Categories
Christian Living spiritual growth

One Piece at a Time

The singer Johnny Cash has a humorous song that’s a classic “Country boy outsmarts the establishment” story.

According to the song, in 1949 a young man from Kentucky takes a job on an assembly line in Detroit, Michigan building Cadillacs. He is in awe of the beautiful sedans, but is saddened by the fact that he can’t afford one.

One day, he comes up with a daring plan which is revealed in the chorus: 🎶 “I’ll get it one piece at a time, and it won’t cost me a dime.”🎶 Slowly, over the next twenty-odd years, the man sneaks out Cadillac parts–a few at a time–until he has a whole car.

Finally, when he’s ready to retire, he and his friends from the auto plant decide to assemble the one-of-a-kind Caddy. However, they quickly discover that many of the parts, from different year models, don’t fit together.

So they drill new holes for bolts and use an adapter kit to make the 1973 engine work with the 1949 transmission. Soon enough the car is running and driving, but then the guys realize it has only one tail fin and three head lights!

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power if from God and not from us.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)

The other day I complained (just a wee bit) to God. 🙏 Lord, as a teenager I dedicated my life to serve You in the gospel ministry. Remember that? But 14 years later everything fell apart. Why?

Kind reader, did you ever long for a brand new spiritual “Cadillac,” only to realize you couldn’t afford one? Me too. But then God said something –the same thing He told the Apostle Paul:

My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9a (NIV)

In other words, God gives us what we need. One piece at a time. And His generosity doesn’t cost us a dime. Yet, unlike the song, we aren’t sneaking off with the unaffordable. This custom ride is a gift.

A fender here, a door there, over the course of many years walking with the Lord. Does it matter all that much if they don’t match?

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9b (NIV)

Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️ prayers and love.


Photo by carlos aranda on Unsplash

Categories
Christian Blog Humility

Fears in the Ears

It started innocently enough. Friends and family began to mumble in everyday conversation. It got harder to understand them, especially if there was any background noise. “What’s going on?” I thought to myself. “Doesn’t anyone speak clearly these days?!”

Around this same time, I had a telephone conversation with my oldest son. I’m sitting on the back porch one night telling him how it’s been such a dry summer there aren’t any crickets. Of course, I had him on speaker; nobody talks clearly on the phone these days either.🙃

“Hold up, dad. Stop talking,” he said. Several seconds of awkward silence followed. Finally, my son came back on the line. “I can hear plenty of crickets on your end. You should get your hearing checked.”

It was tough for a middle-aged guy to admit, but maybe, just maybe, he was right. What if everyone wasn’t mumbling, and all the crickets weren’t dead? Perhaps the problem was mine.

“But I can hear and understand you fine,” I told the audiologist, sitting in his well-appointed exam room. “Yes, but it’s quiet in here,” he said. “What about when there’s noise in the background–like a crowded restaurant? Do people sound like they’re mumbling? Are they hard to understand?

To make a long story short: a hearing test revealed moderate-to-severe high frequency hearing loss. The prescription? Hearing aids. Just typing these two words sends a chill up my spine.😳

My wife and I talked it over. We decided to make the investment. “But I’m not calling them hearing aids,” I said. “They’re ear buds with accessories.” About a week later, I got my “little helpers,” Suddenly, I heard the strangest things: creaking hinges, the click of an ink pen, crumpling up paper, and crickets!

Ears that hear and eyes that see–the Lord has made them both

Proverbs 20:12 (NIV)

This was the scripture verse for my devotional one recent morning. It was God’s way of saying, “Son, I’ve got this.” He knew I’d been feeling self-conscious about wearing my hearing aids around others. I didn’t want to look weak. It was pride, pure and simple. I kept wrestling.

A few days later, I wore them to church for the first time. I was uneasy during the welcome, while walking around and greeting folks. “Do they see them? What will they think?” But my fears eased as I realized I could clearly understand every conversation!

Later, during the sermon, our pastor talked about turning our doubts over to the Lord. Twice, I heard him say something peculiar (for the context): “Surrender your ears to God.” A few sentences later, for good measure, “Surrender your ears to God.” He said it at least once more, but this time I heard what the congregation did–“Surrender your fears to God.”

Kind reader, like me, has your pride kept you from surrendering something to God? It was a bitter pill–swallowing my self-sufficiency– but, after that Sunday sermon, I gave my ears to The Lord. Is there something you need to give Him?

Now I praise and exalt and glorify the King of Heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble.

King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 4:37 (NIV)

Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️prayers and love.


Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Categories
Christian Blog Christian Living

The Oak in the Middle

As you approach an intersection, in one of my favorite neighborhoods, there’s a massive tree in the middle of the road.

I’ve driven by many times but never stopped. Until the other day. Curiosity got the best of me, so I parked my car and walked up under the expansive canopy.

A quick Google search told me the tree is a Burr Oak—a slow-growing hardwood that lives up to 400 years!

Now I realized why the powers-that-be built the road around this stately survivor. “Just how old are you?” I asked the tree. It didn’t answer, of course.😊

I decided to find out.

Another internet search yielded a formula to find the approximate age of a tree. I returned the next day to take the needed measurements. After plugging in the numbers, and doing the math, I had the answer: 260 years!

Kathlyn Tsang, at Tree of Healing Ministries wrote something recently that reminds me of the old oak tree’s endurance: “The sanctification process is a lifetime commitment.”

If God wants to grow an oak tree He’ll take a hundred years. This is the backdrop for what the Apostle Paul told the Christians at Philippi.

Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose

Philippians 2:12b-13 (NIV)

Kind reader, if God can look after a tree for two-and-a-half centuries, then He can look after you and me. Nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39).

Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️

“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor “Isaiah 61:3b (NIV)