It Be OK

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:2

While Tom was nearer my father’s age than mine in many ways he related to me as any other twelve year old boy would have. He liked the things I liked, cowboy and Indian movies, baseball, and talked about all the things which most of my friends talked about.

He worked for my dad and came each week to pick up our trash and at other time to work in the yard and to in general help my dad. All of those years he had been a good friend to my father as well as to me.

They told me that Tom only had a few days left so I left the office early and went by his hospital room. He was alone, in a lot of pain, but seemed happy to see me and have a moment of old time memory. Tom loved the old western movies that we had both watched when I was a boy. So we talked a lot about Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Johnny Mac Brown, and many others.  We talked about how little things cost back then and how much fun we had without the help of a phone, computer, and even a TV.

I told Tom that I understood that he was very sick and just wanted him to know that I would be praying for him and also if he had any decisions or thoughts he wanted to share now would be the perfect time. Tom turned toward me and with eyes dim with sight said, “Mr. Sonny it sure has been good to work all these years for Mr. Ivan, I hate to think what my life would have been like if I had not been able to work for him. He be a real good man, Sonny, and watching you grow up and become a preacher boy has been real good, I been keeping an eye on you and I am sure glad we had all those chats long ago. But now the time be done come that I got other things to do just like you got other places to be. Sonny, I be fixed my eyes of Jesus a long time ago. All that like those old moves be ok. They always ended with the good guy winning and so I know my movie be alright, the ending will be good.”

I prayed, left, cried a bit for an old friend and on reaching my car said, “Thank You Lord

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Published in: on October 31, 2016 at 10:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Visit Your Garden

Visit Your Garden

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience e, 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.  Today as we open a new work week, how about going into our garden of life and see how many of the fruits of the Spirit we have to harvest this week.

Look at your wonderful gifts and choose some of them to bless others with as you move through the week.

Our country is weary of all the election news, why don’t we as Christians share our gifts and offer something better than what we are pelted with all day long. Share a smile, a prayer, a joy, give a thank you and let others see Jesus in you.

I hope it will be as tasty as my grandmother’s garden.

Ivan

Published in: on October 30, 2016 at 8:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Good Day

A Good Day

I attended, as many in our community did, a special presentation in our high school gym yesterday; we listened as a real hero spoke to our student body and shared with them a few of the events of February 23, 1945.

At 5 feet 6 inches tall, Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, was first turned down for service in the Marine Corps but trying again and again he was accepted and, on February 23, 1945 found himself on the front line of the battle of Iwo Jima.

Of the 279 men in his unit 262 had been killed or put out of actions by wombs too severe to let them serve. By his own bravery and through many unguarded returns to the supply line he took seven Japanese pill boxes out of commission allowing the tanks and marines to advance.

You should look up his name and the deeds for which he received the Medal of Honor. He is the last living Marine who received the medal in that battle of ash, rocks, blood and death. He is what this nation is made of.

I stood with great pride as our staff and student body gave him their full attention not knowing who made all of the arrangements for the event I just thanked our Lord for the schools we have in Picket County.

I will put us up against any others for we have real leadership and a sincere devotion to duty by all of our teachers and staff.

I think Tom, at Sunset Marina, had something to do with all the plans so my hat is also off to him and his duty as a concerned citizen. Folks complain if you like but we have a great community.

Ivan

Published in: on October 27, 2016 at 10:43 pm  Comments (2)  

Memorial

Vietnam Memorial – A Good Man

The nine pm darkness of D.C. could not hide the eternal darkness of the Vietnam Memorial with its more than 50,000 names inscribed in its black granite. Somehow the unlit V shaped memorial poked its sobering majesty through the darkness and into my heart. I had asked the park ranger, Victor Pillar, to look up two names for me to locate, one my nephew Sgt. Danny R. Ayers killed September 14, 1968 at the age of 21 and the other, SP4 James Thomas Davis from Livingston Tennessee, killed December 22, 1961 becoming the first combat casualty of the Vietnam War, at the age of 24.

He quickly found both of them and then told me that Davis was on the top of the highest plate on the memorial and I would need a ladder to reach it and make a marker of the inscription. I thanked him for his concern and said that I would return in the morning.

I walked down the dark path and stood gazing at the darkness of all those men killed in the name of their Nation. While I have visited this sobering place before it was always in the day time and it seemed to me that the darkness pushed the sadness of this honored ground deep into my soul. I stood there looking into the dark at all of those men who gave their lives for our country and until this memorial was built it seemed to me that no one noticed and no one cared.

My eyes filled with tears as I thought of all of the families who had holes in their hearts because of their lost. Then suddenly I saw Victor Pillar, ladder in hand and a flashlight in the other looking for me, placing the ladder by the correct plate, he climbed to the name and holding the light in his mouth made a marker of the inscribed name. Almost in tears I told him I did not know how to properly pay him only to hear him say, Sir these men paid me a long time ago, it was my privilege to do this for them and for you.

There may be a lot wrong in Washington, but there is also Victor Pillar, and he is proof that there is good in our Nation’s Capital.

Published in: on October 26, 2016 at 11:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Spot

Charlie had never express any emotion toward his mother, he spoke very little, did not want to be touched, and spent his life somewhere deep inside himself. Betty, his mother took him to school each day but she wondered if it was only adding a burden to the teacher MS Rachel. MS Rachel greeted him each day like he was the only person in her class but even with all the love which she could give Charlie lived somewhere in his own word.

About two months into the school year she decided to bring the small fuzzy puppy she had rescued from the dog pound to class. Spot, as she called him because of the large black spot on his head surrounded by and otherwise white body took immediately to Charlie. He raced across the room to where Charlie kept his word blocked from the others, but Charlie would have nothing to do with Spot. Spot would bark at him try to climb into his lap, but nothing doing for Charlie. The days turned to three weeks with Spot running each day to Charlie being rejected but staying close all the same and watching him like he was the only kid in the room. One day when Spot jumped into his lap, instead of the usual rejection, Charlie touched him, and then held him. The days became weeks and the two grew a bond that was a wonder to both his mother and teacher.

One night as Betty put Charlie to bed and made her always rejected attempt to hug and kiss him good night he just stared at her and turned toward the wall as was his normal reaction. Just as she went to close the door she heard her son say, Mommy, hug and kiss, she rushed back to the bed and found him receptive to her good night hug and kiss for the first time in his life.

As she reached for the phone to call and tell Ms. Rachel, she realized that it was too late but let the phone ring just the same. They both wept and praised God for a tiny crack in the wall of silence.

The next day Spot came to live with Charlie and the world began to be brighter, hope was there and maybe just maybe there was a brighter future for all of them.

Ivan

Published in: on October 25, 2016 at 11:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

It Was A Shack

It was a Shack

About a dozen of us had gathered to watch the home burn, we had called the fire department but we were so far out and too far from a source of water for it to do any good so we just stood there and watch the chicken coop of a house vanish in the flames.

I told the men standing there that I would go into town and get the couple who lived in the house, it was Saturday and I was sure they were in town doing a little shopping. Someone asked if I was going to put them in my car, I turned; I am sure with a frown on my face and said sure, why not. Another man called out they are so dirty and besides this wasn’t a fit place for anyone to live.

I said, but it was their place, to them it was home, remember how you felt last winter when your garage burned John, I said as I reached my car, wasn’t much of a building but it was yours. They got real quiet and watched as I drove away.

I found the couple; they fell onto me and wept like small children when I told them about the house. I held them then got them to my car as I was coming around to get in the driver’s seat the mayor stopped me and told me to bring them to an empty house the city had, he would take care of the paper work; the owner of the furniture store said he would take something out for them to have, another merchant said he had some clothes, he would bring them over, the grocery store owner said he would add to their buggy and bring the food over.

The community responded and the last was better than the first. Later the editor wrote a story about it and said the unnamed preacher had paid for it all when the town saw him hug the couple and let them fall in tears on him. That wasn’t so it happened because people saw others hurting and felt the hurt and tears and sorrow.

Ivan

 

Published in: on October 24, 2016 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

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 folk 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 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.

Come by our church on October 31 and share in a great time of Trunk or Treat.

Published in: on October 23, 2016 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Need Any Help

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 nowhere 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 October 18, 2016 at 10:32 pm  Comments (4)  

We Need

We Need

Our nation needs a revival, but revival does not come so much to institutions as it does to people. In fact if you will study the great revivals of time you will note that the change in nations and institutions begins with the people who are part of the institution.

When we speak of great national revivals we are not talking about change in buildings and institutions but about changes in the hearts of those who direct them.

When Israel was at its lowest and needed a revival God sent an eight year old boy to be the king, it took him a number of years to discover his roll and the need of his nation but when he found it he led the nation in a complete turnaround.

Anyone with any insight knows that America needs a revival, that revival must come through you and me as we turn our lives over to our creator and Lord. Where will you be this Lord’s Day, complaining about something or helping to solve something.

Ivan

 

Published in: on October 13, 2016 at 9:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

A New Ministry

A New Ministry

She called to tell me that she came out of a store in Cookeville and saw a man standing with a sign which read, “Will work for food.” , as she passed him she said she just could not hold it in and said, “Why don’t you get a job and go to work?” “His response was immediate, ‘show me where one is and I will go to work.”

She told him she had some yard work, maybe a couple of hours’ worth and asked him what he would charge. He said how about supper, she asked what kind of supper and he said a burger and fries. She told him to hop in the back seat and she would throw in a large coke.

The long story made short, he did a great job and was still doing work in the community for families she had called and told that she had found a real worker, she priced his work at ten dollars an hour and a meal thrown in.

She went on to tell me that he went to church with her family on Sunday and had another week of work lined up, new clothes were coming, meals were always great and the mission where he slept was finding him a room where he could live.

She was weeping as she told me that she had always thought that people like him were just begging; not wanting to work, but God had opened a door for a new ministry for her and her church. See God is good.

Ivan

Published in: on October 12, 2016 at 9:33 pm  Comments (2)