On His Way

John looked around and saw that the place was filled with people, maybe sixty or seventy thousand people all of them listened to the man at the end of the field who was ‘preaching’ he believed that was what it was called. He wasn’t really all that sure how he had gotten there, but here he was one of the spell bound crowd of thousands. The man said something about family and John remembered his family. He was the last child of a family of three children. The man sounded like family was a warm and fuzzy word, he should know about his family he thought. His older brother, the ‘first born’ had always made fun of him, teased him and blamed him for anything that happened that upset his parents. He was good at everything, the star ball player, great with grades, and all the girls ran after him. But warm and fuzzy he wasn’t, he was selfish and mean. His sister was a tramp and no one knew it; she was little Miss Perfect and everything else at school but he knew and because he knew she treated him like dirt. If his parents loved each other he had never heard them say so, with words, with jesters, in any way. They just screamed and yelled and he just hid. Why would this preacher call God father? If he was anything like his father he didn’t want to know him and didn’t need that a second time around. He shook his head, which entrance had he used, what made him come to this place, he thought he would just leave, but the preacher said for everyone to be still and not to disturb others. He was talking about giving your life to Christ, being forgiven, loved and cared about. He asked if they would like to start over, visit the land of beginning again. ‘If there were such a place he would sure like to go there’. John thought to himself, he really did need to start over. The people behind the preacher were standing and singing and all over the field he saw people moving down the steps, onto the field and going toward the front. Suddenly he saw Billy Graham turn and he was sure he was looking straight at him, and saying, “Why don’t you come, let us tell you about the land of beginning again, come to Jesus, come to Jesus, Just as you are, come, do it now.” John looked back, his seat was empty and he was half way down the field, just as He was, He was going to meet this man Jesus, he was going to find this Land of Beginning Again.
Ivan

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Published in: on August 31, 2014 at 9:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bad Day

I had a bad day yesterday, no, bad is not the word, more like terrible, I should have died kind of day, that is close, but even that does not get it, but we will leave it there, Terrible.
In fact it was so bad that it started the day before, remember the night of all the storms and rain, well guess who left his sun roof partly opened, you win the prize, I did. To help it along I also left my phone in the cup holder of the car, nice safe place until it rained, you are getting ahead of me, right, and the phone was dead, swimming. My wife wanted to know how I could have left my roof open, silly question, right? Just don’t close it, which is the way I leave mine open, not sure about you but it works for me. So I spent the early hours of the morning waiting for the store to open, after all this is the only phone I have. Insurance, I have insurance, send the phone back to the company they said, along with $75.00 and they would send me a phone sometime, maybe a week, maybe two. But for $89.00 I could get a new phone, makes sense to me so new phone I have, no phone numbers in it, don’t understand how to use it, but I can hear it ring. When the clerk asked me if I wanted insurance I just stared at him until he said, ‘guess not’. Then yesterday I got up, bad move, should have stood in bed, I was tired, no weary, but up I came. I had brought home a bed and some other items so I unloaded those and put the bed together; has one of those middle legs under the box springs to help support it, got that in place, even put it on a board, I was moving on, then it came time to get up off of the floor and put the mattress set on. Do you know how hard it can be to get up out of the floor, very hard, even my dog Max got concerned, he kept licking me; his way of giving me courage or just checking to see if I would taste good if I didn’t get up? I got the cover on the bed and it looked great but it was just a bit too close to the door, so I did the obvious, I push it toward the wall, I heard a little noise, looked under the bed and sure enough the little middle leg had fallen over. Too bad, if you come to my house to sleep in the guest room, be careful.
It was then that I realized I could not find the keys to my car, I went into panic gear and looked everywhere I had been all day since I came back from breakfast in the car. No keys, called a couple of friends, they tried to help but bottom line you have to tow the car to the dealership, bring proof of ownership and pay $150.00 plus the tow. Now bad becomes terrible, I searched more, burned up so much sugar that I began to shake, I mean really shake, looked for food, found a pack of crackers ate them in one bite and waited. Then I said, “Lord I have got to find that key,’ so I went back to the car, retraced my steps and ran my foot through the monkey grass, you are ahead of me, there they were, the terrible day immediately got better, much better.
Of course I left out the part where the doctor called and said some of my test were not good, at my age, can’t make a lot of difference, also left out that my sugar tester stopped working, couldn’t remember my new zip when I went to charge gas, and the breakfast I ate just added to my bad test, Oh well I think I will go to bed and maybe, maybe I will get up.

Published in: on August 28, 2014 at 11:05 pm  Comments (2)  

The Enemy at the Door

The Enemy at the Door
Last week we watched in unbelief as an American reporter was savagely killed, filmed and shared before the world. We have never met an enemy like this, without feelings and with a desire to not rule over others but to do away with others, kill those who do not accept your faith, your belief. There is no table to sit around and form an agreement that can lead to a peaceful life for all, you must accept their way or you must perish. We have met a new enemy his strength is in his evil, his desire comes out of the darkness of nothing, and his desire is to stand alone, having defeated all others.
The Isis are a feared people, feared not only by those of us in the west who do not understand their base line but also by their own people who dare to see things in a different light and from a different view. We have met a new enemy and even in our on failures we cannot believe what we hear and what we are told. Believe it my friend for the enemy of God has crawled out of his resting place and life as we have always known it is now forever gone.
God alone can pass us through this future, God alone.
Ivan

Published in: on August 27, 2014 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Live It

Live It
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2
Powerful verse! Spiritual and physical rest comes from God and God alone.
We live in a world that is so fragile that a program, forecast, report, or even fiction on television can alter our spirit, change our convictions, and bring doubt to our salvation. We can be moved by a book but not changed by His Word. We claim to find closeness in the experience of someone else but we can not discover it for ourselves in the Word of the Lord. We believe the predictions of tribes and people of long ago but can not find comfort and assurance in The Word. We have not built our future on or in His fortress. We still trust in things we have made and not in God the maker. Great verse, we just need to live it.
Ivan

Published in: on August 26, 2014 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Like to Share

Robert and his family of five had been living with us for about a week as they waited on a place to come open for their family to live on our campus. Robert, a four year old, was stretched out on the floor in our family room with a bowl of cheerios and milk in front of him eating his breakfast and watching TV. Our cocker spaniel was stretched out beside Robert and as Robert would take a bite then Louie would lick himself a nice bite. I came in the room and said something like, ‘Son Louie is eating out of your bowl.’ He looked up at me and with those big eyes beaming and said, “That’s OK sir, I got plenty and I don’t mind sharing.” I’m sure I should have told him all the reason this wasn’t good but Louie looked up and seeing me walked to the door so I let him out. “Mister,” Robert said as he looked and pointed to the door of our pantry, “There is a lot of food in there; we are never going to be hungry.” Then with those big eyes of a four year old he looked at me and asked, “Sir, are you Jesus?” I smiled, knelt down by him and said “No I’m not Jesus but He is the reason you came to live with us. He loves you and wanted you to have a great home.” Robert just smiled real big and headed upstairs to his room. I walked to the back door and saw Louie stretched out on the porch enjoying the morning sun as his cheerios and milk digested. I bowed my head and just wept before my God who has given me so much that I can never be thankful enough and express it enough. I love you Lord. Ivan

Published in: on August 24, 2014 at 11:05 pm  Comments (1)  

In Honor of Cal

In Honor of Calvin ‘Cal’ Cooper
Tomorrow I will go to Franklin, Tennessee to share in the service of praise for the life of Bro. Cal, not only was he a Colonel in the United States Air Force, but he also had an earned Doctors Degree, but those who knew him, called him, Bro. Cal.
From being found on the steps of a church in Memphis to the skies of World War II as a navigator and radar officer, returning home to Tennessee in 1946, to college and graduate school, starting churches in California and serving more than twenty years in the air force as a Chaplin, retiring as a ‘Full bird’ Colonel, to being the ministering pastor at Grassland Heights Baptist Church Bro. Cal walked a high road and left some very large footprints.
I was never his pastor but we were immediate friends once we met, and my life is richer and better for having known him. He is one of those people whom you would really miss if you had not had the privilege to knowing him.
He finished his duty here on Monday the 18th and reported to his new base in Glory where he now awaits his beautiful wife Shirley, his children and far too many others to name them all. We have not lost The Colonel; we know very well where he is: he is higher, stronger, and happier, than he has ever been.
Well done thy good and faithful servant, welcome home

Published in: on August 20, 2014 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

What Could Have Happened

The midafternoon August heat radiated from the black asphalt road like waves of fire over her worn out body. She hated this town, this heat, this long walk to the store in the middle of the day but most of all she hated her life. This place had been a pit of darkness for her and while she had left a dozen times life had always forced her back to this small town horror. Her mother had always said she would be nothing, just a tramp, failure, looser and she had been right. Her father treated her like a tramp and she hated even the thought of him. Yet back to this dark hole life continued to drive her. She would get to the store, spend the few dollars she had on what she had to have and get out without running into any of her ‘friends’. Not that she had any; friend was a poor choice for a word to describe anyone in her life. Sure she had been popular with the guys in junior high and high school but it was a trashy popularity and she knew it. She was sure she held her class record for ‘made guys’ some record, and certain with her five marriages under her belt she held the class record for former husbands. Not that she really had a ‘class’, she had dropped out in the first part of her last year to have a baby, the first of too many. She hated this place and all of its memories. Get to the store, get out, don’t see anyone, and get back to the dump she called home, those were her thoughts now as this August afternoon tried to burn her body as well as her soul. She noticed him out of the corner of her eye as she left the store with her one package of needed supplies. She was sure she didn’t know him but she was certain that he was watching her. She put her free hand in her pocket and felt the pick she always carried; one sudden move and he would be missing an eye. “Excuse me Miss”, she heard him say, “I was wondering if you might have a drink of water you could spare me on this hot day?” She turned to look at him and said, “Do I look like a well to you or a kitchen faucet? Go away.” “Sorry”, he said, “Just thirsty and thought maybe you had an extra bottle of water in that bag.” “I bet.” She responded, “I know what you really want and I ant’s giving so beat it, go away. I don’t buy bottle water; I drink out of my faucet. Do I look like I got bottle water money?” He turned and asked, “Maybe I could go home with you and your husband would give me a nice glass of that tap water?” “Go away, crazy man, I ant got no husband and you ant going nowhere with me.” She answered quickly. “I got enough problems without you so get, just get.” She said as she picked up the pace and walked toward the street. “You are right you know. You don’t have a husband, you have had five but at the moment you are just living with a guy.” He said with a tone of concern and not judgment. “How do you know that? Who are you and why all this concern with me? Who has been telling you about me and way?” She spoke with a fear in her voice as she stopped her walk and looked toward him. “You have a lot of questions?” He answered, “In fact you are troubled about a lot of things and even a bit fearful about some things.” She tightened her grip on the pick in her pocket and said, “You are a crazy man, I won’t you to leave me be. Sure I fear some things. Some nights when I am trying to fall asleep I fear not waking up and having to meet God, I do fear Him, but I don’t fear you crazy man.” With that she pulled the pick from her pocket and looked fearfully at him. “I will leave.” He said, “But I might have had the answer.” He turned, walked away then over his shoulder he said, “By the way I am He. You really don’t have to fear me. Just get to know me.” With that he turned the corner and vanished.

Ivan

Published in: on August 19, 2014 at 10:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

But I Will Pray

I kneel to pray but where do I start; surely I will pray for the people of Ferguson, Mo. what a heart ache and dark moment this is for them. Maybe if all the people who are not from there would go home then the people of Ferguson could sit down with one another, the town leaders, the police, the broken families and begin the task of looking closely at what has taken place and what now must be done. So many of the outsiders we see at these ‘media shows’ and they never seem to bring peace, just more heartache and trouble, maybe the people who are Ferguson should sit down and solve this brokenness, just a thought, but I will pray.
Our southern border needs our prayers, the country of Mexico which has long asked us to stop the overflow of people from their nation into ours are now mad because we have placed the National Guard on our side of the border, some people are never happy, hang them with a new rope and they complain, but I will pray.
Liberia and other African nations suffering from the Ebola outbreak are near the breaking point themselves, they need workers, communications, and the trust of their people, they really don’t have that, but I will pray.
The war torn Mid East where thousands have died, where the darkest force we have seen has come upon the scene, the Isis without regard to the freedom and rights of others have decided to destroy everyone who does not agree with them. We may not be able to stop their growth and invasion, it may well be that only God can solve this problem, but I will pray.
Iraqi is burning, its people fleeing, where there once lived 1,300,000 Christians there now lives less than 200,000, Syrah is in the same flames, I do not have the answers, but I will pray.
Russia and the Ukraine are one eye blink away from war, I will pray.
The count could continue but I do not have the time or the space, but I know, now I know where to start, I will pray for myself. That is where I will start, with me.
Ivan

Published in: on August 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm  Comments (2)  

Modern Travel Adventure

Travel is really a bit of an adventure today, maybe not to the extend it was to those first ‘Volunteers’ from Tennessee who came to Texas to Liberate the ‘one star’ state, but it does have its moments of challenge. I believe that I must carry the gene of adventure in my physical features for the airport has remained for me an adventure, unlike my ‘volunteer’ friends, yet with moments of both fear and laughter. I arrived in plenty of time to make my trip one without challenge and frustration. But there it was from the on set. As I parked in the extended parking, somewhere near Lebanon if not further, the bus which was to carry me to the airport stopped behind my car and with the courtesy of a typical southern gentleman the driver opened the door and held everyone up so that I could board his bus.  I wasn’t ready, but the hum of his engine and the call of the passengers made it imperative that I move quickly.  I did so, forgetting only one small item, the charger for my phone, but why worry, who needs to call. So I got off to a quick start, bags flowing in the wind from my arms, looking a bit like I had too much of something I have never had but I did get through the door to the laughter of the passengers and their unison sign of relief that they too could now go on with their trip to the terminal.

With my one bag checked and the other ready for me to make it through the forest of guards and machines which would determine if I was travel worthy. I approached the area in a very serious manner, removed my computer from the case and placed it in a container, then my coat, all items in my pockets in another, my watch, hat and shoes in yet a fourth. Thereupon I was instructed to place my feet in these painted prints of feet put my hands over my head and stand very still. Suddenly he stopped the process and asked me to remove my belt; I did, handing it to a female guard who placed it in my fifth gray container.  With that done and back to my position I realized that without my belt it was going to be difficult to put my hands over my head without my pants falling to the floor but then I am a ‘Volunteer’ headed to Texas, I can do this, so I pouched out everything I could control and made it through the whirl of the machine; somewhere, inside the equipment, where the lady  who looks at the scans hides, I hear a small laughter, maybe a bit of a snicker, could have been and awe, not sure, but now I thought, I am through. But then the nice guard asked me to stand aside so the now booing line of would be passengers could again regroup and continue their journeys on to places around the world. The guard then informed me that he would have to pat me down, again he told me how to stand and struggling not to loose my still falling pants I managed to meet this requirement. Then he took me to a strange looking machine when he coated my hands with a liquid, not sure what it was but he wore gloves and avoided it like it might cause parts to fall off if they did not meet its approval. With that he took the gauze with which he wiped my hands and placed it under a special light, imported from outer space or Oak Ridge, not sure which, and with a great smile of relief he said, ‘good you can go.’ Holding my pants with one hand looking for my five containers of clothing, shoes, belt and other valuables I located them in another area of the airport and begin the chore of ‘regrouping my aged body for my journey to the gate. One side bar of a positive note I now had no time to wait at the gate and the world of onlookers sighed with joy that we are now safe to travel.

Knowing that God takes care of his servants I told my story to the lady in the seat next to me and after an invitation to buy me a drink and a long laughter when I told her ‘never had, never would’ she asked what type of phone I had, I told her and she opened her computer case and removed four or five chargers and said, “Find the one that fits.” I located the correct charger and offered to purchase it from her but was stalled when she declined and said, “Not to worry, I travel every week and each time I check into a hotel I ask if they have a phone charger that I might use, thus I now have several just in case I might need one and today I do.” “Beside”, she said, “The story was worth the charger.”

Outside of spilling my peanuts and tripping over something hanging loose from a very large lady in an aisle seat on my way to the restroom the trip went rather well.

Note- While I laugh at the inspection adventure as it happened to me I am glad that we have all the procedures we need to keep everyone safe.

Ivan

Published in: on August 17, 2014 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Everyone Loves A Picnic

Everyone Loves a Picnic

 

Everyone loves a picnic and how much nicer it is down by the lake. Even in the winter time I see people with their food scattered and everyone huddled around enjoying a picnic.

Well Isaac was no exception, he loved to roam around see all the sights and then find a great place to enjoy a nice lunch before he moved on to more adventures of exploring.  Today he was excited his mom had fixed him a nice lunch and had told him he was old enough now to go down by the lake and spend the full afternoon just playing around.  She admonished him not to climb any dangerous rocks and to stay out of the lake and with a big hug she gave him his dad’s leather bag filled with the goodies for lunch, kissed him on the head and sent him on his way.

It was over the rocks, through the fields off to stand close to the lake and skip rocks as long as he liked. He would count the times the rock would skip and he just bet he could make one skip seven times.

In his excitement he notices the man pulling up to the shore in the small boat and just standing there as though he was waiting for someone to come. Over his shoulder he saw the crowd of people coming out of the trees finding places to sit and all of them staring at the man in the boat.

It looked like the man was moving among the people, touching some of them speaking to all of them.  He saw a man some people had carried get up and run out to the lake and back after the man had touched him.  Isaac started to leave but like most boys his curiosity got the best of him.  He put down his skipping rock and walked to be where he could see and hear all that was happening.

It was amazing, this man spoke like no one he had every heard.  His voice was calm but demanding, soft yet it filled the whole of the large crowd. He made no big thing of touching the people and watching their eyes open and the arms and legs move.  It just seemed to Isaac that he was doing what was very natural for him to do.

The afternoon drew on and Isaac remembered the leather pouch and the lunch his mom had prepared.  He got it out and had just started to dig in when this man asked, “You going to eat that by yourself?”  Isaac looked at the five small pieces of bread and the two little fish and said with a studier. “You can join me if you like.”  The man told him that the ‘Teacher’ needed the lunch and Isaac put it back in the pouch and handed it to him saying, “Sure, I bet he is real hungry after all the work I have watched him do.  Give it to him but be sure to bring my dad’s pouch back.”

Isaac’s world then became a wonder, like a dream, yet really, really real. The Teacher with great compassion for the people begins to organize them, he had them to gather in small groups and sit on the ground. Then the moment became unbelievable as he took the leather pouch Isaac had given to the man, prayed over it like it was a great meal and begin to pass out to some of the special guy’s food to take out to all of those gathered on the ground.  Isaac got some of the food himself as did all the other in his small group.  They ate, laughed, listened and had a wonderful picnic.  When the people begin to go away Isaac noticed that the sun was getting low and he must hurry to get home so as not to worry him mom.  The man who had asked for his lunch stopped him and handed him a basket saying, “Take this home to your family for dinner.  By the way your Dad’s pouch is on the top there.”

Isaac eyes filled with tears as he made his way back to the small house where he lived.  His eyes filled with tears as he told himself the story of that afternoon preparing to share it with his family. No one would believe him, it was just too impossible.  Why one of the men had said there were more than 5,000 people at that picnic.  Had he really fed that many people?

In time Isaac came to realize that he had fed no one.  But he had given The Teacher what he had and The Teacher had used his small contribution to do a great work.

Isaac came to see like the rest of us that when we put what we are able to do into the hands of Jesus, our little become enough for not only ourselves but for everyone touched by us.

Everyone loves a picnic and I would love to have been at that one.

From Matthew 14:13-21

 

Ivan N. Raley

inraley@yahoo.com

Published in: on August 14, 2014 at 11:26 pm  Leave a Comment