JULY 4TH; MORE THAN A COOKOUT

JULY 4TH; MORE THAN A COOKOUT                                                                                        Andy Hollifield 7-4-19

On this day in 1776, 56 brave men risking their property, wealth, and even their life; signed their name to a document that, if their mission failed to succeed would likely cost them all three. They were printers, inventors, lawyers, a sheriff, an orphan, school dropouts, college graduates, wealthy businessmen, surveyors, doctors, writers, teachers, an ironmaster (blacksmiths), a tax collector, a banker, sailors, judges, a surgeon, farmers, soldiers, merchants, prisoners, a carpenter, ministers, a cobbler, and all eventually became not only politicians but statesmen. Many had amassed great wealth that they had already lost during the British occupation and some were even financiers of the war effort.

For years, since 1607, what is now the United States of America was known as British America and the British West Indies. On April 19, 1775, British troops marched into Lexington, Massachusetts to seize a store of weapons that the colonists had collected and to capture John Hancock and Samuel Adams. After being ordered by British Major John Pitcairn to disperse, as the Patriots began to drift away because of being outnumbered, a shot was fired by someone and the Revolutionary War had begun. The Patriots suffered eight casualties and ten injuries while the British only had one injury. Upon arrival at Concord to complete their mission, they were surrounded by hundreds of armed patriots. The British failed to destroy the weapons arsenal and were attacked for 16 miles on the way back to Boston. In all of this fighting, the British lost nearly 300 soldiers either killed, wounded or MIA. This was due to Samuel Prescott actually reaching Concord to warn of the pending arrival of British troops. The Patriots suffered less than one hundred casualties. The war would last another eight years, even becoming a world war of sorts, before the Americans emerged victorious.

After suffering through years of British occupation and taxation without representation in parliament, the Patriots began to revolt. There was the tax on tea which brought about the famed Boston Tea Party, and also the Stamp Act which taxed all newspapers, legal, and commercial documents. The Quartering Acts which required local governments as well as individuals to provide food, lodging, and any other needed items to British soldiers. That made it legal for soldiers to commandeer private property and residences for their use as long as they needed it.

That was what led up to this day. This is the 243rd anniversary of the day the signers met in Philadelphia to sign the Declaration of Independence which declared the United States of America to be a sovereign nation. The signing itself was a bold move by the signers because had the war been lost, they would have all likely been executed.

One event that preserved the war was on Christmas night in 1775 when Washington was surrounded by British troops with no way of escape. He knew an attack would come at sunrise the next day. He successfully ordered his men and equipment into boats at eleven that night. They lit fires to keep the British thinking they were still in their camps. Just before dawn, while still crossing the river, accounts have stated that a heavy fog rolled in that was so thick it concealed the movements of Washington’s army. If not for the General praying on Christmas for wisdom and God’s deliverance, he would have been captured and the war would have ended before it got started good. After the crossing, he marched his troops to Trenton, New Jersey and attacked and defeated the Hessian army capturing nearly 1000 while only losing four soldiers. The Hessians, or Germans, were fighting with the British. They were drunk from the previous night’s celebration when the colonists attacked. In the end, France sent their Navy to our shores to aid the patriots in defeating Brittain. That help made the difference in whether or not we were victorious.

So as you are enjoying good times and good food today, take time to remember those that laid everything they had on the line to deliver themselves from oppression and establish our country as a free nation. If it weren’t for the French Navy, Washington’s Secret Six spy ring in New York, and God’s divine providence, instead of hotdogs, hamburgers, apple pie, and watermelon; we might all be eating crumpets and sipping hot tea. Happy Independence Day and GOD BLESS AMERICA! Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

NOT AGAIN

NOT AGAIN                                                                                                                                      Andy Hollifield 7-3-19

Happy Birthday, America! Some people I won’t name yet, want to celebrate your birthday by telling you how offensive your history is to them. Even though they have the privilege of living in the greatest country on the planet, they still can’t help but complain about the country that has given them the freedoms they enjoy.

I am offended that an American-born company that seems to have issues with anyone who is patriotic, especially those who risked their freedom, wealth, and even their life to bring about its birth. I was always taught in school that I should love my country, the people who fought and died for it, those that founded it, and the God that made it all possible. I have never been ashamed of Betsy Ross or the 13-star colonial flag that represented our country. Apparently, that isn’t taught in public schools anymore or at least if it is, some people aren’t paying attention. There seem to be a lot of entertainers, professional athletes, has-been athletes, politicians, and CEOs that have amassed great wealth because of the freedom this country affords. Some of them are in the midst of an identity crisis thinking they are far more important than they really are. They seem to think we should value their opinion based on nothing but the fact it is their opinion. Hogwash!

I generally try to steer clear of politics unless it infringes on my religious beliefs but for crying out loud, we’re trying to celebrate the birthday of our country here. Take a day off from your so-called social activism and be thankful for the country that has allowed you to become what you are. It doesn’t happen that way everywhere regardless of what talent you may have.

Just when we hoped that Colin Kaepernick had gotten paid off by the NFL and would sit down and shut up, here he is telling Nike how the 13 stars and bars could possibly maybe be offensive to some people. People who weren’t even born in 1777 when the flag was adopted by the Flag Act of 1777. That is unless there are some that are 242 years old. I was taught as a child not to hold a grudge. Apparently, Colin has found a grudge to hold since he began kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. I realize there are still racial issues in this country and there probably always will be to some extent. His behavior in my opinion only serves to increase those issues.

I believe profiling based solely on skin color is wrong. I also believe for one human being to be the property of another human being is also wrong. I have never owned another human being and don’t know anyone personally that has.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” That was a famous quote by Martin Luther King Jr. We will not resolve our issues as a nation until all races learn to put that into practice.

Nike has always had controversial ads. Most notably recently, choosing Kaepernick as a spokesperson and the ridiculous ad campaign he did about “sacrificing everything.” Also the recent ad with female Muslim athletes and the slogan; “Don’t change who you are, change the world.” That seems to me to be a slap in the face to women by promoting a religion that practices Sharia law in which women are property. It is ironic that Kaepernick is making his complaint about a time in our country when people owned people to a company he works for who is promoting that very concept. The idea of pulling commemorative shoes off of shelves because one person thinks that some other people might possibly be offended because of what was wrong in our country at its founding is ludicrous. He needs to “get a life.”

Can we not just celebrate the birthday of this great country that we live in and the men and women who actually DID sacrifice everything so that we could have everything that we now enjoy; including the freedom to disagree? That’s my opinion. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

 

GETTING GOD’S ATTENTION

GETTING GOD’S ATTENTION                                                                                                      Andy Hollifield 7-2-19

Psalms 34:18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Psalms 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Contrite———(1) caused by or showing sincere remorse. (2) filled with a sense of guilt and the desire for atonement; penitent:

Isn’t it comforting to know that we serve a God who will draw near to you in your darkest hours rather than back away? I have heard it said that a true friend comes in when everyone else is walking out. God is even better than that. If you are one of his children he is already present with you. He stands with you and watches as everyone else walks out.

I don’t mean to imply by the title, that God isn’t always paying attention because he is. Sometimes we are prone to not call on him except as a last resort when there is nothing else we can do. I am thankful to know that when my spirit has been broken God is nigh unto me. When I no longer have a will and I am overcome with guilt and just desire forgiveness and to be close to him, that he “saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” The bible says in Isaiah 57:15 that God dwells “…with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, and to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” The Lord also says in Isaiah 66:2 “…to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”

There are times in our lives when we all have found ourselves in that position. According to Roman 2:11, God is no respecter of persons and what he does for one he will do for another. Although we sometimes question what God is doing in our lives and how some things are supposed to be for our benefit, the bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” We may not like everything that comes our way, but we can rest assured that God hasn’t forgotten where we are and he knows just what to do in our situation and it will be for our good even though it may not seem like it at times.

Situations in our lives often have nothing to do with how close we are walking to the Lord. One such case that proves this is the story of Elijah. In 1 Kings 18, Elijah had just finished slaying 450 prophets of Baal on top of Mt. Carmel. I know I refer to this story a lot in my writing but it contains so many lessons for us it is hard not to. Not only had he slain the prophets, but he had seen the Lord consume his offering that he had soaked down with twelve barrels of water after he prayed a short 63-word prayer. He then outran a horse to the bottom of the mountain after praying again several times and declaring an end to a 3 1/2 year drought. What happened after this great victory? Elijah immediately (chapter 19) received a death threat from King Ahab’s wife Jezebel that she would have him killed within 24 hours. I am sure that he couldn’t understand how he could be obedient to the Lord only to have this happen to him.

He then took off on the run. The Lord didn’t berate him but with compassion sent his angels twice to feed him. If I am not mistaken, although the Lord sent angels to his people several times, I don’t recall another instance where they fed his people, much less cooked a hot meal.

Elijah proved Jezebel wrong because he survived forty-something days before he finally lodged in a cave on Mt. Horeb. There God spoke to him in a still small voice, and once again he did not berate him but only asked him what he was doing there. Elijah made his complaint to the Lord and asked to die because he believed he was the only Godly person left and Jezebel was seeking to kill him. The Lord then instructed him that he still had 7000 people in Israel that had not bowed to Baal and also that he still had work for him to do. He then had him to anoint new kings for Syria and for Israel. God also told him that he was going to anoint his replacement and told him who it was going to be.

If you continue reading the story you will see that Elijah again returned to Ahab, after Jezebel had conspired to murder Naboth because Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard and he wouldn’t sell it to him. The Lord sent Elijah and he prophesied against him and Jezebel concerning the manner of their death. He told Ahab that dogs would lick his blood in the same place they had licked Naboth’s blood and that Jezebel would be eaten by dogs. It was in chapter 22 when the prophecy against Ahab came to pass after he was wounded in battle 3 years after the visit from Elijah. It wasn’t until 2 Kings 9 that the prophecy against Jezebel came to pass. This was after Elijah had already been transported to heaven by the Lord’s fiery horses and chariot. Don’t you think that Jezebel had probably remained furious because not only could she never kill Elijah, but he never even died at all?

That is just one of many examples in scripture where the Lord had compassion on his people who were in despair. John in prison on Patmos is another good example. My main point is simply this: God hasn’t forgotten where you are or what you are going through. Take comfort in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, which I mentioned earlier, where the scripture says, “in every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Also Romans 8:28 that I mentioned where it says “according to his purpose.” God is using not only the good but also the bad in our lives to accomplish his purpose.

Obedience and humbleness during times of a broken heart will get God’s attention. He is not like the definition of a friend that says “he is coming in when everyone else is walking out.” No, it much better than that. It is like the Psalmist said in Psalms 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” He doesn’t have to show up because if you have ever accepted him as your Savior; he has never left you. As far as your trouble is concerned, remember this phrase that is mentioned 457 times in the Bible; “it came to pass.” It didn’t come to stay but it came to pass. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

WHEN GOD DON’T TELL US WHY

WHEN GOD DON’T TELL US WHY                                                                                             Andy Hollifield 7-1-19

John 4:4 And he must needs go through Samaria. (ALL SCRIPTURE IS KJV)

Have you ever wondered why God won’t explain things to you? There are just some things that God doesn’t tell us. Sometimes, they are hard to figure out and we may never understand why. The need for him to be glorified outweighs the need for our satisfaction with his ways.

There are just some scriptures I just love the wording of. This is one of those. “He ‘must needs’ go through Samaria.” I know on the map Samaria lies between Judea and Galilee. I personally believe Jesus’ need to go through Samaria and sit down on this particular well in Sychar had more to do with love than logistics. In Matthew 10:5 after Jesus had chosen his disciples, he instructed them not to go into any city of Samaria. Yet here he is, sitting on a well in Sychar at noon. He hadn’t told his disciples why he was going and they had gone into the city to buy meat. I am led by this to believe that he had gone there for the specific need of the woman that was at that moment, on her way to the well.

His disciples were shocked when they returned to see him talking to a Samaritan and even questioned him about it. Jesus never answered their question. Meanwhile, this woman had left to get the men of the city to come and see Jesus. Can you imagine the look on their faces when a whole crowd of Samaritan men came toward them with this woman? Verse 39 tells us that many believed because of her testimony but many more believed because of his own words. This is just one case of Jesus not explaining himself but carrying out his purpose just the same. With all of those folks that believed, I would imagine that it was now self-explanatory why he needed to go there.

Another place where Jesus didn’t explain himself is in John chapter 8. As a matter of fact, he didn’t say anything at all but seemingly ignored the Scribes and Pharisees who were trying to trap him. When he did speak, he still didn’t explain himself or answer their question. Why? I believe it was because the woman taken in adultery needed mercy instead of judgment. She obviously would not have received any if Jesus hadn’t been there. When he did speak, it was only one sentence and her accusers were the ones that left convicted and condemned, not her. Jesus then asked her where her accusers were and she replied that no man condemned her. He told that he didn’t either and to “Go and sin no more.” I would say that he had a need to be in that place at that time because if he hadn’t of been, justice under the law would have been carried out and she would have been stoned to death. Instead, she acknowledged him as Lord and her sins were forgiven.

The death of Lazarus is another time when Jesus didn’t really explain himself or answer questions as to his actions. Jesus never explained his delay in going to Bethany except to say it was so God could be glorified. He headed toward Bethany when he knew Lazarus had died even over the objections of his disciples because the Jews had been trying to kill him. He never even explained himself to Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, even though they were all good friends. He didn’t even respond harshly when they began blaming him for their brother’s death because he hadn’t been there. After Jesus prayed and called Lazarus from the grave, many of the Jews that saw it believed in him.

In all three of these instances where Jesus didn’t explain himself, what he was doing didn’t make good sense in the eyes of some. But in each case, when Jesus finished his work many people believed in him. Jesus did a lot of unusual things that he never explained to anyone. The end result was always pleasing to the ones with the need. It is hard to accept the way God sometimes answers our prayers but it is always in our best interest and for the glory of God.

I am sure his disciples had no problem with how he did things in Samaria after seeing all of the people that came to believe in him that day. I can promise you that the adulterous woman had no issue with how Jesus had met her need. I am sure she had expected death but found life instead. It is likely that his disciples wondered why he had delayed going to Bethany when he got word that Lazarus was sick. Then they questioned him concerning his safety when he finally went. Mary and Martha questioned and blamed him and even the crowd of mourners questioned if he couldn’t have come and healed him. When it was all said and done, a lot of people believed in the Lord in each situation.

God will likely not always do everything the way we might think he should and he will very rarely if ever explain himself beforehand. We won’t always even like his answers or results but it will always be what will glorify God the most and cause others to come to believe in him. That is why we walk by faith and not by sight. We must have faith to trust him to do what he determines to be best for us. We don’t have to like it or understand it, we just have to trust him and believe. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

KEPT BY GOD’S WORD

KEPT BY GOD’S WORD                                                                                                                 Andy Hollifield 6-30-19

John 1:1-2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God. (ALL SCRIPTURE IS KJV)

What is God’s word? The scripture above answers that question without leaving any room to wonder. God is not just as good as his Word but he IS his Word. Pastor Terry Sprouse at State Street Baptist in West Asheville preached a wonderful message recently about being kept by God’s word. We take that lightly and just figure as Christians, accepting his word is just part of our life in him and it is our instruction book. Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if we didn’t have his word? If the Holy Ghost had never moved on the heart of God’s men to pen down his word, can you imagine what the world would look like without it?

There was once a time when God’s word wasn’t written down for man. I’m not talking about the KJV but I am talking about the Holy Bible itself. Prior to the children of Israel’s pilgrimage in the wilderness, there was no word from God written down. It was in the wilderness that the Israelites began to want laws from God written down. God was always content for them to be his people and him to be their God. Nevertheless, at their request, he gave Moses the Ten Commandments. I am sure that once given the requirements and penalties of the law, it probably didn’t take long for them to realize just how good they had it beforehand.

As we look around the world at the depravity of the human race, we often think it could not get much worse. Imagine the world without any knowledge of God and no word from him. As bad as it is now, it would definitely be worse.

Think about your own life. What kind of life would you have without the word of God? We like to think that we are pretty good people but “God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” That is with us having knowledge of God and his commandments. There is an inborn knowledge of what is right and pleasing to God. If that weren’t the case, Adam and Eve wouldn’t have bothered sewing fig leaves together for clothing. They knew enough to know they should be clothed even though there had been no command from God pertaining to it.

I shudder to think where I would be and what my life would be like without the word of God. Without being convicted by my own heart when I do wrong, I can’t even picture the kind of person I would be. I am bad enough now but without God’s conviction on my soul, I would be much much worse. We have inherited that Adam nature and without the restraint of God’s word, we would likely be just like mankind was before the flood.

I am thankful that I don’t have to be controlled by the nature I inherited. I have God’s word to guide me. In Psalms 119:105 the psalmist said in praise to God, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” In verse 111 he declares to God, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” In verse 133 he even asks God to “Order my steps in thy word…” In Joshua 21:45 as Joshua was preparing to die, he reminded Israel, “There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.”

I am thankful that I have always been kept by God’s word. Even when I have not kept his word, he has still kept his word toward me. It is his word in my heart that steers me in the paths of righteousness. His word is “a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” When I need strength, I find it in his word. If it is comfort that I need, it’s in his word. Encouragement; also in his word. When I am in doubt and confused or just don’t know what to do, I find the answers in his word whether reading it or talking and listening to him. I am thankful that according to Psalms 37:23, my steps “are ordered by the Lord…” I have not always heard, obeyed, and followed but he has never gone back on his word.

I am thrilled that when I look back at my life, I too can see that not one good thing that he has spoken toward me has failed. I am confident that what hasn’t come to pass yet, will. There is nothing quite as comforting and reassuring as being kept by his word. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

 

LEARNING HOW TO LOSE

LEARNING HOW TO LOSE                                                                                                           Andy Hollifield 6-29-19

James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. (ALL SCRIPTURE USED IS KJV)

“Any loser can win, but it takes a winner to learn how to lose.” That’s a real deep profound statement when you think about it, isn’t it? Do you know who made that famous quote? No one! Actually, it is not famous at all, I just made it up. In case it ever gets famous, remember you heard it here first.

Sometimes I think I just have too much time on my hands and think too much. That is an about-face from my youth when I didn’t think enough at times. I was thinking back to my little league football days. I just played one year although I loved football. I would have had to move up the next year and was really underweight and height. I have recovered from one of those issues as I have gotten older.

While thinking about those days in sixth grade, I remembered how proud I was of that uniform and to be wearing the number of my favorite quarterback Fran Tarkenton of the Minnesota Vikings. I played defensive line when I could get in a game which was fairly often because we were usually getting beat so bad that the coach had nothing to lose by putting all of us backups in.

There were some funny events that took place that year and one was the first Saturday practice we had. We may have had a scrimmage before but we were practicing punt and kickoff coverage. Little did we know at that time that we would need to be good at punting but didn’t ever have to worry about kicking off other than at the beginning of the halves. On the first attempt, the coach told us not to let anyone by us and go hit somebody. Wanting to make a good impression, I ran down the field on coverage and stuck my arm straight out at the person about to run by me. Me and my buddy David, who was a little smaller than me as far as weight, found out what the term “clothesline” meant in football. David didn’t need to be told at that point but the coach let me know, in no uncertain terms, I wasn’t supposed to do that.

There were some other funny things that happened but I want to get into the lessons I learned other than about the “clothesline.” One lesson I learned was that you don’t always get what you want. Coming from a family of four kids and good parents, I kind of knew that one already. Another one was that in anything I did, I was to give it my best effort and not complain. I learned that at home but I really began to understand it when I played little league. One other lesson I had been taught at home was that there will always likely be someone that is better at something than me, but that didn’t give me an excuse not to give my best effort and be as good as I could be. Anyone could look at me back then and it wasn’t like I had NFL wrote all over me.

There was one game in particular that I remember. We were playing Waynesville and were down 40-0 at the half. The coach decided he would let the second string get a little experience. We were thrilled to be going in. They had a kid who wore 00 for a number and should have had a one in front of it for his speed. That kid could fly. Their coach didn’t rest his starters but left them in. One play I remember in particular was an end sweep. This kid got the ball and was off like a shot. I got close enough to get a hand on him but that was all. I was also close enough to get a finger in the eye. I couldn’t hardly see anything the rest of the game because of my eye watering. There was no way I was going to the sideline because I was afraid I wouldn’t get back in. We held them to only six points the entire second half. I don’t know if we were that good or they had just gotten tired of running up and down the field.

We wound up with a record of 1-7 that year. In spite of our best efforts, we went scoreless the entire year until the last game. If I remember correctly, we played either Jackson County or TC Roberson and won 8-6. How we managed to score a two-point conversion when we hadn’t been able to score anything all year is beyond me. I remember the game in part because the coaches britches legs off in celebration and one of them was wearing long johns. We all had a good laugh about that. The other reason is because we went by Hardee’s after the game and they gave us each a Batman drinking glass which I still proudly have. By the excitement we had, you would have thought we were finishing an undefeated season. I never understood why our year went so bad. We practiced hard, played hard, and poured our hearts into it. We even had a lot of guys who years later were runner-up state champs in high school.

I learned that year how to lose. Nobody likes it and I hated it. I did learn from watching opponents after they had beat us, that when you win you should do it with class and sportsmanship. When you lose, you should do it the same way and with dignity.

The things I learned that year seem to be lessons that have been lost in recent generations. I learned about doing my best even though it may not wind up how I want it to be. I also learned that if you couldn’t play all the time, be a cheerleader for those that were. Encourage them just like I would want to be encouraged. I also learned that there is no “I” in the word “team” and when you are part of one, be a good teammate.

I still occasionally see some of the guys I played with. We also played three years of baseball together before I turned my attention to music. To this day, when I see those guys, they are still just as nice to me as they were in school. It isn’t because of my ability but my willingness to sacrifice my desires for the good of the team. The guys I played baseball with still call me by the nickname they gave me over 40 years ago.

In the age of “me me me” that we are living in now, I think there are a lot of adults who could have used those lessons when they were young. That season in football and one of the season’s in baseball still leave a bitter taste in my mouth because of how they ended. I would be worried if failure didn’t bother me. I would be even more worried if losing didn’t bother me because that would be an indication that I didn’t have my heart in what I was doing. But, the thing that would bother me most would be if I had never learned how to lose with dignity, class, and sportsmanship. Those are qualities that serve me well in whatever I do. Life truly is a vapor and we can’t go back and do it over. Life sometimes smacks you in the mouth and knocks you down. But, you will always get back up if you have ever learned how to lose. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

JUST A HANDFUL

JUST A HANDFUL Andy Hollifield 6-28-19

Ecclesiastes 4:6 “Better is an handful with quietness, than both hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.” (ALL SCRIPTURE USED IS KJV)

I ran across a phrase when I was reading that caught my attention. “Vexation of spirit.” It is used only seven times in the bible and all of them are in Ecclesiastes. The word “vexation” is used only 14 times. The word “vex” is used 15 times and the word “vexed” is used 22 times. The word “vex” means to irritate, provoke, annoy, trouble, plague, worry, torment, distress, or even afflict with physical pain. Probably the most well-known scripture using “vexed” is in 2 Peter 2:7-8 speaking about Lot. It speaks about how that Lot “vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.” The sad thing is that this scripture implies that the torment, distress, worry, that plagued Lot’s soul was what he had brought on himself.

He rendered himself unuseable to the Lord by the influences he allowed in his life. You cannot subject yourself to something continually without it having an effect on you. The lifestyle and sin of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah vexed Lot’s soul. What is it that we allow to vex us and bring distress, worry, torment, etc… to our soul rendering us useless to the Lord?

When it comes right down to it, there are only a few times in my life that I could have categorized myself as being truly vexed. Each time, God had enough grace available to take care of it but I refused to ask. God still has that grace available for the things that vex our souls today.

I was told following my kidney transplant that in the months leading up to the surgery that I wasn’t the easiest fellow to be around at times. I had thought that I was handling things pretty good but to others around me, it was obvious that the situation I was going through had me vexed more than I could handle. There was also a time for about two years that a situation I could do nothing about had me vexed night and day. Another time, I spent almost an entire night vexed over a situation with a couple friends of mine that I felt had wronged me. I not only lost sleep, but I also had myself worked up in a fit of rage and hate over something that was totally out of my control.

The only reason I mention those times in my life is to illustrate how easily we can make ourselves ineffective for the cause of Christ. Just like Lot, we subject ourselves to people, circumstances, attitudes, and environments that bring affliction and torment to us and vex our soul. Would you believe that it is as easy as getting worked up about bad officiating in a ball game? If we allow something as simple as that to vex our soul, we will be held accountable in judgment for not accepting God’s grace to move past it. I used to have a friend that during the political season would get so worked up over politics that he absolutely could not function as a Christian. I would hate to stand before the Lord and try to explain what was so important about a ball game or a political campaign that I failed to let Christ be manifested in my life.

This may not be very encouraging but it needs to be pointed out. The reason some of us can never accomplish anything for the Lord is that we are so worked up about circumstances, that we bring distress, torment, etc… to our own life. We often kill our own influence on others by worrying about circumstances that we can’t do anything about. Like the scripture above says “Better is a handful with quietness.” What does that mean? Peace. It is better to have a little with a heart full of peace than to have a lot with the anxiety and worry and vexation. There is no price that you can put on peace of mind. Wouldn’t you rather your life count for the Lord and be an influence to the lost, than to have great wealth and your soul be vexed.

In 1 Kings 17, we find the story of the widow of Zarephath. On the brink of having to sell her son as a bond slave, she found that “a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse,” and a little faith and obedience made her handful go a long way. Her handful brought her peace when her disobedience would have meant “vexation of spirit.”

You may be in that situation in your life where all you have is a handful. Not near enough to survive on. Not near enough to change anything. But, if you have just a handful and will be obedient, God can take that handful and give you peace. He can manifest himself to you in ways you never dreamed possible. He can give you “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). With God, you can sure get a lot for “Just A Handful.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!