Your Name

Have you ever been on the bottom of the pile and then someone very special noticed you? You were a nobody and then someone important called your name, believed in you, gave you a chance, let you start over.

Mary had, and when Jesus called her name it was like darkness had turned to light, the sand became water, and despair became hope. I suppose some of you have really never know what it was to be last; but someone reading this has and they understand Mary’s heart when Jesus called her name.

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Published in: on March 31, 2017 at 9:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Dark Day

Then one of the Twelve – the one called Judas Iscariot – went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Jesus over to you?” Matthew 26:14 “Dark Day” https://ivanstories.wordpress.com/

A Dark Day

What a dark moment in history. By; the way have you noticed that history is His Story?

Back to the darkness of the hour when a man decides he had rather have money than friendship and just maybe eternal life in glory. I doubt that Judas was certain of all of this but he was certain and is responsible for the decision to choose the things of this life rather than choose Jesus.

He did it for thirty pieces of silver. I wonder do we ever sell Jesus out. Like, not wanting others to know how much we depend on Him, How faithful we know we should be, how certain we are that He is the only hope. How much He loves us. How He is the only hope.

Instead let’s just make it through the day; we will make those heavy decisions when we know our time has run out.

Published in: on March 28, 2017 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Dreamer

A Dreamer

I have always been a dreamer, I was born that way, and my father was a dreamer. He had a workshop in our back yard where he made some wonderful furniture and other things. Sometimes I think he spent more time dreaming about the projects than he did working on them.

Dad always dreamed of building a house boat, he had the plans, many of the items he would need but he never started on the boat.

Dad made tables in the Second World War and sold them to a local furniture store. He worked a couple of pastor students on the project and I think any money he made he gave to them so that they could stay in college.

Out of the five churches I pastored he made tables for all of the class rooms. With a trick he had in making the legs their height could be changed to fit the age and size of the children.

Toward the end of his life he stopped talking about the houseboat. I asked him one day about the boat and he said in a very low tone, ‘I don’t think I will need a boat.’

One day he stopped dreaming; it was only a short while after that, that he joined mother in glory.  I think when you stop dreaming your desire to live slips away and life soon leaves.

I wish you had dreamed a bit longer Dad; I need a cover for my patio so that I can sit and dream.

Ivan

Published in: on March 27, 2017 at 10:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Looking in the Mirror

Betty had made a lot of bad choices in high school and college, her first and maybe biggest mistake was attending school in the same small town where she grew up and went to college.

She had made a really bad reputation for herself in high school and it had followed her into college, her job, church, and circle of friends. By the time she had reached 24 there was no guy with a decent reputation who would date her or even be seen with her. To get too close to her was to get the stains of all the wrongs that no one wanted.

She moved to a large city and got lost in the crowds of faceless people. She did alright with her job but she just repeated a lot of the mistakes of the past and after several years she stood one day and looked at her reflection in a store window.

It wasn’t any better than her home and here she had no real friends and people who cared for her.

Betty returned home lived a different life, made new friends, threw away old habits and in time she could look in the mirror and realize it was not those around her that made the difference it was the one who lived in her that really mattered.

 

 

Published in: on March 26, 2017 at 9:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Two Charlie’s

Paul had a number of friends that he knew were salt of the earth and faithful to the end, here he speaks of one, Epaphras.

I have known two Charlies in my life; the first Charlie Hickman, a man of noble character and a great servant of Christ. He was a rock to the Green River Baptist Church, a servant who will long be remembered. He went home to glory too soon.

The second Charlie I met in 1994 when I arrived at the children’s home. Charlie King loved the children and had established the golf tournament that would provide them with a refurbished swimming pool, activity and educational funds in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Dr. Stow introduced Charlie to Jesus while he was ministering to the children. Charlie was a faithful servant and a real advocate of the children; he was a man worthy of our love.  Charlie lost the battle with cancer and he too is now in the comfort of our Lord.

So now you too know two Charlies who live in glory and praise God for you.

Ivan

Published in: on March 22, 2017 at 9:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Can It All Be Lost?

Can it All Be Lost?

We live in such prosperous times, in such wonderful times that it is almost impossible for us to believe that we could ever be held accountable for our blessings. No wonder Jeremiah was the weeping prophet, his people were about to lose it all and they didn’t have the foggiest.

You realize that we have been so greatly blessed, could it be that in our blessings we have forgotten the one who made it all possible. Could we lose our blessings?

‘Father help me and help our nation to see our blessings and to be thankful in our thanksgiving living

 

Published in: on March 21, 2017 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Where Are The Fish

Where Are The Fish

Don’t you just love the guy standing on the dock when you are returning from an all-day fishing trip without any fish, who holds us a stringer of fish so heavy he has to get a friend to help him display it to all of those who have come to admire the days catch by the fishermen?

That is the way it seems to always happen to me. I come back with only one fish on the stringer and that one is smaller than some folks bait.  I would not have kept it except my dad always said it was bad luck not to keep the first fish you caught if it was legal.

There I am with my minnow and the dock is full of people taking pictures of the arriving super fisherman with his two man stringer filled to capacity. I really want to just pull away and come back another day but time will not permit so I make a hundred excuses for my baby catch and then listen as all the people ask the successful fisher where he caught them all. I hear him say out on the lake near where that guy was fishing; pointing to me to be sure that everyone knew I could not fish, all in the same spot.  Of course he is not giving longitude or latitude, that is a secret he will keep for his next trip but he is certain he could hear my radio from where he was fishing and just knew that I too was catching the mother lode.

Yep you just want to sit down and have a great meal with that fellow, maybe spill your spaghetti all over him as you get up from the table to use the facility to hurdle all that you can take of the bragging.

The disciples were having one of those nights. They, professional fisherman, had fished all night, the nets were empty, their bodies were tired, and they were ready to slip into port hopefully unnoticed. Then this guy who never fishes, called to them from the shore and said, “Try the other side”.  Some nerve he had, telling professionals how and where to fish.  ‘Tried that’ they shouted back, no need trying to keep their empty boat a secret any longer since he had pointed out to all on the lake that they had caught nothing.

But he was a friend, they liked him, wouldn’t hurt his fillings for anything, so why not, one more cast wouldn’t kill them though it would be a close call, so they obeyed and out goes the net one more time.

WOW! Were they surprised? Their net was so full that they thought it would break.  They called to all the other fishermen in the area to come and help them and they all filled their boats.  What a fishing trip, greatest catch of their careers and all because of a friend who had never fished. Why people would be talking about that catch for weeks, in fact, two thousand years later people are still talking about it.

What’s the lesson? When you go fishing ask Jesus where to fish? I don’t think that is the central point although I have asked Him to let me catch a fish. Not sure that’s the central prayer of His daily devotion, not really sure how much weight that one carries.

Maybe the point is to do what the disciples did, Obey Him. Now that’s the catcher, discovering what Jesus is doing and how He wants you to be involved in His work.

Why not try what the disciple did? Listen to Jesus, discover His will, and do it.

Maybe you don’t know where to start; you don’t even know where the boat is let alone the fish. I promise you there is someone in your area who has met problems just like yours and discovered the location of the answer. You will have a better chance of finding that person in a local church where people just like you gather weekly to seek God’s direction for their lives. If you have trouble finding a place like that email me at inraley@yahoo.com , I am sure I can help you catch far more than fish.

Published in: on March 21, 2017 at 12:02 am  Leave a Comment  

From a Friend

From a Reader

Oh brother, the beginning of this story brought back some sad, sad memories of my younger years – my dad drank – just like the one in the story – and I experienced some of those same humiliating scenes but some of them actually did not start with my dad but my mom, who would egg him on. They were both very, very messed up people.   She had us hating my dad and tried to be the one we loved the most.  After a while we grew up and got smart enough to see what was really going on and by that time my dad was in the hospital dying with cancer.

But God was so wonderful AGAIN by giving me one last chance to mend all of the hurt in my heart (and his) by letting my dad live long enough for that to happen. My last visit with him with my two sons was like a miracle. For the first time in my memory my dad asked me to come over to him and gave me a kiss and told me he loved me — he never, in my memory did that before!  And then instructed my sons to always remember what a good mother they had and to always know that.  I never saw him again.

Years later my mom, who never changed but kept a lot of her old, sick ways still alive, was super sick in a nursing home. On my last visit with her, I told her I loved her and hated what she was going through and said my last goodbye.  I now can’t wait for the day when I can see my dad again and hug him and kiss him and do all the things we never had a chance to do before and hopefully, when and if I see my mom again – I am pretty sure I will — I will give her a hug and a kiss and tell her I love her and forget all of the past

Heaven is going to be such a wonderful place – and we go through so much that so many people do not know while here and the ones that I tell these things to are aware that this happens to more than I could ever imagine. But with God’s help, we get through, don’t we?  And Heaven is going to wipe away all of the bad memories and give us a chance at unfailing love all thanks to our loving Heavenly Father.  How blessed are we!

(Now and then I receive a note that is too wonderful not to share, such is this.}

Published in: on March 19, 2017 at 9:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Enemy

On April 7, 1945 Ensign Jack Fuller and his air crewman, Charles Williams, Jr had put on the full armor that their plane launched from the USS Bennington, could carry.  They assisted in the sinking of Japan ’s largest battleship the “Yamoto” and while doing so were shot down by AA fire from the Yamoto. They had an enemy and they gave their very lives in helping to defeat that enemy.

God’s Word warns us of our enemy, the devil, and urges us to prepare for the battle he launches against us.
We can believe in an enemy like we face now in terror attacks and have faced in our past from warring countries.  But few of us are prepared for the daily battle with Satan, How strange, how tragic.

Ivan

Published in: on March 15, 2017 at 10:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

His Gift

All the time I had known them he had been bound to his bed by sickness. In those seven years I never visited his room that his loving wife was not near by providing for all of his needs. She was worn and broken in body for those years but her heart was still devoted to him. The years had passed her by, her needs unmet, her dreams long forgotten.  I often wondered how she loved him so much, how she was able to give so much. Then as I left their home one afternoon the sun cast the shadow of a nearby telephone pole across their yard that looked like a great giant cross.  Now I understood, she remembered what Jesus had done for her and she loved her husband in Jesus. I walked through that shadow and remember the debt Christ had paid for me and wept as I drove home.

Published in: on March 14, 2017 at 10:33 pm  Leave a Comment