Posted in Family, fear, forgiveness, friends, gratitude, Integrity, life, love, loving others, Scripture, sovereignty of God, thankful, Trials

My Grandfather (not) Clock

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

It was a long, long time ago.  Judy and I were living in Warrensburg, Missouri.  I was in the Air Force and God was in the process of preparing me for the great adventure of becoming a pastor.  About then the letter came.  It was an invitation, an advertisement really, to come and look at some vacation property.  If we came, they were going to give us a grandfather clock. I liked clocks.

Well, let’s be clear.  There was no way we could afford to buy much of anything.  With two daughters under three and living on a government salary there wasn’t much to spare. But I liked clocks–a lot.  So, I made the phone call and spoke to a happy person who was glad to set up an appointment for us. We were going to go and see what we couldn’t afford and listen as they tried to convince us to buy what we couldn’t afford.  Why did we even bother?  I liked clocks.

So, we drove for the hour, looked at the property, listened to their pitch and then explained that we could not afford the property.  After a long back and forth they finally figured out that–you guessed it–we couldn’t afford the property. It was a no sale.  It was time to go and then I asked about the prize–the grandfather clock.

“Oh that,” she said. “Just a moment” she said. I waited with anticipation.  I had seen several grandfather clocks in showrooms and houses of the rich and famous so I couldn’t wait to see mine.  It was then she walked out.  In her hands was a 24-inch, brown plastic, electric, imitation, not even close to real, pretend grandfather clock. You see, they had promised one thing and delivered another, and I was left very disappointed.

My heart told me it couldn’t be true. It seemed too good to be true–and it was.  But I wanted the clock so badly I was willing to believe anything.  I wish I could tell you I learned the lesson that day, but I am still a hungry fish when it comes to baited hooks. That tends to make people like me a bit skeptical. No free lunch–too good to be true.

And then there is Jesus.  I mean He makes all these “out of this world” claims about loving me unconditionally; about forgiving my sins, failures and mistakes no matter how many and how bad; to never, ever leave me or abandon me; and to live with Him in heaven…forever.  That just sounds too good to be true.  But guess what–it is.

You see Jesus isn’t some company hawking impossible dreams to people and promising grandfather clocks and giving plastic imitations.  He is the real deal.  He is everything He said He is.  He did everything He said He did.  He has kept every promise He ever made. 100% authentic. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

The clock was important to me for another reason.  I just knew it would make me feel better about me–richer, more important, more blessed, more something.  Well, that didn’t happen. Instead, I walked out of the showroom feeling less than ever.  Let me tell you about Jesus.  He thinks you hung the moon. He thinks you are of incredible value–remember He died for you!  He would choose you to be in His family again, and again, and again and He can’t wait to spend eternity with you.  And those big, hairy monsters we face in life?  He can whip them all.

So, don’t let the “too good to be true experiences” taint your view of Jesus.  He really is the real deal.  All the craziness of our present reality bow at His feet for He is the all-powerful, living Son of God.  Oh, by the way…I have a real grandfather clock now, but it really isn’t a big deal–never was.  It’s just a clock. Jesus, well, He’s my friend and so much more.  I hope He is yours.  Rest in Him.  He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, forgiveness, friends, Grace, gratitude, life, loving others, prayer, priorities, Scripture, sovereignty of God, thankful, travel, Trials

Your Expected Wait Time

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Warning…whining ahead.  Ok, I just wanted to give you a heads up that I am about to whine.  It really isn’t my fault.  I think I was born with it…wired with it.  While most babies cried, I whined.  If the milk wasn’t quite the right temperature…I didn’t cry…I whined.  If it was a quarter past a diaper change…you guessed, I whined.  And if someone failed to realize just how precious I was…whine, whine, whine.  I am so good at it I believe it must be some kind of gift.  I know the Bible talks about people having a special gift from God so who knows…maybe there is a whining gift.  People sometimes say you shouldn’t whine but that is probably because they are jealous.  Whining is an art, a talent but there is a problem.  Nobody seems to appreciate a good whiner.  Someone even gave me a little plaque to hang in my office.  It simply says, “Thou shalt not whine.” Imagine that.

I try to be a good steward of my whining gift and save it for special occasions, but the problem is, to me everything day is special and almost every situation an opportunity to practice my gift.  But tonight, tonight it is valid.  Tonight, I have the right to whine…and I have.  Here’s why. So, a couple of months ago, my wife Judy and I planned our fall vacation and decided to go back to Fort Myers, Florida.  It just sounded like a good idea.

We began to make all the appropriate reservations and arrangements.  Car rental…check.  Places to stay…check.  Plane tickets…check.  Yup…we were all set.  And then it happened.  The airline, which I won’t name but whose name starts with a D and ends with an A decided to change our flight schedule.  Hmmm.

We always fly in and out of Evansville because it is so convenient.  As close as it is, it is still about an hour and a half from where we live to the airport.  We had arranged for the return flight to land in the early afternoon.  This is especially important since as a pastor I am supposed to speak the next morning.  It’s always good to have a cushion…just in case. Anyway, here comes the email.  Surprise, surprise, surprise…we have changed your flight from landing at 4:40pm in the afternoon to 9:09pm (yawn) in the evening.  Add an hour and a half drive and it makes 5:00 am come pretty fast.

So, I checked and found out there was indeed a flight that landed at 4:40 pm and there were indeed seats available.  I decided to call the airlines and ask them to fix the problem. I dialed the number and the chirpy voice on the recording assured me that I was a valuable customer (I even had a special number to call) and they would be right with me.  The expected wait time was just four hours.  I’m not kidding, 4:00 hours.  Well, I just knew there had to be another way but after spending an hour trying to find it, I realized there was not one.  Not an email solution, not a wish, or a prayer…nothing, nada.  If I wanted to talk to the nice airline, I would have to stay on the line for four hours.  Can someone say crazy?

Well, rather than stay on the line for four hours (yawn) I decided to spend the time writing a story about it.  I just know all of you out there in grits land will understand and whine with me.  I’m not sure how I’m going to fix the problem, but I assure you it will not involve me holding on the phone for four hours.  I can also assure you it will involve an appropriate amount of whining.

Now, fortunately, not all customer service is as poor as this.  In fact, there is one place where there is no wait, no busy signal and each person is indeed special.  And where would that be…on God’s hotline.  I love the fact that my Dearest Daddy is never too busy, never too overwhelmed to take my call.  And the best part?  He always makes the right call—pun intended. He is too kind to be mean and too wise to make a mistake.  Even when His way doesn’t match my way, I am sure that it is the best way.  I guess I could ask Him for patience, but I hear the training program for that involves six hour hold times.  Yikes!

Well, I feel better now.  Thanks for reading and understanding.  Who knows, all this might work out for my good…actually, I’m sure it will.  I mean the Bible says, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose,” and I suppose that includes long holds on the phone. Someone (and that would be me) tells everyone that will listen, “He’s got this” and I believe that He does.  I even believe that includes airlines with four hour hold times.  How about that. God bless you!  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, fear, friends, life, prayer, Scripture, Trials

Jesus in the Pantry

The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fright. His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him.” Daniel 5:6

“It” came out of nowhere.  Well, as you know from a recent Grits adventure, I recently came face to face with a couple of dogs who were out looking for lunch…and I was on the menu.  It had been a while since I have been genuinely afraid—genuinely fearful for my well-being but that morning I was.  I learned that he-man or not, all of us are susceptible to fear.  Just a few minutes ago, I was talking to a friend about something that happened to his wife this past Sunday.  She was run over by a mad Momma cow, and it is only by the grace of God that she was not more seriously injured than she was. She was over 100 feet from the calf and the cow but for some reason the Momma cow chose her to attack.

We heard about the attack during our Family Gathering on Sunday afternoon at church.  We stopped and prayed then.  As he told me the details, I could just feel how frightening this was.  Well, God stepped up for me Saturday morning and God stepped up for the both of them on Sunday afternoon.  He is a caring and loving God who stands by in the wings just waiting for us to holler for help.  Oh, and it gets better.  Even when we don’t know to holler—He still responds.  That is just the kind of God He is.

I received a devotional email the other day that made me smile and chuckle while at the same time reminding me of just how blessed we are to have a Dearest Daddy like Him. The story goes like this. Little 5-year-old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother made supper one evening. She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup. But he didn’t want to go in alone. “It’s dark in there and I’m scared,” he told her. Now before we go any further with this tale, I want you to know that I can identify with Johnny. I can remember being afraid of the dark when I was a kid.  In fact, sometimes it’s still just a little scary to walk into a dark building at night—especially a church!

Well, let’s get on with the story. His Momma asked again, and yet he still delayed. Finally, she said, “It’s okay – Jesus will be in there with you.” Johnny walked hesitantly to the door and slowly opened it. He peeked inside, saw it was dark, and started to leave when all at once an idea came. So, he said, “Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup?” Ok, you gotta love it.

Believe it or not there is a story in the Bible about crazy, overcoming fear.  There was a king, an ungodly king at that, and God decided to send him a message.  He did so by allowing a human hand to appear out of nowhere and write a message of judgement on the wall.  Daniel 5:6 tells us of the king’s response. It says, “The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fright. His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him.” Can you imagine that?

Not all fear is bad. Sometimes fear can keep us from walking dangerous paths that can lead to disaster and regret. The Bible teaches us that the fear of God—the reverence of God—is the beginning of wisdom. Remember fear God and fear nothing else. Whether it be a vicious pair of dogs or a crazed cow, His peace and strength is more than enough for us. In the midst of the chaos, if we can listen, we will probably hear the Whisperer whispering, “Fear not my child—I’ve got this.” Bro. Dewayne 

Posted in Family, food, friends, life, loving others, Scripture, Southern born, thankful, Trials


The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful, and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So, she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.” Genesis 3:6

I remember it like it was yesterday…or a couple of weeks ago anyway.  I am the youngest of eight children.  Some call me the baby of the family…I call it the best. My brothers and sisters nicknamed me precious.  I used to think it was because they were jealous, but I later learned they were just right.  And, because I was so precious, well I often was the target of pranks and other acts of terrorism.

The two sisters right above me and myself were called the three little ones.  That was because everybody else was several years older and therefore bigger.  My two youngest sisters were the main terrorists.  They loved to hold me down and tickle me mercilessly and then pull my ears till they were blood red. It’s because of them one of my ears sticks out further than the other. They were two tough cookies.

One time they pushed me out the door in my underwear and wouldn’t let me back in.  I banged and banged on the door all to no avail.  They, of course, will deny all of this but trust me, at the Judgement Seat all will be revealed, and they will surely be grateful for grace.

I have always had an affection for sweet things, and they even used that against me.  One day one of them came up and said, “Dewayne, do you want some candy?”  Well, my response was, “Well sure.”  It was a small box and in my excitement, I didn’t take time to read the label.  Honestly, since I was only about eight, I probably wouldn’t have known the difference anyway.  So, I opened the box and found that it was filled with chocolates.  There were only three or four pieces in the box and before long…they were gone.

I did notice that they tasted a little different, but they were sweet and they were brown so hey, that was close enough for me.  I should have been suspicious that the terrorists were being so nice, but I always was a trusting soul.  Several hours passed and before long time wasn’t the only thing that passed.  You see, my loving sisters had fed me a whole box of Ex-Lax.  They would deny it, you probably can’t believe it but trust me I was there.  Oh, boy was I there.

Well, I learned a lot of lessons growing up and this is one of them.  You see, things are often not what they seem to be. I thought I was getting a box of chocolates and instead I got a box of trouble.  It looked like chocolate, it even tasted like chocolate but it wasn’t anything close.  Did you know that the Bible warns us how the Devil and disguise himself?  It says that he can disguise himself as an angel of light when in fact He is the angel of darkness.  Remember that…things are not always as they seem.

I learned too that not everyone who comes bearing gifts can be trusted.  I should have known better when they offered that box but my desire for chocolate overruled my common sense.  That is what got Adam and Eve in trouble in the garden. The story is found in Genesis, and it says, “The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful, and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So, she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.” And just like that…I found myself eating Ex-Lax.

It’s a tricky world out there…terrorists are lurking everywhere and sometimes they might be related so be careful.  Be sure and use your good common sense if someone offers you a little box filled with chocolates.  You might be getting more than you bargained for.  Like I said, I probably wouldn’t have understood the label even if I had read it. But do you know what?  My mama would have.  In fact, if I had gone to mama this story would have been totally different.  But, well, I didn’t.

As we journey through this upside-down world, don’t forget to go to your Dearest Daddy with your questions and mysteries.  He is always there, and He is always watching out for you.  You can trust Him. His box of chocolate is always the real deal.  So have a seat, open the box, and enjoy.  You can rest in Him.  He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, fear, friends, Grace, gratitude, life, prayer, Scripture, thankful, Trials

One Saturday Morning

When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Psalm 56:3

It was a dark and stormy night.  Well, it really wasn’t but what happened was scarier than any dark and haunted mansion.  It was Saturday morning and after some debate I decided to go and do my walk and exercise thing.  I have several different paths that I walk, and I decided to walk the bike trail.  I drove to the trail head, parked the car, and started out—enjoying the beautiful spring morning and flora that soon engulfed me.  I made it about a quarter of a mile and things went south…very south.

The bike trail runs next to a highway but is still in the woods. After about a quarter mile, there is an area that they cleared to build the entrance to the Middle School.  That is where it happened. As I emerged from the wooded area, I looked across the highway and there were two dogs, one tan, and one black and they were trotting along on the other side of the highway. My first thought, was, “Oh look…there are Bugs and Bugsy…two pups out for a morning stroll. They spotted me, and immediately headed my way across the highway.  I still wasn’t alarmed but I should have been.

After the two had crossed the road, they came…not toward me but at me…and began not just to bark but to stalk.  This was not a case of two dogs barking at a stranger…it was a case of two dogs bent on attacking and biting this stranger.  They were about four or five feet from me, viciously barking, snarling, and lunging at me, and I decided to do the “Hey bear.” They say when you see a bear, you should holler and most likely the bear will run. Well, I hollered, and the two dogs didn’t run—they only got madder.

Walking backward, because when I turned my back their attack got even closer, I tried to sooth them with my best “I like dogs” voice. It didn’t help…the attack continued. At this point I was genuinely afraid.  I believed, no, I know, if somehow I were to stumble, it wouldn’t be pretty. While several cars slowed down, none stopped.  One truck did pause in the middle school entrance but didn’t offer assistance.  I found out later the owner, who was supposedly looking for the dogs, drove a white truck. If it was the owner…he didn’t stick around.

I love to watch all these nature shows, you know, the one where the lions chase and eat the antelope? Well, and I am not kidding, I suddenly had an, “I know how you feel moment.” I continued walking and shooing while they continued their relentless attack.  Finally, out of the corner of my eye I saw a limb laying but the bike trail. I was able to quickly break part of it off and use it against the dogs.  While I didn’t, couldn’t hit them it was enough to get them to back off.  They lunged a couple more times and finally stopped. Shaking and with a heart rate off the scale, it was finally over.

I continued down the trail for the rest of my walk and found a large stick just in case the two attackers were still around.  Apparently, they had moved on.  It turns out I was not the only one to see the dogs and another lady had an encounter in the same area, at just about the same time with the same two dogs.  Fortunately, she had a can of pepper spray that saved her.  You may have wondered if needed could you cause harm to a living thing to protect yourself.  I now can answer that question for myself…yes.

Well, I was grateful that this didn’t have a harsher ending. I did end up cutting the palm of my hand as I tried to break the smaller branch off the bigger one.  It will probably leave a scar to remind me of the events of that morning. It will remind me that sometimes the most random of decisions can have big consequences. Nothing that happened that day was my fault—it was just life and perhaps the responsibility of an irresponsible dog owner. It will remind me that though I was very frightened, and I was, that God was faithful in protecting me. I really didn’t have time in the middle of the fray to pray or say anything, but He was still there. I am grateful.

Finally, I learned that an attack can come from the most unlikely of places. I like dogs…a lot. Nothing warned me that these were bad dogs, but I learned that not all dogs are good dogs so while I will still love dogs…ones that cross a road to attack me are probably not my friends. Smile.  Oh, and one more thing. I learned and experienced another instance when my faithful Dearest Daddy watched over me. What is written in the Book is true, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” Amen.  I also learned fresh and anew that no matter what…He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, friends, Grace, gratitude, life, loving others, Scripture, sovereignty of God, thankful, Trials


I will remember the Lord’s works; yes, I will remember Your ancient wonders. I will reflect on all You have done and meditate on Your actions.” Psalm 77:11

I remember when. It is a line that is heard a lot in conversation.  A favorite time. A favorite trip. A favorite memory.  It seems the older we get, the more we use those three words. I remember when gas was 18 cents a gallon.  I remember when a Coke was 5 cents.  I remember when a Whopper was 49 cents.  I remember my first new car was $2,795.  I remember my friend bragging that he could boil water in a paper cup, and I was introduced to the microwave.

Now would be a good time to tell you that I am not 102 years old.  In fact, I am, well never mind.  Let’s just say not that old.  The ability to remember is one of the gifts that God gave to us as humans.  I can remember when I met my wife Judy–boy, she was cute.  I can remember when our first daughter was born–boy, she was cute too–took after her mom.  First granddaughter–yup, cute too. I remember when.

We all have those great memories.  Unfortunately, we also all have those “not so great” memories.  Times when we made unwise decisions that resulted in Goliath size consequences in our lives.  They usually involved a split moment in time when “the want” outweighed “the wisdom” and we acted.  The results were scars, broken hearts, financial disasters, and regret.

So, what do you do with this memory thing?  We all can remember back before the COVID thing was a thing…when things were…normal. Want to go out and eat? Sure. Want to go shopping.  Sure.  Want to go on vacation? Sure.  Want to go to church?  Sure.  Then came that long stretch when things were anything but normal.  Gratefully, now, we are beginning to taste, at least, a variation of normal. But the question remains, “What do we do with yesterday? What do we do with the regrets? What do we do with yesterdays that leave us longing or weeping? What do we do with fear of the unknowns?”

Saul (aka Paul) had to deal with that.  He had a long history of regrets.  As a young man climbing up the corporate ladder, he made his living imprisoning people for believing in Jesus.  People who followed Jesus would quake when he walked into town.  It usually meant someone was going to jail.  Or worse.  He once stood by as a mob stoned a young man named Stephen.  He nodded his approval with each sickening thud as stone met flesh.

So, what happened?  He met Jesus and he was instantly and forever changed.  He went from Jesus hater to Jesus follower.  The only problem was people have long memories and he was a people.  Every look in the polished metal mirror reminded him. Every trip to a new town carried the dread that someone would say, “Hey, isn’t that the guy?”  Ever had that happen?  Ever dread that happening?  Well, Paul did too, and he gave us some mountain moving advice in Philippians 3:13a-14.

He wrote “This one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”  There you go.  He says, “I am not going to let my past control my present or my future”.  Paul accepted one amazing deal.  Grace.  God had forgiven him of all his messes in the past and he finally made the decision to live in grace rather than regret.

So, as we continue our journey through these days of a new different, we can long for the old days, or we can live in gratitude and grace.  As memories of mistakes the size of Everest sneak their way into our present, we can sink, or we can swim in His grace.  As we look in the mirror, we can see what might have been or believe what God says is. The author of Psalm 77 said, “I will remember the Lord’s works; yes, I will remember Your ancient wonders. I will reflect on all you have done and meditate on your actions.”

You need to know and believe that He’s pretty keen on you.  He’s not ashamed or afraid to call you His.  There is never a hint of regret for His decision to let you in the family.  Hey, believe that.  Rest in that. He’s got you. He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in fear, forgiveness, friends, Grace, gratitude, life, love, loving others, missions, prayer, priorities, Scripture, sovereignty of God, thankful, Trials

Meet Bart

Rabboni,” the blind man said to Him, “I want to see.” Mark 10:51

The old blues song goes like this, “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, only darkness every day. Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone…and this house just ain’t no home.” Bart would have understood that well.  There wasn’t a bit of sunshine in his world.  Not one bit.

Bartimaeus, or Bart as his friends called him, was blind.  Along with blindness came the usual social stigmas of being an outcast and the usual career choice–begging.  He had landed on a good stretch of the highway to beg.  There was a lot of traffic but as always–a lot of darkness.  But all that was about to change.

One day he heard a crowd passing by and asked what was happening.  The fact that anyone even acknowledged him was a miracle.  Someone said, “Jesus is passing by.” Bart had heard of this young Rabbi, and he had also heard stories, rumors really, that he could heal people like him.  Three words flashed into his mind–now or never.

He began to shout, to beg, to scream “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Over and over, he shouted.  The crowd quickly became annoyed and demanded that he shut it down or they would shut him up.  But desperation and hope wouldn’t allow that.  “Jesus, Son of David, please, have mercy on me.” Right at the point when his ears told him the noise was fading, he heard it.  Jesus was saying something, “Call him.”  Amazingly the same crowd that tried to shut him down now helped pick him up.

“What do you want me to do for you?” the unseen Rabbi asked.  It might seem like a strange question to ask a blind guy, but Jesus wanted to be sure Bart knew his need.  Perhaps a small contribution?  Maybe a walking stick or a seeing eye camel?  Jesus was asking, “Do you want a better life or a new life?” Bart was ready for something new.

Mark 10:51 gives us his reply.  “Rabboni,” the blind man said to him, “I want to see.” His five words are loaded with meaning.  First, the word “Rabboni” was master, and it was a term of surrender.  He was saying, “I haven’t experienced what I need but I will trust you for it anyway.”  That’s faith.  Second, “I want to see.”  He wasn’t asking for a band-aid…he was wanting something new, something life changing.  Faith and the wisdom to ask for the right thing were game changers for Bart.

Wait, Jesus is speaking again and what He says is amazing.  “Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has saved you.”  Your.Faith.Has.Saved.You.  And do you know what happened next?  Mark tells us in the rest of verse 52. “Immediately he could see and began to follow Jesus on the road.” Immediately his world exploded into light and color.  Instantly the darkness was forced to flee as the light of the world flooded in. Amazing.

Well, Jesus told him to go. His new world was at his doorstep and guess where he chose to go? Right with Jesus.  He followed him.  I mean, where else would he go but to follow the One who gave him light, who gave him life.  I can imagine the smile on his lips and chatter from his tongue as he shared what Jesus had done.  “I once was blind, but now I see” he would say.  We added the “amazing grace” part later.

So how about you?  Does your life ever seem dark?  Ever feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed with life? Jesus knows and He understands. Whatever it is, Jesus is passing by, and He has an invitation just for you.  He invites you to come and when you get there don’t ask for a seeing eye camel or walking stick.  He’s got something bigger for you.  He has peace and He has hope. He has a new life of light and color.  You’ ll find a friend who will never leave or abandon you.  Go ahead, get up.  He’s waiting.  You can trust him.  Rest in Him.  He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, fear, friends, gratitude, life, prayer, priorities, Scripture, sovereignty of God, thankful, Trials

Bedtime for Bonzo

But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God.” Romans13:11

It was bedtime for Bonzo. I told someone the other day that I don’t mind dying…I just don’t want to die stupid.  Let me explain.  We are all going to leave this earth at one time or another. The checkout rate is 100%.  And, truthfully, I’m ok with that and the reason why is my friend Jesus.  I bought into what He was selling a long time ago.  I read what the Bible said about Him and what He said, it made total sense, and I just believed.  Like someone said, “When a guy predicts His own death and resurrection…well, you just go with it.” I went with it. But what about the stupid part?

The stupid part is when we live totally recklessly or totally fail to care for our health and we end up either very sick or very dead.  Now I’m not trying to be insensitive but that is simply the truth.  My Daddy and Momma both died at 62…way too early even for the 1970’s. They were both heavy smokers and that just took its toll.  Daddy died of heart trouble and four years later Momma died of cancer. So, as you can imagine, I’m trying to take better care of my health so if God is ok with it, I can stick around a little longer.

Well, one of the things that they recommend you do is check for colon cancer and the way you do that is to have a medical procedure called a colonoscopy.  That requires a morning check-in at the hospital and meeting lots of new friends.  When I got there, and I must admit I liked this, I was the star of the show.  Nurses came and showered me with attention preparing me for the procedure. Some of the attention involved needles but I was even ok with that. Before they took me back, I met a friend named Tom.  Tom is the guy you really want to get to know.  His job is to make sure you don’t remember a thing about the test, and he was great.

I told Tom we had a couple of things in common.  He has been doing his thing at the hospital for 42 years and I have been doing the preacher thing for 41 years.  We also were just about the same age.  Oh, and I told him, his job is to put people to sleep and sometimes it seems that was my job too. Smile.  Anyway, Tom made sure I didn’t remember a thing about the procedure, and I was very grateful. It went something like this.

They rolled me into the room. Then Tom, my new best friend, put some medicine in my arm via the IV and said, “how do you feel?”  I think I remember telling him I felt a little burning sensation. That’s it…game over.  The next thing I remember is I am hearing voices and I wanted to tell them not to start yet because I was still awake.  Uh, what I didn’t know, of course, was that the test was over, and I was in the recovery room. Amazing. Not only did I not know when I went to sleep, or when the test started and finished, I didn’t even know they had moved me to a different room.  How about that? And that, by the way, is exactly what they wanted…and I wanted.

The bottom line is all the unpleasantries of the test took place while I was sleeping and for a medical deal…that is a good deal. But what about life?  I mean, I wonder how many times do we snooze and lose? You know, relationships…snooze. Family relationships…snooze. Big Adventures…snooze. Good sermons…snooze (I had to throw that one in). Great opportunities…snooze. Too often while we are snoring, the Devil is working, and we wake up to find ourselves where we had no intention of being.  Sleeping plays a big and important role in our lives…but not always. Snooze at the wrong time or in the wrong place and it is, “bedtime for Bonzo.”

The Bible, in the Message paraphrase says, “But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God.” Wow…that is some great advice.  And it applies to every area of every life.  So, be careful to know when to sleep and when to be wide awake.  Be sure to set your alarm, you know, the one that says, “I’ve got this, I’ve got this” because…He does. Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, Grace, gratitude, life, Scripture, sovereignty of God, thankful, Trials

April Snow

For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17

Surprise, surprise, surprise.  Three of Gomer Pyle’s favorite words.  If you are old enough that name means something.  If you are not, well, your only comment would be, “Who would name their kid Gomer?”  Well, I guess Mr. and Mrs. Pyle did.  Gomer was a television character from the sixties who started in the Andy Griffith Show and then later had his own show called, “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”  That’s right…this most unlikely of candidates joins the Marines and proceeds to drive Sergeant Carter, his drill sergeant and boss, crazy. If you can find it somewhere, and you like just crazy comedy, it might be worth your time.

On both shows Gomer had this high pitch, country twangy voice that really fit his character.  But here’s the funny part…he actually had an incredibly rich baritone singing voice.  It was so unexpected…kinda like a beautiful song coming from a barnyard chicken.  He managed quite a career as an actor and as a singer.  Sometimes it is the unexpected that keeps life interesting.

So, last year and just about this time, something happened that was really unexpected.  It snowed.  While the ground was warm enough that it didn’t stick, it snowed to beat the band. Now if this was Alaska it wouldn’t be a deal, but this is Southern Illinois.  Southern Illinois, as in, we are in full blown Spring.  Southern Illinois, as in, flowers blooming, trees budding and grass growing.  Just like Gomer’s rich baritone voice…this was totally unexpected. We had to haul plants into our garage and cover up what we could in hopes of saving them from the freeze.  It was a wait and see game.

Although the weather folks had let us know a little ahead of time, that didn’t change the fact that this was unseasonable and unexpected.  To some degree it caught them and us off guard.  And, honestly, that is often the case in life.  Things come and go and sometimes we see them a mile down the road and sometimes, like Gomer, all we can say is “Surprise, surprise, surprise.”  I know our third child was a surprise…at least to us.  Of course, there was Someone who knew all about it.  Wondering who?

That “Who” would be God.  Have you ever thought about the fact that God never says, “Oops?”  How about this?  Have you ever thought about the fact that God has never, and will never say, “Sure didn’t see that one coming.”  Nope, with God there is never an oops and He is never surprised.  From the beginning of history here on planet earth until He decides to call it a day, nothing ever catches Him off guard.  Nothing.  I like that…a lot.  Things may catch us off guard but Him, …never. I like what Paul said in the New Testament.  He let us know that not only did God create all things, but He is also the One who holds it all together.  That means no matter how much it seems like the world is crumbling around us…it’s not…at least not without His permission.

I hope we are done with the “surprise” April snowstorms and freezing temps.  For me, once was enough.  And while we are at it, I also hope we are truly done with the 2020’s of life and the pandemics.  I guess the truth is, only God knows.  However, that fact alone gives me peace.  The God who made it all knows all about it.  All I must do is to remember to trust Him and believe that He will be there whenever, whatever happens.  Even if it snows in July, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, “He’s got this.”  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in friends, Grace, gratitude, life, priorities, Scripture, thankful, Trials


Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It was almost unbearable. One of the things that I enjoy about my day job is that I get to share good news with people.  Every Sunday, except when I don’t, I have the privilege of sharing truth about God from the Bible.  Now I don’t know if you know, but for most preachers those sermons don’t come in the mail, don’t come from a website, and don’t just magically appear. For me, it all begins with getting God’s opinion about a topic, lesson or idea and then gathering all the necessities such as the right scripture and various stories and quotes. After that, I begin to put it all together to hopefully make it both informational and applicable.

Applicable—now that is a big deal to me.  I want what I prepare and deliver to be something that will help those who hear the message to go home with something that will help them do life.  I know it is important to have a good strong introduction and that is where this story begins.  I was going to talk that day about three things that God gives us from His Word that will help in our day-to-day walk.  Well, somewhere in the process of brainstorming and thinking, the number three and the fact that these three things were there to help make life bearable—in fact more than bearable—made me think of the story of the three bears.  Well, just like that I had the perfect introduction and outline for my message—almost.

So, with the story of the three bears ringing in my head, I began researching, gathering information and writing. After more than a few hours, the message began to take shape and center stage were those three bears.  Like I said, there were three things that God gave us to help make life more than bearable.  Taken from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, they were rejoicing always, praying always and always being thankful.  Enter the three bears.  I had Papa Bear, who was just a hair grumpy, complaining his porridge was too hot and his bed was too hard.  His answer and ours is to learn to live in joy—rejoice always.  Next please.

Next came Mama Bear and she had a problem with her porridge and bed too except hers was too cold and too soft. Oh, these silly bears—she simply needed to learn to pray more and complain less—in other words, pray always. By now I’m getting excited—the message was almost in the bag.  That can only leave Baby Bear and he got it right.  Of course, being the baby of eight in my family—I wasn’t a bit surprised—we always get it right.  His response was that the porridge and the bed were both just right.  He was contented and therefore He was grateful and thankful. There you go…put on a bow…and out we go just in time to beat the other churches to the restaurants.

Well, Saturday night is always my crunch night and I always go over the sermon making any and all final adjustments.  Well, I decided I should check on this three-bear thing to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, so I Googled it and discovered—I had it ALL wrong.  It seems I left out a young lady named Goldilocks and it was her and not the bears that did almost all the talking and complaining about the porridge and beds. And the humor of it all was the opening line in my introduction was, “Everyone knows the story of the three bears” that is everyone but me! Well, it was too late to rewrite the story so all I could do was tell my unbearable—no pun intended—tale.  Thankfully, I think it may have made for a better introduction anyway, but I must admit I am puzzled on how I managed to get it so wrong—even leaving out the main character.

Who knows, right? But then I realized we do it all the time except it isn’t a fairytale, it isn’t three bears, and it isn’t a little girl with golden hair.  Nope—it is the story of our lives, lived out in real life drama and how often we leave our main character, our Dearest Daddy, out of the story.  Well, if my rewriting of the three bears is crazy—leaving God sitting on the curb is even crazier. And remember, that Goldilocks wasn’t some minor player—she was the star of the show—just like God should be in our story.

Well, we will call this Grits a wrap and put the bears to bed. Just a few things to remember.  One, remember to always check the facts and preferably do it sooner than later!  Two, don’t try and make the story fit your story—I’m sure that helped me be wrong.  It all sounded so right—even though it wasn’t.  And finally, just remember that even when you get it all wrong, we can rest in one thing—that no matter what—He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne