Posted in forgiveness, friends, Grace, gratitude, life, love, loving others, Scripture, thankful, Trials

I Saw the Light and Nothing Else

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.” Hebrews 4:13

I saw the light…I really did.  You know there are some songs that stay forever young in church.  I know in our church, you crank up, “I’ll Fly Away” and just about everyone gets fired up and joins in.  Well, the other day we sang another one of those “forever young” songs. I was teaching about Jesus being the light of the world and our worship guy led us in a rousing rendition of “I Saw the Light.” This gospel and country classic was written by Hank Williams Sr. way back in 1948 and has been recorded by many artists.  It is just a good one.

Well, the other day, you might say that I saw the light.  I was speaking at Priority, a statewide event for ladies from the Illinois Baptist State Association and it happened there. As I walked up on stage, the house lights were already dimmed down and there were four very, very bright stage lights letting their light shine.  Now I teach every week somewhere and never have I seen brighter lights.  What was so amazing is that I couldn’t see one face in the crowd.  I knew they were out there—they were an enthusiastic bunch—but all I could see was the lights.  It really was kinda funny.  I felt like I was speaking to a totally dark room—but that wasn’t the case.

During the next general session, it was my turn to be a participant in the audience.  So, I joined my wife and a several ladies from our church and we worshipped and sang.  Finally, it was time for the featured speaker to speak.  She came out on the stage and there she was for everyone to see.  Then, I looked around at the audience and realized that the room wasn’t totally dark, it was just the lights shining on the stage were so bright.  The bottom line is they could see me, and they could see each other—but the speaker—nada, none, zero. I was amazed and I knew somewhere in all of that there had to be lesson, there had to be a truth. And then it came to me.

I realized that sometimes we can be blinded by life and yet all around us everyone else sees clearly.  Sometimes we are blinded by our own sin, or circumstances, or desires. When that happens, we will find it is very difficult to make a good decision because of our blindness.  And sometimes we assume that because we can’t see—others can’t see us.  Surprise, surprise, surprise.  Guess what? They can.  And wait—there’s more.  Even if we can hide from others we cannot hide from God.  Listen to this truth found in Hebrews 4:13. It says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.”

Wait. What? Does that mean He saw, He heard, He witnessed that thing you thought no one saw, no one heard, no one witnessed.  Does that mean that what we thought was secret…wasn’t…isn’t?  That is exactly what it means.  Honestly, that is just a hair frightening. What this means is that we really need to be careful with all our actions, words and even thoughts.  Trust me on this one…blinded it or not…we are fully exposed.

I really was surprised to experience this brilliant blindness…caused not by darkness but by light.  I was also surprised to find out that though I was blind…no one else was.  Talk about a wakeup call!  I have learned over the past three years as we have shared together through Grits that there is one thing that no longer surprises me.  Can you guess what it is?  Yup, you are right, “He’s got this.”  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, 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 Family, friends, gratitude, life, priorities, Scripture, thankful

The Treadmill – Friend or Foe

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31

They say that outlook is everything. Some people are always asking, “is the glass half full or half empty?” I just want to know what’s in the glass.  I remember a great story about two salesmen.  One was sent to the wilds of Africa to sell shoes.  He arrived and pretty quickly sent this message to the company headquarters: “Bring me home immediately. No opportunity. No one here wears shoes. Waste of time.”  So they brought the guy home.  Not wanting to give up, they sent another salesman.  This guy arrived on the scene and also quickly sent a message to the company headquarters.  It read, “Please respond as quick as you can.  Opportunities abound everywhere.  Everyone is barefoot and needs shoes.  Send all that you have…what a future.” Well I guess they are right.  It all depends on your outlook.

Like many folks, my wife Judy and I have a treadmill in our home.  It sits downstairs where Judy has her office. The treadmill and I on occasion have been very good friends, however, we just don’t see eye to eye.  He wants me to get on and walk ferociously and go absolutely nowhere. I prefer to walk outside and actually move. Now if it is pouring down rain or ten degrees below freezing that is fine—we are buds.  But on a normal day, well, we just agree to disagree. He thinks we should get together every day. I’m thinking more like only when absolutely necessary.  Frankly, and don’t tell him I said this, our relationship was always kinda painful.  He sees himself as a path to being healthy…my new BFF. I see him as someone out of one of those torture movies where some guy named Egor is always tightening the screws.

We have a couple of grandchildren that really like the treadmill.  For years and even now, when they come over to the house one of their inevitable questions is, “Papa, can we get on the treadmill?”  I mean, what’s the deal?  What I try to avoid they openly embrace.  One day I asked Judy, “What’s up with the treadmill–why do they love it so much?”  Well, her thought was the “no” factor.  Because the answer was frequently no, they keep asking. It could be that it is the “thrill” factor.  You know, maybe the thrill of it all.  Maybe, just maybe, it is something totally different.

My theory is that instead of seeing it as a device for torture, they see it like a toy–like something that is fun. They will turn it down real slow and allow it to carry them from the front to the back.  They will see how fast they can go and not get ejected. (Now don’t call Family Services—we keep an eye on them.) And sometimes…they just walk. Now honestly, they really don’t use it for its intended purpose (which by the way is torture) but as something that they can jump on or off, that they can ride (howbeit short)—maybe an adventure.

I’m probably stretching it here, but I just wonder if I changed my attitude about my friend the treadmill, would we better enjoy our times together? What if I saw him as a partner and convenience and not the enemy?  It probably doesn’t matter much to him since he is an inanimate object getting walked on, but it would definitely be beneficial to me. I’m pretty consistent in my exercise but on those rainy days ahead my friend could be a help in keeping me healthy.  He fulfills his purpose (which by the way, is not to hang clothes on) and I make Judy happy by walking even more.  How about that?

Perspective can change just about everything. When we start seeing things through the lens of half full instead of half empty it might not only change our attitude but it just might make us a better person.  It could even change our relationship with God.  Too often we see Him as someone who is out to get us when instead, He is out to save us—to rescue us—to bless us. The Bible says, “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Imagine that…the God of Creation wants to be your new BFF or best friend forever.  Like our friend the treadmill, He is just waiting for us to make time for Him.  When we do we will discover that He wants to help us be a better version of ourselves. Go ahead, give Him a try.  Take a rest from the “going nowhere” rat-race and trust Him. He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne

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

Big Truths from a Hard Story

What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”  Matthew 10:29-31 

Well, not all stories end well…and this one didn’t. Friday morning Judy left for Oklahoma to visit Sarah, Blake and the boys.  Saturday morning, I got up early as usual, had some time with God and then went for my morning exercise.  When I came back, by our backdoor, was a little baby squirrel.  Now I don’t know a thing about baby squirrels, so I can’t tell you how old he was.  I can tell you that something just didn’t seem right. He had all of his fur but you could tell he was not very strong and oddly, his head seemed just too big for his tiny body. 

He was in the grass, but not far from the flower bed which is next to our backdoor.  He seemed to be eating grass but I suspect he was actually getting the water off the dew-soaked grass.  He was moving pretty good but again, strangely, I’m not sure where he came from since there was not a squirrel nest to be seen.  I went on into the house and when I came back out, he scurried into the flower bed. I put out some bird food for him to eat.  I knew he would like that because all of his big brothers do their best to empty our bird feeders. 

Well, he made himself at home.  He was definitely eating some of the bird food and I believe he had some water.  He soon made himself a place to sleep there in the flower bed.  I was hoping, just hoping that my little friend was a big enough fighter to pull this thing off.  I would check on him each day and give him food and water.  I was doing everything I could for him.  But today, when I came home from work, well he had died.  I wasn’t surprised because I really think something was wrong—something more than food or water could fix—something more than ending up at the wrong place at the wrong time.  So, I wasn’t surprised, but I was genuinely sad.  I wanted him to live, and I wanted to be his hero—his savior.  Neither happened. 

Now I’m not sharing this so we can all have a Debbie downer day…not at all.  I’m learning that so many things have a story and can teach us big truths.  I think this is one of those times.  The first thing that came to mind was that sometimes we can do everything right—everything—and still not get the result that we want.  We can be the best husband, the best wife, the best parent, the best employee or the best owner and sometimes the story just doesn’t end well. It doesn’t mean we failed. It doesn’t mean we were somehow to blame. Sometimes, it is just part of this thing called life.  And while the story doesn’t always end well—we never have to face that difficult ending alone.  Our Dearest Daddy is always there.  The Whisperer is always close by and whispers the assurance of His love and His compassion.  No matter what—Jesus will still be there. 

The other big truth from this is that God really does care about the smallest things.  If I told you that God knew today that this little creation died, would you believe me?  If I told you that even the smallest detail of your life never passes Him unnoticed, would you believe it?  If I told you He never grows weary of our worries and fears and unsettled hearts, would you have the courage to believe?  Well, you can, because Jesus said that not even a sparrow can fall to the earth unnoticed by the Father.  He even went on to say that if that is true, how much more do you think He cares about you? How. Much. More? 

I know and you know that these are just puzzling times.  Everything seems so uncertain.  It seems as if we spend our days walking on quicksand—our feet unsteadily walking on shifting ground.  But don’t be shaken.  The God of the universe who cares when a little squirrel dies cares infinitely more about you.  Jesus knows and feels your hurts and pains…and He cares. 

So, all you tendered hearted readers, please forgive me for sharing a hard story.  I hope, though, that the big truths made it worth the read.  Why not take a moment and sit with the One who loves you so? Why not get close enough to hear His whispers of love and assurance?  I hope you will because when our hearts are heavy and a little frightened—we need to know that He’s got this.  And He does.  Bro. Dewayne 

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

Hard Day, Good Friday

Jesus knew that His mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture He said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to His lips. When Jesus had tasted it, He said, “It is finished!” Then He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” John 19:28-30

Good Friday.  What an unusual name for such a hard, hard day.  Imagine with me as slowly the light increased over Jerusalem.  It was another early morning in spring and men were going to die.  The Romans regularly crucified criminals–it was business as usual for them.  But this day, well this day, would be different.  Three men would die on crosses–two criminals and one perfect human being.  His name was Jesus.

As the light increased so did the sounds.  If you had been there, you would have heard the sounds of a crowd–a mob really.  Some were crying, some shouting, some angry, some broken.  You would have heard the sounds of struggle–anguish as a man carried a cross too big for even the healthiest of men.  At the top of a stark hill the sounds intensified.

You could hear without trying the sound of metal on metal as hammer meets nail.  Cries of humanity suffering as three crosses are lifted skyward.  The message was clear.  You don’t mess with Rome.  Scattered around are the sounds of women crying and men in anguish.  Stares of disbelief filled the eyes of many.  Listen now–there are words.

The Man in the middle–the perfect One–is speaking and what He says is almost beyond belief. “Father, forgive them.  They don’t know what they are doing.”  Forgive them?—Forgive the very ones who passed the judgement–who drove the nails–who lifted the cross? Wait, for there is more.  One of the criminals is mocking Him but the other is begging Him.  “Remember me,” he says.  And Jesus responds “Today, you will be with Me in paradise.”

There are more words.  Lean in–strain to hear. The Man in the middle–the perfect One–is asking His friend John to take care of His mother.  And then there is the cry of brokenness as He cries, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”  He knows why.  The Man in the middle–the perfect One–has become sin and His Father can’t look on sin.  There’s a price being paid, and it involves wrath and death.  And He is willingly paying it.

As His end draws near a silence begins to fall over the hill.  The women are cried out, the soldiers are bored, and the crowd confused.  And then they all hear it.  “Tetelestai.” It’s a common word really.  It means finished.  An artist would say it when the last stroke is applied to a masterpiece.  A carpenter would say it when the last peg is driven in a newly built table. A farmer would say it when the last sheave of wheat is harvested.  But when the Man in the middle–the perfect One–says those words, everything changes.

“It is finished.”  The mission is accomplished. The price for sin has been paid and atoned for.  The wrath of God for sin is satisfied.  What justice demanded He has paid. And what He promised the criminal becomes a reality for any person. My sins, your sins, our sins, can be forgiven and you can be with Him in heaven.

So, then He dies.  Actually, He wills himself to die for no one could take the life of the Man in the middle–the perfect One.  He could give it, but they could not take it.  Rocks crack, thunder rolls and then in the distance a tearing, ripping sound is heard as the massive curtain separating man from Holy God is torn from top to bottom and God–God hangs out the welcome sign for the first time ever.  And it’s all because of the Man in the middle–the perfect One.

In any other story that would be the end, but you see it’s only Friday.  The final act is coming on Sunday. Friday ended with His followers discouraged, defeated, and afraid. Maybe like some of us. But if you lean in again…if you listen closely…you can hear the Father saying, “Rest in Me. Wait till Sunday.  I’ve got this.”  And…He does.  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, fear, forgiveness, friends, Grace, gratitude, Integrity, life, loving others, Scripture, Southern born, thankful, Trials


And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

It’s an old, old story…at least for we Taylors.  As the baby of our family, I came along toward the tail end of so many good memories.  Daddy and Momma had eight kids in all.  They had five, apparently needed a break, and then decided to have three more. Well, I’m not sure how much it was a decision as it was a fact of life…no pun intended.  There were plenty of tales in the Taylor household but like I said, some happened before I came along.

Daddy and Momma started out with three boys.  From everything I know, they were all rough and tumble and that’s just the way it was.  Well, apparently, one day things got a little out of hand.  More on that in a few minutes.  What you need to know now is that one day my Momma went out to use her washing machine and made a startling discovery.  Someone had cut the hoses to the machine and the natural suspects were the three older brothers.  I’m not sure why they were suspects unless that was part of their rough and tumble motif.  I can’t verify it, but I would suspect that at some point, Momma said, “Just wait till your father gets home.”

Well, eventually he did, and Momma told him what had happened.  He lined the boys up for a time of interrogation.  They assured him that while they were rough and tumble, they weren’t stupid—there was no way they cut the hoses.  Well, Daddy didn’t buy it.  He was sure that they did.  I’m not sure how long they were in the “police lineup” but eventually Daddy said if no one would confess they would all get punished…and they did.  I don’t know if it was a switch or a belt, but they got a spanking.  Case closed.  Daddy was sure they wouldn’t be cutting anymore hoses.

Well, the only problem was this—they didn’t cut them in the first place.  Several days later, one of their rough and tumble “friends” confessed to the deed.  It turns out in their rough and tumbling the “friend” had gotten mad and decided to get a little revenge so…he cut the hoses.  When word got back to Daddy, he called a meeting of “the boys.”  Again, I wasn’t there but I heard it went something like this.  “Boys, I found out you didn’t cut the hoses to the washing machine—your “friend” did it.  Now, at this point in the story it would seem logical that Daddy would at least attempt to apologize for the undue punishment.  That didn’t happen.  Instead, he said something like this, “You probably needed the spanking anyway.”

I know, you’re thinking, “What! That’s not right.  It’s not fair.” But don’t be too quick to cast judgement on my Daddy.  The bottom line is he should have apologized, but that was a different time, and we don’t know all the details.  Sometimes it is hard for people to apologize…even when they are wrong.  Can you identify with that?  I know I sure can. Often the words, “I’m sorry” just can’t find their way off my tongue. And if you are a member of the human race, you have probably experienced that too.

Here’s what I do know.  My Daddy was a good man, but he wasn’t a perfect man.  He, like me, made mistakes.  When I heard this story a long time ago, honestly, we probably all laughed.  Later, I’m sure it made me think and I came to this conclusion. Instead of judging him for a lapse of judgement in a moment of time I decided to go with what I knew to be true.  My Daddy loved them, and he loved me and that was simply enough.  I was willing to let love cover a multitude of sins.  I know God’s love sure has covered a big multitude of my sins…and I am grateful for that.

The big take away is this.  If you find someone has cut your washing machine hoses the most likely suspect probably doesn’t live in your house—possibly but not probably.  But more than that—always remember we are recipients of a whole pile of God’s grace, and we should be willing to extend a little.  Forgiveness is not for the person you’re forgiving—it is for you.  A heart willing to forgive is a happy heart.  And, when you find yourself against a rock and hard place trying to forgive someone who hurt you…just remember your Heavenly Father is an expert at forgiving and trust me, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne

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

I’m Not Believing It

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10

In my opinion, it said more than it knew.  After my enrollment in the program to send me down the path to a medicine and diabetes free future, they sent me a box full of treasurers.  I wrote briefly about my treasure box in a previous blog titled, “Bread, Potatoes, and Pecan Pie.” If you missed that one, you might want to go to  and check it out.  Anyway, the box was filled with gadgets that would monitor me, my body, and my health.  Most of them I found helpful and even engaging but there was one…there was one that I did not like.

I am an Apple guy…well, not necessarily the kind you eat but the kind you use for work and information.  I own an Apple computer, an Apple iPad, and an Apple Watch.  One of the things I like about owning the same brand in my work and life tools is that they talk to one another.  Well, when my box of treasures arrived, it included a Garmin activity tracker.  It kinda, sorta does the same thing my Apple Watch does but with a different platform.  It certainly is not an Apple Watch, but I figured I might as well give it a try.  Not willing to give up my Apple friend on my right wrist, I strapped the Garmin on my left wrist.

I know, I know, that sounds a little wonky and honestly it probably is but the Garmin looks and works very differently from my Apple Watch, so most people don’t think I am wearing two watches.  In fact, they probably don’t think anything about what’s on my wrist.  While the Garmin the device itself is not much to talk about—it is small, hard to use and blah—the app it talks to on my phone is very cool.  In fact, somehow it provides much of the same information as its big cousin.

One day I was going through the App, checking out the different screens and all the information it had gathered and analyzed.  I was impressed…until I wasn’t.  You see, there was a screen that listed about ten different areas and measurements—all about me and my body.  Most were fine, most were informative but one—one was downright offensive.  It is called, “VO2 Max.”  According to the app, the VO2 Max is a direct indictor of my level of fitness and apparently my “body age.” How this wimp, too big for its britches, something that doesn’t even know me (you can tell by now that I was personally offended by this useless chunk of plastic), I am out of shape and, get this, physically almost a decade older than I really am.

That’s right folks, according to the Garmin I am physically in the bottom 30% of men for my age and my body age is not 69 but 78.  Ok, I’m still mad and here’s why.  This out of shape, “ten years older than I am” guy, on the day after the assessment, took a brisk (as in pretty fast) two mile walk, walked 11,419 steps, burned 2,451 calories, and climbed eight flights of stairs. Now from where I sit that isn’t too bad…certainly I am no couch potato.  I mean what does this thing really know about me anyway?  And just for the record, my Apple Watch has another opinion about me…and so does my Dearest Daddy.

When I read those words, I knew I was faced with a choice.  I could believe what it said or believe what I know to be true.  I could believe what some formula, probably written by some guy in a faraway land, or believe what my reality says.  I am choosing the latter.  Now let’s be honest…I’ve got lots of room for improvement, but I am not some physical loser.  I just don’t believe it. The Garmin caused me to take a look, a close look, at where I am physically but it also caused me to take a look spiritually.  It caused me to ask, “So what do you believe about you—what others say or what God says?”

On the surface, it is a no brainer—I choose to believe my Dearest Daddy.  He calls me (and you) a masterpiece…no, really, He does.  In Ephesians 2:10, His Book, the Bible, says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Now, how about that?  Trust me on this one.  There are plenty of people and plenty of things that are just waiting to tell you what you are or are not.  But you remember this—there is only one opinion that matters and that comes from the One who made you.  So, I my wear the Garmin but I don’t own its opinion of me…I’ll leave that with the One who loves me more and perfectly.  He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, food, friends, gratitude, life, love, priorities, Southern born, thankful, Trials

Don’t Forget the Dasher

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

I churned and churned and then I churned some more.  It was 1976 and it was a big year for sure.  America celebrated her 200th birthday and on June the 26th, my wife Judy and I were married. I was in the Air Force stationed at Moody Air Force Base and she was a cute Georgia peach. We sealed the deal on a hot, and I do mean hot, Georgia afternoon.  After our honeymoon in Florida, we settled into our apartment in Valdosta, Georgia.  We lived in a nice complex that came complete with a swimming pool. We were living high on the hog…especially when you considered I was a sergeant in the military. Even with that, as would become a trademark of our lives, God was good to us.

Shortly after we were married, on another of those hot Georgia afternoons, we decided to invite Roy Smith Allen, Judy’s Daddy over for supper.  I can’t remember what Judy cooked but I am sure it was good. What I do remember is what we had for dessert—homemade ice cream. After dinner was done, Roy Smith Allen and I retired to the patio so I could churn the ice cream.  I was a bit nervous because quite frankly, Roy Smith Allen could be a bit intimidating.  He was a real good guy and he definitely had taken a shine to me—but still—he was Roy Smith Allen.

Well, Judy mixed up the ice cream recipe and before long I was seated beside the churn, churning away.  This wasn’t one of those electric mixers, no, this was the real deal, one of those “you gotta work for your ice cream”, mixers.  So Roy Smith Allen and I sat there and made casual conversation while I churned. This went on for quite a while and I realized that the ice cream was taking a long time to freeze. I was churning but it wasn’t making.  After about thirty minutes or so, the inevitable happened.  Roy Smith Allen said, “Son, what’s wrong with that ice cream?”  Well truth be known I didn’t have a clue. We added some more ice and added some more rock salt but no matter what we did…it just wasn’t freezing.

Just about then, Roy Smith Allen, asked a question. “Boy,” he said, “you did put the dasher in…didn’t you?” Dasher…I knew that was town near Valdosta, I knew that someone who was in a hurry was called that, and I even knew it was supposed to go in the ice cream churn to stir up the ice cream.  What I didn’t know was if I had put it in.  I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I hadn’t. Bummer. This was something that Roy Smith Allen wouldn’t forget and wouldn’t keep to himself.

Well, I stopped churning and removed the crank thing from the churn and then removed the top from the thing that held the mix.  There was no dasher. Shoot. Well, I don’t remember what Roy Smith Allen said but I am sure it involved a couple of “Son’s” and a couple of “Boy’s.”  Well by now I was thoroughly embarrassed as I put the dasher in and thankfully within just a few minutes we had ice cream.  Turned out the mix was so cold; it was more than ready to cooperate and freeze.  So, it all turned out delicious in the end and trust me, I never forgot again to put the dasher in and I’m sure Roy Smith Allen didn’t forget about the time I did.

When it comes to making ice cream several things are really important.  The ice, the salt, and the dasher.  Leave those out and you will be drinking sweet milk instead of eating ice cream.  And guess what?  There are more than a few things that are really important in life.  You probably have your own list, but mine would definitely include God, love, and people.  God is like the dasher…He makes life happen.  Love is like the ice and salt. It makes the conditions right for making life sweet and creamy.  Oh, and people, well, like ice cream, life is better if we have someone to share it with.

So, as we journey down this road called life, make your list, check it twice, and make sure it is a list with things worth having. And might I add, God, love, and people is a great place to start to your list. When Paul was writing to the church in Corinth, he shared one of his lists and it included three things…faith, hope and love.  And the greatest was love.  Love might well be the dasher of life because the Bible also says, “God is love.”  And somewhere I bet it says, “I’ve got this.” Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Christmas, Family, friends, gratitude, life, love, loving others, priorities, Scripture, sovereignty of God, thankful, wisdom

Time…Our Treasure

Lord, You have been our refuge in every generation. Before the mountains were born,

before You gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, You are God.” Psalm 90:1-2

I glanced back in the rearview mirror and watched it disappear, just like that Christmas came and went.  It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time passes.  At one time there was a saying that said, “You are slower than Christmas.”  Well, at least for me that simply is not true anymore.  It seems like yesterday that we were talking about another new year, another new month, or another new week and now it is time to start it all over again.  In a very few days we will be celebrating January 1st and the start of another New Year. Amazing.

As you know Christmas fell on Sunday this year. For most folks the day of the week Christmas arrives is not that big of a deal.  However, for us preacher-teacher types it certainly is a big deal.  It is a definite shift to go from ho, ho, ho and opening presents to “Holy is the Lord.” It is almost like shifting a car from forward to reverse.  Christmas on Sunday normally occurs every six or seven years but guess what? Because of the way Leap Year falls next time, it will be eleven years before we celebrate Christmas on a Sunday again.  Eleven years.  For me, that means I will be knocking on eighty—loudly.  For some of you, it means your seven-year-old son or daughter will be knocking on 18. Is that crazy or what?

The crazier part of all of this is that those eleven years…if we get to see all of them…will pass so very quickly.  It is such a good reminder that we need to savor each day the Savior gives us.  We need to remember how precious every minute, hour, day, month, and year are.  The Bible has a lot to say about time and how we handle it. First, Moses tells us in Psalm 90, “Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.” That is such good counsel.  Like a cook carefully measures the ingredients in whatever they are preparing, so we need to carefully measure the value of each day. And when we do, if we do, we will discover the wisdom of the God of the ages.

Another great scripture is found in the New Testament of the Christian Bible.  Paul was writing to a group of Jesus people in Ephesus.  He said to them, “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.”  Make the most or squeeze everything you can out of each day.  There are two things we need to remember about days. First, they all belong to the Lord…we are just managers and second, each day is a gift from Him.  No matter how difficult or how easy—each day is a present from Him to His children.  So, we should handle it with care and use it wisely.

Two of the things I love about God is His is generosity and wisdom.  He gives and guides and then helps us to make the most of every day…every gift.  As we look forward to our next installment of time—no matter how much or little we get to experience—always remember that there is One who is standing close just waiting to help us.  No matter what—He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne