Saying Goodbye to 2012

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Published in: on December 31, 2012 at 6:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Saying Goodbye to 2012

As I turned and walked from under the tent that protected the family from the wind at the cemetery I looked around and saw a number of men about my age, some a few years older, some younger I wondered if they were thinking the same thing that had crossed my mind as I watched the color guard fold the flag and present it to the wife of the deceased; which one of us will be the next to have our friends gather, pay their respect, and walk back to their cars only to have the chain to begin again. Life at my age is like that; it knows that the destination is real but you can not ponder that too long or your heart will become depressed and life will loose its luster.

2012 must feel a bit like that for the hours now tick away and soon it will be among the former years. This year of angry talk, television filled with election campaign ads, unresolved problems, and a world no lighter than when 2011 closed itself. How disappointed this year must be that disease, heartache, bitterness, and problems still abound. Is it disappointed? Does it fill wasted and broken? I do not know how time ticks itself across the space of life, but surely there must be some moment of despair written somewhere in its history.

I would like for my clock to chime the words of Paul in Second Timothy 4:7, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: . . As time ticks away I want each day to be lived in the faith, fighting a good fight for Jesus, (by loving others) and I want to finish my course.

Ivan

Published in: on December 30, 2012 at 11:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Star – Chapter Five

The Star  (The Conclusion)

Story of the Wise Men in the view of Ivan

It had been over thirty years since Tolui had been in this land of the Hebrews. Then he had been a young boy with his father King Balthasar and they had visited this very Jesus that the multitudes were hurrying about to see, some shouting insults and others shouting faith. His father was now dead and Tolui should have been king but his eyes had gone blind and his younger brother had stolen the throne from him. Now here he was once more in this foreign land, but this time not being led by a star but being led by a faithful servant and dressed in the clothes of a beggar. He could hear the people shouting to be made whole, others were whispering that Jesus was soon to be arrested and killed. Tolui did not know what to believe he simply held on to his servant and listened to the mixture of the crowd.

Then he felt a touch, it was the touch he had felt years ago in that one room mud house. The touch of that baby, the baby his father had said was the Son of God. “See my friend, see again, and this time believe”, said the man who touched his face. Tolui felt the warmth of the touch, heard the soft words of the voice and suddenly his eyes saw the robe of Jesus moving before him. He wanted to rush and fall before Him to worship Him, but the multitude was too great and Jesus moved on. “I believe”, Tolui shouted, “I believe.”

Ivan
inraley@yahoo.com

Published in: on December 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Star – Chapter Four

Tolui followed his father, King Balthasar as he rose from the floor and backed slowly out of the small one room house.  They turned and walked toward the camels and Tolui asked, “Father what happened in there? Who are those people and why did you pray to that man, the one you called Yahweh?”  “No son”, Balthasar said, “I did not pray to the man in the room.” “But father you said father of this child. There was no other man in the room and he was not as great as you, he was not.” ” I understand why you are confused my son, but the man standing there is an ordinary man with and extraordinary job to do. He is not the father, but only appointed by Yahweh to serve as the father of the child in the place of God. God is the Father.” “I do not understand. I know about these things but this I do not understand.” Tolui said, “And who is this Yahweh?” “Child, Child”, King Balthasar said, “Yahweh is the God of the Hebrews who once lived in our country as slaves and served our families. They told us of their God, Yahweh, and now I know that not only is He the God of the Hebrews but He is also the Creator and God of all peoples.” “But father”, Tolui spoke and the King interrupted him, “Son the prophet of the Hebrews, Isaiah, told them that a Virgin would have a child and that the child would be the Son of God, even God Himself with us. Tonight my son you held God in your arms.”

Ivan

Published in: on December 26, 2012 at 9:20 pm  Comments (2)  

The Star – Chaper Three

Tolui shook as he held the baby, this small child this room filled with a light from outside; all of it made him feel so strange, not bad, but unworthy to even be here and that he could not understand. His personal bedroom was larger than this whole house, his clothes were by far superior to anything they were wearing, yet somehow he knew that he was the unworthy one in this humble place.
His father, King Balthasar, motioned with his eyes for him to return the child to the mother and as he did so his father reached and touched the child more tenderly than Tolui had ever seen him do with anyone.  Then he knelt and nodded for Tolui to kneel as well as the other two kings. The room was filled with the silence of heaven as his father bowed before the child and then he heard the words coming from his father’s lips. “Almighty creator, Yahweh, giver of life and Father of this child forgive our presence in this house and let the glory of this moment change each of us forever and forever. May our camels never walk the same, may our minds never seek the same, and may our hearts never belong to anyone except the Father of this Child before whom we bow and pray.”
Tolui was sure he heard the sounds of wings in the room, the groans of the mud from which the house was built and felt the warmth of the Star shinning outside in the darken sky.
His father, King Balthasar, was bowing before a child and praying to a God whose name he did not know. Here in a house of one room made from mud, here before these humble people of this foreign land his father a King was bowing.
Response email me at inraley@yahoo.com

 

Published in: on December 25, 2012 at 9:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Star Chapter Two

 

Tolui felt the camel raise its head and saw the nostrils open and close, and then it turned toward the small house and seemed to recognize something.  It was his father, King Balthasar standing in the doorway of the house. “Tolui”, he called, “Come son and visit with me.”  The boy arose and walked swiftly to the door and his father. Tolui was amazed at what he saw; the floor was dirt and true to his thinking there was only one room. A mat that looked something like a bed was in one corner and a young girl just a few years older than he was sitting on a stool holding a baby. A tall older man stood next to her and looked with wonder at both the mother and child. His father said, “Come son and touch the child, do it softly boy, do it with care.” Tolui reached out his hand and felt the warmth of the young child as his flesh touched him. It was almost as if this baby knew that he was here and that he had come from some far off place to stand in this little room and behold his face.  The mother lifted the baby and nudged the boy to hold him in his arms for just a moment. Tolui had never felt such joy, such completeness, such love. The great star from overhead of the house seemed somehow to bring a heavenly glow to the humble room. Gifts lay on the floor before the mother, gifts his father and the others had brought. Who is this I am holding he thought; who is this child that we have traveled two years to see and hold?

Ivan

Published in: on December 24, 2012 at 9:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Star Chapter One

 Tolui stretched his body on the dusty ground with his head and shoulders resting against his father’s camel. He could see the star almost directly above his head; his heart beat fast as he dreamed of all the possibilities of this night. His father, King Balthasar had instructed him to stay with the camel. He knew that it was not necessary, the desert beast would not move without his father’s command, but stand watch he did. There were at least fifty soldiers and servants also resting on the ground in the area and another four hundred or so camped outside the small village making ready their journey back to the homeland almost two years away.

Tolui wonder what or who lived in this small house. It was certainly not the home of a king, not even a minor ruler; in fact it looked like it had only one room. Who could be so important that his father would spend almost two years to find this place and he and his two fellow rulers would go unprotected into this peasant’s house.

He had just turned twelve when they left his country and he would be sixteen by the time they returned. What is in that house that makes it so very important? Why would his father travel so far, spend four years of his life to make the round trip journey, what or who could it possible be. Then there was the star, that star that had started this journey. His father was a priest of astrology but to come this far, to end the journey in this nothing house in this unknown village what is in that house?

Published in: on December 23, 2012 at 11:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Always Smiling

Always Smiling

 

 

Children are God’s gift from above.

He lends them to fulfill our heart;

His way, I believe, of teaching us about love,

And reasons for us not to fall apart.

                                 

When the world has grown so dark;

It’s our children that can light up a room.

 For they are all precious from the very start,

And we must keep them from all this gloom.

 

Full of life and always smiling,

With so much energy to burn;

Their wonderment is inspiring,

With such curiosity to learn.

 

Hoping to make a better place;

And they do so without knowing.

That with their sweet smiling face,

We have the strength to keep going.

 

 

In Honor of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy

In Newtown, CT on Fri. Dec.14, 2012

 

 

By:  Candy Steinhour

 

Published in: on December 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

And The World Ends

We have had a lot of press recently about the world coming to an end today, December 21, 2012. The ancient Mayans culture seemed to direct us to this fact with its calendar. Now I have nothing against these very lovely people, in fact I have been in many of their homes and preached in their churches in Belize. Those whom I met were shy, kept to themselves but seemed to be very hard workers. Like all of us they loved their families and children. With that said my only reply, and believe you me I have had a lot of emails, phone calls and questioned in person when people discovered what I do, my statement has always been, I will put that in God’s hand and let Him make those decision. In reality there is nothing else that I could do, after all He is in charge and will not check with me to see if today is a good day for the end. My second statement has been that I am prepared, not ready, but prepared. When I say that people always ask me what I mean. Let me spell it out, I have made my preparation in Christ as my Lord and Savior, but with that said, there are still things I would like to do, places I would like to go, and people I want to watch as I grow even older. So if the bus is leaving today, of course I will go, but like you and everyone else I have heard express an opinion, maybe I could catch the next one.

Why don’t we enjoy this shortest day of the year, get our Christmas shopping done, making sure first that we are prepared for what ever day God chooses, after all about seven thousand people will die in America today, so, for them it is the end here, I hope they are first prepared and second ready. I have a couple of gifts to purchase, several to wrap, and I am looking forward to worshiping in Byrdstown First Baptist Sunday and enjoying the family for several days as we celebrate the gift that God has given to us, His Son, Our Savior.

Ivan

Published in: on December 20, 2012 at 11:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Coming Home at Christmas

I met Bill Green when I visited my grandparents on Tucker Street in Dyersburg, TN. We enjoyed playing as young boys did in those days and I really liked Bill. He always seemed like a good kid and in our early years we spent a lot of my Dyersburg days with one another.

Sometime later just after Bill got out of high school his girl friend told him that they were going to be parents. Now you have to understand the times in which we lived then, this was a big, I mean BIG no, no. Bill was broken, he though about his parents and how they would be broken and humiliated  by this news, he loved them and hated to see them go through the gossip, judgment, and other heart break that this would cause to the two people he loved the most. Sure he loved his girl friend, at least he thought so, but at 18, what did he know?

Going by the pool hall that night he told a couple of his buddies, but instead of concern they just laughed at him and called him dad. He hit a couple of them and soon a fight broke out that left all of them bruised and bleeding. Bill headed for home, as he passed the downtown shoe store he saw his reflection in the window and knew that he could not go home looking like he did; so Bill made another bad choice he went to the IC railroad yard and caught the first North bound freight that slowed down enough for him to jump aboard.

Some almost three years later he left the store where he worked in Chicago, got on the L to go to the rooming house where he lived and heard someone say; Bill Green, is that you Bill? He turned to see a neighbor to his parents and admitted that the man was right, his name was Bill Green. “You need to go home boy, the man said, you really do need to go home Bill, your parents are worried to death about you.”

Bill caught the next train out of Chicago that went through Dyersburg and on that Christmas eve walked from the station toward his parents home on Tucker Street. As he turned into the walk leading up to their porch he saw a baby crib on the porch and couldn’t imagine why it was there. When he knocked on the door his mother opened it and people all up and down Tucker heard her scream. His dad came running from the back of the house and he looked up from the entry to see his girl friend brining a very small child down the steps from the upstairs.

When Bill told me this story years later at my uncle’s funeral he told how they had gotten married in Kentucky the next day and had added another child to their family. When his girl friends parents had throw her out of their house his parents had taken her in and cared and loved her for themselves and him. He said, “Ivan that was the longest train ride and walk in my life, but it turned out to be the best, for I learned that day what Grace is really about, my family lived their grace.” A little grace a Christmas, I think it goes well together.

Ivan

Published in: on December 19, 2012 at 11:00 pm  Comments (1)