Devotion in Motion: Flea market logic

33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.   Luke 12:33 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I’ve been retired from full-time school teaching for two weeks now. I’ve had a great time, but I think I’ve been busier than when I was teaching every day.

I’ve worked two jobs for 28 years, and I feel like I’m about 15 years behind on things that I’ve stacked up to do “when I get time.” It’s nice to finally have a little time to try to get caught up.

For years I’ve had more “stuff” than I’ve needed. Susan and I have had loved ones pass away (or go to assisted living) and it’s been our job deal with their possessions. Plus, I had plenty of things that I’ve accumulated on my own. This has left me with a moral dilemma. I don’t like for my storage rooms to be crammed with clutter, but I also don’t want usable things to go to waste.

flea marketI think I’ve found a solution: I’ve rented a flea market booth.

So many of my flea market neighbors have really nice booths. They are set up like little shops and boutiques. I’m just getting started, so I just have four long tables.

My booth looks a little like an upscale rummage sale, but I sell a lot of stuff because I have great prices. I try to have the lowest prices in the building. That way if I bring a load today, a lot of it will be gone and they’ll be room for the load I bring tomorrow. So far it’s working out great.

Susan has been happy with my plan, and she’s given me a lot of her stuff to sell, too. We’re really trying to move out the merchandise, but we’ve made an agreement; if either of us misses an item, we are free to purchase a duplicate. After all, we can buy it with the bit of money that we’ve made at the flea market.

With that in mind, there’s one thing I’ve noticed. Whenever I’ve cleaned out clutter in the past, I’ve rarely ever regretted losing anything that I’ve given away. I’ve always been taught, “Things don’t make you happy.”  The older I get, the more I see that this is true. The Lord brings me joy, and the time I spend with people I love makes me happy, too.

Have a great week, and spend some time making more room for the things that are most important. In doing so, you can’t help but fill your life with joy.

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. (Until recently he had 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 recently-retired-schoolteacher Preacher sold a galvanized bucket for $1.00 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.

Devotion in Motion: Love is not rude

4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children;

    Instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  ~  Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

When I was a college student, I was asked to fill in for the young-adult-class Sunday School teacher. The appointed text was from Chapter 6 of the Book of Ephesians, in which Paul tells us how husbands and wives, parents and children should conduct their lives. In verse 4, he tells fathers not to “exasperate” their children, but to bring them up in the “training and instruction of the Lord.”

I don’t remember exactly what I said to the class, but I made some basic comments about how this verse meant that fathers shouldn’t try to make their kids angry but should try to teach them about Jesus. One of the students in the class (a man who had several children) objected to my interpretation and quickly told me so. “I don’t really see how you’re qualified to teach this lesson. You’re not married, and you don’t have any children. What you said is stupid. If you had any kids you would know that you can’t raise kids without making them mad.”

(If I had thought of it at that moment, I would have pointed out to the man that St. Paul wasn’t married and he didn’t have any children, but God still picked him to write the parts of the Bible that give advice about marriages and kids. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, I didn’t think of it until the middle of that night when I was lying awake reliving it. But I digress….)

I tried to shed some light on my previous statement. I told the man I didn’t mean that a father would never make his children angry. What the Bible was saying is that a father shouldn’t try (on purpose) to make his children angry. Then I went on to the next verse….

Well, here I sit, thirty-five years later, and I have a little more experience in these matters. I still stand by what I said in the Sunday School class so many years ago. But, if I had to teach the verse now (in light of what I’ve learned about the Scriptures and what I’ve learned as a parent), this is what I would say: The Bible teaches that fathers shouldn’t be rude to their children.

In parenting, there is a time to be strict. There are times when a parent must be serious and stern. But what the Bible here forbids is rudeness—that basic lack of civility and good manners that leads children to aggravation and anger.

After all, in 1st  Corinthians 13, the “Great Love Chapter” of the Bible, Paul teaches us that “Love is not rude.”

My mother said of my sister Cathie and me, “I’ve never seen two children who loved their Daddy any more than you two. You simply adored him.” And that is the gospel truth. We had the best father, such a loving father. When we were little children, we were afraid to purposefully disobey him because he would spank us with his leather house shoe. He wasn’t a big-talker, and he could be stern and strict. But as I think back on my life, I don’t ever remember him being unkind to us. And he was never, ever rude to his children.

Something I’ve noticed lately is that there are a lot of rude parents. Most of the time they believe they are strict disciplinarians, but really all they have is a combination of irritability mixed with bad manners. Usually their kids are rude, too. “Children learn what they live.”

Let’s pray this week that the Lord Jesus will change our hearts so we can become more like He would have us to be. Let’s strive to be more kind to our children.

(And if we have a substitute Sunday School teacher, let’s not be rude to him, either. )

rp_john-l-cash-212x3001.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. (Until recently he had 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 recently-retired-schoolteacher Preacher this week opened a booth at the flea market place.) 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 Biblical case for happiness

7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:

   Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. ~  Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

happyWhen I first got my Amazon Kindle, I downloaded a sample of a book called 14,000 Things to be Happy About.  The format was simple; it consisted of a small-print, single-file listing of the things in life that are pleasant and good.  I liked it so much that I paid to download the whole book.  I enjoyed the downloaded version so much that I decided to order an ink-and-paper copy. Since then I’ve ordered several more copies of the book, and passed them on to people who were going through hard times. The book is a great resource for everyone.  After all, when you think about happy things, you feel happier.

Not too long after that, I got one of those targeted ads. You know the kind I’m talking about; it’s when the internet is stalking you and says, “If you liked THAT you might want to consider buying THIS.” Well, the book that was recommended to me was called 11,002 Things to be Miserable About. (Have you noticed there’s a parody of everything these days?) The review of the book said that when you make a list of all the bad things in life and print them in lists, it’s surprisingly funny (in a dark sort of way.) I downloaded the free sample to check it out.

As I skimmed through the pages, I chuckled when I was reminded of the negative aspects of  “Alarm Clocks” and “Imitation Crabmeat.” However, as I read further, the humor quickly wore off. In my way of thinking, there’s nothing ironically funny about “The Orchestra That Played While the Titanic Went Down” or “When Birds Fly into a Glass Window and Die.” Those things are just tragic and sick.

As I read a bit more, I began to feel sick at heart. Reading about sad things wasn’t just putting me in a sad mood. Reading about sad things was making me into a sad person. I deleted the book.

When I was growing up, my father often said, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  I didn’t realize it at the time, but this is a paraphrase of today’s Scripture text (at the top). I always understood the proverb to mean that the things that we think about influence the way we feel. But the Bible says more than that.  The things that we think about determine what we ARE.

This week, set your mind on the Saviour and the many blessings He has given you. Life is full of things to be happy about. I can think of at least 14,000 of them….

rp_john-l-cash-212x3001.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. (Until recently he had 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 drew his first teacher’s-pension check on Thursday.)  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: Richly blessed

34 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!

     For His mercy endures forever.    ~  1st Chronicles 16:34  (NKJV)

retirement collageBy Bro. John L. Cash

This week’s my last full week of teaching school, and it’s been such a busy one that I haven’t taken time to write a devotion.  Instead, I went to a retirement party that my teacher-friends gave me.  My co-workers worked so snoopy dancehard to make it the perfect party, and they succeeded.

I don’t have words to express the joy I’m feeling inside. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’m sending along a few for you to see.

The Lord has richly blessed me.

If all goes well, I should have more time to write next week (since I won’t have to be at school every day.) Until then, let us give thanks to God who daily blesses us with His gifts!

rp_john-l-cash-212x3001.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. (Until this week he had 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 this Tuesday is the Preacher’s last day of school.) 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: He will help you

Joh 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.   John 15:5  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

Spencer and Madeline live in a studio apartment in Midtown Memphis. They are social workers. It’s really nice when your children are social workers because they are good to talk to, and they give good advice. Even though they’re still in their twenties, Spencer and Madeline are both very perceptive; I’m always amazed on how much they “pick up on” and understand about the circumstances other people are going through.

The kids came over for a visit last weekend, and I was talking to Spencer about my impending retirement as a public schoolteacher. I told him I was surprised how peaceful I feel about the act of retiring. But I also told him I feel a bit anxious about what I’ll be doing next — especially since I don’t really have the next thing lined up yet.

Spencer summed up my situation and gave me great insight when he said this: “Dad, I’m pretty sure that whatever happens, you’re going to be all right. I mean, I used to teach school when I was in my early twenties. Even though I was in perfect health, I ended each day exhausted. You, on the other hand, are the pastor of a country church who also taught school full-time AND raised two kids at the same time. If you can survive all that, it seems to me that whatever happens next, you’re going to be all right.”

I’ve thought about those words a lot in the past few days. I have done a lot of things — and I wasn’t always in the best of health when I did them. And I realized something. The only way I’ve been able to live (or survive) my life is that God has helped me every step of the way. Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing.” Looking back on my life thus far, that’s not just a memory verse. That’s the Gospel truth. And that’s the way all of human life works.

because he is goodI’m so thankful God has been with me and that He has always helped me. The most wonderful thing of all is that He did not help me because I’m good. Because I’m not. He helped be because I asked Him to help me. But most of all, He helped me because He is good.

Oh my goodness, if you’re raising kids in this present evil age, you’ve certainly got your work cut out for you. But don’t ever give up, and don’t feel discouraged. Ask our loving Heavenly Father to help you. He will help you because He is good.

rp_john-l-cash-212x3001.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 hope to sleep late on President’s Day.) 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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