Near at Hand

PNG image 5Paul, Arrant, better known as Paul Harvey, told the following story:

The Missing Bullet

It was during the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, when they brought in the victim of a shooting. The victim, Bill, was fortunate that the Exposition had a large first-aid station, more like an emergency hospital. They even had an operating room. Bill was going to need it! He had taken two bullets at close range. It was about four-thirty in the afternoon when Bill, conscious yet in severe shock, was taken inside, hoisted on to the table, and undressed. The situation looked and was bad.

The doctors realized there was no time to waste and began to operate. Anesthesia was administered. Bill did not count backwards from ten, but instead began, “Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name . . .” Before he finished quoting the prayer, he was under. The doctors made an incision, Bills abdomen was opened. One bullet was of great concern. This bullet had slashed right through Bill’s stomach, front and rear walls. The lacerations were sutured – but where was the bullet? Lodged somewhere in the muscles of his back? It was as though the projectile had vanished. The doctors wanted to find the missing bullet, yet the patient might not survive prolonged probing. They closed him up – and hoped for the best. A week later Bill was dead.

Bill had a few things going against him. He was overweight and nearly sixty years old. Mainly it was the wound; insufficiently cleaned and a missing projectile. “IF” is a big question here. IF the doctors had been able to locate and remove the missing bullet, Bill might have lived.

An now the rest of the story.

Bill was shot at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York in 1901. On exhibit at the Exposition, possibly unknown to the doctors and not far from the scene of the shooting, was a relatively new invention. This revolutionary device could have helped. This X-ray machine, so near, yet so far, was operational and would most certainly have located the fatal bullet. Instead, Bill – President William Mckinley – died with an assassin’s bullet inside.

Help was near at hand, but apparently no one knew. For many it is that way with our lives. God (His power, His promise, His purpose) is near at hand. When we face the loss of a loved on, or a failure in business, a problem in marriage, or a broken friendship why do we give up so easily?  When we face the future, why do we face it with fear? You and I are not alone in the universe. We do not have to rely on our own weak abilities and resources. God is at hand! “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalms 145:18)

-Scott

(adapted from D. F. Parsons Family Matters, the Levy Church, March 8, 1987)

I Hope

hopeMany times when we think of hope, we think of childhood dreams or wishes. A child might hope she gets to meet all the Disney Princesses. He might hope he is finally tall enough to ride the Goliath at Six Flags. But those dreams may not come true.

Sometimes we transfer that working definition of hope to our relationship with God. We think of our desire for heaven the same way. We tend to communicate that we hope we make it to heaven, but we are not quite sure.

Our hope in Christ is not a possibly unsatisfied longing,. Our hope is a desire mixed with anticipation, and accompanied by certain expectation. As a child of God, I have a desire to have an eternal home in heaven. Likewise, I am anticipating what eternity will be like. I also expect that I will be there.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13)

Hope in the pages of Scripture is not an uncertain longing, but an expected reality. After all, Paul says that “hope saves” (Rom 8:24) and that Godly “hope does not disappoint” (Rom 5:3-5).

-Scott

Bonus video:

Another Royal Wedding

If you are British, part of the commonwealth, or simply fascinated by all things royal you are likely to get up tomorrow and watch a certain event live. Tomorrow’s wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is capturing the attention of people around the world. This wedding, much like that of Prince William and Kate, is as close to a modern fairytale as you can get. In both romances a young woman from a “common” background marries a prince. Miss Markle’s family background and her not being British, but from the United States (former Colonies) makes this a “storied” wedding.

There is something appealing about those that seem and that society often deems unworthy or less than worthy getting the prince. There is something more than “noblesse oblige” to William and Harry choosing to marry whom they choose. What we appear to see is a stat,net of love and respect.

I know that you are way ahead of me, but allow me to make the obvious connection to our marriage to Christ. Allow me to remind you that as a Christian as a part of the Church, you are the bride of Christ:

Ephesians 5:22-33

When the day comes for the Lord to return and take his bride home, what a GLORIOUS ROYAL WEDDING that will be!

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!

For the Lord our God

the Almighty reigns.

Let us rejoice and exult

and give him the glory,

for the marriage of the Lamb has come,

and his Bride has made herself ready;

it was granted her to clothe herself

with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said[a] to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:6-10)

That is one Royal Wedding I look forward too. I, the undeserving, entering into the family and the eternal house of God!

-Scott

What is on Your RADAR?

The Morning Drive (1)Radar systems are common today, but such technology was not always the case. Today we think of weather radar, military radar, and more. A century ago such was impossible. Radio Detection and Ranging (RADAR) gives us advanced warning of dangers of many kinds.

There is a story from WWII concerning RADAR and the USS Alabama (BB-60). The Alabama’s greatest moment came during a Battle on June 19-20, 1944. The Japanese launched an aerial assault on the Pacific 3rd Fleet near the Marianas. Earlier, while at sea the crew of the USS Alabama installed a new radar system (this could not have been a easy task at sea). The SK-2 Radar system spotted the incoming aircraft while they wer 190 miles away and confirmed their approach when they were 140 miles away. This gave the US fleet time to get their aircraft airborne and to ready ship defenses. The battle turned out to be a lopsided Allied victory with Japan losing approximately 500 aircraft and many experienced pilots. This would turn the tide of the war. The battle would become known as “The Great Marianas’ Turkey Shoot.” *

What is on your RADAR?

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!” (2 Peter 3:9-12)

Notice verse 11 again, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,”?

  • Is Christ’s return on your radar?
  • Are you prepared for His coming in judgment?
  • Are you ready to return with Him to a home in heaven?

“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27) Death comes to all.

  • Have you made preparations for life after death?
  • Are you in Christ?
  • Are you preparing for that Day of Judgment?

-Scott

*source: http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-2958

Temptations, Trials, and Me

#cakeinamugA while back someone sent me a recipe claiming that you can make a chocolate cake in five minutes.  I had my doubts.  But the temptation of a chocolate cake in a mere five minutes was tempting me, especially since there was a tub of vanilla ice cream in the freezer and a bottle of chocolate syrup readily available.  After a quick search I found all that we had all the ingredients.  The cake recipe TEMPTED me and I TRIED it and much to my surprise and delight the recipe worked and I now have a new fight on my hands — the fight to not make one EVERY night!

Chocolate cake and the consumption of it (in moderation) is not sinful – maybe it ought to be.  But this wonderful cake and ice cream combination reminds me of the struggles we face as we try to live worthy of the kingdom of God.  Most of us – make that all of us – face things in our lives that can and sometimes do pull us away from intimacy with God.  These things can be work related, recreation, selfish desires, or anything similar.  Paul gives some lists in 1 Corinthians 6, Galatians 5, Romans 1 & 2 that mention specific areas of temptation.  But I am not writing to condemn you or me for what we struggle with.  I want to encourage us to avoid them.  The Hebrew writer tells us to “lay aside the sin” which weighs us down (Heb 12:1) as we patiently run the race of life. Paul encourages his readers to change their focus to what is “above” and not on what is of this world (Col 3:2) and to focus on the “unseen” yet “eternal” things of God (2 Cor 4:16ff).

A few more thoughts, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. . . .   Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.   But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (Jas 1:2-4; 13-15 ESV).

– Scott

Here is the recipe:

4 Tbsp Flour
4 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Cocoa
1 Egg
3 Tbsp Milk
3 Tbsp Oil
A “splash” of vanilla extract for flavoring
(optional): 2 -3 Tbsp or nuts, mini chocolate (or peanut butter) chips.
1 large coffee mug.
Mix flour, sugar, and cocoa in large coffee mug.  Add egg and mix thoroughly.  Add milk and oil and mix completely.  Stir in splash of vanilla and add nuts or baking chips if you desire.
Cook for 3 minutes on high in microwave. (While cooking, the cake will rise above the top of the mug — this is normal.  If your mug is not large enough you will have a small mess in the microwave and on the outside of the cup.  I took me a couple of tries to find the best coffee mugs in our collection).
Remove to plate or bowl and serve with ice cream

Well, That Happened

PNG image 3Mrs. Nancy Benton, was a widow raising eight children on her own near White House, Tennessee. Her husband had fought alongside Confederate soldiers as a scout and guerilla fighter. He had escaped death in the war, but would die in the 1870’s leaving her a widow without a pension. She was doing her best to keep up with the farm and raise her children.

One day she gets a notice that she is behind on her mortgage. She owes the bank $1,400. That is more than Mrs. Benton can earn in a year. The notice claims that a representative from the bank will be by on a certain day to collect the back due mortgage or she and her children will be evicted. She has no idea what she can do.

Early in the morning of the day the mortgage is due, while it is still dark, there is a loud knock on the door. “They are already here,” she thinks. She plans how she is going to ask for more time as she walks to the door. She opens the door not to a bill collector, but to the barrel of a gun. At the other end is Jesse James.

Immediately, her day goes from bad to worse. If Jesse James asks for money, she has nothing to give. What will he do? Will he believe her? If he does not will he hurt her or her children? He does ask for coffee and something to eat. She prepares what she can and timidly places a small meal in front of this notorious outlaw.James asks why she gave him so little.

That is when things change.  She breaks down in tears and tells him her story and that that is all she has. She explains her dilemma and the bank’s threat to evict her and her children. This is when Jesse James does the unexpected.  This outlaw produces a roll of bills and hands Mrs. Benton $1,500 in cash. He tells her to use this to pay the back mortgage and save the rest. As he leaves he tells her to be sure to ask for a receipt.

Later in the day a representative from the bank comes to either collect the mortgage or evict Mrs. Benton. She pays the banker and asks for a receipt. He provides the receipt, thanks her and leaves. She watches him as he leaves her property. That is when Jesse James re-enters the story. As the man nears the road, Jesse (some accounts include Frank) steps out of the woods and robs the banker.

Sometimes we prejudge others based on their reputation. Sometimes we think the worst of them. Apparently, there was good even in the notorious outlaw Jesse James.

Rahab protected the Israelite spies when she lied about their presence. She receives protection when Jericho falls. Jesus used an unjust manager (steward) in a parable to teach about wisdom (Luke 16:1-13). I wonder if we can learn something from Frank and Jesse James?

  1. Not how to cheat the bank, but how we should be compassionate.
  2. Not to prejudge. The widow thought the worst of Jesse James. He could have thought she was lying.
  3. What lessons can you think of?
  4. What Bible characters come to mind that are “anti-heroes?” Characters who unexpectedly do good things?

-Scott

Note: I learned this event from Mysteries at the Museum on The Travel Channel. It is told from memory, some details may vary from actual events.

Pardon my Mood this Morning

This is a repeat, because I am this type of mood this morning. I thought you might need a laugh.

  1. I once tried to catch some Fog . . . but I mist.
  2. When chemists die, they barium.
  3. I avoid jokes about German sausage . . . they are the wurst.
  4. A soldier who survives mustard gas and pepper spray is called a seasoned veteran.
  5. Can someone addicted to brake fluid stop anytime?
  6. This lady thought she recognized me from the vegan club, but I never met herbivore.
  7. I read through a book on anti-gravity in one sitting, I just could not put it down.
  8. A theatrical performance about puns would be a play on words.
  9. I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger . . . then it hit me.
  10. Broken pencils are pointless.

As I have stated before, I share these in an attempt to make you laugh, but I fear no pun in ten did.

Look, Flopsy, I can make a hand with my shadow!

Look, Flopsy, I can make a hand with my shadow!

– Scott

A Shout-out to Teachers

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Bear with me a moment as I walk down memory lane, clear away a few cobwebs, and pull from the long forgotten files. As I am going to those files, I challenge you to do the same. Think about all those who have been your teachers. Thank them personally if you still can. Second only to your parents they are the people who helped you become who you are. If you were (are) homeschooled then they are not second to your parents they are your parents – so thank them twice.

Thank you, teachers!

Elementary School:

  • Mrs. Farley, Kindergarten – Escambia Christian School
  • Ms. Simon, 1st – ECS
  • Mrs. Johnson, 2nd – ECS
  • Ms. Ellis, 3rd – ECS
  • Mrs. Nelson, 4th – Sherwood Elementary School
  • Mrs. Gulsby, 5th – ECS

Middle School

  • Mrs. Reynolds, 6-8th Math and Science – ECS
  • Mr. Akers, 6-8th History and Bible – ECS
  • Mrs. Sprague, 6-8th English and Literature – ECS
  • Mr. Shcaffer, 6-8th Music – ECS

High School

  • To my Pine Forest High School teachers, there were so many of you, thank you all, But specifically these teachers had an impact on me:
  • Mrs. Gibson, Chorus, Music Appreciation
  • Mrs. Payne, Algebra I, II
  • Mr. Wilson, Chemistry
  • Mr. Hand, BSCS Biology
  • Mrs. Cantrell, A.P. Calculus
  • Mrs. Crumpton, Senior English (Writing)

University

  • Philip Sprayberry, Music, Chorus, Theatre
  • Dr. Kelly Morris, English
  • Dr. E.J. Turner, Sciences
  • Bro. Wendell Winkler, Bible, Hermeneutics, Sermon Prep, Expository Preaching
  • Dr. Cheatham, Bible, Church History, Greek, Research (Graduate Level)
  • Dr. Hilliard, Marriage and Family
  • Bro. Leonard Johnson, Bible
  • Bro. Eris Benson
  • Dr. Floyd Parker, New Covenant (Graduate Level)
  • Dr. Randall Bailey, Old Covenant (Graduate Level)
  • Bro. Paul Tarrence, Ministry, Sermon Prep & Delivery (Graduate Level)
  • And so many others.

Thank you for your lessons. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for your influence. Thank you for caring.

-Scott

Your Turn. Take time to thank your teachers today!

Historical Roots

roots 1In a recent conversation with Amy (or as her students call her, Mrs. McCown) she shared with me that psychologists in the field of childhood development say that children who know their family history such as who their parents are and how they met and who their grandparents are do better in life. I think it boils down to this question: If you do not know where you come from, do you really know who you are?

If you do not know where you are from, do you really know who you are?

Maybe the same can be said about a nation. Go back with me to April 18-19 1775. Solomon was eighteen years old on April 18, 1775 and was going to Lexington when he saw a group of nine British Officers.  He noticed that they were armed.  He quickly made his way to town and stopped at Munroe’s Tavern and reported his sighting to the Patriots gathered there. They dispersed to protect John Hancock and Samuel Adams and send young Solomon to Buckman’s Tavern where he repeats his sighting. Two others go with Solomon to scout the movements of the British Officers. But the Officers see them first and they are detained.

After taking Solomon and his companions horses and any muskets, the harshly interrogate them. Sometime around 2:00 a.m. two other Patriots join these detainees – a peddler and Paul Revere. After more questioning the officers return the horses and release the men.

Later on April 19, 1775, young Solomon Brown exchanges fire with British Soldiers in Lexington. Some think that Solomon may have fired the “Shot Heard ’round the World.”

Solomon’s older brother was also in Lexington that day standing with the Minute Men. Oliver Brown would go on to become a Captain in the Continental Army. He would be responsible for the at least two cannons as part of the Massachusetts Artillery Unit.  He would participate in a number of battles including, White Plains, Harlem Heights, Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. He also commanded the volunteer party that pulled down the statue of King George from the New York Battery.

Capt. Oliver Brown’s daughter, Elizabeth married Robert Wylie. Her, Mary Wylie married Sylvester McCown. Sylvester is my Great-Grandfather. I know some of my roots. I know my connections to the United States. My family shares this and other stories with each generation.

Yet, as important as family history may be what do we know about the history of faith?

Do we know the faith of those in the pages of Old Covenant Scripture? What do we know about Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, the Judges, the Kings of Judah and Israel, Elijah, Elisha, Michaiah, Jonah, and other prophets? Do we know the story of their faith?

Do we know the story of the apostles, Paul, and other early Christians? What do their struggles teach us about faith?

What is the history of your faith? What lead you to trust in God and Christ?

-Scott

Historical Sources: