Two Charlie’s

Paul had a number of friends that he knew were salt of the earth and faithful to the end, here he speaks of one, Epaphras.

I have known two Charlies in my life; the first Charlie Hickman, a man of noble character and a great servant of Christ. He was a rock to the Green River Baptist Church, a servant who will long be remembered. He went home to glory too soon.

The second Charlie I met in 1994 when I arrived at the children’s home. Charlie King loved the children and had established the golf tournament that would provide them with a refurbished swimming pool, activity and educational funds in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Dr. Stow introduced Charlie to Jesus while he was ministering to the children. Charlie was a faithful servant and a real advocate of the children; he was a man worthy of our love.  Charlie lost the battle with cancer and he too is now in the comfort of our Lord.

So now you too know two Charlies who live in glory and praise God for you.

Ivan

Published in: on March 22, 2017 at 9:22 pm  Comments (1)  

Can It All Be Lost?

Can it All Be Lost?

We live in such prosperous times, in such wonderful times that it is almost impossible for us to believe that we could ever be held accountable for our blessings. No wonder Jeremiah was the weeping prophet, his people were about to lose it all and they didn’t have the foggiest.

You realize that we have been so greatly blessed, could it be that in our blessings we have forgotten the one who made it all possible. Could we lose our blessings?

‘Father help me and help our nation to see our blessings and to be thankful in our thanksgiving living

 

Published in: on March 21, 2017 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Where Are The Fish

Where Are The Fish

Don’t you just love the guy standing on the dock when you are returning from an all-day fishing trip without any fish, who holds us a stringer of fish so heavy he has to get a friend to help him display it to all of those who have come to admire the days catch by the fishermen?

That is the way it seems to always happen to me. I come back with only one fish on the stringer and that one is smaller than some folks bait.  I would not have kept it except my dad always said it was bad luck not to keep the first fish you caught if it was legal.

There I am with my minnow and the dock is full of people taking pictures of the arriving super fisherman with his two man stringer filled to capacity. I really want to just pull away and come back another day but time will not permit so I make a hundred excuses for my baby catch and then listen as all the people ask the successful fisher where he caught them all. I hear him say out on the lake near where that guy was fishing; pointing to me to be sure that everyone knew I could not fish, all in the same spot.  Of course he is not giving longitude or latitude, that is a secret he will keep for his next trip but he is certain he could hear my radio from where he was fishing and just knew that I too was catching the mother lode.

Yep you just want to sit down and have a great meal with that fellow, maybe spill your spaghetti all over him as you get up from the table to use the facility to hurdle all that you can take of the bragging.

The disciples were having one of those nights. They, professional fisherman, had fished all night, the nets were empty, their bodies were tired, and they were ready to slip into port hopefully unnoticed. Then this guy who never fishes, called to them from the shore and said, “Try the other side”.  Some nerve he had, telling professionals how and where to fish.  ‘Tried that’ they shouted back, no need trying to keep their empty boat a secret any longer since he had pointed out to all on the lake that they had caught nothing.

But he was a friend, they liked him, wouldn’t hurt his fillings for anything, so why not, one more cast wouldn’t kill them though it would be a close call, so they obeyed and out goes the net one more time.

WOW! Were they surprised? Their net was so full that they thought it would break.  They called to all the other fishermen in the area to come and help them and they all filled their boats.  What a fishing trip, greatest catch of their careers and all because of a friend who had never fished. Why people would be talking about that catch for weeks, in fact, two thousand years later people are still talking about it.

What’s the lesson? When you go fishing ask Jesus where to fish? I don’t think that is the central point although I have asked Him to let me catch a fish. Not sure that’s the central prayer of His daily devotion, not really sure how much weight that one carries.

Maybe the point is to do what the disciples did, Obey Him. Now that’s the catcher, discovering what Jesus is doing and how He wants you to be involved in His work.

Why not try what the disciple did? Listen to Jesus, discover His will, and do it.

Maybe you don’t know where to start; you don’t even know where the boat is let alone the fish. I promise you there is someone in your area who has met problems just like yours and discovered the location of the answer. You will have a better chance of finding that person in a local church where people just like you gather weekly to seek God’s direction for their lives. If you have trouble finding a place like that email me at inraley@yahoo.com , I am sure I can help you catch far more than fish.

Published in: on March 21, 2017 at 12:02 am  Leave a Comment  

From a Friend

From a Reader

Oh brother, the beginning of this story brought back some sad, sad memories of my younger years – my dad drank – just like the one in the story – and I experienced some of those same humiliating scenes but some of them actually did not start with my dad but my mom, who would egg him on. They were both very, very messed up people.   She had us hating my dad and tried to be the one we loved the most.  After a while we grew up and got smart enough to see what was really going on and by that time my dad was in the hospital dying with cancer.

But God was so wonderful AGAIN by giving me one last chance to mend all of the hurt in my heart (and his) by letting my dad live long enough for that to happen. My last visit with him with my two sons was like a miracle. For the first time in my memory my dad asked me to come over to him and gave me a kiss and told me he loved me — he never, in my memory did that before!  And then instructed my sons to always remember what a good mother they had and to always know that.  I never saw him again.

Years later my mom, who never changed but kept a lot of her old, sick ways still alive, was super sick in a nursing home. On my last visit with her, I told her I loved her and hated what she was going through and said my last goodbye.  I now can’t wait for the day when I can see my dad again and hug him and kiss him and do all the things we never had a chance to do before and hopefully, when and if I see my mom again – I am pretty sure I will — I will give her a hug and a kiss and tell her I love her and forget all of the past

Heaven is going to be such a wonderful place – and we go through so much that so many people do not know while here and the ones that I tell these things to are aware that this happens to more than I could ever imagine. But with God’s help, we get through, don’t we?  And Heaven is going to wipe away all of the bad memories and give us a chance at unfailing love all thanks to our loving Heavenly Father.  How blessed are we!

(Now and then I receive a note that is too wonderful not to share, such is this.}

Published in: on March 19, 2017 at 9:10 pm  Comments (1)  

The Enemy

On April 7, 1945 Ensign Jack Fuller and his air crewman, Charles Williams, Jr had put on the full armor that their plane launched from the USS Bennington, could carry.  They assisted in the sinking of Japan ’s largest battleship the “Yamoto” and while doing so were shot down by AA fire from the Yamoto. They had an enemy and they gave their very lives in helping to defeat that enemy.

God’s Word warns us of our enemy, the devil, and urges us to prepare for the battle he launches against us.
We can believe in an enemy like we face now in terror attacks and have faced in our past from warring countries.  But few of us are prepared for the daily battle with Satan, How strange, how tragic.

Ivan

Published in: on March 15, 2017 at 10:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

His Gift

All the time I had known them he had been bound to his bed by sickness. In those seven years I never visited his room that his loving wife was not near by providing for all of his needs. She was worn and broken in body for those years but her heart was still devoted to him. The years had passed her by, her needs unmet, her dreams long forgotten.  I often wondered how she loved him so much, how she was able to give so much. Then as I left their home one afternoon the sun cast the shadow of a nearby telephone pole across their yard that looked like a great giant cross.  Now I understood, she remembered what Jesus had done for her and she loved her husband in Jesus. I walked through that shadow and remember the debt Christ had paid for me and wept as I drove home.

Published in: on March 14, 2017 at 10:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thanks Son

Today, Tuesday March 14, is my son Vann’s birthday. I not only wish him a ‘Happy Birthday’ but I also thank my Lord for giving him to me.

Vann is a great son, father, and husband. His loyalty is to our Lord, his family, and his family in Christ. If God had given me the money and told me to purchase a son, if I had any intelligence at all I would have chosen Vann. He is all and more than a father could expect. I can still remember the Wednesday night that he entered this world; it was an eventful night not only for his mother and me, but also for our country and his wonderful family.

Thanks Vann for the ten years you served your country, thanks for the faithfulness you have to the Lord and your family, and thanks for the privilege that I have to call you my name sake and son.

Son only our Lord will be able to share with you the joy and blessing you have been to me and to all who know you. You have a lovely wife, great children, and talent enough for a hundred lifetimes, You are loved.

Dad

Published in: on March 13, 2017 at 9:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Walk In The Dark

I use to enjoy visiting with a blind couple that lived about two blocks from my home in an off yellow house on College St.

We developed a ritual that we followed each time that I would knock on the door. They would call for me to come in and I would say, “You know you are sitting here without any lights on don’t you?” They would laugh and tell me to turn the lights on if I must.

I would take Mr. Luther walking sometimes and he would place his hand on my shoulder as we walked along and all the sounds that were made he wanted me to describe to him.

I really did try, but you know it is hard for a small boy to describe a leaf that was falling to a man who had never seen one. I would let him touch it, smell it and sometimes even taste it. He would laugh and we would go on to the next sound of a kicked rock, breaking piece of glass and too many others to remember.

One day as I was leaving; they both said to me, “Sonny, we can’t see you and you seem very small, but you sure do bring a lot of light into our home.” I really didn’t but I did leave each time with a feeling of purpose and task accomplished. I know that they are now both deceased, but somewhere in my memory are days of bright sunlight when I took a walk in the dark.

Published in: on March 12, 2017 at 10:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Last Memory

Last Memory

Wayne could still remember the exact moment that he heard his father tell him, ‘that he was good for nothing and never had been and never would be’ it was at his birthday party when he turned seventeen.

His father had always been difficult, drunk, and too loud, in all his years of school he only had two friends who ever came to his house and they only once or twice. His mother had insisted on giving him a birthday party and while they had invited about ten people only six showed up, he was surprised for that was four more friends than he had. She had grilled hamburger in the backyard, made homemade ice cream and put up a boom box so they could play music.

About the time they had finished their meal, eaten the cake covered in ice cream his dad had come through the door shouting “What is going on around here, who do those cars out front belong to and who is playing that loud music?”

His mother had tried to run interference but his father had shoved her aside and walking into his faced began to shout the words of no good, and who did he thing he was and who were these freaky kids.

The friends began to move away when they saw his father slap him, and each of them managed to leave before the full storm raged. He had never felt so bad, so discouraged, so humiliated, and so ashamed of his father and sorry for his mother. After the storm raged, his mother was hit and the grill turned over in the yard his father went to his room in his drunken state telling him to clean up the mess and calling for his mother to come upstairs. He had cleaned up the mess, packed a few things he needed and wanted, took the $300 dollars that he had saved and left.

After a lot of nights on the road, under bridges, in camps of the homeless, he had made it to a distant uncle’s house and they allowed him to stay with them until he enlisted in the Army.

After six years of hard work in the army, doing his job taking classes and saving all the money he could he got out of the army and in two years had completed college.

The next ten years found him hard at work in a small upcoming company in New Orleans. They supplied packages of items that were needed by the workers on the oil rigs in the gulf and soon found a very profitable business. Over the sixteen years he had called his mother, hung up when his father answered and talked briefly when he could with his mother. Life at home was the same she said, his father had never mentioned his name and had never changed his ways.

He received a call from his mother telling him that his father was in the hospital dying, so without telling her he flew back to Memphis hoping that a final moment might bring some peace. It didn’t, his father had died soon after his mother had called and the storm of Wentworth Circle was over.

He begged his mother to come and live with him but she had a few friends in the community and the old house was paid for and all the investment she had. Wayne walked into the backyard, remembered that night eighteen years ago and wept. Before he left he arranged for all the repairs to be made to the house, got his mother a new car and promised to stay in touch. For the next thirty years she received three calls a week, a visit each month and a nice check from her ‘no good son’, and even flew in a plane to New Orleans a few times to visit.

After her funeral he placed a marker that covered both her grave and his dad’s for no one had bother to do so in all of those years. He wept as he stood and looked at those two markers and realized that while they looked so much alike, they stood for so much that was different in his heart. In love he wept for his mother, in heartache he wept for his father.

Published in: on March 6, 2017 at 9:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Under Orders

Under Orders

David walked out of the hotel in his freshly pressed Navy uniform of a three striper, Commander in the United States Navy.

He walked toward his car where the doorman from the hotel was holding the back door open for him, thanked the doorman and spoke to the driver as he slipped into the back seat.

As they pulled away from the hotel he said to the driver, “Gabe I am not really sure what I am supposed to do on this call.”

The driver said they he believed the duty of the day was to simply visit the mother and father of a fallen sailor, they had been having a hard time with the death of their ‘seal’ son and his job was to bring them some comfort.

The Commander told the driver that he really was not sure what he could do, what to say how to act.

Gabe told him just to do and say what his father wanted him to say, ‘Maybe tell them what you wanted and needed to hear when your son did not come home.’

David thanked him, put his head back, closed his eyes and remembered.

They saw the couple sitting on the front porch when they parked in front of the house; David got out walked toward the porch, removed his cover and called their name. They threw their arms around him and the tears from all three began to flow.

David now understood his duty and the planned minutes soon became two hours and as he walked back to his car he knew that all was well, he had done his duty he had served his command and orders well.

(Not what we say but how we feel that fits so many moments.}

Ivan

Published in: on March 5, 2017 at 9:09 pm  Leave a Comment