to believe in heaven
Is not to run away from life
it is to run toward it.
to believe in heaven
Is not to run away from life
it is to run toward it.
The Christian life is like riding a bicycle,
you are either moving forward,
or you are falling off.
The best argument for
Christianity and the
the best argument against
Christianity is the life of
a Christian. Not only are
we to be His witnesses;
we ought to be part of
On our list of activities in life:
There are some things we need
some things we need to delegate,
and the rest we need
Parson to Person
1939, (my birth year) Hollywood produced a box office bonanza with
the all-time classic movie, GONE WITH THE WIND. It depicted a labor
intensive way of life. Of course, in 1939 the nation was only about
seventy years away from the Civil War, so, those times were still on
the mind of older citizens (much like WWII remains on older minds
today). In addition to those times, there are also many things and
ways that have fallen to the chapters of history, especially with the
vaunted progress of the 20th Century. I write briefly about one of
those ways of life: that of the now largely extinct
Well over a half century ago, my pastoral ministry was initiated in the cotton and bean fields of northeast Arkansas. Most folk in the area were known as sharecroppers. Like the aforementioned movie, this, too, is a way of life largely gone with the wind.
Sharecroppers lived in someone else’s house on someone else’s land. In varying agreements, they worked the land for the land owner, and shared a percentage of the crops produced. It was not much of a way to get ahead in life, but it was a way to sustain life. Most of the houses provided were substandard, and largely without indoor plumbing. My wife and I spent one memorable winter night with a family in that environment. To stay warm, we slept under so many quilts that it was virtually impossible to turn over. However, though poor, the people were sweet, kind, and loving. They loved the Lord, and they loved my young wife and me. It was such a joy to be considered their pastor, although a neophyte in every sense of the word.
Years have come and gone, and I am, as they were: a sharecropper. But, the sharecropping presently experienced is being accomplished in an agreement with God, the true land owner. Paul taught in I Cor. 3:9, “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” We plant and water, but He gives the increase. It is He who has given to us this laboring ministry of reconciliation, and He teaches us all in Psalm 126:6, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Formerly, due to weather or pestilence, crops might fail, leaving the farming sharecropper in dire straits financially. But one may be sure that sharecropping with God brings a guaranteed successful harvest to the rejoicing of everyone involved. Since all are tenants and not owners, they are sharecropping for someone. But soon the window of time for sharecropping on this terrestrial ball will also pass away. It is but for a season. Consequently, it is so very important to choose wisely with whom you partner in the sharecropping venture of life.
Tis one life; will soon be past.
Only what’s done for
and mighty lessons spring from what many may see as strange and
perplexing events in the Old Testament. Such is the case of the
patriarch Jacob wrestling all night with an angel as recorded in
In context, Jacob was returning from Padam-aram (modern Iraq) with his wives, children, livestock, and substance to his parental homeland. He was under a death threat from his brother, Esau who sold Jacob his birthright, but was extremely angered when Jacob engaged in trickery to actually obtain it. News had come to Jacob that Esau was coming with hundreds of armed men, so he assumed the worst and implemented a cunning plan of appeasement to preserve life and achieve peace.
Moreover, in the long night before meeting his brother, Jacob is said to have wrestled with an angel until the dawning of day. Refusing to release hold on the angel until he should be blessed, Jacob was given his blessing, and with it a change of name to “Israel.”
“Israel” is a composite of two words: “Sara(h)” “prince(ss), royalty, possessor of power” and “El” “God”; hence, one who has power with God and prevails. This new word became the name of the patriarch from that day forward. Moreover, that name was transferred to the aggregate of his offspring, the Hebrew people who were the Old Testament people of covenant with God, and through Whose power they prevailed often against impossible odds. They had a real advantage (inside track) with God, But it was not after the flesh, but of God’s choosing.
Today, the homeland of the Jewish people is referred to as Israel, but what made that name significant, the presence and power of God, was withdrawn upon their final rejection of their Messiah Who said of them, ”Behold, your house is left unto you desolate…” Luke 13:35.
Jesus had come not only to pay the sin penalty for mankind, which men could not pay, but to bring His covenant people out from under the dispensation of law into the marvelous New Covenant of Grace. A remnant did so follow the Lord, and He also graciously incorporated the nations of all who would believe and follow Him. Hence, the beloved apostle Paul tells us that the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ is “the Israel of God.” Galatians 6:16. So long as the grace of God is extended in this dispensation of time called “today,” men have the blessed privilege of being a part of that Israel, “One who has power with God and prevails, even His people of the New Covenant.” Do you have an obedient and talking relationship with God? It really is an advantage of blessings both in time and in eternity!
MARCH 13 – Get Your House in Order
2Ki 20:1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.
How often do we think of death and dying? Dying is not a favorite subject. Dying means not spending time with children and grandchildren. Dying means missing the pleasures of this world. My wife, born in southern Arkansas, raised in southern Arkansas, had no trouble moving north when I was called to pastor in the north except for one thing; the children were going to be over 700 miles away. That would be a drive of 11 hours to see children and grandchildren and now great-grandchildren. We want to live to be with our family. We want to live to enjoy the Razorbacks. Win or lose, this team and the Texas Teams and the Oklahoma teams are loved and watched. Let us not leave out hunting. I know Arkansas shuts down the first day of deer season.
Life and living have us under a grip. I know we say we are prepared to die but the question is there and seldom thought about, is your house in order? Have you studied as you should have? Have you lived as you should have? Have you witnessed as you should have? Have you worshiped as you should have? Have you been as faithful in the house of God as you should have? Have you compromised truth? Have you compromised practice? Have you been morally, ethically, and truthfully as righteous as possible? I know how I stand on this list. It is not good. I could have been more righteous than I have been in the past.
So what would your answer be if the Lord came to you tonight and said, get your house in order, for thou shalt die, and not live? Hezekiah prayed, “remember how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect hearty, and have done that which is good in thy sight.” Hezekiah destroyed false religion and pagan symbols that carried the people away from God.
What would our reply be?
JANUARY 29 – YE HAVE NOT BEEN THIS WAY BEFORE
Joshua 3:4 “… for ye have not passed this way heretofore. “
Our life is a path that we have not traveled before. There are others who have gone before us. Some are blessed with parents who have learned the pitfalls and the traps that would befall us on this dangerous journey. This journey is not for the faint of heart because of the perils that lie on each side of the path.
We are prepared by parents. God has blessed babies with parents. Parents are to prepare their children to live in a world that can be cruel and harsh. They are to be teachers that show maturity and common sense. They are to warn children of wrong paths. They are to teach children the work ethic to survive, manners to be able to get along with others and morals to live a life not besmirched with scandal and shame. Much of this is lost today because respect is not taught anymore. Manners have deteriorated. Parents are not teaching like they used to do.
Gods Word is a lamp unto our feet. Where parents fail or children rebel, there is the Word of God. Gods instruction manual is the Bible. It lays out the safest and best path for us to follow. It gives us a way of living that we are to pursue.
I find it amazing that parents that claim to be saved will find other pursuits for their children. They will teach them to allow activities such as ball games and otherworldly activities to take top billing from God. If we love our children we will make the house of God and worship more important than any social event or activity. Our desire is that they are saved. There is nothing in this world more important than having a lost child under the influence of the preaching of the Word so that they might be saved. Some parents are condemning their children to hell and calling it love.
God has prepared the way for those that are saved; whether raising a family, looking for employment, relations with others or living life to the fullest. We should study the Word and find the path that God has put before us.
May we learn obedience instead of rebellion. May we find that path where God has gone before us and smoothed the way so that we may have a rich life-giving abundant glory to God.
JANUARY 11 – EGYPT IS DESTROYED
Exodus 10:7 – “… Knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed. ,
Why does it take the portals of death to get stiff necked people to repent? The lost at times can be so hard headed when it comes to the Lord and the lost peoples’ refusal to repent. Let me give you an example. A had been dealing with a young couple over several months. I had witnessed to them with no results. My wife and I invited them to an event in another town and we picked them up in my Dodge pickup truck It had the seat behind so they were fairly comfortable. As we left the event I began witnessing to them again. An aside, while driving down the highway at 70 miles an hour, they are not going to walk away. As I got to the end of witnessing, the young lady said, “I am mad.” What about? “My parents never told me this.” That was as far as I got that night. A later visit where I dealt with a problem that came up between husband and wife, I once again brought up the issue of salvation. I said to each – you know you are a sinner? Both answered yes. You know that if you die in this condition you will go to hell. Both replied yes. Do you know how to be saved? Both answered yes. Then why aren’t you calling upon the Lord to save you. The said to the husband, “yeah why aren’t you. They are both lost to this day. My question to them would be, “do you not know yet that you are destroying your family”
The sad reality is that it is not only the lost that are in this condition. There are those that profess to know the Lord and yet stubbornly hold on to their favorite sins, some false doctrines and other things that are contrary to God’s Word. Some know the life they should live and refuse to live that life. Men called to preach refuse to preach. Some announce the call to preach and refuse to pastor. Others will pastor but limit the call to a certain distance from their home. It is so easy to look at some one else that is saved and be critical of them. We do not see our own faults. We all to often are so pleased with ourselves we do not have time to worry about whether God is pleased with us or not.
We are to be servants to the only living God. Notice that servants said Egypt is destroyed. We as servants of God need to be bold and wise. We need to be yielded to the will of God. May we reach out to the lost to reveal to them that their lives are destroyed. May we be sensitive to the moving of God in our lives. Now go witness to some one.