I got a promotion at church this week

Some days God steps in and surprises the gigglies out of me. This Sunday was one of those days.

First, let me back up and fill you in on the week I had that led up to this promotion.

Last Saturday I drove late which meant I slept less than 6 hours before I went to church. A cup of coffee was enough to keep me alert for the sermon. Not that a Chuck Swindoll sermon needs much outside stimulation.

I turned down an early Monday morning driving option for two reasons. 1) I needed a 34 hour reset by federal law…so noon was my earliest start time available. 2) I had an important meeting at church that had absolutely nothing to do with foresaid promotion.

The meeting was to determine who would be awarded the Howard Hendricks Memorial Scholarship this year. Yeah, it is an honor to be included in anything Howard Hendricksish.

We had to pick which male graduating senior and a female counterpart would receive fifteen hundred bucks for college. The guys were relatively easy since there was only two who filled out an application. Six ladies took a bit longer to sort through.

They blacked out the names on the papers so we couldn’t guess who these folks were. They gave each of them a color for us to keep them straight.

The boys were red and blue. Did anybody think this through? Especially coming off the most contentious national election aver. Boy blue never stood a chance. My buddy Steve’s letter of recommendation helped a lot, too.

The ladies required a lot more attention…as they usually do. We whittled it down to two. I felt I contributed when the last words out of my mouth were, “Yellow has my vote.”

We put the required paperwork in the proper envelopes and packed up to go home.

Tuesday I finally got to work with the Apainter Paul again. He had an interior project the folks wanted done asap so they could put the house on the market ASAP.

Since I still owed Paul almost two full days of work to repay advances he gave me to pay May’s rent it worked out well all around.

Wednesday found me driving to San Antonio before sunrise for a 13 hour day.

Thursday I was back to painting for the Apainter again. We got enough done that he could finish it on Friday…cuz.

Before midnight Thursday I was off to LaLA. I’m guessing that since New Orleans uses the acronym NOLA then Lafayette, Louisiana goes by LaLA.

Even if I’m wrong I was praying I didn’t doze off to lala land while the wheels on the eighteen wheeler were going round and round down the interstate. My eyes were heavily suggesting that possibility was possible just before the only rest area along my route in Louisiana.

Since federal law required me to take a half hour break I lost consciousness with the wheels stopped. Which is a good thing.

A couple of hours later I was killing bugs in a motel room I used for more sleep. Even my boots were stored off the floor whilst there.

I drove home the last half of Friday to get the required time off to drive to Houston on Saturday.

Yes, for any mathematicians reading this that’s six days of work in five days. That’s the type of “it never rains but it pours” life I live these days.

I crawled into bed with a potential of six hours of sleep before corporate worship time. I think I slept about four of them. That’s what I get for trying to sleep at different hours of the day and night.

Pastor Chuck delivered another winner of a sermon during first service. Then I was off to C-119 to fulfill my role as the toddler whisperer…or so I thought.

I recognized some faces of kids and adults in the room when I stepped in. Mild chaos was in it’s regular place.

Then Everett was brought into the room. One of the women held him to try to settle his nerves. He squirmed out of her arms and ran around the table straight at me. Since both of his arms were held high I knew that meant one thing. I was his only best source of comfort in that room.

I picked him up as his momentum flung his body toward me. His head landed on my shoulder before his next sob.

We spent some time in a rocking chair while everyone else ate cookies at the table. Our cookies tasted just fine in that chair, thank you very much.

Everett felt at home after a few more minutes together so I consumed the chocolate cupcake that was brought in for me. I like me some perks, too.

Another boy had a meltdown after that so I picked him up only to have another fella want my attention.

With a boy in each arm Everett decided he needed more of me then, too. The only choice I had was to reach around each boy and lift my little buddy up with my hands.

That’s the moment I was promoted from the toddler whisperer to the toddler magnet.

When one of the ladies in the room saw me she offered to take one of my friends. I said, “No, I got this.”

We sauntered over to a rocking chair until. One by one, the tykes decided to go off and play.

I recognized what was happening there. I was being Jesus to those boys when they needed me most.

Have you ever felt like your prayer request is a nuisance to God?

You think He’s got His hands full with another shooting or war or disaster or whatever. He doesn’t have time for little old me.

Stop thinking that way. His arms are more then big enough to reach around every little thing happening in this puny world we live on to stop and give you the attention you want from Him.

Don’t ever hesitate to tell God what’s on your heart…no matter how small it might appear to you.

God adopted you into His family to spend all the time you need with Him.

Even when everything seems out of control, God will stop and give you His full attention as He says, “I got this.”

Fill your love tank with God every chance you get.

He’s got a lot more energy than this old truck driving toddler magnet will ever have.

Keep smiling.   Wade

IT’S YOU SIR

Nathan paused when he approached the throneroom door. “LORD, give me the strength to do Your work here.”

He pulled the door open and walked up to King David.

David smiled and cocked his head to the left. “Nathan, I didn’t expect you today. To what do I owe this pleasure?”

“There were two men. One of them had vast flocks of sheep and cattle. The other was poor. He saved and bought a lamb one day. This ewe was like a daughter to him. It ate from his hand and drank from his own cup.”

Nathan paused.

David was staring toward Nathan’s right. A smile was on his face.

“A third man came to the rich man’s house one day. Not wanting to decrease his herd he took the poor man’s lamb and had it prepared for the traveler to eat.”

David’s fist came down hard on the throne’s hand rail. He sat forward. “No. That man shall die for that and he must repay four times for such a travesty.”

Nathan stepped forward and stared into David’s eyes. “It’s you, Sir.”

David’s mouth dropped open. The color drained from his face.

“The LORD God chose you from the sheepfold to rule His nation. You were given protection from Saul. His wives became yours. Judah and Israel obey your commands. If you wanted more He would have given it. Why have you despised the LORD’s commands? You killed Uriah with the sword of Ammon to have his wife for your own. Because of this the sword shall never depart from your own house.

“You kept this private, but God will have your wives used in broad daylight. Your own sons will rise up against you.”

David sat back. His palms rubbed the hand rails. “I have sinned against the LORD.”

Nathan nodded. “The LORD accepts your confession. You shall not die. Since this has brought such rise to your enemies to blaspheme the LORD the child shall die.”

Nathan turned and walked out of the throneroom to the sounds of sobs.

************

I would not have wanted to be Nathan on that day.

I’m glad he had the spine to carry out what God gave him to do.

You may be wondering why I included this in a series of devotionals on prayer. There is no prayer to God in this exchange.

No, but there was leading up to it.

David committed a double sin with Bathsheba and Uriah. He did his best to keep it quiet. He thought he succeeded.

You can’t keep a secret from God.

He knows every little thing that occurs.

You might keep a secret from your closest friends, but never from God.

We aren’t told how Nathan discovered the details about David’s dealings. We are told God sent him to David to inform him of the consequences of his actions.

Somebody was sent to Bathsheba’s house to bring her to David that fateful night. They pointed out that she was a married woman. Did they leak that to Nathan? We’ll never know.

Did God speak to Nathan with a dream? The parable he told could have been a dream Nathan had that night.

At that time God did speak to men in an audible voice and in person. If one of these methods was used it remains a mystery to us.

God’s primary means of speaking to us today is through these stories and other messages in the Bible.

The important thing for us to carry out of this exchange is the need to confront sin as sin.

Nathan was given the difficult task of informing King David of the consequences of his sins.

A king has the authority to have someone’s head removed from their shoulders if they make them unhappy.

Nathan followed the decrees of a much higher authority than a human king. He answered to the King of kings.

And so do we.

That doesn’t mean we’re to go around pointing our fingers at everybody we know is living in sin. That would be a never-ending undertaking.

There are individuals who are brought into our lives that we are given a certain amount of influence over. Close friends are included in that group. So are church leaders, especially if you happen to be on an important committee within the church. Family members might listen to you, but not if you come across as holier than thou.

I think Nathan was a mentor to David at this time in the king’s life.

David would have coveted someone who had a connection to the God of the nation he was called to lead.

The title of prophet was given to Nathan because of that connection.

Make sure your connection to God is strong before you go about confronting sin in anyone’s life.

There are guidelines established in the Bible to be followed in certain situations. Make sure you know them before you try to carry them out.

Remember we live under a covenant of grace these days because of what Jesus endured on the cross. We don’t stone folks for committing certain sins now like they were told to do in Old Testament times.

Even Jesus refused to have the adulteress stoned before he died. Mary could have been stoned after she was found to be pregnant with Jesus. Let that thought sink in.

We all sin and fall short of God’s glory that’s why we all need a savior.

I don’t think Nathan wanted to confront David that day. He was simply following God’s orders.

If you want to carry out confronting sin for anything but godly reasons check your motives.

Your own sin of power might be clouding your judgement.

If you’re on good ground for stepping in to change a situation by calling someone out then pray hard about it. Then go for it in God’s strength.

We need more Nathans in today’s world.

The line of what sin is has become too blurry these days.

Go in God’s grace.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

A Poem for Moms Everywhere

We’d be nowhere without our moms

Our life begins inside her tum…my

She feeds us food and sings us songs

She lets us know that we belong

When we feel sick she holds us tight

Sometimes we keep her up all night

As we mature she tries to help us

Too oft we insist that we can do this

We’ll never know how many prayers

She sends to God to keep us safer

We tear her heart up when we’re bad

Our hearts break too when she is sad

She loves it when we bring our kids over

The laughter they share is great to recover

As mom becomes feeble it us who now pray

Please, God, don’t leave her like this everyday

Eventually God comes and takes her soul home

A piece of our heart is missing for now

Tears of grief will fall from our eyes

God understands and heals as we cry

Dear child be thankful for the mom that you’re given

With Jesus as savior we’ll meet up in heaven

YOUR HOUSE NOT MINE

Nathan watched David pace. “What are you thinking about?”

David stopped. Looked at the prophet, then his walls. “Is it right for me to live in such an extraordinary cedar palace while the ark of God dwells in a tent?”

Nathan shook his head. “You are clearly in God’s will with whatever you do. How else could you be so successful? Whatever you have in mind to do do it well.”

David smiled as he paced again. “It must be the most magnificent structure ever built for the LORD’s dwelling…”

When Nathan left King David was discussing building details with other advisers.

********

God spoke to Nathan that night about the matter. Nathan went to David the next morning.

David was just finishing his breakfast. The smile was still on his face from the previous evening.

Nathan sat across from David and made sure he had direct eye contact. “The LORD spoke to me last night concerning your desire to build Him a structure.”

David pushed his dishes aside. “What did He say?”

“Go to David with this message: Have I ever told anyone to make a building for Me to dwell in? It has been My desire to dwell in tents so My people can come to Me. I called you from tending sheep to lead My people Israel. I have wiped out your enemies from before you to give you peace. Your name has become great among all peoples. I will plant My people in this place but you shall not be the man to build Me a temple. Your son will do that job. I will establish your line through him that will last for all eternity. I will not remove my Spirit from him like I did to Saul.”

Nathan followed David to the tabernacle.

David bowed before the ark. “Why me, oh, LORD? I deserve non of this. Israel is Your nation. I am Your servant. You make it sound like a small thing to establish my lineage forever. How do I fit into this, Your plan? I am humbled. May Your name be magnified forever. There is none like You, my LORD. Now let Your word be fulfilled for Your glory. I desired to build You a house, but You have declared that You will build me a house that will last forever. Let Your promise be kept for Your honor.”

************

King David, a man after God’s own heart, desired to build the temple but God said no.

You would expect to see remorse from the man for this divine refusal to be responsible for such an undertaking. Not from David…especially after he heard God’s promise to continue his line of kingship forever.

Yeah, that would blow my mind, too.

I find it interesting that God didn’t speak to David about this matter but chose to talk to Nathan this time.

With the advantage of knowing what would transpire after this event I can come up with some reasons why God did this.

  1. Nathan needed to learn to ask for God’s will in all things. His knee-jerk reaction to the great King David letting him know he wanted to build God’s permanent temple was to tell him yes. He did this because he thought God was giving David the desires of his heart. It made perfect logical sense from where they sat. But God has a different perspective on everything. Never forget that.
  2. Nathan needed to be established as God’s spokesman to David. The king’s power would go to David’s head eventually. Nobody’s perfect. After about a year of trying to cover up his affair and subsequent murder of Uriah, Nathan would confront David with a parable that grabbed David’s full attention. By the time Nathan told David God’s verdict the king knew why he hadn’t heard from God himself.
  3. God chose now to promise the lineage of the Messiah. The Savior of the world had been hinted at so many times through Israel’s history. Nobody knew exactly when it would occur. By pinpointing whose genes the Messiah would come from God let everyone know His plan was still unfolding. The shepherd-turned-king would shape this humble servant leader still to come.

Let me ask you some questions now.

  • Do you seek God’s will in all of your decisions? This could be as big as who you should marry if you’re single to what foods you should eat for each meal. Whose kingdom are you building?
  • Have you chosen your friends well? Do you surround yourself with others who are desiring God’s will for their lives? Or are those around you looking out for their own interests alone?
  • Is the Messiah real to you? This is the most crucial question anybody can answer. Jesus would fulfill all of the promises God made throughout the Old Testament. Choose Him as your Savior.

God seldom answers two prayers the same way. David wasn’t even expecting a response from God in this matter, yet God spoke to him.

God got David’s attention in a unique way to let him know he’s not in this by himself.

Prayers should be sent to God directly. I’m not denying that. But, don’t neglect to let others share input on your decisions as well.

Surround yourself with godly individuals who seek God’s will, too. Sometimes God will shape His response to you through their life experiences to aid you in your decisions.

All of this is for nothing if you reject Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

I refuse to sugar coat that statement. This man who would come from David’s genetics will rule in an everlasting kingdom. God’s promise will be fulfilled.

Anyone who accepts Jesus as anything less will be left out of that kingdom.

That’s not my opinion. That’s God’s declaration.

God has done all He can to bring us into that kingdom.

It’s up to us to let as many people know that as possible.

When you pray to God, surround yourself with godly friends and accept Jesus as your Savior everything will fall into place.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

I’m back from 3 days at Tres Dias

Tres Dias…Spanish for three days. That’s how long I spent near Lake Lavon for a men’s retreat.

This event had a lot going against it for me.

About the worst thing you can do to an introvert is plunk him down amidst 150 guys he doesn’t know. Let’s see how long before he comes out of his shell this time. Gulp!

Another thing this country bumpkin didn’t appreciate is being next to a lake with no time to enjoy the nature of the setting. We hardly had enough time to use the restrooms let alone time of solitude.

And whose idea was it to use a liturgical theme for this event? This free spirit appreciates more spontaneous prayers and such. Why did we have to recite from page 14 of that little book again…and again?

Don’t even get me started about that silly chicken song they made us sing before we could eat a meal.

Does that drummer really have to break my eardrums on every other beat?

Why are so many men discourteous about others when it comes time to go to bed? Can’t those loud conversations wait until daylight…please?

The tradition of this retreat began a long time ago in Spain. That silly chicken song came about while a broken down bus was awaiting a repair returning from one of these retreats. There were originally 99 verses to it. We only had to sing three of them. I guess they were broken down a very long time.

When I remembered the church I’m a member of supports at least three sets of missionaries to Spain I realized this world has sure changed.

The main thing this retreat had going for it is it’s a Christian retreat. As long as they’re honoring God and trying to get us to focus on Him I can put up with some discomfort.

Symbolism was huge here. I appreciated that, too. We don’t use enough of that in this country in my opinion.

One of the first things they did was offer us a white handkerchief to use as a surrender flag if we declared our surrender to God for control of our life. I had mine conspicuously hanging out of my pocket for the entire event.

At one point they gave us a small piece of thin paper and told us to write down the name of someone we needed to forgive or something we needed to forgive someone for. I wrote my ex-wife’s name down.

That evening they gave us time to write down on other slips any sins we wanted to confess and/or something that we desired to give up.

When we finished they had us fold the papers and nail them to a cross, literally. By the time we were done that cross was covered in nails and bits of paper…until they set it on fire.

In a matter of a couple of seconds the things we wrote down were burnt up. We were told we can now let those things go from our lives.

Saturday evening was extremely special. They treated us to a fabulous meal. Then, as someone prayed they snuck a few dozen women in around us. They began singing when we opened our eyes.

My sponsor, Marcia, was one of the first women I saw…before my eyes got too wet to see anybody. I was immediately missing Barb all over again. Not because Barb could sing, but because this was something I wish I could have shared with her.

The other time I cried was when they brought us into the chapel after a talk on prayer. They had some of the cha’s (Christ’s Hands in Action) praying for the speaker there. They explained that they do this with each of the speakers. Then they showed us the papers on the wall that listed the names of folks from all over who signed up to pray for us during this retreat.

They hadn’t given my 100 Prayers of a Writer book out yet. So I couldn’t let anyone know why that spoke to me so profoundly.

Other than my book being given out to everyone there I didn’t know what to expect at this retreat.

The first surprise was when I discovered I was a candidate. Candidate for what I didn’t know. I thought the election was over.

I learned that this was the first step to being able to lead this retreat in the future. Marcia’s son was the rector for this particular retreat. It takes serving at several retreats over many years to get there. I would have been extremely elderly by the time I got there.

I may go back next week on Saturday evening to sing to the women who will be there to repay the favor that was bestowed on me. Other than that I’ll wait on God’s leading about whether to go back to help with other such retreats.

I mentioned cha’s earlier. That’s the first round of entry into this “club.” Many of them actually carried our trays to the tables for our meals. Some of them spent most of their time there praying for us. A few were assigned to kitchen duty.

While I appreciate the ideology behind this it just isn’t quite my cup of tea, I guess.

At my first meal I sat across from a guy who has been divorced slightly longer than me. He lives in Frisco. I got his number so we can connect in the future. I guess God had a reason for me to come out of my shell quickly.

Marcia hoped I could get to know her grandson while we were there. We were both assigned to the same discussion table for the event.

Another guy at the table gave me his number and invited me to call him whenever I need to talk. I told him there’s a good chance I’ll take him up on his offer.

While I missed four days of potential work and a Sunday of worshiping at my home church I’d say the time was well spent for me.

I’ll be keeping my spiritual eyes open to anyone who I feel will be a good fit for this type of retreat.

At least six guys committed their lives to Christ and a couple dozen others re-committed their’s so it’s working to build the kingdom.

De Colores, mi amigos.

Keep smiling.   Wade

HARD LESSONS

Samuel walked across the courtyard to rest under a Tamarisk tree. He stopped when he heard God’s voice.

“About this time tomorrow Israel’s first king will come to you. He’s from Benjamin. Anoint him so he will save My people from the Philistines. This is what My people want.”

The next day Samuel sat in the gate of the city watching folks coming and going. The tall man sauntering up the hill caught his attention. God’s voice was clear.

“This is the man I told you about. Anoint him as king before you send him away.”

Saul approached. He bent down to speak to Samuel. “Can you tell me where the seer’s house is? I must inquire of him.”

Samuel smiled. “I’m the seer. Wait for me in the high place. You shall eat with me today. Tomorrow I will send you home. Don’t worry about your father’s donkeys. They found their way back. I am privileged to meet with you today.”

Saul stood up. “Why? I’m from the little tribe of Benjamin. My family history isn’t impressive.”.

********

A few years later Samuel again heard God’s voice. “I regret making Saul the king. He has failed to carry out my commands.”

Samuel fell to his knees. “I warned the people about such things happening. They wouldn’t listen to me at all. How can we keep from losing Your favor, Lord? What must we do to correct this iniquity?”

The questions and beseeching continued through the night with no response from God.

In the morning Samuel set out to confront Saul.

********

A while later God again spoke to Samuel. “How long will you grieve over Saul’s failures? Fill your horn with oil and travel to Bethlehem. I have selected a son of Jesse to rule My people.”

Samuel looked up. “But, how shall I go without Saul finding out? If he knows what I’m there for he’ll kill me.”

“Take a heifer to sacrifice. Invite everyone to come, especially Jesse. I’ll tell you which son I choose.”

********

Samuel led the heifer to Bethlehem. When he came to the gate the elders approached him. “Do you come peaceably?”

Samuel nodded. “Yes. I have come to sacrifice here.”

“Very well. We are pleased you have come.”

Samuel scanned the group. “Which of you is Jesse?”

A man stepped forward. “I am Jesse.”

“Bring your sons to the feast. I must see your sons.”

As the crowd gathered Jesse brought his sons to the prophet.

Samuel smiled as the eldest son came to him. His thoughts took over. This one will be a good king. I can see the leadership oozing out of him

God’s voice broke through. “No. Don’t look at his outside appearance. I know his heart. He isn’t the one for this role. I will tell you which one has the best heart.”

After the seventh son walked past Samuel scanned the crowd behind him. He looked at Jesse. “Is this all of your sons? God has not spoken to me about either of them.”

Jesse pointed to a distant hillside. “There’s still David. He’s watching the flock over there.”

Samuel folded his arms. “Bring him here. We will not sit until he comes.”

Jesse grabbed the arm of one of the servants. “Go. Send David here at once.”

Everyone watched the servant run across the valley. He talked to David. David came running to them. The sheep tried to keep up with him. The servant threw his arms in the air.

When David came into town the crowd separated in front of him. He fell to his knees to catch his breath. “What do you need me for?”

The sight of a gray-haired man dressed in linen appeared after the brothers stepped back.

Samuel smiled when he heard God’s voice. “Anoint him. He is My choice.”

Samuel removed the stop from the horn in his hand.

David was still breathing hard as the oil saturated his scalp and fine beard. He cupped his hands together to catch the liquid. It flowed over his fingers onto the ground.

************

The selection of a king is a mighty undertaking. Especially when you’re responsible for finding the best man for the job to lead God’s people.

I’m pretty sure Samuel felt like a failure when Saul committed one blunder after another once he gained the throne.

He shouldn’t have. I say that because he was simply following God’s leading in choosing Saul as Israel’s first king.

Samuel had a unique line of communication open to God that nobody else had at that time.

We now have that available to us as believers in Jesus Christ. It’s called prayer.

Samuel’s prayer life was different from ours because God dealt with people differently then.

In the history of mankind God had never chosen a race of people to be His chosen nation.

God chose to speak to Samuel to carry out His plans.

Today God works through people of every nation because of the all-encompassing work accomplished by Jesus on the cross and beyond the grave.

God recorded the methods He used in the past to help us shape the future.

By seeing the big picture of each life lived out in the Bible we know how each person succeeded and failed.

Now that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer God can guide us in the decisions we make.

Our relationship with God is developed by reading the Bible to learn more about God. Our prayers open our hearts to talk to God about our hurts, pains and problems. As our dependence grows so will our influence and impact.

Your eternity with God doesn’t begin when you reach heaven after you die.

God wants to build you into a better person who loves and lives like His Son, Jesus.

Saul’s failures would continue. They would help shape David into Israel’s mightiest king.

Your failures will continue, too.

Will you let them defeat you?

Or will you let them build you into a person God can use?

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Is Anybody Else Under Attack…or is it Just Me?

My crazy life has been some kind of crazy on steroids lately. March and the early part of April were a bit slow. I’ve been needing that to get caught up from the Christmas rush that lasted into February.

But, last week was one I’d rather not repeat any time soon.

I volunteered to help with some Easter preparations at church. That was fun on Saturday.

Then I woke up on Sunday morning as usual at 6:20 am. There was a meeting scheduled that afternoon so I didn’t get that nap I really should have taken then.

Sunday evening I headed north to Tulsa, OK. The trip up was fairly smooth, mostly because it was during the dead of night.

Monday’s return trip was another story. The closer I got to Dallas the heavier the traffic got.

By the time I got on the Central “Expressway” traffic came to a standstill. Made me wonder who names these roads anyway?

Fortunately I’m legally allowed to go over my 14 hour work limit once a week. I used it up on Monday and prayed for a productive rest of my week.

I was close to the thirty hours awake mark when I left work and headed home. About halfway there that little noise Clifford started complaining about got very loud just before it went quiet.

When the steering of my van got difficult I was pretty sure what happened. One of the pulleys for the serpentine belt gave up the ghost.

I limped the old van into a car parts store parking lot and popped open the hood.

Keep in mind Clifford is 17 years old. That about 97 in human years.

The pulley in question was on top so it was easy to reach. The weather was warm and dry, not my usual working conditions for a breakdown.

The first thing I did was go inside to make sure they carried said part for my elderly vehicle. They did. I bought one right then and there.

After I got the old part off I discovered the center piece needed to be separated from the pulley. Since they’re designed to fit very tightly I knew this would be a challenge getting them apart.

I thinks to myself…if these guys have some way to get these apart with a nifty tool they may have pity on me and help a feller with an elderly van out.

The guy in the white shirt at the counter looks at my dilemma for a few seconds before he heads to the shop and shows it to his tech…what used to be known as a mechanic back when Clifford was young.

The white-shirt fella walks back in and hands me the part back. “It’s all one piece. You have to buy the right part.”

It was at that moment I was definitely glad I decided to fix this myself. Perhaps if they had mechanics on duty I would have been better off.

I picked up a chisel and hammer and worked methodically on those two pieces until they indeed separated.

I spent about as much time attempting to show the white-shirted nit-wit the two thingies in my hand, but he stealthily avoided me.

I put the new pulley on then tried to route the new belt through the entire series of pulley thingies. It was too long.

If I had been awake I probably would have said something I would have later regretted.

I looked all over Clifford’s hood area for a diagram of how this contraption was supposed to go back together. Nothing.

After returning the useless belt I showed the back counter guy that it was longer than the old belt. He gave me my money back.

I walked a half block away to the next car parts store. Not my usual luck with a breakdown. Their belt was too long, too.

I popped Clifford’s hood back up and searched more diligently. There that pesky diagram was…right under those two water hoses running over the radiator. Finally, something worked out as it usually does during a breakdown…I wasted time looking for something too obvious.

So, the nit-wit working on my van goes back in and re-buys that belt that was too long.

After a day and a half I was able to go back to sleep.

Fast forward to Tuesday night. I’m driving back from Houston. It’s pitch black out. I catch a glimpse of something off to my right just before the loudest sound I’ve ever heard while driving a big rig.

I expect to see the windshield in cubes. It isn’t. I look to the right side of the glass and discover an egg struck me just above the wiper.

I quickly review my memory banks for where I was just before this incident..no bridge for that to fall off from…no vehicles carrying chickens right in front of me.

So then I surmise some guesses. It could have been the Easter bunny practicing throwing eggs to speed up his hiding efforts…or mayhaps he wanted that carrot I was eating at the time…or it could have been juvenile delinquents having “fun.”

I decided that since I could see to drive I’d keep going without attempting to smear it off with that strip of rubber just below the point of impact.

I drove about a half an hour to the next truck stop. One fuel island is actually open…not my usual luck when I pull in for fuel. I attempt to get some paper towel from the denspenser on the post…nothing. I step over to the next one…paper towels come out for five movements of the little handle pointing out at me…I’m at the end of the roll.

Twelve inches of paper towel will have to be enough. I don’t have 14 hours to invest in correcting some idiots’ fun.

Jesus warned me each day would have troubles of its own. He didn’t promised me they wouldn’t come stacked on top of one another, too.

It’s all working together for good…somehow. The Bible promises me that much…not that it will make sense in this life.

By the time I get to heaven it won’t matter anyhow, so come quickly Lord Jesus…before the next egg is hard boiled.

Please.

Keep smiling.   Wade

GIVE US A KING

Samuel watched a group of gray-haired men walking up the hill. “What do you need help with today?”

One of the men stepped forward. “Your sons are not like you. They judge loosely.”

Samuel tilted his head. “What do you mean by that comment?”

Another man pushed the first man aside. “I had a case come to them about a property dispute I had with my neighbor. They met with him in a tight group before the judgement. I know I heard coins and laughter. I lost half a field that day.”

The first man placed his hand on the man’s shoulder. “I had a similar thing happen to me. They must not lead us after you die. The nation will crumble under men like that.”

Samuel sat back and stroked his beard. “And just what do you suggest be done about the situation? The Lord has not directed me to anything else.”

Three men pushed past the first two. “We want a king.”

“Israel should be like the nations around us.”

“A king will be able to lead us into battle. The Lord is too unpredictable. How do we know what He wants from us? A king is what we need. I tell you!”

Samuel shook his head as he stood. “No. No! This thing is not good. The Lord has been our defense. Only He can win wars and defeat enemies. A king will bring too much pain to everybody.”

The first man stood in front of Samuel. “If you don’t find us a king we’ll get one ourselves.”

Samuel fell back in his chair. “I shall pray and seek the Lord’s guidance on this matter.”

********

Samuel walked into the temple and fell before the ark of the covenant. “Lord, what is happening? How did I fail to pass Your importance on to my sons? A king is not good. He will be as corrupt as anybody. All we need is You, Lord.”

God’s voice was clear. ” Listen to the people. It’s not you they’re rejecting, but Me. They’ve been doing it since they left Egypt. I will tell you who to make the king, but you must warn them about what a king will do.”

********

Samuel walked back out to the men. “A king will bring you much hardship. He’ll take your sons to fight his battles, even if they don’t want to fight. Some of your daughters will serve him as well. They may become his concubines. Your flocks, crops and fields will be confiscated, too. When you cry out to the Lord then He will turn away from you.”

The first man stepped forward. “Give us a king like everybody else.”

Samuel swallowed. “Very well, go home. God will lead me to the man of His choosing.”

************

This was a massive turning point in the young nation of Israel’s history. They began with a promise to Abraham. The Egyptian captivity isolated them to grow into a distinct race of people over a 400 year time period.

Dependence on an invisible god was their distinction alone.

There’s a story of a little girl who was afraid of a storm blowing outside as she went to bed. Her parents did their best to calm her fears by spending time with her in her room.

Since the girl had recently accepted Jesus as her savior they told her that Jesus would be with her during the storm. She nodded so they went to their room to get some much needed sleep.

A few minutes later the girl yelled down the hallway. “But, I need somebody with skin on.”

We’re so much like that little girl. We know God is powerful and kind and loving, but sometimes we need a human touch. A physical hug does more to calm us than a promise in a book.

I’m not down playing our need to depend on God in our lives. We need that more than anything.

But, God made us physical beings in a physical world for a reason.

He wants us to reach out to hurting souls desperate for a touch of love.

He uses us to rescue those trapped in addictions and/or bad situations.

He guides us to guide young lives in need of direction for their lives.

Israel’s best king was called “a man after God’s own heart.” Too bad very few leaders try to be that style of leader.

The young nation of Israel struggled under the direction of this God who spoke to only a few select people. They wanted a king to lead them. A man who would tell them what to do. Somebody with skin on is who they wanted to give their allegiance to.

Most people are followers. They want somebody to tell them how to vote, where to work, what to do and so on. As long as they bring in enough money to pay their bills they’re content to sit back and be entertained.

A king seemed like the best solution to the dilemma. God recognized the rejection of Him they were actually doing. He planned for this moment before they ever left Egypt.

In Deuteronomy 17:14-20 God told Moses how these kings should rule. Yeah, before the people ever reached the promised land God knew they would demand a king.

He knows our hearts.

He is well acquainted with our stubbornness.

Our decisions don’t surprise Him.

Where have you rejected God’s rule in your life? I hope it’s not all of it.

What demands have you given God about how to run things? Remember who is in charge.

How have you tried to twist things to fit in your agenda? Release those reins today.

Not all leaders are bad. Some are actually benevolent.

Sometimes we need to take action to rectify a situation.

God needs us to step in to change things occasionally.

So, how do we know how and when God needs us?

That’s why God wrote the Bible for us.

It’s our guidebook to live by.

Let’s use it that way.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Is it high-purr-bowl-ee or Hyperbole?

Jesus was a master jokester in my book. He was in His book, too. Let me explain…

We’re working our way through the book of Matthew in our church, Yeah, there are still churches that teach from the Bible. Especially the one where Chuck Swindoll is the senior pastor.

We just covered the end of chapter 19 this week. The story of the rich young ruler was covered last week.

I know…I know, it’s all the same chapter, but when you need to make too many points for your listeners you break it down into more bite-sized pieces…especially when Chuck Swindoll is the senior pastor.

For a refresher for those of you who haven’t read that section of scripture in a while…or a fresher for those of you who ain’t never read it, yet.

That rich young punk ruler kid comes to Jesus and asks Him what he must DO to get into heaven.

Jesus lists off some of the the commandments.

The kids checks them off as Jesus lists them. “Okay, got it! I’m good to go then.”

Jesus knew this guy wasn’t being totally truthful when he said he ain’t never lied…especially when he just said he never lied just now.

Then Jesus turns this kid’s world upside-down by telling him he has to sell off all of his do dads in order to see His Dad.

The guy was watching his toes as he walked away.

If Jesus wasn’t making such a serious point His next statement would have been hilarious.

Yeah, the camel going through the eye of a needle hyperbole. Remember, with God all things are possible. Even large animals squeezing through a tiny space.

It’s not that rich folks can’t get into heaven. The point is that it’s more difficult for them cuz they trust their own success too much to trust that they need to trust anybody else for nuthin’.

Trust me…there’s a point there somewhere.

Jesus later explained that the road into heaven is on the straight and narrow way. Apparently it’s so narrow we all have to squeeze through the eye of a needle.

Don’t worry…with God all things are possible. Don’t keep forgetting that one point and your life will make much more sense.

Apparently Jesus fit through the keyhole of a locked door to see the disciples after His resurrection so just chill. God has this covered. Trust Him!

Since a hyperbole is an exaggeration to make a point, not to be taken literally, don’t sweat too many details here.

Like I said, God’s got this. He has all your other problems under control, too…even those imaginary ones.

Yep…I’m back to that trust thing again.

Worry is you taking control of things you don’t need to have in the first place.

Trust is you giving God control of everything in your life…and the things in other folks’ lives, too, while we’re at it.

That rich young punk kid thought he had everything under his control, too.

Just remember, you don’t call the shots. God does.

Don’t keep forgetting that one point and your life will be better in the long run…all the way to eternity.

Keep smiling.   Wade

FIRST ASSIGNMENT

Samuel laid back in bed. The torch was still burning in the tabernacle. That was his assignment each night…keep God’s light burning.

“Samuel.”

He sat up and ran to Eli’s chamber. “What is it?”

Eli rolled over to face the youngster. “What do you want, Samuel?”

“You called for me. I want to know what you need.”

Eli sighed. “I didn’t say anything. I’m trying to sleep. Go back to bed.”

Samuel returned to his position in the tabernacle.

“Samuel.”

He ran back to Eli. “Here I am. What do you need me for?”

The old man shook awake. “Samuel, what’s got into you tonight. Can’t you see I’m trying to sleep here? Go back to bed.”

Samuel muttered as he walked back to the tabernacle. “I know I heard him call my name. There isn’t anyone else here. It had to be him.”

He laid back down.

“Samuel.”

He ran back to Eli. “I know I heard you call for me. Who else could it be?”

Eli looked up. “I’m sorry, Lord.”

He reached out a hand and waited for Samuel to grasp it. “The next time you hear your name called say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.'”

Samuel swallowed as he released Eli’s hand and returned to his chamber.

“Samuel.”

When Samuel opened his eyes a man was standing near him. “Speak, your servant is listening.”

“I’m about to do something that will capture everyone’s attention. The sins of Eli’s family will not be tolerated much longer. I warned him about not restraining his sons. Their sins cannot be covered by sacrifices forever.”

Samuel sat on his hands to keep them from shaking.

************

The legend of Samuel carries on to this day. This was a huge step in the process of making this man who would be used in mighty ways to help the nation of Israel to become the greatest nation in the world.

The first step in that process came before he was even conceived. His parents were godly people.

Samuel’s dad took his family to the tabernacle, the dwelling place of God, annually. That’s extremely significant when you remember this was during the period of the Judges…a time when everyone did what was right in his own eyes. God was feared by dad.

Samuel’s mom dedicated her firstborn son to God at the tabernacle on one of those sojourns. The infertility of Hannah, combined with her reverence toward God, made her say a vow that she carried out to the letter. God was honored by mom.

Samuel had an incredibly godly legacy to build on.

When Eli was given the responsibility of rearing this kid it was a second chance to get that right. He failed miserably with his two sons who were supposed to carry on the role of priest for God’s people. The elderly man took this opportunity seriously and did it well.

With that as the backdrop God steps into young Samuel’s life directly.

God had been so distance from Eli for so long even he didn’t recognize God’s presence when it came.

Where are you in this process?

Are you fearing God?

When I ask that question what first came to mind. Did you see yourself cowering in a corner of a room waiting to be struck by lightning? Most people do.

God does have that much power, but He has just as much love for you, too.

For those of us reared in a family where both parents were present we need to remember how we thought about our dads after we did something we knew was wrong. We knew punishment was imminent. Dad was the last person we wanted to cross paths with, but we knew he loved us, too.

Our earthly fathers are to be a representation of our heavenly Father. Too bad there are too few good examples of that today.

Have you made a dedication to God?

Don’t think children are the only thing that can possibly be dedicated to God. Your life can be dedicated, too.

When I suggest that don’t think you have to go to Africa to be a missionary to carry this out. Dedicating your future may mean taking a stand in your current workplace. It could be being more active at church or another organization. It could simply mean studying the Bible more to hear from God better.

Making God number one in your life is dedication to Him.

Are you passing on God’s principles to the next generation?

If you have children definitely start there. If your children are grown teach your grandchildren about fearing and loving God.

If neither of those opportunities is open to you find a young person to mentor. This generation of young adults is floundering now. Too few of them have a solid foundation to build on. They’ve been fed so many lies in school they don’t know what to believe.

When you step in to teach them about God and His truths as found in the Bible take it slow, but be deliberate.

You only need to change the course of one life to have an impact on several people in the future. If you skip this opportunity to make an impact the next generation will continue to wander in the wilderness and miss God’s kingdom altogether.

Eli taught Samuel as much as he could. God’s second chance wasn’t wasted.

By the time God did speak to Samuel the Creator of the universe was a real part of the young man’s mindset.

God can use anybody. He always does.

You can help prepare someone for that transformation today.

That pebble you drop on the surface of the ocean won’t make much of an impact now, but the ripples will go on for quite some time.

Help God steer those ripples by doing your part to focus a young person toward being used by God in mighty ways.

It’s not too late for you to make a difference.

God’s plan is to use you, too.

I’ll see you later.   Wade