When ‘Veering to the Left’ is good

We all are seeking something that’s just ahead, driving down the road lickitysplit when what we need is a Rest Area just to relax. What we do with that should include some meditating on where GOD would have us go. Of course it would have been better to have done that meditating before striking out, but it’s good to do so along the way, at least.  When doing it “MY WAY”, there were a bunch of bumps and potholes on the road. Christians should expect obstacles. They are there to ease us over to GOD’s LANE.  JESUS never said that there wouldn’t be crests and valleys. HE always warned that there were difficult times ahead.  HE prevailed over the most horrible hours anyone could possibly endure.  We want HIS promise without paying HIS price.  We have that promise through Faith and Repentance.  I’ve been through some deep valleys of darkness and so have you.  The mistake I have made was to keep looking down, but when I have lifted my eyes just a bit, I have seen the light at the end.  I looked up with my heart and experienced an overflowing of peace and joyful assurance.  The right lane may pass through the tunnel of medical problems and it’s easy to travel in  woe, but should we move to the left lane where GOD awaits, bad things are left behind and PRAYER by saints has prevailed. And that’s what I select from my box of chocolates, donchaknow.  It IS no secret what GOD can do when people pray and we move over into HIS LANE. AMEN

Yogi , Dizzy, Shelby and Bill

My Dad thought the world of Yogi Berra and Dizzy Dean.  He never missed listening to baseball on the radio, but couldn’t stomach those televised.  He had played baseball and always told me that a three hour game was too long, with too many breaks for commercials.  Both Diz and Yogi are gone and with them went a lot of baseball fun. I loved to hear Dizzy call a game when a player “Slud” into base and his answer to the question, “Who’s the best pitcher in baseball, Diz? You or Paul? Diz answered, “Well, as much a better pitcher I am than Paul, that’s how much a better pitcher Paul is than me”.  Yogi, when asked about players going to a psychiatrist, said, “Any player who goes to a psychiatrist oughta have his head examined.”  Then there was, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over”.  Texas A&M had a jewel in Shelby Metcalf. It was reported that when the Aggies played highly rated University of Houston and being beaten badly, as the team readied to go out to the court, Shelby said, “Let’s go and the last ones out start”. Then there was Bill Peterson. He too was an interestingly entertaining fellow.  As the coach of the Houston Oilers, he was quoted as saying, “OK, pair off in threes and line up in a circle”.  He was also reported as praying before an important game, “Let us pray, Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord, my soul to take.” They lost. There are some reports of the things these and other coaches, have said.  They mixed up things so well, I think they were somewhat genius. They each were well-respected in their chosen field and you can’t ask for much more than that. I know Shelby to be an avid fisherman and Sam Austin always said, “Anyone who fishes is well worth riding the river with.”  I praise GOD for men and women who share so much enjoyment, unselfishly, without concern for gain. We will probably have to wear shades when gazing at their Crown.  Amen?

Bring It ON!

A Christian isn’t one who sees difficulty in every opportunity, but sees opportunity in every difficulty.

We just need more ‘knee-bends’. I know of two professing Christian Presidents. Both were identified as such during their campaigns. Both had huge difficulties during their tenure. Somehow I felt that there were two worn spots in the blue carpet at the corner of the desk in that Oval Office. President Carter must have spent time there with the problem of the Berlin Wall and the Iranian Hostage Crisis.  GWB was hit with difficulty, including war, faulty Intelligence, failing economy, ravaging storms and 911.  Their Faith during each demonic assault was evident to those who believed. That Faith was the subject of ridicule by a majority of Americans.  My Dad always said that Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter would be remembered as Great Presidents. I believe he would have included George W. Bush, had he been alive during his tenure, even though GW was a Republican. My entire family was ‘died in the wool’ Democrats. My Mother admitted that she would have been kicked out of the house had Sam Austin known she voted for Ronald Reagan! If you have hit that ‘low valley’ and overcome diversity, then you must have bent a knee.  If not, it’s not too late to do so and make GOD smile. The way things are today, this might be a good time to put two worn spots in your carpet, donchaknow.

A “Major” Mistake  (Troy? Do you recall this?)

Troy Dungan had a neat little Triumph sportscar.  He also had an army field cap with a Major’s insignia. Troy’s PO Box was in Ridgecrest Shopping Center, located between Bryan and College Station.  One Saturday morning, he and I were tooling around B/CS and he stopped off at the Post Office.  I was sitting in the passenger’s side wearing the ‘Major’s Cap’.  All at once the PO door swung open and a Colonel in full dress walked out, snapped a salute. “Major!”, he said and I responded with a salute and “Colonel”.  He continued to his car and I could breathe again.  I told Troy as he came out and he said, “What happened then?”.  I was relieved to say, “Nothing, we saluted each other and he left.  I will never forget my ”Major Mistake”, donchaknow. I believe that insignia was removed fairly quickly.  GOD be praised for protecting one’s less than intelligent act.  AMEN

On Your Mark

My friend, Mark Walker, Representative of the 6th Congressional District, North Carolina is toeing the line against Liberalism, every minute, every day. You should check his website and register for his newsletter. Mark Walker is one man who is keeping his promise, both to his GOD, his district and his country. When he opted to run for Congress, we were disappointed that we couldn’t vote.  We knew Mark and his family to be quality citizens with courage under fire and integrity to never surrender defeat in the spiritual conflict that is constantly fought over believers.  Mark stands with you and I in the important things and is a champion for the good of his people.  Check this man’s record and praise GOD for men of honor and integrity like my friend, Congressman B Mark Walker, 6th District, North Carolina. http://www.walker.house.gov    AMEN

There I was, without a clue

I had no idea that there was more to music than simply knowing the ‘fingering’ of a trumpet.  I had no idea that instruments were tuned to a default pitch.  I should have tumbled to the fact that my horn was described as a B-flat Trumpet, but until my senior year, as I began to play “Sweet Hour of Prayer”, accompanied by the piano, for my Mother’s Sunday School Class, it sounded very bad.  That was the first indication that my basic musical knowledge was lacking. To play with a piano, I was required to ‘transpose’ and play the notes in the hymnal ONE-WHOLE-STEP higher. I didn’t know that at the time, so I played the hymn without accompaniment.   and the ladies were kind, mother was a bit embarrassed. I was never invited back to play my horn.  Going in half-cocked, flying by the seat of my pants didn’t always work out for me, but it exciting to try it anyhow.  I learned not to fear failure from my parents.  They were always trying something new.  My Dad drew great house plans without being taught drafting.  He also became an outstanding baker, much in demand for his Chocolate Chip Pound Cake, Pancakes and Cream Puffs.  Mother was extremely successful in craftsmanship and sales in a fabric shop.  I took a shot at new challenges and took my lumps.  I’ve gotten into some deep difficulty attempting to do new stuff on a computer.  Thank goodness I have a tech on standby, just in case. I’ve learned caution by observing my wife.  She approaches things thoughtfully and carefully and she doesn’t get into trouble.  I can’t guarantee to do the same, but it’s not because it doesn’t make sense, it’s just not as much fun, donchaknow.  GOD isn’t the only one who provides Grace and Mercy.  An understandingly patient lady does a pretty good job keeping me in tune.  THANK YOU LORD!    AMEN

Comin’ In On A Wing and a Prayer

WW II was the inspiration of many songs that were popular for the war’s duration.  One of them was based on a true incident when a crew of a badly crippled B-17 made it back to their base in England on one wing and the partial of the other.

“Comin’ In On a Wing and a Prayer, I’m comin’ in on a wing and a prayer.  With my full crew aboard and my trust in the Lord, I’m comin’ in on a wing and a prayer.”  Our days are like that sometime.  JESUS promised to be with us, even to the very last breath on earth.  HE also promised that there would be troubles and personal trials, but in Faith, we could overcome all of them.  In James, chapter 5, verse 7 he says,”Be patient, therefore brothers, until the coming of the Lord”.  The Bible is full of warnings of travail, but the FAITH of GOD will never result in failure.  Even as Job suffered the loss of everything, including his health, he never failed to praise GOD!  David was constantly having to deal with his contrite heart, yet GOD blessed him, even calling him “A Man After Mine Own Heart”.  Every day we should be prepared to come in on a wing and a prayer – especially the prayer part.  These are times when a true believer must pray without ceasing, humbly bowing to the will of the FATHER and being thankful for all that happens, good or bad.  David said, “Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God, and renew the right spirit within me”.  How great is that knowledge and how wonderful is it that it can apply to you and me?  Now that’s a HOOT, donchaknow.  Amen

A Good Friend and His Thoughts about Bob Jones

Don and Dorothy Bates are special friends. About the time that we moved from Vegas, they moved, along with part of their family, to Idaho. Don retired from the Air Force and then entered the workplace at the Post Office in Las Vegas. Dorothy makes a mean cake and her “haystacks” are too much. Don was a fellow Deacon with Bob Jones at Desert Hills. Here is his response to my sharing about him:

“The world is a better place for having known Bob Jones. Even after so many years, Dorothy and I still miss him. Arlene and Kelly related that when they were making his funeral arrangements, they were having a good time reminiscing and remembering good times with Bob. Arlene said she wondered if the funeral director thought they were being sacrilegious because of the way they were joking and carrying on during the planning. She spoke with him about it and he told her it was obvious they were comfortable with Bob’s position in the hereafter. He also thought it wonderful they had such good memories of him and that he was such a wonderful man and Christian. Their conduct was a refreshing reminder of the HOPE in Jesus and the future resurrection of Believers. Those crazy(?) women were even singing hymns of praise while making his funeral arrangements!

Praise GOD for men of faith like Bob Jones. He was a wonderful man and a dear friend.”

Bob Jones was “AMEN Corner” in every worship service.  He would fill the house with approval “Amens” when Dr. David Brown hit great points.  One Sunday night, Dr. Brown was ‘right on’ and Bob was right with him. About half-way through the sermon, Dr. Brown asked a question and Bob came back immediately with an “AMEN, YES”. Dr. Brown smiled and said, “NO!”  Bob didn’t miss a beat, “NO!”, he said. (quiet respectful chuckle from all in attendance).  Sadly, after Bob passed away, there were very few “AMENs”.  The BIBLE tells us that there is only praise and adoration in Heaven. I will wager that above it all there is a bunch of “AMENs”, donchaknow.  Don, I agree!  It is a shame there are so few Bob Jones left around today. When my time on earth is over and my box of chocolate is closed – if there is a ‘Gathering’, I simply want a good ole “Singin’ Convention” filled with great songs of the faith beginning with “All Hail King Jesus” and ending with “It is Well With My Soul”, accompanied by Michele Lakey (if she’s available)  No sadness, please. I’ve GONE HOME!  AMEN!

For Unto Us a Classic is Born

He was usually successful and comfortably well off, but when hard times hit he was forced to accept any and all offerings. After exhausting his search in Germany, George Fridrick Handel traveled to Dublin responding to a request for a fresh new composition for Easter. He immersed himself into Scripture, seeking inspiration. The book of Isaiah held his attention and in only twenty-eight days, he completed the most celebrated composition of choral challenge ever written. “The Messiah” is a four hour-workout Oratorio for any singer. Today’s performances are limited to a few recitatives, solos and choruses that demand exceptional vocal range.  The first time “The Messiah” was performed in England attended by the Royal Family and when the orchestra began the introduction to “The Hallelujah Chorus”, the King stood.  In response, the entire audience stood.  That has become traditional. There are conflicting reasons given as to why the King stood. The most popular says that he was so moved by the  whole thing he stood in honor of the event.
A less acceptable reason is that he simply had grown tired of sitting so long. Either way, if you attend a performance of Handel’s Messiah, be prepared to stand for the “Hallelujah Chorus”.  I have participated as a member of the chorus and have also directed this masterpiece. Each time there is a thrill of accomplishment and appreciation for the talent and perseverance of  Handel. His willing surrender to GOD’s inspiration is a  blessing to us all.  AMEN

The Lifetime Warranty

Very few purchases include a lifetime warranty. Those that do also include some exceptions, usually in small print.  Most people today are choosing the wrong warranty.  Everything you read, see and hear, sells the wrong product.  The focus is on the ‘now’ with very little emphasis on what happens to us all when the ‘now’ is over.  There are two poems that seem to summarize the philosophy of most people.  The first “Invictus”, words written by William Ernest Henley, was set to music.  It was one of the selections I performed during my Senior Recital at Sam Houston State.

“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”

This could be the marching song of unbelievers and is tragically a description of  what hopelessness is like to those who’s “captain of my soul” is other than Our LORD JESUS CHRIST.   The second, “Thanatopsis”, is one I memorized in high school, written by William Cullen Bryant.

“So live that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan that moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.”

How brave, but how tragic if that “unfaltering trust” is in anything other than in our LORD JESUS CHRIST!  It is dangerous to think, “What can one do for me NOW”, when without JESUS, the final “now” is torment, donchaknow.