Devotion in Motion: Seeing the end of the story

7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you..              

1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I have so many happy memories of  “the Good Old Days” of my younger years. The passing of time paints the past in rosy tones of simplicity and perfection. But the older I get, the more I see that all the same problems existed back then (in some form or fashion) as the problems people have now.

Recently I’ve had a realization. Part of the reason that the events of the past seem so pleasant is because we can see the end of the story. Sure, we can still see the endthe problems we had all those years ago. But we can also see that so many of our problems “worked out.” And the solutions to our difficulties very often came in ways we never could have predicted—or even imagined.

I’m in a different stage of life now because my children are pretty much grown. But I always notice young couples who are “in the thick” of raising their kids, and my heart goes out to them. Seeing their stresses and struggles brings back waves of emotion as I’m reminded of what it was like to be going through that time in life.

These young parents are dealing with overwork, financial worries, health problems, and assorted overwhelming griefs and stressors. Maybe that’s what you’re going through, too.

Well, I want to tell you what I always tell them. Put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. And try not to worry, because your story is going to have a happy ending.

Things are going to work out, because the Lord never fails.

The portion of your life that you’re going through now will later be part of your “Good Old Days.” God is going to see you through.

Trust me on this one.

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 weather joyfully had the first hint of Autumn this week.)  Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

Devotion in Motion: Dysfunctional families in the Bible

¶ Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. ~ 1 John 3:1 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I overheard a television program the other day on which they were discussing “dysfunctional families.” That got me to thinking. I’ve been working around people a long, long time. In my whole lifetime, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a perfectly “functional” family. Have you?

dysfunctional familyDid you ever stop to consider that the families we read about in the Bible would fall into the “dysfunctional” category? Adam and Eve had two sons, and one was good and the other was wicked. Noah had a drinking problem. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all showed favoritism in the raising of their children. St. Peter had a sick mother-in-law. St Paul and his sidekick Barnabas had a parting-of-ways over their dealings with Barnabas’ nephew John Mark. King David’s children didn’t get along with him—or each other—at all. And these examples just scratch the surface. I’m sure you can think of other examples from Scripture.

So, try not to feel too bad about your drunk uncle, your aunt who’s been married 6 times, or the first-cousin that you’d never let into your house except for the fact that you share the same set of grandparents. The Biblical record shows you that you’re not alone in having a few offbeat family members. :-)

Have you noticed that we have a lot more tolerance with the quirky behavior of our relatives than we would have with the idiosyncrasies of random people off the street? That’s because we’re related by blood to our kinfolk; somewhere back in the family tree we share a common father with them. And since this is true with our earthly families, I believe we certainly should have a lot of patience with the people in our “church families.” After all, we’re related by the blood of our Saviour to all Christians — and we all share the same Heavenly Father.

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 hopes his kinfolks don’t count him as one of their crazy relatives.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

Devotion in Motion: Drive time with God

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.       

                 Romans 10:17 (KJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

Oh, how time changes things! When I first went into the ministry (almost 30 years ago), if I wanted to hear sermons by other preachers I had to purchase them on cassette tapes. And most of the time, a sermon tape cost between 3 and 7 dollars—which was a sizeable sum of money to a country preacher back then.  Needless to say, I was never able to afford as many cassettes as I would have liked to have had.

honda steering wheelBut with the advent of the internet and the mp3 file, my world has completely changed. Now I live in a world where I have more sermons than I could ever have time to listen to. And best of all, most of these sermons are free. It’s a treasure that all preachers should avail themselves to—and every Christian should do likewise.

My total daily commute is about an hour, and I use this time to listen to the teaching and preaching of the Word of God. I download Bible lesson mp3s onto a “thumb drive” and listen to them through the sync-feature in my car.

I’ve learned so much about the Bible. Right now I am listening to the recorded radio Bible lessons of Dr. J. Vernon McGee, who taught through the entire Old Testament and New Testament. You can download his complete library of lessons (free of charge) here:  http://www.ttb.org/contentpages/21793/e63bfac6-600d-436f-8231-5fcadefa77d6/5-YearSeriesinMP3.aspx

Why don’t you put your drive-time to its best possible use by learning God’s word? It’s likely to become the best hour of your day.

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 finished the Gospel of Mark in his car this week and is beginning the Book of Psalms.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

Devotion in Motion: How do you think?

7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.    

        Proverbs 23:7a   (KJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I’ve had a really good week this week, and I’ve completed a great deal of work.  That always gives me a feeling of accomplishment.  So, I thought I’d share with you a “household hint” that has really been helpful.

Some years ago I read an anecdote in an old Guideposts magazine about a man who was always happy when he was working at the office. His secretary asked to do listhim the secret of his joy. He explained that he had a strategy for tackling the enormous pile of tasks that he was required to complete each day. First of all, he made a list of all the things that he needed to do.

Then, he chose the easiest task and completed that task. Upon completing that simple task, he chose the next-easiest-task on his list, and then completed that one.  Thus the businessman continued until he had finished his list. “How could I not be happy,” he replied, “when I spend my days doing only the easiest things?”

I’ve been using that strategy this week, and it is extraordinarily helpful. I find it is useful to use this kind of thinking even in the middle of a task;  for instance, when I am folding a load of laundry, I look to find the easiest garment to fold. (“Hmmm, that handkerchief won’t take any effort to do, and then I’ll fold that hand towel….”)  It may sound a little silly, but you can’t argue with the results.

In so many facets of life, improving our way of thinking about a situation is the equivalent of improving the situation itself. King Solomon said it this way, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7). So, approach your work with hope and joy. Because nobody ever got a sunburn from “looking on the bright side.”

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 ready for Autumn weather even though it still feels like summertime in Mississippi.)  Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

Devotion in Motion: The virtues of preparation

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I carry a very large lunchbox to school. Sometimes people poke fun at me, saying things like, “Hey John, is that thing from ‘The Napoleon Dynamite Collection’?” But I don’t mind that at all. People laughed at Edison and Einstein, too. And besides, my industrial- sized lunchbox is one of the tools that helps keep my life on track.

Not too long ago the doctor told me that I am pre-diabetic. (Historically, this is something that has happened to all the men in the Cash family when they turn lunchbox50.) So I’ve really tried to straighten up my act about what I eat on a daily basis.

I’ve discovered that I can keep my blood glucose at perfect levels if I’m careful to eat the right things. And I’ve found out that if I carry a lunchbox, I eat things like lean meat, non-carby-vegetables, salads, homemade soy yogurt, and fresh fruit. However, when I don’t have my lunchbox, I eat fast-food burgers, cookies, and things out of the snack machine. It’s really just that simple. For me, failing to plan to eat good food is the same as planning to eat bad food.

I heard a good sermon on the radio the other day. The preacher was talking about Mary and Martha and about how Mary sat at the feet of Jesus while Martha was scrambling around with the duties of the house. Usually, preachers blast Martha and tell her that she needs to be more like Mary.

But this speaker said something that has a lot of wisdom. It’s a statement that has stuck with me ever since: “If you want to be Mary on Sunday, you’ve got to be Martha on Saturday.” Clearly, failure to prepare is the same as planning to be absent. The “Lunchbox Principle” prevails again.

This week, let’s do our best to make advance preparations to do the things that are right. It’s never a mistake to make it easy to do what is good.

john l cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 28 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, and until recently taught Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the lunchbox-carrying-Preacher has had perfect blood sugar levels all week.) Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).

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