Devotion in Motion: The blessings of family traditions

Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.    2 Thessalonians 2:15  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

For all of you who still have children at home, here’s some advice from a dad whose kids are grown: Dye some Easter eggs with your family this year and every year.

Here in the Cash household, we’ve been dyeing Easter eggs on Holy Saturday for almost 30 years. (That’s how long this particular “Cash household” has been in existence.) I know sometimes it’s tempting to dye the eggs after the kids have gone to bed. After all, you can avoid all the mess and headache of stained clothing and spilled Paas dye cups. But if you do that, you’ll be missing out. You’ll miss out on fun with your family, and you’ll also be failing to establish a tradition that will pay off for you in the future.

Face it. Everybody likes to dye Easter eggs. Even the most hardened curmudgeon will join in when they see the fun everybody else is having. Trust me on this easter-eggsone.

Some advice here. Put old clothes on your kids and a cheap plastic tablecloth on the table. Buy some traditional egg dye but also whatever freakish thing they have come up with this year. We always dye some eggs the regular way but also whatever is in style at the time. So far, we have had mottled eggs, sparkled eggs, eggs covered with little plastic pictures that you dip in boiling water, eggs dyed with Kool-Aid, and eggs dyed with natural dyes made from vegetable peelings. The traditional eggs always turn out the best, but it’s fun to do what the “in crowd” is doing, too.

And for Heaven’s sake, dye lots of eggs! It’s absurd to mix up 8 vibrant colors of egg dye to color just one dozen eggs. Eggs are cheap. So boil several dozen.  That way, everybody can join in the fun for a long time. Plus, you can eat some of the eggs for breakfast the next morning, and you will have more eggs for the kids to hide and hunt over and over. (Be sure to lose one egg under the couch until Independence Day — when it will become easier to find.)

But the most important thing of all is to start dyeing Easter eggs with your family now. If your kids don’t start dyeing eggs when they’re little, they won’t know  they’re supposed to come home to do it when they’re grown. You’re going to miss them when you have an “empty nest.” And you’ll be glad when your grown children stop by to see you and dye eggs. After all, that will be your Easter tradition.

So, take time to dye some eggs with your babies. Time is passing so quickly, and they grow up so fast.

Jesus Christ has risen from the grave. We’re going to receive new bodies. And Death shall die.

Every one of these things is going to be important to you in the future.

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 Spencer Cash made one Easter egg with the word “Dookie” on it this year, as he does EVERY year—because his mother hates this word. ‘Cause it’s a tradition.) Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).

Devotion in Motion: The three best places for married people to be

geographyDo not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

1 Corinthians 15:33  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I’ve been a schoolteacher for almost 25 years, and I’ve worked under a lot of different administrators and principals during that time. Even though my various bosses have had differing temperaments and personalities, every one of them at one time or another has issued the same command to us: “Teachers, be where you’re supposed to be!”

Clearly, that’s good advice for teachers; things never go well when students are left unsupervised. But the older I get, the more I’m convinced that this is good advice in general, not just for teachers. We’ll spare ourselves from all sorts of mishaps and grief if we’re careful to always (and to only) be “where we are supposed to be.”

For the most part, there are only three places a married person ever needs to be:

1) With your family. You’re much less likely to experience moral failure when your kids (or your grandma) is close by. Besides, being with your children gives you a chance to teach your children about the Lord. They’ll pick up your values, too, just by being around you. And being at home is just safer, too. I hear all the time about shootings happening to people who are drinking in bars or other public places. But I’ve never heard of a man getting shot while he was washing the dishes. Just sayin’.

2) At your place of employment (during normal business hours). Work is a good place to be. In my experience, it’s rarely the regular workday at the office or on the job site that starts a person down the path to ruin. That only happens when people go to work early or stay at work late for less than wholesome reasons — or decide to stop somewhere besides home after work.

3) At church. I don’t have to draw you a chart here. Not too many people get in trouble at prayer meetings, or when they’re taking the youth group to visit at the nursing home. Enough said.

I’ve done a lot of pastoral counseling as a part of my ministry, and I’ve talked to a lot of people who had a moral failure and destroyed their life, their family, or their testimony. In every case, the problem started when someone was away from the three places I’ve just mentioned. And in every case, they were not with family members. They were “out with friends” or sometimes out with one “friend” in particular.

So this week let’s strive to be what the Lord would have us to be. And that will begin by being in the places we’re supposed to be.

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 congregation is bringing potluck to the Mississippi Christian Convention this weekend.)  Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).

Devotion in Motion: A Life Lived on High Beam

Patty edited14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:14 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

As technology races forward, there are still some things worthy of a look toward the past. Even though most of today’s correspondence is sent via electronic devices like smartphones, there’s still no substitute for a card or letter sent through the good ole U.S. Snail-Mail.  Admit it, when you find a personal note in your mailbox, you open that envelope before you look at anything else.

The idea may sound a little outdated, but I have a pen pal. Her name is Patricia Drischel, and she is 93 years young. Several years ago, I placed a free want ad in a magazine asking for various items in Latin, especially things from the Catholic Church. (I was a high school Latin teacher at the time.) Miss Patty wrote me a note and told me she had some things she would gladly send me if I would take the time to write her a letter telling about myself. (I think she wanted to know why a Protestant preacher from Mississippi was trying to start a personal library of Catholic theological writings in Latin.)

I wrote my first letter, and we became fast friends. We’ve been writing back and forth for almost four years now.

Miss Patty has had a very exciting and interesting life. Her birth parents were the son of a prominent physician and the daughter of a “washwoman.” When the doctor found out that the girlfriend of his son was “in the family way,” he said there was no way his son was going to marry the daughter of a poor washwoman. The old man was planning for his son to become a doctor. Patricia’s birth mother was told to go to Memphis to have the baby and also told NOT to bring the baby back with her to Mississippi.

Patricia was born in Memphis General Hospital in 1920. She was born with toxoplasmosis, and it’s a miracle that she lived. After 23 days, an older coupled applied to adopt a baby. Some women took Baby Patty to their house and offered to sell her to the older couple for $500. Her new dad said, “I don’t have $500. I’ve only got $150. Besides, you didn’t bring a casket with her. She doesn’t look to me like she’s going to live.”

The women took the $150 and left on the next train out, and Patty’s new parents took her to the grocery store across the road to get her weighed. It was a cold, snowy day and even with all her poor rags and blankets, Patty only weighed 7 pounds. Miss Patty said she found out much later that they let the healthy, pretty babies be legally adopted out the front door, and the others (like her) they sold out the back door.

I don’t have time or space today to tell the rest of the story. But trust me, in spite of (and perhaps because of) her difficult beginnings, Miss Patty has lived an amazing life. That’s what hahigh beams editppens when you combine a love of God and your fellow man with hard work, perseverance, and a healthy dose of good humor. She describes it this way: “I’ve always lived my life on high beam.” (The picture at the top of this post shows Patty (center) with her brothers.)

So, let your light shine for the Jesus this week…and use your spiritual “high beams.”

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 Preacher is behind on his correspondence, as always.) Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).

Devotion in Motion: For the sake of Christ

“Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.

Psalm 51:13 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I love Church history.  I guess at first glance it sounds boring, but in reality, it is full of all sorts of little stories that are both fascinating and instructive for Christian living. One of my favorite tidbits of history is the tale of a man named Telemachus.

The story of his life teaches us to never underestimate the power of one individual—especially if he is not afraid to publicly declare his convictions with quietness and authority.

Most of us are familiar with the historical accounts of the gladiators. These were the swordsmen who fought to the death in the Roman arena, all for the entertainment of the common people who came to spectate.I think we tend to gloss over the sickening nature of this barbaric entertainment.

St. Telemachus Peace MakerThe people of that time in history had become so calloused that the regular pastimes of life had become boring to them. Did you know that the Latin word “arena” means “sand”?  The floor of the coliseum had a thick layer sand, because this made it easier to cover the blood that flowed from the dying men and animals. It is pretty sickening when you think about it.

But sometime in the 5th century, there was a monk named Telemachus. He lived in a monastery, where he spent his days in prayer, far from the cares and the concerns of the outside world. For some reason unbeknownst to him, Telemachus felt compelled to leave the safety of the cloister and to travel to Roman. As he entered the city, he fell in step with a throng of people who were hurrying to see the gladiatorial games in the arena. His life of solitude and prayer had not prepared him for the viciousness he was about to behold.

As Brother Telemachus witnessed the swordsmen engaged in a struggle to the death, he stood up and made a quiet proclamation:

“For the sake of Christ, somebody put a stop to this.”

As he continued to repeat his sentiment, more and more of the crowd became quiet as they considered what the old man was saying.In anger, one of the gladiators rushed on the old man and ran him through with a sword, as Telemachus cried out his dying words:

“For the sake of Christ, somebody put a stop to this.”

Tradition tells us that the stunned crowd turned and left the coliseum in silence. Not long after that, the Christian Emperor Honorius (who had been impressed by the faith of Telemachus) declared an edict that banned the gladiatorial games forever.

Make the world a little bit better place this week. Believe in what is good, and stand up for what is right.  Speak your truth with authority and quietness.And do it for the sake of Christ.

1John-mugshot-2012Dr. 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 first day of Spring was a perfect Spring day.)  Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).

Devotion in Motion: The instinct to build something

58 ¶ “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 15:58 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

Parents generally have plenty of Legos in the house. Who among us has not walked barefoot down the hall at 2 a.m. and stepped on one of the little buggers? I bet if Ed McMahon came into your living room and said, “I’ll give you a dollar bill for every Lego you can show me,” some of you would never need to work again.

legosWhen my boys were little, we had lots of Legos in the living room, usually piled in a bucket or spilled out on the carpet. We didn’t put them away every time we had company because, when you’re a preacher like me, people come sit in your living room real often. Deacons come to have meetings. College kids sit on the floor and eat pizza. People with troubles come to talk to you. Senior saints come over for pie and coffee. Multitudes of unique people, at different times, sit in the living room of a preacher’s house.

Now, here’s the incredible thing I noticed. Even though people are so different, I noticed they all did the same thing. While they were talking in my living room, they’d begin to snap together those Lego blocks. Many times they wouldn’t even be aware they were doing it. They’d just subconsciously build something. Almost automatically they’d pick up Lego blocks out of the bucket, or off the carpet, and snap them together.

Why do people do this? The Scriptures say people are made in the image of God. People are naturally creative. We are workers. Without even thinking, we work to build things. We snap together Legos because that’s part of the image of God in all of us.

If we snap together Legos because we’re made in the image of God, think about what that says about God. I mean, God had the biggest Lego set of all – the universe. He couldn’t just sit there with the universe and not snap it together. That’s why He made the world, and that’s why the world created in perfection was such a marvelous thing.

In today’s verse, Paul gives us instructions about our instinct to build things. He basically says, “Make up your mind to build something for God. Work hard in building that something. Be fully assured that God will be pleased and your effort won’t be wasted.”

So, as you begin this new week, start making something for the Lord with the blocks of your life. You’ll brighten the lives of those around you, and you’ll bring pleasure to the God who made you.

john l cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 27 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 teaches Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (a place that still has its share of Legos and Lincoln Logs). The Cashes have two sons, Spencer (age 21), and Seth (age 18), who live in the parsonage, too, except when they are away at college. He would love to hear from you in an email sent to countrypreacherdad@gaggle.net.

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