Devotion in Motion: Kindness 101

5 ¶ But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge. 2nd Peter 1:5 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

My wife Susan was once invited to a special program at one of our local elementary schools. The children were observing and celebrating “Kindness Day.”

In every subject the students are taught, the teachers had incorporated the study of the virtue of kindness—aligning their lesson plans to the Common Core be kindobjectives. They read the biographies of kindly people, recounted kind deeds in American history, and wrote essays about ways they could show kindness. Each classroom worked for weeks on a project in which they could demonstrate their kindness to others on the appointed day.

Upon visiting the campus, Susan was so very impressed with the children’s accomplishments. She said the entire school was imbued with a “distinct vibe”—an ambiance and spirit of kindness.

I think this is the best sort of thing that can happen in the world in which we live. Something I’ve noticed is that we have lots of great sports teams, wonderful marching bands, and students who have high scores on the SATs. All of these things are admirable and worthy. And the reason that students excel in the endeavors is because they study these things and they practice them.

Could it be that kindness and goodness are disappearing from our society because we do not consciously teach them and overtly practice them? Children become what they learn. And the world becomes what the children practice.

With the help of the Lord, and for His sake, let’s strive to always make virtue a required subject.

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 and his wife have had a very good–and very busy–week.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

remix (4)Note from the mamas: The Summer Remix symbol appears on posts previously published on nwaMotherlode that were noted as a “reader favorite”. If you missed the original publication date, we hope you’ll enjoy this encore performance. Happy summer!

Devotion in Motion: Are your “good old days” in progress?

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: Spiritual mileage

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).

remix (4)Note from the mamas: The Summer Remix symbol appears on posts previously published on nwaMotherlode that were noted as a “reader favorite”. If you missed the original publication date, we hope you’ll enjoy this encore performance. Happy summer!

Devotion in Motion: Understanding the Old Testament

27 And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.

Daniel 3:27  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

Well, today is my last column before this country-preacher-dad’s yearly summer hiatus.  I’ll be away at Church Camp soon, but I wanted to send you one more note about the nature of the Old Testament before I go. Todays’ question is: “What’s up with all those Old Testament lists? Why do they go on, and on, and on, and on?”

The Scripture lesson (at the top) is a very small (and mild) example of such an Old Testament list, and it comes from the Book of Daniel. The story lists “the satraps, administrators, governors, and king’s counselors.” And, it repeats this entire phrase repeatedly in the story, instead of just saying “important officials.” Later on, each time it mentions the musical instruments that were played, instead of just saying “a lot of musical instruments” it lists each and every instrument again, and again, and again. Why the redundancy and repetition?

Part of the answer lies in the fact that in Bible times (and really much later) there were very few copies of the Scriptures. Certainly nobody had their own copy of a Bible like we all have today. People learned the Scriptures not by reading them, but by having the Scriptures publicly read to them. God put the repetition in there to help people remember what His Book said.

I’ve actually seen this principle at work in my own life. When I was a small child, my older sister loved to read. My mother said that I would probably never amount to a hill of beans unless I became more like my sister and learned to love reading. So, she would take me to the library to check out a book. But afterwards she was aggravated by the fact that I checked out the same book every week. It was called A Giraffe and A Half by Shel Silverstein.

I loved the illustrations in this book and the way each page added something new after repeating everything that had happened on the preceding pages. Thus, as the story progresses, you wind up with “A giraffe and a half, looking cute in a suit, with a rose on his nose, and a bee on his knee, and glue on his shoe, playing toot on a flute, with a chair in his hair, and a snake eating cake.”

with a snake eating cakeLooking back on it, I’m sure this is a tedious thing to read aloud to a child. But something I’ve come to realize is that I still remember large parts of the story even after almost 50 years. Repetition is truly “the Mother of Learning.” So God repeated things in His Book so that folks who heard those things would remember them.

There’s one more reason for the Old Testament lists, and this one is the most important. The Book of Exodus is full of lists of how things were to be constructed, how they were to be arranged, and how actions were to be carried out. This goes on for 40 chapters. Finally, at the end of Chapter 40, Moses has completed everything God has listed. And when he has finished the work,  God’s presence comes down and He speaks to Moses.

There’s a lesson here for us. Nothing pleases God more than our obedience. He reveals Himself to those who strive to serve and obey Him. May we live in such a way that our Lord draws near to us and makes His presence known to us this week.

rp_john-l-cash-212x300.jpgDr. 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 reads a great deal now, and has amounted to a “hill of beans,” albeit a small one.) Their kids include Spencer (age 24), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 21).

Devotion in Motion: War is Hell

 7 “But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet.

Mark 13:7 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

Today I bring the latest installment of (partial) explanations concerning the gory nature of the Old Testament. Truly, today’s topic is so awful that I would not dare to touch it—if it were not for the fact that it’s included in God’s Holy Word. Look at this passage:

26 Then, as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!”

27 And he said, “If the LORD does not help you, where can I find help for you? From the threshing floor or from the winepress?”

28 Then the king said to her, “What is troubling you?” And she answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’

29 “So we boiled my son, and ate him. And I said to her on the next day, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him’; but she has hidden her son.”   2 Kings 6:26-29  (NKJV)

This gruesome story takes place during a time of “siege warfare.” An enemy nation had surrounded the people of Israel and entrapped them within the walls of their own city. Because of this, no food could come into the city, and they were starving. In their desperation even mothers had resorted to cannibalism.

Why did God record this terrible story in His Book? Well, first of all, it’s recounted because it is true. The Bible is different from every other religious book in the world; It reveals the true nature of the lives of God’s people and does not gloss over their failings.

But perhaps this narrative is included in the sacred text because it is an honest account of war. War is an unfortunate result of life in a fallen world. Jesus said that there would be “wars and rumors of wars” until He returns again. And General Tecumseh Sherman’s statement that “War is Hell” is most certainly true.  The Bible just gives the specific details of what kind of Hell it is.

I’ve had many soldiers talk with me about the horrors that they’ve faced in military conflict. One young man was forced to shoot a 7-year-old who walked up to his platoon and was pulling the pin from a live grenade. Can you imagine? Now, that is Hell for everybody concerned.

You would do well to sit down with a battle veteran and talk with him or her honestly and in-depth. They try to keep us shielded from the ugliness of war. Because of that we’re able to live under the illusion that our freedom comes without a price. But a conversation with a combat veteran makes us aware of the true cost.

Give thanks to God for our liberty and those who fight to protect it. And then pray (and work) with all your might for peace.

rp_john-l-cash-212x300.jpgDr. 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 congregation had a very happy Memorial Day Sunday.) Their kids include Spencer (age 24), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 20).