It’s Official 

After years of trials, questions, and hurdles, on Thanksgiving Day 2015 I received notices I had been approved and officially ordained into the ministry. The road has, as I eluded to, been a long and arduous one, filled with obstacles. But thanks be to God I persevered and stayed the course, knowing this was what God has called me to do. 

I understand more now than ever why some throw their hands up and say “Forget it!”  Or “Maybe I was wrong; maybe this isn’t God’s will for me.” (Please don’t think what I’m about to say is  a “jab” at those who have stopped/left this path into ministry; it is not for everyone and some who quit do so rightly.) I could’ve easily been among those ranks were it not for godly folks encouraging me and confirming my calling.  I’m thankful to them for following the prompting of the Holy Spirit to encourage me. (If you read this you know who you are; I need not mention names.)

So, what does the future hold for me? God knows; I don’t. I intend to study more, already taking some classes to make me a more useful servant-leader. I know that soon there will be some new and exciting opportunities opening up to teach and share biblical content here and other places (I’m not at liberty to discuss those yet). So, more or less, things will continue on as they are – perhaps a bit more hectic or busy, but mostly the same. 

I look forward to sharing more when the time is right. 

Psalm 84:2

 
“My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God!” Psalm 84:2

The desires of the heart are the best proofs of salvation; and if a man wishes to know whether he is really saved or not, he can very soon find out by putting his finger upon the pulse of his desires, for those are things that never can be counterfeit. 

You may counterfeit words; 

you may counterfeit actions; 

but you cannot counterfeit desires. 

Archibald Brown, “The Heart’s Cry after God” 1879

Blessings in Disguise: #BeWoW

This post was written as a part of the #BeWoW blogosphere movement started by Ronovan Writes. More on the idea can be found on his website.

Today was our semi-annual community rummage sale. The last few times we’ve not participated for various but today we did; we had a lot of “stuff” that needed weeded out! 

The professional “rummage rats” as I call them are always an annoyance, if not outright both, to deal with. You know the ones: they show up an hour (or more) before the sale starts and want to cherry pick everything and offer 10-cents on an item you paid $12 for and are asking $2 for now. But I digress … I enjoy interacting with the “other” folks quite a lot. And I tend to do fairly well in part because I make jokes, am honest and friendly. 

My wife, on the other hand, does well, too – giving away everything she prices! I usually send her away during the sale. LOL 

I had a pair of hand embroidered, framed and matted ladies handkerchiefs for sale today; they were easily worth more than double the $5/each I priced them for; they were old but pristine. From behind me I hear my wife tell someone they are $1! I spun around to correct the mistaken to see a fragile older lady who seemed to love them. So I backed up and said “But since my wife made the mistake I’ll honor the price”. She was overjoyed to hear that. 

As she shopped a little more, picking out nothing else; I suspect she had little more to spend, I felt a prompt from the Holy Spirit. I had another framed old parchment with a prayer printed on it in ornate script. I handed it to her and asked what she thought of it. She read it slowly, carefully and smiled as she finished it. 

“I love it.”

“It’s yours,” I told her.

“Why?”

“Because God said you’ll enjoy and treasure it.”

A huge smile followed by a teary hug and “I will” followed as I handed it to her.

I don’t know why He prompted me to do that but clearly, to me, it was His will and she appreciated it. I told my wife the money means nothing compared to that hug and smile. 

Follow the leading of the Spirit every chance you get (I try but often fall short). In my experience you and someone else will be greatly blessed if you will. Be Wonderful this Wednesday … and every time you have the chance, it really could make someone’s day, week, shucks, even life a little better.  

New Day, New Year, New Challenge

If your Facebook newsfeed is anything like mine, you’ve seen more than your share of New Year’s Day posts: from resolutions to lists, thoughts and wishes, and about any thing that one associates with a “new start”. When the calendar rolls over from one year to the next it seems we all, or most of us, begin to think about how the new year can or will be better than the old. And many folks are seemingly quite happy at the thought of January 1 coming to begin with a fresh start. Well, I hate to rain on the proverbial parade but January 1 isn’t really going to change the situation that most folks are in on December 31. In truth, almost all of us are only going to be 24 hours older but not any “different” on this celebrated New Year’s Day.

You may be wondering at this point what my point of this post is, and maybe even thinking I’m being a bit of a “downer” but that’s not my intention. I don’t mean to infer that we can’t begin to work toward making our lives/situations better or make whatever changes we need, plan on, or desire to make the coming days and weeks better; we absolutely can, and should. But let’s be honest – most resolutions don’t make it through February but are merely a half hearted attempt to busy our minds through the winter cold. So, what am I thinking?

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In reality every day is a gift from The Lord. Other than Christmas and Easter, every day should have the same preciousness attached to it, the same New Years-type of forward looking, enthusiastic feel to it. God’s blessings are new each day. His forgiveness is available always. And the things He can do through and with you are limitless every day. Don’t sell yourself The Lord short by thinking that New Year’s Day is the day for starting fresh; each new day is an opportunity for us to be humbly obedient and make a difference in our own lives and in those around us.

I challenge you to live out this year as if each day was New Year’s Day. I think if we all took this fresh attitude every day we could see great things happen in our lives and in God’s kingdom.

Sage Advice

Some of my fondest memories, and best stories, involve my Papaw. He was a kind, gentle, wise, good, Christian man who served more as a father figure to me than a grandfather.

Back in 1994 I decided to chance careers: quit my job as a manager at a pet store and go into the car sales business. While I made a fair living at my job I wanted the chance to make a better living for my family. My wife was apprehensive, to say the least, but didn’t stop me. In fact, no one was particularly supportive of my career change, I felt very good about the prospect.

I remember telling Papaw about my decision, and his reaction. It was Christmas Eve and we were at the traditional holiday gathering at my grandparents house. Papaw and I were talking about I don’t really remember what when I felt like it was time to tell him about my impending change. He listened patiently while I told him of the new job, the potential I felt it held for me, and the reasons I was sure I’d be good at this position. After I finished it remember him pausing, I could see the cogs turning inside his head as he took it all in, a sight I’d seen many times in my life. When he finally spoke he said something I hadn’t expected: he thought I was right! He told me that I had a good plan, had the skills to do the job, and, even though it wouldn’t be easy, I could succeed at it … if I remembered one thing: “Son,” he said, “if you just treat every feller the way you’d want him to treat you if you were in his shoes you’ll do just fine.” I didn’t realize it at the time, mostly because someone finally thought I was making a good decision, but what he was actually doing was biblically teaching me; he was paraphrasing The Golden RuleLuke 6:31

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

My grandfather lived by what God’s Word teaches. And he advised or taught, if you will, from the precepts of The Word, too, in a way that didn’t come across as high or holy or righteous; his words came as wise, thoughtful, caring, and genuine down to earth. He didn’t say that he was giving me Scripture or quoting the Bible; I know he did this because it was just how he was, genuine, down to earth, and all the rest. And when I finally got it and realized it was Scripture I felt like God got even more glory from Papaw’s simple, easy way of presenting it.

As I went into my new career I applied that sage advice in every “deal” I worked. I actually took it a bit farther, perhaps, and treated each customer how I’d want my Papaw to be treated; I still hold true to this philosophy to this day and it has served me well.

Papaw was right about everything he said that Christmas Eve night. I did prosper in my new career, and lived it most of the time. And I always told folks what and how I came about my way of doing business. And as clueless as I was to it, God got the glory each time. He still does today, too, I just realize it now and am happy to be able to be able to give it to Him.