Archive for December, 2020

A Word to the Wise

12-30-2020 – A Word to the Wise – I want to clarify my use of the Romans 12 passages on the gifts for those who read my material.

Definitions and use of my interpretations of Romans 12 should be seen in terms of all mankind. It may indeed have a wider interpretation for the present day church. However I am using it as a definition of all mankind and a pattern of all creation

For the purpose of my studies I am limiting it to a detectable pattern of God’s creation that has always existed. With the advent of the church this basic building block was enhanced by the Lord. However we are looking at it in a narrower context which allows one to utilize it to communicate and understand God’s creation.

The purpose for seeing it in this narrower context allows one to utilize the material in a global context rather than just the church. Further it helps one understand both Christian and non-Christians context. It allows us to use the understanding with self, family, friends, at work, even with our enemies.

One may see these traits in individuals going back to creation. With the advent of Christianity we have the Lord intensifying them in Christians. However the root gift has always existed. The abilities identify us as God’s creation. The traits are apparent in both good people and evil individuals; in Cain, and Jezebel, as well as Elijah and Joseph.

This therefore is the chief reason I refer to them as ‘motivational gifts’, as opposed to ‘spiritual gifts’. Moreover, in the Romans passage in the Greek, they are not called ‘spiritual’ gifts rather just ‘gifts’.

This usage thus explain s why one sees some negative traits in a ‘good’ person and some positive traits in a ‘bad’ person. We are all God’s creation and are imprinted with some attributes of His character. Therefore we may all be potentially ‘found’ by Him when we are lost or alone. Just as we brand animals that identify ownership, the gifts identify God’s ownership. Some, or many wander off, but may be found again because of these inborn traits which identify ownership. Some, never return to their owner.

Over the next few weeks I may have more to say about the gifts but those remarks must be seen in this context.

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A Word to the Wise

12-29-2020 – A Word to the Wise – CHRISTMAS WEEK: Knowing the early life of Jesus

There is little written about the early life of Jesus other than His birth, flight to Egypt, and the Temple incident at age 12.

Why wouldn’t scripture provide any additional information about Jesus’ childhood years? Scripture, I believe, gives us some other insights into Jesus’ childhood from what is called the Messianic passages. If they are indeed referring to Jesus, these passages open a door to understanding a lot about His early childhood.

The second attribute is hidden in this passage and is another suggestion which has huge ramifications. The text says He was there in the temple for 3 days by Himself. What is that? Three days? Jesus was able to fully care for Himself at this age. This would include Him being able to make His way around a large city and basically make decisions about Himself. I suspect this was the first time in His young life that He was exposed to acceptance, and that by strangers.

How is this possible? Some would say that you would expect the Son of God to do these things. In reality, I think there is another reason.

He had been taught His stepfather’s trade; some say the trade was carpentry, others say it was masonry. He would be physically strong. He would have had responsibilities towards His brothers and sisters. Now, this becomes a significant piece of information.

Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. (Matthew 13:55) He also had several sisters according to tradition.

There is little doubt that Jesus’ siblings had some negative feelings towards Him. Considering the nature of Mary’s pregnancy before marriage, Jesus would have become a source of scorn by His siblings and adults alike. In fact, I would suggest that Jesus endured significant distress at the hands of others. These attitudes and behaviors were not new. Rather Jesus is exposed to rejection and jealousy all of His life.

Are there any scriptures which may indicate any of this? I believe so.

Let’s begin with Isaiah 53. Isaiah 53 should be accounted for because His ministry years do not answer the questions raised by the passages concerning Jesus’ childhood. This is a passage that conservative theologians would insist is a reference to the coming Messiah.

Starting with verse 2, notice these traits. The NIV states, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” The RSV reads, “He had no form or comeliness that we should look at him and no beauty that we should desire him.” The JPS version says, “He had no form or beauty that we should look at him, no charm that we should find him pleasing.” So first, He was not attractive, like King David.

Second, look at the next verse; “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

Our tendency is to apply this to Jesus’ ministry. I do not think so; this context is in His early life. Sure, during His ministry there were some who hated Him, but the vast number of people loved Him.

It makes good sense that during those early years, the passage is saying Jesus was despised and rejected first by His brothers and sisters and then followed by the general population. Why would it be this kind of rejection?

Examining the nature of Jesus’ birth, Mary was not married at the time of her pregnancy. Jesus’ family knew it and the community had to have known it as well. It is apparent that the family was slow to accept the specialness of Jesus. Even being aware of the birth story does not ensure belief in divinity.

In fact, a close reading of Luke 4:22 reveals the amazement that this is the same Jesus that grew up among them. His family did not believe that He was special. (John 7:3ff) Even before this, we find the family of Jesus wanting to declare Jesus crazy and take Him away. (Mark 3:31-35, Matthew 12:46ff, Luke 8:19-21)

I believe that Luke 4 may even give another perspective that might help us understand what is happening. To see it we must look at what happens when we translate verse 22 back into the original language that Jesus spoke. First, the translation of Luke 4:22 in the RSV, “And all spoke well of him and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.” If we translate this back into the original language look what happens. “And they all testified against him and were shocked at the disgraceful words that were coming out of his mouth, and they said this is the son of Joseph.” It is too complex to go into why this whole conversation comes out differently, but it does provide context. The text is now compatible with the attempted stoning of Jesus. He is disliked and rejected by those He grew up among, regardless of all His miracles.

Also, the family of Jesus grew up with Him. To them, He was nothing special and He was an embarrassment. Nowhere do we find them supporting Him. We must remember none of Jesus’ family were followers of Him and they did not experience what the disciples experienced. His family did not live through moments like the calming of the storm and the transfiguration, nor were they anywhere near his trial or crucifixion. They grew up with Jesus and disliked Him.

Returning to Isaiah 53, we find that He was not attractive. Jesus probably, to some extent, kept to Himself because of the behavior of others towards Him. The text points out that He was a person of sorrow and grief. These attributes are experienced in childhood. They were lifelong experiences, not just the last week of His life.

So, we see a summary of Jesus’ early years in Isaiah. One may ask why was there this depth of rejection and why did the Father allow His son to experience this abuse? Simply how else would Jesus come to know the depth of man’s hatred? He knows men are not to be trusted. Now He is indeed prepared to love His enemy and to practice forgiveness.

Turning from Isaiah, let’s examine Psalm 69. This is one of the Messianic Psalms, several passages are quoted in the New Testament. It is my contention that this passage gives us the view into the heart of Jesus’ early life, and it is not pleasant.

Here are the first twenty verses: Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause; mighty are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies. What I did not steal must I now restore? O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you. Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord God of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach, that dishonor has covered my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother’s sons. For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me. When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach. When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them. I am the talk of those who sit in the gate, and the drunkards make songs about me. But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness. Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. Hide not your face from your servant, for I am in distress; make haste to answer me. Draw near to my soul, redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies! You know my reproach, and my shame and my dishonor; my foes are all known to you. Reproaches have broken my heart, so that I am in despair. I looked for pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none.

In this first section, the Psalmist begins with a plea for help. This is not a reference to actual drowning in the sense of water or mud. This passage is referring to drowning in hatred. Whose hatred? That becomes clearer as we proceed through the material.

One may ask why is God, His father, not paying attention to His plea? Just as God would not intervene in the crucifixion years later, He could not intervene here. Jesus had to grow; He had to mature mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There are no shortcuts to life. Isaiah proclaimed that He would be acquainted with sorrow and now we see just how much sorrow He endured.

So, the passage declares that Jesus would be hated without cause. After age 12 or before? My suggestion is that it began at an early age and the assaults came from within His family and from the community. Proceeding to the next section in Psalms 69, we find a host of accusations occurring against Jesus. We find Jesus begging the Father to protect others; He is pleading that they not be brought down or dishonored by the accusations against Him. The psalmist goes on to point to the family, not only as the accuser but also the ones who might be shamed through Him. Evidently, even His family is bearing criticism because of Jesus. Following criticism comes the spread of the gossip. Now it is the talk of the elders of the city, and it has even grown to the point that the drunkards of the city proclaim songs of ridicule.


It is neither reasonable nor practical to think that Jesus led a trouble-free life until He was 30 years old when He began His ministry. It is easy to proclaim that His divinity made everything easy for Him and He had all wisdom and knowledge, but this is just not the case.

In fact, even in the 3 years of his ministry, Jesus found Himself amazed by men. Jesus marveled at the centurion’s replies. (Matthew 8:10ff) We find Jesus astonished at the disbelief of his hometown in spite of all his miracles. (Mark 6:6) These passages do not reflect omniscience. Even when it came to His upcoming arrest, He is found pleading with the Father if there is another way. (Mark 14:32ff)

The writer of Hebrews insists that in every way Jesus experienced what we experience. (Hebrew 4:14ff). He learned obedience just as we must learn obedience. He suffered just as we suffer, not just during the last 3 years of His life, nor just the 40 days in the wilderness. His strength of character, trust, and faith was built on the sorrow and trials of childhood, and even into manhood. Even if Psalm 69 is not a detailed description of Jesus early life, and I believe it is, He would have to have gone through this if indeed he suffered in every way as we do.

So, I offer a decidedly different view of Jesus before His ministry, His early childhood was filled with disbelief, hatred, and rejection. This is why He is able to understand us, because He walked in our shoes, tasted the bitterness of family and friends from birth until death.

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A Word to the Wise

12-28-2020 – A Word to the Wise – The highest kind of love has its root in humility. It is not difficult to learn the first part of mature love. That love which is able to deny self and care for the welfare of others. Particularly does this love come naturally when expressed for loved ones. Some even may feel genuine love and concern for humanity in general.

But when we get to the kind of love that is able to love our enemies, we find we are over our heads. Here we find it necessary to have a deeper, stronger character than we have ever imagined. This type of love demands strength that is only acquired through humility.

Who is my enemy one might say. Everyone who opposes the cross of Christ Jesus. Whether that be husband, child, mother or father, or even self at times. Every attitude or behavior regardless the owner that challenges the Lord is an enemy of the Lord. How is that enemy to be treated? Better than mother, or father, brother and sister. Where does one get the strength, the courage, the stamina, to stand against evil? Those traits flow from the quality of humility.

Humility can only be established by our personal relationship with God. When I behold God as my creator and really feel the significance of being the created, the honor of God becomes real; the acceptance of self inevitable. Out of all of this comes the humility that enables me to love my enemy.

Humility gives one a sense of worth, because it has its roots in ones’ relationship with God. Now many confuse feeling worthless with being humble. However, there is no spiritual relationship between worthlessness and humility. Every man has his own gifts of God. To deny them, to call them worthless would be to defame God. Humility is knowing whom and what you are before God.

Test what I say. Love your neighbor as yourself. Now if you are worthless you would see him also as worthless, but if you see your worth then you can also acknowledge his. This is a very basic step in gaining humility

Many people have such a case of inferiority though that they are afraid to approach humility. Inferiority like worthlessness is unrelated to humility. God never said man was worthless — he said he was helpless. He never said we were inferior rather he created us superior to all of his creatures. That superiority is not for the purpose of ruling over but to care for and protect.

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A Word to the Wise

12-18-2020 – Unconditional love is an ungodly term, or concept invented by man to cover evil. Actually it is a humanistic philosophy perpetuated by Satan for the unbeliever to mock the loving God.

Strong terms are they not? How is it possible to even make such a statement? Are we not to be like the Lord? Does he not love unconditionally? Absolutely emphatically not. Every page of scripture rehearses and demands obedience. Those two things always go hand in hand in Scripture. “If you love me you will keep my commandments,” one demands the other and without one there can be no other only love and obedience.

So now we are confronted with a great paradox of scripture. Jesus taught in Luke 6: 27ff we are to love our enemies, He reaffirms this and tells us how in Matthew 18:23ff. You see Jesus says anyone can love those who love in return. However, true love is what is shown to the unlovable person. Not a feeling, rather an attitude of mercy and compassion. Does that not mean to ‘love unconditionally” no it means to show compassion to all men. To see that person as a human created by God and to love the person is to love God. It does not mean give that person everything they want.

But I do not understand, is that not ‘loving unconditionally.” No, does God give you everything you want? No there are conditions. It is not giving us everything we want rather everything the Lord wants for us.

So how does that apply to loving others? It demands that we understand we are loving God in loving the enemy. This type of behavior is actually loving God not self, not others. Moreover, it is an attitude, a behavior, not a feeling. The only one we are to love’ unconditionally’ is when it is directed to the Lord. Even then the Lord does not expect us to love him unconditionally.

Hebrews11:6 “and without faith it is impossible to please Him for whoever would draw near to God must believe (two things) that he exist and that he rewards those who seek him.” So even God in reality does not demand unconditional love, instead he requires that we believe and that he rewards.

In loving our enemies, or even the wicked it is not to love their behavior it is to love the Lord. Even God showers the wicked with blessings in order to cause them to see Him.

I can think of nothing more confusing in scripture than love. Not because it is unclear rather because we want to add what God does not expect, or demand what he will not give.

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A Word to the Wise

12-14-2020 – A Word to the Wise – THE ACQUISTION OF MERCY: Why and how

Patience is obtained through endurance of unpleasant situations or circumstances. How often I hear, “I will not ever pray for the Lord to teach me patience again.” Usually this follows a very trying experience. The person is unwilling to undergo the character training necessary to produce the character quality of patience.

The character quality of Mercy is obtained in much the same manner, however it involves the experience of significant pain; emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual. Acquiring Mercy is very painful. Not long ago I was explaining to a client the painful process necessary if one was to develop the trait, and its benefit to others. The individual let me know quite bluntly they had no desire to acquire Mercy they would do just fine without it. How unfortunate. It reminds me of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus wanting to be a disciple. Once learning the cost he decided to choose a different path.

So it is with Mercy. Perhaps we should offer a glimmer of insight into the benefits of the merciful before we count the cost. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount tells us that the one who is merciful will obtain Mercy. We will see something of the value of that blessing shortly.

You see the person who has perfected this quality acts like a sponge when in the presence of pain. But not their own, only for others. It takes considerable selflessness to practice mercy.

One of the most perplexing aspects of this quality is exactly what does the Mercy do with the pain removed from others?

First let’s look at the whole process. First one senses pain in another. Next they have to make a decision whether to respond. There is always a choice involved. Third usually physical contact is made with the individual. Touching the person’ their hand, ect. Then the process begins and the suffering is drawn off the other person. When finished the other person actually, physically or emotionally feels better. The next step is the most perplexing and unfortunately rarely learned by the person exercising the quality. What does the Mercy do with all the pain? If they keep it to themselves they get sick, particularly if emotional pain.

The Mercy must pick up the scriptures, particularly the Psalms and meditate. I compiled a list. It is not just one, it is about three pages of just certain sections that are slowly read. In the process the pain is surrender to the Lord and then is gone. The final experience is one of extreme fatigue and one has to rest, usually sleep. The whole process begins again.

I should note that often the Mercy is better at one type of pain or another; physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional rarely all.

I must repeat, to practice this quality the person must have themselves experienced a lot of lifelong pain. Now just who is going to volunteer for that?

These different stages are necessary for the Mercy if he is to successfully reduce suffering. Now why would anyone want to go through all of this pain? Is it worth it? God’s Word tells us that this is exactly what Jesus did for us and leaves us with the example that we might do it for others.

Who are those most apt to develop these skills? First of all those who have been given the gift of Mercy which represents about 30 % of the general population. Second born children, are another group representing a large segment of society who tend to desire this trait. A combination of the two, one possessing the gift of Mercy and second born individuals makes the ability very intense. Material on the Motivation Gifts gives more details on all seven gifts and particularly the gift of Mercy.

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A Word to the Wise

12-11-2020 – A Word to the Wise – We forget why we are here. Perhaps a gentle reminder at times will help us understand our true purpose and explain some of the things that haunt us.

We are warriors of the King. It is that simple. That means we must think, and act, and behave like warriors. Instead of complaining of our lot in life we need to see the bigger picture of the battlefield and our place and purpose on it.

Battles are fought in many forms. Some are actual physical battle where one might engage the enemy. Some battle are emotional, our emotions or another’s. Some battle are intellectual, whether in the classroom, ministry, or battles with the evil ones forces. Some battle are spiritual engagements, whether in prayer, or intercession.

Examples of some of the positions that one might serve: The Solder or Police officer often finds themselves in direct contact with the enemy. Others are prayer warriors fighting the enemy from within his camp. Still others are teachers whose task prepares the student to engage the enemy in a variety of ways and discover intelligence about the enemy. Some engage the enemy emotionally tearing down walls, and resolving a variety of conflicting situations. Regardless, the field of combat we must show courage, and faithfulness. We are dependent on our commander and his battle plan.

I am offering a small taste of my battle ground experiences as a police officer. As of this date I have been a sworn officer for 43 years with the city of Dallas. I have obtained the highest certification, that of a Master Patrolman.

May 27-28, 1983

The next 24 hours will see a multitude of stirring events. It is 6 p.m. For the next 3 hours we answer a variety of calls; family violence, burglary reports ect. Near 9 p.m. we get a call for service and head toward downtown. Now it is my tendency to implore the Lord to give me the opportunity to save a life.

Another call comes out at Latimer and Grand and since we are only 3 blocks away we tell dispatch we will take it. Before we arrive we see a motorcycle laying on its side in a field off Good Latimer. We notify dispatch we are stopping to investigate. I get out and walk towards the scene and see the figure of a man on the ground.

The black male is a bloody mess. I search for a pulse and find a weak one. His heart appears to stop then start again. We started CPR. Blood comes flooding from his mouth. I turn his face to the side. With every compression blood floods from his mouth. The man’s jaw is shattered. DFD arrives we continues to check for a pulse and a faint one continues. DFD gets him into the ambulance and they intubate and start for Parkland. I say a prayer for him. A little later the Sgt. Calls us to meet him. We are informed the man lives. It is time to go home.

.We are Eastbound on R.L. Thornton going 65 mph, nearing the St. Francis exit when we notice a Pick up pulled over to the far left in the safety lane. The hood is up and two individuals working on the engine. We observe two women sitting on the lane barrier between the Eastbound and Westbound lanes. We pass, and my partner looks in the rear view mirror and loudly exclaims, “Oh, No, NO, No. What happened? “He hit them,” we immediately turn on the red lights and turn around westbound in the East bound lane returning to the accident. The Pickup is upside down nose to nose with another vehicle. Gasoline is starting to spill out of the tank. We start looking for bodies. The two women have jumped across the barrier and are not hurt. A white male 20 year old is face down on the road, moving and talking and we move him next to the median barrier.

I run back to the pick up looking for the other man. I observe a body lying under the rear of the pickup in front of the gas tank which is now leaking fuel. There is blood everywhere. I craw under the vehicle and notice a reddish beard and mustache, and a huge cut on the man’s forehead which is bleeding. Gasoline is spilling over him. Crawling next to him I check for life and find a faint pulse. He is pinned underneath the fame of the vehicle. I lift his head out of the pool of gasoline, and compress the wound to stop the bleeding. Smelling smoke from the engine compartment. I use the small radio to call for the fire department. Checking for a pulse and respiration I find that it is faint. But he is bleeding heavily from a wound. I am in a bind. The vehicle has the person pinned, I cannot move him, gasoline is spreading, and holding him up is getting difficult. The gasoline sprays into his face if I set his head down. If I put his head down he will drown in the gasoline, and the smoke is getting denser with bits of flame from the engine compartment lighting up the scene.

About that time DFD pulls up and a couple of fireman rush to lift the body of the pickup off us. Another fireman helps me drag the survivor out from under the truck. DFD bandages his head with a compression bandage, puts a neck collar on him and he is loaded into an ambulance for transport. He is still breathing. He starts throwing up blood and they turn his head to the side. I say a prayer for him. The driver of the other vehicle is drunk and dazed. His other victim has suffered a serious concussion but is conscious. DFD starts spraying down the area.

I am sick to my stomach from the blood and gasoline. When I get home taking off the uniform I find I am soaked in blood. Several hours later, Saturday I spend the day at my son’ graduation. I am so proud of him graduating with honors. Lord grant him the grace and humility to serve you wisely. May his life and family honor you.

Do not be tempted to say to yourself that this is about me. It is not. It is about Him what he does when we are too weak, or sad, or defenseless. It truly is about Him.

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A Word to the Wise

12-7-2020 – A Word to the Wise – Sometimes what we see influences what we believe, however:

In Genesis 4 we have the story of Cain and Abel and how Cain kills his brother. As you read the story you might get the impression that Cain was angry over God not accepting his offering. Now I have heard it said that this had something to do with the type of offering. I do not think so.

In fact pictures of Cain killing Abel with a stone can be misleading. But I will return to that later.

In I John 3:12 John states that Cain was evil (not in killing his brother) but his deeds or life style was evil even before this. The way of thinking over time finally led to destroying Abel. So it is not the type of offering or even the single act of murder, it was his manner of life.

Moreover, the Greek here is important. John does not use a typical word for murder. The word used by John is an intense variation most often used to kill an animal by cutting the throat. Now all the pictures I have seen of this is Cain hitting Abel with a rock. What John may be inferring is that Cain actually cut his brother’s throat. Moreover, this on Cain’s part is a premediated act he spent time thinking about it planning it preparing for it.

If this is correct that it is Cain’s manner of life then considered this God looks with distain on tithes, or gifts offered to him from a person walking in sin.

A person cannot be having an affair, or stealing, lying, or any number of other evil deeds on a regular basis and expect the Lord to accept anything from his hand. One cannot live an immoral life and expect the Lord to accept anything. The Lord may well get very angry with the gifts presented with this kind of heart.

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A Word to the Wise

12-4-2020 – A Word to the Wise – The Lord as School Master II

As I was writing the last post several other ‘lessons’ came to mind one perhaps the Lord found humorous. I didn’t but I am sure He did. So let me share it as well.

During the last semester at OCC a couple of incidents occurred which was to have a major impact on my life. If memory serves me I was taking 20 semester hour and I was weary of learning. The worse subject being Hebrew.

Because of a learning disability I cannot learn the correct pronunciation of words through sight rather only by sound. Even now it is a problem. (Still cannot pronounce aluminum correctly).

However, Hebrew is best learned by sound. So on the drive to school I would write the words on the windshield to practice. It was hard and I cringe even to this day.

It was time for the final exam. Dr. McCord only had the final test which was to be the final grade for the class. I was hopelessly lost. I had no idea what to study. So I broke down and ask the Lord what was going to be on the test. I know you already think this is funny. It was not. I was miserable.

Immediately, the answer came back; Genesis 12:1-4. I took Him at his word and memorized every aspect of those verses in Hebrew. Test day comes Dr. McCord hands out the test I open it and the only thing on that test came from Genesis 12:1-4! I made 98 on the test. Now if I could only stop there. But it was not to be.

That last semester a visitor came from Harding Graduate School to try and get students to go on for the Master degree. This person tried to convince me to go. He told me about one of the teacher a Dr. Jack Lewis who held two doctorates one from Hebrew Union, and the second from Harvard. He raved about the man how he even got to eat dinner with him once.

In that moment of time I told myself I not only would not ever under any circumstance go to Harding and if per chance I did I would never, ever take one of Dr. Lewis’ classes!

The Lord saw it differently. I argued with Him, flatly refused, demanded that He change his mind. All to no avail.

That September Mary, Timothy, and I headed for Memphis, reluctantly.

The first day of school I made it to chapel 30 minutes early. The place was empty. Go into the small chapel looked at the arrangement of pews. There were two, one on each side at the very back which would suit me just fine. The pews were very short barely enough room for one person. Perfect.

I tried the one on the left first. It took exactly three steps from the pew to the exit door. Then I tried the right side. It only took two steps to the exit. So that is where I sat down. I did not want to be here. I did not want to talk to anyone and I knew for sure and certain I would be out that door before the last amen had finished reverberating.

Sure enough the place filled up and I talked to no one, and thankfully everyone ignore me.

As soon as the last amen sounded I took two steps and was out that door. Halfway down the hall I heard someone say ‘Jerry”. I figured they were not talking to me because I had talked to no one and so I just kept walking.

A second time the voice said ‘Jerry.’ I stopped turned and there was this short little man standing in the hall. He said his name was Jack Lewis and he needed to talk to me. He ask if I was Jerry I said yes. He ask me into his office which was right there. Walked in and there were books and folders everywhere. He ask me to sit down. Picked up a folder I could see it had my name on it. I said wonderful to myself. They figured I did not belong here either. I was relieved thank you Lord. I was leaving. I did not know where I was going but it most certainly was not going to be here.

Then the hammer fell and the Lord must have been laughing his head off. “I see you made a 98 in Hebrew. Yes well accidents happen. It seems I need a new student to grade papers and teach my Hebrew class when I am out of town, the job pays some small amount.

Lord God, what have you done to me. I had a tent in the state park outside Memphis since I did not have a job therefore no place to live. I had no money. Here I am standing talking to the one person I swore I would have nothing to do with, offering me a job teaching Hebrew which I should have failed! I will never ever ask for your help on a test again!

So for the next 3 years I substituted teaching Hebrew and grading papers every day. The lesson, be sure your careful about what you pray for.

A post script. Remember the character bragging about eating dinner with Dr. Lewis. Well I never ate with him. But it came about that he was having car problems and as he was describing it I knew exactly what was wrong told him I would work on it.

He took me out to this old piece of junk and I said to myself why in the world somebody as famous as him would be driving this old piece of junk?

I fixed it and therefore the next 3 years I kept it running. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to try and change a starter on a Buick which is only reached underneath the car with a foot of snow on the ground? A lot easier than Hebrew! This just is not funny Lord!

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A Word for the Wise

12-2-2020 – A Word for the Wise – The Lord as School Master

I do not know how the Lord teaches you but I sure know some of the most difficult life lessons He has taught me. There are many but let me just share one.

Because of my emotional distraught childhood I developed an emotional block to learning. This problem is best symbolized by my encounter with Algebra.

From my first day in algebra class I knew I would never comprehend this subject. One of the most basic fundamental concepts is symbolize in the math concept called ‘sets’ even to this day that word drives me crazy.

Regardless in the ninth grade I had a pleasant enough algebra teacher. However, I set myself down in the class in the very last row at the back of the class. Stubbornly told myself that I could never, ever comprehend this subject.

I didn’t either. I failed the first year. The next year I had to retake the class, sat in the very same place I had the year before, same desk (knew it because I carved all over the desk) and of course at the end of the year the teacher told me she was ‘giving me a D== the first ever given, not because I earned it but because she could not put up with me another year.

Now I do not know how the Lord works with you, but He was not happy with my performance. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Thirty years later, I am reading God’s Word notice a few very simple words in Deuteronomy 30:20. “loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him; for that means life to you and length of days.”

The Lord stopped me at that point and said I am going to prove to you the reality of that statement in a manner never seen before. Do you want to learn? “Yes Lord I would love for you to teach that to me”.

For the next several months the Lord had me painstakingly go through and collect a huge amount of material on the biblical kings of Judah and Israel.

Step by step line by line until one day He said ‘you can see, but not see.” Remember the algebra you refused to learn? It is time to go back and understand it.

Taking me through both algebra and some advanced statistical analysis the Lord revealed an astonishing secret. Those kings, all of the same linage, the same DNA of the linage of David, their lives proved the very words of Deuteronomy 30:20.

The good kings, those who worshipped the Lord and obeyed his commands lived and prospered 12.4 years longer that the evil kings.

Now the lesson I learned from this besides that bit of knowledge is that the Lord sets us in situations to learn and those situation whether in grammar school, high school, or college contains lessons to be learned and time should not be wasted.

Moreover, the Lord is a painstakingly good teacher Himself if we will but pay attention. Have you not found Him so in your life?

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