God

The Green New Deal bamboozle

These climate change advocates are all two or three bricks short of a load. They are not unlike scores of other left wing radical, angry, extremists in society devoid of common sense. They rally around some make-believe cause and rebel and protest and burn things and break windows and give word-salad speeches to convince others to think like them.

The green new deal is a hoax and a fraud. There’s no way the green new deal ever happens.

Think about this: Who’s going to make all the parts for electric cars and how will parts be mad?All the climate change and all the green new deal folks will fail.

For one reason–God is in charge of everything. He is sovereign. Nothing that happens ever, that is not under His control.

There is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.” God has no competition in this universe. There is nobody He is trying to wrestle control of this universe from. Psalm 125:2

God will determine what happens in the earth and everything that happens on it when and how. God controls everything that happens in the entire universe.

These green-new dealers and all the climate-changers are saying “We can do things better than God. Let’s see who’s right in the end.

God

Sweet Tea and Jesus

(Editor’s note) I wrote Sweet Tea and Jesus several years ago. It remains one of my readers’ most liked posts. It is also one of my favorites.

Folks who live outside the Deep South don’t understand Sweet Tea. If you go to most restaurants or truck stops north of the Tennessee line and ask if they have Sweet Tea, they’ll say, “Sure, sugar’s on the table.” (That means, “No.  We don’t have sweet tea. Sugar’s on the table.”)

When you make real Sweet Tea, first dump two cups of sugar into a pitcher. Bring a half gallon of water to a boil. When it boils put in three family-sized tea bags. Leave it alone for five or six minutes. Remove the tea bags and bring the tea to a boil. Pour the tea into the pitcher and stir it until the sugar melts. Fill the pitcher half way with ice and stir until the ice melts. Then fill the pitcher with cold water. Stir until blended.

Something real scientific happens when you make Sweet Tea. When the sugar dissolves in the tea, you no longer have sugar and tea, you have Sweet Tea. It is a different mixture. Two separate ingredients mix together to form a new substance. It’s no longer sugar, and no longer tea. It’s Sweet Tea. The sugar won’t settle on the bottom of the pitcher, because it’s not sugar any more. The liquid will always be Sweet Tea to the last sweet drop in the pitcher.

The Bible teaches us that’s the same thing that happens when we accept Jesus Christ as Savior and invite Him into our hearts. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man (water) be in Christ, (sugar) he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (Sweet Tea).

As born again believers we are now spiritually in Christ, and will be forever. God has already guaranteed our position in Christ for eternity.  Ephesians 2:5-6 proclaims, “even when we were dead in our transgressions (God) made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

As a new creation in Christ, He wants to live His life in us, through us and as us to bring glory to God. As part of our true identity we are in Christ and Christ is in us. We’re new creations.

The next time you drink a big glass of Sweet Tea, think about being a new creation with Christ living in you and you in Christ. And for all you Yankees, I hope y’all get to visit us down here one day and savor a tall cool glass of this delicious nectar us Southern folks call Sweet Tea. Y’all will just love it.

God

A True Southerner

I am not a Southerner.

I talk like ’em, I think like ’em, I vote like ’em, I eat like ’em. But I am not one of ’em. I will remain forever an outsider, content only to revel in close proximity (to rub elbows, if you will) with those true Southerners I have come to admire, love and yes, even envy a little.

My father-in-law is a true Southerner. Robert Skinny Wallace was born and raised in the South, so were his father and his father before him. His “people” (as true Southerners refer to their kin folk) migrated to Opelika, Alabama from the East in the 1830’s, when Alabama was first settled.

But that doesn’t make him a true Southerner.

My father-in-law grew up on a farm, hunted and fished, picked cotton, went to all-white schools, played with toads, jumped off a railroad bridge and broke his arm trying to impress some giggling little girls.

But that doesn’t make him a Southerner.

My father-in-law married a Southern girl, served his country honorably in World War II, then returned to the South where he raised three charming, little angel daughters.

But that doesn’t make him a Southerner either.

What makes Robert Wallace a true Southerner is a passionate and indelible link to the land of his Opelika roots.

Alabama, and the South, has forever been inextricably agrarian. Industrialization helped heal the South after the Civil War. However, all the efforts to modernize (ergo transform) the region could not alter that most fundamental and prevailing kinship of its people with the land.

A true Southerner never forgets that.

My father-in-law took me back to that most treasured birthplace of his roots over the Christmas holidays. Geda (pronounced “Gee-daw” because one of his grandchildren couldn’t say “Grandpa”), lit up like a Christmas tree when we drove up to Bean’s Mill just off Highway 29. Despite poor ciculation in his legs, which hinders his walking considerably, Geda walked all around the mill and affectionately recalled old times with John Ross who is restoring the mill. My father-in-law reminisced about his kin folk and his school days with Mr. Ross for half an hour.

We visited the old cotton gin, the abandoned railroad depot, the railroad bridge, his old school, his birthplace, the church his grandfather helped found, the graves of his parents and grandparents and other relatives, his old hunting grounds, and lots of other places.

He had a story about every one of them.

We put more than 70 miles on the car in about four hours and covered only about five square miles. For a few hours my father-in-law took me back, gave me a taste, an old wrinkled snapshot, of the life he lived as a true Southerner.

My father-in-law moved away from home shortly after graduating from high school with his graduating class (he and another boy). When he retired, he and my mother-in-law settled down. They now split their time between a home in Atlanta and a quiet beach house in Panama City.

But, as often as he can Geda returns to Opelik”er,” as he likes to say. That’s where his heart will always be–where he grew up as a True Southerner.

God

.

Birthing Parent? Birthing Parent? What?

Is that some kind of stupid joke? What kind of mental midget would come up with an asinine idea like “birthing parent”. I’ll bet it was one of those West coast radical, left wing, liberal, clowns. That’s about as absolutely stupid as wanting to teach our second and third graders about their sexuality. Or putting feminine hygiene products in the boys restroom. Or letting boys who feel more like a girl some days use the girl’s bathroom.

The person who gave birth to me was a woman–my mother. I harbored no doubts in my mind whatever that she was a woman. She was a full-fledged, 100% died in the wool Grade A example of a woman. And I always identified her as woman my whole life.

Helen Reddy helped me reinforce mom’s identity as a woman and every other man’s definition of a woman in 1971.

https://youtu.be/rptW7zOPX2E

God

“They” are wrong. What’s wrong with “Them”?

Who’s “They”? Who’s “Them?”

“They” and “them “are all the folks who are not like us. We all know who “they” are. And “They” just don’t know what “They” are talking about.

“They” have these odd ideas about life, society, religion, work, politics, clothes, relationships, friendships, kids and families, you name it. I have no idea where “they” came up with all the things “they” believe and do, because “they” are nothing like me.

But, before we start to judge “them” and “they” get upset because we are nothing like “them” we need to determine who we really are.

But you know something, I don’t understand “them” either. If you think I’m not anything like “they” are, I’m just as much not like any of “them” either.

But before we find out who “they” or “them” are about, lets find out who we really are.

Here’s what James said about us (me) If you really keep the Royal Law ( “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love another.) you are doing right if you love your neighbor. But if you show favoritism you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.

So how much did Jesus love me. God loved me so much that he allowed his only son to be crucified on a cross and pay the price for my sin and allow his blood to cleanse me and make me pure. And God invited me, encouraged me, to call him Dad. He created me in his own image.

And guess what. God loved every one of “them”, despite how much different I am from “them” as much as he loves me. And he created each one of “them” in his own image and invited each one of “them” to call him Dad as well.

And “they” were all created in God’s own image, loves them all as much as “them” or me and are invited to call him Dad.

Guess who their “them” is? Me! Guess who their “They” is–Me!

What does that make us all? Brothers and sisters in Christ! Family! God’s family

And our CHURCH is the only place on the planet that, despite ALL our differences we can come together and celebrate our differences gather together, sit by one other and love Jesus and each other. What a blessing.

God

EVERY

I was speaking recently for the 7th consecutive year to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Coaches Family Conference. I am so impressed by the quality and quantity of coaches who are committed to Jesus Christ. And FCA is so effective in challenging and encouraging coaches in Christian coaching principles.

The young man who was in charge of the music stated on the first night that he had just heard a song he wanted to make the theme for the weekend. It fit exactly the theme of what I have been focusing on all year—looking at life through human glasses or looking at life through God’s glasses. That determines what we see.

The song was by Phil Wickham and is titled “Battle Belongs.” Here are some excerpts:

When all I see is the battle, you see my victory
When all I see is the mountain, you see a mountain moved
When all I see are the ashes, you see the beauty
When all I see is a cross, God, you see the empty tomb.

Chorus:
When I fight, I fight on my knees
With my hands lifted high,
Oh God, the battle belongs to you, and every fear I lay at your feet.
I will sing through the night
Oh God, the battle belongs to you.

God already knows who is going to win the battle. When we learn to look at things the way He looks at things, we learn to fight on our knees and claim that the battle belongs to Him!

The theme for Fellowship of Christian Athletes in 2022 is “Every.” The idea is that God wants “every” thing that we have. We don’t just pick and choose some things we want to commit to Him, but “every” thing. God doesn’t want to just do some things through us, He wants to do “every” thing through us.

The theme verse is Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Notice the tee shirt I’m wearing in the picture with my granddaughter, Healy Mathison.

Seeing things through human glasses causes us to fight with our fists and weapons. Seeing things the way God sees them causes us to fight on our knees. The total victory will never be won through weapons—it will only be won through trusting Him in “every” situation!

If you have don’t have a pair of God’s glasses, ask God for some. They don’t cost anything because they are God’s free gift to you. His glasses will give you a different perspective in “every” situation. He will let you see “every” thing as He sees “every” thing.

Define what “every” means in your commitment!

God

God is “Pro Choice”

When my daughter was 14 she decided to make Rice Krispies® Treats.  I told her to wait till I finished something and then I would help her make the tasty treats. She was making them for the first time. But my daughter, knowing everything there was to know about life and cooking, decided she could do it herself.

rice krispies

She dumped a box of Rice Krispies® into a pot on the stove and turned up the heat. Then she poured in the marshmallows. I walked into the kitchen and,

Of course I knew exactly what she was doing. She was ruining our Rice Krispies® and scorching a good cooking pot. But I wanted her to understand she disobeyed me and ruined desert for the family in the process.

I wonder if God felt as exasperated with Adam in the Garden as I did with my daughter that day? God witnessed Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden when He asked Adam, “Where are you?” God knew exactly where Adam was. God was always in Adam and Eve’s presence. God wanted Adam to understand exactly where He was–in Paradise. In God’s perfect garden where Adam and Eve COULD HAVE enjoyed peace with God. They COULD HAVE lived in God’s presence with all their needs met forever. Instead Adam ruined Paradise for God’s entire family he decided to do things his own way.

My daughter could have enjoyed the sumptuous, gooey treats we had planned for desert that night, if she had listened to her father. But she ruined desert for our family because she decided to do things her own way.

I wonder how our lives would be different today if Adam and Eve had just listened to their Father in the Garden of Eden.

God

Where does God come down on the Supreme Court’s ruling to reverse ROE v WADE?

Where does God come down on the Supreme Court’s ruling to reverse ROE v  WADE?

God has ALWAYS been Pro Life AND Pro Choice.

Of course God s pro life. 

God is the Creator of all life. And he loves every life he created. God evenGod’s own image loves all those who think the court should leave Roe alone. They wanted abortion on demand. God even loves those folks (remember they each were created in God’s own image. God loves Maxine Waters and Chuck Shumer and members of Antifa and AOC!  

God’s not concerned with your political persuasions or your goals and aspirations or your station in life..  God is concerned with your heart. God loves every ones children to love him back. In fact he spends his time pursuing his wayward children in hopes they will turn back and love him back.

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them. From Genesis 1

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be. From Psalm 139

Here’s a truth to rejoice about. Do you recall them saying that since Roe was enacted back in 1973 60 million babies have been aborted in this country.

Do you know where every one of those 60 million babies are? They are ALL  with God and he is loving and caring for them like only way God can.

God

What’s with LGBTQes and pronouns?

LGBTQes have a real problem with identity and acceptance by normal folks. One way they try to garner support is to use pronouns in their quest for true identity.

Here is a very partial list of pronouns LGBTQes use

fae e/ey he per she they ve xe ze zie then theres–(f) em him per her them ver xem hir

I have absolutely no idea what these groups of letters mean that LGBTQes call pronouns. And to be honest I understand it’s common when one gay meets another gay to ask them what pronoun they want to go by or what “gender” they want to be referred to as. They’ve got a bushel full of gender identities they can use as their identity.

An LGBTQ can identify themselves as male, female, transgender, gender neutral, non-binary, agender, pangender, genderqueer, two-spirit, third gender, and all, none or a combination of these.

God settled His plan for identity in the Garden of Eden. I wrote about God’s plan on a post on this site back in May.

Follow this lihk https://stevensawyer.wordpress.com/2022/05/17/god-settled-gender-identity-in-the-garden/ to read about God’s plan.

According to the Almighty God there has only ever been or ever will be two genders, male and female. God will accomplish His entire plan for ALL of mankind with the two genders He created.

God

INFLATION, SHRINKFLATION, SALVATION

I wrote recently about how people are dealing with inflation. Since then, inflation has risen to 8.6%! It is a major problem, and it is being handled in a variety of ways.

One way businesses are dealing with it is referred to as shrinkflation. I thought that that would be just a temporary thing that would stop if it were exposed. Not true. It seems to be escalating.

More companies continue to shrink the size of their products while keeping the prices the same. I want to quickly say that this is deceptive but not illegal as long as the reporting on the item is accurate. We are easily deceived!

Crest toothpaste has gone from 4.1 oz. to 3.8 oz., which is 15 fewer times you can brush your teeth with that tube of Crest toothpaste. Fritos have gone from 9.75 oz. to 9.25 oz. That’s five fewer chips per bag. Charmin Ultra Soft toilet paper has gone from 264 sheets to 245 sheets. That’s fewer sheets per roll. Raisins have gone from 22.6 oz. to 20 oz. You can count them—that’s 70 fewer raisins per pack. Kleenex reduced the number of tissues in a small box from 65 to 60. If your coffee doesn’t last as long, Folgers has shrunk its 51 oz. to 43.5 oz. containers.

Even restaurants are doing this. Restaurant costs have risen faster than the rate of inflation. Burger King’s nuggets and Domino’s wings have shrunk from ten pieces to eight. It probably will continue since the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts a 6% increase in retail food prices this year.

Count your chips and raisins and Kleenex—they may shrink even more.

The answer to every problem is salvation through Jesus. The cost of salvation is still the same—it hasn’t changed. The cost is to give everything that we have to God. (Read Matthew 19:21-22) No deception—just the truth.

Salvation brings a new life—a new person! You are born again. (John 3:1-7) You are a “new creation.” (II Corinthians 5:17) You have a new perspective on everything. You enter a new life—an abundant life. (John 10:10)

I am glad that the Christian faith is not practicing shrinkflation in order to get more people to join. God is not providing anything less in terms of forgiveness, grace, love, hope, etc. In fact, He’s offering more than I have ever imagined!

Inflation in our economy is playing havoc with how people live. Anxiety, worry, use of drugs, alcohol, and all kinds of witchcraft are benefiting from inflation. All of these things will leave you in a situation that’s far worse.

Jesus has the only answer! He taught that if God takes care of the flowers in the field and the birds in the air, how much more will He take care of you. There is a price—seek first the Kingdom of God and all the things you need will be given to you. (Matthew 6:24-33) That’s the answer!

You can count the Fritos and raisins in a pack. It’s more important to count your blessings. Fritos and raisins are diminishing—God’s blessings are increasing exponentially! Receive them.

Shrinkflation or salvation—it’s your choice.

God

The Truth about Truth

Fake news has emerged as a hot trending topic these days. Discussions about the veracity of “news” and its sources dot the blogosphere, social, political and mainstream media landscapes.

In my view (my opinion, not fact), mainstream broadcast, print and online media have all slithered into a quagmire of unreliability and an egregious lack of accountability. Now fake news is raising its ugly head; and the press and left-leaning political establishment can’t figure out a way to bite it off.

The mainstream media and fake news outlets make it difficult, if not impossible sometimes, to decide what’s true, what’s fake and what’s slanted towards an irrevocably entrenched liberal bias.

The only truth we can all rely on ever is the Way, the Truth and the Life, Jesus Christ. And we find His Truth in God’s word, and nowhere else.

Share this:

God

God’s grace

You can’t out-sin God’s grace.

You can’t deny God’s existence long enough to miss His grace. You can’t hate enough to avoid God’s grace. You can’t discriminate against people of other races or color enough or long enough to avoid the grace of God. You can’t think of an act you can commit or behavior you can exhibit that will outreach or out-distance the reach of the grace of God.

Here’s something adamant non-believers and Atheists don’t understand: You can sin every day commit adultery, rob banks, commit murder, get sent to prison, lie, cheat steal, act like a total amoral evil person. But if you are someone God wants to love as one of his children, He will pursue you, chase you save you and call you his own in his time and in his way–his choice, not yours.

God

Resurrection Day

Let’s get the record straight for all you non-believer friends out there.

We committed believers who have a personnel relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ, know for certain what happened on Resurrection Day. We also know for certain what happened on Easter Sunday.

Here in America we’ve been celebrating these two Holy days for centuries. One would think that everyone, believer or not, would at least know what the two Holy days represent. Not so fast.

Mary and the resurrected Christ

I was watching Fox news Good Friday and in one segment they were doing one of those man on the street interviews with some random men and women what they knew about Easter and what it was all about. Handing our country over to this generation is a scary proposition These youngsters were clueless.

Question: Why did they crucify Jesus? Millennial answer: Because he made the Romans mad

Question: Why do they call it Good Friday? Millennial answer: Because it was just a really good day.

What is Easter all about? Lets see: ah . . . well . . it means . . ah . . .It means . . .ah . . .

Question: What is Easter all about? Millennial answer: Well, let’s see there’s the Easter Bunny . . .and Easter eggs . . . and chocolate .

And we’re going to turn control of our nation to this generation?

Good Friday–The Friday before Easter. The Jews (his own people) insisted that he be crucified because he claimed to be the Son of God and the Jews considered that blasphemy. So Herod had Jesus crucified, even though Herod claimed he could not find any crucifiable offense in Jesus.His body was brought down from the Cross, wrapped in linen and placed in a tomb, owned by Joseph of Arimathea. It was then sealed by a massive stone. This day is marked as Good Friday. His body was brought down from the Cross, wrapped in linen and placed in a tomb, owned by Joseph of Arimathea. It was then sealed by a massive stone. This day is marked as Good Friday.

Easter Sunday–(Also known as Resurrection Day) When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away ythe stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And aentering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, bdressed in ca white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were sore afraid.

God

How awesome, big, grand, able, gigantic, powerful, all-seeing, majestic, kind, forgiving creative, loving, wise, all-knowing is God?

Think about this: God never has to go anywhere. He’s already there! He’s already here. He’s everywhere at the same time. There is no place in the universe God is not.

He knows everything about you. David proclaims in Psalm 139, “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise. You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely.

God knows your next thought before you think it. God knows when you’re sad or happy and why. God knows what you think of him. He knows when you pray, He knows when you think you’re going to hide something from him. (You’re not)

He created you. David said in Psalm 139:13-15

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

The body contains about 60,000 miles of blood vessels, and an estimated 30 trillion cells.

The human brain can contain about 100 trillion facts. The brain can handle 15,000 decisions in a single second. The nose can detect up to 10,000 distinct odors, and a touch can detect something 1/25,000th of an inch thick. The light from some stars we see at night took 12.3 billion light years to get here so we could see them shining in the night sky.

Some folks believe all this stuff got created in an evolutionary (theory) over time. That’s like saying there was an explosion at Walmart and all their inventory appeared on the sales floor all put together and ready to buy.

Here’s what George Gallup said about God and creation.

“I could prove God statistically if I had to take the human body alone–The chance that all the functions of the individual human being would just happen is a statistical monstrosity.

Let me ask you one question.

If God is all that we believe Him to be here is there a single problem in the entire universe you might have that God couldn’t solve?

The inspiration for tis post was a message by Pastor James Merritt, Touching Lives Ministry

God

Looking Back

Roger Bannister

In 1954 Roger Bannister set a world record. Bannister became the first track and field athlete to run a mile under 4 minutes. His time was 3:59:4.

In Australia another runner, Bannister’s rival, John Landy took note of Bannister’s record. A month later Landy beat Bannister’s record by about a second.

The press went nuts. Later that Summer the two runners were scheduled to face off at the British Empire games in Vancouver. The media dubbed the race the Mile of the Century. Thousands of spectators watched the race.

As the runners took off Landy took the lead and kept it.

But then Landy made a fatal mistake. With only 90 yards to go Landy looked back. At that very moment Bannister shot past Landy and won the race.

Looking back is never a good idea. Lot’s wife looked back and look what happened to her. She was turned into a pillar of salt.

Leave what’s behind leave it there. 1

1The inspiration for this blog post came from David Jeremiah’s book, Forward , W Publishing, 2020 ©David Jeremiah 2020

1The inspiration for this blog post came from David Jeremiah’s book, Forward , W Publishing, 2020 ©David Jeremiah 2020

God

Shameless

God

Listen and Obey

God can change anybody, anytime, anywhere, and I think God has a sense of humor in doing what He does in the lives of people.

I attended the men’s “What’s at Stake” dinner recently. A friend of mine was the speaker. I learned things about him I never knew. He is an example of what God can do.

When he was six years old, his mom and dad divorced. His dad had custody, and his mother had visiting rights. She illegally took him to Pensacola where they lived as homeless people for a few years. One day, the little boy fell in the water and was miraculously saved by a man who dove in after him.

The father found the location of his son and brought him back to the Montgomery area. The young boy had not been to school. Later, he got involved with the wrong group and was drinking. When he was 17, his grandaddy hired a lady to help him study and get his GED. The teenager went to meet the lady. They were married five weeks later. His teacher became his wife! They have now been married 40 years. Would anybody had given that marriage a chance – other than God?

His life became a story of working hard, trusting God, becoming a Christian, making mistakes, but all the time learning the power of what God can do. He said, “I listened to God – and I always followed God.”

That’s a formula for success – listen to God, and then follow Him. It carried him to several different cities and two or three different endeavors in business. God led him to customizing vans, working on automobiles, and eventually starting a restaurant. He had never worked in a restaurant before.

He always knew it was important to follow God. He didn’t understand where God was leading him, but he followed. Today, he still doesn’t have a formal education, but he always believed that God could make something out of him. He tells every young person to be open to what God could do with them.

Because he wanted to improve conditions in Montgomery County, he decided to run for political office and get something done. God has a sense of humor. He was elected as a County Commissioner, where he served faithfully, and then he ran for the Alabama State Legislature and was elected in 2014!

When he was a teenager, he got drunk, borrowed a car, and crashed it into the Governor’s Mansion. Today, he is chairman of a couple of super important Alabama legislative committees. God does have a sense of humor!

His restaurant and farmer’s market is known as “Sweet Creek” on the Troy Highway and helps over 100 young people with various jobs supplying eggs, vegetables, etc. for his restaurant.

I, like most other people, knew nothing of the story of Reed Ingram. He and his wife have two wonderful sons and two grandchildren. He is just a humble man who listens to God and follows Him. God has put him in important places! We need more leaders like him.

Everyone reading this probably has more education than Reed Ingram. God can do in your life what he did in Reed’s life. Read Genesis 12:1-4; Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 1:13-16; Ecclesiastes 5:1-5.

Are you willing to listen – and obey?

God

My 7-ups

EDITORS NOTE: Somehow I overlooked one of Dr. John Ed Mathison’s weekly blog posts and it didn’t get published the week he sent it. His blog posts are always popular with me readers. So today’s blog post is my way of hopefully making up for the oversight.

Everyone needs a plan for living each day in 2022. My plan includes “7 ups” to help me move up each day. These “7 ups” do not refer to the drink you purchase from a machine, nor the delivery service that’s dependent on a human supply chain. My “7 ups” are God and I working together. I share them to ask you to help hold me accountable and consider joining me in this plan.

  1. WAKE UP. Wake up and remember that David said “Today is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) Begin each day with a decision that God has something good in store for us today and we are going to be committed to following His will.
  2. GET UP. It’s always easy to lie in bed and daydream about what could be. It’s another thing to get up and let God begin to use us. The prodigal son in Luke 15 found himself in a pig pen. He woke up (vs. 17) and then got up (vs. 18, 20) and went home to his father! Check out what his “ups” led to. (vs. 21-24)
  3. FILL UP. Something is going to occupy our thinking today. It could be very negative or very positive. It can be self-centered, or it can be outwardly focused. Paul says, “Whatever is true, good, lovely, good in others . . . brings joy and praise …let your mind dwell on these things.” (Philippians4:8)
  4. SHUT UP. It’s always easy to speak before we think. We have two ears and only one mouth. We need to listen a lot more and speak a lot less. Solomon reminds us that “He who guards his lips guards his soul.” (Proverbs 13:3) Think twice before you speak, and think three times or more before you send an email or text or Twitter message!
  5. LOOK UP. If you walk through life looking down, you will never see a rainbow or the many doors that God wants to open every day. Remember that our strength does not come from other people or ourselves down here, but it comes from God above. Look up to Him. David wrote “I will look up to the mountains from where my help comes. My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1,2)
  6. REACH UP. Always be reaching upward. Every day, we need to have some goal that’s just beyond our reach and will cause us to stretch to reach it. Be sure that it is God’s goal and not yours. Paul said, “I reach forward to what lies ahead. I strain toward the prize of the upward call of God.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
  7. LIFT UP. Focus on someone to lift up in prayer. When you see a person who is down emotionally, financially, spiritually, or psychologically, lift them up. “Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one. If one falls, the others lift him up. One standing alone can be defeated, but two standing back-to-back can conquer, and three is even better!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

What is your daily plan for 2022?

God

Seven Things God detests

You must not worship the Lord your God in the way the pagan nations do because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods. Deuteronomy 12:31

Here are the seven things God detests (some translations say (God “hates”) them.

However you say it, God has no use for any of them.

  1. Haughty eyes–Haughty eyes are full of pride and arrogance. They look down on others as better than or superior to. The word haut which is Anglo-Saxon for “high” and the Latin word “altus” which is where we get the word “altitude”. Proverbs 6:16
  2. lying tongue–A lie is saying something that is false even when you know the person you are telling this knows it is a lie. One who tells lies. Psalm 109:2
  3. A hand that sheds innocent blood–To shed innocent blood is to take the life of one who has done nothing worthy of death. God will not hold any blameless for the deaths of ‘Innocents’. Deuteronomy 19:13
  4. A heart that devises wicked schemes— therefore speaks of a person who deliberately plans to act wickedly, who spends his time devising wickedness upon others. Nehemiah 1:7
  5. Feet that are quick to run into evil–Feet that are quick to rush into evil: To rush into evil is to demonstrate a great delight and enjoyment of evil and an eagerness to participate in it. God hates the enjoyment of evil. Matthew 12:34-37
  6. A false witness who pours out lies–An honest witness does not deceive, but a dishonest witness pours forth lies.  A false witness will not go unpunished, and one who utters lies will not escape. They will perish. Proverbs 19:9
  7. A person who stirs up conflict in the communityProverbs 10:12
God

WAR!

God

From Discarded to Displayed

It’s amazing how God can take insignificant things, many of which have been discarded, and display them for positive results! God does that with people and places.

My office is a good example. Mike Henig is the chairman of my non-profit board. Mike has a beautiful building which is the home office for Henig Furs. On each side of the home office, he has built commercial office buildings. I had an office in one of those buildings for eleven years until Mike sold the entire building two years ago.

His other office building is partially occupied by a large accounting firm, Bern, Butler, Capilouto, & Massey P.C. They have about 30 employees. Accounting firms have to have strict security.

On the main floor, there is an area across the hall with two offices, a waiting area, and a training room. Since security was an issue, the offices and waiting area were never used. For 15 years, the area became storage for old files, junk, and other things that were being discarded.

Mike told me that if we could work with the accounting firm to clean out the offices, I could use them. The firm has been super helpful in doing that. We cleaned them out, and my wife, Lynn, came and decorated them. I now have one of the finest office areas in the whole city! The area has gone from a place for the discarded to a place proud to be displayed!

The accounting firm also allows me to use their training room, which accommodates about 50 people, for meetings with pastors. Pastors prefer not to go to another pastor’s church for a meeting, so this is a “safe place” to come. We have had some powerful meetings with leading pastors in the area, both black and white, and developed strategies for improving race relations.

Another great example is Crampton Bowl in Montgomery. My friend, Tim Gayle, has written a fascinating and interesting book, Crampton Bowl, about its history. In 1921, the area of Crampton Bowl was a garbage dump, but creative people turned that garbage dump into a wonderful stadium for baseball and football. In the early half of the twentieth century, Crampton Bowl was one of the premier venues for sporting events. The old garbage dump became a great stadium–from the discarded to the displayed!

I serve on the River Region Sports Commission. A new multiplex building was constructed as a part of the Crampton Bowl complex. It needed to be named. It is a huge venue where you can play multiple basketball games and volleyball games at one time. It is a square building. As you know, it is located on Madison Avenue. I thought I had the best idea for a name for it. If we could plant a little shrubbery around the side, a great name for it would be, “Montgomery’s Madison Square Garden.” Obviously, my name wasn’t selected.

The Yankees, Dodgers, Cardinals, and other major league baseball teams would stop in Montgomery and play games following spring training. One game was played at Crampton Bowl, and there were nine future Hall-of-Famers on the field! It was the site for the first football game and the second pro baseball game under the lights in the South–from a garbage dump to a great sporting venue.

God delights in turning the discarded into the displayed!

God

What’s wrong with tolerance?–PLENTY

Lots of liberal, left-wing ideologues in our society today couch a lot of toxic behaviors and beliefs in what they label as “tolerance

For instance, as I wrote on this blog last week, the liberals “tolerate” gay marriage. They say things like, “If two people rally love each other what difference does it make if they’re the same gender? See this post.

When is the last time you were at a dinner party when there was the same number of Blacks as there were White folks?

Liberals believe we ought to tolerate diverse political views in our mixed conversations and large diverse gatherings? ARE YOU KIDDING. YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS. We’re living in the most politically polarized political environment in history. And we’re doing a terrible job tolerating it.

When is the last time you sat down with a person who held diametrically opposing views on a mutually agreed upon topic and gained a mutual understanding and appreciation of the other person’s beliefs after the discussion?

Let’s try to do this.

Let’s say you’re a committed, saved follower of Jesus Christ, and an active church goer.

Your next door neighbor is an atheist who does not believe in God, heaven or salvation or life after death..

OK now let’s try to have that “tolerant” discussion around his or your kitchen table.

God

Underrated to Overcomer!

He came out of high school, and no big colleges were interested in him. He wasn’t fast enough, big enough, or talented enough. He was just a skinny kid about six feet tall and 170 pounds and played football in an area that wasn’t known for great competition. Only two small schools from the FCS offered him a scholarship. He accepted one to Eastern Washington.

When he came out of college, not many pro teams were interested in him. He was underrated and overlooked, but the Los Angeles Rams took a chance and drafted him. Wow, what a great move!

In the 2021 football season, he was the best receiver in the NFL. He achieved the triple crown of catches (145), touchdown catches (16), and receiving yards (1947). In the Super Bowl, he led a last-minute comeback by catching multiple passes despite double coverage. He caught the winning touchdown pass with just over a minute to go. He was voted the most valuable player in Super Bowl LVI!

He is a strong Christian. He places Bible verses on his helmet and his sleeve. He always gives a Christian witness when being interviewed. When asked about his Super Bowl ring, he said that, as a Christian, he wanted to win in the game of life where he would receive a trophy that would never perish.

Cooper Kupp

Look what God can do! God took Cooper Kupp from an underrated and overlooked player to the best player on the biggest stage in pro football, and Cooper gives God all the credit.

Last year, Zaila Avant-garde became the first Black American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She is not just a great speller, but she also holds three Guinness World Records for basketball. Zaila dribbled simultaneously the most basketballs (six for 30 seconds), the most basketball bounces (307 in 30 seconds), and the most bounce juggles in 1 minute (255 with four basketballs).

A lot of people said she couldn’t do much. She was underrated but became an overcomer. She excelled beyond people’s expectations.

One of my favorite basketball players is Steph Curry. He is always inspiring people who have felt overlooked, unappreciated, and underrated. Steph Curry was a 3-star recruit, considered the #52 high school point guard in the country, and attended Davidson after being turned down by all the top college programs.

But Curry refused to see himself as underrated. He has a strong Christian faith. He believed God saw him as an overcomer and helped him develop an elite positive attitude about shooting a basketball.

Curry has risen to a level where he is considered the greatest shooter in basketball history. On December 14, 2021, the Warriors were playing the New York Knicks. With 7:33 remaining in the first quarter of the game, Curry hit a 3 pointer which broke Ray Allen’s all-time 3-point field goal record of 2,973. He set a record that people think will never be broken. And he still has a lot of games to play!

Steph Curry has a strong faith and believes that nobody should accept less than what God created them to be. There is no room for excuses. You can’t listen to all the people who tell you what you can’t do. Listen to God and learn what He can do through you!

God delights in turning the underrated into overcomers!

God

If you claim Jesus as your Lord and Savior do you realize. . .

The minute you take your last breath here you’ll be with Jesus in heaven FOREVER!

You’ll never be tired or lonely or hungry or confused or dismayed again.

Joy will never end.

You will NEVER want for anything. You will never know discouragement or depression or doubt.

You won’t ever feel sorrow or pain or disappointment or boredom.

You will thrive on fellowship with lots of other saints.

You can talk to and be with Jesus anytime you want.

You will always be happy and never sad. You will always be content.

You won’t be reading the Bible–you’ll be living with the Author.

God

When God Whispers

In the book of 1st Kings chapter 19 Elijah had just survived a debilitating depression that was so dark Elijah wanted to die. He told an angel of the Lord, “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under a bush and fell asleep. Eventually the Lord showed up and asked Elijah what was he doing there.

The Lord instructed Elijah, “Get up and get out of this cave. Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by. “

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 

Why did the Lord choose to speak to Elijah in a gentle whisper? He could have spoken powerfully in a wind or an earthquake or a fire. But he didn’t

Why not? Think about it.

When you want to whisper something to someone, isn’t it because the info you whisper is confidential, and you only want to share it with the person you’re whispering to?

When God whispers to us He wants to draw us into that intimate, close private fellowship between just Him and us. There’s no more wonderful fellowship with Jesus, this side of heaven, than when Jesus whispers our name and draws us to Himself to share His love.

God

Willpower Christianity

In his best-selling book, Yes, you really can change, Chip Ingram discusses willpower Christianity, a frustrating condition many well-meaning Christians often find themselves slipping into. Have you ever been there? Are you there now?

This is what willpower Christianity looks like–

You’re going to try hard to be more patient, especially with the kids; you’re going to watch how you talk and stop swearing so much; you’re going to stop stretching the truth; you’re going to be kinder to your wife/husband. You will stop smoking.

Instead of focusing all your energy and willpower trying to do things you’re incapable of why not focus on God and the promises He makes in his Word addressing your issues you’re trying to solve with all your willpower.

Willpower Christianity leads to frustration and discouragement because we just don’t have enough power in our will to get the job done. Only God and his power inside us working his will can change us.

God

Good Christians just don’t exist

Lots of folks who want to improve their lives (e.g. to be accepted by God, to get closer to God, to be loved more by God,  to gain God’s approval and blessing) try real hard to be a good Christian. The operative word here is “try“.

But “good” Christians don’t exist. In addition, if someone is declared a ” Good”  Christian  that means somewhere there has to be a bad Christian and a better Christian and a poor Christian. Do you see the judgmental comparison trap we’d get ourselves into?

The moment we “try” to improve our lot as a “Christian” we take the focus off God and place it squarely on our self effort.

In God’s Kingdom what we do on our own doesn’t count for anything.  The only thing that counts in God’s Kingdom is surrender to Christ’s life allowing him to live His life through us. Christ wants to live His life (not ours) in us, through us, and as us to bring Glory to God. Period.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remains in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5.

I taught an adult Sunday School class for years. Our focus for the lessons was always centered on our identity in Christ. Our mission statement was helping each other know, believe, understand, and live out of our true identity in Christ. We taught that allowing Christ to do everything in us and for us and through us would be all we needed to live our lives as disciples o’re going to f Christ. During one our lessons about our true identity in Christ, a lady asked me, “But don’t we have to do SOMETHING? (she was coming out of a lifelong Catholic background).

“No, ” I said. “If we’re going to become authentic followers of Christ we have to surrender our old ways of self sufficiency and allow Jesus to live his life through us and do everything.”

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5ing Christ to live His life

So, if we are allowing Christ to live His life through us God’s Word calls us Saints, not Christians.

God

Do you wear a bib or an apron?

Great people become great because they have learned to wear an apron. Greatness never comes from wearing a bib. Coach Willie Spears and I wrote a book together in 2021, Bib or ApronIt’s available through our ministry office.

I love the Salvation Army and look forward to putting on an apron and ringing the kettlebells at Christmas. My dad, Si Mathison, was a great supporter of the Salvation Army. He received the highest award they give to volunteers. Frazer was a super supporter of the Salvation Army. We put together a talent show, sold tickets, and gave over $60,000 to the Salvation Army!

General William Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army. He went blind in his later years. His son, Bramwell, had to tell him that the doctor said he would soon be totally blind. 

The General asked, “You mean I’ll be blind? Does that mean that I shall never see your face again?”

His son replied, “That’s right, probably not in this world.”

Then General Booth moved his hand across the table and grasped his son. “Bramwell,” he said “I have done what I could for God and for people with my eyes. Now I shall do what I can for God and for people without my eyes.”

Good eyesight is not a prerequisite for wearing an apron.

Jonathan Pinkard is a 27-year-old autistic man who lives in a shelter. He was carried to Georgia’s Piedmont Newnan Hospital and was told that he would need a heart transplant. Because of the fact that he lived in a shelter, he would have no one to help him out with the post-surgery care, so they couldn’t put him on the transplant waiting list.

A nurse, Lori Wood, was caring for him at the hospital and offered to become his legal guardian. Now, she’s white and he’s black. That didn’t matter. In January of 2019, he moved in with Lori.

He had his heart surgery in August. He hopes to recover well enough so that he can get back into society and work again. Lori made a huge difference not only in his life, but in the lives of many people whom Jonathan will serve. Nurses wear aprons!

Arthur Ashe was one of the first great African-American tennis players. The huge tennis complex in New York City is named after him. He talked about heroes and said that true heroism “is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”

Arthur Ashe knew that it was in serving that we really find our greatest joy in life. Jesus said, “If you try to save your life, then you will lose it. If you are willing to lose your life in My service, you will find life.” (Matthew 16:25)

You don’t find life by surpassing others in categories that don’t matter – you find life and become a hero when you serve other people at whatever cost. Heroes wear aprons!!

Towards the end of Jesus’s ministry two of His disciples, James and John, were arguing about who was most important and should sit next to Jesus. While they were debating who should be at the top, Jesus took a towel and began to wash their feet. (John 13:1-17) The towel trumps the top in God’s kingdom!

Are you wearing a bib or an apron?

God

A new command

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34

They had heard Jesus tell them to love one another before.

So what was new? Jesus is telling them to love “as I have loved you.”

So, how did Jesus love? One needy soul at a time.

Zacchaeus was a short, rich Jericho tax collector. In fact he was so short that when Jesus passed through Jericho, where

Zacchaeus was, the swarming crowds blocked his view so he could not see Jesus. He had to climb a sycamore tree just to get a glimpse of Jesus.

Jesus ignored the large crowds. He didn’t say a word to them. Instead he looked up at Zacchaeus and said, “Zacchaeus, come on down from that tree right away. I’m going to stay at your house today.”

Wait. Think about this scene for a minute. It’s the first time Zacchaeus has ever laid eyes on Jesus. Jesus ignores the huge crowds. Doesn’t say a word. He calls Zacchaeus by name and then says he’s going to spend the whole day with him at his house.

Later at his house Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

That’s how Jesus loved–one soul at a time. The Bible is full of stories of Jesus loving one person at a time. Think of the woman-at-the-well, the Centurion woman, The Roman centurion’s sick servant and many more one at a time.

God

What do you know about God?

If a stranger came up to you on the street and asked you to tell her all you know about God, what would you say?.

How would you respond? How long would it take you to tell the stranger all you know about God. If you’re anything like me it wouldn’t take much time at all.

I could tell you lots of stuff I know about God. Heck, we talk to each other every day. He shares all sorts of stuff with me. I love when He tells me how he’s answered my prayers. Of course I don’t know a centile of stuff that my Pastor knows or some Bible scholars. But God lets me know everything I need to know to help me navigate life today and hopefully be a blessing to others and honor Him and be grateful.

Of course I can never know all there is to know this side of heaven. But some day…some day I’ll know everything I’m suppose to know. God promises us through the Apostle Paul . . .

“Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Some day we’ll understand it all by and by’

God

Covid here, Covid there, Covid, Covid everywhere

Where were you on February 10, 2020?

Would you have guessed in a thousand years that your life and the lives of your family and everyone you know would change forever the next day?

That’s the day the world was introduced to Covid.

Here’s a challenge for all you brainiacs out there. Can you name at least one person, place or thing, animal, vegetable or mineral Covid has not touched?

Times up. I didn’t think so.

It may very well be that Covid in some form or fashion will become a permanent part of our lives.

What we always need to remember is that God is sovereign, not just over some things. God is sovereign over EVERYthing. And He’s sovereign over Covid. God did not create Covid. But He is allowing it as part of his purpose for us all. And He will bring good out of Covid, even though we can’t see it now or believe it. God has promised that He will.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isiah 55:8-9

God

A visit I’ll never forget

When I finished college, I was invited to play basketball on the Venture for Victory Basketball Team, which traveled throughout Asian countries, playing basketball and presenting a Christian witness. We played about 75 games in ten weeks. Several of them were against Olympic teams from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Philippines, and Hong Kong. Thousands of people came to know Christ through that program.

One of my most unforgettable life experiences occurred in Taipei. We were playing each night against their Olympic team. Some missionaries invited us to visit a leprosarium that was run by Mrs. Lillian Dickson. She was a marvelous Presbyterian lady who had a remarkable ministry to lepers.

Basketball is really big in that part of the world. Even the leprosarium had a basketball court. It also had loud-speakers throughout the compound so that people could listen to the ball games. We gave a basketball demonstration at the court. Some of the residents not too badly affected by leprosy were able to walk to the court. Others brought their buddies on their backs.

We saw how leprosy affected people at different stages. Some were severely afflicted, while others were in the first stages. I met a man named Chhoe who had been a skilled wood carver. Leprosy took his fingers, so he strapped the chisel to the heel of one hand and the mallet to the heel of his other hand, and carved water buffaloes. He gave me one.

Mrs. Dickson invited us to go to the top of the compound to what she called the “ward nearest heaven.” The most severely afflicted lepers were there. There were eight lepers in the room. None of them had arms or feet. Someone had to feed them and care for them. It was a dimly lit room. None of these lepers would live very long, but the remarkable thing was that each of them had accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. They knew the real meaning of life, and their lives were effervescent with the hope of eternity.

I have been in a lot of prayer groups and religious settings in my life. Never had I been in any room where I felt the power of God so much as in that leprosarium. Mrs. Dickson called on one of our players to lead in prayer. Gary Cunningham, All-American basketball player from UCLA, began to pray, with the use of an interpreter, “Oh God, we thank you for Jesus Christ.”

All-of-a-sudden, the lepers started saying in English, “Hallelujah, hallelujah. Amen, amen.” They started praising God. Gary was unable to continue the prayer. It was just an outbreak of genuine praise to God.

Mrs. Dickson took us outside and explained that when Gary thanked God for Jesus Christ, he thanked God for the only hope those men had. Their focus was not on a basketball game, or earning money, or trying to establish a vocation–none of these were important at all to these lepers. Knowing Jesus and where they would spend eternity was the greatest news they could hear and share!

My life would never be the same after that experience. Today, what are you most thankful for? Where is your hope? What do you love more than anything else in the world? In what are you putting your trust? What is your focus in life today?

Learn from these lepers about real living!

God

Forgiving Tom Sawyer

Tom Sawyer

No. I’m not talking about forgiving Huck Finn’s fence-painting sidekick or Becky Thatcher’s boyfriend. I’m talking about my dad, Tom Sawyer. My middle name is Tom and I got kidded about it my whole life.

Dad was an alcoholic so our home was dysfunctional. I felt sorry for Mom–she took her share of verbal abuse and shaming from Dad but she showed me toughness despite all the eggshells we all had to walk on.

Dad never had THE TALK with me or had even a word to share with me about me becoming a man. Dad introduced me to pornography, which later became an addition of mine. Dad always favored my four-years-my-junior brother, Sam, in everything. I often felt like a lost child.

Dad was sober the last 20 years of his life, thanks to AA. And he turned semi-mellow but he and I remained strained. To be honest, the primary emotion we shared was, I think, resentment.

In a conversation with a counselor last week I realized that after all the ill-will baggage I’d been lugging around I had never forgiven him for all the ill-will he and I both had for each other. With my counselor and prayer and The Holy Spirit I was able to genuinely forgive my dad completely. I left all that baggage for good.

God

Charlton Heston and the 23rd psalm

Someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew Charlton Heston asked the actor if he would come to a party in his home town of Evanston, Illinois to honor a Baptist preacher retiring after serving 62 years as a pastor.

After several speeches and a roast, the MC of the party asked Charlton Heston if he would read the 23rd Psalm in character as Moses, which Heston played in the movie, “The Ten Commandments.”  After several protests Heston reluctantly agreed and came to the podium. He read the verses out of the open Bible on the podium and received polite applause from the folks in the audience.

Then the MC asked the retiring preacher if he would recite the familiar verses as his last official duty for the church.  The aging pastor walked to the podium and recited the 23rd Psalm.  However, when he finished there was not a sound in the hall. There were a few sniffles, lots of  tears, even a few sobs.

The retiring preacher read the verses with such passion and conviction and love for the Scripture that he touched the hearts of everyone, even the actor. Heston was so moved by the preacher’s rendition of the 23rd Psalm that he returned to the microphone for his parting words.

All he could manage to say was, “I know the book,” Heston said. “But this preacher knows the Author.”

God

He’s Alive

God

He sought me

There’s a lyric in the great Gospel song Victory in Jesus that says, “Jesus sought me”. It ‘s in the chorus and it goes like this,

“O victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever!
He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him, and all my love is due Him.
He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.”

Think of those words for a minute. If you know Jesus, If you’re a child of the king,

He sought YOU. He sought me!

Jesus sought prostitutes and bums and crooked tax collectors. He sought the down-and-outers. He sought the woman at the well at midday who’d been married five times. He sought drunks and derelicts. The divorced. Why do you suppose He sought you? Or me?

It’s our brokenness, our heartaches our depression and our helplessness that attracts him to us; because he knows better than anyone or anything that Jesus is the only relief we can ever find. That’s why Jesus still seeks us. He knows we will not seek him. We’ll seek relief from the world because we’re all so dadgum stubborn and still think worldly.

If he didn’t seek after us we’d never find him on our own.

He’s Alive

God

Please pass the mustard seed

seed

Mustard seeds fascinate me.  They start as one of the smallest seeds in the world. Then they can grow into herbs larger than an adult with sturdy branches large enough for birds to nest in. Jesus taught the parable of the mustard seed in all three synoptic gospels.

In Matthew Jesus said, “. . . if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

When growers plant the mustard seed, the germination process begins. Only after it dies does it start to grow. All the growth and fruit from one tiny seed would not be possible unless the seed died.

We would not be proclaiming the Gospel if Jesus had not died.

We have to die too if we are going to bear fruit for God. We can do all sorts of “good” things. We can pray, read the Bible, meditate on Scripture, go to church, serve on committees, usher and more. None of it glorifies God, however, if we’re not willing to be crucified with Him. We have to die first if we’re going to live for Him.

That’s why Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life I live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

God

My 7 UPS

Everyone needs a plan for living each day in 2022. My plan includes “7 ups” to help me move up each day. These “7 ups” do not refer to the drink you purchase from a machine, nor the delivery service that’s dependent on a human supply chain. My “7 ups” are God and I working together. I share them to ask you to help hold me accountable and consider joining me in this plan.

  1. WAKE UP. Wake up and remember that David said “Today is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) Begin each day with a decision that God has something good in store for us today and we are going to be committed to following His will.
  2. GET UP. It’s always easy to lie in bed and daydream about what could be. It’s another thing to get up and let God begin to use us. The prodigal son in Luke 15 found himself in a pig pen. He woke up (vs. 17) and then got up (vs. 18, 20) and went home to his father! Check out what his “ups” led to. (vs. 21-24)
  3. FILL UP. Something is going to occupy our thinking today. It could be very negative or very positive. It can be self-centered, or it can be outwardly focused. Paul says, “Whatever is true, good, lovely, good in others . . . brings joy and praise …let your mind dwell on these things.” (Philippians4:8)
  4. SHUT UP. It’s always easy to speak before we think. We have two ears and only one mouth. We need to listen a lot more and speak a lot less. Solomon reminds us that “He who guards his lips guards his soul.” (Proverbs 13:3) Think twice before you speak, and think three times or more before you send an email or text or Twitter message!
  5. LOOK UP. If you walk through life looking down, you will never see a rainbow or the many doors that God wants to open every day. Remember that our strength does not come from other people or ourselves down here, but it comes from God above. Look up to Him. David wrote “I will look up to the mountains from where my help comes. My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1,2)
  6. REACH UP. Always be reaching upward. Every day, we need to have some goal that’s just beyond our reach and will cause us to stretch to reach it. Be sure that it is God’s goal and not yours. Paul said, “I reach forward to what lies ahead. I strain toward the prize of the upward call of God.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
  7. LIFT UP. Focus on someone to lift up in prayer. When you see a person who is down emotionally, financially, spiritually, or psychologically, lift them up. “Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one. If one falls, the others lift him up. One standing alone can be defeated, but two standing back-to-back can conquer, and three is even better!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

What is your daily plan for 2022?

God

He’s Alive

God

The two greatest rock&roll songs EVER!

God

God’s heart exam

Words are extremely important. The Bible says if you want to determine who a person really is, listen to the words they speak. “A man’s speech is determined by his heart.” (Matthew 12:34)

Jesus was very clear in Matthew 12:33 that you identify a tree by its fruit. You can’t call a fig tree a pecan tree when it’s producing figs or vice versa. What the tree produces determines what it is.

Jesus goes on to say that a man’s speech reveals the health of his heart. The words a person uses can reveal the rich treasures within him. Also, the words he uses can reveal how evil-hearted he is. (Matthew 12:34-35)

He makes it clear that all words matter. He said that even every idle word is one for which we have to give an account. Therefore, your words reflect who you really are—either you will be justified by them, or you will be condemned by them. (Matthew 12:36-37)

The best way to determine the health of your heart is to listen to the words that come out of your mouth. There are new means of technology that help evaluate the health of the human heart. Doctors are able to look at the images that technology produces and determine if surgery is needed on the heart, or what needs to be done to correct it. Now remember—you can’t function without your heart. When your heart stops, you stop!!

The best way to examine your heart is by listening to your words. Let me ask some questions and you evaluate your heart:

  1. Do my words express profanity?
  2. Would I use different words if I was totally conscious that God is standing beside me?
  3. Do my words build people up or tear people down?
  4. Do my words reflect our culture or my commitment to Christ?
  5. Do my words invite people into the Kingdom of God or keep them out?

I meet a lot of people who want to know if there is some exercise they can use to improve their language. The only way you can change your language is to change your heart. What you say is a result of who you are. You can never change your words until you change your heart!

Jesus made it clear—as a good tree produces good fruit; a good heart produces good words. A bad tree cannot produce good fruit. A polluted stream cannot produce pure water. James said the same thing. (James 3:9-12)

How did you do on your heart exam? Walking around with a faulty heart is extremely dangerous. Walking around with a pure heart produces words that are pleasing to God and very helpful to all people.

Using good words today runs counter to what you see and hear on television. Bad language has become acceptable—which is an indication of the heart of America. Listen to the words of the next movie or tv program that you watch—those words are the result of the heart of our country.

I’ve got a good friend who does heart surgery and transplants. I always feel more comfortable when he is around. I’ve got a better friend who is the Great Physician who is always around and does heart transplants. If your heart isn’t healthy, go to Him. (Matthew 12:33-37)

What does God’s EKG and MRI (your words) say about your heart?Back to my blog

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God

Would your church give a birthday party for a prostitute

What kind of church do you attend?
Would your congregation agree to throw a birthday party for prostitutes?

Is your church inward focused or outward focused? Who are you serving, each other or others? What percentage of your church budget goes to missions? When was the last time any of your congregation traveled to a foreign country to serve Jesus? When was the last time any of your congregation stepped out of its comfort zone to feed the homeless or volunteer in a food bank or a ministry for abused women and children?

As “The Church” do we love the unlovable? Do we reach out to the unreached?

Before you answer any of these questions, please take a few minutes to watch and listen to Tony Campolo describe a birthday party he gave for a prostitute. This video should make you think about what, as The Church, we are doing to serve those Jesus served.

God

Broken Dreams

As children bring their broken dreams
with tears to us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
because He is my friend.

But then, instead of leaving Him
in peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.

At last I snatched them back and cried,
“How could You be so slow”-
“My child,” God said,
“What could I do?
You never would let go.”
Author unknown.

Share this:

God

Resentment can become a toxic enemy

If I don’t deal with resentment that creeps into my head, it can become a passion and create a toxic, harmful state of mind.

When we feel resentment our bodies become physical wrecks. Stress hormones course through our veins. Resentment can cause the heart rate and blood pressure to rise to sometimes dangerous levels.

Resentment can cause stress on our digestive and immune systems as well. Resentment can cause the same flight-or-flight response we might feel if we were physically attacked or in fear for our lives.

People impacted by the resentment stress causes can’t think clearly. Our ability to reason and understand become impaired.

Stress leaves us a mess.

What can we do?

DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING, BUT IN EVERYTHING BY PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION WITH THANKSGIVING LET YOUR REQUESTS BE MADE KNOWN TO GOD. AND THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH SURPASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING, WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS. PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7

The underlined words in this verse reveal the one and only way to rid our hearts and minds of resentment–clinging dependence on God.

Lots of secular books and magazines have magic wand cures for resentment. Some may work for a moment. If they do they fade quickly.

The ONLY way we rid ourselves of resentment is by abiding in the presence of God. Being and abiding in His presence will bring His amazing peace to our hearts and minds and flush resentment from us.

PEACE I LEAVE WITH YOU; MY PEACE I GIVE TO YOU. NOT AS THE WORLD GIVES DO I GIVE TO YOU. LET NOT YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED, NEITHER LET THEM BE AFRAID. JOHN 14:27

God

Our sweet dog Bo

I was the editor of a weekly newspaper in Alabama in 1995. One very nice Spring Sunday afternoon Marie and I drove to the animal shelter in Wetumpka. I was writing a story on overcrowding at the shelter.

While we were there a man drove up in a pickup with five six-week old German Shepherd-Beagle mix puppies, four girls and a boy. I picked up the male (just to look at him for a few minutes). I could hold all of him in the palm of one hand.

I just happened to have a cardboard box and some newspapers in the back seat of the car. The littie puppy we named Bo went home with us that afternoon and for the next 14 years he was our most loved member of the family.

Everyone liked Bo and Bo liked everyone who came to the house. He always thought our guests came to the house to see him and he greeted them with licks and wags that made them all feel loved and welcome.

In July, 2009 we had to make the gut-wrenching decision to put Bo to sleep. His kidneys were failing, he stopped eating and he was sick a lot. All Bo did all day was lay under the bed and sleep or gaze at nothing. We could tell by looking at him that he was tired. He had no quality of life any more.

The vet told us she could not fix him.

When we took Bo to the vet for the last time, Marie and Lois and I all lay down beside him on the blanket and spent our last moments with him, petting him, cuddling him and telling him what a good dog he had been and how much we loved him.

Those were his last memories of us, and our last memories of him. He died peacefully and quietly and very quickly with us next to him.

Then we cried and sobbed and wept.

We will never forget Bo. We don’t want to. All our memories and stories of him are good ones. And though we no longer have his love and loyalty and his funny ways, we have all those memories.

And we will treasure them always.

God

TEA BAGS AND FAITH LESSONS – A Short Story

Wonderful story. It churned up lots of memories about my own grandma.

On Faith and Writing

Back in 2012, I joined Pam Ford Davis’ group Tea Pot Testimony on Facebook.  In one of her posts, Pam asked what one does with a cup of tea that is full of bits of tea due to a broken tea bag.  As I thought about my answer, the idea for this story was born.  The memory of that first cup of tea is my own, shared with my mom and my Gramma Olcott when I was small.

Gramma went home to be with the Lord many years ago, and this past Saturday marked two years since my mom’s death.   I miss them both so much, and while trying to decide what to post for today’s fiction, I chose to re-post this story in their memory.

MOM & GRAMMA O OCT, 1988 b - Copy2

*   *   *   *   *

I stared out the window as the tea kettle began to steam, lost in…

View original post 702 more words

God

A trade that made headlines

By John Ed Mathison

Executive Director

John Ed Mathison Ministries

When you are a baseball pitcher, there are a lot of different ways to get your name in the headlines. You can pitch a no-hitter, have a perfect game, strike out a lot of people, have an enviable win/loss record, have the best fastball or curve—those are headliners. A few years ago, there were two left-handed pitchers who made headlines for a different reason.

The biggest trade headline in 1973 occurred in the New York Yankees spring training camp in Fort Lauderdale when Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson announced a trade—they had decided to swap wives, two children apiece, and even family dogs. The announcement of that trade traveled faster than any other trade in baseball!

Both families have been friends since 1969. They lived in New Jersey. The children were about the same age. They actually went to family events together. At some time during the 1972 season, each of them became interested in the marriage partner of the other couple. When they announced the trade, the baseball commissioner was “appalled,” but couldn’t interfere. He received more mail about that trade than he did about the introduction of the designated hitter!

One interesting moment occurred when the Yankees General Manager, Lee MacPhail, cracked, “We may have to call off Family Day.”

Neither Kekich nor Peterson will ever make it to the Hall of Fame—but they both saw that they had made the Hall of Shame. That’s what they will be remembered for.

If you want to get your name in the headlines, pursue something good that makes a difference. You can make the headlines by robbing a bank, cheating people out of money, making a public spectacle of yourself—or you can make a difference by giving to people in need, serving the underserved in the community, living your life serving God’s Kingdom. These might not make the human headlines, but they’ll make the heavenly headlines!

If you’re interested in some kind of trade, the first trade should be to trade in your old self and receive the new self that God wants to create. “When a person becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person . . . A new life has begun.” (II Corinthians 5:17)

Trade in a negative attitude for a positive attitude. That will improve your life and the lives of all the people around you. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)

Trade a “getting” mentality for a “giving” mentality. We discover many more blessings in giving. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

Trade bad choices for good choices. Every choice has a consequence that will determine your direction in life. Choose who to serve. “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15)

Trading spouses, children, and dogs are not God’s plan. You will win at the game of life if you make the right trades in life in order to follow His plan!

Be very selective in every trade that you make!

God

Check that tree

Gene and Edna Ward invited my brother George and his wife, Monteigne, and Lynn and me to meet with them on a recent Sunday afternoon. They wanted to show us something.

Edna is very accomplished at tracing the genealogy of people. She has spent months tracing the genealogy of our family for the last five generations.

The book is 213 pages long. She had newspaper clippings and photographs of family events since the discovery of a camera and the use of newspapers. George and I were amazed. The more we learned about our family tree, the more blessed we felt!

I did ask her if there were any “bad apples” on our family tree. She graciously said that she did not find any. (I hope she was telling the whole truth.) I asked her how she would handle the situation of a family member with a bad reputation.

She shared that those who research family histories are often asked, “What if there is a horse thief in the family?”They reply, “Adjust the image.” She jokingly shared the following:

Creative Genealogy—This example circulates on the Internet and names an important person in today’s political scene. For today’s purpose—I have altered the content to show creative genealogy is possible.

A lady doing family research discovered her great-great grandpa was a fellow lacking in character. He was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889.

The only known photograph of him shows him standing on the gallows. On the back of the picture is this inscription: “(His name,) Horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times, caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted, and hanged in 1889.”

She hired professional image adjusters, cropped grandpa’s picture, scanned it, enlarged the image, and edited it with image processing software so all that’s seen is a headshot.

In her family history, the accompanying biographical sketch is as follows:

My great-great grandfather was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to service at a government facility, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, he passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.” 

George and I are more proud to bear the Mathison name than ever before. We are the recipients of five generations who decided to “choose a good name over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.” (Proverbs 22:21)

We also are more committed to making the Mathison name a blessing for future generations. We have a huge responsibility. Jesus said, “A tree is known by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:33) He also said, “A good tree bears good fruit.” (Matthew 7:17)

How is your tree looking?

God

You can’t be in two places at the same time

You can’t mow the back yard and be in the living room watching a Netflix movie at the same time. Not even a transgender can do that.

But God can.

God can stand on the 29,000-feet peak of Mt. Everest in Nepal and at the same moment be at the birth of twin girls at the Florida Gulf Coast Hospital in Panama City, Florida. In fact God is everywhere all the time.

Do you remember that math test you cheated on in Mrs. Guinn’s 7th grade math class? God was there. He saw you cheat. Just so you know, Mrs. Guinn saw you too. Do you remember that time you gave your weekly lunch money to Ada Bell because she didn’t have any money at all? God was there. He saw you giving your money to Ada. That sacrifice of yours that day made God’s day.

God is able to do all this because of one of the attributes of his character–Omnipresence which literally means being everywhere at the same time. There is no place where God isn’t.

Think of this: God never has to go anyewhere.

God

Everything is broken

Can you name an industry today that’s working? How about a big company that has it all together.

Is there something that’s working.? Is there a manufacturer that’s cranking out it”s product and making a healthy profit with satisfied customers and consumers clamoring to gobble up their stock?

I don’t think so.

God

Treasures in heaven

A group of extravagantly wealthy investors are hording millions in precious metals to enrich their own wealth. In their TV commercials the filthy rich investors encourage prospective hoarders to protect their own fortunes by buying more gold and silver.

These are treasures on earth.

Jesus had a different idea about treasures:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

God

Two ways to look at life

There are two ways to look at life. One way is to be an “if only” person who is always talking about if only things had been different, they would be different. The other way is the “nevertheless” person who takes any situation and, nevertheless, asks God to help them.

The “if only” person is very negative. He always has an excuse for why he failed or why he didn’t accomplish some task. He begins the sentence with “if only,” and then comes the excuse.

I have heard some people say, “If only I had more God-given talent, I could accomplish more in life.” Talents were not intended to be evenly distributed. We are expected to use the talents God gives us. Read Matthew 25:15-29.

I have heard people say, “If only my parents had been like your parents, I could have turned out better.” You don’t get to choose your parents, but you can choose how you live in that situation.

I have heard people say, “If only I had known the right people, I could have gotten a better job.” Knowing the right people might help, but it is not essential to success.

On the other hand, I have seen people face an impossible situation and say, “It is a tough situation, nevertheless, I know that God has a plan for me in this situation. I can learn from it.” The “nevertheless” person quotes Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans that God has for me …”

I have been with families who lost a child or a family member due to some illness or accident. I have heard people say, “This is the toughest thing I have ever faced, nevertheless, I know that God will supply my every need.” “Nevertheless” people quote Ephesians 3:20, “He is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…”

I have been with people who have been mistreated or betrayed by a good friend who cheated them or killed a precious family member through murder or a senseless accident. They have every human right to be bitter and unforgiving. “Nevertheless” people quote Ephesians 4:32, “… forgive each other as God has forgiven you.”

The best example of a “nevertheless” person is Jesus. The night before He went to the cross, He prayed for a different plan, but then said, “Nevertheless, not My will but Your will be done.” (Matthew 26:39) That’s the secret to the best life possible!

Developing an “if only” lifestyle or a “nevertheless” lifestyle is a decision every person makes. The determining factor is not circumstances, tough situations, mistreatment, or bad luck. The determining factor is the attitude that you choose.

“If only” people are miserable and make everybody else miserable. “Nevertheless” people create a climate of humility, trust, joy, and hope. I have heard my dad say, “Some people cause happiness wherever they go—others, whenever they go.” My friend, Derrick Johnson, says, “Some people are like clouds. Once they disappear, it’s a beautiful day.”

Are you an “if only” person or a “nevertheless” person?

God

It’s your choice

When you wake up in the morning, you can either say “Good morning, Lord, help me make this a great day,” or you can say, “Good Lord, it’s morning—I dread what’s going to happen today.”

Life is a choice. A great neurologist and Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl, said, “The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Only you are in charge of your attitude. I believe a Godly attitude toward any situation is more important than the situation itself. I have seen two different people face the same situation. One sees it as an opportunity to grow, and the other sees it as an obstacle that cannot be overcome.

The circumstances don’t dictate how your day will go—your attitude will. A person who is living life to the fullest is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather is a person with a certain set of attitudes.

I heard about a 92-year-old lady. She was petite, well-dressed, and a proud mother. She was fully dressed every morning by 8:00 a.m. Her hair was always perfectly fashioned, even though she was legally blind.

She was moving to a nursing home for the first time because her husband of 72 years had recently passed away. She was a gracious, lovely, positive, dignified woman who had a great attitude about life. She was the kind of person you like to be around.

When she arrived at the nursing home, she had to wait several hours in the lobby. She was patient. She smiled sweetly when she was told that her room was ready. She lifted herself to her walker and started toward the elevator. The supervisor started describing her tiny room, including the sheets that had been hung on her window for curtains. She replied, “I love it.” She was as enthusiastic as a five-year-old boy who had just gotten a new bicycle.

The supervisor said, “Ma’am, you haven’t seen the room. Just wait.” 

The new resident replied, “That doesn’t have anything to do with it. Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged; it’s how I arrange my mind. I have already decided to love it.”

She continued, “When I wake up every morning, I have a decision to make. I can spend the day in bed thinking about all the parts of my body that don’t work well anymore, or I can get out of bed and be thankful for the fact that I’m still alive and most of my body still works well.”

The 92-year-old continued, “Each day is a gift. As long as my eyes are open, I will focus on the new day and all the happy memories I have stored away just for this time in my life.”

Wow, that’s an attitude. The Bible says, “Let this attitude be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5) Today’s happiness will not depend on circumstances as much as your attitude. William Ward said, “The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist projects that the wind will change, but the realist adjusts the sail.”

If yesterday was the worst day of your life, then today will have to be better! You choose your attitude, which will dictate how today goes.

Make this a great day—unless you have other plans.