Devotion in Motion: Making time for thanks

8 Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!  1 Chronicles 16:8 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

One of the young people from the church asked me an interesting question last week. She said she’d noticed that Christmas will be falling on Sunday this year and wondered if Antioch would still have church services that day. I understood the reason for her question perfectly. After all, Christmas Day is always such a busy day for everybody, crammed with activities and traditions.

I told her that indeed we would be having morning worship and Holy Communion on Christmas Day, because if we didn’t, we would be defeating the purpose of Christmas. After all, “Christmas” originated as “Christ Mass”— that is, a communion service to honor the birth of the Saviour. All the other things we do to celebrate Christmas are just “add-ons” and “extras.” The Christmas Service really is the original “reason for the Season.” If we ever lose sight of that fact, well, we may need to back up and reevaluate our priorities.

thanks-1804597_640-2Having said that, I realize we run the same risk in our celebrations of the Thanksgiving season. The holiday originated in the colonies with solemn prayer services in which they gave thanks to our God. When George Washington declared the first national Thanksgiving in 1789, he designed it “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God”.

We’ll all have a lot of things to do for this Thanksgiving Day. There will be meals to cook and miles to travel. There will be visitors to greet, football games to watch, and our favorite stores may be having wonderful sales.  All of this leads up the question that we’ll all have to answer: “With all the things we have to do for this holiday, will we still have time to give thanks?”

Let’s all set aside some time on Thanksgiving for giving thanks. After all, that’s the real reason for the holiday. Everything else is just “gravy.” :-)

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 31 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 are celebrating Thanksgiving in Hampton, TN.) Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 25), and Seth (age 22), and his wife Leanne (age 21). You can send him a note at brotherjohn@ilovechurchcamp.com.

Devotion in Motion: No quick cures

3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Isaiah 53:3 NKJV

By Bro. John L. Cash

As you can imagine, our little community is still in mourning. That is to be expected. (Click here to read about what happened.)

Obviously, there are no quick cures for the aftereffects of tragedy and grief. When something doesn’t have a cure, you can only speak of remedies that strengthen and soothe.

time-and-prayerSo today I’ll pass on the best advice I’ve ever received about these things. When I was a child (and first confronted with sadness) my grandmother told me something that has become the standard advice I give others.  “John,” she said, “I’ve seen a lot of situations like this. And the only two things that help are TIME and PRAYER.”

Decades of believing and practicing this principle have convinced me how true it really is. The passage of time allows us to heal and to develop perspective about what the Lord may be doing in our lives. And prayer moves the hands of God; sometimes prayer changes our circumstances, and sometimes prayer changes us.

So, when you’re grieving, avail yourself to every source of help within your grasp. Give the situation lots of time. Don’t forget to pray—and to ask for the prayers of others. Share the help that God gives to you with all the hurting people you meet. You cannot bring comfort to others without bringing some comfort to yourself.

rp_john-l-cash-212x300.jpgDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart[SS1] , Arkansas, and has spent the last 31 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 people of Chunky, Mississippi are still in the need of our prayers.)  Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 25), and Seth (age 22), and his wife Leanne (age 21). You can send him a note at brotherjohn@ilovechurchcamp.com.

Devotion in Motion: A tragedy close to home

10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.    John 10:10 NKJV

By Bro. John L. Cash

A lot of my columns are light and happy, but it won’t be that way today. We’ve suffered a tragedy here. You may have heard on the news about a hayride accident that happened in Chunky, Mississippi, on Halloween night.  That’s right up the road from where we live.

I really don’t know what to say, and I’m certain I won’t get it right. We’ve never been through anything like this before. A mother, her 8-year-old daughter, and her infant daughter all died at the scene. Her other daughter is listed in critical condition. Seven other people were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. Some of my parishioners were trick-or-treating nearby when the crash occurred, and they helped the injured and dying. If you saw the report on the national news, you probably saw some of my church members — police officers and EMTs who were at the scene. These veteran professionals said it was the worst thing they have ever seen, and they are shaken to the core. Please pray for everybody.img_2552

When things like this happen, people always talk about tragedies being part of  “God’s will.”  I understand what they mean, but I wish they would stop saying it. Tragedies aren’t part of God’s perfect will. When God finished making the world, He looked at everything He had made and declared that it was all “very good.” That is God’s perfect will.

When Jesus walked on the earth, He healed the sick and every form of suffering, and He raised the dead. That is God’s perfect will.

In fact, God hates tragedies so much that He had to send His Son to Earth to die. Through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, on the last day all things will be restored, and tragedies will stop happening once and for all. That is God’s will.

Satan, on the other hand, loves it when tragedies happen. The Scriptures teach us that he is a liar and a murderer  and has been from the beginning. The devil rightly deserves the blame for all the tragedy and heartbreak in the world.

I don’t have many answers this morning, but I do see a need. Because sin has broken God’s world, people have a great need for comfort. And, fortunately for the planet, comfort is something each of us can give. Make it the mission of your life to help the broken and hurting people you encounter each day. Do it for the sake of Jesus Christ, and for the children.

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 31 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 all the sad Christians are praying.) Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 25), and Seth (age 22), and his wife Leanne (age 21). You can send him a note at brotherjohn@ilovechurchcamp.com.

Devotion in Motion: No room for meanness

Note: Brother John is away this week, so we’re publishing an encore performance of one of his previous columns. We think this one is especially relevant right now, as the last days leading up to the election become more angry and bitter. Hang in there, mamas. Hopefully, it’ll all be over soon.

31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. Ephesians 4:31 ~ (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

As you might imagine, I’ve heard a lot of sermons and taken a lot of Bible classes in my life. Pastors are taught the Scriptures when they’re preparing to enter the ministry, and they continue to learn as a part of their daily lives.

But something I’ve noticed is that some of my most enduring lessons weren’t taught to me in a church service or a seminary class. Instead, somebody told me something profound while we were going about our ordinary lives.

Let me tell you a story. When I was 18 years old, I was a Bible college student at a very small Christian college. All of my professors preached revivals in addition to their teaching duties. Because every traveling preacher needs a song leader, I sometimes accompanied various professors to lead singing at their meetings.

Often when I rode with these men of God, I learned as much during the car ride as I did from the sermon. At the beginning of one such trip, the evangelist I was traveling with read his mail before we set out on our journey. Reading a letter from a businessman in our brotherhood, he turned his head and shut his eyes with a pained look on his face. He looked as if something had pierced his heart.

no room for meannessHe read aloud part of the letter, revealing the writer’s threatening words of anger and hate. He then said, “I wish I had not read this letter before we left for the meeting. John, never forget: ‘There is no room for meanness in the Christian life.’

I’ve never forgotten those words: “There is no room for meanness in the Christian life.”

Even though I don’t always succeed, I try to live by them because they are the truth. I think we’re all tempted to do things that are petty and to repay insult with insult when we’re angry. It’s then that we have to remember that, as Christians, we are called by our Saviour to live lives of love. For anything else, there just isn’t room. rp_john-l-cash-212x300.jpg

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 30 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 outdoor-cats are growing their winter coats for cooler weather.) Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 25), and Seth (age 22) and his wife Leanne (age 21). You can send him a note at brotherjohn@ilovechurchcamp.com.

Devotion in Motion: A new way to look at interruptions

“Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” Mark 6:3 NKJC

By Bro. John L. Cash

ringing-phoneI’ve had a hard time getting a column written this week.  It seems like every time I sit down to write, I have some sort of interruption.  As soon as I sit down at my laptop, the phone rings, there is a knock at my door, or somebody asks me to do something else.

It can make a person feel aggravated and frustrated.

I think, however, I’m dealing with situations like this better now than I would have a few years ago.  A devotion that I read from a book written in the 1800’s changed my way of thinking.

The author described in vivid detail an imaginative tale of a typical day in the life of the Lord Jesus as He was working in his carpentry shop.

The day had been full of difficulties and trials.  After He had finished up His work day, swept the floor, and was locking the front door, He heard footsteps on the street.  A customer had shown up at Jesus’ shop just as He was leaving to go home for the night.  He wanted to talk with Him about a piece of furniture that he wanted to have built.

In the devotional story, the Lord Jesus smiled at the man, unlocked the front door, and took the man inside and gave him a seat.  Together they spent an hour making plans for the furniture that the man wanted built.  And after they meeting was finished, Jesus whistled as He walked toward His home.  You see (the writer said), Jesus understood something that we (in our haste and impatience) have not yet learned. In every instance of interruption and change of plans, the Lord said to Himself, This is the will of My Father.”

In God’s way of thinking, interruptions are not hindrances.  More often than not, the Lord is changing our plans to bring people into our lives for us to minister to.

When we realize that, our days can be filled with joy and peace as we accept our role in God’s eternal plan.

(Here’s wishing you a wonderful new week! Please excuse me now, because I have to run…  The phone is ringing again….)

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 31 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 hayride and stew at Bo Clark’s house last night.)  Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 25), and Seth (age 22), and his wife Leanne (age 21). You can send him a note at brotherjohn@ilovechurchcamp.com.