Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Most every year, I seem to get a good dose of Poison Ivy. I haven’t gotten it yet this year, but the past couple of years I always seem to get it during the winter months. For those of you who have never had Poison Ivy, let me explain that you don’t even need to touch or handle the plant to get it. In fact the past several years I’ve gotten it, has been thanks to my oldest son who’s “given” it to me. You see, my son loves to go out into the fields and woods behind our house and build club-houses and just hang out and explore. Then, when he comes home, he unknowingly “gives” me this pestilence. The allergens from the plant are all over his clothes. Sometimes I can just touch his clothes, other times the allergens just travel through the air and get on me. I don’t even realize what has happened until the next day when I start to see the reaction on my skin, and the unmistakable itching that comes with the reaction.

I’ve been thinking for a while about things in my own life, that I’ve been “carrying” around, and how it affects others around me. Do I offend others knowingly? Do I offend others unknowingly? Do I continue to carry things around in my life even if I know that it affects others? Or do I try to remove the exposed and filthy clothing and clean up my life so that I no longer offend? Or, am I satisfied with my situation and care not how I might affect my brother or sister in Christ? I would say that over the past couple of years, I have made a very strong effort to remove those infected clothes that I’ve been wearing – those hypocritical garments that were stained with sin. The Lord has been working on me and in me and has shown me that “His grace was sufficient for me.” I’ve been learning that on my own, I cannot stand perfect in front of God, but it’s only through being immersed into his blood, by partaking of the only sacrifice that can remove my sins that I’m able to stand in front of God – with confidence knowing that when He looks at me he does not see my sins, but He sees His own son’s blood covering my body.

Yes. I sin. I sin every day, unfortunately with this or that. With one thing or another, whether it’s doing something I shouldn’t or not doing something I should. But, what matters is that I should not feel hopeless, helpless, and simply give up trying. It’s when I’ve given up that Satan has won the battle. It’s the point when I stop trying or caring that Jesus’ blood no longer covers me. It’s those times in my life when I infect others with my wrongs and cause someone to stumble that affect me the most. I feel the worst when I’ve done something either to someone or around someone and made that person think less of me.

Remember the story found in Luke 7:36-50 when a Pharisee [considered himself righteous by his strict obedience to the old law (legalism)] invited Jesus to his house for dinner. When a sinful woman who lived in the town heard that Jesus was there, she came to the home, knelt down and began crying and kissing Jesus’ feet – pouring her tears onto his feet, scrubbing his feet with her hair, then anointing his feet with expensive perfume. When the Pharisee saw what was going on, he watched and waited to see what would happen. I could also see in my minds eye, that as she walked in, he took a deep breath and held it - so as not to become infected. He knew the history of this woman. He knew that she carried around sin in her life just like an infected person carries around sickness or allergens that might also infect others. But he waited to see what Jesus would do with her. You see, these Pharisees would not even come close to a woman like this for fear of being “contaminated” and “associated” with this sinful person. In their own minds, the “righteous” Pharisees should not even be around this “sinner”, and they thought that neither should Jesus. But by her act of repentance, by her sacrifice and offering to Jesus, by her great love that she gave the son of God, Jesus was moved with compassion for this person. He forgave her sins. Again, in my own mind, all those Pharisees finally collapsed and fell out from holding their breathe so long.

Father God, Holy God, Lord, I come to you today as this woman has. I humbly come to your feet, knowing that I am a sinner unfit to approach you, Lord. I am thankful, Lord that you are our father, that you are compassionate with us, longsuffering with us. I am thankful that you care enough for us to prepare a way for us to be made whole in your sight. Thank you for sending your only son – Jesus to be our perfect sacrifice. And thank you Lord Jesus for loving your father and being completely obedient to Him. Thank you Jesus for loving us, and for being willing to suffer humiliation and pain on our behalf. Lord, I realize that the suffering you went through was not because you deserved it, but because of my sinful nature. You died in my place, so that I could stand redeemed in front of God our father. Lord, forgive me of my sinful nature. Forgive me when I sin and become covered in filth. Forgive me when I carry that filth around and expose it to others, Lord. Lord, wash me and cover me with your blood so that I can stand pure in front of others, so that when they look at me, they can also see you living in me. Thank you, Lord for your forgiveness, and for your Love. In the name of the one who has redeemed me, Jesus Christ our Lord – Amen.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Baby Feet

Feet are funny, feet are fat.
Some are White, Red, Tan, or Black.
Feet can run, and feet can jump,
Feet can smell just like a skunk.
Brand new feet are soft and cuddly,
Older feet are hard and crusty.
Brand new feet must walk on grass,
Older feet can walk on glass.
Oh, to have the feet of a child,
To be a youngster, meek and mild.
To put away my older habits,
And run and play like baby rabbits.
If I could make my feet brand new,
I’m sure my heart would soften too.
I’d rather not be old and calloused,
But young at heart, filled with softness.
When I can forget the wrongs to me,
And focus on the good in thee.
When I can realize that I’ve done wrong,
And my conscious will be loud and strong.
Give me a soft heart oh God,
And watch over me, wherever I trod.
Make my heart a useful tool,
And bless my tired worn out feet too.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus. They asked him, "Who is the most important person in the kingdom of heaven?" Jesus called a little child over to him. He had the child stand among them. Jesus said, "What I'm about to tell you is true. You need to change and become like little children. If you don't, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who becomes as free of pride as this child is the most important in the kingdom of heaven. "Anyone who welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. "But what if someone leads one of these little ones who believe in me to sin? If he does, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and be drowned at the bottom of the sea. - Matthew 18:1-6

People were bringing little children to Jesus. They wanted him to touch them. But the disciples told the people to stop. When Jesus saw this, he was angry. He said to his disciples, "Let the little children come to me. Don't keep them away. God's kingdom belongs to people like them. What I'm about to tell you is true. Anyone who will not receive God's kingdom like a little child will never enter it." Then he took the children in his arms. He put his hands on them and blessed them. - Mark 10:13-16
Am I listening to what God is saying in His Word?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

God - Our Provider

God works in wonderful ways. It’s hard or even impossible for me to understand. But I’ve seen things in my own life – after the fact that I look back and say, wow! It gives me chills down my back to realize that at that time, when I didn’t even realize it, God was directing me. And I shutter to think of the outcome had it not been for Him being beside me. I’d rather not get off on trying to explain tragic events in peoples life – because I know they do happen. But I also see in mine and in others life – a chain of events that can only be explained as the providence of God. Praise Him!

Over the past couple of years, I was introduced to an older man at church, Mr. Rufus Organ. He went out of his way to make it a point to introduce himself to me, and I’ve been great full ever since. Mr. Rufus will be 73 this month. He’s lived an ordinary life, and he and his wife are now retired and live in Earle. He used to carry the mail out in Earle. Mr. Rufus hasn’t slowed down yet though – he’s one of the hardest working men I know. He’s sort of a do-all man, and can practically do any kind of handy work on your house. He can build anything you need. But mostly he spends his time during the day in painting people’s house.

I don’t know all the details, so I’m just recounting all of this from my perspective. Last Spring, Earle had a tornado come through and destroy some homes and businesses. A few months before the tornado, there was a lady who lived in Earle who had just lost her husband. Then, she lost her home by the tornado. Mr. Rufus felt so bad for this lady and his loving heart went out to this person. He decided to make it his project to help this lady put her home back together again. What I find amazing is that I felt like I had known Mr. Rufus very well during this time, but for six to eight months during this home’s reconstruction, I never knew the first thing about what he had been spending his time doing. You see Mr. Rufus apparently is a quiet kind of guy. There’s no bragging or showing off with him. Matthew 6:1. Every time I would talk to him about his day, it was just the standard line of, “Oh, I’ve been painting here, or painting there.” In fact, Mr. Rufus did spend a lot of his time during the day alone, painting houses here and there.

Last month, a large group of men finally discovered what he had been doing – although it had been known by a few for a while. One of the men from our church organized a work day to help and paint as much of the house and clean up the yard out there in a day. The lady, the owner of the house had always been overwhelmed at Mr. Rufus’ generosity, but I heard that day, she was so overwhelmed her and her mother could not hold back their tears. Through tragedy comes an opportunity to serve. Thankfully this lady was not hurt during the storm. But God saved her and showed her love through hundreds of people. Many companies have donated their time, money, expertise, equipment, supplies, and material to get her house back in order. It is so overwhelming to be used by God. At the end of every day, to drive away with a huge grin on your face knowing that you helped someone in need is so rewarding – and hundreds of people experienced that feeling when they went out there to help. Again I say, “Praise God!”

New Years weekend, my friend Mr. Rufus and his wife headed down to Dallas for a niece’s wedding. They drove the whole trip in one day, with few stops in between. In fact, I’m not sure that they even stopped for lunch. Upon arriving at the hotel, Mr. Rufus was wheeling his luggage into the hotel room when he suddenly had to stop. He couldn’t breathe. He made it into his room, but realized that he was in some trouble. He started getting scared and nervous and so he was taken to the hospital and they started working on him right away. All they could tell at the moment was that he was having irregular heart beats. After the doctors got him settled down and up into a room, his wife was checking on him. Suddenly she wasn’t feeling good either. She needed to go out in the hall for some fresh air. She fainted right in front of the nurse’s station. They rushed her down to emergency to check her out. She was worn out tired and stressed over her husband. She told me that she hadn’t eaten yet that day because they had planned to eat once they got into town. They got her fixed up and wheeled her into the room across from the hall from her husband. What a way to spend the weekend – cooped up in the hospital away from home.

As Mr. Rufus was telling all of this to me, I just felt so bad for both of them. But then I heard, “the rest of the story.”

On their way down there – while they were still in Arkansas, their daughter called them on their cell. She was checking where they were by then, and was toying around with the idea that she might like to head down there with them and go to the wedding. Mr. Rufus and his wife had already passed their daughters house by some distance, so their daughter told them not to worry about turning back around for her. After they hung up, Mr. Rufus felt compelled to turn around anyway and go and pick up their daughter to take her with them. If she was willing to go, then they were more than willing to take her with them.

So it was there on the sidewalk, as he pushed the cart of luggage up to their room, when he stopped in his tracks and could go no further that his wife and daughter were there to help him up to his room, and wheel the cart up in afterwards. They were also there at the hotel with other family that had driven in for the wedding that weekend. Mr. Rufus was surrounded by family that was able to take care of him, and help him head to the hospital. Did I mention that the hospital was right across the street from their hotel? It was also fortunate that their daughter and other family were there when Mrs. Organ collapsed in the hospital hallway – not to mention the fact that maybe the best place to collapse is in a hospital. So, their daughter pulled up a chair, and sat in the middle of the hallway between her Dad and Mom’s room – going from one room to the next for that night and next day. Do you have chills running down your back yet? I still do.

Let’s talk a little about God now, or Yahweh Yireh which is translated as God our Provider. Since God sees the future as well as the past and the present, he is able to anticipate and provide for what is needed. Interestingly the English word “provision” is made up of two Latin words that mean “to see beforehand.” Listen friends, when Mr. Rufus asked me to remember them in prayer that weekend, and also when they prayed that morning asking God for a safe trip, God who sees the situation beforehand and who is able to provide – worked in wonderful ways that day.

Genesis 22:1-14 tells us the story of Abraham and his son Isaac. Genesis 22:2 says that God told Abraham to go and offer his only son, whom he loved. Abraham was faithful and went – knowing that God would provide. When asked by his son Isaac, “Father, where is the sacrifice”, his father said this in Genesis 22:8. After Abraham showed to God that he was faithful, God showed to Abraham that He was also faithful by providing an alternative to his son. Genesis 22:14.

Again, I cannot understand or even explain God’s help for us today – physically. I’ve seen it happen. But I’ve also seen tragedy too. I do know that God is more interested in our spiritual welfare and desires that we all be saved. But I do also believe that He works through us and in us to bless us and others. Just like examples found in the bible of God’s work through man in the many miracles that we read about today as found in the NT, God works in ways to build us up and increases our faith. When Mr. Rufus told me this story, all I could do was shake my head and grin, and then we offered up a prayer together praising Him for being our provider.

Ephesians 5:1, 2