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SCRIPTURE

I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done.

~Psalm 143:5, NLT

QUOTE

Todays little moments become tomorrows precious memories.

~Anonymous

my thoughts red

It has been an unusual week: I have listened to a broken hearted man who’s dreams have been shattered. I have prayed with a dear friend in agonizing pain. I have stood at the grave side with broken hearted young parents grieving the mysterious passing of a beautiful young daughter but in the midst of the pain and heartbreak, I also had a wonderful phone call from a beautiful young lady in L.A. Isn’t it amazing how sensitive God is to our needs.

A few years ago she called and asked me to council with she and her intended. It was an unusual situation. She had asked another minister to perform the wedding ceremony but she wanted me to do the pre-marital counseling so I meet them at a fancy restaurant in Falkville, I think they call it McDonalds. In the session, I asked the young man about his relationship with Christ and I think he was a bit stunned. He was not raised Baptist and I was being rather direct and using Baptist terminology. Thank the LORD Jesus he was not offended. Our conversation aggravated his mind and he began to give his eternal destiny serious thought. Long story short, God continued to work in his life and he was saved a few weeks later. Now he and his sweet wife attend worship together and are happy in Christ.

Here is the point: I had forgotten all about it and she had to jog my memory. I probably thanked her a dozen times for reminding me. If you are hurting today, I pray that God will use someone to cheer you up. Perhaps there is someone you need to appreciate: call them, send them an encouraging text or card. Who knows, you may make their day. This reminds me of a card I got this week. I will share it tomorrow, LORD willing.

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  • Our first priority is to get our family back together: I hope by the time you read this our YOUTH TEAM will be home from Guatemala. They are scheduled to get in early this morning. [August 6]
  • Things keep falling into place on the BLOCK PARTY. It has actually been amazing how things have worked out. This is easy for me to say because someone else does most of the work.
  • This time last week I was on board a ship in the frigid waters of the inside passage and it was the first day that the temperature reached 70 degrees. I do miss the Alaska weather. It is a great place to spend the summer which is what a lot of folks do. Almost all of the shop clerks told us that they go South for winter.
  • Due to a lot of things: we have rescheduled our GOLDEN GIRLS get together for August 29 and there will be no Senior Adult fellowship in August. Matter of fact, we may save our money and just have a Christmas Party at Cracker Barrel. I will run that by my A/A [Administrative Assistant] and if she doesn’t shoot it down: it is a go.
  • Don’t get your hopes up BUT there is a slight possibility that we can get the paving done before the BLOCK PARTY. I’ll know more when David tells me more. It could be later today or tomorrow.
  • John Wydner may come home Friday. Man, I miss John: he is a worship leader and we also have missed our band. Sir Lance A lot has done great on the drums. The boy has musical talent: he gets it from the Carroll’s. His granny is a Carroll from Limestone County. Everyone things she is from Neel but she is from Sardis Springs.
  • We have some unhappy grandchildren: they are not ready to go back to school.
  • Joe David sent me the pic below today: it moves me. I miss Kenny and I honor his name and his memory.

kenny in house

The Difference Maker

February 14, 2015

 

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SCRIPTURE

Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone….Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus.

~Mark 9:2-4, NLT

QUOTE

Obeying rules will never bring us into the life of victory and blessing. Only Jesus can!

~David Dykes

my thoughts red

Moses dreamed of leading the Israelites into the promise land but he lost his tempter at the Rock and used the powers that God had given him for his own glory. It was an unpardonable sin. Moses begged for forgiveness but finally God said, “It is what it is, don’t bring the subject up again. You are coming to Me but you are not going into Canaan. I’ll let you see it from a distance but you will never cross the Jordan.” God said what He meant and He meant what He said, Moses died in the land of Moab, never setting foot into the promise land.

But what the law could not do, Jesus did. Although no one is certain which mountain the transfiguration occurred on, we know it was inside the borders of Israel. Origen believed it was Mount Tabor which June and I saw from a distance back in 1990. The point is, Jesus got Moses to the Promise Land. We could never get to heaven without Jesus. Our sin, like Moses’ sin, would keep us from reaching our glorious destination. Thank God for Jesus!

Revival Strip

  • Today we pray for STUDENTS.

raising cane

  • You never know what a day will bring forth: I got up studying for the WINTER BIBLE STUDY at Sardis Springs and by mid-morning, it had been rescheduled for March 1-4. They are predicting bad weather this weekend and into next week. Last year, our WBS was snowed out on Wednesday. They are predicting two winter storms next week and one could bring 10 inches of snow. Now I am studying for Sunday night: Joe David will preach Sunday morning.
  • The DHS Lady Hawks play at Wallace State today at 12:00. I think they have a chance to go all the way.
  • We have the T-Shirts for the blood drive. They are red with white print….raisingkaneinprayer. We have 71 T-Shirts plus the Life South gifts.
  • The Holladay family had two more deaths this week. I think the service yesterday was in Decatur and they have one today in Birmingham, I think.
  • Don’t forget, we will be raising money to build houses in Guatemala the next two Sunday, possibly three. I’m not sure how many our team needs but it does not matter. Every $400 we send will build a house. Dian Penny is handling the Roy Mims fund. They already have enough for one and are working on the second. We need to do at least 18 in memory of Kenny Holladay.

a kenny house project

Slavery

February 8, 2015

SCRIPTURE

Are you a slave? Don’t let that worry you—but if you get a chance to be free, take it.

~I Corinthians 7:21, NLT

QUOTE

No creature that deserved Redemption would need to be redeemed.

~C.S. Lewis

my thoughts red

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.”

In 1 Corinthians Paul is talking to those who were literally slaves. In the Roman world, there were more slaves than free men. Paul is simply saying, “Don’t worry about your slave status, the label, people looking down on you, because in reality, you are free in Christ.” If you were a slave, the Lord has saved you and set you free from the power of sin. For those who were free when you got saved, you are now slaves to Jesus Christ. Every one is a slave to something, it is better to be a slave to Jesus than a slave to the world. Remember, God redeemed you at a very high price, the blood and life of His Son.

Revival Strip

  • Today the MISSION OFFERING goes to Disaster Relief and Tom and Edith Bennich are our special Guest.
  • Today we pray for SENIOR ADULTS. We had a good turn out yesterday for the GOLDEN GIRLS. Sarah and Jean were out of town and Mrs. Jewel sleep in but we still had nine.
  • The Mission OFFERING for the rest of February 15 and 22 will be in memory of Kenny Holladay and will go to building houses in Guatemala. We have enough for two right now but I am shooting for 20. Some of the LCBS classes are saying they are not physically able to do a project: you could give $400 to build a house in Guatemala.
  • The SENIOR ADULT LADIES did their project yesterday. Take time today for intercessory prayer and fill out a prayer sheet. Talk about your project and party: today would be a good time to do it.

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SCRIPTURE

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid.

~Luke 12:7, NLT

QUOTE

Fear is False Emotions Appearing Real.

~Zig Ziggler

my thoughts red

We all feel intimidated by larger than life situations such as cancer, divorce or a family member addicted to drugs, it is easy to give in to doubt, fear, discouragement and sometimes despair. During these difficult times, the most stabilizing factor in our lives is the assurance that Jesus loves us and that He cares about the tiniest detail in our life. He even knows how many hairs we have on our heads and that includes nose and ears. Too much detail, right!

Big and little are a part of our vocabulary and thinking but not God’s. To HIM nothing is big or small which means nothing going on in your life is  trivial to Him. This is why Paul said in Philippians 4…Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.

Revival Strip

  • Well folks, you did it again. We had enough food to feed an army. I appreciate it and I know the Holladay family appreciates it. I want to thank those who prayed for us. I did not think I could do the service without at least one emotional breakdown but God’s grace was sufficient. I will miss Kenny dearly but I cannot tell you how relieved I am that he is not suffering anymore. No more pain for Kenny, no more, ever!
  • A special thanks to all the ladies who prepared food, to Jennifer, Mandy, Sheila and June for serving. The ladies from Friendship were a tremendous help and they also helped with food and drinks. We want to thank Matthew Tyler Vest for running the sound and Sylana for lining him up. Joe and I were about to panic.
  • Today we pray for a troubled world: Islam has raised its hideous head once again. ISIS murdered an airline pilot. Islam is a religion of darkness [ignorance] and hate which glorifies murder and violence. How intelligent do you need to be to know that murder is wrong?
  • THE GATHERING TONIGHT at 6:30 with supper at 5:30 and AWANA at 6:15.
  • GOLDEN GIRLS this Saturday at 9:00 at Cracker Barrel in Hartselle.
  • Kane Hogan is in the picture below, see if you can find him. When you do, say a prayer for him.

Kane Hogan

Steal No More

February 2, 2015

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SCRIPTURE

If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.

~Ephesians 4:28, NLT

QUOTE

The two primary motivations for stealing are greed and laziness.

~Ja’akov [Adapted from a statement in A CHALLENGE TO A NEW GENERATION]

Revival Strip

I assume there are other things that prompt men to steal. I would suppose that a man might be forced to steal to survive in some circumstances but this is not the case in our present culture. The right to owe property is a God given fundamental human right and stealing violates that right. Our basic human dignity is tied up in this right to own property and it stings when someone steals something which we worked hard to acquire. John Hancock may not have joined the American revolution had not King George seized his property including ships and house. The right to owe property was one of the basic tenants  that fueled the American Revolution. 

How many acts of theft does it take to make a thief? How many hard working folks do you know who steal for a living? Is cheating on your taxes a form of theft? Is robbing God of His tithes and offerings actually stealing? Is the imbalance of wealth and excuse for stealing? Do rich people have the right to be rich? Do poor people have a right to steal? Do poor people have the right to be poor when they refuse to work?

It takes only one lie to make a liar and only one act of theft to make a thief. What can I say, I am guilty of both but I do not wish to be either a thief or liar. By the grace of God, I will be honest in my dealings with others and I will not take what belongs to someone else because I know the disappointment of being defrauded.

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  • Great Services yesterday…6 decision yesterday morning and good service last night. DBC, you did it again. Great love offering. The kids loved Scotty and Teresa liked Felton jokes.

Feb 1 Decisions

  • I know you need some kind of explanation about the subject of the blog. I am preparing for the WINTER BIBLE STUDY at Sardis Springs and the second chapter is on the TEN COMMANDMENTS and one section on stealing. David Dykes and the SONS OF LIBERTY {History Channel Series} inspired me. No one has taken anything from me lately: that I am aware of but I can make a list of the past: Riding Mower {Orange John Deer, $1,700} husqvarna Chain Saw {$240.00}, Box Blade {came with my tractor}, Makita 8-Volt Litthiumion cordless drill {$175}, to name a few. They just popped into my mind. I am sure there are more.
  • Today we pray for MINISTERS and MISSIONARIES: Why don’t we pray for Joe David today as he travels. Monday is his seminary day and road conditions are not supposed to be good. Pray for Bro. Phil and Teresa as they travel back to Memphis.
  • Arrangements for KENNY HOLLADAY’S CELEBRATION OF LIFE SERVICE is Tuesday at 1:00 at Danville Baptist Church. Visitation is from 11:00-1:00. We will be serving the family a meal after the graveside at FRIENDSHIP. The fine folks at FRIENDSHIP are letting us use their fellowship hall. This will make it easier on the family. Jennifer Garner is our Team Leader and Mandy is going to help. The church will get the meat, bread and drinks. You help us with vegetables. You can bring them to our church and we will transport them.
  • Pic below: back row Frankie, James, Paul, Buren, and Kenny. Bottom row, Sheila, Elaine, Mrs. Ona [Mother] and Barbara. I want to commend all of them all. In 65 years, I have never seen a closer family. Please pray for Kenny’s Mom, Mrs. Ona. She is 99 and reads her bible avidly, hours a day. She and Kenny were very close and she is taking this hard.

Kenny and Family

Consideration

January 26, 2015

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SCRIPTURE

Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Philippians 4:5, NLT

QUOTE

Being considerate of others will take your further in life than any college or professional degree.

~Marian W. Edelman

my thoughts red

Ken texted me Sunday evening [Jan.25] and ask me to come over: he said Kenny wanted to talk to me. We had a great conversation. So sacred was the moment that I can share only a portion. I read several passages for Kenny and for myself and the one that seemed to help me the most was Philippians 4:4-9 but the words that gripped me most came from verses 6-7…Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.

As I got ready to leave, Kenny gave me a gift. Something he had been thinking about for a while. Here is a man whose body is racked with pain. He has not enjoyed the taste of food or drink for weeks. He is so weak that he speaks just above a whisper and yet he was thinking of me. Kenny Holladay epitomizes verse 5, “Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.” Kenny is Mr. Consideration!

Kenny is loosening the mooring ropes, getting ready for his departure: pray for it to be peaceful. Pray for a spirit of euphoria to form a glorious cloud in his room. Pray it line for line right now. Look up euphoria if you have to but pray the prayer: it is important.

Kenny Holladay

Kenny Holladay

 

make 2015 the year of revival

  • Today we pray for Ministers and Missionaries.
  • REVIVAL this Sunday with Phil the thrill Glisson. Teresa and Scotty will be with him. Children’s church and nursery both services. February 1…Plus Baptism in a.m. worship. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
  • Yet another Profession of faith yesterday…Bree Tyson [4 in last three weeks]
  • We don’t generally publish offering over the internet but the offering for the Hogan family was great. You did it again DBC. The LCBS lesson must have hit home.

Faithful Love

January 24, 2015

SCRIPTURE

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
~Psalm 118:1, NLT

QUOTE

Jesus loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.

~Junior Hill

my thoughts red

Just as the Patriarch Joseph made a commitment to love his sorry brothers so God in eternity past made a decision to love us. It is His decision, His choice, His initiative and His character that makes a love relationship possible. There is absolutely nothing you and I can do to earn, merit or deserve His love. His love is totally unconditional. You can’t do anything to cause Him to love you more or less. You have no influence over His attributes. Understanding this one simple yet profound truth can set your free of a lot of worry and fear. 

Eddie Arnold had a hit many years ago called “Make The World Go Away.” The refrain went like this…

Make the world go away
And get it off my shoulders,
Say the things you used to say
And make the world go away.

Eddie was singing about man’s fickle and conditional love. Eros is a selfish love: it loves to be loved but it cannot love when it is not reciprocated. Eros can handle only so much rejection, disappointment and loneliness and then it will cease to be. Jesus can take the world off your shoulders. You can count on His love: it is faithful, enduring, steadfast, divine and unconditional.

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  • Today we pray for STUDENTS. We can make Cain Hogan our primary target. They found out yesterday that Cain has Acute B Lymphoma which is the bad news; the good news is that it is treatable. Cain will be transferred this morning [January 24] to St. Jude’s in Memphis, Tn. He will be there from 4-6 weeks. Cain had a lot of company last night [January 23] and was in good spirits. Pray for Cain and family.
  • Had another good visit with Kenny and the boys. Kenny’s boys are knowledgeable but neither will concede on which knows the most or least. I learn something every time I talk to them. We had Kenny smiling some last evening. He is too weak to laugh or chuckle but he listens and smiles. He is a good man as men go. Let’s all lift Kenny up and his mom. Joe David visited her yesterday: pray for Mrs. Ona. She has her bags packed if you know what I mean.
  • Regular Schedule Sunday beginning at 8:15 with Deacon’s meeting.
  • REVIVAL with Phil Glisson Sunday February 1.

LCBS LESSON PREVIEW

Ready To Help The Poor

Ice Breaker: What one thing would you have a hard time living without? [Do not consider the essentials: food, shelter and clothing]

Scripture: Deuteronomy 15:7-11 [NIV]

7 If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. 8 Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.

Key Question: Is giving your tithe through the church enough? Are there situations where you need to give personally to an individual?

In verse 10, we are exhorted to “Give generously without a grudging heart.” Do you know any generous people? How does a person become generous? If it were your personal goal to become generous, where would you start?

NOTE OF INTEREST: The Israelites did not believe in 15 year mortgages. They had a sabbatical year every 7 years just like we have a leap year every four years. If 2017 was the sabbatical year and a neighbor came to borrow money, you had to understand that what was not collected by 2017 would be automatically canceled by the sabbatical year. Toward the end of the cycle, Jews became very tight fisted.

Deuteronomy 15:4-5….However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you,  if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today.

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

  • Why do we have poor people?
  • Are the poor in our area any different from the poor in Africa, India, China, Eastern Kentucky?
  • What can be done about the poor in our area?
  • How do you rate DBC? Too generous, generous, not generous enough, or not generous at all.
  • How does Deuteronomy 15 substantiate the BLOCK PARTY? 
  • God promised Israel that He would bless their generosity: do you think that promise holds true for us?
  • There is a Lazarus at every gate. The problem is, we are not looking for our Lazarus. Someone is going to need your help this week; practice being sensitive to the Holy Spirit leading you to your Lazarus. Lazarus needed food, mercy and medical care. He was not asking for part of the estate. Your Lazarus may need encouragement; he or she may just need a friend or a sympathetic ear.
  • Do you want to be remembered at “Tight-fisted” or “Generous”?
  • Look for opportunities to give.
  • Plan to give: sit down and pray about giving more. Ask God to help you give more.

 

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God is Good

January 18, 2015

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SCRIPTURE

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

~PSALM 34:8

QUOTE

God is good all the time and all the time God is Good.

~John Prater

my thoughts red

We do praise the LORD that the old Lexus got us here. Take my advice, never trust a Lexus navigational system. The LORD gave me a little test when our nav system betrayed us and guess what? I failed the test. Got in an argument with the woman’s voice from the system. June got quite but I knew what she was thinking, “You stupid idiot,” and she is right. We are glad to be here in a very nice suite. The first thing June said was, “This is bigger than our house.” We are excited about today [Sunday, January 18]. We did have a good visit with Kenny before we left. It was almost 2:00 pm before we got on the road but we had a very good trip down. PRAY FOR REVIVAL.

porkypig

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SCRIPTURE

I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.

~Psalms 40:10, NLT

QUOTE

The quality of the news determines the degree of the sin in keeping it to ourselves.

~Ya’akov

my thoughts red

If I knew that we were going to have sunshine tomorrow and warm temps, that would be good news to a lot of folks but there would be little harm if I kept that news to myself. However, if I had a cure for cancer and kept that to myself, that would be a grave sin. I have a good friend and a nephew that are hurting today: if I had a solution to their pain and misery and yet let them suffer by keeping it to myself, that would be unpardonable.

There are two types of cancer; one attacks the body and the other the soul. One we call cancer and the other we call sin: both are caused by rebellion. Cancer is a rebellion of bad cells rebelling against the good. Once the bad cells outnumber the good cells, you have problems. Cancer destroys the body but sin destroys something more important and that is the soul. God will give us a new body, but He will never give us a new soul. Jesus said, “Don’t fear him who can destroy the body, fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.”

You and I know the cure for sin. We have the good news that Jesus forgives sin, saves the soul and resurrects a new body. This is more than good news, it is the best news we could possibly hear but not only do we not share this good news with others; we don’t even feel guilty about not sharing.

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  • Today we pray for SENIOR ADULTS
  • Deacon’s meeting at 8:15, LCBS at 9:15 and worship at 10:15 and 6:00.
  • We had good visits with Kenny and Henry yesterday [Sat. Jan. 3]. Kenny was not feeling as good as the day before but we were able to talk. I showed him the video of the 6 row cotton picker. Henry was much better: breathing was almost normal. He still has to sit up to breathe. If you are a smoker, Henry will talk to you: room 772 in HH, just tell him brother Jack sent you and that you can’t give us cigarettes. If you talk with him and you don’t quit, there is no hope of you quitting. He has a strong testimony.
  • Today we switch gears and move from Holiday mode to normal. You can sign up for the Wednesday night supper at the welcome center. It may be your last day to sign up for church directory. I think photographs begin on January 18,19,20. Our next Holiday is February 21, Secretary’s Day unless you count GROUND HOG’S DAY.
  • GOLDEN GIRLS meet this coming Saturday at Cracker Barrel at 9:00 am.
  • My favorite picture message from 2014….This is for Henry and Kenny…

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Pressing On

January 3, 2015

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SCRIPTURE

I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize.

~Philippians 3:12, CEV

QUOTE

Excellence is not a destination; it is a continuous journey that never ends.

~Brian Tracey

my thoughts red

Believe it or not, I like classical music and I am especially fond of any type waltz. I love cello music, even solo’s. The best Cello player of last century was a Spaniard named Pau Casals i Defilló, he went by Pablo Casals. He lived to be 97 but even in his 90’s he practiced his cello six hours per day. When someone ask him why, he said, “Because I think I’m making progress.” Wow, I like that attitude.

Reminds me of the 97 year old woman living in an assisted living facility. When her pastor came for a visit, she told him she wanted to rededicate her life. The Lord had convicted her about some specific things that she wanted to change. Are you concerned about making progress or have you reached a point of being satisfied the way you are?

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  • Today we pray for STUDENTS. Pray for revival to break out among our students.
  • The rain probably made it tougher on some folks, especially those driving back from New Orleans but it actually helped me, I love rain and I love driving in the rain when I’m not in a hurry. I spent the morning with Jesus and Kenny and the company of both was refreshing.
  • I had a superb visit with Kenny this morning or yesterday if you read this on Saturday. He was looking for me to return New Years night but I would not have been good company for anyone. When I walked in, Sheila said, “He doesn’t want to talk about football” and I said, “Neither do I.” BUT we talked for 30 minutes about football and then we changed the conversation to farming. I am taking him video today of the 6 row cotton picker that produces round bales and never stops; just spits them out like prunes and keeps going.
  • I want you to pray for Kenny and my nephew Henry. Henry has been moved to HH and he is laboring to breath. He has a tumor in his right lung and I think maybe some COPD. He felt bad Thursday but even worse today [Friday]. Pray for the pneumonia to get better and for Henry to get some rest. He has not had a good nights sleep in a while. He sleeps sitting up: it is the only way he can breathe. June has always had a soft spot for Henry and she went with me today [Friday]. Several years ago, Henry said he would go to church but he had nothing to wear: June bought him an entire outfit and he mentioned it while we were there: she and I had forgotten but he had not. Keep doing those acts of kindness folks. The things you consider small just might make a huge impression. As a favor to me, would you stop and say a prayer for Henry and Kenny. I beg you in the name of Jesus…say a prayer.
  • Full schedule this Sunday but starting time is 8:15 for Deacons, 9:15 for LCBS and 10:15 CELEBRATION OF JESUS. Sunday morning we will be preaching on the Characteristics of a hypocrite. Sunday night at 6:00, the Law of Self-Exaltation, Lord willing of course.
  • Three year ago yesterday [January 2], we helped officiate the COLS for my father in the ministry, Calvin C. Inman. He made a huge impression on my life.

 

EXTRA/LIFE CHANGING BIBLE STUDY LESSON PREVIEW

Ice Breaker: What New Year’s resolution did you make this year?

What are the most common New Year’s resolutions?

  1. Lose weight
  2. Begin exercising
  3. Get out of debt
  4. Spend more time with family
  5. Watch less TV
  6. Give up college football
  7. Read one book per month
  8. Break the habit of running late
  9. Get alone with your mother-in-law
  10. Be nice to Willard

Spiritually Related Resolution

  1. Start tithing
  2. Share the gospel
  3. Attend worship faithfully
  4. Do an act of kindness each day
  5. Read the bible through in a year
  6. Begin a quiet time.
  7. Visit the nursing homes once a month.
  8. Go on a Mission Trip
  9. Sponsor some one to go on a Mission Trip
  10. Build a Guatemalan family a house.

What’s the difference between a RESOLUTION and a REVOLUTION?

{A resolution is something we attempt to do in our strength. A revolution is surrendering control to a new power}

New Years Resolutions have worked BUT what are the percentages? Do more fail than work?

1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
3 Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! 
4 A River brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High.
5 God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it.
6 The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts!
7 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. 
8 Come, see the glorious works of the Lord: See how he brings destruction upon the world.
9 He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
11 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. 

This is a great Psalm, it is a celebrative Psalm {Song} written by David after he had subdued all the nations around Israel. The Psalm begins with the most important words in the bible…“God is”…and then it precedes to tell us who God is…

  1. God is our REFUGE….when we are being pursued, persecuted, hunted, stalked, we can run to God who is our hiding place.
  2. God is our STRENGTH….when we feel oppressed, worn out, exhausted, week…God is our strength [our resolutions fail because of our human weakness, we need God’s strength]
  3. God is our HELP. God never calls us to do anything that we can do a part from His grace, we need His help!

Then he moves to our human frailty

  1. I will not fear…Insecurity
  2. Catastrophic change…earth give way and mountains fall into the sea.
  3. Overwhelming circumstances…earthquakes, tidal waves, surging waters, devastation

It is easy to get overwhelmed by life’s sorrows and some times they do hit like a 100 foot tidal wave. We cannot stand against them: our hope is in higher ground. Jesus is our refuge and hope. I have a nephew who will be 53 in February. He has been feeling bad for a year or so. He got to the point where he could not work a full day. Then he lost his appetite and he weighed only 130 to begin with. Pain in his right shoulder was keeping him awake at night. He didn’t have medical insurance and he had a hard time finding a doctor who would see him. We saw him on the Friday night before Christmas [Dec. 19]. New years day he is in the hospital and laboring to breath. They have found a huge mass in his right lung. He cannot lay down without smothering. He sleeps, what little he gets, sitting up in bed. He has not eaten in days and he cannot get a good nights rest. I’ve been there the last two days and June and I are going back today. It is overwhelming. We both left in tears last night. I could not talk for several minutes. I wish I could take every person in Danville who smokes into that room. You would not believe your eyes.

If may not have happened to you yet but there maybe a Tsunami coming your way, a tidal wave of overwhelming circumstances.

I have two stories that go with Psalm 46…One happened  about 2o years ago I suppose.  We had a dear lady in a nursing home in Huntsville [Emma Lindsey] and she was in the lock down for those who have dementia. You have to have a code to get in or out. I go in and she is in a group room with about 20 others and all 20 are making noise. Some are crying for their mothers, others or moaning, some are hollowing. It was total chaos. I could not think. A black care giver came to me and said, “You are a preacher, aren’t you?” I confessed and then she said start preaching. I said, “Are you crazy, I can’t preach in this chaos plus I don’t have a bible.” She walked off but returned in less than a minute and stuck a Gideon bible in my hand and said, “There is your bible, preach!” I said, “Ma’am, I have to prepare, I have to have a message and besides, who could hear over this din of noise?” She said, “Are you a preacher or not.” My mind was a blank but I opened the bible to Psalm 46 and started reading the Psalm as loud as I could without screaming. Suddenly, like magic, the room became quiet. I was absolutely blown away. Totally amazed at the power of God’s word. It was a short sermon on the immutability of God and how He does not change although every thing else around us is changing. I was overwhelmed that day but God taught me a powerful lesson: He is greater than the chaos around us.

Verse 4 reads, THERE IS A RIVER. I always capitalize the R in river because the River is Jesus. The RIVER is the source of life. Salt is poison to the body: salt will kill a tree, a big tree. Man cannot live on salt water: he has to have fresh water. The ocean and its waves represent the threats to life; the river is a symbol of the source of life. God in Christ is with us and He will not fail.

I love verse 10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Then notice the next phrase, “I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.”

June and I were on a vacation a few years ago. All our kids were grown and gone and we made one of our rare trips together. We forgot our daily bread but we had a bible. I decided we would do the devotion in the car, prior to pulling out of the motel parking lot on to the busy interstate. I decided to use this Psalm again, hoping for a similar effect that I had seen in the nursing home. I read the Psalm, made some comments and then just before cranking the engine, I paraphrased verse 10…I said in the JEV that would read, “Relax and experience God.” June who had not said one word up to this point said, “Who could relax with you under the wheel?” Leave it to Big Mama, she knows how to keep me humble.

I really like the way the Psalm ends….the double affirmation…”I will be exalted.”

We may experience some deep disappointment and crushing experiences along the way but in the end, every knee will bow to Christ. We can rest assured the story has a happy ending. Have you ever flipped over and read the last chapter just to see if it is going to have a good ending? I hate these movies that have bad endings.

INSIGHTS

  1. Words have enormous power…our words have power but God’s word has incredible power.
  2. We can’t have peace with God when we are living in rebellion. We have to surrender our will to His in order to experience His peace which we desperately need.
  3. You are going to face some kind of turmoil or adversity almost every day. It may not be a pleasant reality but it is a reality. To prepare yourself spiritually, you need to spend a significant time alone with Christ. Reading Psalm 46 is helpful. Committing it to memory would be even better.
  4. Join the battle for peace. Instead of piling on [hitting a man when he is down] why not lift someone up. Do you have any friends who are down at this time. What could you do to lift them up? When you figure it out, do it! Is there something your LCBS class could do to help a hurting person? Do it!