Posted in Family, Grace, gratitude, life, love, loving others, prayer, Scripture, sovereignty of God, travel, Trials


Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Perseverance…don’t quit.  In my inventory of weaknesses this is something that I wish wasn’t.  I would like to tell you that I have the perseverance of a thoroughbred racehorse bolting from the gate with only one goal—to finish and to finish first.  And while I am not a quitter, I do sometimes, “peter out.”  Merriam Webster defines that as “to gradually become smaller, weaker, or less before stopping or ending”.

During my journey there were too many times when I just wasn’t sure I was going to finish well—or finish at all.  But that wasn’t always a bad thing because it caused me to look inwardly and upward—to my Dearest Daddy.

During those times when I wasn’t sure of much of anything, it was then that I found myself turning to the One who was sure.  When my steps were unsure, I found myself tracking the One whose steps were rock solid and sure.  The last several years have taught me something of hanging in there—to persevere—to keep going.  While I was out west a while back, I saw it over and over again.  First, it was a wildflower blooming in what can only be called dust.  The roots had somehow dug deep and found the water of life.  I saw it in a small tree as it grew from a crevice in a large rock.  It made no sense but somehow that tree decided there was a way to grow in an impossible place.

I saw it too from another small tree growing from a large rock in the middle of a lake.  There was no soil to be found and yet it grew…it persevered.  It decided that it would survive, it would thrive, even though the odds were totally against success.  You see, the Bible is filled with stories of men and women who trusted God against all odds.  A shepherd boy becomes a king, another “has-been” shepherd leads a million or so people to a new land—the promised land.  A band of eleven men from various walks of life chose to follow a young rabbi (who happened to be the Son of God) and the message they shared changed the world.

All these folks failed at one time or another, but they didn’t quit.  They chose to persevere.  If you wonder how America has lasted for these 247 years, there are two reasons.  The hand of God and the perseverance of ordinary men and women who gave what they had for a cause they believed in. A.Cause.They.Believed.In.

We have survived many challenges over the years—the pandemic of 2020 is just one on the list. However, I am sure the greater enemy wasn’t the pandemic, but rather the division that swept our land like wildfire. Someone wiser than you or me once said that a house divided against itself cannot stand—Jesus said that before Lincoln did.

William Carey, a great missionary, once said, “The future is as bright as the promises of God” and I believe that is true today.  But we need to learn from the founding fathers, from the men who stormed Normandy or trudged through the jungles of Vietnam or froze on the hills of Korea.  We must learn again to trust the hand of God.  The Bible says that we should trust God with everything we have and turn away from the tendency to trust ourselves.  If we do that…He will guide us…He will direct us.  We also need to learn the lesson of that small tree growing from that giant rock.  We will not quit, we will persevere—we will find life in the most unlikely of places.  Trust God and don’t quit.  That sounds like a plan.

With the pandemic in the rearview mirror, it seems to some degree we have been given a second chance.  I hope we will take advantage of this gift God has given us.  I hope we will learn the power of perseverance and the power of four simple words, “Love God…Love People.”  I may not know what tomorrow holds but I do know the One who holds tomorrow and that is good enough for me.  I am certain no matter what, that as always, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne

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, food, gratitude, life, prayer, Scripture, Southern born, sovereignty of God, thankful, Trials

Corned Beef Hash

What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent?” Luke 11:11

We were close friends from the start.  Although I was too young to remember, I think it must be true.  I think my very first word must have been…wait for it…”food”.  Then I think my first sentence was, “I’m hungry.”  I’m trying to say that food and I go way back and now I’m an expert on all things food.  Well, wait, maybe not all things.  You see I was raised on good, common food.  Our menu included things like meatloaf and egg salad sandwiches (aka Easter egg salad sandwiches).  There were some things that Momma cooked up, that to a kid, were kinda hard to swallow…no pun intended.  One of those things was tripe (aka cow’s stomach). We called it the “eternal meat” because it was like chewing rubber.  Take one big bite and two weeks later you swallowed.  Definitely-not my favorite.

However, one of the best things that Mama cooked was something called corned beef hash. For that she would cook up some potatoes and then add some corned beef.  I’m not sure why they call it corned beef but I don’t think it has anything to do with corn.  At any rate…it was one of my favorites…well, sorta.  You see, there was a trick to this corned beef thing and Momma knew it and…I knew it.

In the world of Momma’s corned beef there were really two kinds—and they were worlds apart.  First there was fried corned beef hash and then there was boiled corned beef hash.  The fried hash was just as it sounds.  Momma would first fry up some home fried potatoes.  These, friend, are what potatoes were made for…crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  And if they happened to be fried in lard—well, that was even better.  Then, she would add the corned beef and well, it was pretty much heaven.  I always liked mine smothered in ketchup.  But sometimes she would trick me.  I would ask what was for supper and she would say, “corned beef hash” and for me that had to mean fried because that was the only way it was supposed to be.   It’s kinda like grits—salt, pepper and butter are the only way grits can be grits.

But then, she had an ace up her sleeve.  Sometimes, she made boiled corned beef hash.  That involved boiling and (in my opinion) wasting a pot full of potatoes.  She boiled them till they were almost like mush.  Then she would add the corned beef to the pot and that was it and let me tell you all the ketchup in the world couldn’t redeem what water had done to what was meant to be fried.  I’m still not sure why she fried most of the time but still boiled others.  All I know I was always disappointed because when it comes to corned beef hash—fried always topped boiled.

With some things one way always tops another and that’s how it is with corned beef hash. And never is that truer than when it comes to God and religion.  People today get confused.  You see, God is God and religion is mankind’s frail attempt to reach God.  Try as you like, the only way to know God is by knowing His Son Jesus.  And that’s really cool because His way is a sure deal and man’s way is a sure failure.  Chances are you know someone who was or is totally disappointed in religion and I suppose some folks would speak of their disappointment in God.  But when we understand who He is and what He wants to do for us—that disappointment fades.

Like I said I was always disappointed when Momma boiled something that was clearly meant to be fried. And I’ve been around the church world long enough to know that religion always disappoints but God never does.  I’m learning to trust Him and then believe Him even when that means things didn’t turn out the way I wanted or hoped.  His way is the better way.  If I don’t see it now…I will later.

One time Jesus was talking about prayer and said that a father would never give a snake to his son who asked for a piece of fish.  Nope…not gonna happen.  With God the fried things are always fried and even when we get boiled hash…well, we can trust that at the time, that is the best thing for us.  I like that sacred assurance just like I know, I know, that no matter what, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne

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

The Captain and the Wind

Oh, Lord God! You Yourself made the heavens and earth by Your great power and with Your outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You!” Jeremiah 32:17

It was the gift of a lifetime. It was 1997 and we were experiencing the gift of a lifetime—the trip of a lifetime. The church where we pastored had honored us with a massive trip to the Holy Land in celebration of our tenth anniversary as their pastor.  I’ve shared some of those incredible times once or twice before in Grits. Recently though I was reminded of a part of the trip that was a small part of a big story and teaches a powerful lesson about us and God.

After a quick visit to Greece and a long visit to the Holy Land, we found ourselves in the land of Pharaohs.  How incredible to stand where the children of Israel once slaved and worked.  How amazing to stand where Moses stood as he spoke for the great, “I AM,” and spoke the words on behalf of God, “Let My people go.”  The pyramids, the great sphinx, the museums, the history all were breathtaking and then there was—the Nile.

Though my wife Judy and I have now seen and been on the Nile several times…back then it was the first time…and there’s nothing like the first time.  As part of our trip, we took a day trip on this ancient and mighty river.  There were all kinds of vessels on the river that day from small to very large, from very old to newer and from those powered by sails and those powered by massive engines.

Ours was powered by diesel.  As we prepared to leave the port, the captain of the vessel fired up the engines and soon we were underway.  With the powerful engine, the vessel went in the direction and speed that the captain desired.  It was impressive but there was something else there on the river that was equally so.  All around us were boats not powered by gas or diesel but by the wind.  Silently and gracefully, they cut through the water…not as fast as others but somehow more impressive…more desirable.

What was it that was so attractive?  It was the fact that they did not depend on their own power—they depended on a power outside of themselves—bigger than themselves.  They moved at a pace and the whim of the wind. Oh, there was a human hand on the rudder and there was skill in the positioning of the sail but still it was the wind that moved the boat. And, unlike our vessel, the captain and crew never had to worry about breaking down or running out of fuel.  And somehow, that just seemed better…richer.

I read a devotion by a guy named Aussie Dave (you have to love that name) that pointed out this vast difference.  And I learned that it wasn’t about boats at all…it was about us…and our lives…and how we choose to live our lives.  Oh, we can motor along through life, seemingly controlling our fate, our direction, our speed, and all that might work, will work, until the engine breaks down or we run out of fuel. And, trust me, there will be a time in life when both will happen and it is just about then we will realize the value of trusting something bigger, Someone bigger, with our journey. That, of course, is Creator God—the One who created it all—including the wind.

If I’m guessing right, a lot of us wrestle with letting the Creator of the wind propel our vessels…our lives.  We simply want to be in charge…to determine the direction and details of our trip but remember this.  Along the shores of Nile were abandoned vessels…broken down and wore down and long abandoned. And while there may have been a few sailing vessels along that same shore, they were always a candidate to be rebuilt—to be redeemed and that too is the story of those who trust in a Captain that made it all. With this Captain…nothing is impossible.

Judy and I will never forget that journey or the people who made it possible. It was a generous and sacrificial gift given from our friend’s hearts.  We will also never forget the generous and sacrificial gift of our Dearest Daddy who makes life, our lives, so rich and purposeful and our eternity so…well, sometimes there just aren’t words.  I hope you have chosen God as your Captain and I hope you will pause even now and listen.  Even when the wind goes still and your progress so slow, listen carefully as the Whisperer whispers, “I’ve got this.”  Bro. Dewayne

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

Crash! Grind! Bummer.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38 (NLT)

It happened just like that.  I was new to the game…too new to the game.  I had had my driver’s license just a few weeks or at most a couple of months.  I can honestly say I wasn’t one of those cocky kid drivers, in fact I was probably scared to death. I had a job at a Food Fair a fair distance from where we lived at 6008 Carlton Road, and someone had to take me to work. Then my Daddy did it. He trusted me. One day he said that I could take the car and drive myself to work. They weren’t going anywhere, and it would save them from going and coming and coming and going.  I couldn’t believe it.

I remember the first time I carefully backed out of the driveway heading toward Ricker Road.  That day, and for several other days, things went well.  Again, I was careful, I didn’t break the rules and I wasn’t a speeder. Of course, our 1961 Plymouth station wagon wasn’t exactly a race car anyway.  There and back, I went, and all was well…until it wasn’t. One day, like several other days, I was going to drive to work.  Daddy car-pooled and wasn’t home yet.  I backed out of the driveway like every time before and headed for Ricker Road just like every time before…but it wasn’t like every time before.

Apparently, I had opened the back door on the driver’s seat to put something in the backseat and didn’t close the door all the way. As I pressed the gas pedal, the rear door swung open and that is when Mr. Inexperience took over. I heard the road noise, look over my shoulder and saw that the door was open. Well, instead of stopping and closing the door I tried to turn and reach over my shoulder to close the door.  When I turned and reached, I accidentally turned the wheel and, gulp, I ran right into—or actually over—one of our neighbors’ mailboxes. Crunch, grind, bummer.

I hit the brakes and sat there in total shock.  The mailbox was one of those that kinda sat on a little arm and that little arm had hit my windshield and cracked it.  It seems the mirror took a direct hit too. I was so afraid, and I didn’t know what to do…so I ran.  Yup, I was a hit and run driver, but I didn’t drive away…I ran away leaving the car running, my driver’s door open and the mailbox lying dead on the side of the road.

Since I hadn’t made it very far, our house was just a few dozen yards down the road, and I ran all the way. I ran into the kitchen and right into my Momma’s arms. She wanted to know what had happened and the best I could I explained it and then she asked where the car was and the best I could I explained that too. We went back to the car and brought it home and I’m sure Momma and I made a trip to the neighbor’s front door to explain what happened.

Let me tell you what didn’t happen.  Though I was certain it had—the world didn’t come to an end.  After a short while, Daddy came home, and I told him what had happened.  He wasn’t happy but he didn’t disown me…after all I was his son…before and after the accident.  I don’t believe there was any punishment either, but I am sure there was some instruction about how to close a door when the car is moving. “Stop. Close door.”  I also imagine there was some instruction about not leaving the scene of an accident.  And the neighbor…I simply don’t remember but I guess he didn’t press charges. Smile.

I’m sure my little accident cost my Daddy and Momma more than they could afford…even without repairing the mailbox.  I am sure it was money that could have been better used paying an electric bill or buying groceries for our “not too small” family.  But my best memory of all was the fact that Daddy and Momma loved me regardless and anyway.  Oh, I guess you could say it was because I was the baby of the family and their favorite (smile) but the truth is love ruled the day that day.

Looking back, I realize that was one of those times when my Daddy reminded me of my Dearest Daddy…my Heavenly Daddy. My Daddy could have extended wrath, but He extended grace and love—just like my Dearest Daddy…my Heavenly Daddy. I think I learned that day that my Daddy wasn’t someone to run from but to run to—just like my Dearest Daddy…my Heavenly Daddy. Paul, the one in the Bible, said that nothing can ever separate us from the One who loves us most.  How about that?  We have a Dearest Daddy…a Heavenly Daddy that is always there and always willing to whisper, “I’ve got that.”  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, forgiveness, friends, Grace, gratitude, life, love, prayer, Scripture, Southern born, sovereignty of God, thankful, Trials

Biscuits, God, and You

Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Yet even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.”  “Your brother will rise again,” Jesus told her.” John 11:21-23

Biscuits…hot, with butter and syrup.  There are certain foods that almost act like a time machine and one of them is a good, southern biscuit.  My Momma was a good cook, but her biscuits were like their own food group.  She would clear off the counter, get out the lard, flour and milk (and I guess a couple of other things), mixed them together in a bowl, plop out the mixture on the counter and roll it out with her ancient rolling pin.

If I remember right, she would grab a ball of the dough, flatten and shape it in her hand and then put it on the pan. Then, for whatever reason, she would take a finger or her thumb and put a little dimple in the top.  After a few minutes in the oven, out they came, heaven in a pan.  While still hot, we would add butter and just like that—a timeless, priceless southern delicacy. Need dessert? No problem, just add butter and syrup and you have southern dining at its best.

When we recently traveled south, we visited with two of my three sisters and both of them made…biscuits.  I’m not sure if it was Momma’s recipe or not but what I can tell you is that they were delicious. While both served real butter, not that fake stuff, one served them with orange marmalade. My, my they were good.  But wait…there is more.  We also visited with Judy’s brother and his wife Sandra also made biscuits.  I am sure somewhere down the line we must be related because the biscuit DNA was a perfect match. Awesome…pure awesome.

My oldest biscuit making sister recently sent me an article about prayer that just happened to mention biscuits and I knew I needed to share it here with all my grits and biscuit loving friends. 

The story goes like this. One Sunday morning at a small southern church, the new pastor called on one of his older deacons to lead in the opening prayer. The deacon stood up, bowed his head and said, ”Lord, I hate buttermilk.”

The pastor opened one eye and wondered where this was going. The deacon continued, “Lord, I hate lard.” Now the pastor was totally perplexed. The deacon continued, “Lord, I ain’t too crazy about plain flour. But after you mix ’em all together and bake ’em in a hot oven, I just love biscuits.”

“Lord, help us to realize when life gets hard, when things come up that we don’t like, whenever we don’t understand what You are doing, that we need to wait and see what You are making. After You get through mixing and baking, it’ll probably be something even better than biscuits. Amen.”

I just love that story and isn’t it so true? If we took the ingredients for biscuits, or most any other thing and tasted them individually, we probably wouldn’t eat much. But when mixed together…well good things happen.  We have a loving Heavenly Father, our Dearest Daddy, who can and will masterfully mix circumstances and events in our life.  Sometimes, perhaps often, by themselves they make no sense and leave us wondering what God is up to.  But, if we are willing to wait, if we are willing to trust, we will usually find that God had a surprise for us…better even than hot biscuits.  Now, I need to be fair and say that some of those surprises might be on the other side of the last heartbeat but regardless…He can be trusted.

So, the next time, you are enjoying a good homemade hot biscuit smothered in melted butter and perhaps a big baptism of syrup, remember that biscuit only happened when the biscuit maker put everything together.  And, when the circumstances of life don’t make sense, well, just hang on.  When the heavenly “Biscuit Maker” gets done, well, it will be worth it all, worth the wait.  Don’t you worry…He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne

Posted in birthday, Family, fear, friends, gratitude, heaven, life, Scripture, sovereignty of God, thankful, Trials

Happily Ever After

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalm139:16

Cinderella and happily ever after.  Most of us grew up knowing at least something of fairy tales.  When I was younger it was largely by reading books.  In those days, Mr. Disney was just getting started and there were few animated films but slowly things changed.  Over the years, what was once only printed on the pages of a book became alive on the screen before our eyes…and it was amazing.  For years there were the classics, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, and Peter Pan to name just a few.  And the list has grown and grown.  When we watch them, we often want to be them. As the story plays out and ends with the dramatic “happily ever after” we sigh and long…if only.

Each fairy tale, every animated story begins with a “once upon a time…” It sets the stage for the story and then slowly, and almost invariably, the plot develops and oh so often there are plenty of bumps and bruises along the way.  There is usually a bad guy or guyette and they slosh their mess all over the screen, hurting and wounding.  And then, right when it seems that they are going to win…things turn around.  Good overcomes evil, the weak become strong and the impossible becomes…possible. Just about then the “happily ever after” music begins and we smile at the end, we savor the redemption, and we leave feeling good but knowing that story could never be our story.  Or can it?

You see, all our lives begin with a “once upon time…” All of us have a beginning.  In fact, today just happens to be my birthday and on this day, I think about my, “once upon a time.”  On that day a grand story began to be written.  A little boy with dreams about a big future. A teenager trying to figure out what life was all about.  A husband and later a father trying to figure that out—still trying to figure that out.  Twelve years in the service of his country and forty years in the service of his King. Mountains and valleys, wins and losses, victories, and defeats—fighting monsters and dragons and loving his fair maiden and their princesses. Whew…what a journey.

And honestly, there were times when I would ponder how all this would play out.  Having watched a whole lot of “redemption” movies where the end is always exactly how we would want it, I wondered, “What about this story?”  Perhaps you have done the same.  Perhaps you have wondered how your story will end.  Perhaps you have longed for a different story…a different prince or princess, a different role, something, anything different.  Well, I have some good news for you.  The Playwright for your story never makes a mistake and never gets it wrong.  He has been writing stories since before the beginning of time.  In fact, the Bible says that He wrote every scene of your life before there was a “once upon a time.”  In Psalm 139:16 it says, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Wow…how about that?

But wait…it might just get better.  So, every story, including yours, can be like every fairy tale.  A beginning, a story filled with up and downs, bumps and bruises, toads, and princes.  But here’s the best part—every story can have a “happily ever after.”  No, really.  You see the same book and the same God who promises that every day, every scene in your story has been written and planned promises a “happily ever after.”  Oh, it is not always here, though sometimes it is.  It is in eternity.  When we are willing to put our faith and trust in the Prince of Peace and the King of Kings we have the promise of an eternity that is beyond our wildest dreams.  Believe what He did and choose to follow Him and heaven is the end of the story.

It is nice when the story, our story, plays out like we want and wish. It would be nice if every detail was just as we would have written it. Perhaps, but maybe not, because the One who writes the story, our story, is far wiser than us.  We probably won’t be able to understand or see that entirely till the end but, well, that is what faith is all about.  So, trust Him for the grand finale. It is going to be a wiz-bang finish.  And until then…enjoy the show…savoring the good scenes and trusting in the hard ones.  He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, Grace, gratitude, life, love, Scripture, thankful, wisdom

Dancing with THE Star

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” Psalm 24:1

It wasn’t my strong suite.  I never could dance worth a hoot.  I was born in the fifties and raised in the sixties and seventies and while everyone else was doing the boogie woogie, I was kinda left on the sideline.  My best efforts somewhat resembled someone using one of those old-time vibrating, belt exercise machines—every part of your body going somewhere besides where it was supposed to.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that I could pull off a slow dance.  It wasn’t perfect but at least I didn’t look like I was totally clueless.

Another piece of good news is that I married someone who is very understanding about this dance thing.  My wife Judy can put some moves on but since she knows I would embarrass myself if I tried, she rarely asks.  But occasionally, ok, maybe rarely, we do slow dance and honestly…I like it.  I mean what is there not to like about holding the person you love most in this whole world close and swaying together in time to the music?  Not bad…no sir…not bad.

Now there are rules with slow dancing and one of the most important is that someone must lead.  If you get a couple on the floor and they both want to lead you end up with stomped on toes and a hefty dose of frustration.  But when there is surrender and cooperation even the most inexperienced couples are worth admiring.  Surrender and cooperation—that’s a good combination for sure. And do you know what? It not only works on the dance floor with your sweetie…it works as we dance through life with the One who made us.

Imagine, if you can, if you will, that God invites you to dance with Him on the dance floor of life.  Imagine, if you can, if you will, that you move onto the floor but there seems to be a problem…both of you want to lead. You soon find yourself tugging and pulling with the One you said you would follow and it ain’t pretty.  You see, for the dance to work, One leads and one follows.  That’s just the way it is.  And when we allow the Leader to lead…it is a beautiful thing.  It reminds me of two words that we need to remember in our relationship with our Father.  Those two words are owner and steward.

You see, as God, He not only wants to lead…He owns.  You might say it is His dance floor. The Bible makes it clear that He doesn’t own part of it…He owns all of it. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” So, you can see that He not only wants to lead—He has the right to lead.  But being the gracious dance partner that He is, He allows us the honor of dancing with Him.  He is owner of the dance…we are the steward of the dance.  And trust me with this one—this is better than “Dancing with the Stars” because here you are “Dancing with THE Star” and it doesn’t get any better than that.

So, as you waltz thought this life be sure you have the right partner…some call Him Father but I like to call Him Dearest Daddy. And as you dance, allow Him to lead you across the floor because when it comes to dancing through life…well, He is the master.  Afraid you might step on His toes?  Don’t you worry, He loves you so much.  Just let Him lead.  He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, forgiveness, Grace, love, Scripture

A Daddy’s Love

“And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6

I might have been just a little difficult when I was little.  I can remember when I was quite young that I wasn’t very quiet.  I also remember that I had a hard time standing still.  I used to rock side to side sometimes and I can remember Momma asking, telling me, to hold still.  I’m sure there is a name for it now but back then it was just kind of a weird normal. At any rate it might explain some of the things I did that got me into a hot mess.

I can remember the time that I stuck my daddy’s water hose in the ground and couldn’t get it out.  We lived in North Florida and the soil was very sandy.  I discovered if you turned the water on and pressed the end of the hose against the soil, it would kinda self-drill into the sand.  On a good day I could get the hose three or four feet into the ground.  That was the easy part.  The problem was getting it back out of the ground.  You see, the water and sand created a seal around the hose and no matter how hard I tried…it was stuck.  I suppose you can imagine how upset, maybe angry, my daddy was when he came home and tried to water his roses and his hose was stuck in the ground.  Hmmm…not good, not good at all.

Of course then there was the time I found some leftover firecrackers in the workroom we had attached to the back of the house.  I decided that I could make a rocket of sorts with the firecrackers and a can.  I went to the trash and found a tin can, poked a small hole in the bottom and then fed the fuse for one of the firecrackers through the hole.  Then, I dug a hole just the size of the can, put the can in the hole and lit the fuse and…ran.  The firecracker exploded as planned and that propelled the can up in the air probably twenty or thirty feet.  There was only one problem.  I had dug the hole for the can right next to the front of daddy’s car.  Well, what goes up must come down and that can came right down…and landed right on the hood of daddy’s car.  Since this was a long time ago, it was when cans were made a lot stronger than they are today and when that can hit the hood—it definitely left a mark…a dent in fact.  Hmmm…not good, not good at all.

The worst of them all was the time I shot my daddy in the back with my BB gun.  We were hunting squirrels and daddy had let me take my BB gun along.  I was walking along and violated one of the big rules of gun safety—actually two of them.  First, make sure your safety is one and two, keep your finger off the trigger.  Well, I apparently flunked gun safety because my safety was not on and I had my finger on the trigger.  I stumbled and shot daddy dead in the back.  Now calm down.  The good news is he had on a heavy hunting coat and the BB gun was pretty weak.  The bottom line is he hardly felt it but he did feel it enough to turn around and give me “the look.”  I’m sure I had to retake Gun Safety 101.  Hmmm…nor good, not good at all.

So you would think after these three things and probably a couple of dozen more I can’t remember, my daddy promptly disowned me or at least sent me off to reform school or the French Foreign Legion.  But the truth of the matter is…he didn’t.  Oh, I’m sure there was some sort of punishment but one thing was for sure.  He never stopped loving me…he never disowned me. No matter what…I was still his son and his love, a father’s love, never failed. I know for some of you that is hard to understand, because it just wasn’t that way with your daddy.

Let me share some good news with you.  No matter what kind of daddy you had growing up there is another Daddy in heaven who loves you no matter what.  In fact, the Bible says He is an Abba Father…or Dearest Daddy and He is just waiting for you to be a part of His family.  And that happens when you ask and when you believe—ask Him to forgive your sins and believe that His Son Jesus in fact died for your sins making that forgiveness possible.  Trust me…it is the greatest gift and the greatest decision you will ever make.  Why not ask Him today?  Why not let Him make you His.  I promise you won’t regret it.  If you are afraid you’ve messed up to bad…well, don’t you worry about that.  No matter what you have done you can be assured that, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, friends, gratitude, life, loving others, prayer, Scripture, thankful, Trials

Sticks and Such

And he looked up and said, “I see men, but they look like trees, walking.” Mark 8:24

He was still there the next morning.  A while back a couple of awesome friends allow us to use their camper for a whole week.  It was a pastor appreciation thing, and we sure appreciated it.  Now I need to tell you this wasn’t one of those camper campers—this was one of those fancy ones—the kind that moves you from camping to glamping.  They set it up for us in a beautiful campground in the Land Between the Lakes.  The leaves were falling, the weather said fall, and we were two happy campers…no pun intended.

One evening I went out to find my car covered with a healthy crop of wet leaves.  With nothing important to do at the time, I begin picking the leaves off my car.  There were lots of different kinds of leaves.  As I worked my way around the car, I found something unusual on the driver’s side rear door.  It was a small stick about three inches long and it was stuck on the side of the door.  I thought that is kind of odd, so I took a closer look.  What I saw was what appeared to be one of those insects that look like a stick.  It had a small head and several joints down its body. It was amazing.  I said, “Hey Judy, come look at this cool insect.  It looks just like a stick.”

Well, she came over and looked and she said, “Are you sure that is an insect?”  I assured her that it was since I am an amateur entomologist.  Oh, in case you are wondering that is someone who studies insects.  I know because I looked it up.  So, me, the amateur entomologist, left this fine specimen of the insect world to spend the night on my car.  I really couldn’t believe she had questioned my judgment.  After all what does she know about entomology anyway?  Well, apparently a lot.

The next morning, we were leaving. As I carried our stuff out to the car, I took the time to pick the remaining leaves off my car and guess what?  My stick friend was still there.  I told Judy, “Hey that stick insect is still on the car.  How cool is that?”  She gave me that “Are you sure it isn’t a stick” look and I gave her the “I know what I am talking about” look.  There was only one way to prove her that I knew what I was talking about.  It was time for the touch test.  I went over to the car and looked again at my friend.  Head.  Check. Body. Check.  Legs.  Well, real small looking legs, but check.  So, I gave it a poke.  It fell off the car.

Yup.  I hate to admit it, but it was a stick.  I had to do the hard thing but the right thing. I went in and told Judy, “Hey you know that stick insect?  It was a stick.”  How about that?  I tried to lightly brush it off but no, I got a full load of the “I told you so.” Looks.  The bottom line was, she was right.  She knew her sticks and I obviously didn’t know my insects.  I think it is kinda funny that something I thought that was supposed to look like a stick really was.  No wonder it didn’t move all night.  I guess those weren’t legs after all.

I realized that morning that not everything that looks like a stick insect is in fact, a stick insect—it might just indeed be a stick.  Things are not always as they appear.  Seeing sometimes is not believing.  Our eyes can deceive us.  Our hearts can deceive us. Our minds can deceive us. Things can be deceiving.

There is a cool scripture about Jesus healing a guy who was blind.  Jesus touched his eyes and said, “What do you see?”  The man said, “I see men but they look like trees walking.”  Well, Jesus touched his eyes again and basically said, “What about now?”  And guess what?  He could see just fine.  Now obviously the man wasn’t seeing trees walking but that is what he thought he could see.  In a world where things are upside-down, we should take the time and carefully examine something before we buy into it.  If I had poked that stick sooner, I would have discovered the truth sooner.  Things are not always as they appear.

However, there is One we can trust who is always spot on and that is God.  He is the real deal and the lens that we view Him is through His Word.  Don’t trust what people say about God—read it for yourself.  God gave us His Word to show Himself to us and then invites every person to read for themselves.  And how often do you get to talk to the Author while you read His book? That’s pretty cool.  And if you chose to read about Him, you will be amazed at what you find.  You won’t find a God that looks like a God.  You will find a God that is God and Who can do what He says.  You will find a God who loves you—a lot.  You will find a God who is not afraid of our investigation of Him because He will stand any test.  So, go ahead.  Read up.  You will find the real deal.  A God that invites you to rest in Him.  A God who’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne