I remember the first time I cussed in front of my Mom. My Aunt was visiting at our house and I repeated a humorous story I had heard, using the world ‘Damned’. The room got deathly still. My Aunt’s mouth dropped open. My Mom shouted my entire name (including the never-mentioned middle name)! My brother laughed out loud (probably from his excitement at the impending doom about to fall). The color drained from my face and my brain froze. Can I take it back? Can I say, “I meant to say…?” Nope. I was caught red-handed (or red-faced). There was no way out.
I got up, walked outside, got on my bike and disappeared for the rest of the day. I’m sure my Mom said behind my back, “You just wait til your father gets home!” I’m sure she was completely humiliated to have her god-fearing sister hear how I talked in front of my Mom.
Ever stuck your foot in your mouth before? Sometimes a kid tries to act like an adult before you’re ready. That was me. I had to learn the hard way. That incident put a real caution in my brain. Mom’s never heard me swear since then. We should all be very cautious with our words.
“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken” (Matthew 12:36).
There are tings we forget and things we cannot forget. I cannot remember my First Grade teacher’s name but I’m sure she had an impact on my life. I cannot forget my Drill Instructor’s name (Sergeant Stamper), because he had an important impact in my life.
I’m sure there are certain things even Jesus doesn’t remember about the details of his formative years. But Jesus cannot forget you. God said, speaking through the Prophet, “They may forget, yet will I not forget you. I have graven you upon the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16).
As Jesus ascended into heaven, his scarred hands, marked for us sinners, could clearly be seen. The beauty of the Creator had been marred at the hands of men. It was a price He was willing to pay to not forget us. The marks of the nails are you reminder that He hasn’t forgotten you.
There was a gravel pit about a mile and a half from my house, just out of town, when I was growing up. My buddies and I loved to ride our bikes out there with our fishing poles and try to catch blue-gills. As you know, blue-gills love worms. The biggest obstacle was finding worms. My grandpa had a horse barn with a pile of manure behind. Worms love manure piles. We wouldn’t have to dig very deep to harvest a dozen or so worms, drop them in a tin can and head of town.
We loved fishing, the fish loved the worms, and the worms loved the manure pile. It was a perfect world.
Today the gravel pit is still there, although the barn and manure pile are gone. My friends are still around, but I never see them. And I don’t ride a bike much anymore, either. Our world isn’t perfect anymore, since we don’t have time to dig worms or go fishing. Responsibility has taken our time. But I still embrace the memories of the good old days when someone else had to worry about me.
The Bible says that God knows the number of hairs on my head and cares more about me than a simple sparrow. Why should we worry when we can cast our cares upon Him?
I did some family history research on Anita’s side of the family Sunday evening. Monday morning I was entering the info I found on my genealogy software when I noticed a name that looked familiar married to another name that looked familiar. So I got into my name index, and sure enough, she and I share common ancestors. We have to go back to the early 1700s, but we are indeed Kissin’ Cousins.
The common ancestors were of Dutch origin in New Jersey. The Dutch Reformed Church kept excellent christening records, so from here on back isn’t that hard to prove.
We’re really all related, after all. And in the faith (which is what really matters in God’s eyes) we are all brothers and sisters with one common Father God. Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes, indeed.
In the pioneer days the US government didn’t need to tax people. The government bought Indian land for a song and sold undeveloped land to settlers. There were always new immigrants and the federal government raked in the dough. Westward expansion was very profitable.
The government authorized several federal roads to be cut through the wilderness so pioneers could move westward. One of them cut through the center of DeKalb County and is known today as US 6. Its original path was surveyed in a direct East/West path along what is today County Road 28, cutting across the southern edge of Waterloo, a quarter mile north of my house.
When Anita and I subdivided our property from the original farm owner, our property line wasn’t true. The government surveyors had used a faulty measurement, and all landowners since have used the faulty measurement as markers for their own surveys.
Are you following a true standard in your life, or a slightly faulty one? Start with the correct measuring point and you’ll always end up where you belong.
One of football’s most memorable games was between Georgia Tech and Southern Cal in a Bowl game in 1930. According to Dr. James Buskirk, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Tulsa, “Southern Cal fumbled the ball and one of their players, Roy Reagal, picked it up. But in the excitement of the recovery, he ran over 90 yards in the wrong direction. The crowd laughed as finally one of his own men tackled him near Tech’s goal.
“At half time, all was quiet in the players’ room…except for the sobbing of one man, Reagal, covering his face with a blanket, was crying like a baby. Coach Nibs Price broke the silence by announcing, ‘The same team that started the first half will begin the second.’
“As the others left, Reagal said, ‘Coach, I can’t do that. I’ve ruined myself and the team.’
“The coach said, ‘Roy, the game’s not over. There’s a second half. Go out and play like I know you can.’
“In the second half, Roy Reagal was a phantom on the field. He was always right on top of the play.”
Roy Regal had a second chance to play his game, and so do you. You may have pulled a Reagal blunder in the first half, but this is now the second half, and you have a second chance. Now, get out there and play like God knows you can.
Our 5-year old granddaughter, Raegan, invited Anita and I to stay at her house last night for a sleepover. We replied that there weren’t enough beds in their house. She replied, “Well, Grandma could sleep on the couch and Grandpa could sleep in the bed with Mommy and Daddy.” I don’t think so.
I appreciate how she’s trying to arrange things, but that won’t quite work. But, how nice it would be if all of us would invite Jesus over for a sleepover. Could we find room in the Inn for Him? Would we set aside our own busyness to be a host to our guest? Could we share our real lives with Him, or would we need to clean up a bit first; hide a few things first?
Maybe He’s just waiting for the invitation: Just as I am; Without one plea; but that Your blood was shed for me.