You Might Want to Know

The weekend was filled with the event of celebrating Jim’s birthday, first Carole cooked southern fried chicken for all of us including his in-laws, then we went to her parent’s home for dinner on Saturday night and spent the day on Sunday in Heidelberg around a castle built in 1225, closing the day by listing at six pm here to the live broadcast of our church service from Byerdstown on the Internet, what a world we live in. Since a lot of people are down on America let me share a few facts you might be interested in: Now there are a lot of good things about Germany, but get this, if you want to remain in this country you have to take and pass a 600 hour language course, plus a course on their history and culture, can you imagine, and they expect´you to pay for it. Also gas is about $9.00 US dollars a gallon, income tax is between 35 and 47%, sales tax is 19% on everything except food and that is 7%, you must páy a tax of 150 dollars a year to have a dog, 20 dollars a month to have a TV. Just a few of the ‘Other’ things about not living in America. I did meet an old man who was 13 in 1943, who wanted to thank me for the American Army and the people he said saved him and his mother. He picked me out, he had to tell me. Before you forget it America has done a lot of great things and we do have a lot of wonderful people. We have made our mistakes but we have paid dearly for the freedom of others, defeated the enemy and then rebuilt their country. Not bad for a bunch of money hungry ‘free’ people.

Ivan Today’s Daily Devotion

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Published in: on March 26, 2012 at 12:05 am  Comments (1)  

Friday in Germany

As you can see Carole is in heaven, this was her first hold of Matilda and many others have followed as she has just captured the moments with her granddaughter..It is always a joy in the parents hearts to see their children happy and doing the things they enjoy. Both Jutta and Jim seem so in love with one another and their daughter. I never thought that I would see Jim take such loving care of a two month old child. It has been God sent to watch him.  One thing I like about Germany is that mothers must be off six weeks before the due date of their child and then remain off for another eight weeks before they can return to work, yes they are paided all of this time. Not sure how all of that works but it is great for the family. We continue to be busy and will celebrate with Jim his birthday on Friday, I think that is today but not certain of time any longer. I sit on the park bench and talked to three teen girls and a boy about 19, he had a large bottle of whiskey in his hand and was putting it into the cups of the 14 or 15 year old girls. had asked if they understood English and all of them said they took it in school and understood a little. They wanted to know where I was from and invited me to share the bottle I told them that I did not drink and believed they were a bit young, they just laughed and turned up the cups. Not 20 feet away the park was filled with small children and their mothers watching them play, everyone could see that the kids were drinking, but know on seemed to really care. I asked if they went to church, at that they looked at me like I was from another world. But they were interested enough in America to want to continue to talk. Sad that less than one hour by train south of here the first bible ever printed, was printed in 1454, of course it was also the first book to be printed. The Gutenberg Bible is now worth millions but to those who will not believe it,follow it, and share it, the value is nothing. To four lost teens on the streets of Frankfort living in the shadows of this glorious event has meant nothing to them for they wonder these streets, not bad kids, but lost to all they could be and all that God wants them to be, smart, well educated, but no future beyond this world and without Christ will never reach their rightful glory. They were handsome and beautiful, but all for nothing. We laughed at my funny talk, I told them of a joyful Lord, but do not believe they heard, gave them a card and told them they could listen to me on the computer, not likely, but God is good and God is greater than Ivan.

More tomorrow.

Ivan Today’s Daily Devotion

Published in: on March 23, 2012 at 12:05 am  Comments (2)  

Thursday from Germany

As you know we are here and having a great time, the picture was taken at the airport when we arrived. I am typing on a German computer the key board is different and the spell check is in German so it is all incorrect…. It has been wonderful seeing the kids and meeting Matilda but is it different. This is a walking town, only part of three days and already I have walked 996 miles, the time is crazy, it is midnight here and only six there. I have found almost no one who wants to talk to me, they just look the other way as if not to notice. Even in the shops most people really are not interested if you want something are not. They drive small cars, park on the sidewalk and ride in trains which are very narrow. Only three people wide, there is no ice, none, no one has it and I am having an ice fit, when I ask for ice, they just smile. I am learning a lot and we are enjoying the children, they seem to want to keep us very busy. The food is good, the apt. we have rented is about a fifteen minute walk from Jim, but it takes me 20, maybe more. I did talk to some kids in the part, they take english in school and had several questions for me. I will tell you more later. Carole is having a ball, she loves being a grandmother. It is cool, cold, at night but very nice in the day. Lots of parks, lots of people, lots of bikers, even my age, But not much of a eye for God. In 1945 the city was in shambles, now great tall buildings, shinniy cars, tons of apts. and plenty of everything but not much of God, like America they dont see why they need Him… More later..

Ivan Today’s Daily Devotion

Published in: on March 22, 2012 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday From Germany

We have landed and are having a wonderful time in Germany with Jim, Jutta, and mostly with Matilda. But before I tell you about this I must tell you about Sunday. What a blessed day it was at Grassland as we saw them celebrate their 40th. birthday and burn the note on their building. I was so blessed to be part of this wonderful day but I did forget so very much that I wanted to say. Just did not have the time to say all I wanted to say about Don and his beautiful voice, leadership, and friendship, his Behold the Lamb which filled up each time it was celebrated. Wanted to say so much more about Frank Ingram, how much of himself he gave to all of us and how hard he worked to complete the building, how he gave of himself to make it possible. We should have mention Wayne Morrison who took my dream and turned it into the plans, to the Ingram lady who drew the artist vision of the buiding and fired all of our hearts. To all those who took a piece of the puzzle and helped up together to put it together. So many like Julian Moore who asked the church to invite me to preach thus starting the journey we spent together. I could call so many names and should but space here is like time Sunday, we just dont have enough. I love you and owe you a debt I can never repay.

Ivan

Published in: on March 20, 2012 at 12:05 am  Comments (3)  

Here and There

Friday, what to do with it? Great day just like the week has been a great week. I have gotten a lot of work done, yard, house, suit case; yes I am going on a trip. Carole and I leave Sunday afternoon for Germany to visit with Jim, his wife Jutta, and our new granddaughter, Matilda. It should be a great two weeks and I am going to have a chance to scratch off a couple of things from my bucket list. Of course the visit with Jim and family and seeing that new granddaughter is first on the list but we are going to make a side visit on the way home and I am going to visit Normandy and maybe the American Cemetery where ten thousand of our young Americans rest from the Second World War. I hope to locate the grave of a young man from Lindsey Street who is buried there and to see the grave of the Medal of Honor winner, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. Before we leave Sunday I will be one of the speakers at Grassland Heights Baptist Church as they celebrate their 40th anniversary and burn their building note. A great scratch off of the bucket list. Then back from Europe in time to preach on Sunday April the first at Byrdstown First Baptist. I can already get excited about being home and in the pulpit. I know that I am too old and that the wonderful people of FBC should have a new pastor but it is so hard to leave and to lay down the joy of preaching His Word. I am not sure when you will hear from me again and if I will have any chance to post either my devotion or the blog, just wait and see is the only way I know how to leave that matter. Our men prepared a great ‘Wild Night’ supper at the church on Wednesday and we wept as we watched the wonderful movie Courageous. It would be nice sometimes to know if anyone reads these blogs, I think maybe a few do, but not really sure; we have had more than 20,000 hits since last July but that does not mean that they read the message. I did hear from one fellow who said he was looking for frozen fish on the internet and ended up with one of my stories, not bad, I am glad I wrote that story. Just think from 246 South Lindsey Street in Jackson . TN I am going to stand on the beach that 100,000 Americans stood on June 6, 1944. What a journey and what an honor. I will return broke, but I will be filled with just having looked at that beach and thinking of all those young men on that June day who gave their lives that I might have the privilege of visiting some sixty eight years later. Read me when you can, pray for us when you have a moment and smile as we see those two young people and their wonderful new daughter. Ms Carole will be beside herself that will be a real trip.

Ivan Today’s Daily Devotion

Published in: on March 16, 2012 at 12:05 am  Comments (4)  

The Plan

Bobbie Ann looked at herself in the mirror, this was the final fitting for her wedding dress and she was excited that the day was only a week away. At twenty-nine Bobbie Ann was older getting married than most of her friends but the journey had not been easy and only now was she ready. She remember when Jim proposed to her he was 21 and she 19; they had eaten in a wonderful restaurant on the beach in Destin, it had been a glorious night with the sun setting across the ocean, then walking out of the door onto the porch listing to the music coming from the hotel next door. The lady was singing, ‘Can I have this dance for the rest of your life,’ Jim had taken her hand and kissed her gently then whispered in her ear can that be our song, will you be my wife for the rest of our lives? Thrilled and stunned she said, yes, in fact she said it a number of times. They had walked on the beach, removing their shoes and walking in the flowing surf of the warm summer night looking across the water to the light of boats and homes across sitting on an out cropping of the beach. It had been and evening that she would never forget. They drove slowly to where she was staying with her family; they all had thrilled at the news, and then Jim left to drive back north to his home having to return to work the next day. The news had come late to them, the wreck had happened in the middle of no where and no one there knew about them and thus spent their time contacting the people back in Jim’s hometown. It was late in the day when someone finally called and told them the eternally bad news that a drunken drive had crossed into Jim’s lane, killing both himself and Jim. She didn’t think she would ever get over this darkness. For almost ten years she had refused to believe that it was so and that it could not be picked up where they left off in that restaurant on the beach in Destin. But somehow God had reached into her soul and with the help of friends and family she dared to date again and to run another risk at a broken heart. But she had and Robert had been waiting for her, all of his life, he said and next week, next week would begin the new joy, the new journey, the new life that God was providing. God always has a plan. We must open ourselves to receive it from Him.

Ivan Today’s Daily Devotion

Published in: on March 15, 2012 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

My Son

In the great flow of life you have so very many glorious moments and somehow with age those moments blend together to become one great drink of a very lovely flavor. You cherish that tall glass of life from which you sip more readily as life grows older for that act recalls the sweetness of life. But now and then a moment comes that has such a unique flavor, such a joyful taste that with all the mixing of life it still flows with its own special taste of life. Such a moment happened to me on Wednesday, March 14, 1962 . I was in the navy attached to the Dental Clinic at Parris Island Marine Corps Base in South Carolina . My son Vann was born. About six o’clock on that Wednesday night of March he came marching into by life and brought to me that unmatched flavor. I have had the joy of being a part of the lives of six children: all of them precious and each one a distinct personality from the others. Five of them are what I shall call chosen, maybe I chose them are they chose me I am really not all together certain. Each one valuable and each one loved with all of my heart. But Vann, Vann came as a gift, a gift from God as part of my own body and life. I remember the first moment I saw him, the first time I changed him, the first night of sleep after he came home and a million other moments. Today that baby of so long ago turns fifty and I weep to realize how much I love him and what a wonderful young man he has become. A great husband, wonderful father, and a splendid son; if God gave you money and said go purchase you a son, Vann would be in the bag the moment you left glory. A man after his Father’s own heart and my heart as well. For I know that he believe with all of his heart and life that God is his father. I am pleased that he achieved far beyond his father and that I can say without hesitation; my son is a man of honor and a servant of God. Happy Birthday son, thanks for being that special drink in that individual glass that will never loose its flavor.

Dad; March 14, 2012

Today’s Daily Devotion

Published in: on March 14, 2012 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

From My Heart

I see a lot on Face book about God knowing our needs and our prayers even when we don’t know what to say, He knows. Now I am certain that this is true but like any parent don’t you realized how pleased He is when His children come to Him with open hearts and a sincere desire to just spend some time visiting. I remember how much my parents looked forward to my coming to visit them and how those first moments were filled with joys of what had been happening in our lives. By that same measure I am sure that God is pleased when we come to both speak and listen to Him. My dad was not a great talker but he always had something new he was thinking of and something he was planning to do that he enjoyed sharing. Mother could keep you busy for hours with all that she had seen, heard and was doing. Those were sweet moments and God, I am sure, wishes to spend like moments with us. Maybe if we listened more we could hear His desires for our lives, His expatiations, and His plans. How wonderful that would be for all of us. Then of course unlike with our parents there are request that all of us have as we bow before the Lord. Here are some of mine; I am praying for a dear friend, Jerry Waters, he does the posting on my blog page for me and once worked with me at the Children’s Home. Jerry is facing some very serious medical issues and I daily lift him before my Father. Of course I am still praying for my three nieces who buried their mother just a week ago today. Death does not go away in a week, in fact I sometimes find myself thinking of mother and dad as if they were still living and they have been gone 35 and 25 years respectfully. I still wish I could have a piece of her pie, and share some of my dad’s dreams. I pray for my church family, going through our membership each week praying for all of them by name and lifting them before my Father. I pray for my children, I have been greatly blessed, I know this and thus I never forget to pray for each of them and their families and dreams. My wife, Carole, is on my heart each morning as I start the day and I place her there before my Lord. We have a list of lost people in our church and I pray for them each week also the sick and those with quiet needs and great hurts. And yes I pray for myself. In this twilight of my life I sometimes feel so very alone, just lost as to what to do next. There is not time for great dreams and plans and yet I still have those and thus I still bring them before my Lord. I have always talked too much and I am sure I do when I pray but I so feel the need to just converse, just share, just weep in His great presence.

Thank You Lord for hearing our prayers.

Ivan Today’s Daily Devotion

Published in: on March 13, 2012 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Your Investment

He left his townhouse and decided to walk the blocks around his new ‘billet’. He had spent 36 years in the Navy and now at the age of 55 was on his on and without a job for the first time since he was 19. Kyle had never married, lived most of his life in the quarters provided by the navy and as a mustang Lt.Cmdr. in the Bachelor Officers Quarters. The years at sea and on navy bases both at home and around the world had given him an opportunity to meet a lot of people but he had only made surface friends. His only family, a brother, lived more than two thousand miles away and he had not seen him in ten years or more so all of this ‘liberty’ was new to him. He had chosen Buford , SC as his retirement home because of the navy bases and hospital so even this area was a stranger to him. His retirement was great, money was of no concern, but time; time was a problem. No morning muster to check, no routine to follow, no daily drills, and schedules left his life an empty vessel. As he circled the neighborhood he discovered several open lots, almost like parks, but there was nothing there just empty vacant space. The children he saw played in their yards and they certainly seemed far too small to do any real playing in. There was a school in the area, it seemed to be for the younger grades, so he knew that a number of children lived in the area, but where were they when school was out and the school was closed. After reading about the area and checking with the local parks department he learned that the lots had been left by the developers of the subdivision to be used as public property, parks of some sort but there had never been any money to do anything more than keep them clean and mowed. Long story made short Kyle reached out to the families in the community and after a number of meetings and a lot of discussion he begin to develop one of the areas as a small softball field along with playground equipment for younger children. He discovered a couple of guys he had served with living in the area and with their help the project was completed and money was raised for a summer team of college students to oversee the park and keep it open for children all summer long. Kyle would sit for hours on a bench and watch the children and their families play; he marveled at the joy they shared and found his heart filled with his on quiet joy for having found a project and bringing it to completion. Is it not amazing how just regular people can make such a difference in the lives of others when they decide to invest them in the needs of someone beside themselves. You don’t have to build a park; you might just visit a lonely person or write a note to a hurting heart. Try it.

Ivan Today’s Daily Devotion

Published in: on March 12, 2012 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

The Parking Lot

I watched him come out of the store both arms filled with bags from his shopping. His walk was unsteady, made so by the price charged by the years his legs had been carrying him. The slow rain made the pavement look slick and I could see how unsteady he was as he directed himself toward his car. I knew which one it was before he made the choice, the large luxury car; it just had his name all over it. I am sure that the man inside the store had offered to carry his bags for him but age does so many things to us; not only do our bodies become feeble we often make feeble choices, so there he was in the rain, both arms full and no way to open the back door, he seemed paralyzed by the decision that must be made. I left my car and calling to him offering to hold his bags while he got his key and opened the door. When I had settled the bags in the back seat he asked if I had a moment and might get in the car with him. Even though I thought I was in a hurry I went around and got in on the other side. “Not much to it this getting old is there, that is, much good stuff?” he asked. I agreed with him and we both laughed, he maybe had five years on me but not many. He asked what I did and I told him that I was a pastor of a small church and was in the area to attend a meeting honoring a friend. He said, “I owned my own company for more than fifty years gave it to my sons, they run it and even when I go down, no one seems to know who I am or even care. Seems like a rotten way to finish. How is the preaching business? He asked. I told him it was wonderful then suggested he ask his sons for an office and go down each day and be in charge of something like, say, their gifts to charity and special spending. Stay out of the way but take the burden of all those people asking for help off of the sons shoulders. He looked at me like I had dropped out of a UFO and said, “That would take about ten minutes one day a month, I never did give much away so people have just stopped asking.” Then I suggested he touch base with his pastor and see what might be open at the church or give one of the non profit organizations a day or so of his skills and business knowledge. I was still in space, but he thought this time before he answered and said, “I never did go to church much, never did any charity work, but I guess I could ring one of those bells at Christmas.” We both laughed and I assured him that many organizations would be grateful for his knowledge and assistance. Then I said, “I am not worried about you and church but I am worried about you and your relationship with God.” We talked a bit more and I could tell I had entered an area that did not sit well, so I told him I needed to be going and as an after though asked if I might pray before I left. Yes was about the only thing he could say so I did, asking God to guide both of us through these years finished and then handed him my business card and told him to give me a call if he ever wanted to talk. Old age does have it problems but old age without Christ has nothing but darkness.

Ivan Today’s Daily Devotion

Published in: on March 9, 2012 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment