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Archive for the category “Jesus-Our Friend”

From Rags To Riches

The U.S Open in Golf is one of the most cherished golf tournaments to win. Normally before the tournament the predictors can be pretty accurate as to a selected few who will compete for the title. One Summer day in 1967 Lee Trevino, a Mexican from Texas shocked the golfing world. Lee, a former Marine had played golf often in his Texas hometown but always for fun and money. The money he made was from bets and he did really well! It was suggested to Lee that he should try to qualify for the U.S. Open. Lee blindly tried to get into professional golf. He had a growing family and needed the money. He was poor in finances but he was rich in personality and optimism. He had to scrape up the $20.00 qualifying fee. It wasn’t easy but Lee succeeded. You see new people in golf have to qualify for the U.S. Open. If you were established like a Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer you had automatic berths. Those golfers had qualified long ago. The qualification is a tournament in itself. There are tons of pro golfing dreamers who test their skills. Most have no problem getting the fee like Lee did.

American golfer Lee Trevino in action, circa 1967. News Photo - Getty Images

Lee did end up qualifying along with a golfer named Johnny Miller. Lee was a very good golfer but he had an unusual style. Instead of the traditional high shots like a Jack Nicklaus played, Lee hit a low ball that faded to the right. In the course in Texas where the wind was stiff he developed this low shot to get through that stiff wind. Many times the wind was blowing right in his face and a high shot would not have worked. He learned to control that shot very well! He was not the longest off of the tee. In fact Lee’s drives traveled only about 240-245 yards but you could count on him consistently hitting the fairway. The course the Open was played at that year, Baltrusal Country Club in Springfield, New Jersey, favored players that kept the ball in the fairway. That kind of course was made for Lee’s game! Amazingly Lee Trevino, an unknown poor Mexican from Texas finished in fifth place among the finest golfers in the world!

Lee developed his golf swing so that he could hit low line drives. He had to experiment to see what swing would achieve that purpose. He didn’t have the money to take expensive lessons. One thing that Lee Trevino did have was determination. He developed a very flat swing. No instructor would have taught such a swing but it worked for Lee. He spent countless hours hitting golf balls. His early success in professional golf and the paycheck that followed was motivation. Now he not only wanted to finish in the running the next year, but he wanted to win it! He had the confidence in himself to know that his dream could come true.

Lee also had a very outgoing, friendly, happy go lucky personality! It did not go unnoticed in the world of golf. He developed followers who related to him. They were not the people that had the means to get expensive lessons. They were hard working people that loved the fact that he worked for everything he received. Lee would talk to anyone on the golf course. In fact he was constantly talking. It was almost like his golf swing interrupted his constant conversations. He played very loose and it was that constant chatter that kept him loose. Players on the tour didn’t like to play with Lee because he talked too much when they were trying to focus. That was just the way Lee was and it kept him loose whether he was talking to a fellow player or the crowd. He made golf entertaining and the gallery always enjoyed him because he brought them into the game!

Lee won the U.S. Open in 1968 and became the most talked about golfer in the world at that time. A true rags to riches story who didn’t start on the Tour until he was 28 years old. Three years later he won the Open again! In that tournament he tied with the great Jack Nicklaus and they played an 18 hole playoff the next day. Lee was very loose that day. Nobody expected him to win so he just relaxed. He had put this fake rubber snake in his bag and before the match he was entertaining the crowd with it. He had put the thing at the end of his golf club and the crowd was laughing. Nicklaus was sitting on the other side of the tee box and called for Lee to throw the snake over to him which he did. Although Jack claimed he wasn’t affected by the episode, he must have seen how loose Lee was.

Trevino's snake gag caught Nicklaus off guard

The very first hole Lee fell behind when he made a bogey. Lee played his steady golf and the match was pretty even when on the 7th tee box they were told play would be suspended. There was a lightning storm coming and they would wait it out. The storm and the rain that followed was actually a big break for Lee. He recognized it right away. Since he hit such a low ball many times he had to land before the green and roll them up. Now with the greens wetter he could hit his balls on the green without fear they would roll off. When play resumed Lee remained his steady self while Jack got caught in sand traps two holes in a row. Both times he was unable to get out of the traps on his first attempt. Lee ended up winning the playoff by 3 strokes.

While the U.S. Open fit Lee’s game like a glove there was one Tournament that didn’t fit at all. Many people thought that Lee didn’t play the Masters for years because of the segregated history the Tournament had. Actually Lee didn’t play because his game wasn’t suited for the course. The course was designed for players who hit a high draw (right to left) shot and Lee hit a low fade (left to right). In 1970 Lee was playing his first Masters with Kermit Zarley. Zarley was a Christian and Lee was having a bad day. As Lee hit his normal low shots they were not resonating with the Georgia course. Lee was getting upset and the swear words were streaming from his mouth. Near the end of the round Kermit had a talk with Lee. “Lee”, he said, “I don’t like you talking bad about a friend of mine.” Lee caught by surprise knew one guy we’ll say Charley who they both knew. “I didn’t say anything about Charley.” “No it wasn’t Charley”, Zarley continued, “it is my friend Jesus Christ.”

Kermit Zarley - American Golfer : News Photo
Kermit Zarley

That same year Zarley was paired with Lee again at the Houston Open. Lee told Zarley “Well, Moon Man, I’ve cleaned up my act. No more smokin,’ drinkin’ or cussin’.” I replied, “That’s all very well and good, Lee, but that won’t get you through the pearly gates. You’ve got the cart before the horse.” Lee quickly changed the subject sighting the failures of the Catholic Church. When the round was over the reporters wanted to know if the tough conditions of the course affected Lee’s play? Lee’s answer was surprising. He looked at Zarley who was seated a few feet away and said “It isn’t easy playing with John the Baptist.”

When Trevino was struck by lightning at a Tournament a few years later, he said “I’m not worried. God is protecting me because he’s in me”, Zarley was excited to see Lee at a Tournament shortly after and asked him about his statement. Once again Lee changed the subject and it was clear there was not that relationship Zarley had hoped for. Years later Zarley heard that Lee was going to church with his whole family by his home in Dallas. Zarley was hopeful that maybe Lee would be able to talk not only about things that will soon pass, but about his other rags to riches story. You see like Trevino we start in life very poor. We are poor because we have no relationship with God. When we find that relationship it is truly a rags to riches story! As satisfying as it was for Trevino to go from poverty to riches imagine how it will feel when we enter the pearly gates and see what real riches look like!

Wait A Minute Fear!

Suddenly without warning a dog was running at me barking as he came.  His owner was calling his name but to no avail.  The dog seemed determined to get to me.  I guess years ago I wouldn’t know what to do but at my age I’m more experienced.  Instead of putting fear in me the dog put more of an annoyance.  I’ve heard that a charging dog can be defused by not doing anything. The most natural thing to do would be to attack him before he attacked you.  The other natural thing to do would be to run.  Either way is not the advice of experts.  Attacking the dog brings on a fight and you might get hurt by a mean and energized dog.  Running let’s the dog know you fear him and he most likely will chase you down like a scared rabbit.  The thing to do they say and what I did was to stop in my tracks and not look the dog in the eye.  This leads to hopefully a non confrontational feeling for the dog and he most likely will sniff your leg and be more likely to listen to his masters pleading.

angry dog with bared teeth

I can think of situations in my life where I was truly scared, fearful, and anxious.  One situation that really frightened me along with millions of other people was the financial crises of 2008.  I was very fearful of my financial future and spent a lot of time troubled and scared.   It got so bad that it was on my mind all of the time.  The fear of losing everything that I had was so powerful that it completely swallowed me in it.  What could I do about it?  Who could I talk to to help me cope with this powerful fear that I was feeling?Image result for 2008 stock market crash photo

Franklin Roosevelt made a statement concerning the times at hand during the Great Depression.  Millions of people were out of work and things looked as bleak as they ever had.  Roosevelt knew though that even in bad times that we could compound our problem.  He made the statement that “The only thing to fear was fear itself.”   What did he mean by that?  He knew that when people are fearful the natural thing to do is nothing.  It’s like the saying of burying your head in the sand.  There are times that doing nothing is the right thing to do but it should not be an automatic response.  It should actually be one of many options.  Roosevelt stated that our main problem was getting people back to work.  By being fearful people that could offer jobs would become paralyzed about the future and not want to expand their business.  Likewise people would become dependent on the government and not dream for a brighter future.  He offered help from the government but it was a temporary fix until our non fearing attitude could turn the ship around.

If you are living in fear it is time to turn your ship around.  The first thing that you should realize is that God loves you and wants the best for you.  I was listening to a radio show and somebody called in and was telling how she had been always fearful.  When questioned why she stated that she feared what people thought about her.  She said that this condition went on for years until she discovered in the Bible that fear is not from God.  When she realized all of the trouble that God went through to make a path for us to get to heaven she discovered that he had her back.  Instead of fearing the future and anything going on now her faith increased.  She became at total peace with who she was and who controlled her future.  Her call that day was a call for victory and a testimony for anyone listening who was in the grasp of fear.

We all go through fearful times.  Some of us are fearful all of the time.  This is not good for our health or our future.  Don’t get me wrong fear is a natural thing.  Some things we should be fearful of.  However living in fear is never good.  When I was living in fear I took some action.  I made a decision of what I was going to do.  It wasn’t a popular view with the so called experts but in my case it was the right thing in my heart.  It’s amazing that when you make a stand whatever it is you are back in control of the situation.  There is something very powerful in standing up to the fear that is within you and controlling it.  That decision was made by my heart and what I felt was the right thing.  I prayed with my pastor about the situation but he did not really understand because he was not in the midst of it.  At the end of the day it was up to me and what I felt God would have me do.

So I ask you today if you are living in fear to stand up to it.  Do not be paralyzed by fear.  Consider your options and pray to God for guidance.  If you listen to that still small voice within you he will direct your ways.  Take action on what you feel.  It is not good enough to think about solutions and then not implement them.  Take control of your life knowing that the God of the Universe only wants what is good for you.  “Peace I give to you”, Jesus said.

So the dog that was charging at me got to my ankle and like I figured he started sniffing my leg.  He was not out to hurt me like I could have feared.  However if I made the wrong move it could have propelled him into vicious actions.  His Master was finally able to get his attention but as I started walking again I heard him calling out his dogs name in a loud and hurried tone.  The dog was right back on my heals and I stopped immediately.  Finally the Master got the dogs attention for good.  There was no fear on my part, just the annoyance of something trying to take the joy of life away from me.

Isolated on blue background angry annoyed man frowns look at camera holding smart phone having problems with wi-fi no wireless connection, need repair broken phone, unpleasant message received concept

I Believe In You

One of the best things as a parent that you can tell your children is how much you believe in them.  We see it beautifully stated in the graduation programs at our University.  Proud parents leave tributes for their graduating seniors and it is wonderful.  Many times the tributes mention how much they believe in them and how proud they are of them.  This belief they speak of goes to the heart of the word.  I believe that you will be a great success they might say.  I believe that you can accomplish everything that you want.  In other words the belief is that they are sold that their son or daughter is great already and they will succeed in whatever they do!

Image result for graduation picture

Years ago we traveled through Kentucky and Tennessee.  It was just a week or two after a major tornado had hit down on the area.  We happened to stop at a store and were talking to the cashier about the incident.  We were told that most of the people there did not bother to heed  the warnings.  “We get warnings all of the time here”, they mentioned to us.  I’m sure that their belief was shaken and although they believed a tornado was sighted they didn’t believe it would affect them.  Sadly there were injuries and fatalities because the trust factor wasn’t there. Photos: Storms Cause Death, Damage In Kentucky, Tennessee

In Acts chapter 16 verse 31 Paul and Silas were asked what they must do to be saved.  “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved and your entire household”.  Many times when people are asked if they are a christian or they think they are going to heaven they reply “yes I believe in God”.  However the Bible meaning for believe is far more extensive than just the belief that there is a God.  When Jesus said believe in me he was talking about believing in what he said.

Can you imagine a husband saying that he believes that he has a wife?  Wouldn’t you think that if he is married that would be a crazy statement?  In the same way just believing that there is a God in itself does not mean we have a relationship with him.  That would be the same as the parents in those tributes saying that they believed that they had a son or daughter.  If you think that just believing that there is a God will get you to heaven consider this fact: Even the Devil believes that there is a God and we know where he will end up.

'Okee-dokey... Let's just see how your diagnosis and treatment plan compare to what has to say...'

In James Chapter 2 starting with verse 14 we are told that faith without works is dead.  It is like those tornado victims that might have believed that there was a tornado but took no action.

Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without [a]your works, and I will show you my faith by [b]my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is [c]dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?

It is useful in reading the Bible to substitute the word trust when you see the word believe.  Sometimes in the translation from the original Greek the words get watered down and they lose their meaning.  It doesn’t make sense that if we merely believe that there is a God that we are saved.  It is as obvious as that husband that states “I believe that you are my wife.”  The determining factor in that marriage and in our relationship to God is not the fact that they exist but learning to trust them and truly believe in everything they are about.  That belief on our part will lead us to follow the path given to us trusting that our Lord and Savior has a plan and purpose for our lives!

I Couldn’t Care More

I was watching a video the other night where they interviewed Jerry Spence.  Jerry is a lawyer who they claimed never lost a case in front of a jury.  I find that incredibly hard to believe because he has been at it a long time.  However it was very interesting to listen to him in the interview.  They asked him how he did it?  How did he have this incredible record of wins?  He put it in very simple terms.  In order to represent his clients properly he had to care.  He was asked how he could care when his clients were charged with crimes that were hard to defend because of their nature and their apparent guilt?  In an amazing answer he said a lot about caring.

Image result for gerry spence photo in the courtroom

You know we all start off the same.  Suppose at the hospital though the babies were switched.  Maybe the baby that was going to a home where nobody cared about them was instead taken to a home where there was much caring.  What if their new home had the means to give them the education and benefits they needed.  Perhaps this person would not be in the situation they are in today.  Then he mentioned an example of a little puppy.  One puppy is taken to a loving home where they are cuddled and fed.  That same puppy could have been taken to a home where it is locked in a cage all alone and starved.  After awhile if you put your finger in that cage you are likely to get bit.

These examples illustrate the point of how love and caring about a person goes a long way in making them who they are.  Jerry Spence asks himself before taking a case how he can prevent the worst from happening to his client?  After all the results of the trial will make a difference in his clients life going forward.  Will they be behind bars for the rest of their life or will they be given a second  chance to get it right?  That is where caring comes in.  By truly caring about them and their fate he tries to reverse a situation that happened years ago that put them on the wrong path.    He takes the time to get to know them and their stories.  For many it is the first time that anyone has cared enough to get involved.  Spence said that most lawyers don’t get involved enough for a case to actually hurt them.  They may think they are doing their best but they are doing it from a distance where they can justify their efforts and often times sad results.  Spence gets so involved that he fights for the good of his clients.  His total involvement makes him care about them as people and their future.  He ends up knowing them like nobody has  taken the time to get to know them before.

Image result for lawyer cartoon

I read a story about a lawyer that was hired by his client to defend him of horrific charges that were brought against him.  The lawyer he hired was not the caring type like Spence.  He loved being the center of attention and loved the theatrics he could generate in the courtroom.  His client was accused of aggravated assault on his victim to the point of even biting off half of the man’s ear.  The other lawyer had his star witness on the stand.  His star witness however was having trouble with the details and his lawyer was trying to lead him into saying what he wanted.  The witness was there on the night in question and the lawyer asked him if he saw the defendant bite the man’s ear off?  Over and over the witness would not admit he actually saw the infraction.  The opposing lawyer was getting upset with his star witness and ended up having him labeled as a hostile witness.  It was at that point that the defendants lawyer should have been satisfied and asked no further questions.  However, since he loved being the center of attention he rose and strutted confidently to the front of the courtroom.  “So what did you see” he asked, knowing  that the answer would further damage the case against his client and have people talking about what a great lawyer he was.  The witness thought for a moment.  There was a silence in the courtroom as he patiently collected his memories.  “Well, I didn’t see him bite off half of his ear, but I did see him spew it out of his mouth”, he replied  to the shock of the courtroom. “I also saw the blood on your clients mouth and heard the plaintiff yelling “he bit off my ear!”

Image result for jesus as our lawyer photo

This whole caring lawyer conversation reminds me that Jesus is our caring lawyer. We’ve heard disinterested people say the often used saying “I couldn’t care less.”  Jesus on the other hand couldn’t care more!  In 1 John 2 verse 1 it states “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.”  You see Jesus is there to defend us.  He cares about us and wants to protect us from our accusers.  He loved us so much that he died for our sins.  All we have to do is accept him as our lord and savior and we will employ the best caring, loving advocate we could ever get.  It starts with a simple prayer.  Pray it with me…Lord Jesus, Come into my heart and save me.  Forgive me of my sins and be my lord and savior. I ask you to defend me against my accusers.  Amen

The Trial

By Lewis Hamilton from the book “The Gardener and My Garden” @1997

The prosecuting attorney had his case prepared
to send me straight to jail
He had evidence to string me up
so I knew he wouldn’t fail

He called out with a convicting voice
We’ve got movies of your sins
The courtroom door was opened,
a projector was wheeled in

We watched my actions prove his case,
my hands were very red,
my sins were played on a big screen
He roared, Son, you’re as good as dead!

I glanced at my attorney
What would his reaction be?
His smile caught me by surprise
with the evidence against me

The prosecuting attorney made his case
It took three hours, maybe four
He had a list ten feel long
or maybe even more

He glided by my attorney
with a smile upon his face
He’s guilty as the blackest sin,
you don’t even have a case

My attorney walked up to the bench
He said, Father here’s my plea
I know this man is guilty
just as everyone can see

But he asked me to forgive him
and you know I paid the fee
So I ask you, my loving father
Please, set this captive free

Son, the judge and father said,
Consider your will done
The price you paid was more than enough
to cover everyone

He hit the gavel on the desk,
and threw away the list
He said with a voice of authority
This case is dismissed.

For there is one God and one
mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus, who gave
himself as a ransom for all men
the testimony given in its
proper time.

I Timothy 2 verses 5 and 6

#6 How To Deactivate A Bomb

There is someone who can deactivate your bomb…Find out who!

Clever. The Road Runner is seen as clever in this picture because he switches the TNT to when Wile E. Coyote pushed the lever it blew up on himself.

A Missionary In Africa

People have many reasons why they reject God’s gift of salvation.  Many times the excuses are actually their unbelief.  It sounds so good it couldn’t possibly be true.  It’s like that great deal we might see for a car.  We’ve all seen these type of ads before.  After describing all of the benefits in this newer model and how low the mileage we see a giveaway price on it.  “That’s just too good to be true”, we will say and of course we are right.  I was talking to a guy one time and I described how beautiful it was within eye sight of where we were standing.  I mentioned an example of discovering a beautiful painting with nobody around.  I asked him if he discovered this beautiful painting would he assume that somebody had carefully painted it?  Or would he think that somehow the wind blew and all of the sand, water, sky, and waves depicted in the painting somehow formed on the canvas from the wind blown paint?  His statement to me was a defiant one.  He mentioned that though the view here was beautiful what about the ghetto on the other side of town?  Let’s face it, some people just are not going to accept Jesus and will come up with all kinds of excuses not to.  You might be surprised the variety of excuses you will hear when you actually try to find out why someone has not accepted God’s free gift.  One of the more interesting ones I heard about was from a lady who said NO!  When asked for a reason she said “I don’t want to be a Missionary in Africa.”

Colorful Sunrise Over Atlantic Ocean Coast

Fear of the unknown is a big reason people don’t do things.  I remember when my son was 8 years old he was crazy about basketball.  I found out that some pro’s and soon to be pro’s were making an appearance in a town near us to celebrate a big anniversary of the Continental Basketball Association.  It was a league that gave many of them their kick start to the NBA.  They had an autograph session and we were pleased to get autographs from many of the players.  There was a future NBA player that we wanted to sign something for us pretty bad.  It was a cartoon picture we had brought that had four local NBA prospects.  The picture was funny how it characterized each individual together in one picture. We were able t secure two of the three players that were at the event to sign.  It was fun for them to autograph by the funny cartoon picture of themselves. We happened to be talking to a lady in the stands during the exhibition basketball game and found out that she was the grandmother of a third player depicted in our picture.  She promised that she would have her grandson sign our picture after the game.  When the game ended and the grandson showed up his grandmother showed him the picture and asked if he would sign it for us.  He said he wouldn’t and he made the excuse that if he signed it would draw a crowd and he would have to sign for everybody.

How to Remember to Turn Off the Stove

This fear of the unknown is just an excuse.  Usually whatever fear we have never happens.  It’s like when we go on a trip.  How many times do we get miles down the road and all of the sudden a fearful thought comes to our mind?  “Did I turn the burner off?” we might think.  Yet how often do we get home and find the house burnt down?  Most of the time the burner we had been so concerned about isn’t even on.  The fear factor is a pretty powerful emotion and can cause us to panic.  That is why Jesus told us to not fear because he is with us!    He also told us he would always be with us! Along with the fear of the future there are many other excuses people give when asked why they won’t receive God’s free give of salvation.  Jesus talked about excuses people make in Luke  chapter 14 verses 16-23.

16Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

18“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

19“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

20“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

21“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

22“ ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

23“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’ ”

Jesus spoke in parables so that people would understand the mind of God.  The banquet he talks about is in Heaven.  He is inviting all of us to come and these excuses we are making are very hurtful.  If you have not accepted Jesus into your heart yet what excuses are you making?  We need to realize that with God our future is in great hands! What future events can we control anyway?  II Corinthians 6:2 tells us that now is the time of salvation.  Instead of making excuses pray this prayer with me.

Lord Jesus,

Come into my heart and save me

Forgive me of my sins and be my Lord and Savior


Image result for missionary in africa picture

If you prayed that prayer congratulations!  You have quit making excuses and are on the path to Heaven!  You are not fearing the future anymore because you know that he is always with you!  To the lady that feared becoming a Missionary in Africa I can tell her this news.  First of all God probably won’t send you to Africa to be a Missionary.  There are tons of Mission fields right here in the States or right where you are currently living.  You see you can be a Missionary right where you are doing exactly the job you are doing and living in the same house you are living in now.  However, if by small chance you were sent to Africa to be a Missionary you would be so happy inside content in knowing that the God of the universe thought you worthy of such an assignment.

My Excuses

By Lewis Hamilton from the book “The Gardener and My Garden” @1997

The Lord asked me why I didn’t
     go to church the way I should
I thought for a moment then it came
     If not for these reasons I would

The local church that I know
       is living such a lie
They don’t fool me for a minute
     no matter how they try

The preachers there on my TV
     want money every day
That’s not how I really care
     to spend my hard earned pay

On Sunday also as you know
    I need my day to sleep
 I have to work long hours
    if my job I am to keep

They put me on a guilt trip
  that’s a reason I don’t go
I want to feel good about myself
     I don’t like to feel so low

I’m OK here just like I am
  I believe in God enough
I don’t need all that preaching
   and all that shouting stuff

They want me to give up my fun
       I like my life this way
I don’t go to church because
         I want to live today

When I ran through my reasons
      I knew I had that day
come up with some good excuses
     why I should stay away

But deep down inside my answers
   had no legs on which to stand,
when I saw his punctured side
     and his nail scarred hands

For they all alike began to make
excuses. The first said, “I have
just bought a field and must go
and see it. Please excuse me.”

Luke 14:18

The Bridge

They were the most beautiful lyrics from a secular song I have heard!

When you’re weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all (all)
I’m on your side, oh, when times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down


It’s the beautiful lyrics from the song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel.  I think what makes the words so rich is the fact that we can all picture bridges.  We can picture the troubled water they sometimes hover over.  If we close our eyes we can even hear the sounds of the turbulent water and see the view looking down from the bridge.  Though the water is raging the bridge puts us over it and out of danger.  The parallel described in the song is harder to see but the correlation is there.  The person is willing to lay their self down like that bridge to literally put the other person over harms way.

Recently I wondered where these beautiful lyrics came from?  We know that Paul Simon wrote them but what gave him the idea?  Was it an event in his life or did someone say something that triggered such a beautiful picture?  I found that it was the latter.  Many years ago before the civil war in fact a Negro spiritual was sang called “Mary Don’t You Weep” or “O Mary Don’t You Weep”.  It is now termed a “slave song” and gave hope and inspiration for a better future.  The lyrics went like this:

If I could I surely would
Stand on the rock where Moses stood
Pharoah’s army got drownded
Oh, Mary, don’t you weep

Oh, Mary, don’t you weep, don’t you mourn
Oh, Mary, don’t you weep, don’t you mourn
Pharoah’s army got drownded
Oh, Mary, don’t you weep

Moses stood on the Red Sea shore
Smotin’ the water with a two by four
Pharoah’s army…

The Lord told Moses what to do
To lead those Hebrew children through…

The bridge over troubled water part was inspired by Claude Jeter the lead singer of The Swan Silvertones interpolation when they recorded the same song (Mary Don’t You Weep) which became their greatest hit.  He added the line “I’ll be a bridge over deep water if you trust in my name”.  According to Anthony Heilbut, a gospel producer and historian,  Simon acknowledged Jeter’s contribution in person and also handed him a check as compensation.

It’s strange that from one line of the lyrics Simon picked out such a vivid description.  The song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” became the #1 song of the year in 1970!  It was a feel good song as people identified the deep sacrifice the song implies.  Helping someone in such a way as to be willing to do whatever it took to bring them out of a depressed state and into sunshine.  It is a selfless song and made people feel good because being selfless does that.  It is like giving to someone something that is truly needed.  It makes the giver happy and gives them joy.  Although the receiver of the gift gets the material reward it is the giver that gets the peaceful feeling that they did the right thing.


One of the wonders of the world is the Golden Gate Bridge.  Construction started in 1933 and the project was completed in 1937.  In the old days the only way to get across water was to have a boat.  I’m reminded of the Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn stories along the Mississippi River.  With the advent of the automobile there was a desire to make bridges that would allow us to drive over the water.  Depending on the layout different bridges were built to accomplish the feat.  Where possible a cement bridge might be built if the distance wasn’t far.  However for greater distances such as the Golden Gate Bridge special engineering designs had to be used.  They called bridges such as the Golden Gate Bride suspension bridges.  The key to building a bridge like that is the strength of the solid bases that hold the suspended cables which in turn supports the weight of the suspended bridge from one base to the other!  It took 70,000 tons of steel to accomplish such a mission.  In the end the bridge had these amazing statistics!

Total length of Bridge including approaches from abutment to abutment is 1.7 miles (8,981 ft or 2,737 m).

Total length of Bridge including approaches from abutment to abutment, plus the distance to the Toll Plaza, is 9,150 ft (2,788 m).

Length of suspension span including main span and side spans is 1.2 miles (6,450 ft or 1,966 m).

Length of main span portion of suspended structure (distance between towers) is 4,200 ft (1,280 m).

Length of one side span is 1,125 ft (343 m).

Width of Bridge is 90 ft (27 m).

Width of roadway between curbs is 62 ft (19 m).

Width of sidewalk is 10 ft (3 m).

Clearance above mean higher high water is 220 ft (67 m).

Total weight of each anchorage is 60,000 tons (54,400,000 kg).

Original combined weight of Bridge, anchorages, and approaches is 894,500 tons (811,500,000 kg).

Total weight of Bridge, anchorages, and approaches (1937) is 894,500 tons (811,500,000 kg).

Total weight of Bridge, anchorages, and approaches (1986)* is 887,000 tons (804,700,00 kg*).

Weight of Bridge, excluding anchorages and approaches, and including the suspended structure, main towers, piers and fenders, bottom lateral system and orthotropic redecking (1986) is 419,800 tons (380,800,000 kg*).

In 1989 a massive earthquake hit the San Francisco area.  Although several buildings and roadways were damaged including severe damages to the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge was not fractured.  When events like that happen however it is a reminder of how fragile we are and our man made projects are.  Man has accomplished much but only God can build the ultimate bridge.  That is the bridge that leads from death to life.

When man first sinned there was a wide canyon that separated man from God.  God decided to build a bridge so that man could cross over it to where God was.  Unlike any bridge that man could make God’s bridge will never break down.  You see God sent his only son in the form of a man to live and to die for the sins of all men.  With that supreme sacrifice the bridge was formed.  Like the Bridge Over Troubled Water song we take that bridge over the troubled water.  That is not to say that there will not be storms.  We may be knocked down on our journey, yet we know that the destination the bridge takes us leads to our victory.  You see the song by Simon & Garfunkel describes someone laying down like a bridge for the other person to cross over their troubled time.  In reality it is impossible for humans to accomplish such a mission.  Yet that is the actual mission that Christ took when he died for our sins.  He became the bridge not built with human hands but with God’s own hands.  Let the bridges that we see in our daily lives remind us of the ultimate bridge that God created for everyone.  May we always walk on the safety of God’s bridge and the destination it takes!

If you have never taken the bridge that leads to Heaven pray this prayer with me.  “Lord forgive me of my sins, come into my heart,  save me, and be my lord and savior.  I realize that you are the only bridge that leads to eternal life!  I will serve you the rest of my days!  In Jesus name, Amen”


Someone’s Knocking At The Door

Very rarely does someone knock on our door anymore.  Back in the day especially growing up when someone knocked on the door it was with excitement that we answered it.  Who could it be?  Opening the door we were surprised to see my Aunt Ethel, Aunt Lucy, or our old friend Margaret (who was in her 80’s but got around like a 20 year old.)  Their visits were always fun and made our day a little better!  Of course it was like the old TV show “Let’s Make A Deal” too.  The person behind the door wasn’t always a loved one.  Sometimes the Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Fuller Brush Man would be there.  In other words sometimes we got zonked when we opened the door.  A zonk on Let’s Make a Deal was when the curtain or door was opened and behind it was something nobody could want.  Still we took our chances with the door in hopes that behind it was a nice surprising visitor!

These days when someone is knocking at the door it is almost always a zonk.  If they suspect that someone is home they start pounding louder if there is no reaction to their initial knock.  When I do answer the door I find myself barely having my head sticking through the opened door as the rest of me hides behind it.  I use the door as kind of a shield.  It protects me from the person trying to sell me something I don’t want.  The person tries to get me more comfortable with them but that door block is hard to negotiate around.  I try to be polite as they make their sales pitch.  The knocking is an interruption to my life.  I don’t think I have ever made a major purchase from someone going door to door.  Occasionally I will take their card as they tell me to call them if I am interested.  It is a polite way to end the visit without seeming rude.  Finally I close the door on the product that I can’t live without.

I guess that is the problem with door to door sales in my view.  Before opening the door I have already made up my mind that I’m not interested.  Having to overcome that is almost always too heavy of a burden for them.  Getting past that trust factor and into my pocketbook is a monumental task.  If they really have a product that I just can’t live without, how have I been able to live without it all of these years?  If I truly wanted to fix a problem I’m more apt to buy a product from a local store where I could always take it back.

I have a very basic cell phone where I can make and receive calls and text messages.  Lately I have been seeing an ad on TV about buying an application for a smart phone.  If I had a smart phone I don’t think I’d be interested in this app.  It is a doorbell app that lets you answer your front door wherever you are.  You could be on vacation in Hawaii and answer your front door. You actually see the person at the door from your phone and you can talk and listen to them. Of course in the commercial it is guys up to no good thinking that you are not home.  The commercial ends with the two would be burglars running from the front door after the brief conversation.  This product is trying to take advantage of the defensive attitude we have today when someone knocks at our door.  I have never had someone try to get into my house while I was pretending nobody was home.  If this product is so necessary, why hasn’t that happened before?  I guess it is  like an extra insurance policy that makes us less fearful and more at ease.

We don’t get surprises from our telephone these days either.  They used to have a radio station back in the day that would make phone calls for prizes.  You had to answer the phone saying “I listen to WYYY”, to win.  It was a genius way to advertise!  I used to laugh when I called my best friend only to have his mom answer the phone with that statement instead of the traditional hello.  I’m sure she never won any prizes but she should have been paid for all of the advertising she did for the station! Now days that marketing scheme would never work as we pick and choose who we want to talk to by using Caller ID.  Come to think about it we used to receive more calls from friends back in the day.  With the advent of Facebook and the use of email friends don’t call much anymore.  It is almost a dreaded sound when the phone rings these days  It seems to ring a lot but very rarely is it anyone that knows us.  These calls go to the answering machine and it is very likely that no message will be left.

The point I’m making is that we are not easily surprised anymore.  There is not a feeling of excitement like there used to be.  We are not willing to take the chance of going to the door or answering the phone because we already know who it is.  Instead of quickly opening the door we tend to peek unsuspectingly out another window of the house to see who it is.  Usually by the time we find out that the person at the door is a loved one we have to race to the door and catch them before they have driven off.  If Jesus is knocking on your heart’s door don’t be defensive.  He is like a surprising visit from a long lost friend.  Run and catch him before he leaves.  Invite him in and fellowship with him.  His offer is eternal life and you don’t want to shut the door on that!

Sweet Surrender For 2016!

This is the time of year when many will set goals.  The list might include losing weight, making investments, getting promoted, eating better and the list goes on.  A close friend asked me about my goals for this year the other day.  “I just want to be closer to God”, I told him.  I want to only write what the Holy Spirit puts on my heart.  I want him to be the motor behind the writing and me just the vessel he works through.  The only way that this can happen is a complete surrender.  I want God to have say in every part of my life.

Image result for 2016 goals sign

If you are like me it’s far easier to sputter the words than to actually put it into practice.  If we are honest with ourselves there are things that we may not have given to God.  We might think that God wouldn’t be interested in this little detail in our lives.  Sometimes we think that God is only interested in the big problems that we have.  That is the big lie the devil uses to keep us from total fellowship with God.  He is interested in every detail of your and my life!

Image result for waving the white surrender flag

So what does it mean to surrender to God?  Well the number one thing we have to do is confess any sins that are in our lives and turn away from them.  God cannot have fellowship with you or I if there is sin in the way.  It cuts off the connection to his power.  It’s like cutting the connecting cord of the light from the power switch.  The other thing we need to do is spend quality time in praying and reading the word.  It is something we need to make a part of our lives more than anything.  There is power in the verse “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added onto you” Matthew 6:33.

When we get into that mode of taking quality time to pray God will honor that.  He has sent his Holy Spirit to comfort us and give us wisdom.  Most of all the Holy Spirit wants to fellowship with us and live through us!  Benny Hinn made a parallel in his book “Good Morning Holy Spirit.”  Now I’ve never been on a sailboat but I can still relate to this.  In order for the sails to work to full force there can’t be any holes or tears.  Before sailing those need to be mended.  Now the Holy Spirit is like the wind.  Those mended sails will catch that wind and the boat will move forward!  That is how it is with us and God!  God will move in our lives when we surrender, use quality time to talk to him daily , read his word and think about what he is saying to us in it.

Image result for sailing

So what does it mean to surrender?  If someone has a gun on us the common thing to do is to lift our hands.  We are saying that we surrender to the power that they have.  We are also saying that we are not going to fight against that power.  This is a forced surrender.  We really don’t want to surrender but for our own good we do.  This is not how God wants us to surrender.  He wants us to surrender like those sails that are waiting for the wind to direct them and move the boat. For our own good we need to surrender to his power even though God will never force us.  It needs to be a volunteer effort as we see how insignificant we are without him.  When we surrender to him with a clean heart and spend quality time in fellowship great things start happening in our lives!

A former pastor of mine used to conclude his sermons many times with this phrase “Go with God and he will go with you!”  It’s a simple phrase but so true.  I suppose the opposite is true also.  Don’t go with God and he won’t go with you.  Now that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love us.  The Holy Spirit works both as a comforter to the saved and to convict the lost of their sins.  So when we get into that fellowship he literally goes with us instead of chasing us.

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Now what am I talking about by the phrase “quality time?”  I’m reminded of something from another story where David Wilkerson felt in his spirit to sell his TV and use that time to pray.  He would usually spend a couple of hours a day watching and justified it by staying up on current interests.  Giving the Lord a fleece of having to sell the TV within a half an hour or it wasn’t God’s will the TV sold in 29 minutes!  It was in one of those prayer sessions that he was in instead of watching his TV that Wilkerson saw a picture in Life Magazine.  Now he was praying but every time he opened his eyes that magazine was in view.  Finally he asked the Lord if he was supposed to look at it?  When he opened it he saw 8 desperate Gang led kids who had murdered a crippled boy just for kicks.  Wilkerson’s heart broke and through a series of unusual events he was used by God to start a very successful ministry for the lost teenagers in New York City!  It all started when he surrendered his TV time to God!

Image result for fireworks display

I realize that this is not the usual entertaining story that you usually read on here, but it might be the most important message I have written.  I say that because if you read this or any of the stories and tell me it was good and that is the end of it, the message would have failed.  We see so many things in this world that entertains us.  After awhile we look for everything to have entertainment value.  It’s like a fireworks display.  After the fireworks which were gorgeous we are left with a bunch of ugly smoke.  It won’t be easy (at least at first) but if we will make a commitment to God this year to put him first in everything and spend quality time with him we will not lack anything that we need!  We will feel victory in our lives no matter the circumstances!

The song we sometimes sing “More of you” is technically wrong.  God cannot give us more of him unless we have less of us in there.  The goal is all of him and none of me.  I don’t know what will be created on this website in the year ahead.  Whatever is written I pray that it will stir your heart and life and penetrate deep into your soul.  I pray that you will not be the same because of the messages you read.  I know that I won’t be.  As the Spirit helps me write a story I invariably re-read it and it speaks to me!  I’m the one who gets the most out of the messages and stories that God gives me to share!  I urge you to put God first this new year.  Don’t only say it but spend the time doing it.  Remember that how we spend our precious time that we are given is how we prioritize things.  Remember the verse in Galatians 2:20 that says “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loves me and gave himself for me.”

You have now read what is on my heart going forward this year.  The choice is now up to you.  Did the message penetrate your heart?  Dear God, I pray that all who read this will take a new look at their lives and surrender all to you!  I thank you for this message and as I sit here with tears in my eyes I realize that you are speaking to me through this!  I pray that my readers will surrender all of their lives to you so that you can use them for your glory throughout the year!

In Jesus’ lovely name



By Lewis Hamilton from the book “The Gardener and My Garden” c1997

It’s not just a one-time thing
or even by the week
It’s more than a daily time
his Spirit I must seek

There’s a battle against the flesh,
no time to drop my guard
Instead of going easier
my battle’s getting hard

A weekly or a daily time
is not enough to win it
I must surrender all the time,
sometimes minute by minute

When decision time is on me
I need an open mind
The Spirit will tell me what to do,
and I’ll do it in God’s time

It’s a choice I have to make,
my spirit I must render,
every minute of every day
to him I must surrender.



Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God, may
your good Spirit lead me
on level ground.

Psalm 143:10


Fallen Man Saved Again!

Fallen Man Saved!
December 25, 2012

Good Samaritan

It is officially Christmas day 2014! I’d like to take a break from the countdown today and re-visit the 2012 and 2013 Christmas day story! Unlike the stories I have been mentioning for 2014 in the countdown this story was one of the least read stories of 2012. However, it’s message is just as powerful if not more so than any of my stories! On this Christmas day we will be exchanging gifts with our loved ones! It is a time for showing love, much like God did with his “Greatest Gift of All!” In this story I tried to answer the question of…Why? Why would God give us a gift so great?

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