Asking

Ask, and God will give to you. Search and you will find. Knock and the door will open for you. Yes, everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And everyone who knocks will have the door opened.  Matthew 7: 7-8

Ask Search and Knock; God never turns away a sincere seeker.

In Second Kings the fifth chapter we have the wonderful story of Naaman being healed.  I have asked my church family, “What do you do when you don’t like the answer you receive from God?”

Look at Naaman, Elisha did not even come to the door to greet him.  He sent a servant to open the door and to tell Naaman what to do.  Now you can tell that the great General was not pleased at his greeting by Elisha or the instructions he was given.  In fact he just got mad and started home.  He did not like the answer. A servant convinced him, since he had come this far and since he had received an answer, why not give it a try? You know of course that he did so and received complete healing.  I believe if Naaman had returned home without obeying he would have died of leprosy.  Maybe we die to our prayers because we don’t like the answers.

Ivan

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Published in: on January 30, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

I am an American

See if you are a proud American, it is well worth the 4 minutes:

www.youtube.com/v/AgYLr_LfhLo?version=3&hl=en_US$amp;rel=0

You may have to cut and paste, but it is worth the effort.

Published in: on January 29, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Going Back

He had never met a man like Robert. Robert was real, he treated others with respect, did what he told them he would do and even more. He handled their funds like they were his own and made certain that everything balanced and everyone received their full earnings; without any trickery, extra charge, hidden clauses, and others thing he had seen so many others do. He was impressed. He learned that Robert was a Christian and that belonging to Christ meant something to him so he lived it and followed it in all that he was involved in. Of course he knew a lot of Christian, he had at one time attended church and called himself one; that was more than ten years ago now but it seemed like a hundred. He had changed his name, his identity, so that the person he once was no longer lived. He had no children and his wife had died just a few months before he had left and colored himself in a new picture; but no where was like home, he longed in his heart to see it, to walk by his old house and see all the changes that by this time must have been made. But he couldn’t go back, he had left in the darkness of night, and he had carried with him a lot of money, money that belonged to his employer and others, there was no going back.

He walked in the café to have lunch and out of the corner of his eye he saw his boss and to make his heart fail he saw the man he had once worked for sitting at a table with him. He quickly turned, hoping that they had not seen him, called the secretary and told her he would be with a client all afternoon. He went by his apartment, packed the clothes he would need got his records, computer and memory sticks and drove to a hotel near the airport; checking in he planned to make his escape the next morning, to where, he would decide later. He needed all new papers, identity, and all that would go with it; he checked it was there, he would rest; morning would come, he would leave.

But sleep did not come and for some unknown reason he decide to go back to the office, maybe clean out his desk and computer, then leave. He kept the room; he would be able to get away if he believed anything was coming down. When Robert arrived he seemed as always, happy ready to get to work and ready to have a great day. He never understood what possessed his but he asked Robert if he knew a man named Steve Green. Robert turned and with bright eyes said, certainly I know him, we were room mates in college, been great friends for years, why do you ask. He never understood what made him do it but with draining eyes and trembling hands he told Robert the story of his theft and running away. For the sake of time you will have to read the note that Paul wrote to Philemon for Onesimus, you can find it just before Hebrews in the Bible.

Ivan

Published in: on January 28, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Friendship

A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17

He heard the Foreman read the verdict, guilty. He walked over to the guilty man put his arms around him and with a great hug said, “I still love you, my friend.”

Carlton parked at the curb, checked in the mirror to see how his face looked then got out of the car and went into his home.  His wife met him at the door and asked, “What happened?” “Guilty”, he said, “guilty on all charges.” She hugged him and mixed her tears with his. She knew that he had known Steven for all of their 35 years and she knew that this was heartbreaking for him. Quietly she asked, “What now?” His response had been soft, “I guess I will be going to the prison for a lot of visits over the next thirty years.” Carlton did visit the prison, no less than once a month and sometimes more for the next twenty plus years.  When he learned that Steven was dying of cancer and being released to spend his final days outside of prison he brought him to his home and over the next five months took care of him like he was a baby. She watched her husband stand at Steven’s grave, one of less than nine people there, he was the last to turn and walk back to the car. Sometimes friendship runs very deep and through great valleys of darkness. But true friendship still runs.

Ivan

Published in: on January 27, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

More About Yesterday

I received a number of comments about my blog on Mom and Dad; someone said they were sure that I had made and error in the price of the house that it must have been $13,750.00 not $1,375.00 not true it was as I said, $1,375.00; remember we purchased it in November of 1941 just about a month before the Second World War started. We bought it from the builder, Mr. and Mrs. Gaither who lived on the corner of Whitehall and Lexington Streets. It had been a duplex; Dad changed it into a lovely home over the years, building a room onto the back, a sun porch on the front, digging a basement under the house with mother worried all the time that the house would fall in; we had a lovely room in the basement, fireplace and display cabinets for my Father’s collection of Indian relics, more than 5,000 pieces. We landscaped the yard, terraced the back, build a large wood working shop and joined the Barbers in building a double garage with the gable of the roof on the property line between our two homes; bricked the house, moved the bathroom three times and the list only gets longer.  I remember Dad saying more than once he paid more for his first car, a used 1948 Dodge than he did for his house.  I never knew where we stood in the social order for everyone on Lindsey lived about the same and I doubt that there was $200 a month difference in any of the incomes. Dad worked for the same company for more than forty years and I grew up loved, corrected, trained to work, I have paid Social Security every year since I was eleven. I never hear my father say anything that I could not repeat from the pulpit, did my parents sometimes quarrel, I am sure they did, but it was always somewhere that I didn’t hear. Mother tried to work for a bit during the war but got hurt on the job and never returned; if I had ever come home from school and found her not there I would have believed that the rapture had come and I was left behind. My failures, flaws, and mistakes were not the fault of my parents or my sisters, they are all mine, and no one else is responsible. If I had been as good a man as my father, I would be a much better person.

Ivan

Published in: on January 24, 2014 at 12:05 am  Comments (2)  

Mom and Dad

I was very fortunate to be in a wonderful home of Christian parents; my parents both loved the Lord and they set a great example for their children. I remember very few Sundays when we were not in church, same went for Wednesday night and in those days we always had two weeks of VacationBibleSchool, a one week revival and a two week revival each year. We spent a lot of time at Calvary, corner of Lexington and Tomlin in East Jackson. I was the last of four children, my sisters were, 11, 12, and 15 when I came along so in many ways I was an only child. Mom was sick in the early years and Peggy and Alice my two youngest sisters took great care of me; by the time I was five my oldest sister was married and had a family of her own so I was spoiled mostly by Peggy and Alice.

Mom and Dad had a great relationship, dad got paid ever two weeks he would bring his check home, keep $15 and give the rest to mother for all the needs of the home. We gave our tithe to the church, paid the $13.75 per month house payments and lived on the rest. Dad never asked many questions, he just worked at his job, looked for Indian relicts on the week end and made beautiful furniture in his wood shop. I still remember when he retired he was trying to get a grip on just what they had and what they owed so he asked mother how much we owed Sears; we were raised on the catalogue plan. She told him that we owed Sears $15.00 a month, he said, no I was thinking not about the payment but about what we owed them. Mom said well they send me a letter now and then and say Mrs. Raley you can charge another $300 or so and your payment won’t change so I charge the amount and we owe them $15.00 per month. Dad just grinned and went back to his wood shop. He and I bought mother a singer sewing machine for Christmas one year and she knew about it the next day because the bank had never seen dad’s signature before and wanted to know if it was ok to run it through, she said sure sounds like I am going to get a nice gift for Christmas.

246 South Lindsey   Street was a wonderful place to live, Mom and Dad made it a real nest for the rest of us and I got so much joy and love out of the $1,375.00 house that they made into a beautiful home.

Ivan

Published in: on January 23, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

A Calling

As I spent the day staying out of the snow and cold, I remembered.

A Calling

It was a Friday Morning in August 1953 when I knelt at the front on the sawdust floor at the open chapel at CampLinden and said to God in front of my friend and mentor Jim Allen, I will do whatever you want me to do, go through any door, and be whatever you want me to be. I never dreamed in all of my wildest moments that I would spend my life in His service. That I would pastor for 50 years, serve as Vice President of the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home for 12 years and as an old man pastor a church and love each moment of it. I never dreamed that I would someday be a guest of the congressman who was to be a featured speaker at the National Day of Prayer in the Cannon office building in our Nation’s Capital. To be honored twice to be a guest chaplain at the United States House of Representatives and be asked to open the session with prayer and spend time with two different Speakers of The House. That I would travel to five continents to share the good news. To see the war in Rwanda first hand in 1994, and to help build a home for children, in Zaire, who had been displaced by that carnage.   To talk with firefighters and police officer busy at ground zero in New York shortly after Nine Eleven as their hearts were breaking and visit with the families of those who were missing from that terrible Tuesday morning. My friend Jim Allen has made his journey to Jesus. I know of only one person still living who has known me all of my life. My “Just a Moment” have now totaled in sum to an old life and yet God still blesses and cares for me. My wife and our blended family have added joy and length to my years. Maybe this is enough but I shall hope for another “Just a Moment” to say more. Thank you Lord for placing a calling upon my life.

–       Just as He called a boy from 246 South Lindsey Street He has called you.

–       Ivan

 

Published in: on January 22, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Outliving Your Health

When You Outlive Your Health

The last time I saw Aunt Mildred, back in the fall, she was preparing to celebrate her 94th Birthday, we picked her up at the hairdresser, picked up some dinner and went out to her Nephew’s home where she was living and had a lovely time. She could still dress herself, enjoy a good meal and direct the conversation. But Friday, Friday she was in a strange room being shared with a strange person, not able to get out of bed without a lot of assistance, her meals look like something you would feed a small baby, her eyes seemed at time to be somewhere else, in another world, in a place where none of us could go; she can’t have water, it goes down the wrong way, television means nothing and only the visit of someone like Carole and her other family stirs her heart and brings some joy and even that is brief, words that no doubt flow from her mind leave her lips, broken, missing, running together, and in such soft tones that only one very close can hear. Tears come softly to her eyes but came swiftly to mine and others.  They take good care of her by all that we could understand and know, but it is not home, it is not the place of her 94 years and will never be. Carole and her sister sung to her, we shared the Word of God, it pleased her and yet when I got down to pray for her she pulled me very close and said, “Ivan, ask Jesus to come and get me.”  Carole and I left with tears on our faces, hurt in our hearts, and prayers for the presence of God on our lips. I am thankful for places such as where she lives and it may be that I will spend my time in such a place, but I still hear the ringing of her voice as she said, “Ivan, ask Jesus to come and get me.” Ivan

Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 12:05 am  Comments (1)  

God Does Not Have an Eraser

  

    

David  walked down Bourbon Street  and turned right onto St. Peter’s Street , the air was pungent with the     odors of the night before and the fog that had moved in from the Mississippi River kept it close to the ground. David had never smelt such an odor, he watched as the street crew washed off the spilled beer from the night before and others gather large bags of trash to throw into the truck  that stood double parked on St. Peter’s almost at the Jackson Square. Not many people were about and the whole area appeared to be suffering from the hangover of a night of riotous living.  David felt a bit of breeze as  he reached the Square, at least here the air was breathable he thought.

   

He  saw her leaning against the front of St. Louis Cathedral her back against  the building her head hanging over almost in her lap, she was pitiful,  covered in layers of clothing, and no doubt she was wearing her wardrobe, skin the color of death, hair matted with the smells of the streets of the  French Quarters. He walked across Jackson Square to Café du Monda, got two beignets and a large cup of coffee, picked up a couple of cups of creamer, some sugar packs and a stirring stick and walked back to the figure of a     woman.

   

“Marie would you like a cup of coffee and a beignet?” he asked. She stirred, pulled her head back against the  wall of the cathedral and said, “How do you know me? I ant’s never seen you  before and I am closed, no business today, no business, go away.” “Here    take the coffee,” he said, holding it so that the aroma would fill the pungent air, “I am not here for business, just some time, how about this?”     Then he place a hundred dollar bill in her hand and watched as she waded it  and placed it inside her blouse. “You crazy man, nothing I know is worth  that much bread.” She took the coffee and beignet and taking a sip and bite  she looked with her unclear eyes into his face. “I just came to share a  minute,” he said, “I know about what happened when you were fifteen, I know     about your dad the preacher, the boy friend, your dad taking you to the Clinic in New York, the abortion, I know all of that Marie, I just wanted  to know if you remember the Sunday in July when you were nine and were saved and then baptized? I was just wondering?” “So long ago she said, so  long. I know that by now God has wiped my name from His book; I didn’t mean to do that, we just got crazy one night and then my world fell apart, Daddy  went crazy, we killed that baby and as soon as I turn eighteen I left and   have never looked back. Who are you, how do you know all of that? I must be  crazy; well I know I am after all of the years living in this hole.” “You  are not crazy mother,” David said, “Just frightened, confused, and I have  come to take you out of this hole. Drink your coffee, God does not erase  what He writes in His Son’s blood; you ready, Marie?” He held out his hand  and she looked into his eyes and said, “What did you call me?” “Marie” he  answered. “No before that, you said, mother; mother, I can’t be a mother, I can’t I am not fit.” Time to go Mom, time to go, he took her hand and they  walked toward the Andrew Jackson monument, he looked back and saw her worn out form leading now on the sidewalk of the Cathedral, “Let’s go home, mom, let’s go home.”

(This month of January we always celebrate the importance of life and the damage of abortion; this is a simple story of what might     have been. Ivan)

   

 

 

Published in: on January 20, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Bed Bugs

(By Request)

I had forgotten all about bed bugs until all the news recently, now I search my motel room, my room, everyplace. I remember them from years ago.  Dr. Wright at Union University use to send me on preaching trip to small churches around Jackson and sometimes this would require me to go on Saturday and spend the night. I would always stay in a church member house. One Saturday night about midnight they made their attack. My back, feet, legs, and arms begin to feel the poison. Not know what I was dealing with I got up turned on the light and managed to discover a few of these monsters. Not know what to do but in an attempt to get a bit of sleep I quietly went into the kitchen and got the jar of syrup from the cupboard.  Back in my room I poured a large circle on the floor, got my pillow, after checking it, and slept in the middle of that circle.  Those bugs were so large that I could hear them jumping off of the bed, hitting the floor and then crawling toward my already bloody body.  But I was right; they couldn’t get past the syrup. I awoke the next morning with a circle of dead bed bugs and a healing body.  Funny, no one ever asked about the missing syrup or the ring on the floor. Also no one ever invited me back to that church.

 

Published in: on January 17, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment