Devotion in Motion: “Lord, please let them see.”

Today’s Scripture Verses:

22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.

 23 “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “”

Matthew 6:22-23 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I read somewhere that the late Fred Rogers (the children’s saint from “Mister Rogers Neighborhood”) often prayed for others. He said he always prayed the same prayer: “God, encircle this person with Your love.” That’s pretty much a perfect prayer, don’t you think? The abiding love and presence of God is what we all need in every situation we could ever face. Since reading of this, I’ve borrowed Mr. Rogers’ prayer on many occasions.

As I’m getting older as a country preacher, I’m often asked to pray for the concerns of others. And as I pour out my heart before God, more and more I find I’m pleading for them with “all purpose prayers.” I have several such prayers, but today I want to share with you only one. Here it is: “Lord, please let them see.”

I’ve never really understood today’s Scripture lesson (at the top). Perhaps I still don’t understand it fully, but clearly it’s about “spiritual eyesight.” Jesus was always restoring the sight to those who were physically blind. And the Scriptures promise that He loves to bring sight to those who are unable to see spiritually.

So that’s I why I offer up so many prayers that the Lord will grant spiritual sight.

glasses-415256_1280 (2)For those who are downcast, may the Lord heal their blindness that they may see all the blessings that are theirs.

For the rebellious teen, may the Lord heal his blindness that he may see his parents’ love.

For the doubting Christian, may the Lord heal her blindness and let her see the reality of His care.

And so on and so on it goes….

I’m going to talk “out of school” right now. Not very long ago, Susan went through a time of discouragement. (Please know that discouragement is not too uncommon in the work of the ministry. Usually it’s me who is down in the dumps, but Susan and I take turns. Don’t worry, it’s very commonplace. You don’t need to call her or anything.)

But when I noticed she was feeling low, I began to pray every morning, “Lord, please let Susan truly see.” I didn’t tell the Lord what Susan needed to be able to see because I’m not smart enough to know that. God knows what we need to see. And whenever we are truly able to see, the answer to our situation becomes crystal clear.

iphone-410311_1280 (2)Well, a few days later Susan sent me this text:

“I’m so thankful for our boys and how God is helping them to succeed in their lives. I’m very grateful for His blessings. I’m so glad to be on this journey with me and you, us two.”

Well, I am in full agreement with her sentiments. And, I think the Lord answered my prayer.

You need to know that I have a rule about praying for my wife and kids, though.  I don’t pray anything for them if I am not first willing to pray it for myself.

So, that’s why I’m praying this morning that the Lord will enable me to see.

Because without Him, I am the blindest one of all.

john l cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 29 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher is tired tonight because he did a funeral today.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

Devotion in Motion: Make the effort

Today’s Scripture Verse:

Pr 14:4 ¶ Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.  Proverbs 14:4

By Bro. John L. Cash

Today’s Scripture verse (at the top) is all about the care and feeding of oxen. In the time of King Solomon, if you owned an ox you had a very valuable asset.  An ox could pull your wagon, clear your farm, plow your field, and grind your grain. Owning an ox would go a long way towards solving the problems of hunger and starvation.

oxHowever, the verse indicates that owning an ox also creates a new set of problems. Clearly, if you own an ox, you have to feed it, and water it, and clean up after it. I have never cleaned up after an ox, but I would imagine that it is no small thing to shovel the dung that an ox produces. It’s just a fact of life.

Based on those facts, here’s my paraphrase of the verse:

“Owning an ox is a big hassle. But an ox brings a lot of benefits. So, the hassle is worth it.”

Living as we do in the 21st century, not too many of us have an ox or two around the house. But there’s a principle here that still rings true. Anything worth doing is going to involve some work and aggravation. But, quite often, the benefits outweigh any inconvenience.

Think about how much effort it takes to get your children to school and to extracurricular activities — but these things are certainly worth doing. It’s even more important to make sure your children are brought up in “the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” So make the effort. The hassle is temporary. But the rewards will be eternal.

john l cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 29 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where it’s been a relatively hassle-free week.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

IF: Gathering conference being held on Feb 6 & 7 in Rogers

Some local mothers are helping to organize a great event you may want to add to your February calendar. It’s called “IF: Gathering NWA.” Everyone in Northwest Arkansas is invited to attend.

The premise for this event came from the question “If God is real, we want more than anything to live like it.” The purpose of the two-day women’s gathering is to gather, equip and unleash the next generation to live out their callings in Christ.

The event will include a teaching simulcast from Austin, Texas by Jennie Allen as well as sessions by the IF: Gathering leadership team. There’ll be worship, small group gatherings, dinner on Friday night and lunch on Saturday.

Donations from $1-$25 are being collected for the simulcast event with an additional $15 for the cost of the two meals. Scholarships are available.

Here are the specifics:

February 6th: 4 to 10 p.m.

February 7th: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: First Baptist Church in Rogers

To register and for more information, click this link: https://ifgathering.com/gatherings/5769/

Have questions about this event? Click HERE to send an email to event organizers.

IF graphic

Devotion in Motion: What ten dollars can do

20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’

21 “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ ~ Matthew 25:20-21 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

At some time in your life, you and your Christian friends have had the discussion about what you would do if you suddenly won the lottery. It’s the sort of thing people talk about when they’re on a long car-trip just to pass the time. And everybody I’ve ever talked to has begun their story the same way: “If I won 5 million dollars, the first thing I’d do is donate a tenth of it to the church.”

Now, let me tell you, that’s a noble sentiment. In fact, it’s the same sort of thing I myself have said. But, having studied the Bible, I’m pretty sure it misses the mark.

I don’t think God is all that concerned with the 5 million dollars we might win someday. What He is concerned about is what we do with the 5 dollars we have in our pockets right now. God wants us to be good stewards now of all the things He has entrusted us with.

I’m striving to be a better steward during 2015. Most summers I’m the dean of a week of Bible Camp for children. Tuition for one week of camp for one camper is $120. And every summer we’re in need of scholarships because there are always children who want to learn about Jesus who don’t have the money to attend ten dollar billchurch camp. I’ve come to realize that every ten dollars I set aside will send a child to camp—if I set it aside every month. And, I’m finding there are a lot of ways to set aside ten dollars, if I just take the time to be a good steward.

Let me give you an example. In our little town, we have a store that gives away coupons every week. (Because of the blogger-advertisement-regulation-thing, I don’t think I’m supposed to tell you the name of the store, but it rhymes with “Collar Mineral.” :-) ) On Saturday, if you go there and spend $25 (on stuff you have to buy anyway), the coupon entitles you to a $5 discount. That doesn’t seem like much, but in the course of a year it adds up to $250. That will send two kids to camp, and it didn’t cost me a thing. And, of course, that just scratches the surface of ways to set aside ten dollars.

So let’s strive to improve our stewardship in 2015. What ministry does the Lord want you to support in this coming year? How can you use wisdom, industry, and frugality to free up the resources to fund His work?

john l cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 29 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.)  He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where a hundred dollar bill doesn’t look like Ben Franklin anymore, but it does look like a week of church camp instead.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

Devotion in Motion: A special business card

3 The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things–

4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,

5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.  ~ Titus 2:3-5  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

A couple of Sundays ago, I was watching my wife while I was busy preaching in the pulpit. Susan was doing something she often does during a worship service now that our sons are young men in their twenties. She was (silently) entertaining two little girls so their young mother could listen to the sermon.

Watching her do that brought back memories of my own dear mother who used to do the same thing during worship. It made me think. These ladies should have a business card. It would say something like:

cash women biz cardAll silliness aside, do you realize what a wonderful ministry it is to care for a child during a worship service? We’ve just come through the Christmas season, and we have all sung, “What Child is This?” The line from that carol that means the most to me says, “Good Christian, fear, for sinners here the silent Word is pleading!” Whenever the Bible is preached, the Holy Spirit takes the written Word of God and changes it into the Living Word of God. Whenever God’s Word is preached, the Holy Spirit is teaching us and changing us into more of what we should be. But the preaching must first be heard—and it’s the people like “The Cash Women” who make this possible.

Ed Emberley bookGive this some serious thought in 2015. All of you fall into one of two categories; either you are in need of this service, or you can render it. (The Lord uses men to sometimes do this, too. My dad was the original “Baby Whisperer.”) It will help if you always arrive at church with a “bag of tricks” that holds your arsenal of (silent) activities. My mother always had a hand-mirror, comb, and white gloves for little girls, and children’s workbooks about baptism and communion for older children. Susan often has Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book: Make a World and colored pencils in her purse.

In today’s Scripture text, St. Paul exhorts that the older women who are believers should help the younger women of the congregation. What better help could you give in 2015 than making it possible for God’s Word to do His work?

john l cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 29 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.)  He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the preacher is back on his pre-diabetes diet after eating too many carbs over the holidays.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

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