“I Heard That!”

My dad used to irritate me when I was a kid.

Sometimes I’d ask him a question and he wouldn’t respond. I’d ask it again and he still wouldn’t answer. He’d usually respond if I asked the same question the third time.

Since I’ve had kids of my own, I think I know why he didn’t reply. Constant questions can get annoying.

Have you ever been like my father when God speaks to you? You hear His voice, but you pretend not to.

Has someone ever asked you something and you closed you heart to him?

Whoever wrote the letter to the Hebrews quoted parts of Psalms 95:7,8 three times in the first four chapters. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did…” (Heb. 3:7-9)  Continue reading

Cowboys Fan Fights Depression

Depression knocked on my door recently, but I refused to answer. It was tough, though. Who wouldn’t be depressed if a tiny team upset your favorite college team and if–it’s hard to think of it–the mighty Cowboys crashed and burned. All in one weekend.

What’s left to live for? A friend who is crowding 70 laments, “My life is winding down. Don’t believe I’ll live much past 100, giving me another 30 years or so. My point is that I don’t believe I’ll get to see the Cowboys in another Super Bowl.”

I’m quitting football and I’m going to start watching professional wrestling.

NOT!

If your team wins, hope smiles pulling you forward in a warm cocoon of anticipation. If they lose, you languish in a gray prison. If you see progress towards your goal, “Yippee!” If not, “Oh me!”

Often at the beginning of the year, I ask the Lord for a word, something to work on during the year. In 2018 the word is “hope.”

Old Men and Hope

Hope lights you up while you move towards what you want. You know what my problem is, though? I don’t always know what I want. Or maybe, I’ve wanted some things so long, that hope withered on the vine. Continue reading

Are You a Genius? Try This Test

I have the smartest readers anywhere. Probably. Of course, who knows where “anywhere” is, so it’s a bit hard to be sure. To celebrate your intelligence, I’m giving you a test.

Which of these exotic foods has David Porter consumed?

  1. a/ Squirrel brains  (tastes like chicken … not)
  2. b/ Cow stomach
  3. c/ Snails
  4. d/ Some REALLY smelly cheese
  5. e/ Intestines (boudin)
  6. f/ Cow tongue
  7. g/ All of the above.

The answer is … “g.”

Which of the aforementioned foods tasted lousy? 

Answer:  “b.” It didn’t smell too good either.

Here are some questions for those who’ve put your faith in the Lord Jesus. Which of these are true about you?

  1. a/Your sins are forgiven.
  2. b/You received the free gift of eternal life from God.
  3. c/God is eager for a chance to zap you, so don’t goof up.
  4. d/Jesus, your Elder brother, intercedes before God the Father for you.
  5. e/Jesus will never forsake you, even in the hardest times.
  6. f/God is for you. Nothing can separate you from His love.
  7. g/You’re having problems because you’re a victim. It’s not fair.
  8. h/God does what He wants. If He decides not to like you, give it up. You’re in for it. No hope.
  9. The Lord fights for you.
  10. He renews your strength when you are tired.
  11. Jesus has gone to prepare an eternal place for those you.
  12. He understands your confusion and doubts and comforts you, if you let Him.

All except “c” and “g” and “h” are true.

And if you haven’t put your faith in Christ, which of these things are true?

  1. God understands your questions.
  2. He rubs his hands together in anticipation of punishing you.
  3. God loves you, even if you don’t love Him yet.
  4. You don’t have anything to worry about because everyone except Adolph Hitler-types receives God’s eternal life, not eternal punishment.
  5. He loves you so incredibly that He took the punishment that you (and I) deserved. He offers forgiveness and eternal life to all who abandon their sin, ask forgiveness and put their faith in the Lord Jesus. The Father accepts the work Jesus did at Calvary for us.
  6. Jesus rose from the grave and the same power that raised Him from the grave works in us, when we come to God. He delivers us from the power of sin and the devil and makes us a part of His family.

You can scratch out “b” and “d” because they are not true.You guys and girls are so smart, I’m promoting you to the next class.  But… considering these truths, is there anything you want to start doing differently?

Maybe, you want to stop repeating that God has forgotten you? Maybe, you want to respond to His love?

One thing I know–it doesn’t make me want to eat squirrel brains again.

Here’s something true to think about:

“But in that coming day  no weapon turned against you will succeed.

You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you.

These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me.  I, the Lord, have spoken!

(Isaiah 54:17, NLT)

Hmmm–

“We walk through life so bent out of shape.  Cure any flare up of commonness by setting your eyes on our uncommon King.  Worship lifts our eyes and sets them “on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power” (Colossians 3:1).
We worship God because we need to.  But our need runs a distant second to the thoroughbred reason for worship: God deserves it.  God would die for your sin before he’d let you die in your sin. What do you do with such a Savior?  You lift up your gift in worship.”  Max Lucado
 

picture: janeb13/pixabay.com

“Hey God, I’m Doing You a Favor!”

Phyllis and I became the pastors of a small country church in Arkansas the week I turned 22. I still had a semester of college left and we made the 180-mile round trip each weekend. Then we served as assistant pastor at my home church in Nashville, Arkansas.

By the time I was 25 we were pastoring in Texas and I was ready for ordination, which is the third and final step for pastoral recognition in our movement.

I’ll never forget the night of the ordination service. At the end, one of my leaders placed his hands on my head as I knelt praying. I hadn’t expected anything special, but I got it anyway.

You see, I showed up for that meeting pretty beat up. Pastoring a church looks easy to those who have never done it. I’ll agree. It’s as easy as piloting a Boeing 767 in a thunderstorm. I like people to like me and be happy with me, and even in small churches there are always a few people who wouldn’t be happy, even if the Lord Jesus was the pastor of their church.

I’ve remarked to my wife more than once, “I’m glad I only have to deal with that person at church. Their spouse has to deal with them all the time, and I don’t imagine that’s a picnic.” And there are some husbands who are mad at their wives, but they are afraid to take it out on them so they take it out on the pastor.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Some of the best people I ever met were in those churches. If you’re reading this, you were one of them. The Texas church is still one of the highlights of our ministry.

But, the night I knelt in that ordination service, I must confess, I figured God was getting a bargain when He got me. “Gave up what I was planning for the ministry. Put up with being a punching bag for unhappy individuals. Willing to live on a minimal salary. Yes, sir Lord. You’re really lucky to have me.”

Now, I didn’t say that out loud because I was afraid God would give me a “Gibbs slap” on the back of my head. But, I felt that way.

Until the old brother prayed for me. Continue reading

What Did I Do To Deserve This?

If I were a weapons inventor, I would create the ultimate weapon. Here’s how it would work.

The enemy launches a huge missile. Someone shouts, “Incoming!” and everyone jumps into a hole or looks for something to hide behind.

Not to worry, though. My trusty invention fires a cloud of happy dust into the air and when the missile flies though, its payload changes from explosives into good stuff. Red, green, blue and yellow flowers float towards the earth, along with oatmeal cookies.

The only thing is, I haven’t figured out how to do it. I’ll keep you updated.

God’s Weapon

God can do it, though. Missiles may still hurt when they explode (an oatmeal cookie would hurt if it fell on your noggin), but instead of destroying us they work for our good if we face them with faith in the Lord.

There were a couple of things that really troubled me when I was a kid, then a teenager. If I could have changed them I would have done it in the blink of an eye. It stills hurts a bit when I think of it, all these years afterwards.

But, in a way these circumstances help to make me. Continue reading