Blessings

Blessings

Remember Jesus is not praising poverty of things and needs; He is speaking of poverty of the spirit. Barclay translates this verse thus: O the bliss of the man who has realized his own utter helplessness, and who has put his whole trust in God. For thus alone he can render to God that perfect obedience which will make him a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven.

It is when we realize that without Jesus there is no value that we are able to reach to Him for our salvation. That is my translation.

Next Thursday May 5th is our National Day of Prayer, if our nation ever needed to kneel before our Lord it is now.  Let me encourage  you to share in the day if it possible in your community and either way plan to spend some private, quiet time with the Lord for our nation.

Ivan

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Published in: on April 28, 2016 at 10:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Multiple

Multiple

Let’s see; I have 3 X 10 now I have 30, great: 7 X 20 now I have 140, hey I like this and Peter says he wants God to Multiple our Grace and our Peace.

Now that I could use, more peace, more grace. Our world is struggling for peace, out youth have no peace in their education, job hope, and future, middle age Americans know that if they now have a good job and the company is purchased they will in all likely hood be out looking for another job at halt the salary. Those of my generation worry that they are just one step from a disease or accident that they will not be able to overcome and life as they know it will close.

But there is a place to find peace, that place is in the grace of God. By His grace we are saved, by His grace we will finish the course; by His grace our future is forever secured. Grace alone can bring us peace that is why it is always first for there is no peace without first knowing the grace of God.

Ivan

Published in: on April 27, 2016 at 9:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Our Town

I Like Our Town

I did not come here to stay, I came here as a ship in and was sure I would be around only two or three years, but here it is April 2016 and that is a long time from the first Sunday in February of 2002.

Like so many people from cities like Nashville my first time to come up I didn’t bring any money, just a couple of credit cards. All of us went to lunch and suddenly I realized that they did not take credit cards and they would not cash an out of town check so I had to borrow ten dollars from Jack to get out of washing dishes for my lunch.

Not really sure I ever paid him back that ten dollars, maybe that it why they have allowed me to stay so long, just giving me time to pay back that first loan.

I think everyone thought I would leave when I retired from the Baptist Children’s Home in 2006, but by that time I had fallen in love with my new adopted home. So here I am still around; now I know time is getting short for me but I still enjoy hanging on in this beautiful place.

I have received the best medical care anyone could hope to receive right here in Byrdstown. They even know my name at the clinic and in a lot of the stores where I shop. I had rather pay a bit more if I can get it here than to drive to some other place, besides they really seem like they appreciate my shopping here.

Our school is great our teams have character and our people are real. Because I lived here I opened Congress twice with prayer, not many can say that. Attended the Nation Day of prayer in Washington, D C, opened our State House twice and spoke to our graduates. Life has been good to me.

Our small church can be listened to on five FM station and on the internet around the world, not bad for a small town old man. That small church poured over 120 thousand dollars back into our community and missions around the world this past year, they are so unselfish.

Not sure about the last day, but today has been great, thank you.

Ivan

Published in: on April 25, 2016 at 10:30 pm  Comments (2)  

Need Any Help?

When a man turns away, does he not return? Jeremiah 8:4

We turn away but we do not want to return, why? It might be that we don’t want to admit that we have turned away.  As soon as you stop and ask for directions you are admitting that you are lost, confused, not sure.  We don’t like to admit to any of those things. After all we are the smartest generation, the best educated generation, and the wealthiest. How could we need help?

Could we use some help with our economy, maybe medical plans, how about help with getting along with others. We might need some help for the future, the long, long future of forever. But still we are either ignorant of that need are we just keep putting it off until there is no where else to put it; time is up. Business owners need help, government officials need help just getting along. I sometimes wonder if we are waiting for another 9/11 or December 7, 1942 to cause us to put aside our petty difference, get our heads together and receive the help we need.

A man never turns until he is willing to admit that the direction he is headed is wrong. In our government, in our business world, no one wants’ to admit that they are wrong. They cling to deceit; they refuse to return.

Stubborn all the way to defeat and even into eternity.

Ivan

Published in: on April 24, 2016 at 10:16 pm  Comments (2)  

Home

Home

It was more than fifty years ago but I remember it like last week. I lived in the churches house which was located next door, in the same yard with the church.

We’ll call him Bob, he was about seven at the time and he spent a lot of time at my house. He lived in a small share cropper’s house in the field across from me. Just out of nowhere he asked me one day, “Why do people say there is no place like home, I know lots of places I like better than home.” I searched for some minutes and said something like, “Bob when you are old enough to understand the difference between a house and home, then you will know what that saying means.” He looked at me and said in a very mature voice, “I like both your house and your home more than mine.” Knowing nothing else to do I hugged him and turned away.

I was in the area of that long ago place this past October speaking at an associational meeting. Having some time to kill before I had to be at the meeting I went by the church and house I had lived in more than fifty years ago.

I decided to visit the house across the road to see if the family was still there only to discover my seven year old friend, now a grown man with his own family. We spoke a few minutes and he said that he remembered me so we talked about long ago days. He turned and looking toward where he had lived at the time and said with tears in his eyes, “Remember that question I asked you about home?  I’m making real sure that my family knows that there is no place like home.  Bro. Ivan I never had that place but I have it now and so do my children.” Knowing nothing else to do I hugged him and turned away.

As I drove off brushing back the tears I thanked God that sometimes even in this life things work out right. And I praised Him for allowing me the desire to go backward for just a moment.

Published in: on April 21, 2016 at 9:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Seniors Count

Seniors Count

We Were There

Senior citizens were there on that ‘Longest Day’ in the Battle at Normandy. Where more than one hundred thousand men swarmed the beaches of Normandy, France one outstanding senior citizen is listed high among them. Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr, fifty-seven years of age was the only general in the Allied forces to make the landing on the first wave that rainy morning June 6, 1944.

As assistant Division Commander of the 4th Infantry Division, 1st Army, the Big Red One, General Roosevelt led his men to the Utah Beach landing riding in a Higgins Boat as thousands of other American troops.

Because of a navigational error the landing took place in the wrong inlet, Roosevelt realizing this and understanding that his officers and men were confused and their maps unusable took charge of the invasion, ordering the remanding troops to be landed in the same inlet and led his men over the sea wall, clearing the beachhead, outflanked the Germans and was able to link up with the airborne division that had landed inland in the early morning hours of the battle. The Army not only recognizes him as the highest ranking officer to make the first wave but also the oldest American on the beach for the landing.

General Roosevelt, son of the late president of the United States had served in the First World War along with two of his brothers. His brother Quentin Roosevelt was killed in France in an air battle in that war.

Before making the landing at Normandy, Brigadier General Roosevelt had served in North African, Sicily, and Italy, receiving the Silver Star and other commendations for his service in those battles.

Roosevelt was not only the oldest, highest ranking officer, he was also the only father of a son making the same landing.  His son Quentin II, name for his fallen brother, was also in the D-Day invasion.

Those who are fans of the movie, ‘Longest Day’ will remember that it was Henry Fonda who portrayed the general in that movie. He walked with a cane due to athirst but in spite of all his drawbacks this senior citizen did himself, his deceased father, his nation, and all of us old guys a great service by rising above and beyond the call of duty and being awarded the  Medal of Honor for his bravery at Normandy.

General Omar Bradley, Commander of the First Army, said of his bravery, “It was the single bravest act I witness in the entire war.’  Had it not been for his bravery and leadership most if not all of his division would have been killed in the confusion of the early moments of the battle.

Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. died in France on July 12, 1944 from a heart attack two days before receiving the message from Headquarters of his promotion to Major General and being given Command of his own division.

He is buried in the American Cemetery at Normandy next to his brother Quentin whose body was moved from it World War One burial ground to be next to his brother. I stood before those graves in France and thanked our Lord for brave men and women who gave their all for our country.

Part of the orders for the Medal of Honor – After 2 verbal requests to accompany the leading assault elements in the Normandy invasion had been denied, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt’s written request for this mission was approved and he landed with the first wave of the forces assaulting the enemy-held beaches. He repeatedly led groups from the beach, over the seawall and established them inland. His valor, courage, and presence in the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice. Although the enemy had the beach under constant direct fire, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt moved from one locality to another, rallying men around him, directed and personally led them against the enemy. Under his seasoned, precise, calm, and unfaltering leadership, assault troops reduced beach strong points and rapidly moved inland with minimum casualties. He thus contributed substantially to the successful establishment of the beachhead in France.

Someone might be interested to know that the two Theodore Roosevelt’s’ are one of only two sets of Father and Sons to be awarded the nations highest honor the other father son team being the Macarthur’s.

 

Published in: on April 19, 2016 at 9:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Home Invasion

The Home Invasion

I turned off the shower, reached for my towel and just as I stepped out of the stall I saw the reflection out of the corner of my eye.

I jumped, slipped on the floor, and if anyone had been in the house I would have screamed with all my strength. But I was alone and now I was frightened, heart raced, blood pressure went up, and fear overtook my actions.

Who was that? Why were they in my bathroom?  What did they want? All of these rushed through my mind as I caught myself on the safety rail and broke my fall to a safe decent to the now wet floor.

I looked up, no one was there, I was alone, but I know I saw someone, where did they go?  Then my brain came back to its place, my blood pressure peaked and started down, and I realized it was me in the room.

I was seeing my own reflection in the mirror and was startled by what I was seeing. Have I really changed that much?  Has life really been that unkind, that hard, and so damaging?

My music director, Don Norris, use to say that I was older than dirt. Now I really am and not near as valuable. For a moment sitting on the floor I realized that I am as old as all those people in those pictures of my high school class taken recently.

Life has taken a real toll. It has. Where did I go? When I close my eyes I see myself about forty years younger. But when I open my eyes well you know. I think I will remove the mirror from my bathroom, maybe all the mirrors in the house.  Not sure how I will comb my hair.  I know, I know, what hair? Just wait with any luck you will be here someday.

Ivan

Published in: on April 18, 2016 at 10:56 pm  Comments (1)  

Tender

Tender

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

I watched as she wiped his lips as he was eating, moved items he was about to knock over away, mashed up his food, cut up his meat and she did it all with such kindness. I learned that they had been married 37 years and 10 years of that time she had cared for him with such kindness. He would never be able to say thank you, he would never show tenderness and express love for her treatment, he was just there.

But she was not, she was involved, loving, caring, and meeting all his needs with kindness. The Word says for us to ‘Be Kind’ just like Jesus.

Across the hall was a man never visited; no one except those who were paid did anything for him. He never felt a warm touch, never hear an I love you, nothing warm and caring ever came through his ears.

He too was married but the love of his wife was unable to accept the horror in which he lived. She left one day and never returned, his life or lack of life was more than she could manage. He would not miss her, she would not miss him.

I don’t throw stones and I don’t bring judgment, I just write the story.

Ivan

Published in: on April 17, 2016 at 9:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Wall

The Wall

I have visited the ‘Wall’ a number of times, you know the one, the great black wall that now displays the names of 58,307 (As of Memorial Day 2015) the wall that holds the names of 154 men who received the Medal of Honor, the names of six sets of brothers and three pairs of fathers and sons, 8 female nurses, 16 Chaplains, one of them received the Medal of Honor. From our own Upper Cumberland area, S4Class James T. Davis is listed as the first man killed in a battlefield action. 997 men were killed on their first day in country and 1,443 died the day they were coming home. That is the ‘Wall’.

Early in the morning once young men now old men will be at the ‘Wall’, the same all day and into the dark of night when the ‘Wall’ becomes as black as the night. Men who came home but left so much of themselves in that far off country that they have never returned, not really.

My nephew, Danny Ayers, is on that wall I have his name on paper marked in black from where I rubbed it for his memory, just a kid, life never got to him, he left it in that far off country.

With the troubles of our country it helps my heart to think of all of those who paid so very much and in their living and dying still remind us that we have a great land.

Stand and look at that ‘Wall’, that is who we really are, not the bitterness and disgruntles that fill our news today, Come on America, stand up, be your best, forget living off of others and put yourself into a position to see the dream, the dream that those 58,307 young men had in their eyes, see it reflected in that black ‘Wall’, that is who we are.

Ivan

Published in: on April 14, 2016 at 10:59 pm  Comments (2)  

Words

Words

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.  Proverbs 25:11

Who said words were not important? They can be life changing, both for good and for bad.

I still remember the words spoken by a teacher when I was in the ninth grade about the space between my front teeth. Though spoken in jest, I am sure, those words have lived in my nightmares and thoughts for more than sixty five years and they still hurt. Here is another side of the coin.

I had been on the job in the Navy lab at Parris Island less than a week when I caught a denture in a wheel and shattered it beyond repair.

I was frozen with fear, if you know me you understand how true this was. Chief Jenkins walked over, asked what the problem was and I showed him the broken denture that was scheduled to be place in a person’s month that day. He simply asked, “Were you working on it?” I replied that I was and then he said the forgiving words aptly spoken, golden and silver, “Don’t worry about it, start over, as long as you are working you can make mistakes.  Only the person who does nothing goes without making a mistake and that is the greatest mistake.”

That was 1959 and I still remember the moment. I have used it a thousand times with those in my life that have made mistakes and hope it was as golden to them as it was to me.

Published in: on April 12, 2016 at 10:29 pm  Leave a Comment