Why I Love America

I have traveled to five continents on our globe and visited in many cities throughout these areas and never have I been to a city and met the people of a distant land where someone did not ask me if I could help them get to America. Why? It is a land of new beginnings, a land where you can dream, a land of millions of unselfish people with outstretched arms to embrace others. My land is a land of goodness, hope, joy and inspiration. Never have we fought a war where we kept the land of others, demanded payment for the price of our young men and women who have fallen in death. Always we come home leaving the land of struggle with new hope and greater dreams. I love America; it is my home, my joy and the legacy I leave to my children and theirs. Here freedom is real and dreams are always possible. I love America. Ivan

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

My Encourager

To Teachers

I was a small shy boy of nine when I met Mrs. Wilson my fourth grade teacher. I thought she was the prettiest teacher I had ever seen but I was far too bashful to even be noticed in her class.  I never answered a question, never offered a remark, and stayed very out of the way and near the back of the room.

I didn’t respond well to other children and seldom took part in any recess activity. For some reason, that is not part of that memory, I felt very inferior and just wanted to be alone.

Mrs. Wilson must have notice these traits in me and decided to invest more than teaching in my life. Before class one day she asked if I could do her a favor.  I wasn’t sure how to respond but nodded that I would.  She told me that she had been collecting ‘Blue Horse’ note book covers and when she got a certain number and sent them in she would receive a nice gift for our class. She said that she needed me to count all of the covers, put them in stacks of 100, and give her a total count. I am not sure why but this thrilled me and I gladly completed the task.  She told the class what a good job I had done and how proud all of us should be since our class would be receiving a new world globe because of my hard work and their gifts of note book covers.

Without knowing it Mrs. Wilson became my first encourager.

Because of Mrs. Wilson I have always believed that teachers were the most important people in the community. I have always held them in high esteem and still consider their roll in the future of our nation more critical than their salaries and our compliments will ever speak. If you are a teacher considered yourself hugged by a grateful old man. Ivan

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

The Bread of Life

Moments at Capernaum:

It was in the synagogue here that Jesus taught.  Some of the same stones of that building still remain and are part of the uncovered synagogue seen today. This was in so many ways the city of Jesus’ life.  Here he called Matthew who served as a tax collector, here he rested and visited in the home of Peter.

Mark the second chapter tells us of the people who hear him in this synagogue being amazed for He taught them as one who had authority. In this synagogue he healed a man filled with demons and the people rose up against him.  Yet in this same city so many people came to the house that the friends of a lame man had to let him down through the roof so that Jesus could heal him.

In the remains of this synagogue I sat in the Seat of Moses, the priest would use this as his seat, and tried to visualize what it would have been like to be in this place two thousand years ago and see Jesus talking to the people, touching the sick, healing the hurts and curing the curses of men. Here He told them that He was the Bread of Life. John 6:35 Why are we so spiritually hungry that we search in ‘magic’ ways, read the ‘signs’, seek help from those who have no help and overlook the Bread of Life, Jesus?

 

Published in: on June 26, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Mary’s Tears

Across the street from our home on Lindsey Street and about four houses north there was a large vacant lot in the shape of an L which opened onto Lexington Street where there was a nicer than average home. The couple who lived in the house had a maid and her son who lived with them.  The maid did all kinds of work including taking care of the ten or twelve goats that lived in the vacant lot. Since that was all that the kids saw her do we called her the ‘goat lady’ we meant no harm, we just didn’t know how to be correct. I always thought the family she lived with took advantage of her and worked her much too hard. I asked my mother why she lived like she did and why she had to work with the goats and live with those people.  Mother told me that she was not married when her son was born and her family threw her out of her home and these were the only people who would give her a place to live.

Now times have changed and we look with a different view on such matters; you might even say that we have gone too far and allowed our morals to fade until they would be very hard to locate. We really have very little today in any area of our lives that we consider sacred, valuable, true, and worth standing for. But in the times of Mary it was a much different world and culture. Just imagine how much Mary must have suffered to be found ‘with child’ before she and Joseph were married. Just think of the talk in her circle.  Even family and close friend would not believe a story like ‘Virgin” birth. She must have spent a lot of weeping nights after hearing what people were saying about her and Joseph. I think we sometimes forget that it often cost to serve our Lord.  It is not just a free ride. Salvation is free by His purchase, but our lives should be different than the worlds and that has a price. Certainly we should stand for something today; the will of God, the way of God, and the forgiveness of God should be foundations for our lives and those values and truths do not come without a price.

Ivan

Published in: on June 25, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Holding God

Holding God

Simeon was an old man and he had waited a lifetime to see God’s gift the Messiah. When he held him he told God he was ready to leave this world.

My wife and I both had the opportunity to hold God this week.  Carole was buying gas when a man approached her and asked for money, giving the usual long story with all of its woes.  She handed him the four dollars she had – looked straight in his eyes and said, “I don’t know what you are going to do with this money, but I charge you in the name of Christ that you use it correctly, did you hear that?”

I met a man at Pilots who asked for food. I took him inside; he said they would not let him go in but I told him that I knew the people and if he was with me he would be welcomed; I got him a foot long sub, with chips and a very large coke, then sit at a table with him and ate my lunch as he ate his.

I know; I know what you are thinking, and you have the odds on your side of being right, I also know that God would not want us to be enablers, but you see we both did what we felt God wanted us to do.  We have no control over the actions, good or bad, of others, but I know what our hearts were saying and I know that we held Jesus.

Ivan

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

Our Nation’s Garden

Grandmother’s Garden

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fidelity, gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5:1

Each morning, most often before the rest of us were awake; my grandmother would go out to her garden located next door to their home on Tucker Street in Dyersburg to choose some special items for the day. We would enjoy sliced tomatoes at breakfast, vegetables at lunch and still other items at what we called supper in the late afternoon. Sometimes there would be watermelon at others cantaloupes, always beans and potatoes.  All summer long she would make that journey and bring her basket filled with goodies back to the kitchen.  The fruit of her garden for the table of her family.  Many of us would starve today if we had to make a journey to our garden; we might grow a tomato plant, but it would be difficult for us to supply ourselves from our gardens. Maybe that is what is wrong with America, we don’t have a garden, we put nothing into our nation and there is nothing for us to harvest. We have waited for others to plant, grow, harvest, and share with us. The garden of our nation is filled with weeds, the hard work we use to expect to do, we now depend on others to do. Look at our garden, we have let the weeds of neglect, immoral conduct, and wrong acts take over our garden; in fact it is so bare that we do not even remember where it once was. We have so very much, we think of ourselves as better off than those who came before us, but in truth those who come after us may well starve for freedom, goodness, and dedication for we have forgotten that you can not harvest a garden in which you have not put effort and work; shame on us.

Ivan

Published in: on June 23, 2014 at 12:05 am  Comments (3)  

How Quick

Carole and I were about two miles from our home in Nashville when we saw the blue light and all of the emergency vehicles, traffic had come to a creeping crawl and we knew that something bad had happened. As we slowly moved past the scene we could see a bright yellow canvas covering something near the edge of the road, then I saw them the feet of the deceased man almost completely covered with the yellow canvas, the motor cycle he had been on was mashed into pieces and another vehicle was parked at an angle in the curb, there had been an accident, a tragic one which took the life of a young man. Carole began to cry some, and to pray, we did not know the person, nor the driver of the vehicle involved, but here was the body of someone, two minutes before he had been alive thrilled at riding his bike, now, now he was gone; how quick. Maybe a young father, student, maybe someone from down the road, maybe someone from far away, but now because of this moment all who passed that place became a part of the same world, hurt, and tears. Another person had been driving the other vehicle involved, their life would forever be changed; driving would never be the same, laughter not as quick and tears too quick, it would always be a part of them, this moment, this ‘How Quick’ moment. We prayed for their protection, the deceased that he was prepare for this ‘Quick’ moment in life’s journey that closed this world, for the others that they would have the strength to recover, to go on, to be whole again. How Quick, it is all too quick.

Ivan

Since I wrote the story I have learned that the man killed was 64 years of age, a young man without a driver’s license was the driver of the truck pulling a trailer that the rider on the motor cycle hit. All of this just adding to the sadness and the ‘How Quick”.

Published in: on June 19, 2014 at 10:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Humpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

 Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

 All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

 Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Do you sometimes feel that we are like this, somewhere at the bottom of a great wall, scattered in a million pieces and nothing and no one can put us together again. I think the poet was correct, no House, no Senate, no Supreme Court, no President can put America together again. No amount of money, no great recovery, nothing is ever going to make us whole again. But I know someone who desires to sweep up all of our pieces, breath forgiveness into them and make us, strong, correct, and His once again. The King’s men and the King’s horses cannot get it done but I know someone who can: His Name is Jesus.  All we have to do is ask Him and follow Him.

Ivan

Published in: on June 18, 2014 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Even In Darkness

Even in Darkness

Dad and I decided to explore a cave in a hill side near the Tennessee River just outside of Perryville.  We both had a light and we walked several hundred feet back into the cave making a number of turns until the outside light left and there was only the light which we had with us. We came to a wall with a small opening near the top.  Dad could see through the opening and knew that the other side was safe but he could not get through the opening so I decided to give it a try and see what magic we might discover. As I crawled through the opening I fell dropping my light and kicking dad’s light out of his hand. There I was in total darkness on the other side of a wall from my father and unable to see anything. Of course I called out and dad very calmly answered me and told me to just be still and not move.  Soon I saw the flicker of a light as he handed me a candle which he had brought with us for just such an event. With the small light of that candle and the one he lit for himself I was able to go back through the opening to the side where dad was.

It was a great relief to once again be in his care and to have the light of our two candles.

You know God is like that, He is always with us and He is always able to provide light for our every need. Why live in darkness when you can live gloriously in His light? After all Jesus is the light of the world and where He is there is no darkness.

 Ivan

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

Father’s Day

Father’s Day

As we celebrated and honored our fathers yesterday in church I was reminded of the times when I had such wonderful moments with my own dad. The days he would take me to work with him to check on the night watchman and look around the warehouse to make sure that all was well, a couple of fishing trips, some overnight; the times we went to church together, how much I loved church and I really believe now looking back that much of that love came from watching him. Dad treated all the men who worked for him with great respect and honor, he made all of them feel very special and I believe I learned from him how important other people were and how they all, no mater their rank in life, deserved credit and praise.

I remember his growing old and how much the rolls changed as I became more of the father and he the son. The little things which once went unnoticed now became moments of memory and joy.  A cone of ice cream, which he loved, a ride in the car, with my pushing him back to his side of the seat as his body kept slipping toward mine, the fears, tears, and joys of those days.

Remembering my dad I reminded our men to become watchmen, men who will stand their watch, knowing the dangers that the outside can bring to their homes and families, realizing how God has given them the responsibility to protect their family in the love for God. I challenge them to not only know the dangers, but to see the great value of those whom they influenced and those for whom they were the watchmen. I called upon them not only to look out at the dangers, inside to those depending on them but also to look up and know that all of those who know them will also want to know their coming Lord, Judge, Forgiver, and Father.

Thanks Dad,

Ivan

Published in: on June 16, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment