Categories
Christian Living sacrifice

A Different Kind of Hero

When his younger brother went off to war in 1942, my grandfather, a bookkeeper, became a reluctant cotton farmer. Their dad was unable to manage 160 acres by himself. So Raymond, my grandfather, came back home to help.

Trading ledger books for leather gloves doesn’t sound like that big of a deal. But PaPaw, as we called him, had a weakened heart–caused by a childhood bout with rheumatic fever. He was well into his sixties by the time I remember him. But, even as a boy, it was clear to me that Papaw had never been a “he man.”

Yet, like so many of his generation, he made big sacrifices for the good of others. And that makes this little 135 pound guy my hero. Sound like anyone else you know?

Photo by Patricia McCarty on Pexels.com

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:5

Recently, Jeff King caused me to ponder what makes a real hero with his post, Quote for 10/11/21. “When we talk about heroes we think of someone elevated, a marble statue on a pedestal.” Jeff goes on to say that actual heroism is often less statuesque. Many who inspire us by their selfless acts are “misshapen,” (Jeff’s word) by their circumstances.

And like a good Christian blogger, he backs up his thoughts with scripture, highlighting the process every hero endures. “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” –Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)

For some reason, I’ve always thought of this biblical purification process–from suffering to hope–as a one time deal. But Jeff’s post made me realize it’s actually a repeating cycle.

Caution: for best results, load this type of washing machine evenly. Overloading can lead to life imbalances. It also makes quite a racket!😊

Here’s my favorite hero spin cycle scripture. Please share one of yours!

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.“ —Galatians 3:4-5 (MSG)

🙏❤️ prayers and love.

Categories
character Christian Living

Guard Your Heart

Growing up, my house was the neighborhood hub for summer fun. Friends came to play basketball—every day but Sunday—and lined up afterwards for my mom’s homemade popsicles. The front drive was always abuzz with activity.

I think my parents liked it this way, because they knew where my brothers and I were, and could also keep a watchful eye on everyone. They were teachers (off in the summer) and almost everyone in our little town knew them.

Occasionally, after the last pick-up game, when everyone had gone home, my dad would warn me about someone who’d been there that day. “Son, I heard the Perkins kid using the F-word and saw him throwing elbows under the rim. That’s not the kind of friend or player you want to be.”

I actually thought *Jimmy Perkins was kinda cool. But even as a teenager, I respected my father’s advice; he was a good judge of character. Sure enough, later that fall Jimmy got kicked off the team and suspended from school for punching our basketball coach in the face!

Awhile later, I came across the apostle Paul’s warning to the Galatians: “A little yeast works through the whole bunch of dough,” (Gal. 5:9) and I realized what my father had done: he protected me by pointing out someone who was a bad influence.

There’s actually quite a bit in the Bible about how much damage a little leaven can do. Paul used the analogy to clue the Galatians in to the dangers of legalism, but said almost the same words to caution the Corinthians about tolerating a totally different situation. (1 Cor. 5:6-7) Jesus Himself weighed in on the issue. He told his disciples to, “guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees,” who added their own pious rules to God’s law (Matt. 16:6-12).

The point is, we need to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). One step daily with God in the right direction can transform your life. However, walking backwards has the opposite effect.

I like how fellow blogger Chris Hendrix puts it in his post Defeating Hidden Sins:

“Guarding my heart became something I did rather than just something I read about in the Bible. If every sin was hiding in my heart, waiting for the right moment and circumstances to align, I needed to be more cautious.”

Chris Hendrix

AMEN! Guarding your heart is something you DO.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life

Prov. 4:23

To read about my own personal misjudgment with the proverbial yeast, please see the post, Just a Little Off Course.

*not his real name.

Photo by Spencer Lind on Pexels.com

Categories
courage Perseverance

She Had No Quit

“But I want you to keep your head no matter what happens. Don’t give up when times are hard. Work to spread the good news. Do everything God has given you to do.” 2 Timothy 4:5

Industrious. Positive. Determined. These are words that describe my grandmother. A farmer’s daughter who became a farmer’s wife, she did not lead an easy life. But it was a fruitful one.

The Sandy community, where both my grandparents lived most of their lives, is in the southwest corner of Oklahoma. The gritty soil is basically good for growing one cash crop–cotton. Beyond that (especially back in the day) it was simply a good place to get your car, or even tractor, stuck.

Sometimes when I’m out for a long run and I think I can’t go any farther, I picture my grandmother—headed out to the hen house in the middle of the night with her favorite hoe—because something was after her chickens.

She HAD NO QUIT. It just wasn’t in her nature.

This is what the Apostle Paul wanted to impress upon his young protege, Timothy: whatever happens, don’t quit. Fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12); fan into flame the gift of God which is in you (2 Timothy 1:6); endure hardship like a good soldier of Christ (2 Timothy 2:3).

Isn’t it amazing when someone’s name describes their character? This was certainly true for Timothy. His name means, “honoring God” or “honored by God.” My grandmother’s first name was Eunice, which means “good victory.”

I can honestly say she “fought the good fight of faith” and completed everything the Lord gave her to do. And she did it with a positive attitude.

It’s understandable to worry a little, but you must remain positive—even if you don’t feel like it.

Eunice Estes

Grandmother died in 2012 at the age of 100, after spending the last 30 years of her life legally blind. Yet she rarely complained about anything.

Still today, I hear her cheerful voice saying something like, “Everything’s gonna be alright.” And I believe it.

So, please stay strong, my friends. Don’t. Give. Up.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Photo by Hưng Nguyễn Việt on Unsplash