“What!? Little early with all that, ain’t it?”
Well, not really. I guess, technically, we never really left the holiday season. If you snoop around enough, you find that everyday somewhere is a holiday.
Take today, f’r instance.
Did you know that…
Today, October 25 is…
National Greasy Foods Day? (Yuck!)
National Frankenstein Day? (Double yuck!) Did you know they’ve made over 60 movies about him? And I ain’t never seen one! And bet I never will!
National Sour Day? (It’s a day to celebrate pessimistic attitudes and raise a half-empty glass at your own pity party! Triple Yuck!)
October 25 is George Bizet’s birthday? (You should go on youtube or spotify and listen to the tenor-baritone duet of "Au fond du temple saint" from his 1863 opera “Les pecheurs de perles” for his birthday! Unbelievable!!)
And it’s Coach Bobby Knight’s birthday! (I’ve heard when the doctor slapped his rear, Baby Bobby picked up a chair and threw it!)
And today’s Minnie Pearl’s birthday! She was born in 1912 in Centerville, Tennessee (I thought she was born at Grinder’s Switch?!)
And today is St. Crispin’s Day!
I love this holiday because it reminds me of the time on a Sunday morning at Triple C, when I ridiculously quoted the famous speech (which I had never heard of!) by Henry V from Shakespeare’s “Henry V”.
Since, I’ve NEVER read “Henry V” (and don’t know hardly a thing about the Henrys, whether there were XV or LV! Or CVX!) I could have been fined for quoting Shakespeare without a license! It’s actually a speech I found quoted in a book.
And, even tho’ I was WAAAY over my head, Shakespearily speaking, the speech IS awesome!
Hank, King of England, was trying to pump up the troops against the French on the day of the battle of Agincourt in 1415 (October 25th!). And they needed some encouragement!
They were all hungry…
a long way from home…
lots of them were suffering from chronic diarrhea (it’s what finally got Henry “in the end”)
As he got ready to give his super-important pre-battle speech, Henry #5 remembered that it was October 25, 1415…
St. Crispin’s Day!
It didn’t really mean much to the troops that it was the Day of St Crispin.
‘But it could!”, yelled the King!
Henry was dirty, sick, and weak. So was everyone! But the fight was before them! They needed courage their hearts didn’t yet feel.
Where would it come from?
Courage would come from thoughts of…
St Crispin’s Days yet-to-come!
Listen, weary warrior!
“…This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian!
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil, feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's Day.'
Old men forget…But he'll remember
What feats he did that day!
And Crispin’s Day shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers
(For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother)…
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day!”
Did you get it? This is a holiday that only a few notice.
St Crispin’s Day
But you and I have battles to fight today!
…against temptations to do or say stupid things we could regret to the end of our days…
…against depressions or despair, when those we love NEED us to believe for today that God is always good and wise and loving…
…against accusations of an unseen enemy who brings absurd slanderous thoughts to our minds, even tho’ we are clean and bright in the Lamb of God…
(And “that ol’ serpent” even trying (imagine this!) to make us believe those ridiculous thoughts come from our own hearts and not from him!)
And when we fight…
and the devil…
and when we win!…
next week and/or next year, we’ll be thankful we fought for spiritual victory and for our joy on this St Crispin’s Day!
AND angels and saints in heaven watch and cheer us! And years from now in Heaven, they will never forget that on this day, October 25, the year of our Lord 2019, you and I fought our battles!
Happy St. Crispin’s Day, everyone!
It’s gonna be an awesome day!
The sun is bright!
The sun is up!
It’s warm like the coffee
in my cup!
The air is clear,
The sky is blue!
What a day to praise
my Lord! For you!
Where’d that Dr Seussiness come from?!
Oh. I remember now…
I was reading this article about how a certain scholar had written in Life Magazine in the 1950’s explaining why kids (when I was one) were behind in reading. Mostly it had to do with the Dick and Jane readers they used and how booooooring they were!
I wish they’d asked us! I coulda told ‘em!
“See Jane run! Run, Jane! Run! Run!”
The scholar wrote that “…boys and girls are confronted with books that have insipid illustrations depicting the slicked-up lives of other children... All feature abnormally courteous, unnaturally clean boys and girls.... In bookstores anyone can buy brighter, livelier books featuring… children who behave naturally, i.e., sometimes misbehave…”
A publisher who read it challenged Dr Seuss to write a book that “…a first grader couldn’t put down.”
That’s what I’m talking about!
About real kids and times when stuff goes wrong!
Theodore Geisel (“Dr Suess")a wrote a story about a cat in a red and white hat complete with red bowtie who comes uninvited to a house of Sally and her brother, bored out of their minds on a rainy day and who proposes to entertain them with a balancing trick involving their conscientious fish!
“Why, we can have lots of good fun, if you wish
with a game that I call up-up-up with a fish!‘
'Put me down!' said the fish. 'This is no fun at all!
Put me down!‘ said the fish. 'I do NOT wish to fall!'
'Have no fear!' said the Cat. ‘I will not let you fall!
I will hold you up high as I stand on a ball!
With a book on one hand!
And a cup on my hat!
But that is not ALL I can do!…
Look at me! Look at me now!' said the Cat…”
Before long, the Cat was balancing on a ball
with a cup and a cake on the top of his hat…
the fish on a rake…
a little toy ship!
some milk in a dish
a little toy man…
and with his tail he held a red fan…
(The kids were freaking out by this time)
“I can fan with the fan as I hop on the ball!
But that is not all!
Oh, no! That is not all…
…then he fell on his head!
He came down with a bump
from up there on the ball.
And Sally and I saw…
ALL the things fall!!”
That’s one of the reasons I love the Book I read every morning!
It’s about those who weren’t…and aren’t…perfect…
Couldn’t be and (because of Jesus!) don’t have to be!
And it’s about the wise Savior I can trust even if I’m going through one of those times (and we will!) when you think you’ve got it all together until the moment when…
“all things fall”
One of my favorite Scriptures was written by a prophet for a time like that.
Habakkuk was going thru days when nothing was going well but he proclaimed that, because of the God we love, his faith was as strong as ever!
No matter what!
“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior…” (Habakkuk 3.17-18)
Mmmmm…I love that so much!
Or to quote it in the Dr Seuss translation…
“Tho’ the fig has no bud,
No grape falls with a thud,
Tho’ the olives ain’t growin’,
In the field there’s no sowin’,
Tho’ the sheep gives no wool,
the cows’ utters aren’t full,
My God’s praises I’ll sing!
And rejoice! He’s still King!”
Hope you’re having an awesome day! It’s gonna be a warmish weekend, weatherly speaking!
Hope it’s not too sweaty and sticky for a church I saw that is planning to worship outside this Sunday…
I was on my way to my fellers up at Morgan County Correctional on Tuesday and I passed a little Baptist church with one of those church signs that said…
“Join us this Sunday for worship service at Frozen Head State Park”
Which made me wonder…
“Frozen Head?! Why do they call it ‘Frozen Head’?”
Lots of state parks have goofy and/or quirky names!
I was trying to guess why a state park in Camdenton, MO is called, “Ha Ha Tonka State Park” (I guessed wrong on that one! It’s a Cherokee name…)
Every wonder why they call it, “Big Bone Lick State Park” in Union, KY? (I got that one wrong, too! It’s about an old salt lick where a Mastodon skeleton was dug up!)
In Stock Port, OH you can spend the day at “Big Bottom State Park” (It has to do with lots of fertile bottom farm land…I guessed that one right!)
“Frozen Head” is about a mountain that gets frosty in the fall…(And has nothing to do with the ghost stories they tell kids in Petros…)
So then I wondered…
“They’re having ‘services’ there…Why do they call what we do on Sunday a worship ‘service’?”
Of course, there’s always a load of serving going on!
Kids are growing…
folks are sharing Scriptures…
doors swing open…
music’s filling the air…
even the parking lot cones are waiting for you…
All because servants-at-heart is have been doing what they love to do!
But I looked it up, anyway…
“Wow! It comes from ‘Old French’…’servise’…from Latin before that…’servitium’…’First used in 1100 A.D.’ (That’s an old word!)…’a celebration of public worship’ from ‘an act of homage or worship’…’offered by a servant/slave of God’…’Mass, church ceremony…”
“So, that’s it!”
They call Sunday worship a “service” because…like the ancient priests in the Temple of old…you’re offering songs and praise to God as a service to Him!
That makes sense…
Psalm 50 says…
He doesn’t need it! I’m not really giving Him anything!
“The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets…
(About all the sacrifices and service they brought Him)…
“I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine!
And the cattle on a thousand hills!
I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.
If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it!” (Psalm 50:1,9-12)
He didn’t need their sacrifices! (Tho’ He asked for them!)
He doesn’t need our singing, worship, and praise! (Tho’ He asks for them!)
I LOVE praising God!! Singing to Him!!
But He doesn’t need our encouragement!!
We need His!!
And how do we get encouragement for all we have to face every difficult week?
By praising Him, of course!
By singing to Him!
And by remembering, from all the words we sing…
“I am a child of the Maker of stars…”
“He cherishes,treasures me…gave life and blood!”
“He is my Friend!”
“I am His Belooooooved!!”
Now I’m ready for whatever’s ahead!!
He asks for our praise, not because He needs to hear it (tho’ He loves it!) but because we need to do it!!
Praising Him…worshiping Him is the most self-serving serving we do!!
See Sunday at worship service!
If you come with a frozen head, you’ll leave with a warm heart!!
Hope y’all had an awesome fourth! Next holiday comin’ up is…lemme think…uh…Labor Day?
So…we had a weird moment yesterday!
Well, actually, I didn’t realize it was weird ’til today!
We got talking about one of our dogs…which (“whom”?) we haven’t talked about in…forever!
And today I realized that yesterday was the anniversary of the day that dog died…
That was a sadder Fourth than I would have thought it was going to be before it happened…
I mean, we knew it was coming.
He was a humongous St. Bernard and was about 140 in dog years.
Couldn’t see or hear.
He could just smell.
And he did!! A lot sometimes! (Before Tina shampooed all 200-somethin’ lbs of him!)
I’m not a big “dog-guy” (and Harley was a big dog!) and I’ve never really had a desire to have a bunch of dogs. I’m a big Tina-guy, however, and she’s always loved them!
Consequently, we hadn’t had that many dog-less years together.
We’ve had dogs that were “rescue dogs”…
the kind you rescue from ending up on death row in the pound…
”dead dog walking”…
Harley was one of those.
A lot of times, people get big dogs and than realize that they eat half a house daily, and do other things in a big way, as well, and decide they don’t want them. We got two St. Bernards almost at once that way.
I wasn’t sure where it was going to end and how many “saints” we’d eventually wind up with, but I was getting prepared to celebrate All Saints Day!
One of them was kinda grouchy and mean…well, not exactly mean…just mean-ish.
But Harley was the sweetest.
He really was the sweetest dog we every had.
Always kind…always wanted to touch you.
If you walked down the street, he wanted to rub up against you when you strolled.
(It was a good way to wind up in a ditch!)
He just wanted to be around you.
He just wanted a pat on the head.
He just wanted to please you. He was just sweet.
And when he was old and walking into poles and trees and stuff, it didn’t bother him at all.
He ate the worst smelling dog food everyday…same thing everyday…and never complained!
When he was really old, he slept most of the time. He snored like Bronco Nagurski and you could hear it all over. It is quiet now out there at night.
And I was kinda surprised how much I missed him.
He was just a dog.
But in a way he was more and I didn’t know it.
He was kind of a mentor.
Like a spiritual mentor.
A mentor who left dog hair everywhere.
Like the way he just wanted to be around us and how he was happiest with that.
And he just wanted to please you.
And I want to be like that with our Lord!
Just happy to be around Him.
Content to know He’s there.
Only goal is to please Him and that’s all.
And if I know my Lord is pleased with me, I just wag my tail, spiritually speaking, and I’m totally content and filled.
And what if a person could be so kind all the time, and so sweet to people that when you’re not around, it’s what they miss the most. To live so that when you’re no longer there, no one will remember a time when you barked at or bite anyone…
Mother Teresa of India said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better or happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting”
Don’t lick people in the face, though. It’s not as cool as dogs think it is.
Days are hot!
But the water’s cool!
(Yikes! I didn’t mean to bust into poetry…)
Altho’ that reminds me (now that it’s camping season!) of a poem on a gravestone in the cemetery at Elkmont campground in the Smokies I saw (and stood there and memorized!)…
It was for a married couple buried side-by-side in the graveyard up by the “m”,”n” and “o” campsites in the back across the creek from the restored Appalachian Club House…
“Once in your life you find someone special,
your lives intermingle and somehow you know.
This is the start of all you have longed for.
A love you can build on, a love that will grow.”
I love that! (sniff…)
Somebody thought a while about that one!
I remember reading about one gravestone that said…
“He saw the train and tried to duck it.
He hit the gas and then the bucket.”
“Take heed all ye who here pass by.
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you shall be.
Prepare thyself to follow me.”
Underneath someone scratched…
“To follow thee, I’m not content
Until I know which way you went!”
Billy Graham’s wife always said she wanted them to write on hers what the sign says at the last of the orange barrels when they’re doing work along the interstate. And that’s what it says!!
June 10, 1920-June 14, 2007
End of construction. Thank you for your patience.”
So, I decided what I want on ours if Tina and I go together.
“Tom ’n Tina
They loved each other and they loved her beans!
Just brown one pound ground beef
Add one half of a kielbasa
Seven cans of beans…red, black, kidney, you pick!
I/2 cup of ketchup
1/4 bar-b-que sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
two table spoons molasses
splash of pickle juice (that’s the secret!)
a little chili powder
half an onion
pinch of cayenne powder
Crock pot for 4-6 hours on low…
…And he saith unto me, Take it, and eat it up!” -Revelation 10:9
I like it! (sniff!)
That way, when we’re gone, and it’s the second Sunday of the month, and y’all are having fellowship meal together after worship at Triple C like we’ve always done…
…and like we’re doing THIS Sunday(!!!)…
somebody can just go out, read our gravestone and know what to make!!
We’ll be gone but our beans will go on!
Remember! Fellowship Meal this Sunday!
Tina’s beans will be there!
Hope you will too!
Hope you’re having an awesome, praise-filled, joyous, heart-full-of-thanks day!
And if you’re not, maybe I can help!
Just by reminding you that you are a child of the living God, the King of kings! And that He is working out a wonderful plan for you because He loves you so much! You’re His because He wanted you before the world was ever made! And what Jesus came to do was to buy you (that’s what “redeem” means) so you could be His! He really and specifically wanted you!
Seriously, don’t you just need from time to time for someone who loves you to remind you of how Jesus sees you?
You had a hard day at work and maybe got someone upset without meaning to…
Or you remember something you shouldn’ta done but you done did…
or something you should’ve said but didn’t…
Or maybe there’s an old memory rattlin’ around in yer noggin of something that somebody said about you that you can’t seem to shake…
And we have an invisible enemy who doesn’t help at all, always trying to remind us of famous failures and flops of the past…
It helps when someone simply tells you how the One Who matters most sees you!
Y’all know Joni Earickson Tada, right? She became a quadriplegic at seventeen and has had a world-wide ministry to those with disabilities (and the rest of us!) for fifty years. She is th’ bomb! Insightful…encouraging…She’s what the last book of the Bible calls, an “overcomer”!
One of the million ways God has used her is to distribute wheelchairs around the world in countries that are so poor that paraplegics and others who need them don’t normally have them.
Once Joni and her amazing team were doing a wheelchair distribution in a tiny village in Uganda called Nyarushanje. A Ugandan woman explained that her husband, Sema, had fallen from a tree and broken his right leg and hip. He had also suffered a severe brain injury in the fall. While she told his story, he just sat there with his face pointed down, his chin sunken into his chest…silent. He was almost in a catatonic state, Joni observed…
”shrunken and frozen”.
He hadn’t spoken…
or been spoken to…
His wife didn’t even try anymore.
She cared for him but didn’t converse with him.
“What’s the use? He isn’t talking back.”
One the team, a guy named Dana, shared with them that those with brain injuries really need what they seem to care least about. They need someone to talk to. Or at least, someone who will talk to them.
Dana, the Joni and Friends volunteer, lifted Sema’s face and began to speak to him.
He told him things everyone who loves Jesus needs to hear…
…that he was a man like anyone else…
…that he was an equal and a brother…
…that God loved him and that Jesus died for him…
…that he wasn’t disabled because God was angry or punishing him, but that God valued him deeply…
Suddenly…after a long time…
Sema woke up!
He began to move his hands, look around and smile at everyone!
He even laughed!
And he spoke!
He broke his silence and spoke for the first time in years!
The two guys were hugging and the tears were flowing!
As Sema began to try out wheelchairs, he reached over once more for a hug. He pulled Dana close and whispered in his ear in perfect English…
“You are my brother and my friend! And God loves me!”
You know, Joni figured that initially, Dana spoke encouragement to silent Sema for two minutes before the miracle happened. I was having a crummy day the other day for a little while. Then on the phone somebody spoke encouragement to me and told me God loved me and that I was precious to Him.
Probably lasted two minutes.
Best two minutes of the day!
Which got decidedly better after that!
It made me want to tell him…
“You’re my friend and my brother…
“And God loves me!”
I know you’re having a rain-filled Friday morning, but I hope you’re having a praised-filled one as well!
Y’ know, there’s nothing you can do about atmospheric conditions outside your house, school or office, but there’s nothing like praise for changing the conditions of the atmosphere inside your heart!
Nothing helps like praise goin’ up when the rain’s comin’ down!
And I’m not just talking about the power of music.
I’m not just talking about…
“Singin’ in the rain! Just singin’ in the rain! What a glorious feeling! I’m happy again!”
What I’m talking about is the power of praise to change how you see everything!
There are a lot of people who know a lot about music and singing, but who don’t know about the secret of praise. And even though they wrote the songs we hear or even sing, a lot of times, they weren’t any happier for having written them.
Here’s a sad story.
One morning in January, 1864 they found a guy bleeding badly on the bathroom floor of a NYC “flop house” where homeless people and alcoholics could spend the night for a few pennies. The dude had seriously cut himself trying to shave when he was in no shape to attempt that. No one knew who the poor soul was. They took him to Bellevue Hospital, where he died three days later. All he owned was a dirty, old raggedy coat with 38 cents in his pocket…and a scrap of paper with the words, “Dear friends and gentle hearts”.
“Hmmm…what could these words mean?...”
Turned out, they were the words to a song.
A song he himself was writing.
In fact…turned out, he had written a lot of songs.
“Camptown Races! Sing this song! Do-dah! Do-dah!”…
“I Dream of Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair”…
and “Oh, Susanna!”
and “My Ol’ Kentucky Home”
and “Old Folks at Home”
and a whole lot more.
It is SO sad to think that even though Stephen Foster had so many pieces of music flowing from his heart, he never found how to get peace to flow INTO his heart!
Praise is so much different than just listening to or singing along to your favorite song!
Praise is singing to our awesome God what we believe and know to be true about Him! Something happens when you’re singing words of faith…singing to Him what you believe and trust about Him!
You not only fill your car or your house with these words…
You fill your own heart!
Singing “Halleluyah!” does for you what “Do-dah! Do-dah!” never could!
Exodus 15.1 says…
“You are our strength and song!”
Hebrew scholars tell us this could be translated, “You are our strengthening song!”…
“When I sing to You, I’m strong!”
Here are the words to a song by one of my favorite song writers…
“I am a child of the Maker of stars.
Oh, the One knows everything hand-made my heart.
He cherishes, treasures me,
Gave life and blood.
He is my Friend
and I am His beloved!”
If you know the tune, why not sing them?
You can’t do much about the weather outside, but you can do something about “weather” you’re happy inside!
Don’t leave home without it.
I saw ‘em!
You've seen ‘em!
It's happening, folks!!
So quietly…so slowly…and suddenly…
IT'S DOGWOOD TIME IN TENNESSEE!!
They're just starting to peep out, but I get the feeling that they're gonna be spectacular this spring!
(Dogwood Arts Festival open officially on Thursday!)
And amazingly we’re not the only state with beeeaaauuutiful Cornus Floridas!
In Missouri, the dogwood’s the state tree.
In North Carolina, it’s the state flower!
In Virginia it’s the state flower AND state tree!
They almost voted it the state bird!
At Christmas, you put lights and stuff all over your house and yard to make it Christmasy. But in the spring you just sit back and…ahhh!
Sometimes people shine lights and tie plastic Easter eggs on their dogwoods.
But aren’t they beautiful…
aren’t they the best…
just the way God made them?
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the legend of the dogwood…
The story is that once dogwoods were thick and tall, like oaks. The story says that the cross that they made Jesus carry through the streets of Jerusalem was made of this tree…
”When Christ was on earth, the dogwood grew
To a towering size with a lovely hue.
Its branches were strong and interwoven,
And for Christ's cross its timbers were chosen…”
So, God decided that since the dogwood was used for the cross of our Lord, it would never be large and stately again, but gnarly and twisted…
“'The petals shall have bloodstains marked brown,
And in the blossom's center a thorny crown.
All who see it will think of me,
Nailed to a cross from a dogwood tree.’”
Only thing is…that legend isn’t true.
The truth is that God made them short and gnarly and decidedly unstately.
And as the sun shines longer in the day and the days are warmer than winter days have been,
and spring wakes them and sap rises in them,
they have a beauty that makes my heart want to sing…
And really, there was no need to make up stuff about the dogwood to make them any more graceful and lovely than they are already.
Aren’t they beautiful…
aren’t they the best…
just the way God made them?
And the story of our Lord Jesus…
Creator of heaven and earth…
of rain and sunshine…
of tulips, daffodils, redbuds, grass and dogwoods…
born into a poor, poor family…
growing to be, as the Gospel of Luke tells us…
“the favorite of God and men”…
dying for love of those who despised Him…
rising to win their hearts and wills…
living to help us walk through this world and to one day bring us home…
There’s really no need to invent and add legends to this…
to this life, this love, this walk, this gift of blood, and this heart for us.
The story of Jesus…
isn’t it beautiful…
isn’t it best…
just the way God told it?
Hope you’re having an awesome one, altho’ I know it may be crazy at work and super tough to get anything done today. I bet it’s that way every June 22!
National “Take Your Dog To Work” Day!
I mean, who comes up with this stuff?
At some point in reading this, you’ll probably have to take a break to take Barfy out to “go”!
I’m just thankful I work up at church and we don’t have to bring a dog to work today!
Or any day!
Because the Bible says, when it’s talking about the Kingdom of God…
“Outside are the dogs”! (Check it out! Revelation 22.15!)
Altho’ we did have a dog in our church in Milan, Italy. It belonged to Olga, who was blind. It would be calm and quiet until the last “Amen” and then it’d go nuts! How it knew that was the end, we never knew but since “Amen” is a Hebrew word, we used to say it was the only dog who spoke biblical languages!
A coupla years ago, I had to give the sermon at St. Andrews Church of Scotland in Lisbon, Portugal (who knew?)…
I dressed up a little for the occasion ‘cause I didn’t knew their church ways, and a British guy came in wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt and he had a little fluffy dog on a leash…
“Hope you don’t mind the dog, Rev,” he said. “Won’t make a fuss…”
“It doesn’t bother me,” I replied. “But I have a rule. If there’s a dog in church, I’m not wearing a tie!” And I took it off!
Today is also National Chocolate Eclair Day! (I wouldn’t know where to get one to celebrate!)
And National Onion Ring Day! (Only thing that’ll make your breath worse than that dog’s breath you’ve got at work today!)
I didn’t realize that every day of the year is National Something-er-other Day…
Why, just this month…
June 1 was National Heimlich Maneuver Day! (“Give someone a hug they’ll never forget!”)…
June 8 was National Upsy Daisy Day (?!)…
June 3 was National Repeat Day…
June 3 was National Repeat Day…
June 10 was National Herbs Day…(I didn’t have thyme for that one!)
I think we need National “Don’t Call Anyone A Name Day”!
Seems like to me, that even tho’ there are loads of things that we could (and should!) be upset about…
more than ever before…
thru posts or tweets…
with lips or thumbs…
Folks are speaking about each other and AT each other in ways that are increasingly unkind.
If I need to express my opinion to someone or someones…
to “friends” or “followers”…
there HAS to be a way to do it without using the words “idiot!”…or “moron!”…or “*&^%#@!”
Lately, I’ve been going thru the prophets at the end of the Old Testament…Obadiah…Amos…Micah…And there are lots and lots of severe criticisms of much that is in our papers today. Plenty of warnings and judgments.
But no insults. No personal name-calling. No “you stupid jerks!”
One scholar at Georgetown said that the increasing incivility in our society is “infectious like a bug or virus…Not only do people reciprocate, but they tend to stoop lower rather than higher…It’s putting us in an unfortunate place…”
Ephesians 4 has a perfect word for the followers of Jesus (Not His twitter followers! His real followers!)…
“Do not let any unwholesome word come out of your mouths…And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the Day of redemption. ..”(Ephesians 4.29-30)
The word “unwholesome” means “rotten”. The Greek word is “sepros” It’s related to the word “septikos”… It’s where we get the word “septic”… As in, septic tank! Phuuuu!
Let other people do it. Let other people say that stuff. You can’t stop ‘em any way. But not Jesus followers!
Because we’re being prepared for “the Day of redemption”!
When Jesus is King of all the world!
And when that happens…
When He rules every heart on earth…
King of all lips and thumbs…
National “Don’t Call Anyone A Name Day” will never end!
That’ll be the day!
Hope you’re having a blessed, joy-filled day! That’s what Freddy Smith always wishes us at the end of his shift of bluegrass music from six to nine in the morning on 89.9 WDVX…He plays about three Gospel songs (“…to kindly tune up your heartstrings”) but right before, he always signs off with, “Have a blessed day!”
And if there’s something you think you really need, just ask!
Jesus said, “Ask! And it’ll be give to you!…Whoever asks, receives!” (Matthew 7.7)
Sometimes all you have to do is ask!
Once a mom packed a lunch of a few fish sandwiches for her little boy ‘cause he was going on an outing in the country with some friends to listen to Jesus and would be gone for most of the day. “As fast as he’s growing, he’ll be starving by eleven!” she thought.
But somehow, loads of folks hadn’t thought ahead as far as lunchtime, and after listening to Jesus’s longer-than-expected talk, thousands of bellies began to grumble in unison. But one of the friends of Jesus named Andrew somehow got the kid to give up his lunch to Jesus! The Lord blessed the lad’s few fish and pitas, and miraculously and exponentially, multiplied them, so that more than 5000 folks were invited to an unexpected picnic!
“How’d you get that kid to give up his only lunch?” his buddies wanted to know.
“Sometimes, all you have to do is ask!”
The other day, a friend in Missouri emailed me and asked me to video a personal message to surprise our own Bill Reazer to celebrate his 20th(!) year on Young Life staff…
So, Thomas made a silent video of Lee, Pottsie and me sittin at a table at Panera chatting. Slooooowly, the camera scanned to the table beside us where, all by itself, a loaf of french bread sat…
Y’see, one morning maybe eighteen years ago, Lee, Pottsie, Bill and I were sitting down at that same table, talking about the Book of Romans and other intense stuff. Next to us, this older dude in an open-buttoned shirt (Tom Jones-style) and a big gold chain was chowing down and reading, totally ignoring us. Then, seemingly done, he got up…and left. Not only that but, he left…a big, untouched hunk of that awesome French bread they sell down there.
“Seems a shame to leave that,” Bill said. He looked at me (always hungry). “If I snag it off his plate, will you eat it?”
WITHOUT HESITATION, I answered, “You know it!”
Bill looked this way…then that way…and sloooooowwwwwly leeeaaaned over and just as he reached out to grab that bread with my name all over it….
“Wow! You get up for a second and folks are stealing your food!”
It was him!
“Oops!” said Bill.
“Oops!” said I.
“Ha!” said Pottsie
“Uh…we…uh…thought that you were…um…maybe…uh…gone…”
“Well, my son’s a manager here! I’m calling him over!”
I immediately realized that I didn’t know anything about how that whole posting bail thing worked. Just then, his son came over.
“These boys are so hungry, they’re having to steal food. Could you bring them a whole loaf of that French bread?”
“Sure, dad. No problem.”
As the son threw it down before our unbelieving eyes, the dad looked at us and said, as he was leaving…
“All you have to do is ask.”
Wow! If you’re like me, even a week after last Sunday night, you’re still…
…tappin’ those toes…
…snappin’ those fingers…
…hummin’ stuff to yourself that makes no sense at all…(“…Bop bopa-a-lu a whop bam boo!”)
…or puffin’ on those candy cigs…
(Actually, I had to pass on those…When I was about nine, I skipped the candy ones and went straight for the Winston Filter Kings with the flip-top pack I stole from my dad…So I thought it was best to just avoid the temptation altogether!)
Last Sunday night of “50’s rock ’n roll” was just the grooviest!
All those cool cats dressed like greasers!
Wearing those 50’s threads!
Guys’ hair slicked back in a D.A.! I even think I saw one cat’s hair in a jelly roll!
There wasn’t a square in the joint!
And those tunes were really cookin’!
(I was just glad it didn’t get so loud that the neighbors called the heat and the fuzz showed up!)
Lots of folks were really goin’ ape and I dug it so much!
Crazy, man, crazy!
So glad everyone decided to not stay at the pad but go ahead and make the scene!
It was so nifty!
Like, buzzin’, cuz!
You know, one really dopey thing I said in church that morning was that our “50’s night” was going to be “just for fun” with no one trying to “sneak Jesus in on anyone…”
(And what I meant was that we weren’t going to offer an evening of fun and music with the unspoken intention of, once we’d corralled everyone into one place, slipping in a gospel sermonette to our unprepared guests…Which really isn’t very cool,man!)
It was a dopey thing to say because Jesus slipped in anyway!
I’m not quite sure how He did it, but in my heart, after an evening of pure joy and fun with those I love, all I could think and feel was…
“Lord Jesus, You are so amazing!”
Instead of “bop bopa-a-lu a whop bam boo!”, I was thinking, “Jesus, I love You so much!”
And I’m not quite sure where THAT came from!
Wherever there is pure love and pure joy, it’s because the Maker of love and joy…Who is the God of love and joy…is there!
The reason we feel love and joy is because the loving, joyful Maker of all, made a world where love and joy could be!
Because they live in His heart!
They live in the world that He made because they live in the Maker of the world!
The Maker of love and joy is the God of love and joy!
One time, St. Paul told a crowd of folks who knew nothing of God, that our God had not left us without evidence that He is there…or better, here!
Check out this awesome verse!!
“Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven…he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” (Acts 14.17)
Did you get that?!
He’s giving you rain from Heaven to prove He exists!
He made you to need water to live and He sends it to you from the sky! See? He there!
He made you to need food to eat…and He gives it to you! Get it?
When you chomp into a juicy burger with a HOME-GROWN tomato’s juice is running to your elbows…
or when you scoop up and shovel in that HOME-MADE peach ice cream…mmmmmm!!!…
you can almost feel Him say, “I thought of that just for you! I am here!”
And when you get a whiff of pure joy…
just a moment of “This is soooo fun!”…
you can almost hear the Maker of joy say…
Jesus’ first miracle was making enough wine at a wedding so that the music and dancing could go on and on! And He didn’t want anyone to know He was the One Who made it!
“Huh?! Why not?”
No need! Because in the end…
in the heart…
everyone knows (whether they admit it or no)…
there wouldn’t be music…
or a sweet marriage…
When you have an unexpected moment when you feel so happy that you want to burst…
just be still…
You just might hear Him say…
“I’m right here!”
And then you can say with confidence…
“…Well, Bop bopa-a-lu a whop bam boo!”
I found out last night that I’ve had a sadder week than I thought I’d had.
So did you.
I lost a friend and didn’t know it.
Until last night when someone told me.
Curtis use to walk (slowly!) everywhere he went. I’d often see him walking along the turnpike, hair slicked back, thick glasses on, with his buttoned up vest, and often carrying something that turned out to be a fiddle.
And he was good at it!
He used to play it at the flea market and outside Jefferson Drug store and at pick-up bluegrass sessions when he could find one.
So, one day it was kind of rainy and I saw him walking (slowly!) along and I stopped and asked him if he needed a ride. He had a sweet and gentle country voice because he had a very sweet and gentle country heart. I always felt he wasn’t quite looking at me when he talked. I could tell he struggled to see. I didn’t know he was born…on Christmas day, 1942…almost completely blind.
We found out we both loved bluegrass music and Jesus and we were immediately friends. He was hoping to come the Triple C and play someday for us. When I’d see him walking and I had space in the front seat of my truck (that is, when it wasn’t crammed full with all the books, backpacks and piles of junk I need through the day), or if I wasn’t late to something (as I usually am!) I’d stop and ask Curtis if he needed a ride home. He lived with his brother down on Hwy 61 by Mike’s small engine shop in Marlow. We’d talk and laugh, share Scriptures and plan on when we were going to try to get folks together who liked to “pick” (as bluegrass musicians say). We exchanged numbers (he held his flip phone super close to his right eye after taking his glasses off, to punch my number in) and I had his number in mine.
He’d call me from time to time to tell me that folks were playing somewhere and “…d’ya think you could come and pick the banjo, Tom?”
I never was able to. Always had something more important I needed to be at.
That’s what I thought at the time.
Wednesday morning Curtis was hit by a truck crossing 61 by Old Bately Rd.
Our world is a little dimmer for not having him in it.
He never had anything really.
Except the beauty, humility and “aroma of Christ”.
No home of his own.
Except the Father’s house, his Heavenly home.
No titles or degrees.
Except “saint in Christ Jesus”
“St Curtis of Marlow!”
I wish I had taken…found…made…the time to pick with Curtis.
But one day…
Turns out…amazingly…in less than a week, Curtis was going to receive the honor of a lifetime! He was going to be one of the featured guest musicians…along with many of Nashville’s best acoustic music stars…at a concert called “Crossing the Cumberlands” at the Nashville’s Tennessee Performing Arts Center, put on by “Friends of the Cumberland Trail”.
On their promotional ads, it said of Curtis…
““His only profession has been singing on street corners, at flea markets, churches, diners…But he carries the compelling, holy, last-of-its-kind repertoire and style of a grand tradition.”
Finally, people would have known who he really was!
Hope you're having an awesome day!
Or maybe I should say, "I hope no one's having a non-awesome day!”
Or maybe, "Hope nobody's not having a non-awesome day!"
I'm a little confused on how to say it because the other day I was going down the ol’ turnpike near Melton Lake Drive and I wound up behind a Sara Lee truck. On the back it said…
"Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee!"
I thought, "Is that right?"
"Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee…" hmmm...
Shouldn't it be, "Nobody doesn't NOT like it"?
Why does that sound righter to me? (Or is it "more right"?)
It’s saying, “Someone doesn't like Sara Lee. That person is Nobody".
There is someone who doesn't like it but that person doesn't exist.
How's this?…"There is nobody who does not like it"
Wouldn't it be simpler to say, "Everybody likes Sara Lee!"
It's kind of like this lady who came up to us in the old Atlanta Bread coffee shop in Turkey Creek one morning around 7:15…
"Excuse me but I'm from Massachusetts and I'm here for a conference. Last night I asked a person from here in Tennessee if he would give me a ride to the meetings this morning. He answered, 'I wouldn't care to.' Does that mean he's coming, or not coming?"
We assured her that it means he was on his way!
I remember once one of our awesome friends spilled some ketchup on his shirt and he felt that this was something that happened with regularity almost every time he ate out. A little blob of something on his shirt. "That does never NOT happen! I should just wear a T-shirt with a target on the front that says, 'Never Not!' "
Reminds me of some verses in the Letter to the Hebrews. It's in chapter thirteen…Verses five and six…
"…Be content with what you have, because God has said,'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid…' "
Actually that verse has a lot of "double negatives" in it. In correct English, you shouldn't really use them. For example, you shouldn't say, "I ain't never seen nothing like that before!"
You should either say, "I have NEVER seen…" Or, "I ain't EVER seen…"
But to use two negatives together, as in, "I ain't never seen…" strictly speaking, ain't correct.
You know, the person who wrote Hebrews was writing to folks who were having really difficult times because they had come to follow and love Jesus. To know Him makes your life and days so much better in a million ways! But following Him also makes life and times tougher for millions of our brothers and sisters in Jesus around the world! Surrounded by families and societies that don't understand or appreciate His love and His beauty, they often find themselves alone or hurting because of their new and amazingly "stubborn" faith in Him.
A person who is new to the walk with Jesus and confused by problems that not only don't vanish but in some ways even multiply since they have trusted in Him, might ask themselves…
”Has God left me!
What did I do?
Why is He so…
Are You still there?"
It is always super confusing when life gets tough even though you have Him. There are tons of questions that have no answer that would make sense to us. No one knows why such tough things happen, really. I think it's probably more complicated than we could understand. But there is one thing we can be sure of! The whole entire time…
He loves you more than you could know…
more than you love yourself!
And He is doing things that are amazing and couldn't have happened in any other way!
And He has never…
NEVER EVER leave you for one moment!
In fact, just so there's no doubt about it, in the Greek language (which is the language they wrote those New Testament letters and stories in) Hebrews 13:5 literally says…
"Indeed, He Himself has said, 'No not will I leave you, not even, no not will I forsake you!' "
Wow! "Not even, no not!" That's not a double negative!
It's a triple!
I guess it would be easier to just say, "I will always be will you!"
And He did say!
Right before He went up into the sky and clouds and out of sight as they wondered, "What?! Is He leaving us?" He said, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of time!" (Matthew 28:20)
But there will be difficult moments when it's super important to know that…
not only is He with me…
He has NOT…
will NOT ever…
won’t NEVER NOT leave us!
Among those who love Jesus, nobody doesn't like knowing that!
What a beautiful day ahead! The only way to make it better is to just add praise and a bucket full of thankfulness!
I almost ruined an awesome day recently tho’…
“How could you ruin a day as beautiful as this?!”
So, the Knoxville Covenant Health Marathon was on a Sunday a few weeks ago…
You have to go to the Knoxville Convention Center on Saturday and pick up all the stuff they give you…Your number and four safety pins, your T-shirt with “Knoxville Covenant Health Marathon 2018” on it, a ticket to a Smokies game(!), granola bars (for some reason)…
And there was this stuff called “Utterly Smooth” and it came in this little poach-y thing.
I learned a secret to running those long-ish races a few years ago. After eleven miles or so, if you stuff a half’a banana or a cookie in your face every three miles, it really helps keep your energy level up so you don’t “hit the wall”, which means “run outta gas”. Lots of times, instead of a banana, they have this stuff called “Goo” in various flavors. It’s somewhere between runny fudge and pudding you left out of the fridge overnight. Chocolate’s the best, and it comes in a little poach-y thing like ketchup at McD’s. You just rip the corner off, shove in your mouth, and squeeze!
So, with a thankful heart, I slipped that “Utterly Smooth” in the pocket of my shorts for the right moment along the course…And forgot about it.
Since they had tables with bananas, jelly beans, and goos, I didn’t need my secret
‘pick-me-up” and didn’t think about it till Tina and I were walking (slooooowly!) to the car when it was all over…
I thought about my “Utterly Smooth”, reached for it, and thought about slamming it, when Tina said…
“You don’t EAT that!”
“NO! It’s ‘Utterly Smooth body lotion’ !!”
“Whoa!”, I thought! “I don’t know what ‘body lotion’ is, but it doesn’t sound tasty!”
Then we both thought together…
“What if I’da pulled it out without knowing it at…say…mile seventeen, and scushed it into my mouth? And swallowed it?!”
We both thought of the image of a tired, sweaty me, leaning over losing my cookies…and bananas…and body lotion…by the side of the road. And not making it to Neyland and the finish line…
Thank you, Lord that I forgot about it! And that Tina knew what “Utterly Smooth” is for (I still don’t completely understand what you do with it!), and that she stopped me at just the right moment!
These are the lessons I learned…
1) If you’re going to make “Utterly Smooth” such that it could wind up in a runner’s bag of junk they give out before a race, don’t put it in those poach-y things that ketchup…AND GOO!…comes in. And don’t use brown, chocolate color letters on the package…
2) The words, “Utterly Smooth” are big enough, but the words “Body Lotion” shouldn’t be in tiny, little letters. Those words should be WAY bigger! People running races aren’t wearing their glasses…
3) Jesus said “It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you, but what comes out of your mouth that defiles you…” (Matthew 15). What He meant was that there isn’t anything that you could eat that would make you “defiled”…ie., morally worse. Some people believe that eating certain types of food can contaminate your heart.
Jesus says, “Not so!”
But He told us that what matters is what comes out of that mouth! What comes out of my mouth…and not what goes in it…can make me a worse person.
Complaining! Complaining is an implicit confession of faith. Or “unfaith”. I’m saying…without saying it…“God doesn’t know what He’s doing! And/or He doesn’t care about me!” You can’t believe that without being the worse for it!
Or if subtle bragging about myself and my #blessed life comes out of my mouth (or thumbs on instagram!)…or self-righteous and opinionated criticism of someone pops out of my face (or on a FB rant!)…
…Peter says “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble…” And my prideful words send me over to the opposing side! I can’t say that mess without being the worse for it!
The stuff I say can hurt not only other people, but also…and mostly…me!
It’s the stuff that comes out of that mouth…
and not the stuff that goes in it…
that make a person worse for it!
But, I bet if you eat body lotion, something bad WOULD happen.
Hope today is an awesome one!
There was a nice thing I was kinda hoping (and praying!) would happen sometime ago…
And then it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen…
I even forgot about it…
And then…out of the blue… it did!
Nicer than I was hoping it would be!
It isn’t always that way, I know.
I’ve had loads of times when I’ve asked God for things and He has had to say, “No, son”.
If I ever pushed and squirmed and schemed to make it happen anyway, I usually would find out why it wasn’t a good idea.
I’m kinda like the kid who was saying his prayers with his mom and dad before bed…”And God, bless mommy and daddy…”
Then he yelled as loud as he could, ‘“AND GOD I REALLY REALLY WANT A BMX BIKE FOR CHRISTMAS!!”
“Honey, you don’t have to yell. God isn’t deaf.”
“Yeah, but Grampa almost is and he’s all the way downstairs!”
After you’ve waited for something from God…
And maybe even kind of forget about it…
He does something that is more than you asked…or even hoped for!
I can’t stop thinking about old memories living up there between my ears about Billy…
I loved Billy Graham so much!
And Ruth was such an amazing person! Honest, gifted, super compassionate, funny…
They asked her what she wanted on her tombstone when she was gone.
“I want what it says on the sign at the end of road work they’re doing on the interstate after you’ve been sitting in long delays in your car”
“What’s that?” they asked.…
Billy’s body will be laid by hers today. By the tombstone that says…
“End of construction. Thank you for your patience!”
Ruth grew up in China where her dad was a missionary surgeon. Once time in 1980, as she and her sisters and brother were returning to China to visit their childhood home, they stopped at the US State Department to see if there was finally an answer to a request they’d made for a Chinese Christian woman to get her son and daughter out of China so they could join her in California. Every effort proved unsuccessful.
But the mom told her she could wait on God.
She told about a penny-less little kid in China who stopped and stared at cherries on a sidewalk fruit stand.
The kind grocer looked down.
The boy nodded.
“Stick out your hands.”
“C’mon! Stick out your hands!”
Frustrated, the grocer scooped up two handfuls and poured them out into the boy’s shirt that the kid held out by the hem.
“Why wouldn’t you put your hands out?” an old lady asked the boy.
“His hands were bigger than mine.”
“Unto Him Who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we could ask or even think…”
(The kids made it to the Golden State!)
Hope you're having an awesome Friday! Hope it's filled with thanks and praise as loud as the cheering we'll hear from U S Bank Stadium in Granted, Minnesota on Sunday! I remember seeing a cartoon once where two pastors were at a game and one asked the other, "Who are you for?" The other said, ""I don't even know who's playing. I just like to be somewhere where folks are excited about something!"
Soooo thankful it's not that way at Triple C!
Here's a thought…
If you run a 5K race in 30 minutes, that's pretty good! Ever run one? It's a loooong way!! About three miles! What if you could threw a football almost three miles?
Like Tom Brady did this year!
That's right! It took Tom 581 tries, but of those throws, 385 were caught for 4,577 yards of completions! That’s 2.6 miles of completions! And, if you took all the throws he threw just this year, including uncaught balls, he probably threw like five miles of passes! Unreal!
In Tom Brady lifetime stats…
beside his two punts(!), all on surprise third down plays…
his two pass receptions (!) for a total of 30 yards…
and 11 tackles (!)…
he has completed in his NFL career over 37.59 MILES of passes!!
(Or "TR" as he liked to be called)
You know…Theodore Roosevelt. He's the one who really saved the game.
I read something about it the other day…
If you think football's rough today…whoa! It's nothing like back "in the day"! No helmets or pads except mops of hair guys would grow to protect their heads when they hit the line. As for plays and strategies, Harvard used the "flying wedge", which was a V-shape formation of guys who would zone in on one defensive lineman or back.
“Think of it—half a ton of bone and muscle coming into collision with a man weighing 160 or 170 pounds!” wrote a guy for the New York Times in 1892.
They got the idea from a book about Napoleon's war tactics!
They didn't have a passing game back then. The forward pass didn't exist yet. What they'd do was grab the guy carrying the ball and throw HIM!
One running back got the idea of sewing the handles of a suitcase into his jersey so they'd have something to hold on to when it was "launch time"!
In 1905, 18 guys died playing high school and college ball. Something like 137 players were critically injured. President Roosevelt loved the game. Once in a speech he encouraged young men to be citizens of America just like they played on the gridiron…
"Don't flinch! Don't fold! And hit the line hard!"
But he knew that it couldn't go on like this. The game was on trial and about to be convicted for life if something didn't change. So he called the deans and presidents of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton into the White House to tell them that the rules had to change or football was done. Those guys didn't like it but TR insisted…
He wanted a neutral zone at the line of scrimmage between the teams before the play started to give the defense a fair chance to be ready for “what's comin’ “…
He insisted on penalties for what they called "unsportsmanlike conduct”…
And the biggest change was the institution of the "forward pass".
It's where you throw the ball, not the guy!
They found it spread out the action across the field, reducing injuries. And they discovered that they could threw the pigskin a whole lot farther than a person!
And if you dropped it, nothing broke and you didn't need the stretcher!
And a diving catch is cool.
Football was saved!
So, if football is like the game of life (who knows?), what have we learned today?
Let's say there is someone and you want that person to make decisions that Jesus wants from them. And you want that person to give their heart to Him. You want to "move them down the field”…
Sometimes, if you want to keep the action going, you have to be kinder and gentler than folks have customarily been.
The Apostle says that we should be "kind and tender-hearted". He told his friend, Timothy that we "must be kind to everyone". He says that when the Spirit of God really coaches a person, one of the first things they become is kind.
Kindness is a HUGE deal in the New Testament! You don't want any penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Sometimes I think folks like us underestimate the sheer power and force of gentleness and kindness…
Jesus only really described Himself one time. Only once did He say, "Wanna know what I'm like? I'll tell you…" Wanna know the power of His heart to move people down the field? "I'm gentle and humble in heart."
The kind and gentle people that you know…Aren't they your favorite people?
Wouldn't you be more likely to do something they might ask of you?
Kindness keeps you in the game. If life's like football, here's the uniform you need in the locker room…"clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness!" (Col 3) You can deliver your "hits' when you're the kindest person they know!
And never try to pick someone up and throw them! They outlawed that stuff!
And it's a good thing they did!
(Philadelphia 37, Patriots 24)
Wow! What an awesome day!!
“Sunny and warmer with highs in the upper 50s! Lows will be in the middle 30s Friday night!”
Thanks, Todd Howell!
And another reason today’s an awesome day is that I was almost totally killed yesterday!
So today…and every day after…is a bonus and a gift for me!
Here’s what happened…
I always go down Key Spring Rd to my house just because it’s prettier than any other way. So, I got to the bottom where it intersects with the two-lane Hwy 61 near Marlow. Sun was kinda setting in the west and in my face but I could still see that someone was coming east in my direction. Still, I calculated that I had plenty of time to turn left.
Which I did do.
One thing I didn’t calculate was that there was a guy coming up behind the guy coming towards me… And he was going about 100 mph!
And he decided at the last minute to pass the person coming in my direction!
So, as I turned into the westbound lane, there was someone who believed “the faster, the funner!” in my lane!
Coming my way!
We could see the whites of the other’s eyes!
But somehow I just pulled on to the shoulder, kept myself from going in the ditch, and after he blew by, headed home.
“Wow. That was close!” I reflected later.
But at the time, I thought, “Hey. This feels familiar! Almost normal…
Where have I been in this situation before?…
OH! I know! In italia!”
In Italy, folks pass (and drive!) on sidewalks…
they blow their horns from behind as soon as the stop light turns green…
and they pass you on two-lanes going the speed of sound with someone coming towards you in the other lane, all the time!
Everybody just scoots over to the shoulder on either side while he passes thru, one or both give the “Hook ‘em Horns!” gesture out the window (it means somethin’ else over there), and yells, “Che str*#&zo!!”
I guess I felt surprisingly unrattled, but as I drove toward home on our beautiful Mahoney Rd, I reflected on the lessons I learned in 2.7 seconds…
You never know when lessons you learned in stressful situations will be helpful one day…
God has my days numbered and stuff for me to do, so nothing’s gonna happen until His will for me is done!
As someone once quipped,
“My life won’t end until my work God gives me is done. And I’m so far behind, I’m gonna live until I’m 130!”
Today could be the last one you get so live it like it might be!
Besides making sure you have clean underwear on…
Tell people you love that you love them!
Ask God to give you someone to care for in His Name everyday!
Have loads of joy today! …
Jonathon Edwards, that awesome Connecticut Yankee reminded himself every week of his life of 70 “Resolutions”, or ideas he was determined to live by. Some of them would really help whoever drives on Hwy 61…
"Resolved, Never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life."
In other words, remember that you don't want to die with regrets! Here's another like that one...
"Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump."
You don't want to forget that! And this one may be my fav...
"Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live."
In other words, ”Go for it! With all your heart!” As Psalm 90 says, “Teach us to count our days!” Make every one of them count!” We don’t get that many days here!
If it had been my time to go, I would have been in Heaven in a blink! Wow! That’s a “win win”!
Hope you’re having an awesome January 12!
So many things have happened on this date!
On January 12, 1904, “Henry Ford set the new land speed world record, hitting 91.37 mph on frozen Lake St Clair in Michigan…”
That’s not on land! It was on a frozen lake!
When he hit the brakes, he probably didn’t stop until January 14!
Remember this one? January 12, 1969…
Broadway Joe Namath and the New York Jets beat the Colts in Super Bowl lll (final score-16 to 7) The former Crimson Tide quarterback had promised that the 19-point underdogs would win…”I guarantee it!”
And eight years ago today, an event that changed my life…
On January 12, 2010, at 4.53 pm a 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti, leaving 200,000 dead and over a million homeless. Our youngest, Emily went down with a group from her church in NC, to serve as a nurse for several days. I remember the fear I felt…and the prayers we prayed…in having a child so far from home. It wasn’t the first time or the last that I would fear these fears and pray these prayers. But to see those pics of all those babies in her arms…them holding on to her and she to them…and the sweet smile on both faces…somehow I knew it wouldn’t be the last time that I would see those scenes.
And Haitian hugs became African grand babies.
I remember reading someone who also headed to Haiti after the quake to help. And she wrote that what impressed her most wasn’t the rumble or the chaos or the smelly air or nasty water.
It was singing.
Their singing and praising.
The singing and praising and faith of the grieving…the homeless…the devastated.
“Almost every night since I've been here, and it's been almost a week now, when darkness falls you would think it would start to get violent or people would start to be uncomfortable, but the sound I hear is singing. And I asked one of the staff members when I first heard it, because I thought maybe there was a church nearby. She said ‘No, they're singing a hymn.’ They were singing, in French, ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ They were singing it over and over again, and it was profound to hear that. I knew they were in camps, many of them were homeless and had lost family or friends and they were still praising the Lord, singing hymns…”
One American wrote that upon arriving a week after…
“At the end of a particularly busy day, I heard singing…The familiar strains of ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’ wafted over the concrete wall and into the parking lot where I was standing…
‘Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning, new mercies I see. All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!…’
What kind of mercies had they seen that morning? Fewer bodies on the street? One fewer child crying out for missing parents? A family finally ‘safe’ under the shelter of a plastic tarp? I wondered how I might respond if the earthquake had hit my home here in Boston, and destroyed my town, killed my friends, and orphaned so many children…”
Another who arrived just four days after the quake witnessed the same…
“CNN called it a ‘developing story’. A large group of people walking around Port-au-Prince singing, ‘Tout bagay deja byen’, ‘Everything is already fine…’ It is an evangelical Protestant hymn that says because we’re saved and Jesus is on His throne, all is well. Wolf Blitzer talked about the resilience of the Haitian people but no one seemed to understand why…Another report on NBC stunned me. A woman named Janette, who had been trapped in the dark for five days, was pulled out of the rubble singing! Janette sang in French, “Ne pas avoir de la mort’ (‘Do not be afraid of death’)…”
There is a lot of talk in the news today about how some don’t believe people from certain
“countries” should be allowed to come to ours.
As a follower and lover of Jesus, I personally hope more and more can come here. In 2018, I hope God allows me to know and be friends with more of them. It will help me be ready for Heaven. For there will be “thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand” there from countries like those! Maybe even more than from countries like ours.
And I’m trying to get ready for my Heavenly family!
“And they sang a new song, saying:
‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.’” (Revelation 5:9-10)
Merry Day-before-the-day-before-the-night-before-Christmas, everyone!!
It’s gonna be a beautiful Christmas!
Tho’ there’s not going to be snow this year!
In the song about “…dreaming of a white Christmas”, Bing shares the wish at the end that “…all your Christmases be white”. Since 1884, we’ve only had twelve white Christmases in East Tennessee (and that even includes 1989 when we got 0.1 inch!) And this year ain’t gonna be one of ‘em!
So…if that’s your song…
Sometimes on Christmas, hearts wake up with huge expectations and go to bed with Christmas disappointments…
Remember not getting what you asked for?
Remember getting a gift you didn’t ask for?
Remember the puppy you asked for but didn’t get?
Remember getting the water-pik dental hygene system you didn’t ask for?
Remember the Warren Commission Report on the assassination of JFK you got when you were ten? (What ten year old wouldn’t want that?!)
Remember when Calvin sent in boxtops from his cereal Chocolate-Coated Sugar Bombs, waited six weeks for a beanie with a propeller on it and it wouldn’t fly? At all! Not even an inch off the ground!
Remember when you prayed for snow at Christmas?
Remember when you prayed everyone at home would get along from now on?
Remember when a young mom was going to be the mother of the Messiah and no one would believe her?
Or help her?
Maybe you won’t get what you wanted at Christmas. Or maybe what you wanted won’t be what you hoped it would be.
But unto us is born in the city of David, a Savior Who is Christ the Lord!!
He knows why it’s not going to snow on Monday when we wanted snow…and why His way’s best!
He knows that sometimes things we wish for at Christmas…or any other day…aren’t best for us…or even good for us…or what we really need right now…or ever.
He knows that He always knows and cares and gives us what is best when we need it…
And one day, we’ll have all we could ever dream of! And things so wonderful, we could never imagine them!
Having Him, we always have hope!
Having hope, you always have enough!
Hope is the most wonderful gift of all!
Once there was a young, tall, strong but broken-hearted pastor in Philadelphia. He dreamed of being used by God to do great things for Him. But during the Civil War, in a church full of young widows of soldiers and everyone wearing black for someone dead…
and finding that his dreams of ministry had vanished in the grind of trying to answer questions with no answer and walk countless hearts through seemingly endless sadness…
and finding that his greatest moment of fame and prominence would sadly, be preaching the funeral for the President who would have guided a wounded nation to healing…
This pastor had to get away!
Christmas. 1865. Jerusalem.
Pastor Phillips Brooks borrowed a horse on Christmas eve and rode the dangerous, robber-infested road to Bethlehem. Looking for he-wasn’t-sure-what…
“It was only about two hours when we came to the town, situated on an eastern ridge of a range of hills, surrounded by its terraced gardens…Before dark we rode out of town to the field where they say the shepherds saw the star. It is a fenced piece of ground with a cave in it… . . . Somewhere in those fields that we rode through, the shepherds must have been.
As we passed, the shepherds were still keeping watch over their flocks!”
Leaving the field, Brooks rode into the village of Bethlehem…
“I was standing in the old church in Bethlehem, close to the spot where Jesus was born, when the whole church was ringing hour after hour with the splendid hymns of praise to God, how again and again it seemed as if I could hear voices I know well, telling each other of the Savior’s birth…”
Maybe he didn’t know exactly what he was looking for.
But he found what he needed to go on.
Because of Jesus, he found the greatest gift!
The gift he needed that helps you make it when you don’t get the gift you wanted!
Christmas. 1868. Philadelphia.
Remembering that night, he wrote this…
“O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie;
above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in Thee tonight!”
Your fears meet your hopes in Him!
And hope wins!
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Merry “Week-Before-Christmas”, everyone!
Isn’t Christmas the best?! All the music we love so much and know so well!!
“Hark! The Herald Angels sing! Glory to the New-born King!…”
“I saw three ships come sailin’ in on Christmas Day! On Christmas Day!…”
“Joy to the world! The Lord is come! Let earth…”
Whoa. One sec…
“On Christmas Day?” …“On Christmas Day?” …“Come sailin’ in?”
I’ve never seen ships at Christmas?
What verses is that in?!
Is that song about Columbus Day?
I’ve gotta look this up a minute…Be right back after these brief messages…
“Glo-ooooo-ooooo-ooooo-ria! In excelses Deo!…If you want to spend your Christmas eve reflecting on the true meaning of the coming Christmas Day, come share with us ‘A Christmas Eve at Triple C’ starting at 7:00 pm Sunday, December 24…”
Ok. I’m back! Thanks for holding!
Wow! That Christmas carol is kind of…(‘Scuse me!)…nutty! It seems that it comes from the idea that three ships carried the bones of the three wisemen to Cologne, Germany in 1162!
“There comes a vessel laden…
Mary holds the rudder,
The angel steers it on!”
In Milan, they say that those bones were originally in the Church of Saint Eustorgio and that in 1162, Frederick Barbarossa stole them and whisked them away to Germany! Free shipping! But no ships!
Speaking of not quite knowing what we’re singing about…
“Hark! The Herald Angels…”
It comes from Old English (“heorcian”) and it means, “listen!” Because the angels are singing! (I’m not sure that if the skies were filled with angels singing, you’d have to tell anyone to hush and listen!)
“Joy To the World” wasn’t about Christmas at all! It was about when Jesus comes to rule our world!
“Let Heaven and nature sing!”
And they will!
Speaking of Christmas music that really ain’t…
I love to listen to Handel’s “Messiah” this time of year! They play it on the radio and you can hear it in church concerts…But it wasn’t written for Christmas at all!
After taking only 24 days to write 240 pages, it was first played in Dublin on April 13(!) 1742 to raise money for helping guys in prison!
The first time it was played in London for the Royal family, when the first chords of the “Hallelujah Chorus” sounded, King George ll stood!
So did everyone else! And have every since!
Altho’ many believe he was just getting up to use the bathroom! (It’s a loooong concert!)
Others are convinced that he stood because he mistakenly thought he was hearing the “National Anthem”! (Not ours! Theirs!)
(I remember a few weeks ago, I was watching a game of the NFL and I was curious to see who was standing and who was kneeling during our anthem…Suddenly, I realized that, during our nation’s national anthem, I was lying on my couch! On my back! With my feet up! In my PJs! Yikes! Whether you think it’s right to stand or kneel, at least no one was lying on the back in their PJs! So apparently I’m not the one to judge!!)
And speaking of standing or not, there are those who don’t feel it’s right to stand during the “Hallelujah Chorus”. And they don’t.
The Boston Globe says there’s “…a silent showdown between the secularists who resolutely refuse to stand . . . and the traditionalists who rebuke them with looks of poison.’’
Those who remain seated say they love the music but don’t stand because they don’t believe the words.
I guess I don’t think they should stand.
If a person doesn’t believe in Jesus, it isn’t helpful…
and it’s only confusing…
for them to pretend like they do.
Maybe the day will come when they need to…
because they were allowed the freedom to say…
when they didn’t…
that they hadn’t!
In the “Messiah” Handel put to music all of the Scriptures about the promise and coming and life and death and resurrection of Jesus. The Hallelujah Chorus doesn’t come from the Christmas verses.
It comes from the Book of Revelation!
“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said…
(Here’s the chorus!)
‘Hallelujah! The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever!” (Revelation 11)
It’s about the coming Day of all days…
When Jesus will come from Heaven for us!
And every eye will see Him!
And when we hear those words sung…
No one will sit!
And no one will stand!
“Every knee will bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth!”