Hey Doc, I Got this Pain …

Whether its aches and pains or a serious form of cancer, its often on our minds. Health is a big deal! We each are keenly aware of what’s going on inside our bodies. Sometimes we worry that we don’t know what’s going on with a particular discomfort.

One of our brothers lost consciousness in the worship service this past Sunday morning. We again are jolted with a reminder of how frail we are. We thank God he is ok.

Life on this earth is fleeting. How quickly a diagnosis can change everything!

Healthcare is a hot topic.

This is nothing new. The Psalmist centuries ago had many of the same thoughts we do today about our health.

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” Psalm 73:26 NLT

The Psalmist gave us a dose of reality and hope at the same time!

I am thankful for a people called Balboa Baptist Church who truly care for each other. Our Deacons’ Family and Touch Team ministries are active! The Sunday School classes pray for each other and stay in touch with each other! I am truly grateful for such a loving church!

A few weeks ago I went to the Heart Hospital to sit with a church member during a spouse’s surgery. Sixteen church members showed up too!

Yes, our health may fail and our spirit may grow weak, so we need each other in these times of grief, pain, and fear.

But, in the second half of Psalm 73:26, the Psalmist gives our eternal hope! God remains our heart’s strength because He is ours forever! Our ultimate hope is in Him, not our health.

Jesus spoke of the heart too. The health of our physical heart may wane. But the health of our spiritual heart can stay strong. No, actually our spiritual heart can grow stronger and healthier regardless of what life throws at us!

“Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'” John 7:38 NLT

Jesus demonstrated His power to heal any disease: the blind, the lame, the epileptic, the leper, the paralyzed, the demon-possessed, and He even raised the dead! But whether he extends our life here a few more days, months, years, or decades, our hearts can be strengthened forever and living water can flow!

Our Father, thank-you for caring people who come alongside each other in times of challenging health issues. Thank-you for Your Spirit who comes alongside us to give us eternal health with a river of life that never runs out!

She Jumped!

A rock wall cliff jutted out and stood 155 feet tall. The little Junior High girl easily climbed to the top with a couple of High School boys following her. She had been there before many times. This was the first time for the two boys.

Looking up 60 feet doesn’t look that tall.  But when you look down, well, it looks more like the Empire State Building!

The three reached the top and looked over the edge. I could see the blood run out of the two boys faces and their knees get weak.

The little blond-headed cheerleader stepped up to the edge, stepped off, gravity took over, she pointed her toes down, made her body rigid, held her arms closely to her sides, and entered the lake like a pin-prick.

The two boys swallowed their pride, climbed down to a lower level before jumping.

The little girl is my sister, Jill.  The place is Lake Greeson, near Murfreesboro, Arkansas.

My dad and I sat in the ski boat below.  We retrieved my sister.  We chuckled at the boys’ sudden change in courage and getting showed-up by a little Junior High girl!

To jump from Chimney Rock had been a family tradition for many summers.  (See photo)  The photo has the namesake rock, shaped like a chimney, but in the background is the big cliff.  (Of course it is illegal to climb on it today.)

That big rock is still there today and looks the same as it did 50 years ago. It still calls, “Climb me and jump!” Its a universal cry, whether you would even think of doing it or not!

I can still remember …

  • climbing the side of the rock with excitement and anticipation.
  • looking over the side from the top and that excitement turning to fear.
  • pushing that fear aside and jumping.
  • the rush of adrenaline as I hurled quickly to the lake below knowing the depth was over 100 feet.
  • the sting of hitting the water.
  • returning to the surface of the water and inhaling a breath of fresh air!

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:4 ESV

God is completely trustworthy! He is like the stability and consistency of a rock! He also calls us take steps of faith and trust Him! What is The Rock calling you to do to obey Him today? Will you jump?

Our Father, we praise you because you are our Rock. We place our trust in You today knowing that it is a trust that will endure forever and forever, because you are our God forever and forever! Help us to obey you today in the little daily things of life. Help us make those little “jumps” of serving someone today that can make an eternal difference in their eternity. Thank-you for the breath of fresh air of faith each time we resurface from an obedient act.

 

Today’s Packing Day

 

The movers are coming this morning to pack everything in our home in Benton.  They will load everything tomorrow on the truck.  On Wednesday they deliver it and unload it at 13 Busqueda Lane in Hot Springs Village!  Then the fun begins, unpacking, they don’t do that part!

I still vividly remember getting on my knees beside my bed several nights in a row in the fall of 1972. It was the beginning of my Senior year in high school.  I asked God one question over and over, “What do you want me to do with my life?”  For many nights in September and October I laid myself open to God for Him to do whatever he pleased.

Gradually the word came.  Only one word.  The still quiet voice of God spoke to me. “Preach.” 

Uh, Lord, I don’t know anybody in my family that’s a preacher. “Preach.” Uh, Lord, preachers have to stand up there for a LONG time and talk to people. “Preach.” Uh, Lord, those guys are really boring most of the time. “Preach.” Uh, Lord, don’t you want me to stay in Glenwood and sell groceries with my Dad for the rest of my life? “Preach.” Uh, Lord, I don’t know how to do that. “Preach.”   

After about two months of that, I said I would.

On the second Sunday morning in November 1972, I walked down the aisle from the youth section at the back of the church.  I took my pastor, Bro. Jimmie Taylor, by the hand and said, “God has called me to preach.”

No one except God knew I was going to do that.  My pastor was pleased and said he saw God working in me.  My parents were SO surprised, they had no idea!  I had no idea what I was getting into.

God told Abraham to go.  Where Lord?  Just go.  So he did.  That’s what I did.

Four years of college at Ouachita majoring in what preacher boys majored in, “Religion.” God imported for me a precious girl all the way from Pinetop, Arizona to Glenwood, Arkansas (I was pretty much kin to everyone else in Glenwood) for me to marry.  What a God-send she is!  She is my completer and balancer. (I love you, Sweetheart!)

Six years as a children’s minister while working 50 hours a week at my Dad’s grocery store. Our life-long mentoring relationship began with Bruce and Whanda Swihart.  Then began four years as a youth minister while going to seminary in Fort Worth.  We moved back to Arkansas and pastored at Bradley and El Dorado. Sixteen wonderful years at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention as a “missionary” in my home state preaching, teaching, and consulting in over 800 churches. I really thought I would retire there. Then Roy Henderson called.

Now over 40 years of ministry has come to a new chapter.  You people at Balboa Baptist Church have welcomed us with such loving arms, we are reeling with amazement! I came with fear and trepidation. Billie Sue was just excited to get back into a church.

Last night, an ordination service for Victor, Roger, and Charles as deacons, was another HIGH MOMENT in the first month of ministry with you!  WOW! God really showed up!

You have far exceeded our expectations.  God bless you!  Thank-you for calling us to this new chapter in our lives.

WELL, I GUESS I BETTER GET UP FROM THIS LAPTOP AND GET TO PACKIN’!

So, Psalm 16:11 (ESV) rings special this morning … 

You make known to me the path of life;

in your presence there is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Our Father, thank-you for the ability to look back and see your hand in each chapter of our path of life.  Thank-you for the fullness of joy.  Thank-you that we can look forward with confidence that Your hand will continue to always be there! We look forward to eternity at your right hand enjoying Your pleasures forevermore!  Now, please help me pack and move.

Gazing

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

Set your gaze on God, but glance at your problems. Click Here for photo.

God does not keep him in perfect peace who mind is stayed on this world, because he trusts in himself.

We are not to ignore our problems, circumstances, difficulties, or setbacks.  When we totally focus on them, they are magnified.

The more we can praise God, give him thanks, ask His forgiveness, pray for His work in other people’s lives, and ask for the requests in our own lives, then the more He is magnified and our problem becomes smaller.

Corrie Ten Boom said, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” Good Quotes

How big is your problem compared to how big God is?  No comparison, right!?

So set your gaze on God, but glance at your problems.  It will give you a whole new “faith” perspective!

Our Father, teach us who are weary and heavy laden to keep coming to Your Son Jesus who gives us rest.  May those who are so tired and grieving come to Jesus and find His rest.  May Jesus live so vividly in and through us today, others will find rest.

 

 

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Humble Pie

“He mocks those who mock, but gives grace to the humble.” Proverbs 3:34

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.

Mocking is putting others down so that you think more of yourself and think of yourself more.

Our new nature (2 Cor. 5:17) in Jesus Christ will think of God and our neighbor before we think of ourselves.  Why?  The new nature is guided by the greatest commands: love God with everything you are and love your neighbor as yourself.

Our old nature, corrupted by sin, always thinks of Self first. Sin always misses the mark because we aim at pleasing ourselves, rather than pleasing our Creator and Savoir and serving Him by serving others.  Notice sIn always has an “I” in the center of it.

So mocking pride is very simple.  It is all about me, mine, myself, and my preferences to which you and the rest of the world ought to give your full attention.

So also, humility is very simple.  it is all about pleasing God and serving others.  It is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.

Our Father, forgive us our pride that looks at others to mock and put them down in order to push ourselves up.  Fill us with an awareness of how much You love us.  May we be so secure in that awareness that we think of ourselves less and think of You more. May we have a servant’s mindset to love those around us you put into our paths by serving them in Jesus’ name with simple cups of kindness.

Kid in a Candy Store

He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything. (‭Colossians ‭1‬:‭17-18‬ HCSB)

Before anything existed HE WAS. Everything that exists now is held together BY HIM. Paul is talking about JESUS! Our Father, our Lord Jesus, and our indwelling Holy Spirit were there before the universe was created.

No matter what we face today, Our Savior was there BEFORE it, He is there IN it, and He will be there WHEN IT IS ALL OVER. We BELIEVE this! This is true! It is true whether we are talking about a minor inconvenience in our life today or worldwide persecution of believers bringing misery and death.

For a few years Jesus walked this earth in a human body. He still walks the earth today as the head of the body called the church. He is the head of the worldwide body of believers as well as each local assembly of called-out followers. HE is the head of Balboa Baptist! HE is walking the earth today IN US!

HE is the beginning. JESUS is the beginning of creation. He is the beginning of the church. He is the beginning of our resurrected lives. He is the first to rise from the dead. He is FIRST!

Your life and my life may seem insignificant in this great big world. But if JESUS is allowed to be FIRST, then each life becomes very significant!

I have been like a kid in a candy store. Balboa Baptist Church is such a praying, generous, talented, experienced, educated, gifted group of Jesus-followers. Multiple ministries put the hands and feet of Jesus into so many places! The potential God has given this congregation boggles my mind.

I also have been like a squirrel on the interstate. But the blissful blur I’m in now is all kept in perspective by keeping Jesus FIRST.

Our Father, You have established Your Son Jesus as FIRST in everything. Today, please live in and through us. Give us willing minds that will obey you. Let us not “cop out” by being unwilling to participate in what you are doing. Please give us eyes that SEE what You are doing and the willing mind to “get in on it.”

Now & Forever

But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep His covenant, who remember to observe His precepts. (‭Psalms‬ ‭103‬:‭17-18‬ HCSB)

An eternal perspective is essential to a daily-living-breathing-walking-talking relationship with the Father through His Son Jesus!

WE MUST LIVE IN THE PRESENT WITH AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE.

A healthy fear needs to grip us as we live each day. We know every word spoken and deed done will be accountable before God one day soon. We must never deny Him in anything we say or do.

The birth of our children changed our perspective. I immediately began praying for their salvation and walk with the Lord. The birth of our grandchildren changed us again! The telescope view of life increased. Now I pray for their salvation and walk with the Father too.

What a wonderful promise to us when we live our lives for The Lord! Did you see it? God’s love and righteousness will extend to our grandchildren! My heart leaps knowing this! I will impact for eternity my grandchildren’s lives by the way I live now.

God limits the impact of the sins of the fathers on their descendants to three or four generations. This is heartbreaking when you see the pattern of sin carried on to multiple generations. BUT, our Father will extend the blessings of the righteous to a thousand generations!!! God is good, yet just! (Exodus 20:5-6)

God limits the effect of sin to only four generations, but extends the blessing to the righteous for a thousand generations. God is good. God is merciful.

Thank-you Lord for graciously extending my grandfathers’ prayers and righteous lives to me! Please walk with me today so that I impact future generations.