With Closed Eyes

The two men said sadly, ‘We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.’ Luke 24:21

They had seen the trial, watched the crucifixion, wept as His body was moved from the cross to the tomb. They had even heard the stories going around that his tomb was empty and he was not there. They knew about the ‘visions’ as they called what the women had reported. But now on the road to Emmaus, even with Jesus at their side, their eyes were closed and they were depressed and saddened for the hope they had felt in Jesus was now gone.

It is the same today. When we close our eyes to His presence and the realness of His guidance we look at life without hope, it is just bad news.

We plug into our 24/7 ‘bad news’ we watch our own leaders and our people fight over the smallest issue and like the men on the way to Emmaus we are saddened.

When their eyes were open as they watched Him break the bread and they realized that it was Jesus they said ‘Were not our hearts burning as we listened to Him?’

Jesus is alive and He is in charge, open your eyes and rejoice. How many times must we repeat – He is going to win. For me there cannot be too many times.

Ivan

(From April 2010)

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Published in: on August 30, 2012 at 11:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Hallmark Moment

This is the 450th blog, hard to believe I have asked you to read that many stories and ramblings of mine. But they have been opened 33,055 times in 44 countries. Now this is sometimes by accident as a man in California told me he was looking for a new supplier for frozen fish and came upon my story about a Frozen Fish, said he liked my story better than his new supplier. Great world we live in, too much for me to understand, I just hit the keys and hope for the best; I need an editor in a big way, but most people have put up with the poor editing and try to see through to the meaning of the story.

  – The Tears of The Lost –

Like the lady who came into my office and poured out to my secretary and I, this was a number of years ago, I don’t have a secretary at Byrdstown, she had fallen so many times, broken the hearts of her parents, abandoned her children and even though she was yet to turn forty she could not name her husbands in any order even with the help of her fingers. She said she had heard me preach and that I had looked across the audience and said that God loved her, but she knew I had to be talking about someone else, that she was certain that God could not love her. She talked in a wispier because she said even to mention it she was afraid that God would somehow punish her before she could leave the office.

My secretary handed me my bible turned to Psalm 139 and I read David’s great praise to God for loving him in spite of knowing him. I told her of the woman at the well and how God had used her to change a city, of the woman who came with tears and perfume to anoint the feet of Jesus, too sinful to stand before him, of John when he heard the voice of God fell before His feet as though he, John, was dead, and how God used a big fish to teach a man who refused to serve Him how to change the history and destiny of a great city. I then told her that just as David had said, this man who had caused murder, committed adultery, and lost the joy of his family, but was still loved by God and called the apple of His eye, had said that God not only knew him but loved him.

She shed the tears of a broken and saddened child as my secretary and I prayed for her and with tears flowing with the force of rain she wept her sorrow before God and gave Him all that she could, the years that were left.

Is it not wonderful, marvelous, glorious, and beyond understanding how much God loves us, even when we are who we are? 

Ivan

Published in: on August 30, 2012 at 12:02 am  Comments (1)  

Thanks For The Prayers

First I would like to be in the presence of each one of you and be able to give you my personal thanks for praying for me and asking others to join with you in those prayers.

Looking at the whole, the first surgery, schedule for July 30th was canceled because in your praying the doctor was directed by his training to do so. Then came four weeks of addition treatment and today when the doctor did the surgery he realized that God had opened a different surgery procedure to him and he choose that route.  While there was and will be for the next several day extensive pain, the two nights in the hospital have been avoided and another treatment route open.

How I give praise to our Lord for His leadership, His healing through medicine, doctors and so many others trained to assist and deliver care, I also understand that ultimate healing is in the Hands of God.

Again, I am doing well, pain and medicated for a bit, but better and with a real possibility of a great outcome. Pray for the bladder and all that goes with that, but most of all give glory to our Lord for His presence.

Ivan

Published in: on August 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Let Me Pause

Now and then it is just time to be quiet and let the Love and Joy of our Lord flow thru your life.  Such is this day as I await surgery tomorrow and think about all of the calls, cards, email, and even e-cards that have come over the last couple of days. I must have had fifty people who promised to pray for me tomorrow, how wonderful!

I spent an hour tonight beside our beautiful Dale Hollow Lake watching the sun dip itself into the clear water and allowing the night to roll across the smooth lake and into the trees which line its shores. Now and then a bright spot would bounce from deep within the trees as a reminder from the sun that it had not left its lofty place but was still there somewhere in the distance.

I thought about what a blessed man I am; a wonderful son out of my own life, two daughters whom I choose and three blended children who have all added a blessing to my time in this journey. A wife of beauty whom God has given to me to love and cherish and who returns this great faith and love to me that this is of our Lord’s gift and His doing, we did not make this marriage, God arranged it in the will of His hand; and a basket of grandchildren who become the extra joy for an old man in his declining  years.

A church that loves me and comes Sunday after Sunday to hear me open the Word of God and gives me the privilege of sharing His ‘Good News”.

My mother and father and three sister are now in glory, 246 South Lindsey Street is almost empty but the memories of that home, the street and wonderful people who made it come alive all help to make the bounty of this life most precious. Today is my friend Johnnie Barber’s birthday, I will catch up with him in November. Our boyhood days were good as we biked the street, played in the vacant lots and enjoyed the company of Bill Rowell, Wayne McPeak, Don Smith, Faye Freeman, The Greens, Betty Upton and the many others who lived on the streets which surrounded us. Mr. and Mrs. Evans treated us to the stories of another time and our Church, ‘Calvary Baptist’ loved us like we were somebody.

Thanks for the pause to remember and the largest thanks to Our Lord who made it all possible.

Ivan

Published in: on August 26, 2012 at 11:24 pm  Comments (1)  

The Visit To The Doctor

After visiting with the doctor I met another person who like myself was facing surgery in just a few days. They said that they were very worried and in fact afraid, but since they were a Christian they felt bad about telling anyone of their fears. I said that I was having surgery and like them I was a bit fearful, but that I knew that was not the real me  but it was just the old fleshly me, for the real me understood that all was in God’s hands and that I was sure He would walk with me as well as the doctor through the treatment. Again they said that being a Christian had left them ashamed that they were so worried and afraid. I tried to help them see that for even a Christians it is a natural response to have concern and even some fear but that in our hearts we could know that God was in charge. I asked them to tell their pastor and to call friends and ask them to pray for the surgery and not let the fear make them ashamed but to let it draw they closer to their friends,  family, and  Lord. I prayed for both of us and believe we both left feeling better about the future.

I believe it is very natural for most people to have these fears – but the fears must draw us closer to our friends and closer to God. Not fear of leaving this world, but fear of missing those whom we love for the moments until they arrive to be with us.

Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, according to the doctor it should be a piece of cake and all will be well within a few days.  Thanks for your prayers for this coming Tuesday, August 28, God is so good to give me so many wonderful friends who belong to Him. I might miss a blog or two, but that is nothing, all will be well and to Him I give the praise for medicine, doctors and all those who assist them and the great world of medical knowledge we have today.

Have a great weekend, attend church, and above all Worship the Lord.

Ivan

Published in: on August 24, 2012 at 8:32 am  Leave a Comment  

The Visit To The Doctor

After visiting with the doctor I met another person who like myself was facing surgery in just a few day. They said that they were very worried and in fact afraid, but since they were a Christian they felt bad about telling anyone of their fears. I said that I was having surgery and like them I was a bit fearful, but that I knew that was not the real me  but it was just the old fleshly me for the real me understood that all was in God’s hand and that I was sure He would walk with me as well as the doctor through the treatment. Again they said that being a Christian had left them ashamed that they were so worried and afraid. I tried to help them see that for even a Christians it is a natural response to have concern and even some fear but that in our hearts we could know that God was in charge. I asked them to tell their pastor and to call friends and ask them to pray for the surgery and not let the fear make them ashamed but to let it draw they closer to their friends,  family, and  Lord. I prayed for both of us and believe we both left feeling better about the future.

I believe it is very natural for most people to have these fears – but the fears must draw us closer to our friends and closer to God. Not fear of leaving this world, but fear of missing those whom we love for the moments until they arrive to be with us.

 

Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, according to the doctor it should be a piece of cake and all will be well within a few days.  Thanks for your prayers for this coming Tuesday, August 28, God is so good to give me so many wonderful friends who belong to Him. I might miss a blog or two, but that is nothing, all will be well and to Him I give the praise for medicine, doctors and all those who assist them and the great world of medical knowledge we have today.

Have a great weekend, attend church, and above all Worship the Lord.

Ivan

 

Published in: on August 24, 2012 at 8:31 am  Leave a Comment  

People I Have Met – J. C. Penney

 

I wish that I could say that I knew James Cash Penney the II but that would be a real stretch. But I did have the honor of sitting at the table with him when I was a senior in High School and had been chosen as one of the students to be his guest at dinner before he gave the featured speech at our National Convention in Richmond, VA. He was 80 at the time but all of us at the table were spell bound by his sharing much of his life story with us. He leaned over so that we could all hear his now very soft voice and here is the story in my words and from my memory. He pointed at each of us and said he was certain that most if not all of us were Christians. He told about his early life on the farm with a minister father and the days of long hours and hard work. He went on to say that since we were Christians he was sure that most of us felt that whatever we did would turn out great, well it will not he said, his first adventure had been a butcher shop in a small town and he lost the business because the best customer of the store demanded that each Saturday night he would bring him a fifth of whiskey. Mr. Penney said there was no way he could do that and since his stand had been right he felt very sure that God would see him through the adventure.  Well it went belly up, he lost everything he had put into the shop. Later he went to work for a store called the Golden Rule and that was the beginning of his empire in retail. When he was eating with us the only retail chain in America larger than J. C. Penney was, Sears.

He told us about loosing all of his personal wealth in the stock market fall of 1929 and having to borrow money on his insurance policies just to make payroll. The road was not always easy and even now he said, looking at each of us, they are in a struggle to take the stores out of my control. That happened, and when he died in 1971 his great retail empire began to slip and today it has lost so much of its once great leadership in the American retail business.

One thing he made sure that each of us understood was that he was a ‘Born Again Christian’ and he was never sorry for the stands that had caused him to make.  What a great evening for a sixteen year old boy to be in the shadow of such a giant of our early and later American business empire.  He was the first retailer to establish a retirement program for his employees, to set a sale price for items that was fair and to run his business of the sound principle of God first. I will always remember that evening.

Ivan

Published in: on August 21, 2012 at 11:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Am Holely

Before you rush to the dictionary or email your friends about this, I am not talking about being Holy. Not that at all, Now I could not locate this in the dictionary but here is the meaning, I am full of holes. That is right, if you know how to spell that word then help me out, I am very open to correction. I have been going to the doctor for the last six weeks and have had blood taken about four times a week. So I am full of holes. I wondered why I was so thirsty and could not get enough to drink, then I realized that I am leaking, yep, leaking, the more I drink, the more I leak. So far they have found things wrong with my bladder, kidney, liver, urinal track, and heart. Tomorrow I may be able to add to that list. I think what I need is a body transplant, I have searched on line and there are none available. No one will even talk to me about it and when I ask the doctor about the future, he nods and says, ‘I think you will be alright.’ For that I am very grateful and to know that I have a praying, Christian doctor has been a real comfort.

Now I received an email from someone  who suggested that I should not worry, since I am a Christian I should be glad to check out. Are we sure about that? Now I am prepared to make the journey but not ready, do you understand the difference. I know that there is an eternal life and that I am prepared to live  that in the home that Jesus had prepared for me, however I still have a number of things on my bucket list which I would like to get done.  At the moment I am using my bucket to catch all the leaks so that the house does not flood. Well enough of that, just make sure that you are prepared and know that at the exact moment you will be ready. I think I will go to bed, holes and all, by the way I had to get a sponge cover for my bed so that I would not damage the furniture and make a real mess.  Until later, holes and all I thank you for reading.

Ivan

Published in: on August 20, 2012 at 11:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Talk Too Much

Lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. First Timothy 2:2

This verse describe my father to the letter. I wish it was just as so about me.

I talk too much.  I talk too much and say too little.  I know it, I am aware of this flaw but in spite of that knowledge I still continue to do just that, talk too much.

I always expected that at some point I would slow down, silent up, and keep my words locked, but I have not.  After all these years my wife still has to say to me, “Ivan rest a while, just drive, don’t editorial on all the scenery.” She even says that when I am nervous I speed up, talk up, and produce far too many words for the normal person to receive.

I do, I know this and have for times, fifteen seconds the record, been quiet.  Twitter allows on 140 characters so I almost never say anything on Twitter. What can you say in 140 spaces. Sometimes my blogs gets a bit long, really too long for people to want to read, and thus I do now and then delete a few words to make it more readable.  Maybe that is what I need, a delete button.  Say God, how about a delete button…… better not ask, I don’t think I really want one. Have a wonderful almost silent day.

Ivan

Published in: on August 19, 2012 at 11:18 pm  Comments (2)  

I Want To Get Even

Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”  Romans 12:19

Bitterness has to be one of the most destructive sins in the lives of Christians. I have seen far too many people who have allowed it to live so long in their lives that when you come in contact with them there was little more than a skeleton of a person left. They were empty of compassion, joy, patience, love and the other gifts of the indwelling presence of God. Happiness cannot find a home in a bitter heart, even when it perceives to have gotten even. Certainly all of us have received blind blows that crippled us for a moment and sowed the seed of bitterness but praise God for His surgery that removed it before it could grown and produce the fruit of a destroyed life and a failed person.

This desire to get even, to blame others, and to always know that we are right and no one else has an opinion that matters is going to so deeply root into the foundation of our land that we will wake up one day with nothing but a shell of ourselves and our nation left.

Help me God to avoid my desire to ‘get even’, make the ‘judgment’, and ‘pronounce the sentence.’ Help me Lord to leave those matters in your hands for you alone know all there is to know about each one of us. Thank you for forgiving me and help me to live in a forgiving way toward others.

Ivan

Published in: on August 16, 2012 at 11:49 pm  Leave a Comment