Saturday, June 12, 2021

Living water doesn't come in bottles

 In Hot Springs Arkansas there is a fountain on Main Street, in the middle of the city, that offers free water.

The fountain delivers pure spring water, right out of the ground. It has absolutely no contaminants in it, no color, no taste, and no chemicals.

It comes out of the fountain 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 140 degrees.

People from around the world come to Hot Springs because it's the only place in the entire National Park System that offers geothermal water as a potable water supply; that means you can drink it without treating it.

People who visit the Town can drive up in cars and trucks and fill up bottles, jugs, and cans with spring water free of charge. 

Everywhere else in America people pay for bottles of water to drink, but in Hot Springs, anybody who wants a gallon or a hundred gallons of drinkable water can get it free.

Jesus said the good news that he brings to the world brings and hope. He called it living water, or water for life and anyone who wants it can get it for free.

In John 4:13 Jesus said, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." 

Wars have been fought over water and water rights because we need it to live.

Jesus offers us Living water, for free.

And we don’t have to go to Hot Springs to get it.

Friday, June 11, 2021

In this life, you must hoe a straight row

 When I was young, I spent summers with my grandmother on a plantation in Pantherburn, Mississippi. Old-timers taught us life lessons while we worked the fields.

My uncle said, "Boy, you got to learn how to hoe your row. In these fields and as as you grow up to be a man."

I was five years old, trying to work with a hoe that was nearly three feet taller than me. I watched the grown folks cultivating empty fields and chopping rows for planting cotton that seemed like a mile long, and every row had to be straight.

At the end of the day, everybody had done two or more rows and they were straight as arrows. My little row was about half a football field and was crooked; it looked like spaghetti strips.

My uncle looked at my crooked rows and said, You can't hoe a straight row if you just looks at what's in front of yo' feet. You got to fix your eye on something at the end and go straight to it. It's that same way in life too, boy. Fix your eyes on where you trying to go and not on where you at right now. Ifn' you take your eyes off your mark, it's nary impossible to go straight."

I had my uncle in the fields, in life however, I learned in Sunday School that everybody needs the Lord keep to keep reminding us keep our eyes on the prize or we are subject to hoe a crooked roe every year.

I guess that's the meaning of Proverbs 3:6 says, "In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

My uncle taught me how to hoe a straight row, but learning how to finish my roe, was another lesson altogether. It takes a lifetime to do that.

From my uncle to you, "Don't get distracted, keep your eyes on the prize."

An expensive perfume won't make a nasty spirit sweet

   Some of my friends laugh at me when I tell them that my favorite cologne is “Old Spice.” They tell me that’s a cologne from wayyyyy back in the day.

They are right, I like it. I’ve been wearing it since I was in high school.

  Around the world, people spend tremendous amounts of money for perfumes and colognes.   

   The most expensive perfume in the world costs $1,800 a bottle. It is called Jean Patou’s Joy. It’s the most expensive because each bottle is made from 10,600 crushed jasmine flowers and 28 dozens of roses per bottle. 

    The most expensive men’s perfume is Eau D’Hadrien Annick Goutal Perfume – $1500 for a three oz bottle. It includes citron, lemon, Sicilian lemon, mandarin, and ylang-ylang, which are but some of the citrus fruits that have been blended to create its unique smell. 

    For me, Old Spice tops them all, primarily because it only costs 11.85 for a 4.25-ounce bottle. .What’s in it? Mostly Water, Fragrance, Benzyl Alcohol.

    I figure if I have a nasty spirit, the most expensive cologne in the world won’t do any good. the Bible says our lives send up a sweet aroma to God. That doesn’t come in a bottle.

    Ephesians 5:2 “and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

    God won’t check the labels on the aroma we send up before him, he'll check the spirit of the person from whom it originates.

    I guess my Old Spice will have to do in this life. 

    When I get up there, it won’t matter because there will be sweet spirits everywhere

    Stay sweet.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Sometimes, we just need a little help

   There are some people who go out of their way to help others; sometimes they even sacrifice their own safety and security to do so.

  You know them, they are:

  •   The neighbor who helps you move into a new house.
  •   A co-worker that takes a long drive with you, just to keep you company.
  •   An acquaintance that volunteers to help you with a project.
  •   The friend that listens as you vent your frustrations.

  All of these are examples of those who go out of their way to help us, with no requirement that we do the same.

  Many people help us because we are quick to help others. the Bible says anyone who wants friends, must show themselves friendly. That also means if you don't help others, don't complain when people leave you to fend for yourself, by yourself.

  Difficulties are easier when we have someone to help us, or even to listen to us complain as we cry on their shoulders 

  It’s tough when you have to face your challenge alone.

  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 

  It is good to have friends, but it is even better to know that our Lord will never leave us alone; he's the best friend we can ever have.

  He’s always by our side. 

Monday, June 07, 2021

Makeup hides lines that tell the real story

Suppose the look you had on your face five minutes ago was frozen on your face forever, what would that look be?

Time has a way tracing caricatures of our personalities onto our faces and locking them. It will take a ton of make up and a few plastic surgeries to hide what’s written on our faces.

In the theater, make up artists highlight or try to hide certain lines in our faces that reveal secrets.

For example, when there are deep lines between your eyebrows, it usually means that you frown a lot.

The superciliary arches, or the lines in your forehead reveal that you think a lot.

The nasalabial folds are the lines that run from your nose to your mouth on both sides. If they are deep, they usually mean you laugh and smile a lot. 

Lines under the eyes and dark depressions usually indicate worry, stress, depression or a lack of sleep.

These lines are drawn in our faces by time, they tell who we are and give hints to what type of personality might be hidden behind our makeup.

Galatians 5:22-23 gives us a few personality traits that could paint a love set of lines on our faces. The verse says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

These personality traits tell the story of who we should be, the lines on our faces tell the real story.

They can be hidden or masked...

... but they can’t be undone.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

What's in the magazines under the mattress?

   You can tell a lot about a person by what he or she reads, or doesn’t read. 

   In the past, folks in our neighborhood tried to impress visitors by having a set of encyclopedias on bookshelves, visible for visitors to see. We had displayed the books, even if we didn't read them. Often our bookshelf titles gave visitors a quick snapshot of our interests and intellectual depth. 

 Everyone made sure there was a copy of Ebony Magazine visible on the coffee table and not “Sepia” the more prurient version of Ebony. We definitely didn't let them see the magazines we hid under our mattresses.

   We even put giant family bibles in our living rooms. They became places where we stored letters and documents, but we never really read the one in the living room; it was for show.

   For the most part, it all worked, at least until we opened our mouths and spoke. It didn't take long for folks to figure out that the great books on our shelves or the family Bibles in the living rooms often gave false impressions.

   What we read directs our conversation. It is said the great minds discuss ideas like freedom, justice, global warming, and world peace. Average minds discuss events such as football games, programs, pageants, and competitions. Those who don’t read much have a tendency to discuss other people: what they wear, how much they have, and who they love and don’t love.

    I’m not attracted to the last category; I love ideas. When I was 21, I decided to read the Harvard Classics which is excerpts from the 113 must-read books including Plato, Socrates, Emerson, and Thoreau.

   Like you, I read the Bible regularly for understanding and guidance. 

   You can tell Christians who read the Bible regularly. Their faith is stronger and they worry less. They are slow to sin and are sorry when they do.


   Psalm 119:11 says, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."

   Like you, I read something from the Bible daily. Through his word, God speaks to us in the truths he reveals.

   It's true, God's word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

She removed the training wheels; I didn't know it

I had training wheels on my bicycle until I was seven years old. Every bicycle I was given always had training wheels, that is until my stepmother said I was too old to be riding a bicycle with training wheels.

She removed the training wheels from my bike, but told me not to fear, she would run along with me.

Every day I went out to ride my bike, she ran along behind me and kept talking to me. It was fun.

After a while, she ran along beside me but she did not say much except I’m here. It was fun.

One day I rode the bike and she took off running beside me. I had fun. The wind was blowing in my face and I paddled very fast. I could hear her voice in my ear saying “You can do it. Keep it up. I got you if you fall.”

When I looked over my shoulder, I saw that she was still in the front yard, waving at me, saying “You can do it. Keep it up. I got you if you fall.”

I was riding without the training wheels! I couldn't believe it! All the while I could feel her hand steadying the bike and whispering in my ear. I really didn’t need the training wheels, I just didn’t know it.

When I think about her running along beside me I think of the Lord’s promise in Psalm 118:6-7 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.

No matter what we face, we never ride into the future alone. God is always with us whispering in our ear. You can do it, keep it up. I got you if you fall.”

You don't have to ride a bike. He runs beside us every day, holding our hands, giving us confidence.

He says, "I got you if your fall."

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Don't judge me until you walk a mile in my shoes

An old proverb says we should not judge others until we have walked a mile in their shoes.

When you are struggling you are often criticized by some who say you should handle it differently. They don’t know, they haven’t walk in your shoes.

Their feet haven’t been where you have walked. They have never sat where you sit.

If you’ve never had children you don’t know what it’s like see them in trouble or face sickness or peril.

If you’ve never been married then you don’t know what it’s like when there is trouble in your home.

If you’ve never experienced the death of a loved one, then you have no idea what it's like to sit on the mourner’s seat at a funeral.

They have not walked in your shoes.

That’s why we love the Lord. He came as a man and faced the same life issues that we face: he was a poor man, who struggled to pay his taxes, didn’t own a home, faced the death of his friends, and was often the target of haters. - He definitely has walked a mile in our shoes.

Hebrews 2:14 says, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—“

Jesus came to earth as a man and suffered like we suffer, so that he could understand how we feel and deliver us when we are at our lowest.

It's good to know that he has walked a mile in our shoes.