Devotion in Motion: The remedy for a bad mood

6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. (KJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

Scientist differ on the exact number, but all agree that a great percentage of your body heat is lost out of the top of your head. (This is particularly true if you happen to be bald. Trust me on this one.) Something I’ve discovered is that if you’re in the house at wintertime and you feel a little chilly, you don’t necessarily have to turn up the furnace; probably all you need to do is to put on a cap.

We keep the parsonage heating system on about 68 degrees. When Seth was in middle school, he complained of being cold one evening. (I must point out that Seth has always had a  great deal less natural “insulation” than I have. Presently he is six feet tall and weighs about 125 pounds.) Just as he was reaching to turn up the thermostat, I made a deal with him. I said, “Seth, put on this Carhartt work cap. It’s the warmest cap I own. I can’t even wear it that often because it’s usually TOO warm. After you put on the cap, we’ll set the timer for 15 minutes. When the bell rings, if you’re still cold, I’ll be happy to turn up the thermostat.”carhartt toboggan hat

He agreed to the deal. He pulled the toboggan over his hair and went back to whatever he’d been doing.

After a little more than 12 minutes, Seth came in the room and handed me the hat. He said, “Dad, here—you can have this. I don’t need this hat anymore. I’m warm — too warm, really.”

Well, we didn’t have to turn up the heat that evening. It’s a good principle to know. Whenever you’re cold, you have a couple of choices. You can turn up the heating system and burn fossil fuel to heat up thousands of square feet of living space. Or you can just put on a cap and heat up yourself.

This principal works in daily life, too. You have two choices if you’re in a cold, dark, mood. You can wait until all the other people in the world are in a good mood, and if and when that happens, they can cheer you up. (I don’t foresee this ever happening, but there are people who spend their whole lives waiting for it.) Or you can put on a “spiritual cap” (by thinking the right kind of thoughts) and this will warm the coldness out of your heart.

The Bible says King David “encouraged himself in the LORD.” I think that means he knew how to put on a “spiritual cap.” David was a warrior; he was always surrounded by enemies and difficulties. But he realized that even when he was surrounded by trouble, he could encourage himself by thinking about the goodness of God.

If winter is making you feel cold, bleak, and blue, put on your own spiritual cap this week. Be like King David, and encourage yourself in the Lord.

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 it was 21 degrees last Sunday and 72 degress this Sunday.) 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.

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Devotion in Motion: Sharing God’s comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.   ~  2 Corinthians 1:3-4  (NIV)

by Bro. John L. Cash

Because it begins with the words “in the beginning” and tells the details of Creation, at first glance it would seem that Genesis is the oldest book in the world. However, the book of Genesis  was actually written by Moses, who was recording events that happened thousands of years before he was born.

Bible scholars tell us that the oldest portion of the Scriptures is probably the Book of  Job. Think of it—the oldest book in the world deals with the oldest question in the world: “Why do the righteous suffer?”why-do-righteous-suffer

Now, I’m NOT going to try to tackle the problem of human suffering in the space of this column. I don’t have wisdom or words to even begin. I believe with all my heart that God is truly good. But I have very little understanding of God’s plan or purposes in allowing evil to go on in this world.

Today I just want to mention an interesting (and good) “side-effect” that I’ve noticed. A lot of people come to talk to me for counsel and advice. And most of the time, the guidance I give  them flows from the hard times and difficult circumstances I’ve been through myself. When we go through trials, God comforts us. Then we are able to comfort others by sharing the comfort God has given. That’s what St. Paul was talking about in today’s Scripture lesson (at the top).

It’s unpleasant to go through trials and tribulations in this life. But it is a great comfort to have someone say “I know how you feel and this is how I coped with it” when that person has been in the same situation that you’re facing.

Truly, the more heartaches you have, the more comfort God gives. Let’s spend this life sharing the comfort God has given. In the next life we’ll understand the glory of His infinite providence and wisdom, fulfilled in everything He planned.

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 wrote this week’s column from the kitchen at  Pilgrim House Hostel in Memphis, TN on an old Windows XP computer.) 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.

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Devotion in Motion: Burgers with Pope Francis

12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.   ~  John 15:12  NKJV

By Bro. John L. Cash

I’m not a Roman Catholic, but I really like Pope Francis a lot. He won me over from the start. I read a news story somewhere that there were a bunch of priests together when they were having the meetings to choose the new Pope. When they went out to lunch, all the priests rode together on a bus. After Francis was elected as Pope, the folks in charge said he needed to come ride in the chauffeur-driven-Pope-car. Francis said he was doing fine — he would just continue to ride on the bus with his friends. There’s something exceptionally wonderful about that story.

When my boys were younger, the whole family would go out and order 4 Cokes and 1 sack of Krystal Burgers. We had a wonderful time sharing the sack of hamburgers, talking and laughing until they were all gone. I’ll just bet that if Pope Francis was in town, and I called him to share a sack of Krystal Burgers with me, he would want to go. The only problem with sharing a sack of Krystals with Francis is that you would need TWO sacks of burgers. You’d need the extras because without a doubt he would give the first 12 away to poor people and children who looked like they needed a bite to eat.

love-like-francisI’ve found a really cool shirt at  www.lovelikefrancis.com. On the back you can get the imprinted quote (from Francis) of your choice. I love the picture on the front the most. By looking at the picture you can see all the people Francis thinks we should love. There’s an older lady (who is rich) holding hands with a little girl (who is poor), which means we should love young and old, rich and poor. There’s a light-skinned doctor standing next to a dark-skinned fireman. (We should love all races of people, and especially our public servants who are “helpers.”) There is a boy in a wheel chair and a boy on crutches. (We should love those who have disabilities and those who have sicknesses.) There’s a mother, a father, a baby, and a dog. (We should love families because they are the building block of our world.) There is a girl with her arm in a sling. (We should love the hurting.) Last, but not least, there’s a lady who is a construction worker. (We should love people who are a little different from the norm.)

(Sometimes I wonder why there are no cats on the shirt. Is Pope Francis allergic to cats? Does he dislike cats? But I digress….)

I wonder if Pope Francis has ever run into anyone wearing a t-shirt like this. I’ll bet if he did, he would tell the person that they shouldn’t try to “Love Like Francis.” He would tell them to buy a shirt that says, “Love Like Jesus.”

The more I think about it, the more I believe this is the aim of the Christian life: “Love Like Jesus.” You don’t have to change your denomination to do that. You don’t even have to change your shirt. All you have to do is open your heart to the Saviour and strive to live for Him.

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 teacher friends had an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest at school  this week.)  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.

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Devotion in Motion: Every good and perfect gift

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.   ~  James 1:17 NKJV

By Bro. John L. Cash

Two or three Christmases ago, Spencer and Madeline gave me a wonderful Christmas present. It was a vintage electric coffee percolator, probably from the 1960s. The modern percolators they make now just can’t measure up to the perfection of those war-horse-coffeemakers of the past. Every potful is strong and delicious and piping hot. I use it every morning, and Susan and I begin each day with great coffee (and great joy).

percolatorWhen the lid of my ancient percolator developed a crack in it, I decided I would rather track down a new lid than buy a new percolator. Through the wonder of Ebay, I found a person who had a burned-out percolator that had a perfect lid. Postage included, my new coffeepot lid cost me $14.99. This morning, as I watched the fragrant brown liquid rhythmically “perk” through the little glass dome at the top, I realized that this is some of the best money I’ve ever spent. Oh, the joy that a good and perfect gift can bring!

Receiving what you want for Christmas is great; but something even better than that is the feeling you get when you find the perfect gift for somebody else. Perhaps that happens because we’re made in the image of God the Father. After all, as the Scripture says, He is the giver of every good and perfect gift.

That’s why we’ll never get through praising the Lord and thanking Him for all the good things in our lives. We receive blessings from so many sources — but they were all given from the Lord’s hand first.

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 outdoor cats are wishing they were indoor cats because of the cold 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.

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Devotion in Motion: The true source of bad language

35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~ John 13:35 NKJV

By Bro. John L. Cash

Yesterday I saw something I’ve heard about all my life but had never actually seen. Next to the sink in the teachers’ lounge was a can of “Bab-O.” It’s an old brand of bathroom cleaner, the gritty kind people used to use to scour the bathtub.bab-o

When I was a little boy, all my older relatives talked about Bab-O quite a lot. Specifically, they’d say, “John, if you ever say that word again, I’m going to wash out your mouth with Bab-O.” The threat sounded serious, so I’d clean up my conversation in a hurry. Even though I wasn’t sure if any factories still manufactured Bab-O, I didn’t want to take any chances. After all, there were lots of other kinds of soap around that could be used to wash out my mouth. Besides, I realized my language wasn’t good, and I needed to change it.

Is it just me or do you also notice how common bad language is these days? When I was younger, I wasn’t surprised to hear sailors and construction workers “turn the air blue” when there were only a bunch of guys around. But lately it seems like it’s spreading to the masses — even among Christian people. It’s especially shocking to me to hear a woman let loose a string of profanities, but I hear it whenever I’m out and about. Things have really changed over the past few years.

Maybe the constant use of profanity on television, in movies, in music, and on the internet has made these words less noticeable than they used to be. But we can’t blame the whole problem on that alone. When you get to the root of the matter, the problem is a spiritual one. Jesus said “from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)  If you use bad language and talk about immoral things, it says something about your heart — whether you admit it or not.

All the soap in the world isn’t enough to clean up our language or make it okay when we “talk ugly” about other people. What we really need is to ask the Saviour to cleanse our hearts. When our hearts are clean, our words will also be beautiful.

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 we got a little bit of much-needed rain this week.) 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.

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