Total Trust?

Recently I was asked a very interesting question and one that probably all of us have asked ourselves at some point along the way in our walk with Christ. It is really a simple question that should demand a simple answer but as I considered it I realized that one must be very careful as to how they answer. Especially if we are honest with ourselves. The question was this: “Do you totally trust the Lord in all things and with all things?” Now keep in mind that the question was asked with the assumption that I had at some point in my life come to an understanding that I was a sinner in need of a Savior, repented and put my faith and trust in Him. So the question was not one of concern about my relationship with the Lord but was directed at someone who is already a true believer and follower of Christ.

I must admit that when the question was posed to me, my first thought was simply “Well of course I do!” and I was just about to voice it. But before I could say anything I realized that was not true and that I was full of self-righteousness to even think that. Yes, I have certainly put my faith and trust in Him and that brought about a change in my life. And yes, I look to what He did at the cross and the price He paid for my sin. And yes, my desire is to follow Him and I attempt to do just that. But in all reality I can’t say that I totally trust Him in all things and with all thins. So, if had voiced my first thoughts, they would have been full of pride.

The truth is that there are so many times that I think I can handle the situation on my own and I can fix the problem. I don’t even consider His involvement in any way and go about doing it my own way. Sometimes, He allows me to be successful in my effort and the result is a deeper sense of pride. But I really believe He is just setting me up for some future failure in order to teach me or remind me to trust Him. So, as I thought more about the question I carefully chose my words before I responded. “I’m not quite there” I said “and I don’t think I can ever get there.” What I meant with those words was this. Like Paul, the battle between my flesh and the Spirit is a daily thing and will probably be that way until He calls me home. That, of course, is not an excuse to give up and let my flesh rule but my desire should be to trust Him more and my efforts should match that desire. This is called spiritual growth and I’m not close to maturity yet. I need to be constantly reminded of this truth: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 

And that folks, is the rest of the story. Good day.



New Beginnings; Committed Ends

Graduation is one of the major milestones of our lives and generally sets the course for the path we will take for our future. When we first start to school we don’t really comprehend the journey we are beginning. However, as the years pass by, we slowly begin to recognize the fact that at some point we will be on our own and thus we begin to look forward to that day. It seems to become a permanent thought in our minds that graduation day is when our lives really begin. Therefore our focus starts to sharpen for most of us as we look forward to that day.

This week just about everyone I know has been involved in some kind of graduation event with either their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and in some cases even their spouses. As I’ve already mentioned, many young people will begin a new phase in their life and I would venture to guess that most of them are very excited about that. Maybe a little scared but still excited. Young men and women all over this country will begin to make choices that will affect them for the rest of their lives. It is truly an exciting time for them and a new beginning into what they hope to be a successful life. So our hats are off to all of them for their achievements and our sincere wishes for their prosperous futures.

On the other hand, we also need to recognize those whose lives have prematurely ended due to the ravages of war. Memorial Day, which we will officially observe on Monday, is a time that has been set aside to remember and honor those who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy in our great nation. The vast majority of those men and women were probably just beginning a new life when they found themselves in the midst of something much greater than themselves. While many young folks at home  were celebrating their new beginning these heroes were about to come to a premature end to their lives. I’m reminded of what Jesus told His disciples just before He was to be crucified. “No greater love than this that a man would lay down His life for another.” So many of our young men and women have done just that so our hats are also off to all of them in honor of their great sacrifice.

I would be remiss with all of this if I didn’t remind each of us of the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made. He paid the price for our sin by giving Himself on the cross. And my friends, He did it willingly because of His great love for us. When he voiced those words to His disciples He was surely referring to Himself and the task at hand. And in the words of an old great gospel song, “Oh praise the Lord, He did it all for me!” 


What Did You Eat Today?

Tonight’s post is being compiled immediately upon arriving home from the local Olive Garden Restaurant where I enjoyed one of my favorite meals. Weather permitting, on Saturdays after our morning bible study, I spend all of my time outside doing the things that need to be done to maintain our house and somewhat of a decent yard. I purposely don’t have anything to eat during the day because I plan on having a large meal at dinner. So after a hard days work, my wife and I head to one of several restaurants we enjoy and have dinner. That’s when I pig out and tonight was no exception. Three bowls of Olive Garden’s famous house salad with their fabulous italian dressing and the dinner portion of their spaghetti with traditional meat sauce heat the spot. I just couldn’t get enough. However, I was a little more moderate when it came to the bread sticks. I only had half of one. Well, to tell you the truth, somehow they got behind my salad bowl and I couldn’t see them. But I was too full to enjoy them when the view changed. So, needless to say, I am stuffed!!!

Actually, I had intended to have a different subject tonight but the minute I started to type I had a very provocative thought enter my mind. I’m not one to over spiritualize things but I truly believe it was the Holy Spirit getting my attention again. Here is the thought I had in the form of a question. Why am I not stuffed with spiritual food from God’s Word? Why is my spiritual hunger not greater than my physical hunger? It hit me like a ton of bricks. And to be honest, I had to stop what I was doing, take a short walk around the yard and admit to God I wasn’t as hungry for His Word as I should be and ask Him to forgive me. I read God’s Word on a regular basis, I am taught God’s Word on a regular basis, I hear God’s Word preached on a regular basis and I even teach God’s Word on a regular basis. But even with all of that I find my focus drifting from what I’ve read or heard because I am not as spiritually hungry as I ought to be. God help me.

I had a wonderful meal at the restaurant but it was not the kind of food I needed for spiritual growth. So, what did you eat today? Thank you Lord for the stark reminder. 

Mother’s Day

Have you ever wondered how the holiday we celebrate as Mother’s Day got started? Is it a religious holiday based on some Biblical truth or is it just something invented by greeting card company’s to increase sales? Before we try to answer those questions we must all realize this very important fact. Every person that has ever been born had a mother, including Jesus Himself. With that said let’s take a look at a very short version of the history of the holiday as provided by Wikipedia in the following paragraphs.

The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. St Andrew’s Methodist Church now holds the International Mother’s Day Shrine. Her campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.

In 1908, the U.S. Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother’s Day an official holiday, joking that they would also have to proclaim a “Mother-in-law’s Day”. However, owing to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all U.S. states observed the holiday, with some of them officially recognizing Mother’s Day as a local holiday (the first being West Virginia, Jarvis’ home state, in 1910). In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.

Although Jarvis was successful in founding Mother’s Day, she became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother’s Day, and that the emphasis of the holiday was on sentiment, not profit. As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother’s Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved. Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. Jarvis protested at a candy makers’ convention in Philadelphia in 1923, and at a meeting of American War Mothers in 1925. By this time, carnations had become associated with Mother’s Day, and the selling of carnations by the American War Mothers to raise money angered Jarvis, who was arrested for disturbing the peace.

For a more detailed history of the Mother’s Day holiday the link at the end of the post will take you to a great article that goes all the way back to the eighteen hundreds where mother’s were beginning to be honored even then. 

Now that we have somewhat of an idea how Mother’s Day begin and why, I want to challenge each of us to think about what impact our mother’s may have had on our lives. And, in the case of those whose mothers remain with us, what impact they are still having on their children. So, as you are thinking about yours, let me tell you about mine.

My mother was a wonderful woman and a great mother. I can never remember a time as a child or teenager when I didn’t feel loved. I never felt unwanted, just the opposite. I always loved the fact that she was there waiting when I came home from school and most of the time supper was ready or very close to it. We ate at the table as a family. No eating on the couch and watching TV because we didn’t have one. She was at every activity I was involved in and it was the same for all of my siblings. She supported everything we did and always thought we were the best one. Although as a young woman she encountered a number of health issues that would have stopped most people dead in their tracks, but not her. She showed great courage during those times that would serve her well down the road. I am describing these things that were important to me in some detail because they laid a foundation for how we as kids would handle the family tragedy that would come our way a short time later.

As a young man of 37 years my dad died from injuries he suffered when an automobile fell on him as he was working underneath it. My mother was left with three young teenagers still at home and one recently married and with a child of her own. Because my mother had always been a stay-at home mom, she didn’t know anything about working outside the home or even how to go about getting a job. This sent her into a tail spin that lasted a few years but because of her courage she finally overcame the terrible situation she found herself in. She worked hard and eventually became a proud and self-supporting individual. And she was able to do so until she reached an age that she could no longer physically function like she needed to but still managed to live by herself and take care of herself. Even though her last days on earth were quite painful due to health problems her mind remained very alert. Her courage up to her last breath remains quite an example for me and I pray that my children and grandchildren will be able to say the same thing about me someday.

My mother was a loving and caring mother, full of life and full of courage. I thank God for her life and the impact she had on mine. Thank you Lord for sharing her with me and I know she and my dad are in your presence praising you like they did so many times when they were here. I also believe You and they are waiting for us to come home.

I sincerely hope you have wonderful memories of your mother and that her impact on your life has helped bring you to where you are today.

**Link for article Mother’s Day Celebrated

Family Priorities

Sometimes as we go about our daily lives God allows certain things to happen that He wants to use to teach us or to remind us of an important truth. Most of the time in the midst of these events we have no idea of what He is up to. We usually don’t realize until some time later how He has orchestrated these things and the benefit we have received. This has happened to me this past week and I want to share the one truth that He has so well reminded me of. And that truth is this. Once we have settled the fact that God is to have first place in our lives, our family must be next in line and come before anything else.

This is such a simple truth but is not universally accepted by everyone. And it is quite often violated by those of us that do accept it. But let’s take a look at where and when this truth was established and bring back to our remembrance the significance and importance of the truth. After God completed His creation of the earth as we know it, He then made Adam from the dust of the earth and saw that what He had done was good. But He also recognized that man needed a helpmate so He made Eve from Adam’s rib. He then created the institution of marriage by His words when He said that the woman is to leave her parents and cleave to her husband and they are to become one. This was the beginning of the family and God created and instituted it.

Now that we have determined the origin and the importance of the family let’s take a closer look at some of the many ways that we put our families in jeopardy by getting our priorities out of order. Let’s considered how many men approach this issue. You can find story after story and example after example of men placing a higher priority on their job or career than they do their family. How about the man who consistently spends more time in his fishing boat, his deer stand, or on the golf course than he does with his wife or his children? And how about the man who sleeps in on Sunday mornings while his wife and children make their way to church? Sound familiar? I’m even aware of numerous pastors and preachers that have placed the needs of their church ahead of the needs of their family. This sounds so spiritual but it is as wrong as wrong can be. As a matter of fact it is downright hypocritical. The family was instituted long before the church was and the church was actually modeled after the family. Is it any wonder that our country is in the shape it is in when our families are falling apart because men have their priorities out of order? Women can sometimes put their children before their husband which can also lead to problems but men are to be the spiritual leaders of their home and that is where the burden falls.

If we truly want to please God then we must show our love for Him but keeping His commandments and this certainly includes maintaining the high priority concerning our family. God first, then family. And all else follows that. Nothing on this earth is more important than our family and we must make sure that our priorities reflect that. And that is what God expects from us as men. Let’s not let Him down or our family.


Free Indeed!

Let me begin this week’s post by apologizing for not getting it out last night. It has been a hectic weekend and yesterday was full of events. I am taking care of three grandsons this weekend while my wife and daughter is at the Women of Joy Conference in Pigeon Forge. In addition, the boy’s dad is in Oklahoma City attending a work related training school. Yesterday started with our weekly Saturday morning bible study, then back home to fix breakfast for the boys, then off to a birthday party for another one and then to McDonald’s, of course for a late lunch. To top it off our group had a singing event in Lexington last night so I had to leave the boys under the supervision of Chad whose wife (my daughter) is also in Pigeon Forge at the conference. The event was a fundraiser that involved two other groups and by the time I got back, picked up the boys, got something to eat and then got home it was quite late. And boy was I beat! I just could not stay awake long enough to get the post done. I realize that one excuse is no better than another but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

On Friday afternoon I had to take care of some business in Florence and eventually the boys and I ended up at Sam’s to replenish our candy stock. I keep a supply of candy at our house to give the grandkids when they come. I work hard at sending them home all wired up so their parents can have the same wonderful experiences that Becky and I had while we were raising them. What goes around comes around!

When we arrived at Wal Mart I noticed that the local veterans had tables set up at the doors requesting donations and I was again reminded of the great price that has been paid for the freedom we have in this country. So many gave the ultimate sacrifice but we have no real way to thank them because they are with us no more. So I make every effort to acknowledge veterans when I see them and shake their hand, thank them for their service, and let them know that I pray for them on a regular basis. For any of you reading this post that have served in our military, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Freedom only comes by way of sacrifice and in our country, even with its problems, we are truly free indeed.

But we can’t stop there. We must remember that here was another who made the ultimate sacrifice. If you are like me, there was a time we were bound by the chains of sin. Prisoners of war in the battle between good and evil with no hope of rescue. we certainly could not free ourselves and our future looked bleak. But God had a battle plan. His plan required a perfect sacrifice and there was only One who could fulfill the demands of the task. His name is Jesus, what a wonderful name! By His death on the cross the price was completely paid for our release. He met God’s requirements of righteousness for us and therefore the door of our prison was opened. We could walk through that door to freedom. For those of us who have chosen to walk through that door, we are free indeed! Even more than our veterans, we should thank Him continuously for the price He paid for our freedom. And we can do so because He’s alive and well, seated at the right hand of the Father, ever interceding on our behalf. Oh what a Savior!    

Love Is More Than Words

It has been a great week! It’s been quite some time since it seemed like my whole week was divinely designed to teach me something or remind me of something that God felt like I needed. But this week has been one. As I reflected back on the week this evening it sure became obvious that He was intent on doing a work in my heart. And it didn’t take long for me to realize it.

It all started early in the week when I was listening to the radio and one of my favorite songs came on. The song “The Love Of God” has been very special to me for a long time. The words of the song so aptly describe the enormity and vastness of God’s love and in such a way that no other words have ever been penned to match them. And those of us who have experienced that love certainly understand how true those words are. And to be honest, I don’t think anyone could pen words like that without experiencing that love. However, the problem is that I have heard that song so many times I had become almost deaf to the words. So God, in His mercy, got my attention again by reminding me in His way of what He did for me. There’s no doubt it took that kind of love for Him to give His only Son as the sacrifice needed for us to be reconciled to Him. Such an amazing love! Lesson 1 and that was just the beginning.

Later in the week I had a conversation with one of my work associates, actually my boss, about our wives and how much they mean to us. Both of us have been married for many years and we have come to realize how much we love them. We discussed how there are no real words to describe how we feel about them or any actions that we could perform that could possibly explain how we feel. And as the conversation progressed I began to think about that same relationship between Christ Jesus and His bride, the Church. The difference is that He demonstrated His love for His bride by giving His very life for Her. And that, ,my friend, is real love. So God, in His grace, again reminded me of how much He loves me. Lesson 2 but He’s not finished.

This very morning, during our Saturday Bible study, we had finally come to the last half of John chapter 13. This is the passage where Jesus explains to His disciples that one of them is about to betray Him. He then bids Judas to go quickly and do what he is to do. After Judas leaves Jesus goes back to teaching His disciples how to act when He is gone. He had just minutes before washed the disciple’s feet and demonstrated His love for them by performing that menial task. As he reminds them of this He makes a profound statement that is in the form of a command. He states that He is giving them a new and additional commandment and that is to love one another just like He loved them. In so doing the world would know that they were His disciples. And here came Lesson 3. God, in His love, reminded me that true love is not words, not feelings, not attitude but is action. Every time he talked about love it was in the context of demonstrating it. And in every encounter He had with someone else He demonstrated His love for them by His actions. He did the same for me, and for you and for every person ever to be born; past, present, and future. To God be the glory and honor for ever and ever!

So, I’ve been reminded this week that love is more than words but real love is always shown through my actions. I pray that these lessons will stick with me for a long time and that I stay ready to act in such a way that the world knows I am one of His own.  

Troublesome Times Are Here

There was a gospel song composed in 1942, right in the middle of World War II, by Mr. R.E. Winsett that has been recorded by gospel singers, southern gospel quartets and many other singing groups over the last 50-60 years. It was originally recorded by the Sheltons in the 1960’s and was almost immediately followed suit by just about every gospel group during that time. The words to the song, especially the first verse, were applicable then and are still true in todays’ time. Maybe even more. You will certainly recognize the song as you read the following words of that first verse:

Troublesome times are here, filling men’s hearts with fear
Freedom we all hold dear now is at stake
Humbling your hearts to God saves from the chastening rod
Seek the way pilgrims trod, Christians awake

The song of course is titled “Jesus Is Coming Soon” and I’m sure most of you have heard it many times. But what I want to consider this evening is that first verse and especially the first four words.

I think we can all surely agree that, indeed, troublesome times are here. I realize past generations have also believed the same thing. However, if we take a close look at  history it will show that the troubled times during those days do not really compare to what we see today. There has always been the same type of sin and perversion that goes on today but not to the degree and certainly not with the complacency and hardness of heart that is prevalent today. These things have become so accepted in our society that even the church has a tendency to overlook them and to convince themselves that it is not all that bad. So let’s just take a look at a few examples of what I am talking about.

The first institution that God created was marriage between one man and one woman for life. As stated, this implies there are numerous violations of this arrangement today. One is that is has become acceptable to engage in divorce for any reason or no reason at all. It is acceptable to just live together and engage in sex without marriage or even outside of marriage. Some people even believe that God ordains polygamy marriage. this is just the beginning of the list of perversions of the institute of Marriage.

The world wants us to accept that sex between two people of the same gender is normal if they say it is. They want us to believe that same-sex marriage is a right and that it should be a protected by our laws. The fact is, God says that homosexuality is an abomination in His eyes and man will reap what he sows in his own body besides spending eternity in the bottomless pit and the flames of hell’s fire designed for the Devil and his angels. For me this is the ultimate perversion of sex and marriage.

What about the sanctity of human life? Mass murder of innocent unborn babies is committed every day at government-funded clinics. The majority of the abortions performed are for reasons of convenience not for medical reasons. What a horrible atrocity this is! Precious innocent children that God Himself carefully formed in their mother’s womb but were never allowed to see the light of day. Anger should swell up inside of each one of us and our voices should be heard much louder that they are. God help us!

I have mentioned only a few of those things that prove we are certainly in those very troublesome times. It seems that the world is spinning out of control like of have stated in some of my previous posts. But what do we expect? Satan is the temporary ruler of this earth and he is certainly bent on doing what he can to destroy and at the very least render God’s people helpless to do anything about the situation. And, in fact, we don’t have the power in ourselves to withstand the wiles of the Devil but the Holy Spirit does. What we have to do is let Him take control of our lives instead of letting our flesh be in control. I don’t know about you but I get very angry when I see what is going on and I want to be able to do something about it but in my own way. And what a mistake that is.

But let’s finish this on a positive note. The second verse of the song along with the chorus tells us what is eventually going to happen and who is ultimately in control. And that is what made the song so popular and what led it to be named the gospel song of the year in 1969. I might mention that the Oak Ridge Boys recorded it in 2005 on their album Common Thread and it immediately was a hit again. It has also been recorded as recently as 2010. As you read the following words to the second verse and the chorus I hope  you, like me, are reminded of what we have to look forward to.

Troubles will soon be o’er, happy forevermore
When we meet on that shore, free from all care
Rising up in the sky, telling this world goodbye
Homeward we then shall fly, glory to share.

Jesus is coming soon, morning or night or noon
Many will meet their doom, trumpets will sound
All of the dead shall rise, righteous meet in the skies
Going where no one dies, heavenward bound.

What a powerful song. Yes, troublesome times are here but, praise God, troubles will soon be o’er and Jesus is coming soon!!!









Music In The Mountains

Good evening everyone. Obviously I missed getting the post out on Saturday (yesterday) so I am trying to catch up with a post tonight. This one will be quite short because I plan to update you on why the post is late. I haven’t missed one in a very long time but to be honest with you I simply forgot to do it last night because I was preoccupied with something else.

Reassurance was in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee this weekend to sing in the morning service at Zion Grove Baptist Church. This is a small church up in the mountains and many of you know their pastor, Royce Bailey. Royce had asked us to come some time ago and we were finally able to make arrangements to do so. Saturday evening we met Royce at the church to check out the sound equipment and adjust volume levels for the service this morning. It took longer than expected and in addition to that we almost had church Saturday evening. We all were so excited about what God may do. By the time I got back to the hotel my mind was on what was coming up and I totally forgot the post.

This morning’s service was wonderful. It started with a baby dedication for one of the young couples there and it was a very sweet time. Immediately afterwards Reassurance began to sing and the folks were very receptive. They were truly worshipping and many hands were being raised in honor to the King of kings and Lord of lords. It was evident that the Holy Spirit was present and what a blessing we received as we worshipped with these people. Royce felt led to give an invitation as soon as we finished instead of presenting the sermon he had prepared. I believe God did a work in many hearts including mine. I was reminded again of how much He loves us and the sacrifice He made so that we could be reconciled with the Father. Praise His holy name!

I realized later in the afternoon as we made our way back to Alabama that I did not write the post. But I think you can now understand why.

I hope each of you also had a great day in the Lord today and that you were blessed in ways beyond measure. I know I was.


The Easter Promise

Good evening everyone. It has been a long day of travel for our family as we have finally made our way back home from spending a week in Orlando with Mickey and all of his friends. The traffic on the way down last week and coming back today was horrible. It’s as if someone left the gate open at the farm and all of the cows have gotten out. But I am very thankful that we all made it back home safe and have once again made many memories that will last for a lifetime. I am so very blessed. God has been so good to me.

I hope this post finds you well and excited about celebrating the resurrection of our Lord tomorrow. I know many folks will be attending sunrise services while others will be going to church dressed to kill. Many that show up tomorrow will not be back in church until Christmas, maybe. Sad but true. But as I have contemplated this week the fact that Jesus really did arise after three days, I have been nagged by a thought that I just can’t seem to shake.

Most of us are familiar with several passages of scripture where Jesus mentions His coming death, burial and resurrection. In Mark chapter 10 and Luke chapter 18 Jesus is talking with His disciples about these upcoming events but He refers to Himself as a temple that will be destroyed then raised back up three days later. The Bible tells us that the disciples did not fully understand what He was talking about. In John chapter 2 He speaks to the jews immediately after turning over the moneychanger’s table’s and running them out of the temple.  He also uses the example of the temple being destroyed and then raised again to refer to Himself but they also have no idea what He is talking about. However, we understand that He was talking about His death, burial and His bodily resurrection because we have the scriptures that covers in detail those very events. But as we look at some of the scriptures surrounding these events I would like to focus on something a little different.

When the women went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus they found that the stone had been rolled away and He was gone. God had sent an angel from heaven to roll the stone away and the angel was sitting on it. The guards were so scared that they apparently fainted and were apparently unconscious. The angel then spoke to the women with the following words found in Matthew 28:5-6. “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen.” This is usually what we hear read or spoken but there is more to what the angel said. The next four words are what have really been working on my heart and mind because they are so true and powerful. “Just as He said.”  When I read this passage this time those four words just flew off the pages into my mind and with a booming voice shouting “When Jesus says it, it will happen.” In other words, the promises of God found in the Bible will always be kept. God never makes a promise that He doesn’t keep and what a promise it was when Jesus said that He would rise again. If that promise had not been kept our faith would be of little value because Christianity would be no different that any other world religion. But praise God, He did arise just like He said He would. And that my friends is the Easter Promise I’m talking about. Can I get a witness?