Devotion in Motion: For your hard days

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“For we walk by faith, not by sight.2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)

I’m writing this devotion on Tuesday, and I feel one thousand times better than I did yesterday. That’s because most preachers feel terrible on Monday. On Mondays I typically find myself fighting fatigue and a dark mood. Yesterday I told people the same thing that I always say on Monday: “I’ll feel better monday-and-coffee1tomorrow, when Tuesday gets here, just by virtue of the fact that it won’t be Monday.”

I’ve asked a lot of pastors for their opinions, and the consensus is pretty much unanimous. Monday is a hard day for preachers. My brother-in-law, Dr. Ron M. Buck, told me when I entered the ministry that he thought a minister should take a different day besides Monday for his day off, because Monday is pretty much shot anyway.

I asked Bro. C. E. Wall, one of my mentors who’s nearing the age of 80, what he thought of the situation. He told me that for many years he preached twice each Sunday and then went to work at the Highway Department bright and early Monday morning. He summed it up simply: “Oh, John, Mondays were rough. Tuesdays were always better, but Mondays were rough.”

I’m not sure why Mondays are so hard for preachers, but I have some theories. Most preachers work really hard on Sundays and are really happy on the Lord’s Day. As so often is the case, an emotional high is followed by an emotional low. Sometimes we get so wound up that it’s hard to get to sleep Sunday night.

I like my friend Bro. Archie Taflinger’s idea the best. He believes that sometimes we probably don’t take care of ourselves the way we should on the other six days of the week. He says that when we preach on Sundays, the Holy Spirit works in us and through us. God is so much stronger than we are that our frail bodies are overworked by His presence. I think there’s more than a grain of truth in his explanation.

Everybody has a hard day now and again, and I think that’s especially true for mothers. God has placed mothers in a ministry that never ends and that never has a day off. Yet, one thing I have learned is absolutely true. When you’re tired and blue, it’s important not to focus on the way that you FEEL but on what you KNOW to be true.

We walk by faith and not by sight. We are saved by our faith, not by our feelings. The promises that God told us in the light are still true in our darkness. And Jesus’ last promise to His children before He ascended into Heaven is this:“Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

So, dear mother, take heart. The light of Jesus is always with you, even on the cloudiest Monday. And Tuesday always comes again, right in God’s perfect timing.

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 are on their way to visit kinfolks.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

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).