Where Is Jasmine

Sir Lawrence of Arabia and his band of raiders were returning from days of battle crossing the hot blazing desert with their water almost gone. Someone in the group said, “Where is Jasmine?” Another replied, “Who is Jasmine?” Still others reminded them that he was an Arab who had joined them a few days back. “Maybe he is lost in the sand storm.” Cried one. “No, another replied, there is his camel and there is his rifle.” The group chatted and another said, “Maybe a sniper got him.” Still another, “Expect he went to sleep and fell off his camel.” “What does it matter” one called, “Jasmine was weak of body and mind, so let it be.”

It was then that Sir Lawrence turned, instructed his men to continue toward the camp and he went back, tracing the path from which they had come. There almost dead in the blowing sand he saw Jasmine. Sir Lawrence gave him what remained of his water, placed him on the camel and made his journey back to the men.

Someone called, “There is Lawrence and he has that fellow Jasmine.” It is said that Sir Lawrence had many faults and failures, but the welfare of his men was not numbered among them. Even a Jasmine, weak of body and of mind, was worth the long journey to rescue.

So it is that Jesus made that long journey from Glory to Calvary because Ivan was weak of mind and body, lost in the blazing sand storm of life, and even Ivan, not worth the journey, was come for by the Master with His love and life giving water He placed me on his shoulders and brought me home.

(From a story heard long ago when studying about Sir Lawrence and told now in my own words.)

Ivan

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Published in: on February 26, 2015 at 11:09 pm  Comments (4)  

You Help Me

You Help Me and I Will Learn

I once pastored and coached some street boy in basketball. They really took to me and me to them. They wanted to know if they could get uniforms so I went to the store purchased shorts for all of them and then got some matching shirts and ironed number on the front and back.  I let them choose their numbers, to them it was like getting a new car, man they were happy and I was in heaven.

They really took to coming to church, they even came on Wednesday night and there they would be on the front row looking at me like here we are tell us something. The first time they attended on Prayer Meeting night I was asking for prayer request and then I called on one of my men to lead in prayer. His name was Jack. Well before he could start praying a boy on the front row named Jack looked up at me with fear but also determination in his eyes and said, ‘I don’t know how to do that but if you will help me then I will learn.’

That was one of those heaven on earth moments. I smiled and explained to Jack that there was someone else in the room with his name and it was that man that I was asking to pray but I told him how proud I was of his willingness and told him to listen as the ‘other’ Jack prayed and he would begin to learn.

After our older Mr. Jack got through with his prayer and we got through wading in the water provided by all of our tears because of the bravery, innocence, and desire of our ‘new’ Jack I explained to him how great a kid he was and how I knew that God had sent him into that room to teach all of us how to pray. That was a moment you let God write in your heart and when you are old it pops to the top and becomes a joy of life that makes a dull day sweeter.

Ivan

Published in: on February 25, 2015 at 11:05 pm  Comments (2)  

I Told You So

I Didn’t Say “I Told You So”

In my high school summers I worked in a boy’s camp for our State Baptist Convention. These were six weeks of exciting events held in camps near Newport and Linden, Tennessee. We always had the weeks filled with sports, swimming, and a little bit of class room time built around our conventions mission program. The week I speak of we had a dear lady, I thought she was about seventy, but thinking back she was more likely to have been in her 40’s. She had spent a number of years in Nigeria and we were looking forward to the week with her showing all the items she had brought with her as well as the pictures of the wild animals of the jungle. Our only glitch with this dear missionary was that she insisted in sleeping in the barracks with the boys. We explained how much nicer it would be for her to be in the staff house, how she could rest better, have more time to herself, and when none of this worked we explained that we would have to close one of the two bathrooms on the floor where she stayed for there were no facilities for ladies. She considered this but insisted that she needed to bond with the boys and let them see that she was real and she was sure that losing one bathroom would not be that troubling. Thinking back I believe it had been a long time since she had lived in a building with a hundred and fifty nine and ten year old guys, but at last we gave in, put a sign on one of the restroom that it was for ladies only, gave her a room on the first floor and settled in for a week of less than comfortable quarters since her room should have held a counselor and six boys. We got the boys to bed on the first night and all seemed to be going great, the place was spooky quiet with only the snoring of the counselors to be heard. About two in the morning one of the nine year olds decided to go to the rest room, half-awake he stumbled down the hall and entered her bedroom, seeing the white sheet she had pulled over her body you can guess what he thought it was, so close up to the bed he started to complete his task. Do you know how quickly the screams of a missionary from Nigeria can wake a barrack of boys at two in the morning; well let me assure you it is less than three seconds. The boy involved vanished, can you blame him? It took several of us about thirty minutes to quiet her down, get her dressed, packed and moved to the staff quarters. I understand she never made such a request again as she visited camps for the summer. It was a bit disturbing that the young man involved had a fear of Urines for the rest of his life, but well, I tried to warn everyone, but I didn’t: No didn’t say “I Told You So.

Published in: on February 24, 2015 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Last Leg

Last Part of the Last Leg

He was sitting in an old rocker smoking his pipe and looking across the room at all of his tools and the work in progress. I asked how he was doing and what was moving and he smiled and said he had almost finished the bed. I could see the head board, foot board, and several legs; the beautiful walnut wood was gleaming. I told him it looked pretty complete to me and he said, needs another post, got three but need four. I told him how beautiful it looked and stood one of the legs up beside me, it was six feet talk, spooled, and polished with the touch of an artist. “Better get that last one done” I said, “you might need a place to sleep when you wife finds you out here rocking.” He smiled, pulled on his pipe and said, “Been working on that thing for maybe five years, forgot to count, got two of the three section of that last leg done, but not sure about the last one. What am I going to do when I finish it?” There seemed to be a serious concern in his voice and in the question. “Sleep in it,” I said, “put it up in the house and make it a gift to that beautiful wife of yours.” “Been sleeping in the same bed with her for more than fifty years”, he said, “might not like a new one.” “I know she will love it.” I responded, “It will be a great gift to her and each part of it reflects your good work.” “You know I always thought I would die if I ever finished it.” He answered, “Not sure why, just believed it was my last work so I have been putting off that last part of that last leg.” I smiled, he smoked the pipe and I started to leave. He said, “Boy do you want it?” I turned and said, “No sir Mr. John, no sir, I had rather have you around rocking in that chair and dreaming of that finished bed, no sir, just keep on polishing on that last part of that last leg and someday you will know when to put it together.”

His wife and I put it together a couple of weeks after she buried him, I think she still sleeps in the old bed and just shows the new one off.

Published in: on February 23, 2015 at 11:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Iwo Jima

On this date in 1945 five Marines and one Navy Corpsman raised the flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima; John Rosenthal took the picture which has become the most famous of the Second World War. The monuments around the country are made from that famous moment captured by Rosenthal.

Sergeant Mike Strank the leader of the group and the oldest at 26 died on that bloody island on March 1, 1945, Harlon Block also died on that date, and Franklin Sousley died on March 21, 1945. The other three men Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian, Rene Gagnon, and Corpsman John Bradley survived the battle and returned to the United States as heroes of the battle. None of them considered themselves heroes; they all spoke simply of doing what they were told to do.

The battle planned for one week lasted five, 6,800 marines died, more than 20,000 others were wounded. The Japanese lost 18,844 of their 22,000 men. This was the only battle in which the American causalities were greater than the enemies.

These almost seven thousand men who never came off of the rock of blood and bodies paid the ultimate price for the freedom which you and I enjoy and take so for granted today.

America is the greatest country in the world, there is no argument about that and that greatness was grown from the lives of young men who never knew real adulthood, who died as boys because their country needed their sacrifice for our freedom.

Let us deserve their sacrifice, let us pass on to those who follow us the dreams and hopes of those boys less we dishonor their payment for our privilege.

Ivan

Published in: on February 22, 2015 at 9:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Did It

You are right, but don’t get ahead of me; I got in my car and drove out of my drive, ran all of the errors on my list and made it back to the drive without having to abandon  the car, needed to call someone for a push or a pull, man I feel good. I was suffering from the, I don’t like to be here without the option to leave if I like, need to or not I wanted to go somewhere, so I did.

Now I must admit that on Wednesday Steve, Ron, and Don took me to lunch, sure was great to have something cooked, three days of crackers, cheese, and microwave soup, was about all I could take without losing it, not sure what ‘IT’ is but I believe you can lose it and not know.

Only when I crossed the front yard to get in the van to go to the Dixie did I realize how deep the snow is, I had trouble walking, socks wet, pants wet, legs wet, but it was great to have someone to eat with beside Max, he only knows about two words, and his eating is disturbing to watch.

I purchased some new tires, will get them put on as soon as they arrive, that will make me feel much better, mine are as bald as I am. Too bad I can’t purchase a new head, but it would be my luck to end up with one that has the nose on top and I would drown in the rain.

Someone asked if we were going to have church Sunday, Man Yes, we just must; we may have to hire Santa and his reindeer but we need to have church. I have always heard that seven days without church makes one weak, I am already beginning to feel dizzy, let’s have church.

Now don’t endanger yourself, if you can’t make it tune in to 90.9 or 90.5 or www.kingofkingsradio.com at eleven central time and we should be there live. We have people in a couple of countries that listen almost every week; we would love for you to join us.

I also must thank the several people who called to check on me and offered to bring me food, nice to have caring friends.

So much for pointless chatter but it is wonderful to feel alive, to love God, have a wonderful family, beautiful friends, and maybe, just maybe half of a mind.

Ivan

Published in: on February 19, 2015 at 11:05 pm  Comments (1)  

The Voice of a Boy

Seaman Gill Maddox looked out across the beach at San Diego, the sun had placed its light beneath the surface of the western pacific and the cool air of the summer night was blowing in from the far away ocean. Gill’s heart was broken, the letter that he carried in his pocket had closed the hope that he had for a life with the girl of his dreams. Boot camp had not gone well and the navy he just knew he would love, instead he hated.

He had not made the school he had hoped for and was only a few days from being placed on a ship headed to sea with no rate to try and qualify for and knew that for the next several months he would swab decks, paint, cook, and who knew how many other to him menial task. He removed his shoes and socks, put the letter in one of the shoes and his billfold in the other. He gazed out across the vast darkness of the ocean broken only by the reflection of the lights from the ships far out to sea and those from the buildings along the boardwalk. He rolled up his pants and stepped into the water. The Pacific at San Diego is never warm, in fact the current from Alaska always keeps the water cooler than most people enjoy. He waited a moment, then went a little deeper, waited, then deeper.

Suddenly a voice out of the darkness behind him broke the ocean’s trance as he heard it say, “Mister your shoes are going to wash away and you are going to get your uniform wet if you go any further.” Gill turned and saw the incoming tide washing closer to his shoes and saw the small body of the boy in the shadow of the beach. “Thanks!” he said, the turned walked back toward the beach, touched the boy on his head and said thanks again as he picked up his shoes and started toward a bench. “Thank you mister for serving our country. My daddy is way out there on a ship, cooking for all of those men and keeping the ship and me and mommy real safe.” Strange how God uses the voice of a child to change the heart and direction of a broken man. The tour of duty at sea was not perfect and he mopped a lot of decks but he made it and he did it and he served.

Ivan

Published in: on February 18, 2015 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Saga Continues

Cold Days, Bad Choices, Warm Hearts

If you read the blog from Tuesday this one will make more sense; for the story continues. As you may remember my car was left Monday night in the parking lot all by itself, cold, covered with ice and snow?

I woke Tuesday morning to a beautiful snow falling, it was really coming down and it was truly from the hand of God, just beautiful. I decided to have breakfast and remembered that I had a box of Cheerios. Now I like Cheerios, I really do, I eat them just out of the box like you would eat popcorn that is the way I like them the best. But I made the mistake of looking at the use by date on the box, February 2014, just a bit old, like twelve months. So I dug around found some cheese and crackers and had a nice breakfast.

The sun came out and all was beautiful, the next door yard filled with children and their sleds, it was a great sight. But I got to looking at the sun, remembering how lonely my car was and felt assured that I could get it up the hill. So I called Butch, he picked me up and I got the car, since I was out  I decided to get something hot and cooked for lunch, Dixie was the place, ran into friends and lunch was a delight, got my car, which by the way was much happier now, and headed for the hill and home.

I made it up that hill without any trouble, decided to pull into the upper drive at my house and bingo, it would not go, of course my tires are slick, no tread, and the tinny hill was covered with ice and snow so I found myself sideways almost in my neighbor’s yard. So what, I was home and I left the car and went in my house.

A neighbor called and said they had noticed I was having a problem with the car and offered to help, I explained that it would be alright and I would get it later.

Then I got to thinking someone will come along and take a picture and put in on face book, just for sure they would do that, so a call to Diane and the arrival of her son William who knows how to do anything the saga continued. Tim, whose yard I was sharing came out, he and William pushed, we did no good. Erica came over, said she figured we could use a woman’s help and then we hooked up a tow with William, then pushed, and with William driving, Erica, Tim and I pushing we got the car out of the yard onto the street and into the garage.

As my ‘Good Samaritans’ left I could hear all of them saying, leave it there.

God thank you for such good friends and please God, no more car stories.

Ivan

Published in: on February 17, 2015 at 11:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cold Weather

Cold Weather, Bad Choice, Warm Friends

Those of us who live in Pickett County know that we had a nice, snow and ice mixed day on Monday, it was beautiful, made for a great day to just read, study and even catch a nap.

But sometimes we think we are 18 again and decide to venture outside of our caves, refuse to obey the warnings, and do our own thing. I did that! I decided that I had to have a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit, man they are good and I got to thinking about that so off I went in the cold, snow, and slick roads.

I became a little aware of my bad choice when I arrived at the Shell and there was almost no one there, bad sign, I was dumber than most. I got the biscuit in fact I got two, one for me and one for my friend Max, my dog. The next sign that I was in over my head was when I realized how slick the drive was and I had trouble returning to my car, but thanks to a young man with a shovel I made it and got on my way back home.

As I made the turn by the Farm Bureau I realized that I was not going to make it up the hill, after several tries I decided to leave my car in the parking lot and walk to my house, the walk would do me good, according to my wife, so as I am getting out, retrieving my two biscuits, Barbara opened the door to the Farm Bureau and asked me what I was doing, I explained that I was going to leave my car, and walk home, I really didn’t think anyone was in the business. She told me not to walk that Butch was driving Brooklyn to work and she would call him and have him come by and pick me up as soon as he dropped her off. Too good of an offer to turn down, so I sit in my car and waited, in fact I listened to our Sunday morning worship service.

Butch was on hold waiting for the store where Brooklyn works to open so I had some time. About this time a nice guy named Doug pulled up and asked if I was having trouble, I told him the story and he said for me to get in the car and he would drive me home, see how nice people are in Byrdstown, I stuck my head in the door to tell her about the ride and asked if she could call Butch and let him know and I was off to home with both of my Biscuits and a new found friend. You know Doug came up that hill like it was not there it was worth all the trouble just to meet him.

Max and I enjoyed our breakfast, my car got to spend the day and night in a strange place and I realized how great it is to be at home.

Ivan

Published in: on February 16, 2015 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wealth

I enjoyed visiting their home while I served as their pastor; most of those visits were more for me than for them. I was listing and learning while enjoying being in their company. The house was small, in fact I think it was a prefab home of some sort that had been placed by the owner of the large farm where they lived just for them. I would think it might have had 1,200 feet but really cannot be certain. Three very small bedrooms, a living room, eat in kitchen, one bath for the family of five and a large back porch. We spent most of our visits on that back porch, sharing it with the three children, two dogs, and a pet goat. When we shared a meal we would serve our plates in the kitchen and head to the porch to eat, fighting with the dogs and goat for our lunch.

In my memory it was very funny, they would talk to the dogs and goat just like they understood every word, and in truth I think they did. They were such humble people, most would have called them poor but once you got to know them, the love they shared the dreams they had and the warm feeling for each other that was so very much a part of our time together you could not call them poor; humble but not poor.

I learned from the Kings what it is to really love one another and to allow that love to show in their lives. They never expressed any ill feeling toward the very wealthy man who owned the house and for whom they worked, never a bad word for others in our church family who had great homes and wonderful clothes, beautiful cars, and large bank accounts.

They got up each day with the joy of a task to be done, miles to travel, and dreams to see come true. I never left without them asking me to stay a bit longer, never got away from the house without their asking me to thank God for all that they had; I never left without a tear in my eyes for a family who had so little but enjoyed so very much.

The parents have now gone on to a really neat home in glory, the three children married people they loved and live thankful beautiful lives. I am so grateful that I got to meet some really wealthy people in my journey through life; the Kings were near the top of the list.

Ivan

Published in: on February 15, 2015 at 9:11 pm  Comments (2)