ALWAYS LIKE THE FIRST TIME

ALWAYS LIKE THE FIRST TIME
Andy Hollifield 4-23-19

The mission work that the Lord has allowed me to do is a wonderful life. It is hard work, lots of driving, sometimes thankless work but most of the time we are met with sincere gratitude. Such was the case on Monday when we arrived in Smith Station, Alabama. The ladies from city hall were extremely grateful and begin to talk about who needed the items we brought. Renee, the lady pictured on the left, gave us a small tour of the immediate area around Smith Station including the home she was in. She watched the roof on her cousins mobile home roll like ocean waves when the storm hit but yet somehow stay intact. About 200 to 300 yards away from where she was, her neighbors homes were completely demolished. Some of the areas we were in, we saw houses untouched and totally intact on one side of the narrow rural road and across the street bare ground where homes used to be. We stood in a driveway across from the elementary school in the picture. The school sustained damage to the entire roof and the homes between the school and where we were standing were gone. One stick built home two houses up the road from where we were standing was lifted from its foundation and set down in the yard. It was so damaged it had to be destroyed.

As usual in these situations, we found out a lot about the resilience of the people of the area. Like in most places during disaster recovery, they still have plenty of looting going on. People stealing from people that have lost almost everything and taking what little they have left. You find those pathetic individuals everywhere in those situations. The other side of that coin is that it also brings out the best in people. Smith Station is a community of neighbors helping neighbors. The lady we met across from the school is trying to take care of all of her neighbors and trying to find anything they need and get it for them. She could be sitting comfortably in her home enjoying life but she refuses to do that when her neighbors all around her are suffering. Even Renee from city hall is only a volunteer and has been working tirelessly since the storm to help those in need. She has also went about finding needed items for anyone and everyone that needs them. She told us that if the tornado hadn’t turned when it did, it would have went right across the home she was in. We saw just a few people working on their property and those were the fortunate ones that still had something worth salvaging. We were also told of a woman with two teenage sons from a previous marriage that lost her current husband who she had just been married to less than a year. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there is no assistance available for her because she didn’t have physical property damage. Her husband was her primary source of income and now not only has she lost him but she is struggling financially to keep everything she didn’t lose in the storm. If I remember the story right, her husband had went to check on his elderly parents and was there when the storm hit their home. I am not sure if they survived or not.

As sad as all of this is, the tragic part is that the country has moved on. The media that had swarmed Smith Station and Beauregard in the first couple of weeks after the storm have now moved on to the next big thing. Meanwhile these folks are left picking up what is left of their lives. They are still in need of carpentry and yard tools, school supplies, gloves, nails, nail aprons, tool belts, wheelbarrows, tents, sleeping bags, and also non perishable food. It is state law in Alabama that only new clothing can be distributed in times following a disaster. This is understandable because there is not enough staff anywhere during these times to sort and fold clothes. This also protects them from receiving worn out stuff that folks just don’t want to throw away and yes that does happen. If anyone would like to take the lady that lost her husband on as a project to help her financially, please let me know and it can either be mailed to Renee at the city hall or I can deliver it to the lady personally on my next trip.

I would like to thank Pastor Aaron McLane in Unicoi, Tennessee and his church as well as the students at David Crockett High School in Jonesboro, Tennessee for all of the stuff they collected and donated as well as their financial support and bibles. We also had a gentleman in Myrtle Beach, SC that is affiliated with Help 4 Kids donate 1000 dollars when he was told we were making a trip to Alabama. I can’t fail to mention my friend Phil Martin and all the guys at Carolina Pawn and Gun in Canton, NC that gave us a tremendous deal on some circular saws to take down. Also not to be forgotten is Help 4 Kids in Myrtle Beach, SC and Swannanoa, NC that provided the school supplies and toys as well as securing the cash donation for us. I also want to extend a very special thank you to all of the supporting churches of our ministry who continually provide the financial support as well as food items that make all of these trips, as well as everything else we do, possible. I have a wonderful ministry board that supports these trips and continually communicates our needs to their churches.

In closing I want to mention my own opinion about these disaster sites. I have been on several since 1992 from hurricanes to floods and tornadoes and . That wasn’t just a catchy title but it really breaks my heart and put a nauseating feeling in the pit of my stomach to see it and realize it is always someone’s life’s work and such as in this case, it even cost some their lives. It never changes and even though I have seen the devastation numerous times, it really is always like the first timed it just always makes you want to do a little more. Thanks again for all everyone does to make all of this possible. God bless each of you. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

A WONDERFUL MONDAY

A WONDERFUL MONDAY                                                                                                           Andy Hollifield 4-22-19

Psalms 118:24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (KJV)

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/historyof-easter\l

Having just celebrated Easter, I did a little reading on the origin of Easter and included a link above to a History.com video. Contrary to what most of us believe, Easter wasn’t originally a Christian holiday and actually quite the opposite. The bible mentions in Acts 12:4 that Herod had intentions to bring Peter forth to the people after Easter. Why would Herod observe Easter as a Christian holiday? Actually he didn’t. Easter was originally a pagan holiday to honor the goddess of fertility. One of the most ancient symbols of fertility was a rabbit signifying new life. It is also associated with the ancient passover. You can click the link to the video to learn more. Now, let’s get on to the business at hand.

That title don’t even sound right rolling off of my tongue. Monday is supposed to be a dreaded day. We have geared ourselves to think that so much that if the events of our Mondays happened on any other day, we probably wouldn’t think anything about them. But, the fact they happen on a Monday makes them seem far worse than they really are. As we all get older, with a little wisdom we learn that every day truly is a gift from God, even Mondays.

Can you imagine what that Monday must have felt like to the followers of Jesus? After the day they had on Sunday, don’t you think they may have woke up on Monday just praying that it wasn’t all a dream and that the resurrection really had happened? From the women in the garden to the disciples in the room in Galilee, don’t you think they awoke maybe a little bit apprehensive? If it did really happen and Jesus was alive, what would happen when the word got out? I would imagine that the whole town was already a buzz by Monday morning. I would imagine that when those guards regained consciousness, word got around pretty quick. As a matter of fact, according to Matthew 28, after the women left the garden to bring word to the disciples, some of the watch that were guarding the tomb came into the city to tell the chief priests what all had happened. They may have even passed each other on the road as they were going on their way at the same time.

Can you picture them waking up on Monday? Maybe as they went outside to go about their chores and errands, they might have seen some of those saints that had risen with him that they had known were dead. Maybe they walked on down the street just hoping to see Jesus again just to confirm that it actually happened the way they remembered it. Do you think maybe they might have seen some of the soldiers or the servants of the high priests scurrying about with the same anxious but sullen look that all of Jesus followers had on Friday? Think about the position those religious leaders were in. To admit he had risen, would be to give him credibility. To deny it, with so much evidence to the contrary walking around, would have been a flat-out lie and made them look even more foolish. They even paid the soldiers big money to prop up their lie that the disciples had come and taken his body by night. But what about when people started seeing Jesus again alive and well? What about when folks saw the risen saints? The officials could make up all the stories and excuses they wanted about the body being stolen, but when Jesus and those saints showed up alive, they still couldn’t explain it or even deny it. I wonder if maybe on that Monday, instead of the Christians being afraid of the Jewish and Roman leaders and soldiers; I wonder if those groups might not have been treading lightly around the Christians. They had been publicly proven wrong when he arose. The spectacle they made of Jesus with the whole crucifixion scene had now backfired on them. Everyone had seen Jesus die and seen the soldiers mocking and putting the spear in his side after he had given up the Ghost. Everyone knew he had died and was buried in a sealed and guarded tomb, but now here he was. Not only him, but all of those resurrected saints. Can you imagine the joy of each of those Christians as they began to see the resurrected saints that morning and then finally, following the crowd, they seen Jesus. There was the ultimate proof!  He had risen and it wasn’t just a dream. It really had happened and things would never again be the same as they were before! What a way to start the week!

I don’t really have scripture to back up a lot of that scenario but we do have scripture to back up the resurrection. I enjoy thinking about how those behind the scenes were affected by what had happened over that weekend. I can say with certainty that you won’t walk out your door today and see Jesus walking down your street. You’re not likely to see any of the saints from the nearest cemetary roaming through your neighborhood. But you know what; that don’t change the fact that he arose that day one little bit. We don’t have to prove him, he has proven himself. We don’t have to tell lies and make up stories to prop up the story of the resurrection. It simply can’t be denied.

Do you realize that for one day, almost the entire world admitted that Jesus has risen. Many brought condemnation to themselves by celebrating his resurrection yesterday. Folks that deny him throughout the rest of the year stopped yesterday and were deluged with the story of his resurrection. It was everywhere from Easter Mass services at the Vatican to sunrise services all over the world commemorating his coming forth from the grave. If you are a born again child of God, you got to witness the world give honor to our Savior even though they may not know him.

So today, as Monday weighs down on you as they often do, think back about that Monday and what a day it must have been. I am sure that when you think about the price that was paid for your redemption and the fact that Jesus proved his love for you in front of the whole world, it will bring a smile to your face and maybe even a tear to your eye. Just think about all he went through to prove his love for you and obtain eternal redemption for all of us. If you center your mind upon that, I am sure you will have a wonderful Monday. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

DAY ONE

DAY ONE                                                                                                                                        Andy Hollifield 4-21-19

There have been countless writers far better than me that have written about Easter. You would think there isn’t anything new that could be said and you would be pretty much right. I have written on this before but to me, it never gets old. I am one that loves to look at details surrounding the main story. Maybe I am just so simple-minded that I need to know all the details to fully understand. So lets look at some of the people Jesus was closely associated with.

Friday had been the absolute worst day of their lives. They had always been taught from sitting on their momma’s lap to Sunday School and into adulthood that the Messiah would come. One Samaritan lady had only met him once and she wasn’t much of a lady then. He told her everything she had ever done and she believed and accepted him as the Messiah. Do you think her faith was shaken as she may have watched him die or maybe at least heard about it? Maybe for a fleeting moment but then she remembered how he had told her all of her sin that day at the well. She most likely didn’t understand but she knew what he had done for her.

What about Peter, the brash, impulsive, braggadocious, disciple? The one that swore to Jesus that, though others would forsake him, he would never leave him. Then only three days ago as Jesus stood in Pilate’s hall, he had denied even knowing him, to the point of cursing someone who accused him of being a disciple of Jesus. He had realized his sin and betrayal and went out and wept bitterly but it couldn’t be undone. He had denied the one person in the world other than his wife, that he had sworn allegiance to.

What about Mary, the mother of Jesus? Nearly 34 years before as a young virgin, the angel had spoken these things to her. She may not have understood them all at the time, but as a mom, she sure understood them now. At that moment, she wasn’t the mother of the Messiah in her mind, she was just the mother of Jesus. I am sure the thought of him being the Messiah was there but this was her little boy, her first-born, conceived out-of-wedlock by an overshadowing of the Holy Ghost. And now, a little over thirty-three years after his birth, here he was being crucified by people he loved that hated him. They mocked her baby and treated him like no one should ever be treated. Yet he refused to call to his Father or even the angels at his disposal, for help. Right up to his last moments in the midst of mockery, he still loved and had compassion even to a thief hanging by him. How could she ever live in a place where they would do that to her little boy who had never done anything but good to everyone?

Then there is Lazarus. The man who Jesus had spoken to after him having been dead four days and called him out of the tomb. The friend he had shared so many meals with and entertained in his home and now here he was, facing death himself and refusing to stop it. How could he let them do the things they were doing to him? He had the power to come off of the cross and destroy them all yet he opened not his mouth. How could it end this way for a man that was so good? Had all those years of his friendship been for nothing? And what about him being the Messiah? He knew it was true but how could it possibly end this way?

Then we have Mary Magdalene. He had cast seven devils out of her and gave her a new life that she could have only dreamed of. She had gone from being a hopeless shell of a human to a repentant sinner fully devoted to Christ. She was one not fit to be around yet after he cast out the devils he surrounded her with people who loved her. But now, this man in whom all of her hope rested was hanging before her bruised, battered, and dying? How could this possibly be?

Lets not forget the other ten disciples that forsook him and fled. From fishermen to a doctor to a tax collector and now all of their careers were lost. They couldn’t go back to life as before. For one thing, they had forsaken their lives to follow him. Not only that, but everyone knew they had been with him and casting out devils and healing the sick. They had labeled him as an enemy of the state because he claimed to be king of the Jews. Would the chief priests be coming for them next?

Finally, I wonder what Barabbas thought. I wonder if he stood on the hillside to get a look at the man who was responsible for his freedom. Or maybe they had passed in the corridors of the hall and their eyes met. Regardless of any of that, I wonder what he thought when the guards swung open his cell door, maybe released him from stocks or chains, and told him to leave. I wonder if it crossed his mind what had happened. He was guilty of everything he was accused of yet a man, innocent of every charge, was dying in his place that day.

But then three days later, on day one of the age of grace, the tomb had to give up the one that didn’t come to stay. In the heart of the earth, Paradise was emptied and captivity came forth with him that morning. While he had business to attend to at the mercy-seat, they went into the city and no doubt testified of him. Those women that came to anoint his body with spices left with joy after seeing the angels and the empty tomb. After telling the disciples that the tomb was empty, she stood there weeping as the disciples returned to their homes. She didn’t know it but before she left that day, she was about to see Jesus alive and well. As Jesus spoke to her and her heart filled with joy overflowing, at his command she went and told the disciples that he had risen. Not only that, but he specifically instructed her to tell Peter where he would meet him with the others. I believe it was a way of letting him know that all was forgiven, after all Peter still had a job to do. He was going to be the one to carry the gospel to the Gentile world.

We have no record of the Samaritan lady but can you imagine the joy of his mother? To find out that her boy, much less her Savior, had risen from the dead. I wonder how much of what the angel had told her, as well as Simeon and Anna in the temple after his birth, she understood now. What about Lazarus? Do you think he was with the disciples for fear of the Jews? Do you think his first thought upon hearing the news was that his Savior and friend had just risen and proved true everything he had said? And Mary Magdalene, how relieved do you think she was to know that the one who had cast devils out of her was able to defeat death for himself? What about the ten disciples other than Peter? As they cowered in fear and doubted the word of the women returning from the tomb, do you think they might have wondered; could it really be true?

We don’t know if Barabbas even hung around to see anything that day but we know that he had the perfect opportunity to know that someone had taken his punishment. Someone had replaced him on that cross. Someone also replaced each of us on that cross. Someone purchased our forgiveness that day with his own blood. Someone did for you and I and all mankind what no one else could or would do and we couldn’t do for ourselves. Someone purchased the salvation of our souls and reconciled us back to God that day. That someone is Jesus, the only begotten Son of God. The only person ever born of a virgin by an overshadowing of the Holy Ghost. It’s not about rabbits and eggs but today we celebrate new life. The new life we can have in Christ Jesus because of his resurrection that we honor on this day. He is no longer in a tomb. Of all the gods known to man, only his tomb is empty. All of the other gods are dust or bones. The stone was rolled back not to let him out but so we could see in. So we could look in and see the evidence of day one of the age of God’s amazing grace. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!! Happy Easter.

 

DRAWING FROM HIS WELLS

DRAWING FROM HIS WELLS                                                                                                      Andy Hollifield 4-20-19

Isaiah 12:3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water of the wells of salvation. (KJV)

The first two verses explain exactly what the “therefore” is there for. Why will we draw water with joy? Because he is our God. Also because he has been angry yet turned away his wrath and now comforts us. We will draw with joy because he is our strength and song. He is the reason we have reason to sing. Because he is our salvation. Why is he our salvation? Because “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Two other times; Exodus 15:2 and Psalms 118:14, the bible says “The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.” “He” is become my salvation. The way the Lord Jesus became our salvation is by the very thing we are celebrating tomorrow. Not just the fact that he arose on the third day but it goes much deeper than that. He willingly laid down his life for us. No man took it but he gave it willingly. In John 15:13 Jesus himself says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” That is exactly what he did for us. He took our sin, the sin of all mankind, on himself knowing that his own Father would have to forsake him because he can’t look upon sin. Can you imagine knowingly doing something that you knew would cause your father to forsake you and turn his back on you? Most of us can’t even comprehend what would possibly cause us to forsake our own children. Leviticus 22:24 says “Ye shall not offer unto the Lord that which is bruised” yet Jesus offered himself even though he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). The peace we have in the Lord is only possible because he took out chastisement. The punishment we had coming for our sin, he willingly took for us. The healing we enjoy and the communion with the Father we have is because of the stripes he took for us. He suffered his Father turning his back on him because of the sin he became, so God would never have to forsake us and turn his back on us.

If you think all of that is good, that is just the beginning. That is just the part where we accept him as our Savior and have the sins of our past washed away never to be remembered against us anymore. There is far more to it than just punching our ticket, so to speak, and heading toward heaven. That is just the first step on a life-long journey that gets sweeter with each passing day. But what about the “wells” of salvation? Just like taking a really long journey here, you don’t plan to do it on one tank of fuel. At some point, you will have to stop for more. It is the same way with the life of a Christian. There are times on our journey of life that we may start running low and need to get filled again. That isn’t saying the Lord saves us all over. He got it right the first time. He never needs a do-over. But, when those tough times come and things look hopeless, just like Hagar in Genesis, if we will lift up our eyes unto the Lord he will show us a well in our wilderness. A place where we can draw from his grace and get encouraged enough to keep traveling on. A place where he convinces us and then proves that his grace truly is sufficient for all our needs (2 Corinthians 12:9). There is nothing quite like drawing from his well of grace.

There have been many times in my life, and I am sure if I live long enough there will be many more, when I have had to go back and draw again from his wells of salvation. What I got the night he saved my soul was something that is worth going back to get more of. What about you? Are you run down and ready to quit in your wilderness? Lift up your eyes and God will show you his well. It may look dark right now but the darkness and light are alike to God (Psalms 139:12). It only gets dark on our side of eternity. God is an everlasting light. In your wilderness, just look for his wells and with joy you too can draw. God is our salvation and we always have an open invitation to be drawing from his wells. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

GOD IS THE MASTER…MECHANIC

GOD IS THE MASTER……MECHANIC                                                                                           Andy Hollifield 4-18-19

Matthew 6:32 ….for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (KJV)

If you are in doubt about the title, I hope you don’t have to find out the hard way that it is true. I wrote last Mother’s Day about how our truck had broken down in Newberry, South Carolina. We were returning from a trip down to Help 4 Kids when our serpentine belt broke. God sent us all kinds of help including a mechanic. Well, God has resolved a truck problem again. I have recently had to replace steering linkage, steering damper shock, and torsion bar on our Dodge. Pastor Terry Sprouse is my go-to mechanic when I am afraid I am getting in over my head with something. That was the case with this steering work. With his phenomenal skills, he got it repaired in one day. Not only that, but he managed to replace some bushings instead of replacing the whole part and saved me over a hundred dollars. If that weren’t good enough, it gets better.

While we had it up on the lift in his shop I had one other small problem I wanted to check on. Last summer I had some issues with speed sensors. I had replaced one on the back because my anti lock brake system light was staying on. After replacing the rear sensor, the light came back on a couple hundred miles later. I then replaced the two front sensors and still the light stayed on. I gave up and decided I was evidently going to have to take it to someone to fix it. Right before we let the truck down, I walked to the back to check the plug on the rear sensor. I noticed it came unplugged a lot easier than it should have. When I put it back on, I pushed it hard and it went on further than it had been. I made the statement that it would sure be nice if that put out that annoying light. Well, it did. I was just about more thrilled over that than I was the steering work just because it was so annoying. On the way home I was thanking the Lord for letting me get everything fixed and the light especially. I also remembered that when I asked another local shop to check it for me when they were doing some other specialty work, I was told that the computer wasn’t sending a good signal to the sensor. I was also told they would be glad to replace the 1100 dollar computer and they even had one in stock. I declined their offer. As I drove home today I had to thank the Lord for all he had done. Not only had he given Terry the ability to fix the truck, he had made it possible and even gave me some help buying the parts. He had also cut off that annoying light and took a load off of my mind concerning the computer I had been told I needed.

Some of you may be thinking this is a summary of some mechanic work but it is much more than that. It is just a good example, and proof, that the Lord cares about even the mundane things that we face each day. I have always preached that “If it’s big enough to bother you, it’s big enough to bother God with.” I know that God isn’t really bothered by anything we bring to him. Like any good parent, he don’t like to see his children worried and uptight about anything. I have got a couple of mission trips coming up that I will be using the truck on and the front end was concerning me a little. The way I see it, fixing the light was just a bonus from him. The bible says he “shall supply all our need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”  (Philippians 4:19). The Lord knew I didn’t need to spend 1100 dollars that I didn’t have so he put me in the position and brought it to my mind to check that sensor. You may be thinking that it was my dumb mistake that caused the light problem anyway and you would be right. But it was just an extra blessing to be able to find the problem.

Some people may think this is all a bit silly and not that big of a deal but Ephesians 3:20 says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God…” It didn’t say just spiritual things. If you have never prayed over a vehicle you ought to try it sometime. I have prayed over vehicles, my riding mower, my tractor, and anything else that doesn’t work like it should. You would learn to pray over machinery too if you had to do some of the work I have had to.

My point is this; we should bring even the small aggravating things to the Lord. The things that have nothing to do with church or anything else spiritual. We should also remember to be thankful when he helps us fix a problem. I mainly just wanted to give the Lord praise for how he has blessed me and made my truck safer for the mission trips I have coming up. I am glad that he can still take worry and turn it into wonder. He can take aggravation and turn it into jubilation. I am thankful that he really is concerned with anything that concerns us. What a good Father he is to his children. When was the last time he took that little aggravating thing in your life and used it to be a blessing and a source of praise for you? Think about it for a minute. Did you remember to thank him for what he done? I am thankful that he is not only the Master of the sea but he is also the Master mechanic. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

HOW QUICKLY WE FORGET

HOW QUICKLY WE FORGET                                                                                                      Andy Hollifield 4-17-19

I talked to a friend recently and we were discussing some of the things we did when we were younger that look back on with regret. In spite of all of the wise counsel and good advice we received from adults back then, we felt like it was our life and our decision to make. We were sure that whatever it was that was in question would work out different for us. At 54 years old now, I have figured out, mostly the hard way, that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

I began to think about how our young people are growing up today. I spoke with a missionary that is a millennial, and told him that we have just about lost the generation directly behind me and without young folks like him, our world is in trouble. Even in my generation interest in the things of the Lord had lessened considerably to what it was in the previous generation. I have even seen young preachers for years that didn’t truly believe in “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). They would refuse to preach if they hadn’t had several hours to prepare a message. I am a firm believer also in 2 Timothy 2:15 where Paul tells him to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Romans 8:14 says “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” We can quote scripture, outline sermons, give illustrations, have radio and TV broadcast, but how much are we really teaching our young people about being obedient to the leadership of the Holy Spirit of God?

Obedience to the leadership of the Spirit isn’t found in a book but rather on one’s knees. We are living in a generation that knows very little if anything about following the Spirit. Sometimes, it isn’t popular or easy to follow the Spirit. We have a tendency to judge everything by noise and charisma. We see a lot of that but not very much of the old stuff. Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 6:16 “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the old ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls…” How quickly we have forgotten the leadership of the Spirit and the old paths where when we walked in them, we encountered God along the way a lot more than we do now. It isn’t in how much someone shouts or runs the aisles but like Elijah found out, it is often in the still small voice. I like the old way when we would forget Sunday School because people came in to worship and if we had it, it was sometimes after preaching. You don’t hear much of that anymore. We have gotten so dignified and regimented in our routine, that we hardly even notice when God comes by and wants to have a visit with his people.

The reason I make these points is not to bash anyone but to help remind us how good God was to us when we were actually trying to get his attention. We seem to have forgotten that it all comes by prayer. It doesn’t come by our outlines and notes, or by technology or any of the other stuff we think we can’t live without. It comes the same way it always has. Prayer is the key to obtaining the leadership of the Lord. He doesn’t force-feed us but he will feed us all we want when we humble ourselves to him in prayer. According to Psalms 23, the way to get through the valley of the shadow of death is to follow the shepherd. Joshua 4:6 tells us that our children should be taught about the reverence to God they should have. Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” How quickly we forget that it worked fine with a lot of us and we think we turned out all right.

How quickly we seem to have forgotten what it is to have a testimony of where God has brought us from. The stones in Joshua 4:6 were set up to be a testimony when the children asked what they meant. What do we have to make a young person want what we have? Sorry this wasn’t the encouraging post I usually try to write. I believe that we better remember what God has done for us and instill it into the minds of our children. As good as we know it is to walk in the Spirit of the Lord, why would we not want to share? Why should we not walk in the old paths and why should we not give the Lord glory for all he has done in our lives? How quickly we forget? Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

DEADLINE

DEADLINE                                                                                                                                         Andy Hollifield 4-16-19

Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (KJV)

April 15th is probably the most dreaded day of the year. It is the day that our government has set aside to pay what we owe for the privilege of being an American and partaking of the milk and honey our country offers. It is the day that, if you haven’t rendered enough unto Caesar, you must pay up or suffer extreme persecution and then pay up with interest. The only people who probably look forward to the 15th is tax preparers. They are bombarded with procrastinators, like me, that wait until the last few days to make things right.

That is actually a pretty good simile of a lost sinner. They have had all of their life to live and do as they please except for one thing; they don’t know when their April 15th is going to roll around. Hebrews 9:27 says “And as it is appointed once to die, but after this the judgment.” That is one appointment we will all keep and none of us will be late for. As a matter of fact, some may even move their appointment up.

I personally believe that Moses was one that moved his day up when he smote the rock instead of speaking to it as God had ordered in Numbers 20:8-12. God let him look into Canaan but he never got to enter. Moses purpose was to lead them out of Israel (Exodus 3:10). It could be said that Judas shortened his days when he betrayed the Lord with a kiss (Matthew 26:48).

Ahab and his wife Jezebel come to mind pretty quick when talking about people who likely filled an early grave. In 1 Kings 19 Jezebel first threatens to kill Elijah and then in 21 conspires to have Naboth stoned to death so she could confiscate his vineyard to give to her husband. In chapter 21 also, Elijah returns to see Ahab upon hearing of Naboth’s death, and pronounces God’s judgement on both he and his wife. He told Ahab that the dogs that licked up Naboth’s blood, would also lick up theirs in the same spot. I wonder how long they might have lived if they hadn’t of had Naboth killed.

Ananias and Sapphira his wife could definitely be considered filling an early grave. They lied to the Holy Ghost in Acts 5 and fell dead. I know that God knows all things and he knew what they would do. But, if they had not conspired to go back on their vow, they could have likely been a part of the church and enjoyed the blessings of the Lord.

My point in mentioning these is that all of them crossed the deadline that God had for them probably earlier than God had planned for them. God knows all things so he knew what they would do and that it would cost them their lives. I know this may not seem encouraging at first but think about the last sentence of Hebrews 9:27 “…But, after this the judgment.” Although we aren’t looking forward to judgement, it will mean one thing for all of us that are born again and have accepted him as our Savior; we will finally be home. If we have made things right before the deadline, our deadline, we will face judgment. We’ll give an account of the deeds done in this body whether they be good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10).

After the judgment, we will also enter “into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:23). Matthew 6:20 speaks of laying up treasures in heaven. Paul spoke of several crowns that we may receive. A crown of life, rejoicing, righteousness, glory, and the rewards for our deeds. None of this comes until we have crossed our deadline with the Lord. All the joys of heaven await us when we finally cross our deadline. There is a payday coming, hold on a little longer. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!