Halloween

Halloween and Other Days

Let me get on my old rags before I write this because I know I am going to have some tomatoes thrown at me for this blog but why not read it all and do so with the understanding that one of the beautiful things about our land is that we do not all have to think alike.

I understand, for I have read, just as you have all the ‘stuff’ written about Halloween and other days we observe. I can understand that many people do not wish to observe Halloween, well we really don’t observe it we just do it, feed our kids too much candy and make them look like, well who knows what.

I know churches for example that will not use the name, ‘Halloween’, they call it something else and that is ok but calling a horse a cow does not change the fact that he is a horse. I also understand all the mystery that is supposed to surround this day. But in truth folks that is not what we do today. No matter what it might have once been, that is not the day we have, not even in my lifetime, and that is a long time, has it been more than a night for candy, treats, and lots of pumpkins; yes and of course the eggs, now we can do away with the eggs, beside they cost too much.

Of course some will say but look how it all started, I understand that but it is not what we do now. For example I hate slavery, and the man who wrote “Amazing Grace” was the Captain of a slave ship in his early years before he met the real author of Amazing Grace.  That does not keep me from loving the song and wanting it to be played at my home going.

Don’t get so tight that you always want to fight, stand for truth, but don’t invent a problem.  Same goes for Christmas, you are right, I love Christmas, maybe it had a bad start but to the boy at 246 South Lindsey Street it was the wonderful day of His birth and I got the presents. Hard to beat that.  I also enjoy, not the best word, I observe, Easter, I know it had a tough start but we always knew that He, Jesus, would win.

Enjoy the days, supervise your children, tell them the wonderful stories of Christmas and Easter and try your best not to look like the spook you can be on Halloween.

Ivan

Published in: on October 29, 2015 at 11:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Miss You

I Have Missed You So Much

The small boy stopped his crying and looked into his mother’s eyes as she reached down and put her arms around him and assured him that he was ok. For the briefest of moments he had gotten lost in the large store and someone had seen him crying and they had called over the speaker for a ‘lost mother.’ The moment she had heard the call she looked around and knew that it was her son who was crying and she the mother that was lost.

It was wonderful to see the way he looked at her when she ran to him and knelt down to hold him. That is one of the great gifts of mothers, that warm and safe embrace. All of us have rejoiced when we saw our child or another looking at us with those big bright eyes. There is just something about that which reaches out and grabs our hearts.

Have you ever considered that God would love to see that same look on our faces as we bow before Him in prayer? Eyes bright with joy, heart filled with excitement all because we were coming to see our master in prayer.

Maybe the reason we don’t realize that is we do not spend any time listing to God, just in silence before Him with eyes that are expecting and hearts filled with joy; with even our bodies in need of His strength.

We talk too much, we should listen more. Maybe we never experience that because we never seek Him with such a heart and wonder.

Even my dog Louie, use to jump and bark and get so excited when my car pulled in the drive. Now we really should be smarter than dogs and we certainly should be more excited than they to meet our Master.

Real prayer after all is welcoming the Master home into our heart. I use to think that Louie was saying ‘Where have you been, I’ve missed you so much.” I think Jesus would love for us to look at Him with that same longing desire to be held in His arms.

Ivan

Published in: on October 28, 2015 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Last Cab Ride

I did not write this story and I do not know who did, but it is well done and worth our sharing.

THE LAST CAB RIDE!

MAKE EVERYDAY COUNT. WE ALL WILL BE WHERE THIS LADY WAS SOMEDAY

THE LAST CAB RIDE …

I arrived at the address and honked the horn.   After waiting a few minutes I honked again.   Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, But instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked..

‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.   After a long pause, the door opened.   A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.   By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.   There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters.   In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.   ‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said.   I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.   She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.   She kept thanking me for my kindness.   ‘It’s nothing’, I told her. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’   ‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said.   When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’   ‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly.   ‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.   I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.   ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice…’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’   I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.   ‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.   For the next two hours, we drove through the city.   She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.   We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds.   She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.   Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.   As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’.   We drove in silence to the address she had given me.   It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.   Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up.  They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.  They must have been expecting her.   I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door.  The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.   ‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.   ‘Nothing,’ I answered.   ‘You have to make a living,’ she said.  ‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.   Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.   She held onto me tightly.   ‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’   I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.  Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life..  For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?  What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?   On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.   We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.   But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.   PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID, BUT THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW   YOU MADE THEM FEEL…   Thank you, my friend…   Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance…

Published in: on October 27, 2015 at 9:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Hard Week

Last week our church family struggled to make sense of all the events. One of the members of our church family died suddenly on Monday morning and all of us suffer in the loss of Susie Beardsley, on Thursday we gather to celebrate her life and saw that we were not the only ones who suffered from the loss. The building would not hold all of those who came to share with Al and his family. While coming to us from another place they have imbedded themselves into the life of our community and all of us will miss her beautiful pictures of our glorious lake Dale Hollow, and the joy of her friendship.

We found hope and peace as we remember her faith in Christ and we were blessed as we watched her husband Al simply put his trust for the future in the knowledge of what they had shared together and their mutual love of the Lord.

Then my grandson suffered the death of his track coach and the whole of the schools was moved and before the grief would leave his best friend died as the result of a car accident. My grandson, Brett took part in that service in Memphis and saw his school once again on its knees in prayer for one another. More than forty member of the student body stood to share their desire to walk closer with the Lord. Can you imagine as a boy of 17 standing before a couple of thousand people, sharing your friendship, faith in God, and sorrow? He must have stood nine feet tall that day.

Death is like that, it seldom gives us a moment’s notice in its arrival, the preparation must be done before the moving shadow of death arrives.

Let each of us be reminded that death does come and let all of us make our preparation now.

Ivan

Published in: on October 25, 2015 at 9:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Boy’s Voice

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 he instead 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, then 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.

Published in: on October 22, 2015 at 9:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

From My Heart

I see a lot on Face book about God knowing our needs and our prayers even when we don’t know what to say, He knows. Now I am certain that this is true but like any parent don’t you realized how pleased He is when His children come to Him with open hearts and a sincere desire to just spend some time visiting.

I remember how much my parents looked forward to my coming to visit them and how those first moments were filled with joys of what had been happening in our lives. By that same measure I am sure that God is pleased when we come to both speak and listen to Him. My dad was not a great talker but he always had something new he was thinking of and something he was planning to do that he enjoyed sharing. Mother could keep you busy for hours with all that she had seen, heard and was doing. Those were sweet moments and God, I am sure, wishes to spend like moments with us.

Maybe if we listened more we could hear His desires for our lives, His expatiations, and His plans. How wonderful that would be for all of us. Then of course unlike with our parents there are request that all of us have as we bow before the Lord. Here are some of mine; I am praying for a dear friend, Al who said goodbye to his beloved Susie early Monday morning, all who knew them suffer with him, I pray for my grandson,Brett, who lost both a coach and a best friend last week.

Death does not go away in a week, in fact I sometimes find myself thinking of mother and dad as if they were still living. I pray for my church family, going through our membership each week praying for all of them by name and lifting them before my Father.

I pray for my children, I have been greatly blessed, I know this and thus I never forget to pray for each of them and their families and dreams. My wife, Carole, is on my heart each morning as I start the day and I place her there before my Lord. We have a list of lost people in our church and I pray for them each week also the sick and those with quiet needs and great hurts. And yes I pray for myself. In this twilight of my life I sometimes feel so very alone, just lost as to what to do next. I have always talked too much and I am sure I do when I pray but I so feel the need to just converse, just share, just weep in His great presence.

Published in: on October 19, 2015 at 11:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Well Done

James was different, he was several years older than I was but he always enjoyed playing with me and in many ways he acted much younger. Today we would have put James in a special class and they would have called him ‘challenged’ in those days they just sent him home sometime in the third grade and told him to not bother to come back to school.

His older brother was smart, did well in school but James lived in a world of cowboys and Indians, movies on Saturday, and playing with me anytime that his father came out to help my dad with things around the house.

I liked him and somewhere about the age of twelve realized that even though he was older, he was still stuck in a world of childhood and all that goes with it. When his father died my dad took James under his wings, gave him a job, and taught him how to take care of himself and his small salary. Dad would answer the very simple question put forth by James and with great patience went over the same instructions time after time.

As the years passed James told my father that he had met a girl and wondered if he could get married, dad told him to bring her by so that he could meet her and talk to them both. A few days later James showed up with his girlfriend in a wheelchair. After months of guidance and counseling James and his sweetheart married.

Dad helped him buy a small house, got him a job with the city and for years watched over his needs. His brother who had all the great possibilities died in prison, James and his wife, in a wheelchair, grew old together and while living a simple life, were happy, healthy, and giving member of the community.

You could see this now old man pushing his wife down the street both of them laughing and rejoicing as they journeyed to their small little white home where the love of God flowed out of the front door, down the street and into all who knew them.

I could hear God saying, “James, Well done!”

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

Way to go Jennie

I watched him as he held her hand and set by her bedside. You could find him there each day from 9:00 am to about 6:00 pm, it never varied much, he would be there. It had been more than six months since she had said anything but he stayed, held her hand and talked with her just as if she understood every word he said.

Now and then I would drop by the room at the nursing home and we would talk a few minutes, he would always say, “Honey the pastor is here.” Then he would look at me and say, “I am not sure pastor if she hears really well, but I don’t want her to not know who is in the room since she never opens her eyes and I am not sure she can see anything.

I would sit with him a few minutes, we would talk about the weather, news, and anything I would bring up, then I would always pray, kiss his wife on the forehead and leave with a handshake and smile for him.

Jennie died after almost a year of this long journey, I held her funeral and the church family share their love and care of him. He continued to attend church, take part in the events of the community but his journey was now not so direct and the smile that had been his trademark seemed to come only now and then.

One day as he was leaving church after the service he said, “Pastor, I saw Jennie last night and she said for me to thank you for your visits and for kissing her on her head. She told me to apologize for her never speaking back but the words would only form in her mind.”

I wasn’t sure how to respond; I just held his hand and hugged him a bit there in the doorway of our church. Then he looked up and said, “Pastor she thanked me for all those days of holding her hand and talking to her even when she couldn’t talk back.” Then in tears he said, then she said, “I miss you honey but I sure do feel a lot better here and they are having a hard time keeping me from talking all the time.” Bill hugged me back, turned and walked out the door and I simply smiled, looked up to heaven and said, “Way to go Jennie, way to go.”

Published in: on October 15, 2015 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Well Done

Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. First Timothy 4:12

If we had the financial means most of us would be very generous, we would love to give a large sum of money to some cause that is close to our hearts. Give a young person a chance at a great education and any number of other wonderful things.

If we were great speakers and could demand an audience, keep them spellbound, and move them to action, we would do so. Who would not like to say something profound and life changing? If we could we would. If we were, so our list continues.

But look at this scripture. We can all do these six things that Paul told the young Timothy to be sure he did. We all speak to others; people all around see our conduct, hear our words and establish an opinion about us. Don’t wait for the glorious thing to do the right thing do the right thing now.  Make your life an example that others can follow straight to the salvation of our Lord. Being faithful may not offer the glory and praise we would all love, but it will provide a ‘Well done’ from the one who put the stars in place.

Published in: on October 14, 2015 at 11:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Main Thing

Controlling the Main Thing

Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patience endurance, and patience endurance leads to godliness. Second Peter 1:6

Self-control, – ‘keeping myself self under the management of my heart and soul as I place them into the hands of God.’ –

I think we can understand what that involves.  Most of us have worked for people who had little if any self-control. One moment we knew what they wanted and the next we were on a different page.

Christ warns us in His word that as His followers we need to develop self-control and in doing so we will also develop patience and godliness.  Our world needs a lot of godliness today.  I see so many people, yes even Christians, who do not have lives that reflect the glory and goodness of God.

I see us as angry and vocal as the world outside of God. Mean spirited and rude.   It is no wonder that people are not being attracted to Christ, we are not allowing His love and life to shine through us.  At the job, in your home, with your friends, nothing will draw them quicker to the Lord than your good life.

Not ‘acting’ like we are special or holy, but in a very real way living as if Christ is inside of us calling the plays. On the same tract nothing will move them further from the Lord than a hateful, sinful, selfish life.

Published in: on October 13, 2015 at 11:06 pm  Leave a Comment