Monday, October 28, 2013

It Just Doesn't Make Sense

There was no other person standing in line at Starbucks. The barista kindly took my order and then she asked what my name was for the cup. Now I was the only drink being made at the time. Was there a concern that it would get confused with.....well, no one? I know they're taught to ask for names in order to become more personal with their customers. Sometimes, however, things don't make sense. Kind of like when I go to the gym to exercise, I tend to try to find the parking place that's closest to the door so I won't have to walk as far. It just doesn't make sense.

But there are a lot of things in the Bible that don't make sense. Why did God love me so much that He would send His only Son to die for me? Why would God give me grace and mercy? Why does God offer me the best of this life (not necessarily money and things, but the best of the things that really matter)? That doesn't make sense either. So maybe it's best for me just to bask in God's goodness and to accept His gifts.

I have a shepherd who occasionally compliments something I have done or a sermon I've preached and I try to slough it off and push the praise to something else. He looks at me with a little smile on his face and says, "Just say, 'thank you.'" Maybe that's what we should do. When God showers us with the blessings that He does on a daily, really moment to moment, basis, I should learn to just say, "thank you."

I hope you have a wonderful day. JW

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Life Well Lived

I had the privilege of attending the funeral yesterday of a man who had lived his life the way it should be lived. He had 12 naturally born children all of which are faithful to God. As a children's home director he was father to many others who came under his direction. As I listened to the testimonials from his children, I couldn't help but think he got it. One of his sons had a power point slide that said, "No tombstone, no epitaph, no cemetery." He didn't need a tombstone or an epitaph. His family spoke enough about his life by the life they live today. He didn't need a cemetery because he doesn't need his body anymore. He's enjoying the reward that he had so long prepared for.
A thought came to me as I pondered this man's life. I thought, "I agree with everything he stood for. I didn't agree with everything he said." You see, this gentleman had principles. I didn't always see eye to eye in the way he pursued his principles. But I am with him in all his principles. I really think his life could have been summed up in these words. "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." Ecclesiastes 12:13 The fact that we may have had some disagreements doesn't mean we had words or fights or anything else. Truthfully, I didn't really know him that well. But I knew his children. We don't have to agree on everything to admire and honor and appreciate and respect someone who knew what he wanted in life for himself and for his children.
I loved hearing the stories. It was wonderful to reconnect with some of his children and grandchildren. It was truly a celebration of life. I couldn't help but think, that's how I want to be remembered. Somebody said to this gentlemen's surviving wife, (I'm paraphrasing) "I'm so sorry for your loss." She said, "I'm not lost. I'm going to go where he is soon. He's waiting to help me get there." So here's to a life well lived. God bless men like this. It's my prayer that we can all live such a life that is so God-honoring.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


My two year and eight months grandson is so funny. He makes me smile in so many ways. Sometimes it's just the pure joy of hearing "Papa!" come from his lips. Other times, it's his observations in the world. One of the things I've noticed is his call when a situation comes up that he doesn't know how to deal with it. He gets stuck in his high chair and he calls, "Help!" Trying to find his way out of a program on my Ipad, he says, "Help!" Trying to crawl out of my easy chair while he has his hands full, "Help!" What makes it funnier is it sounds like he's from the south. Help, a monosyllabic word becomes "Hel-yup!" I guess that's his Arkansas born Granna's DNA coursing through his veins.
But when he calls for help, someone is usually there to grant him assistance. When he calls, an adult will usually come to his aid. That's why he calls. He knows someone is there to help him. What a concept! Calling for help and help comes.
God has promised us the same thing.

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Isaiah 55:6

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24

So I think my grandson has hit on something. Call for help. We need help in our world. We humans have made such a mess of things. I'm sometimes embarrassed to watch the news and see what's being reported. It makes sense to me that we as God's children should be calling for help. Don't believe me? Let me give you some examples.

In Kentucky, school officials are saying that athletes can't shake hands after ball games because it causes fights. Help!

Our own government has been shut down for over a week and many are without the needed sustenance for their lives. Help!

A man was recently tracked down and beaten by several motorcycle robbers. All this in front of his wife and child. Help!

God's ways are continually mocked and despised all over our country, all over the world. Help!

It's so important to us that we remember that God is here and willing and ready to help us. All we need to do is to call on His name. I think it would be appropriate to end this little blog with Psalm 121.

I lift up my eyes to the hills-
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip--
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you--
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm--
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.


Tuesday, October 01, 2013


Several years ago I preached a series of sermons on a topic that is sometimes controversial. Several days after the sermon, I received a phone call from someone who asked this question. "Do you really believe that?" Interesting question for a preacher isn't it? I assured this person that I did believe what I preached and we had a good conversation about the topic.

However, this morning on my drive to work I was thinking about the incarnation of Jesus and the thought went through my mind, "What if all of that didn't happen? Am I doing what I do in vain?" Scary thought for a preacher. Yet, I believe that God leaves room in His plan for questions and occasional doubt. Doubt causes us to seek. It demands we ask questions. It guides us many times to the answers we already know are true. Or, in some cases, perhaps to rediscover old truths that have long been forgotten or incorrectly believed.

I believe the characters in the Bible had doubts. Don't you think Abraham wondered what kind of God would ask for him to sacrifice his precious son? Do you think Noah ever questioned the wisdom of building a boat when first of all, it had not rained before and second, it was a long way from the water? I think we can see the doubt in David's psalms as he questions where God is. How about Joseph as he's mistreated by his brothers and wrongfully accused of sin? The list goes on and on. I haven't even mentioned Jeremiah, Isaiah, the apostles, Paul, It's all right to have doubts. What we do with them is the rub. Paul's conclusion?

"Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day." II Timothy 1:12

So do I really believe what I preach? Let me first begin by saying that God has called us to be faithful. Not sinless, not perfect, not self-righteous, not successful, but faithful. That includes all the foibles and shortcomings that I have. Secondly, I'll let the words to this song that was going through my mind on this same drive to work I told you about earlier speak for me this today.

We saw Thee not when lifted high,
Amid that wild and savage crew;
Nor heard we that imploring cry,
"Forgive they know not what they do!"
But we believe the deed was done,
That shook the earth and veiled the sun;
But we believe the deed was done,
That shook the earth and veiled the sun.

Have a great and blessed day! JW