Weather VanePreachers 

“A weather vane preacher is any preacher who changes what he preaches or how he preaches when the wind changes direction. The preacher who alters his message or his method because of the ever-changing advice, counsel, and opinions of men is not a leader, but a follower. Such weather vane preachers are worthless! They only do harm to the souls of men, and they need not preach at all. True, gospel preachers are pillars in the church of God–not puppets in the hands of men.”


“On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4


Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths!” 2 Timothy 4:2-4

– Frank Hall 

 

Facebook Inspiration

On Sunday a friend challenged m and her sister on Facebook to post a Bible verse a day for a week, a challenge extended to her and accepted. Since I do this almost every day it was no big deal to join in the challenge, or so I thought. 
I made my usual post and added to it about the challenge, tagging the Sister that challenged me, and added my two folks names to the list that I would challenge.
The next day both of the young ladies I had challenged accepted , posting their verses and the names of friends they challenged, too. By Tuesday evening it seemed like a movement, if you will had started: Christians young and not-so-young (I’m not old! LOL) were posting a verse to entire passages on their timelines for the world and, more importantly, their friends to see. 
Now, this might not be “new” but it was to me; I’d seen all kinds of challenges on Facebook but not one like this. Imagine how many live and impressions this 7-day challenge can reach; it is almost overwhelming to me think about the potential of it. (And it doesn’t need to stop at a week either I might add.)
Seeing all these folks, many who I don’t know (yes, I’m clicking on names and trolling around to see who’s participating), sharing God’s Word, often with short notes of what the verse means to them so blessed me that I felt compelled to share it today with you. This event is an inspiration to me; it shows us how easily we can live our faith out loud, witnessing for the Lord, possibly reaching thousands, millions combined, in a few seconds a day. It also made me think about Paul’s statement to Timothy, which I share as today’s daily verse. 

“So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News. That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.” (‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1‬:‭8-12‬ NLT)

Psalm 23

IMG_0630Down through the last couple of weeks the 23rd Psalm has loomed large in my mind. For many years this psalm was one that I didn’t want to think of or hear very often. Despite it being one of the most well known and loved texts of the Bible, for me it was an unwelcome reminder of tragedy and loss: this was the Scripture preached at my dad’s funeral. Being only nine years old, and him a mere 29, when he died, and associating Psalm 23 with his death, these six verses brought little comfort to me, unlike they do and have for countless others.

Not long ago I read the account of how so old hymns came to be, their stories behind the lyrics. Many of them surprised me, touched me, and made me think more deeply about the words, knowing their inspiration. One such old song is “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” and I would like to share a bit about its origin with you as we get ready to delve into our discussion today.

Thomas Andrew Dorsey was a black jazz musician from Atlanta. In the twenties he gained a certain amount of notoriety as the composer of jazz tunes with suggestive lyrics, but he gave all that up in 1926 to concentrate exclusively on spiritual music. “Peace in the Valley” is one of his best known songs, but there is a story behind his most famous song that deserves to be told.

In 1932 the times were hard for Dorsey. Just trying to survive the depression years as a working musician meant tough going. On top of that, his music was not accepted by many people. Some said it was much too worldly-the devil’s music, they called it. Many years later Dorsey could laugh about it. He said, “I got kicked out of some of the best churches in the land.” But the real kick in the teeth came one night in St. Louis when he received a telegram informing him that his pregnant wife had died suddenly.

Dorsey was so filled with grief that his faith was shaken to the roots, but instead of wallowing in self-pity, he turned to the discipline he knew best-music. In the midst of agony he wrote the following lyrics:
Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, let me stand.
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead me on to the light;
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home.

As we begin to read this psalm I think it’s clear that David was a man of some age, experience, and wisdom by the time he, under inspiration, penned it. I imagine that he was reflecting on his youth and of the many times in his life that God had protected him, provided for him, and pondering the good things that layer yet ahead for him in his life.

Psalms 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

For David, and the culture in general during biblical times, the shepherd was a very familiar figure; David had been a shepherd himself in his earlier life. The Lord is referred to as our Shepherd throughout Scripture, Old and New Testament, among other places:
Gen 48:15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,
Psa 80:1 To the chief Musician upon Shoshannimeduth, A Psalm of Asaph. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.
Isa 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
Joh 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
Heb 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
1Pe 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
1Pe 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Think about this: the all-knowing, all powerful, always present Creator of everything that was, is, or will be willingly takes on this lowly role for you and me; pretty humbling, isn’t it?

Being provided for by this Shepherd, how could His flock, us, ever be in want? He who is their Shepherd has all power in heaven and earth; therefore he can protect them. The silver and gold are his, and the cattle on a thousand hills; and therefore he can sustain them. He has all that they need, and his heart is full of love to mankind; and therefore he will withhold from them no manner of thing that is good.
Psa 34:9 O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
Psa 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Rom 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Psalms 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Places of tender, young growth grass. The idea and imagery being a place of tender softness, perfectly suited to cool, sooth, feed, and rest the flock. These waters are of stillness, which invite one to rest and relaxation, in contrast to churning streams of turmoil and stagnant ponds of offense. This is a place where the flock are fully satisfied, in peaceful rest, and provided for by the Shepherd.
Isa 49:9-10 That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. (10) They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.

Psalms 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Literally, “He causes my life to return.” Or, “He quickens me,” or causes me to live. The word soul” here means life, or spirit, and not the soul in the strict sense in which the term is now used. It refers to the spirit when exhausted, weary, or sad; and the meaning is, that God quickens or vivifies the spirit when thus exhausted. The reference is not to the soul as wandering or backsliding from God, but to the life or spirit as exhausted, wearied, troubled, anxious, worn down with care and toil. the heart, thus exhausted, He re-animates. He brings back its vigor. He encourages it; excites it to new effort; fills it with new joy. He leads me along the straight and narrow road, the path this good in God’s eyes, in the ways that are pleasing to Him. And He does this for His glory, so that His name may be honored.
Jer 14:7 O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name’s sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee.

The feeling expressed in this verse is that of confidence in God; an assurance that he would always lead his people in the path in which they should go. This he will always do if people will follow the directions of His word, the teachings of His Spirit, and the guidance of His providence.

Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

The idea here is to show that no matter how dark, dreary or gloomy the path may seem, God is still there, too. He is guiding and protecting us during the lowest of the low times, the times when we feel most exposed and alone; the Shepard never leaves His flock. The true believer has nothing to fear in the gloomiest scenes of life; he has nothing to fear in the valley of death; he has nothing to fear in the grave; he has nothing to fear in the world beyond.
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

The shepherd used his staff, likely the hook-ended stick we are so familiar with today, and his rod, a walking staff-type of tool, to guide and protect the flock. With the rod he could fend off predators, spread open brushy pathways, and prod the ground for hidden pits, snares, and the like. The crook was used for similar tasks but also to grasp the leg of a sheep that might be nearing the jagged edge of the cliff, or to free the animal that had become ensnared in some briar patch. These instruments of protection and guidance are a comfort to us, to know that they are there, as our Shepard cares for and guides us.

Psalms 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

This verse refers back to, or reinforces, verse one “I shall not want”; the word “table” is equal with the term “feast”, meaning “prepares a feast for me”. As the psalmist has laid out, God is our Shepard and cares for us, His flock, making provision for our every need. David, in his lifetime, had many accounts recorded in the Bible that could have been the “idea” that spawned this thought, and I’m sure there are many more that occurred that aren’t documented in God’s Word. He probably had many references in his life that could have felt as if God had literally laid out a banquet for him, while his enemies watched him feast and were powerless to interrupt David’s meal. The oil represents prosperity and rejoicing, coupled with cup that is running over, shows the abundance of good that David felt in his life and, rightly, attributed to being provided by God. We, too, today can and should have this abundance bubbling over in our hearts, our cup, as members of the same flock and with the same unchanging Shepard as our guide and provider.
Mal 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Psalms 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Though he knew that at some point his life on earth would end, David expresses confidence that as long as he resided on this side of eternity God would continue to provide for and protect him. This is the language of a heart overflowing with joy and gratitude in the recollection of the past, and full of glad anticipation, resulting from his experience of the past, in regard to the future. David wanted to fulfil the remainder of his days serving and honoring The Lord, dwelling in His presence the rest of his natural life; this expresses the desire of a true child of God. Members of the flock today should and can be just as certain as David was of all this and more; David didn’t have the full revelation of Scripture or the Gospel that we have today. By faith, David knew in his heart this was all true for him both here and in the next life and the children of God today should be just as confident and seek just as diligently as David did to serve, honor and praise our Shepard; those assured promises are ours, too.
2Co 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Php 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

If you live long enough, you will experience heartache, disappointment, and sheer helplessness. The Lord is our most precious resource in those hours of trauma.
Psa 9:9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble

Tom Dorsey understood that, as did David. His song was originally written as a way of coping with his personal pain, but even today it continues to bless thousands of others when they pass through times of hardship. David’s song was written in a similar fashion, looking back upon events of his life. But David’s song not only comforts us but lifts us up knowing those promises the Shepherd made to him are still valid for us today.

The question at the end of the thought here is a simple one, but the most profound one you or anyone will ever answer: Can you truly say “The Lord is my shepherd”? If not, none of these promises, protections, assurances, none of any of this applies to you/them; these belong only to the flock, not the world. But if you are outside this flock you can be taken into the fold by the Shepherd, you need only come with believing faith and ask Him.

Originally posted and taught on 11/8/14.

Taking “Holy” Out of Matrimony

This past week the news and social media have been abuzz about the recent non-decision of the US Supreme Court on the ban of “gay marriage”. As I understand it, this decision to make no decision on the issue has paved the way to make same-sex marriage legal across the United States. It was a mere hours before there were people applying for marriage licenses and actually getting married under this newly lifted ban, with the WV Attorney General saying they had no other choice than to allow the issuance of the licenses. This news was a shocking surprise to many folks, myself included; if you had asked me (or many other Mountain State residents) a year ago, or less, if this would happen here I would have said no. But then I didn’t think it would become the national “phenomenon” it has either. The lifting of this ban is taking “holy” out of holy matrimony – and it is not acceptable according to God’s Word, no matter what any other person or official thinks or says. It is my hope in this lesson today to arm you better to answer questions you may well encounter, possibly in your own mind even, as this country rushes to embrace yet another ungodly act under the ruse of tolerance.

Marriage is an institution that God Himself ordained at the beginning of human history, the charter of which is Gen 2:24
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. The Hebrew word rendered as “wife” is Strong’s number H802 and is defined as:

Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Definition:

1) woman, wife, female

1a) woman (opposite of man)

1b) wife (woman married to a man)

1c) female (of animals)

1d) each, every (feminine pronoun)

There are no vagaries in this statement, there is nothing to misunderstand or misconstrue, honestly, here. Yes, the woman was made to be a companion and helper to the man but the intent and purpose of marriage was and is procreation; God did not give Adam another man to be his helper and companion. Another point we will make here is on polygamy: being true in all of its way, God’s Word tells us of polygamy but never approves of it. The accounts of Scripture always include the good, the bad, and the ugly of what happened, not whitewashing the “story” to make the “heroes” look better than they were, fallen folks, just as capable of sin as you and I.

In the New Testament, Jesus repeats and reinforces the definition of marriage and then goes on to broaden our understanding of it:

Mat 19:4-6 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, (5) And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? (6) Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (In Mark 10:5-9 Jesus repeats these words).

And the Greek word He used is at least as equally powerful: G1135- a woman; specifically a wife. The New Testament uses this same word time and again to mean one thing – a woman married to a man; nowhere, however, do we read of a same-sex marriage. Crystal-clearly, Scripture tells us that marriage is for one man and one woman.

I think that almost everyone has heard of the account of Sodom and Gomorrah and the angry wrath God displayed at their sins. I am fairly sure that we have all heard and/or read of the Bible saying that a man shall not lay with (or know) another man, too. I don’t think anyone will disagree that Scripture speaks clearly and strongly against this act. A few verses from both the Old and New Testaments to illustrate what God’s Word actually says about this are:

Lev 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Gen 19:5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

1Ki 14:24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

Romans 1:26-27 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: (27) And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

1 Timothy 1:9-10 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, (10) For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Jud 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

To make it a bit clearer, possibly, without going through the meaning word-byword- of the translated words that are not familiar to most of us, I thought it prudent to include a modern translation (ESV) of each passage from the New Testament quoted above; I include the NT only here because we are under the NT Covenant of Grace but the position of God on the issue has always been the same.

Rom 1:26-27 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; (27) and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

1Co 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,

1Ti 1:9-10 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, (10) the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

Jud 1:7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

But there are those that will try to excuse it away as cultural misunderstandings. For instance, there was a lot of male prostitution that took place as a form of idolatry, a truth that Scripture and history bares out. And they are many who will say that people are “born that way”, thus laying blame at God’s feet rather than taking responsibility for their actions. What do I mean by that? I mean that each and every one of us is born into a fallen world as fallen, depraved humans. I mean that we all have the capacity to lie, steal, murder, blaspheme, and, yes, commit moral and fleshly sin, too. The difference is whose who exercise their freewill to choose not to commit the sins or who do and take responsibility for them now (because at Judgment we will all be held accountable for our unrepentant deeds). God is “no respecter of persons” and He is no respecter of sins either. We may think of telling a lie as a much smaller offense than committing murder but God sees them all the same – as sin. And fornicators and adulterers will receive that same punishment as murders in the end. People in all ages or times have always tried to come up with a way to explain away their sins – idolatry then and genetics now – but God’s Word is clear about the sin, the condemnation, and the judgment of the sins.

Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Interestingly enough, the word translated as “whoremonger” is the Greek word pornos (G4205) and means something that is probably different than you might expect:

Thayer Definition:

1) a man who prostitutes his body to another’s lust for hire

2) a male prostitute

3) a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator

We all have the capacity or ability to commit all kinds of different sin. And even though it isn’t “politically correct” to say so, homosexuality is a sin according to God’s Word. Same-sex relationships are not only sin but they certainly are not eligible to be called marriages according to the Bible, regardless of what “man” may say. But there are other, greater issues at stake here; those who participate in and/or condone these acts will ultimately have to answer before God for their actions and decisions.

As of my writing this, as far as I know, it is not illegal for an ordained minister to refuse to perform one of these ceremonies. Nor, as far as I’m aware, is it illegal for a church to refuse to allow one of these ceremonies to take place on their property. But I fear this is a very temporary situation. And with the proclivity many of the liberal groups and individuals to press against anyone, person or organization, that refuses to confirm to their agendas it seems to me only a matter of time before some kind of legal battle will be brought against the “offender” in the name of equality and tolerance. This very idea should make us think very hardly how we will react when this inevitably happens.

And then there is the way that the world is blaspheming the very term that Christ uses to speak of His relationship with the church. John the Baptist said of Christ and the church:

John 3:29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

Jesus used the term of Himself:

Mark 2:19 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.

The Apostle Paul develops the idea more in his writings:

2Co 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Eph 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

And again in Revelation the writer says:

Rev 19:7
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Again and again the Word of God uses this most holy, sanctified ceremony to symbolize Christ Jesus’ relationship with the church, not just in the few passages quoted here. Now the world wants to blaspheme the term God Himself coined, that we hold so dear in our faith, to describe the joining of one man and one woman and the metaphor for Christ and His church by using it to describe a most unbiblical act.

We, the Church, the Bride, must arm ourselves with knowledge of what God says on this subject. I am not advocating any type of hate, disrespectful language, any political agenda nothing of the kind. I do believe that we must look at this subject, and all things, through the lens of God’s Word and what He says about it. And we must stand strong in what the Bible teaches. We must be able to provide biblical answers to those who question why we do not support or approve of this unholy union.

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

But before we can do this we have to have a solid knowledge of Scripture on the subject, rightly dividing the truth.

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

I said earlier that God does not differentiate or rank sins; and He doesn’t. I also said that I was in no way making a political statement, attempting to cause pain or hurt, incite violence or “hate speech”, nor any other such thing; and I am not. What I hope is that this will open hearts and minds to see that the person living in this lifestyle is just as lost as the drunkard, the addict, the thief, or any other person living in sin; they are no better nor worse in God’s eyes. And to that end it is my sincere desire that when we find ourselves in this situation or conversation we will handle it with gentleness and meekness, although unwaveringly. I doubt very much that Jesus would agree with us ostracizing, being unnecessarily harsh with, or outright rejecting them; that is not how He treated sinners during His earthly ministry and it isn’t how He treated us when we, too, were lost, just as lost as these folks are.

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.

II Corinthians 12:7-9

Isn’t it good to know that Paul suffered pain and tribulations his life, as we still do today? Praise God for His Sovereign plan, even when we don’t understand it!

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (II Corinthians 12:7-9 NKJV)

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