Monday, September 24, 2012

Disagreeing with the President

I disagree with the President of the United States. This has nothing to do with his political party, race, the upcoming election, or anything on the surface for that matter. This is not a political article, though some may try to make it so. I have written in the past about respecting the office of the president, no matter who is serving. I received some letters over that article, and I am sure I may get more letters for writing this one.

Let me go on record as saying that I do not care about the economy, so this article is not about that either. That may bother you, but if I seek first the kingdom, God will take care of me (Matt. 6:33). I have never cared about economics or physical things. This world is not my home.

I disagree with the president because I believe what the Bible teaches. I think it is safe to say, then, that I would disagree on some level with every president we have ever had or will have. I have the right to disagree. If I am living according to the Scriptures, when our leaders are not keeping them, I even have the responsibility to disagree.

The New Testament instructs every Christian to respect the rulers that God has allowed to be in office (Rom. 13:1-7). My disagreement is no militant rebellion. I understand that God is in control. Read Daniel 4 and you will be reminded of what God allows and disallows, and how He raises up kings and also removes them according to His own pleasure. So I recognize that God is working His perfect will in every generation, through every leader of every nation. Even those leaders who oppose God are actually in God's own way being used for His glory.

At the same time, Jesus himself found a way to submit to governing authorities, while at the same time disagreeing with their views. He was setting up a spiritual kingdom, and therefore his aim was not to overthrow the government. I am quite certain that the Christian's goal should be the same. We are members of the Lord's body, the church. It is a spiritual and eternal kingdom. We answer to God first. And everything is for God and Christ and through and with the Spirit we continually and faithfully defend the Bible.

So yes, I disagree with the president. I disagree with his views on marriage, abortion, religion, the church, and probably in this case 1,000 other things. Regardless of who the president is after Novemeber, I am going to disagree with him on some level.

My only aim in this life is to agree, and not disagree with God. He created me. He has a plan for me. He sent His Son to die for me. And He will judge me in the last day.

"that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen." ~ 1 Timothy 6:14-16

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Why I Still Pick Up Pennies

There he was again, Abe Lincoln staring up at me from the grocery store parking lot. He wasn't as shiny as always. He was a little scuffed up. But he was still there, alone, unwanted, and as always, I picked him up and put him in my pocket. My Papa Tatum has always told me to only pick up the pennies that are face side up, because he says they are lucky and you will have bad luck if you don't. But I pick them all up, and there are several reasons why:

1. I pick up pennies because some people don't have any. My grandparents lived through the depression and they would have been happy to have them. Pennies still hold value, and in principle they are somewhat priceless. Stewardship and respect for hard work should cause people not to throw money away, no matter how small.

2. I pick up pennies because of what they say: "In God We Trust." I am thankful that our official national currency still has God's name on it. God is mentioned less and less in our society as time continues. I am happy to cling to those things that still honor God's name.

3. I pick up pennies because children have piggy banks. Don't ever cast away or overlook anything that a child may cherish. A penny may mean nothing to the common person, but give one to a child and they will smile and love you for it. You can build special relationships even with pennies.

4. I pick up pennies because the small things matter. Life is not a series of huge events, it is a daily walk with God and His creation. The little things define us. Our character is shaped by what we do in areas that may seem somewhat insignificant. Jesus said, "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much" (Luke 16:10).

5. I pick up pennies because that is what my father would do. My dad taught me to work hard. He taught me to be giving. He taught me to take good care of the things with which I have been entrusted. He taught me to live honorably. My dad would pick up every penny, because the accumulation of pennies will lead to a blessing for someone else. Jesus taught his disciples that the widow's two mites were of greater value than all the riches of the pharisees - not because of what they were worth, but because of what she did with them. I believe that if Jesus were on earth today, he would pick up every penny. He would use them to the glory of his Father.

Therefore, so will I.

"And the Lord said, 'Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?'" ~ Luke 12:42

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dealing With Grief by Hardeman Nichols

My father passed away Sunday morning suddenly while I was preaching. My sermon was stopped and I traveled to Lawrenceburg to meet my mother and see his body in the hospital before it was taken away. We had a family visitation Monday morning. I spoke at his memorial service yesterday.

Today I received a letter from a lady in our congregation who lost her husband at an early age. With it was an article that she has had for years that has helped her to deal with grief. She has passed it along to others. I would like to share it with you. If you are grieving in some way, I hope this will help the process. The author is a preacher and good friend.


I have watched with great admiration and respect the courage that has borne many a saint through hours of sorrow. Here is practical advice I have seen others use in dealing with grief:
Express your emotions. It should not be considered a Christian virtue to be unmoved by the loss of a loved one. There is a difference in suppressing one's emotions and losing one's self-control. The Bible does not say, "Sorrow not"; but it says, "Sorrow not as others who have no hope" (1 Thess. 4:13).
Seek the aid of your friends. The very presence of friends is an encouragement. When Paul neared Rome, the brethren came to meet him and he "thanked God and took courage" (Acts 28:15).
Compel yourself to be with people. Your inclination may be to retreat into the refuge of privacy, but there is a greater need than one realizes to associate with others. David did (1 Sam. 12:19-23).
Express your feeling in words. Talking about it will help you to accept it. If this is done at the outset of bereavement, one will sooner be able to stabilize life.
Avail yourself to spiritual resources. Even though you may not have realized the importance of the Scriptures and their comfort, now these can help in building your faith. The power of God is a precious possession.
Don't brood over what might have been. Both Mary and Martha said, "If thou hadst been here my brother would not have died" (John 1:21, 32).
Actively pursue worthwhile tasks. Once the initial shock has been dealt with, get busy at other things. Resolve like Paul to "reach forth unto those things which are before" (Phil. 3:13).
Make careful and thoughful decisions. Many an individual jumps hastily into deciding the full scope of the future rather than waiting until he has regained a proper perspective of life. Don't get in a hurry. Make prayerful decisions.
Increase your trust in God. Those who have come through their sorrows with a deeper faith can verify that God who rules over all truly does make all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28).

~ Hardeman Nichols

It is my prayer that this will be a blessing to you. it has already blessed me. I will try to apply it. Hey, Dad...I am doing my best do to this the way you would do it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

"Hey, Dad..."

"Hey, Dad...wanna play catch?" "Yes, I will be there in a minute." "Thanks." "Good pitch son, do it again..."

"Hey, do you use one of those open-spooled reels?" "Come here and I'll show you." "Ok, thanks!"

"Hey, you think we will catch any fish today?" "Well, we are going to try, Jeremy. The weather looks pretty good. Maybe we will have good luck like last time."

"Hey, Dad...wanna go to lunch, we will go eat some barbeque?" "Yeah, that sounds good, let's go."

"Hey, Dad...this light came on in the car and I think we are having a problem, what should I do?" "Tell me what happened, Jeremy, and I will try to help, do you need me to come over?"

"Hey, Dad, I just got a nicer Willie Mays for our 59' Topps set, a real sweat one, pretty good price." "Oh, yeah, cool, bring it over and we will swap it out."

"Hey, Dad, I wanna talk to you about borrowing some money so I can get a truck." "Sure, what do you have in mind?"

"Hey, Dad, I killed a ten-pointer this morning! My first buck ever!" "Wow, really? How'd you get it?"

"Hey, Dad, I just broke my 5K time again. By a whole minute, in fact I actually won the race." "Wow, that's really good, Jeremy. That is pretty fast. You are really improving."

"Hey, Dad, what did you think about meeting Bill Cosby?" "You know I really had a good time, that guy talked for an hour and a half and it only seemed like a few minutes."

"Hey, Dad, thanks for always being there for me. I am glad you are my Dad. I love you." "I am proud of you, Son. I love you, too."

"Hey, Dad, what is it like over there? Is it peaceful? Is it amazing? Is it everything God promised it would be?..."

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Perfect Storm

This past Sunday night the greatest thing happened. I only wish it had happened on Sunday morning. This is just another good reason for you to consider coming to Sunday night services if you are not already coming. When you are not there, not only do you forsake the assembly, but you miss out on everything - worship, spiritual growth, fellowship, and more. So here's what happened...

The moment "Amen" was said the sky opened up and we had the perfect thunderstorm. It was raining too hard and the lightning was flashing too dangerously for anyone to go to their cars for a while. And so, a preacher's dream came true - everybody stayed and talked. It was like everybody actually would rather stay and fellowship than leave. To me - this is the church. It is a family of people who love each other, prefer each other, and grow closer together and closer to God by spending time with one another. The rainstorm reminded us of God's power and our common experience so far beneath Him. Everyone was smiling and laughing and enjoying the rain we so desperately needed.

Psalm 133 reminds us of the wonderful blessing of God ordained fellowship - "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing— Life forevermore."

The Israelites were given a covenant, and a high priest, and a relationship with God and one another - It was a heavenly blessing! We have been given a better covenant, a better High Priest, and a relationship with God and one another that is not temporary, but forever!

As the heavens brought the rain Sunday night I contemplated the wonderful blessings of being a member of the family of God, the church of Christ. Life is wonderful! I think I will start praying for a rainstorm at the end of every worship service...

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." ~ Ephesians 1:3