, how many still lost, how many in the cemetery? How many homes broken, how many families shattered, and how many lives never serving in His Kingdom because of a prayer not prayed?

Published in: on April 12, 2017 at 9:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Got A Coat Hanger?

Got A Coat Hanger

by Ivan Raley

 Do You Have A Coat Hanger?

The judge called and asked if there was any way that the children’s home could find room that day for a family of three girls and two boys.  He explained that the father had been killed a couple of years earlier and the mother was on trial that day for her third DUI and she was going to have to go to jail.  If he placed them in state custody they could not assure him that the family could be kept together and he strongly believed that in this case it was important to all of them to remain in contact. I assured him that we would make it happen and went with one of our social workers to the office of a pastor where he had arranged for the children to be kept on a temporary basis.

As the social worker interview each child I tried to keep the others entertained and to assure them as terrible as all of this seemed I believe that they would discover that it was not going to be as bad as their fears. I asked if they had any question they wanted to ask me and the smallest boy wanted to know if we had any coat hangers.

Now I expected to be asked about TV’s, computers, ball equipment and a hundred other things but never a coat hanger. So I said, “I am not sure I understood you, can you ask that again?” Once again he asked if we had any coat hangers. I asked him why a coat hanger was important and he said, “I have always wanted a coat hanger. When I go to my friend’s house his mother takes my coat and puts it on a coat hanger and then hangs it in a special place.  At my house we just throw our coats in the floor and sometimes I use mine for cover, so I would like my own coat hanger.

I smiled, hugged him and said, “Son you have died and gone to coat hanger heaven for we have hundreds of coat hanger and I will be sure that you have several of your own as well as a closet to hang them in.” He smiled, rubbed back the tears and hugged my neck. Most of us have such long list of our wants and here was a small boy being taken from his home and all he asked for was a coat hanger. Little children shall lead them and this boy did exactly that, God has been so faithful to provide a ministry like The Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes for families who reach that moment when the uphill climb is too great even for the little engine who says ‘I think I can.’ Without any tax payer money they reach out and embrace these hurting families with their loving arms and God’s great grace.

Ivan

Published in: on April 3, 2017 at 11:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Facing Fears

Fears That Require Faith

All of us have some fears but as we grow older those fears seem to fall into a smaller funnel. For those of my generation, over sixty-five, two fears stand out like great dark mountains.

One is the fear of living longer than your money. In this time of longer life span this is a very real and reasonable fear. What if my money runs out before I do? No one wants to be a burden to their children. No one wants to come to the end of life and have to depend on others for help to survive. While social security is wonderful, most of us know that it will not sustain the life style we have enjoyed. Recently our savings have either vanished in that pit of ‘where did it go’ or they have dropped in earning power until even a good sum does not add much to our income for living unless we begin to draw down the principle and then we are back to that first fear, what if we live too long. A good manager of money might be able to help but even the smartest of advisors cannot do what cannot be done. Thus the fear, “Living Longer than My Money.”

The second fear is somewhat the same. “Living Longer than My Health.” By that I mean our health plays out but our body continues to live. All of us have visited the “Senior Adult Centers” and seen people who long ago ran out of health but not of life.  Thus they continue with 24/7 care for all of the issues of life. Again what is the answer?

I wish I knew the answer to these two pressing questions. I did everything I was told to do about investing my money, setting aside savings for my ‘Old Age” and then watched it vanish a few years ago as if it was never there. With health, even the scriptures say what can I do to add an inch, a year, even a day.

Maybe it all goes back to the faith that as God provides for the birds of the air He will also provide for me. Perhaps my children will step up to the plate and hit the home run that I will need to see me to eternity’s gate. Maybe God’s grace will work it all out as he did for my dad who died when he had $931.00 left in the bank.

One thing for certain all the worry in the world will not alter the course and payment of time; so I like the birds of the air must do all that God has given me the ability to do and then believe that God will provide for the final flight.

With faith in Him I take each step, each fear, and each day knowing and believing that He really meant it when He said, “I will go with you to the end of the world.”

Published in: on April 2, 2017 at 9:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Your Name

Have you ever been on the bottom of the pile and then someone very special noticed you? You were a nobody and then someone important called your name, believed in you, gave you a chance, let you start over.

Mary had, and when Jesus called her name it was like darkness had turned to light, the sand became water, and despair became hope. I suppose some of you have really never know what it was to be last; but someone reading this has and they understand Mary’s heart when Jesus called her name.

Published in: on March 31, 2017 at 9:42 pm  Leave a Comment