Testimony Lounge

This area is the Tailgate News Lounge. We would love to here your testimonies of what God has done in your life or if you just need questions answered? Well let your voice be heard!!!

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Laying down your life
to help a friend honors
God, the friend and you
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
In this day of putting down Christians for quoting what sin is, as defined in the Bible, I think there are too many people who are throwing the baby out with the bath water.
The first thing in Christianity is to understand why a person should consider the free gift of salvation that has been offered to mankind since Jesus went to the cross more than 2,000 years ago. To do that, you have to see that there are advantages to trusting God and realizing He is a God of mercy or the perfect blood sacrifice made by Jesus Christ would have never happened in the first place.
After all, we had the old Covenant with God and could have been left to our own devices as trying to “be good enough on our own to be let into heaven when we die.” There were temporary blood sacrifices by animals in that old Testament and the laws set up were a lose-lose situation for most people.
Jesus changed all of that when he opened up the opportunity to make our peace with God and be forgiven of our sins. Jesus Christ, the person, was a man of kindness and an excellent example of how to live in peace and freedom while you face the challenges of life.
One quote comes to mind where Christ says, “There is no greater love than that of a man or a woman who will lay down their life for a friend (1).” Christ also tells us another key to personal happiness is to learn to love Jehovah God with all your heart, mind and soul.
To start a life with Jesus Christ as your Savior, forgiveness is an essential element. But even before you consider forgiving others for their actions against you, and before you ask Jesus to forgive your sins, past, present and future, you must believe that Christ died for the forgiveness of your sins and for the sins of anyone who asks Him to be saved. You must believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God and that He rose from the dead on the third day after his death by crucifixion.
If you believe in the miracle of Jesus Christ, the fact that his Father is the Holy Ghost of God and His mother was a woman named Mary who gave birth to Him while still a virgin, you are on the right track. To believe all of this stuff, you have to exercise your hope for better days, your faith in the God that created you and the love in your heart. And to be happy with your decision, you must also forgive yourself…
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the light. No one gets to the Father who does not go through me (2).” I will admit all of the afore mentioned mind sets may be hard to swallow if you have no Bible background. I was lucky. I read that Bible on a farm where I grew up and had plenty of time to ponder the words in red, quoting Jesus Christ. I decided in my mind, before asking for salvation, that I wanted to be like Jesus.
Don’t get me wrong, Jesus also said he did not come to disband the laws of God, as set down to us in the Old Testament. He came to for fill the law with mercy and love. Andrew Womack, a VTN preacher here in Arkansas and many other areas of the world, assures his followers that God is no longer mad at the born again Christian. I believe that too.
I also believe that nobody can do all of the law right all of the time or God would never have sent his only Begotten Son from heaven to bridge the gap between a perfect God and mankind. I am a solid believer that when a person gets up from their altar, after accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, that person is seen through the eyes of God as perfect. Their sins, and I do mean all of them that have committed, or will commit during their life times, are covered in the blood of Jesus, and they are in full accord with communication with God in this life and the life to come.
But here is the value of the law, as I see it. I will use myself as an example. I see nothing wrong with a man having hanky panky with a woman before they decide if their love is strong enough that a formal marriage commitment is in order. But God does see this as wrong. His law says fornication is a sin. Before accepting Jesus as my Savior, I had to ask forgiveness for this and all of my other sins, as defined in both the old and new Testaments of the Bible. It is not what I believe is sin and wrong that counts, but rather what God thinks.
I heard a sermon today on television that addressed this in a way. The preacher said God is our heavenly Father, and any good father will teach a child not to do something that might harm him or her in later life – not to be mean and make them lose out on some “enjoyable experience,” but to save them the pain attached to the act.
This business of justifying our sins is something that has kept a lot of folks from asking Jesus Christ to come into their hearts and save them from themselves and the punishments attached to being themselves – including burning in a devil’s hell when they leave this body for good. The Bible says the wages of our sins is death. Jesus paid the ultimate price so we don’t have to do so with our very souls.
If you study those letters in red, in a King James Bible, or a Christian Bible version of your choice that has those red letters, you will discover the character of this Son of Man that was, and is, Jesus Christ. You will find out that Jesus wants to be your best friend. The Word of God says Jesus Christ will stick with the converted Christian “closer than a brother (3).” That means he will ride with you through life as your co-pilot until you accept His Lordship, and as a friend offering guidance and direction once you realize His ways are higher than your ways and following them will lead you down a path to a happy life as you continue to breath.
And a friendship with Jesus Christ will take the sting out of contemplating your own death. I love to drink beer. I love to celebrate life by singing love songs at Karaoke gatherings. I find nothing in either that hurts my walk with my Savior. The Word says no drunkard shall enter the Kingdom of God, but it also says Jesus drank wine and had supper club gatherings with His disciples and friends. Jesus is not a prude, as so many have portrayed Him. Being a drunkard is quite another matter.
When you are drunk, you are out of control and prone to get yourself into a whole heap of trouble. No wonder that is named as a sin in the Bible. Having a few glasses of beer or wine while you relax from a long hard day, in my opinion, is a healthy stress release – a long way from being a drunkard. Like any other medicine, booze will kill you in excess and that is when it becomes a sin. In like manner, overeating will do the same thing, yet we must eat some to live physically.
But don’t take Nelson’s word on this stuff. Take the advice of the Bible and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
In my reading of the red letters of that Bible I recall Him telling His disciples, at the famous last supper, that it would be the last time for Him to drink wine with them in this life. If your best friend told you this, and you were used to listening to him and sharing your heart with him, this would bring most of us to tears. I am not sure there is anything in our Bible about it, but I am willing to bet when Jesus Christ made that announcement, there was not a dry eye in the house.
Transition is difficult. The night Jesus prayed to Father God in the Garden of Gethsemane shows it was even difficult for Him. The human side of Jesus wanted to stay and commune with mankind, preaching and teaching to a much older age than 33. But Father God said no. He told Jesus the blood sacrifice of a man who had lived with no sin was the only way to bridge the gap between Him and those that Jesus loved – or between God and anyone that accepts the gift of salvation.
God sent His only Begotten Son because He knew that was the only way to have a pure, sinless blood, to accommodate His promises about people going to heaven. God had to create a Lamb’s Book of Life that contains the names of those who have accepted His free gift of salvation, and maintained all of their remaining lives that acceptance of His Son’s blood sacrifice on the cross. We must accept Jesus and hang on, no matter how hard that may get to do in our lives that are prone to attacks from the devil and his people.
DYING FOR HIS FRIENDS
So Jesus, in His human form, said what most of us who profess to be Christians say more and more often as we slowly but surely mature in our walk with God, “Take this cup from me if there be any way, but if not, Your will be done Father, not mine.”
If a person studies the life of Jesus, we find a man who loved to be with people. We find a man who had many followers and friends while He was breathing in a carnal body. We do not find someone who would like to condemn you or me. He even asked Jehovah God to forgive the Roman soldiers who crucified Him by saying at the last, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Then he died from his natural body, after saying His last words from his living body, “It is finished.”
It is often said in Christianity that we should hate the sin but love the sinner. I can see that. And I don’t care if that sin is an abomination unto God and a stink in His nostrils, like my Christian Bible tells me homosexuality is, or something as simple as cursing when you get frustrated. Too often it is said, sin is sin and any sin can send you to hell. The truth is, sin is sin, and trying to justify it when God has defined it in His Word as sin is what sends a person to hell. Trying to justify sin, instead of asking for forgiveness even when you don’t agree with God, is what prompts many people to embrace their sin, saying to themselves, hey, God did not mean it when He called this sin, and so why should I ask forgiveness of it just because His Bible defines my actions as sin? Folks if God calls it sin in His Bible, it is sin and it will have consequences – in this life, or if you are not saved, in the next.
A person with the mind set that an action called sin in the Bible is not really sin just might use it as an excuse not to come to Jesus Christ for his or her salvation and miss out on the best friendship anyone could ever have, the friendship between man and the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Jehovah God and the Holy Ghost Comforter of God.
The truth is those who end up in a devil’s hell think their own ways of thinking are smarter than God’s way of thinking. Therefore they will not ask forgiveness of something they just don’t see as wrong.
Yet, God is willing that all should accept the gift of Salvation offered by the sacrifice of His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ to bridge the gap of two differing opinions and solidly place a sinner saved by grace into the Lamb’s Book of Life. Once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are no longer a sinner by nature, although you may still commit sin by choice. But the deeper you go in your overcoming walk, the less you will make this bad choice.
I pray like this, God, please forgive me of the sins in my life that I know about, teach me to avoid them in the future and forgive me of the sins I have committed out of ignorance.
Pride keeps us from admitting what is right and doing our best to follow it, as is plainly spoken in the Word. I am not saying it is of no consequence how we do in our following of the law after we accept Jesus Christ as a Savior, but our performance is no longer an issue as to where we will spend eternity. Or at least that is what I am getting out of reading and rereading those red letters.
Jesus is there, sticking closer than a brother, the minute you admit you do not have all the answers and that you are sorry for your past, present and future sins, that you commit because indeed, “We know not what we do.”
When we look at how Jesus loved us, while we were yet sinners, unsaved and undone, it is hard for me not to want to love others in that way.
Christian love is unconditional in nature. If your friend has a need, try and deliver it. Take a few minutes to listen to him or her and be there for them. I don’t care what sort of sin they are involved with, and it makes no difference in this regard whether you believe them to be saved or not, realize when they go against God’s commandments it is not because they have no good in them. It is because they have yet to see the light.
Show them love. Feed them, cloth them, tell them how Jesus loves them and you do too.
If you act in this manner, that love you show will be something they want in their own lives and you will be fulfilling one of the biggest issues in delivering the salvation message – showing the why by your actions, as to why an individual needs to consider what this man of love called Jesus Christ is offering – a ticket out of hell, a ticket to a better life while on earth and someone to talk to when the chips are down, it is the bottom of the ninth, the bases are loaded and you are at bat after just spraining you ankle.
Our strength as human beings runs out. Jesus has plenty. The Bible says although we are weak, He is strong. When you need a friend, take His hand and the clouds will begin to clear.
When one fellow in the Bible asks Jesus what he must do to be a Christian, Jesus tells him, “When I was hungry, you fed me. When I was naked you clothed me. When I had no where to live, you opened your home to me.”
The guy did not understand and asked, “When did I ever do any of those things for you?”
Jesus replied, “If you have done these things to any of the least of mine, you have done it for me.”
We can look at the Golden Rule, as is mentioned in the Bible, to understand the mercy involved in being a Christian even further. That rule says do unto others as you would have them to unto you.
Following it goes a long way in this life. Remember, there are no secrets when it comes to God. The Word said men love darkness because they think it will hide their evil deeds. Jesus said all secrets will be shouted from the roof tops!
The bottom line about accepting salvation is that it makes our best better to study how Jesus Christ lived and avoided sin.
And it gives us a Spirit of mercy and forgiveness that I have never found anywhere else in this rough old world…
SCRIPTURES
1) LAYING DOWN OUR LIVES FOR OUR FRIENDS –
John 15:13 King James Version (KJV) 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
2) NO ONE GETS TO THE FATHER BUT THROUGH JESUS CHRIST – John 14:4-11King James Version (KJV) 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
3) CHRIST WILL STICK WITH YOU CLOSER THAN A BROTHER – Proverbs 18:22-24King James Version (KJV) 22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord. 23 The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.
24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Romans 8:36-39King James Version (KJV) 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Editor’s Note: Those are some pretty strong convictions, if you really look at what Paul was trying to say about the love of Jesus Christ.
In another passage, we find that it is God’s will that not one of us that have asked for His salvation are ever separated from the Living God Jehovah.
I don’t know about you, but when times get hard, or the valley comes in our lives, these words are very important to me.
My take on this is that if we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, God will never toss us out of His kingdom unless we choose to believe the devil’s lie that the whole principal of salvation and Jesus having the power to save us from hell is not true.
In other words, with the banner of love that Jesus Christ provides, our contract for eternal life and all of the benefits of being friends with our Creator is sealed – unless we foolishly either never accept the fact that we need Jesus in the first place or we simply walk away when times get hard.
And frankly, that would be no way to treat a friend.

 

Listen to your heart,
as Jesus Christ speaks
of loving others,
not condemning them!
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
It is hard to understand sometimes how the legalists live with themselves. You know, the type of “Christian” who runs around condemning everyone like they have the perfectly sanctified life.
I have to listen with my heart in order not to get mad at such a person. And I have to remember that they are saying they are a Christian just like me. I have said it before and I will say it again, if a person says they are saved it is then up to them to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling (1).
You have to do a lot of praying, a lot of reading of the Bible, especially the letters in red in the New Testament, before you get it; Christ came to save us not to condemn us. Otherwise Paul would have never said in Romans “Therefore there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. (2)”
Before I get too involved in chasing rabbits, let me get to the point of where I am going this week. Sure, even after you are saved, you still need to listen to that still small voice of Jesus and let the Potter mold you into a person that has more integrity, more sincerity and more Christ like ways than you ever thought possible.
But one thing you don’t need to do, and that is sit in judgment of the next poor slob who is trying to work his or her own salvation out. Legalists, take warning, the Word of God says if you judge me God will judge you likewise. That is not to say you can not quote me scripture.
I enjoy it when someone who feels strongly about an issue backs it up with scripture. But when they just make the statement that all who commit some particular sin are ignorant, to me that puts a black smudge on all of the rest of us Christians. We are in the saving business. We lead them to Christ. They accept Christ as their Savior and then He goes to work on molding their character into someone who can be recognized as a good Christian man or woman.
I believe we lead them to Christ by showing love. I recently had a preacher to write a column I read saying those who use swear words are ignorant. I applaud him for not calling us stupid. Ignorance simply means a lack of knowledge. I would like to give that preacher the benefit of the doubt and hope he simply met letting vulgarity fly for no reason is showing lack of self control and is not the kind of witness a Christian should be showing. To that, I agree.
But I have known so many geniuses twice as smart as me who have had potty mouths and don’t think twice about swearing in their own homes or among close friends when frustrations become steaming hot. Most will not do it in public, as one never knows when the wrong word to the public might push somebody away from Jesus Christ and that is the last thing any Christian preacher wants to do.
My heart, which I believe takes its orders from the Spirit of Jesus Christ, told me to forgive this guy for condemning me and others who have not totally quit cussing. And if I took his article as a condemning put down, I would imagine many others did too. Sure, I want total self control. But my swearing is not from lack of education or head knowledge, it is from needing to vent and avoid doing something a whole lot worse than swearing – like rearranging someone’s face or property!
After all, the preacher who wrote that article says he has not made “the air blue” for years and is therefore above acting ignorant. Good for him. I will take him at his word. But every time I have said I overcame a particular sin, the devil worked overtime to prove me wrong.
The fact is flesh can not change flesh. Only a closer walk with Jesus can do that. Jesus, if we keep Him close enough, will keep us so busy carrying out acts of love we don’t have time to get so frustrated with worry we explode with colorful expletives. The trouble is nobody walks that close to Jesus all of the time – at least not that I have met.
I will drop it there. Sure, taking the name of God in vain is breaking one of the 10 commandments and if you do it you should tell God you are sorry and go on. The sin was forgiven at your salvation, but God will appreciate your positive change of heart and your intension not to do that particular sin on a regular basis – just because its easy to do. It will give the All Mighty somewhere to start spinning His potter’s wheel when you ask Him to help you overcome that particular sin.
And perhaps the other preacher was really just pointing out that vulgarity displays self-righteous anger and not Christ-like humbleness. If that is part of what he met, I agree. It does and that is why a Christian should try and overcome such outbursts.
But to imply someone is ignorant, or showing a lack of education, just because they have a cussing fit is simply wrong. It strikes me as a “holier than thou” put down and reminds me of the way the Pharisees did the Christians back when Jesus Christ walked the earth. Those old time legalists, or arms of Satan as I call them, wanted to control the people so they kept them feeling unworthy to experience the love of God. That was for cultured and refined type people, not for sinners saved by grace.
People swear for a lot of reasons; frustration being a big one. Being in pain, or being simply angry over a situation – such as being stuck in traffic and fearing the loss of an advertising account because some slow poke won’t get out of your way, could be some of the reasons to chew the wind a bit. That last reason has been used by me on several occasions.
I need to stop cussing. I need to stop all sinning. And when the Lord takes me out of this carnal world of temptation, I will do so. In the meantime, I pray I can overcome as many sins as possible to be a person of integrity . Even the legalists can not find fault with that. If I can show improvement on the measuring stick of sin, perhaps people will listen more when I deliver my Billy Sunday, come to Jesus, message. I hope so .
The man who wrote the article appears to be 50 pounds over weight. I am 30 pounds myself. Gluttony is mentioned in the Bible as a sin, just like cussing is. I am not going to condemn that man for still eating too much, which his rolly polly belly proves that he does. Why? Because the scriptures are clear that we must take the log out of our own eye before telling our brother to take the splinter out of his.
To me, the Christian thing to do in love would be to tell my writer friend I will pray for him that he somehow gets his death-sentence pounds off of him to live a longer life and to also be in obedience to the scripture telling us gluttony is a sin so don’t over eat!
A friend of mine told me the other day that she was praying God taught her not to condemn the other fellow for his hang-ups, but when she saw them just pray that Jesus Christ does the prodding and those shortcomings will eventually leave that professing Christian’s habit list.
The bottom line is we need to listen to our hearts and be more tolerant of the folks who say they are already Christians. And let’s face it, a sin does not send you to hell, no matter how minor or major it is. What sends you to hell is not sincerely accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior, friend and counselor.
THE HEART
So let’s look at the heart and soul of a man or woman. God left us with three main character traits to help us through this life; the ability to have hope, to have faith in God and in being able to love. (3). He also gave us a New Testament commandment that tells us to love Jehovah God with all of our heart and soul, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
To me, loving myself does not include brow beating myself. I find nothing loving about someone implying my sin will send me to hell and negate my salvation that has to do with love, but rather with some sort of power trip like those Pharisees I spoke about. God is the only one entitled to judge us – not each other. Our eternal destinations are between God and us. In Christianity, we believe if we judge ourselves now, ask Jesus to wash away our sins and their results with his pure blood so that our names can stay in the Lamb’s Book of Life, we will one day enter heaven’s gates and have a mansion in the sky.
I will admit there is a passage in the Bible that says we as Christians are to be able to discern the spirits, and be able to tell the difference between someone sincerely trying to follow Christ and someone simply fooling themselves or trying to fool us. I think God gives us discernment so we can encourage the nearly saved to become truly saved. But if a man or woman has accepted Jesus Christ in their heart, they do not deserve to have some other Christian play judge and jury over their life style.
My heart tells me the old time preachers were right, we lead the lost to Christ and let Christ clean them up. And sometimes it takes a long time to get clean, as is the case with me and a few of my besetting sin habits, such as an occasional outburst of cussing. If you want to help, pray for me. And I will do the same for you about your hang-ups.
Jesus Christ is the king of love. I don’t even think Christ is in the Satanic thought pattern of trying to convince someone who is doing their best they are not a Christian, assuming said person tells you they have accepted Jesus Christ.
Let’s look again at love. The song says we will know they are Christians by their love. I just got a call from my best friend. He needs immediate help trying to keep his lights on and to get his bill straightened out.
I need in the worst way to be calling adverting clients all morning long, after I straighten out a bill of my own I am worried about, and then to get on the road about 11 a.m. to go see two clients in Prescott before heading to Arkadelphia for another couple of clients I am betting on for collection. Failure in this could mean I don’t make my own bills this month.
But, my heart tells me to help Mike. So I will listen to my heart. Folks, I know I am not a shining light when it comes to some bad sin habits I must overcome with the help of our Savior, but I sincerely want to follow Christ and His teachings. I run out of strength. Jesus does not. But somehow, in my heart of hearts, I can not see Jesus looking at me and saying you weak so and so, go to hell since you are weak.
That is what the Pharisees of old said God was like, and that is what the legalistic preachers of today are saying – or at least that is the way I am taking it. I am part Cherokee Indian and there is an old Native American saying that we should not put a man down until we have walked a mile in his moccasins.
The Bible says when we are weak, Christ is strong. I am weak right now over this business crisis I am facing. But I do not want a successful business bad enough to let my best friend down. I will do what I can to save his lights and find out if there is a way to prevent the over charging in the future so he can handle it with his fixed income from here on out.
Then I will do what I can to phone solicit the new business leads and at least get some route calls done tomorrow. I have the heart to do what I believe God is telling me is the right thing to do. It feels right and it feels like I am going to obey the guidance and direction of Jesus Christ. I may get frustrated in the process. I may get so nervous I swear to get some stress release. But I will get this done, if there is any possible way my abilities can accomplish it.
This is the heart I was talking about. And no, I don’t always do the right thing in life. Sometimes, as my minister, Brother James McCain of Sycamore Church in Beirne, admitted about himself this morning in church, a Christian messes up.
And if it were a perfect world, I would never raise my voice in anger and swear. Jesus is said to have been able to raise his voice in anger and not swear. I don’t know too many people who can say that. That is not to say there are no devout Christians out there who can. I suspect, if they truly can, they are not telling anyone for fear that human pride and bragging will take that ability away from them. Remember God is merciful and so should we be when a brother or sister in Christ has a weak moment.
But I will say to you, and to the legalistic minister that got on my nerves so badly by implying colorful expletives were a sign of ignorance instead of stress release, I am sorry I am not perfect. I am doing my best. The last guy who was perfect got crucified. If I ever reach perfection in the eyes of man, I will still not be perfect in the eyes of God if I am not saved. But if I am saved by accepting the free gift of salvation that Jesus going to the cross for me offers, God will be guiding me to do better, not condemning me in hopes I give up like Satan and his legion of demons are so famous for doing.
The older I get, the more I believe we are seen as perfect in the eyes of God the moment we sincerely ask Jesus Christ to come into our hearts and save us.
Most of the time, in the same breath, a person who realizes they need Jesus, will then say in their spirit, Father forgive me of my sins. And yes, I am willing to forgive others of all they have done to me. But I realize without you Jesus to fight my battles and keep me in good standing with God the Father, I can not make it.
Then this feeling of being forgiven comes over you and when baptism is suggested you are more than willing to do that too as soon as humanly possible. It is all about love, the love of Christ for us and the love we have for Him. That gives us the love we have for ourselves and others and the peace of knowing Jesus will guard our names in His Lamb’s Book of Life.
So there you have it, a sermon about the heart from a guy who has allowed his heart to be hurt by pompous legalism that transcends time. As I told one legalist long ago, I have no desire to go where the people go who run around condemning others. I want to go where Love is, and where God Jehovah calls home. I don’t have any desire to go where sin rules and someone is trying to convince me if I would have just been a stronger person I would not be in this hell… For you see, that is a lie.
Again, rejecting Christ is the only reason for making hell your eternal home.
So where is your heart? Do you want the power of God in your life and the power of Love to guide your actions? Listen to your heart when your heart tells you to give your brother a hand. Listen to your heart, even when logic would suggest you are foolish. Peter was a rough talking fisherman with a mother-in-law that inspired his anger. Matthew was a hated tax collector.
The Bible says God will use the simple minded to confound the wise, or some such a comparison. We will look that scripture up one of these days soon. While I certainly do not deserve to be compared to a disciple of Jesus when He was on earth, I do have a checkered past, yet I have a heart that wants to please Christ.
Perhaps the scripture “to those who much is given much is required” is why I feel so strongly that Christianity is a path of love, not of condemnation.
Jesus told the rich man who asked him what he must do to be saved that he was proud of the fact he had been able to keep the 10 commandments all his life, but that he must go and give all of his wealth to the poor. The rich man walked away with his head down because his money was his way of life.
Journalism is my way of life. Being rich enough to help anyone who asks me for a hand is something I desire. But if God tells me I must stop using my writing talent, and go get a job on an industrial line, I will do it. I won’t like giving up my dream, but if that is what it takes to please God I will at least try.
The Tailgate News belongs to God. I love running it, but it is His. Sacrifice for those we love, I understand. Condemning those we love, I do not understand. And I can find nowhere in the New Testament where Jesus ever asked us to condemn the other fellow.
Quite the opposite is true. When the woman was caught in the act of adultery, and the old Testament followers wanted to stone her, Jesus said go right ahead, but you who has never sinned cast the first stone! Her accusers left in shame. Then he asked her, woman where are your accusers? They are gone, she said. He replied, then I also do not condemn you. Go and sin no more.
I personally believe that experience probably frightened the woman enough for her to find a good man and settle down, giving up adultery as one of her sins…
When others put you down for your shortcomings, and they persecute you for contending that the love of Christ is real, remember they persecuted Jesus Christ Himself for standing up for love instead of their rules.
Jesus Christ is not a condemning person but rather the only Begotten Son of Jehovah God, sent here 2,000 ago to save our souls by grace, so smile and tell those legalists, “Thank you for telling me my level best is not good enough. I realize that. But the best God has to offer is Jesus and I have His strength to answer you with. Indeed, mow your own back yard before you come over and try and mow mine.”
SCRIPTURES
1) WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION – Philippians 2:12 King James Version (KJV)
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
2) THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION IN CHRIST JESUS – Romans 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 5:16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
3) HOPE, FAITH AND LOVE – 1 Corinthians 13:12-13American Standard Version (ASV)
12 For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known. 13 But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
1 Thessalonians 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; 1Thessalonians 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
Editor’s Note: Moreover, the Bible defines a number of sins and salvation does not excuse us from trying our best to avoid a lifestyle of sinning. It is very important to study the Bible to show yourself approved. Before Jesus Christ died for our sins, it might even have been that one sin, unforgiven by repentance, could have sent a man to hell.
Once you are saved, and you have asked God to forgive your sins of the past, present and future, He is faithful to forgive. He is also a friend to the overcomer. Here is a free Nelsonism, love to live so you can live to love your God and others!
A televison preacher said the other day that a man was told he would be given a lot of money to fund his ministry, but first he must pass a test. He must define what he planed to teach others about the Christian walk in one word. His reply was, “Others.”
By putting the needs of family, friends, co-workers and those we meet in passing ahead of our own, we can pass on the love of Jesus.

 

 

Never Give Up
On An Assignment
from Jehovah God
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
My grandson Josh asked his Grandma Michelle if it was OK if he just sat down and meditated to relax and contemplate life. She smiled and said sure. It is not often we get such a request from an 8-year-old.
But adults like me, who spend a lot of time alone, are more prone to do this meditating thing. Since accepting Jesus Christ, some 40 years ago now, I often meditate and pray for guidance and direction from Jehovah God, who is the Creator of the Universe, according to the Christian Bible and according to me…
When I do such a thing as pray in this way, now and then it seems like a clear prophecy comes back from God to me. In November of 2014, I was told in my spirit that 2015 would be my year for success. In the Bible, it says God talks to us in a still and quiet voice, from his spirit to ours. You may think I am just listening to wishful thinking from my soul. But I believe I heard from God.
A non-Christian will think this is foolish hope, but I take it to heart and let my faith go to work. I have spent the past few months trying to figure out exactly what sort of success is coming my way and what my God means. I have some ideas, but no definite details yet.
One thing I do know is that when I started publishing Tailgate News every Friday on the Internet, in January of 2013, I felt like God had really blessed me. I thanked Jesus profusely for His mercy and for the mercy of Father God! For you see, writing is my dream, my career and my inner desire. This publication allows that dream to continue as long as I am mentally and physically able to put the words out there.
When I went digital, I felt that tug from the Holy Ghost to write a sermon every week that the publication is placed on the Internet. So far, I have done this. But whether it is writing a weekly sermon, or just helping a friend to get over a hill while pushing a wheelchair, Christian acts always cost something. If it is an act of love or kindness, which pretty much defines the action of true Christian love, the devil will try and give you a black eye.
My grandmother, the late Marvel Woolard Nelson, was a member of the Eastern Star, which is the female branch of the Masonic Lodge. She said the Masons had a saying that no good deed goes unpunished. This may be so, but doing kind things for others is habit forming and that is one habit I want to keep. To me, the blessings from God, for the act of kindness, are worth any repercussions I may incur.
Going back to the subject of success, that word means different things to different people. While trying to figure out what God means by success for me personally, I looked at things like financial solvency, being able to give more time and money to volunteer work and finding ways to make my wife and children a little happier.
My finances are a mess. Don’t get me wrong. So far, I pay my bills. But I will sure be relieved when I have less of them to pay. I bought a house, two good cars and did quite a bit of home improvement on my fixer-upper home over the past two years. After consolidating credit cards, setting up short term loans, setting up an independent savings plan and doing my level best to get to the point of making double payments on these investments in order to retire out of debt in 15 or 20 years, I find myself stressed out over money on more than one occasion.
One form of success that I hope to achieve, is to pay for all I owe and get out of debt. The Bible tells us we are to owe no man anything so I know by reading those words that God also wants me debt free. Like the rest of you, my earning power only goes so far. It will require a great deal of divine intervention to achieve this in my case.
God has always seen me through any financial crisis that comes down the pike, and I am very grateful. I believe He will help me again and my business books will balance so that I end up writing these Christian sermons to you for years to come without fear of financial collapse. That would also be a success story in my mind.
Once in awhile, I see evidence that my Christian witness has done some good. My best friend Mike, who is a 64-year-old Vietnam veteran in a wheelchair, went fishing with me last weekend. It was a great trip. My Paragould grandson Zander, who turned 8 the day before the fishing trip, went along and we all managed to catch a few decent sized fish and have a lot of fun.
Mike told me he has accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. I was very excited about this, as I have waited 21 years to hear him say it. Sure, I have always hoped he was a Christian, but it was still nice to hear the confirmation. I knew his inner kindness would seek a peace with God and who am I to say he has not found it? I choose to believe him and look forward to discussing the Word of God with him.
Getting back to another act of Christian kindness besides writing salvation sermons, I am the guy who picks up Mike’s wheelchair, sometimes with him in it, to get him out of tight spots. I may have strained a stomach muscle in doing so here recently, but it is getting better through prayer and common sense. I have faith that God will fix it for me, as I have a lot of things I want to do for the Kingdom of God before I slow down and eventually leave this body.
God is the ultimate doctor and he has fixed things on my body before. I had a spot on my eyelid that my doctor in Malvern, Arkansas told me would have to be surgically removed. It was impairing my vision a couple of years back. After much prayer, it just fell off and it has not come back. I see just fine and the blemish on my eye is no longer there! Again, I thank God profusely for His mercy and for what I see as a personal miracle. I need decent eyesight to write and continue adding a sermon a week to complete my divine assignment.
Let’s take a more general view about your Christian duties and aspirations. Many people do give up, which is very sad to say. A lot of folks are afraid of physical death so when a physical illness shows up they get spooked and start bargaining with doctors, trying home remedies and using any other source that might bring them relief.
These folks don’t have faith in what grace is all about. They are scared that God will let them down when their physical death time comes or they would plod on through the adversity without so much panic. We all need to trust God’s love. Jesus addresses hope, faith and love through the writings of Paul in Corinthians 13 (1). He also tells us that every man or woman has been given the measure of faith (2).
It simply boils down to faith activation. Biblical faith, at least in part, is the belief that God will have mercy on you in regard to sharpening whatever tools you need to complete your part of His divine assignment. If you are a writer like me, you need a clear mind, good typing fingers, a body that is reliable and fully functional and a merry heart. God knows my needs and they have always been there in these 56 years, despite the devil squawking that the end is near!
My personal goal is to go out with a bang. I hope hundreds of souls accept the grace of Jesus Christ from these little sermons before I kick the bucket. But when my bucket list time ends is up to God. I will do what I can to take care of this body, be a good steward to the finances God provides as payment for my honest work and continue to love and serve Jesus until my assignments are all finished.
I recently asked God to allow me to get solvent with my finances enough by the time my 3-year-old super smart grand daughter gets through college to help finance her a degree in medicine. If she remains determined, I believe Rayne Rose Marie will be a great doctor one day and I would like to see that. I feel good about it in my spirit and believe God will allow me the time to help her no matter what future she pursues.
A prayer to Jehovah God that is asking Him for the tools to do right by someone else is more often answered in my life than a beggar’s prayer for a dollar or a new car. God is our spiritual Father and anyone with kids knows we parents get tired of selfish whining and begging from our kids. I would imagine God gets tired of the begging as well. After all, He has already said in His Word for us to take heart for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the keys to the kingdom (true love) and that He wants us to prosper.
The atheist would say all that I have given God credit for in this sermon would have happened anyway. If the devil has really got him convinced of that, all I can do is smile and wish him will. It does not make me want to get rid of him or her by cutting off his or her head like the Muslim ISIS folk do my fellow Christian believers. I often wonder what sort of “logic” would convince a man or a woman that cutting off somebody’s head for being different is pleasing to the Creator of the Universe? To me, such an action is proof that Satan is indeed the slickest manipulator ever to be created.
Getting back to my theme of finishing your Christian love assignment, whether that is being a journalist, having a law career, a medical career, an engineering career or simply to take care of your family by finishing a long-time job in industry with a gold watch and a 401K in tact, your acts of kindness along the path of life create your insurance policy that God will grant you the time and resources to finish your Christian race.
When you have goals, you are pleased to live. The Bible says God will honor us with life, health and prosperity all the days of our life (3). To me, if a person is really living, they are searching for ways to make a positive difference in not just their own life but in the lives of people around them.
As Christians, our biggest asset is the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are saved by understanding and accepting basic Christian instruction such as is found in John 3:16. The desire to accept Christ’s gift of salvation comes from first realizing you need God in your life now and forever, and then searching for a way to find and keep that God as you face adversity in your personal journey.
We need to start our life of love and kindness through forgiving others, asking God to forgive us of our sins and mistakes, and then living with a love for our God and our friends that equals and surpasses our love for our own skins and wills. Serving others makes us want to finish whatever task of love God prods us to do. It also brings you more blessings than you could ever get from a selfish existence. You can’t do any of these consistently without the growing love of Jesus Christ in your heart. Don’t believe me? If you are unsaved and thinking you have it all under control, try that for awhile. When a crisis occurs, finding strength within yourself will last only for a time. The strength found through Jesus never quits.
In addition to a career assignment and duty, many of us have a family assignment and duty. My pastor, James McCain of the Beirne Full Gospel Sycamore Church, said this morning that marital love grows as the years past, especially if Jesus is in the hearts of the partners. In other words, if you are a man who loves a woman, and you love her enough to marry her and share her life, adding Jesus Christ to both of your hearts will make that love grow over time – even if the marriage started out as little more than two people who became friends and decided to make a go of it.
Love involves the acceptance of a person, faults and all, and it involves that other person loving us, faults and all. Adultery, for example, does not have to mean the end of a relationship. It is a sin and it is very painful but it does not have to harden a heart. It just depends on the degree of love you have in your soul – and the degree of trust you have in Jesus Christ, who makes all things possible – even the mending of broken hearts.
Brother James said our sins are not just covered up by the blood of Jesus, they are washed away. The Word says God remembers them no more and they are in His River of Forgetfulness. I compare this to the natural world around me. If I commit adultery on my wife and she forgives me enough to never bring it up again, there is a lot better chance that our love will recover and continue to grow than if we simply agree to cover up what happened and never get to the forgiveness part. If you just cover up a dead fish, it will eventually start smelling again. If you bury that fish in the woods, and make no record of it ever stinking, you will forget in time about the fish. Our sins are buried in the pure and sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ, if we accept that sacrifice.
Here on earth, in our mortal bodies, we get to hear the devil reminding us of imperfections in ourselves, and/or in our mate, as long as we live. But our job as a Christian married person, if we are married, is to look beyond all of that nay-saying and see our partner through the eyes of Christian love – seeing the good in them and praising God they have also exercised their faith to start and finish a Christian race.
People who are not saved rarely leave alone the mistakes of the past. Many who are saved do not understand that they have the power to see the good and forget the bad in others – be they family members, friends or acquaintances. But when a person does start exercising Christian love and actions, others see it and are attracted to it – thus creating the question in the mind’s of many, “I wonder how I get what he or she has got?”
That is my goal as a servant of Jesus Christ. One step that I see as working toward being an example to others of why they should accept Jesus into their hearts is to learn that God gave us His guidance and direction through the Word of God not so we should be scared to death of our imperfect lives but rather to help us see that the more love we show to others the more love will grow within us. When we discover this truth, we find out true joy comes from being helpful to another soul instead of from stock piling earthly possessions, gaining some “position of power” or even getting married to that “perfect person.”
I read on the Google site that 77 percent of the United States population has a Christian background and either professes Christianity right now or hopes to accept Christ at some future date. Despite Mr. Barack Obama (our current president) claiming Muslims and those with Islamic backgrounds dominate religion in America, the Internet Google site, a fairly reliable Internet source of surveys and valid statistics, says those with Muslim faith make up less than 5 percent of the United States population.
I bring this up to assure you that if you accept Jesus Christ in this still free country of ours, you will have quite a bit of company who hopefully will be encouraging you to continue completing your divine assignment to love one another instead of shoving some Satanic based logic down your throat that Jehovah God, the Creator of the Universe and the God of Love, does not exist, or that a true God would have us convert to a given religion or be killed.
I have a live and let live philosophy concerning those who are convinced another religion is what they need in their lives. However, if they come after me to behead me because I refuse to accept their “mark of the beast,” or to renounce Jesus, I can get self-defensive. I don’t care if Satan’s latest army is called ISIS, or simply the children of the devil. In my opinion, if they attempt to kill a Christian for not renouncing Jesus, and they get the job done, murder is murder and those extremists should suffer the full extent of legal consequences.
As President John F. Kennedy said once, “America is a free country and we should have the right to speak our minds and live out our lives without fear of devastation.”
If you believe God will let you go to heaven without accepting Jesus and his pure blood sacrifice, Jehovah God will still dwell with you for awhile. Although He will draw you with the inner gut suspicion that there is surely something more to life than survival and the day to day struggle to improve your circumstances here on earth, the Christian Bible says He will eventually allow you to live out your choice to reject Him if that rejection continues long enough to cause a person not to feel drawn to salvation because their hardened heart has convinced them love is a fantasy.
If this is you, it is my prayer that you have an experience with Jesus like Paul did on the road to Damascus. Jesus took the former Christian killer (a bit like the ISIS folk of today) and blinded him. Then he told Paul what he wanted him to do for Christianity and opened his eyes to give him a choice to accept or reject the GospeI. In short, Jesus did what He had to do to wake Paul up from his self righteous delusion. Some, like Paul, will wake and realize they need a Savior before it is too late.
In Christianity, there is an old saying that Jesus is the answer. It does not matter the question, living in the guidelines of the love of Jesus Christ will be a far better answer than anything a secular man or woman can come up with by reinventing love to include the hopeless thought that we are all here by accident and when we die that is the end, or that if there is a God he will surely accept a person who has done what he or she thought was just and right. The Bible quotes Jesus as saying, “I am the way. There is no other way to the Father in Heaven but by me.”
I believe we should not brow beat those who do not follow Christian beliefs and happen to chose a sin or two in their lives that repulse us. Jesus says do not judge others or you will be judged likewise. All we can do to help the non-Christian is to love them despite what they do or say and be there for them when our natural man might very well want to walk away. Showing love to someone who rubs us the wrong way may be just what it takes for that person to get that curiosity we talked about earlier as to “what do we have that makes us able to unconditionally love?”
A true Christian hates sin because it is causing a person’s life misery and pain. Jesus came to end the condemnation Satan was allowed to put on us for being too weak to obey all of the Mosaic laws. The era of grace is about spreading love and forgiving weakness. Accepting the Spirit of Jesus gives us the rock of salvation and all of the strength we will ever need.
Some cling to their common sense and will hear nothing of supernatural love and strength to love unconditionally. Others, who we are trying to reach by preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, want this unconditional kind of love. They just don’t know where to find it yet.
In other words, as we Christians preach on about a follower of Jesus Christ being willing to love the gays, the cussers, the murderers, the adulterers, those who covet their neighbor’s wife and so forth, we must realize there is always going to be a devil oriented individual who thinks because we point out something as being defined in the Bible as sin that we hate those who commit that sin. That would be crazy. We are sinners too, just sinners saved by grace who want to work for the Son of the Living God who saved them from a devil’s hell and a life of hopeless psychological pain.
I want to be happy. I don’t know about you, but I am a Christian predominately because I want to be happy in this life and the next. I write these sermons as an unqualified simpleton, known in religious circles years ago as a “Billy Sunday” who just wants to see people find Jesus Christ as their Savior and best friend.
How the newly converted Christian goes about becoming more loving and Christ-like is up to the individual and his Savior, not me. And I am happy. I am happy to serve my God and my fellow human beings as long as God permits.
It all comes down to freedom of choice. My God-given assignment is to write sermons with the intent of spreading the love of Jesus Christ. I find no record in history anywhere that any other man who ever lived did so without committing sin. Consequently, Jesus has something unique to offer. His unconditional love for us can not be found in other religions, addictions or secular habits. If you want unconditional love, seek it through Jesus.
He had pure sacrificial blood on that cross. The rest of us have blood polluted by our sins. God’s impossible purity demands, so often pointed out by our critics as listed in the Old Testament, can not be met while we live in this carnal world within our fleshly bodies on earth. But through the purity of the blood of Jesus, our sins can be washed away, never to be remembered again by God, once are names are found in the Lamb’s Book of Life when it comes our time to be judged.
The Bible says if our names are in that book of life, we can walk upright in heaven, with records of unconditional love washed white as snow. Indeed, those who accept Jesus can come and reason with the Lord and celebrate a new life in heaven, living in their mansion in the sky forever.
With Jesus Christ as my source of strength, I will continue to spread the Gospel and encourage folks to read both His Old Testament book of laws and His New Testament book of grace, not to condemn them in their spirits, or to hurt their feelings, but so that they might know Jehovah God a little better and gain a better understanding of why God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son to act as a supreme pure blood sacrifice to bridge the gap between God’s high standards and humanity’s best in any given generation.
Jesus Christ and his free gift of salvation create a bridge between our ways and God’s ways. If we accept the antidote to dying in our feeble attempts to please a Creator none of us fully understand, then our names will remain written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and we will one day hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” If not, we will remain confused and lost when it comes to matters of the spirit until our dead corpse lies before us and Satan takes our soul and spirit to hell in the chains our own sins have created.
The importance of explaining the need for a man or a woman to humble themselves and accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and Him crucified is the reason for my divine assignment of writing you a weekly sermon. I intend to finish it when I draw my last breath.
SCRIPTURES
1) THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE – 1 Corinthians 13:11-13 American Standard Version (ASV) 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known.
13 But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
2) THE MEASURE OF FAITH – Romans 12:1-3King James Version (KJV) 2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
3) HEALTH AND PROSPERITY – 3 John 1:2 – Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
Philippians 4:19 – But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Christians have
the right to clearly
define our beliefs
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I have been watching the presidential hopefuls list and I am encouraged. Most Christians I know have been very disappointed with all of the apparent put-downs of Jesus Christ and His followers offered by the current president, Barack Obama.
I sincerely hope the next president will not be so critical of those who simply tell you what the Bible says, as this is still a Christian based nation and we need to start acting like one instead of allowing the “leader of the free world” to change that by trying to change Christian definitions of right from wrong plainly outlined in the Word of God.
The Bible says there is no condemnation for those who have accepted Jesus Christ. If someone feels put down because a Christian quotes the Bible, they certainly have the right to comment or disagree. But their opinions do not change what the Bible says and “marrying” the United States off to some keep your mouth shut philosophy does not do anything but turn Christians into criminals for freely preaching the Biblical principles of our faith.
Moreover, we can not preserve our freedoms by embracing those who hate us for being free. For example, a capitalist nation trying to cozy up to a communist country like Cuba speaks of our president’s disrespect for America’s desire to live free. The Bible teaches us that light shall have no real friendship with darkness. Street wisdom teaches us not to trust those who have openly vowed to destroy you.
This is where the Israel president is coming from when he complains about the free world attempting to have a nuclear arms treaty with Iran so we can allegedly sleep easier while economic sanctions are removed and Iran can use the extra money to secretly build bombs to destroy us or our allies. Most of us know better than to crawl in bed with a rattle snake! Our veterans fought, and many died, so this country would continue to be one of freedom of choice. Mid-term elections seem to indicate I am not the only one who thinks our current president is single-handedly trying to clip the wings of freedom – one eagle feather at a time…
I do not enjoy, or necessarily agree with, any Christian who pounds legalistic judgment on a non-Christian. I tend to agree with the old timers in the ministry who say bring the sinner man to Christ by showing the unconditional love that Jesus had for us when He died on that cross to pay for our sins and let the Potter’s wheel of Jesus do the changing in that individual after he or she accepts Christ as their Savior.
And I do believe that even a legalist preacher, who is preaching Christian principles of right from wrong straight from the Bible to help educate or warn people, should have the right to preach on in a free country – without fear of a fine or jail for doing so! Freedom of speech has been another thing our veterans defended. If a Biblical principle offended us in my generation, we might walk out on the preacher. Today’s pop culture sinner man or woman just might sue you and win for simply reciting a Biblical truth that current law says bringing up constitutes a hate crime…
I fully acknowledge that I have no right to impose my values on another man or woman. I simply assert that the pendulum swings both ways and those with different definitions of right from wrong should not be trying to shut me up about Jesus any more than I should demand the fellow on a non-Christian path changes because I say so.
We have always been free to choose our religion in the United States of America and develop the talents God gave us, without fear of being under some supreme dictator who would have us be drones for those who refuse to work. But enough on politics. Believe me, the non-Christian ways of our allegedly Christian president confuse me as much as they apparently do many other people. Perhaps Obama is a Christian. I have no right to judge his soul, nor does he have the right to judge mine.
My complaint is that all of this talk of equal rights does not seem to apply to those who profess to be Christians and simply wish to be allowed to spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus. I have a feeling my day to day journey will be a happier one once our president is someone whose words and actions show he or she respects the Judeo Christian values that I was raised with back in Hagerstown, Indiana. And I believe the voters will elect such a person this go around.
I have been very disappointed by a president who calls me prejudice and discriminatory for standing up for the Bible when he seems to care about everyone’s rights except mine. I am not the sort of man who judges others. I simply love the sinner and hate the sin. And I don’t mind pointing out what the Christian Bible says is sin. We sinners have been hearing about the 10 commandments and how we should follow them for years. Yes, Christians are simply sinners forgiven by grace.
Christians are under the law of grace. We are saved by the blood of Jesus, not by our self control when it comes to sin or how many laws we followed on a particular day. I pray that before the end of days my country has someone as president who can represent all of the people, not just the ones who choose to flaunt their disobedience to God and his commandments like they have done something deserving of praise.
I feel that way because that is the way I was raised and it still seems to make sense. A decision to follow Christ is a personal one and how a person chooses to work out their own salvation after accepting the free gift of Salvation from Jesus is their own business.
My Bible tells me it is the responsibility of each one of us to then work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (1). Last I checked, the United States is a free country and we all have that right.
ENJOYING YOUR
CHRISTIAN JOURNEY
If you have chosen to be a Christian, maybe you will enjoy this next part of the sermon on enjoying your journey. My first days on the Potter’s wheel came after I turned 15 and had been going to the First United Methodist Church of Hagerstown, Indiana since I turned 8 years old. It took me 7 years to figure out that turning my soul over to the molding of Jesus toward a happy life and destination of heaven was a lot more logical for me than to continue trying to please myself on earth without the guidance of a Savior of Love.
Once I made the decision, things slowly started to change for me. I am 56 and the journey continues. I learn things every day and am hopefully becoming more of an asset to the Kingdom of Christ as I move along life’s timeline.
When I was young, even after accepting Jesus, I made a lot of decisions on my own. Some of them involved committing sin. Some were decisions of being kind to others and glorifying the Name of Jesus Christ, Jehovah God’s only Begotten Son who died on the cross to absorb my sins and yours in His pure blood and to make sure our names remained in the Lamb’s Book of Life – on a path to heaven and a path where Christian values were shared in the meantime.
Sure, I have been put down for my beliefs. And there are times in my younger days you could not really be sure what I believed. But I soon learned that Jesus lived in me and I could count on Him to be my friend even when I sinned and had to beg his forgiveness out of love for my Savior.
I do believe my sins, past, present and future, were forgiven the first time I asked to be forgiven and invited Him to walk life’s journey with me, but I still ask him to pardon me and teach me better when I mess up along the way.
However, I subscribe to the Biblical truth that my sins will not send me to hell if I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I simply want to sin less and less as I grow older out of respect for what Jesus has done for me and my soul.
As I go through the journey of life, which for me involves a lot of trial and error and humbling times, I hope and have faith that I am coming closer to the way Jesus Christ would have me live my life with each passing year of this journey.
A friend of mine, who turned 86 recently, had always told me I needed to handle my finances better and I have been trying to do that for the sake of my family, but Al recently wrote me that he had discovered another truth, “Money sure does talk, but ice cream sings.”
In short, our friends and what we do with them for enjoyment in our Christian walks is very important to our own happiness and to the happiness of our friends. We are many times the only Bible some folks will ever read.
When I was young, I prayed that God would give me a wife I could love and respect, and a family that I could share my life with. He did that. I have a great wife, kids and grand kids. God has blessed me in spite of my many times unwise moves along the way. Sure, I have been spanked as the Potter turns His wheel, but I did ask for it. And boy am I ever glad I did.
This past weekend, my best friend Mike told me he had accepted Jesus Christ. I have waited 21 years to hear him say that. I praise God for it and hope my 64-year-old friend will find the peace in his heart that I have come to know.
Mike, who did three tours in Vietnam and has been in a wheelchair for the past 14 years, lives in my town with me now. But this weekend, we went to Paragould, where he is from, and went fishing at his sister’s farm pond with my 8-year-old grandson Zander. We all caught some fish and had a great time all day Sunday, between the recent spring rain storms that have plagued our area.
Mike was married years ago and has a daughter who became a doctor. Unfortunately, they have lost touch, just as my own doctor daddy and I have done. It is a very hard thing to have a loved one ignore you. But in my case, I have been blessed with a lot of family members who have accepted me and still stay in touch with me. Mike lives alone, but does have a few good friends.
We both have some pretty rough spots in our past. I believe both of us have probably committed just about every sin that is listed in the Christian Bible, but, like the thief on the cross, we have asked Jesus Christ for forgiveness and are on a journey now that makes a lot more sense than our hair-brained actions of the past.
The Bible says Jesus Christ is no respecter of persons and all are welcome to come and receive his gift of eternal life in the presence of God in heaven (2). So if you have made many mistakes in your past, and yet you know Jesus, ask him to guide your journey and his blessings will pour out in your life in ways you may find hard to believe. Satan will tell you your salvation experience was false and a person like you could never be welcomed by God into His family. This is simply a lie.
You are welcome. If you have not accepted Christ, I strongly recommend you find an altar of your own making and go down that Roman road to salvation. God gave all of his creations the ability to hope, have faith and to love. It is up to us to use those gifts.
Romans 10:9-12King James Version (KJV) 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
To me, these scriptures are a pretty plain invitation to all of us. Once you have accepted this, the Word says the next step in your walk with Christ is to repent of your disobedient and selfish lifestyle and be Baptized as a symbol of you accepting the cleansing power of Jesus Christ.
But if you believe Romans 10: 9-12, you will ignite the salvation experience. Then you will want to know more, if you live a bit longer and are here on earth to search it out. But as you can see, first you must have hope and faith that such a miracle transformation in your life is possible. It is.
Accepting those words and your road to Jesus does not guarantee you will stop sinning, but it does give you an inner strength from Christ to allow you to do so. When you go down the road awhile it just might be true that you want to share your journey just like I want to share mine.
There is an old Christian hymn that says, “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.” It is true in my case. The Christian belief is one of believing in miracles and expecting them, as I have described in other sermons. But it is also a journey that involves a lot of humbleness and submission to what Christ is leading you to do.
Life is hard. Don’t try to get ahead of the Potter. God will let you know when it is time for another onion peel of sin to come off of your life… Nobody promises you a rose garden just because you have accepted Christ as your Savior. You may live a long time. You may die young. Each man and woman has a different path to take. I look at the long lifeline of my grandfather.
He lived 96 years and he taught me the values of integrity and hard work. Sure, he made his mistakes, but he put me on a path of living instead of existing and showed me the benefits of making my own decisions. At 15, I decided to accept the gift of salvation from Jesus. Until you do that, the cross is foolishness (3). After you accept Christ in your heart, it begins to all make sense.
In my case, being a hard-headed farmer’s kid, the sense of Christianity as a life style has made sense a lot slower that some of the quick studies in this world. But my journey has led me to making this next statement to you. It has been worth it and I have every notion inside that it always will be.
Our buddy Mr. Obama made the statement nationally that some Christians do not always speak with kindness. I submit people who accept Jesus are supposed to learn to love as Jesus did. There is nowhere that says we intend for people to follow us. Following a person other than Jesus Christ just might take you over an eternal cliff to the gates of hell. But following the teachings of Jesus, and incorporating His character into yours, no matter how many years that might take, is never a mistake. It is a journey I am so glad I am not missing.
I still smoke. I still drink. I still eat too much sometimes. But I am working on curbing those habits with my Savior. If you want to judge me over them, that is your right. But do not judge Jesus because I am not as strong in my actions as He was. Look at his life. They burned incense smoke in his day to relax. They drank wine to relax and they had great feasts to celebrate their victories in life. Again, money talks, but ice cream sings! We need our moments to relax.
For example, the Bible says no drunkard shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But a drunkard can be forgiven in a salvation experience and even forgiven for a relapse. It is not our place to judge a soul that Jesus is in the process of molding to where it can best serve Him. When they judge your shortcomings, point them to Jesus. He was the man who had no need to sin. His actions were perfect, and His actions are prescribed in his Word, the Christian Bible.
There seems to be a lot of truth in the old saying it is not the use of something that will destroy you, but rather the abuse of it. So don’t give up if you fall short of your own expectations of your own walk with Jesus. Just get up, dust yourself off, and go on with your journey. It is only those who give up on the Master that are given over to a reprobate mind and allowed to send themselves to hell.
In short, forgive yourself, tell Jesus you are sorry when your judgment does not prove wise, and go on down your path of seeking first the Kingdom of God. The Word says seek ye first the kingdom of God and all things will be added unto you. That, in my mind, is how I got a wonderful family, a challenging career and a house I can call home. I try and gain a little wisdom every day, but now and then I find myself boxed in by some bad decisions.
Somehow, through seeking direction from Jesus Christ, this too passes. That is I pay for my bad decisions and learn how to make better ones. I have a lot to learn about finance. I know basic economics but still make many mistakes. I own my own magazine, that is the one on digital that you are reading. I hope to work my little enterprise for many more years, but in order to do so, I need the guidance and direction of Jesus Christ.
Jesus says owe no man anything. I am working on that. With His help, I plan to achieve it one day. Without hard work and a tough as nails work ethic that pushes you on through the hard times, success in finance is highly unlikely. With a lot of hard work and prayer, improvement seems to come. Or at least it has in many ways for me already.
But all of the money in God’s world could never bring me the happiness that I felt when Mike told me he had accepted Jesus Christ. He also told me if he had his life to live again, he would have been a preacher. I figure God just might make him one yet. You never know what our God will do when you give him a little rope.
The Lord is not a dictator. He is a gentleman. Enjoy yourself. You deserve it. Work hard and play hard. And find other Christians to talk to because if they are sincere followers of Jesus Christ they will encourage you to stay on the path Jesus lays out for you. As television evangelist Andrew Womack says, “God is not mad at you. Enjoy your growing process with Him. He is on your side.”
Indeed He is. We are no longer under the covenant of the law, but rather under grace. Still, as we journey on, we find our Father in Heaven, who gave us those laws, is not nearly as short sighted as the actions of our younger selves seem to speak of Him…
Again, it is good to be out of debt. It is good to have all of the integrity show in your life that you can muster. But it is essential that you love, even when all seems lost. Because Christ has shown us a better way. I am still on that Potter’s wheel, but have found peace in my journey. When you find peace, and the devil comes to steal it, don’t dwell with the thoughts of giving up too long.
There is a reason the devil tells you all hope is lost. It is if you have not accepted the Love of God as was provided for all of us when the perfect sacrifice was made on that cross more than 2,000 years ago. But if you accept Jesus as your personal Savior from paying for your sins, and hold that onto that gift in your heart, hope abounds in your soul forever!
So get some ice cream! Have an extra piece of pie. If you still smoke, light a cigar and breath deeply for me. Take a drink of wine or beer at the end of a long day of giving it all you have and relax. Tomorrow will be filled with more tests of your hope, your faith and your love. Do your level best to pass the tests!
SCRIPTURES
1) WORK OUT OUR OWN SALVATION – Philippians 2:11-14King James Version (KJV)
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
2) NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS – Acts 10:32-38 King James Version (KJV) 32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.
33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. 34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
3) THE CROSS IS FOOLISHNESS TO THE NON-CHRISTIAN – 1 Corinthians 1:16-20 King James Version (KJV) 16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

Father, Son,
Holy Ghost,
all one Spirit
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I was raised Methodist. Apparently John Wesley read the Bible, and I do mean all of it. One of our standard songs to sing was, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”
In that song, one phrase goes, “God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity.” Wesley probably found the same scripture backing such a notion that I discovered in my research last week. Here it is: 1 John 5:1-12King James Version (KJV) 5 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
Now I am not a big fan of doctrine, but those who believe there are three gods, if some do as I have heard, are definitely not going by what the Bible has said plainly here. It obviously says the Father, The Word and the Holy Ghost are one. And in Christian religion, The Word is Jesus Christ.
This is a post-Easter sermon and I hope you had a great holiday. I find the one Spirit of the true God sort of comforting, but I am definitely not putting you down if you see it differently. The Bible says accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and then work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. In short, when it comes to your time on earth, God still holds nearly all of the cards.
When I first heard the prospect that God, the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ all carry the same Spirit, I was a bit confused. My wife explained it to me. She said think of it as an egg. An egg is an egg, but it has a shell, a lining and a center.
Instead of going on with a “Oneness” sermon, let’s look at what the Spirit of God does for us every day. If you woke up this morning in a decent place to live, have OK clothes and you are a step ahead of the bill collectors, you are blessed. I was a drifter for years. I can say all of this is true now, but it was not true at certain points in life. Still, God brought me to a peace.
I give Jesus Christ the credit. Accepting him at 15 was the smartest move I have ever made. Sure, I was hard headed. I lived, I loved and I cried because I had to try everything that looked good to me. I have learned the hard way that not everything that glitters is gold. And I have learned the hard way that every new day needs a prayer from me to the Spirit of Jesus Christ that I be thankful and that I listen to what I know to be true and right.
But sure, I still fall flat on my face. And I get up, dust off and thank God I got up. I believe my refusal to give up my salvation has a lot to do with that getting up part. With salvation comes three more things that combine to make up one truth. They are hope, faith and love. And as the Word of God says, the greatest of these is love.
I read some really sad news the other day about 148 college students getting killed who refused to deny Christ to a small group of Muslim extremist terrorists. The Kenya Army killed the terrorists and displayed them around town on the back of a pick-up. Frankly, I applauded that. Self defense does not go against my believes. But that is just me.
Back in the 1980’s, I went to a full gospel church in Bryant, Arkansas. One day our pastor, Brother Jim Costello, decided to play a trick on us. He had some fellows dressed in Army gear come into the back of that packed church announce that anyone standing up for Christ would be shot! Me and a girl named Diane stood to our feet and turned around. Everyone else either sat there or hit the floor.
She was raised Baptist, me Methodist. It does not matter the doctrinal label. The question is does Jesus Christ really live in your heart as a your Savior, role model and friend or not? I smiled at Diane and she at me. I reckon if we had went to that Kenya university, we would now be toast along with those true Christian students who died for Jesus.
Love is so important. And the love we have in our heart is so important. I am here on this earth to work and play as long as the good Lord will allow, but denial and/or being a coward over what I believe to be an eternal destination decision is not in my plans. I pray it is not in yours.
I am listening to the birds sing outside of my office on this perfect weather Saturday. The grace of Jesus is real to me. If I had to be saved by good works, like the legalists preach, I would be out of luck pretty quick. Even though I may be wiser in my actions than I was 30 years ago, I still make some pretty jug head decisions. Perhaps you can relate.
I recently attended a Chamber of Commerce banquet in our town and listened to a successful football coach speak. The first thing out of Coach Paul Calley’s mouth was, “I tell my players to do everything with integrity and the very best you can because someone is watching you and considers you their role model…”
He also talked of the importance of family and friends and how a tremendous work ethic would take you a long way in life. And he praised his teachers for letting him know that there is nothing wrong with a competitive spirit and wanting to win at whatever contest you may be in.
We are all in the contest called life. As we look back at all of the things we are thankful for, and thank that one Jehovah God Spirit that he blessed us and continues to bless us, we are obligated by love not to be bumps on a log. Show your love to others whenever you can. This is the secret to a peace in your heart.
When the disciples asked Jesus Christ what commandments were the most important now that the age of grace was upon them, and the Messiah’s salvation had brought them under His pure blood, He said, “Love your God with all of your heart, and love your neighbors as you do yourselves.”
Some say there are other ways to Jehovah God than to accept Jesus Christ, the one man who was sinless and gave every bit of his pure blood for us on that cross so we do not have to pay eternally for our sins. I say, show me. Show me one other man who rose from the dead just like he promised and who had truth on His side for His entire 33 years on this earth?
Let’s look at some other evidence of the One true Spirit being in Christ and His Father and in the Holy Ghost that is there to comfort all of us.
John 14:8-19 King James Version (KJV) 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. 15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
I realize I am doing this sermon a little differently than my normal format. Some of my scriptures are in the body this time, rather than at the end. But let’s look a bit more at John 14:8-19. It talks of Jehovah God, the Father, and how He communicated from the physical body of Jesus Christ. It also says once the body was gone from this earth the Holy Ghost, that is the Comforter, would dwell in Christians and therefore the truths revealed in Christ’s life will live forever in the heart’s of those who have accepted the free gift of salvation from Jesus Christ.
OK, so I read this into this, knowing a few more pertinent scriptures. But I think you now understand where I am coming from about the God head. When the Spirit of Truth draws a man or a woman to accept salvation, some folks will relate the drawing to Jehovah God without seeing Him. Others will think of Jesus Christ in the flesh or perhaps imagine a fleshly Jesus walking the earth for 33 years.
And still others will be drawn to the Spirit of Truth from an experience with the Comforter, who continues to dwell inside of us once we have asked forgiveness of our sins and believed the miracle of the saving grace created by the one true sacrifice of all ages – the crucifying of the perfect man – Jesus Christ.
You see, the unsaved sometimes get messages from the Holy Spirit too, through other Christians who allow that Spirit to talk through them in other tongues. They may hear the miracle of the tongues followed by a prophetic word from a pastor or other Christian.
But let’s simplify this whole matter into an evaluation of motive. The Great Commission, that is spreading the good news that we don’t have to make our eternal home hell because of a justifiable punishment for being sinners, is foremost on the mind of Jehovah God, the Creator of this entire universe. Otherwise, He would never have sent His son to die for our sins so there need not be an eternal separation of God and his thankful children.
You can think of it like this. Some folks get saved on a farm lot after hearing a Pentecostal sermon on the radio. Some get saved in a tent revival by a traveling Christian evangelist. And others find their salvation in a traditional morning worship service – say at a Baptist or Methodist Church. It does not matter which way you realized you needed Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins and become your Savior. It matters that you accepted Jesus Christ into your heart and claimed the gift the Lord has offered.
God is everywhere. And God draws your spirit at certain times in your life. How He does it varies. I just thank God that He does draw us. He has given us three forms in the Christian Bible that He can be known through, those being the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. And, like most news stories, there is probably more to it. But these three forms of Jehovah God must be the ones we can grasp understanding from the easiest or He would have told us about other drawing methods.
The Word (Jesus) says blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is an unforgivable sin. Although a clear definition of what this may consist of has never made it into my brain, I do believe since the Spirit of Truth seems to transcend the three phases of the God head, and Christ says the Holy Ghost lives on the inside of a professing Christian, that once you know the Holy Ghost has touched you to deny that is spiritual suicide.
Thankfully, most will never do that. Once the love of God is in us, life is so much better than it was that most of us definitely don’t want to go back to being ruled by fleshly desires and whims of a worldly walk. And who would want to go back to feeling so alone?
Don’t get me wrong. We will still have those fleshly desires as long as we live in a body. Most of us still seek the comforts of being alive; a good person to love and share our lives with, a good home, a good set of clothes, a good career to pursue and probably a child or two that we know to be our own flesh and blood. To seek these things is natural to most that are among the living.
But if you are not careful, seeking a good woman for a man can turn into a series of fornication experiments to find the right physically compatible body, because Satan tells us that is so important – instead of getting to know a potential mate over an extended period of time, exploring their ways of working out their own salvation and finally asking them to become one with you if time has shown you God is in the union.
The Word says it is not a good idea to be married to someone who is unequally yoked (3) and to me that means don’t marry a girl who is not a Christian if you are a Christian or you will spend your life trying to convince someone to change instead of finding someone already in the Christian family to help you serve Jesus Christ and the joy of knowing Him.
SCRIPTURE
3) DO NOT MARRY SOMEONE UNEQUALLY YOKED – 2 Corinthians 6:11-16King James Version (KJV) 11 O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. 12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.
13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Editor’s Note: Christians do not always act Christ-like, but by definition have the same take on what is right and what is wrong. We each have hang-ups, sins that just don’t want to let go. We work that through prayer and learning to be obedient to the teachings of Jesus. It is called being an overcomer on the Potter’s wheel, as we discussed in another sermon.
But if someone tells you they worship another god, or that Jesus is not necessary in their life, marrying such a man or a woman and knowing that would indeed make for a very difficult and unhappy life. It is hard enough for two Christians to get along, let alone be married to someone who sees something like adultery as nothing more than stress release and not a sin. Or someone who honestly believes its fine to steal as long as you don’t get caught.
In today’s world of living in a society who is always trying to pin discrimination on Christians, preaching the love of Jesus is probably even more important than it was 50 years ago. Indeed, if a person comes to Jesus for salvation, that person will discover the truths of the Christian Bible in time. Give them that time. Judging them, as we know, will just set you up to be judged likewise.
If a Christian friend is living a life style you believe to be against the Bible, ask them if they feel any doubt about what they are doing? If they say yes, and you have scripture that will give them comfort, guidance and direction, give it to them without ever saying the words “that is just a sin and wrong.” Jesus will correct them in a time frame they can handle. We rarely know what that time frame is going to be and getting legalistic about the matter just pushes people away – from Jesus Christ and from you.
Remember Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself and that the greatest love a man or a woman has is to lay down his or her life for a friend. Therefore if you see someone going down a familiar path, you can take them into your confidence and tell them what you did earlier in life and how Jesus brought you through it.
Say it with gentleness and kindness. If you are harsh and legalistic, the devil jumps up on their shoulder and whispers, “See, I told you so. You can never be good enough to be a true Christian.” This, of course, is a lie. Jesus Christ will grant salvation to anyone who comes to him seeking forgiveness for their sins and asking Him to come into their heart. It is the good news of the gospel and we are all saved by grace, not at how good or bad we interpret sin.
But nobody likes to be told they are bad to the bone. If they have just accepted Jesus, they know they need a Savior. This in itself tells us they are not all bad. Always find a way to show the Love of the Father, the compassion and sacrifice of the Son and the hugging security of the Comforter. Doing that will go a long way toward putting a desire in new converts to seek out more and more knowledge about what being Christ-like means and why it is a better formula for living than any of us could ever come up with on our own.

 

The Overcomer’s
Prayer; Help us
be sin’s master
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
My daughter Kelley told me her life was somewhere between raising Hades and amazing grace. She is a professing Christian, just as I am.
I told her my life had been that way for years. And if you are an honest Christian, the same is most likely true in your life. But we owe it to ourselves and our Lord Jesus Christ to keep on trying to overcome our shortcomings.
If your hang-up is cursing, try and find ways to avoid it. If you are young, and adultery or fornication tempts you, go places with a partner to avoid having to deal with giving in to your desires and possibly ruining a marriage or damaging a relationship with your child.
If it is gluttony, such as too much eating, drinking or smoking, voice your sin to an accountability partner and the embarrassment that produces might keep you from continuing to repeat your foolish performance.
But let’s see, the legalists say we must live a slnless and perfect life in order to be saved. If that is true, Jesus will be awful lonely in eternity. And His coming sure did not mean nearly as much as it might if my saved by grace belief is correct.
Still, the Bible says salvation is a free gift (1). It also says it is not a license to sin (2). To me, that means we had better work on minimizing our sins and asking God to forgive us when life gets in the way and we have a road rage cussing fit. A minister friend of mine, who was also a carpenter, came to my office when I had the Magnet Cove Community News, back in 2003 or 2004, and fixed something.
He hit his hand with a hammer and made that funny buzzing sound with his lips that I do to make my grand kids laugh.
I asked the Rev. Glen McClung to explain. He said there was no sense in others having to hear what he was feeling, as he was not in life for expressing his feelings but rather for becoming a better overcomer for Jesus Christ. I can respect that sentiment. Pray for me that I get better at it.
The title of this week’s sermon is “The Overcomer’s Prayer.” That prayer, by me, goes something like this, “Dear Jesus, please help me to know your will today and to obey that will. If I fall down on one of my besetting sins, please forgive me and give me the strength to accept whatever you will place in me that will replace said sin so it does not keep repeating itself for the rest of my days.”
The point I want to make is that the Bible says Jesus Christ is a friend to the overcomer (3). When I read that it made me smile with gratitude. I knew I was not one of those Christians who claimed to be having a sinless life, nor would it have done any good to lie to my Creator or people about that fact.
But the older I get, the more I want to be that fine example of a man who follows the 10 commandments and also loves God more than anything else. I want to love my neighbor as I love myself.
Sure, there are more signs of being a Christian than the afore named, but those rules are a good start to being a good example of a Christian. I want to be that guy. But I stumble and I fall and I seem to be the type of person whose normal status is somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace. Yes, I used the four-letter word when describing me honestly. I did not use it when describing my daughter because she really works on her cursing and tries to keep it to a minimum. I respect that.
I have noticed that most other preachers do not freely admit that they mess up and break God’s rules from time to time. Yet, this overcoming stuff is all over that Bible. I still contend that Jesus Christ was the only man who ever breathed that did not commit any sins. I love God. I want to obey God and sure do a lot more than I used to did. But I mess up. I believe we all do.
Still yet, being saved by grace is not a license to live just any old way we want to. In order to feel I have done my best, I must ask for God’s guidance and direction before every day he gives me.
I must do it out of gratitude for his Salvation Gift and also because I love God. You can not love someone and not want to please them. Somewhere around 35 years ago, I had a one-time out of body experience. Before you count me completely insane, let me explain. I am a person who believes reality is the chair you are sitting in, or the perception of you sitting in that chair.
For example, the Word says God will not let any sin into heaven. Yet it also says, save those in the Lamb’s Book of Life who are covered with the sinless blood that Jesus Christ shed on the cross at Calvary.
In short, that pure blood gives Jehovah God the perception that we are sinless creatures worthy of a mansion in the Father’s House when in reality we were not perfect in our mortal bodies, just forgiven when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior. Weird comparison I know, but maybe it makes sense to some. Get saved by the blood of Jesus. You can not make it to heaven on your good works. As we have said in many sermons, God considers your good works as filthy rags.
So anyway, one of the reasons I know in my heart that Jesus and his pure blood are my only hope of going to heaven is that I have been out of this body. I went to a bar that night and ordered a margarita. A girl in a black robe brought it to me and said this, “Tonight you will see many old friends. You may repeat this experience as many times as you want to do so.”
Then she left. I took one sip of the drink and then it happened. My spirit left my body. I could see my body sitting there at that table, just as though I was looking at it from the other side of the table.
My spirit began to move around the room, from table to table, and listen to the conversations of other people. I heard about relationship problems, boys who were trying to pick up women, what older couples hoped the band would play them for entertainment and much more. Then my spirit rose to the top of the building and I looked down at the people sitting below. My own body was still where it should be, just sitting at my table.
Then my “good dog” kicked in. I realized I was in some sort of black magic spiritual plane and I wanted out. I began to pray to Jesus Christ and to Jehovah God. I pleaded with them to let me back in my body, as I was not dead. I pleaded with them to never let my spirit leave that body again until I was dead! I asked this in the Name of Jesus Christ, where all real power dwells.
I was immediately reunited with my body. I felt my own face. I felt my hands. I pulled the hairs on my mustache. I was home! By the way, I do believe in one God. I believe Jehovah God is our Father, His Son Jesus Christ sits at his right hand in heaven and the Holy Ghost is there with all of us Christians as a Comforter, but that God is in three persons, blessed trinity. In short, God is God. If he wants to communicate to me through Jehovah, the Holy Ghost or Jesus, that is His business. I don’t pretend to understand how all this works. But I accept it on faith.
So there I was, in the Iron Horse rock and roll bar in North Little Rock, Arkansas. And I was back together as if none of my out of body experience had ever happened. I got up, paid my bill and left for my apartment.
I was separated from my then wife Doris and living alone in a North Little Rock apartment. I think about that empty feeling my spirit had in that place from time to time. The Christian Bible says those who have not accepted Christ will be separated from Him forever once their spirit leaves their bodies after physical death. I can not find anywhere that it says anything about spiritual out of body experiences being right or wrong. I do know it is a product of witchcraft and that a witch enabled the experience for me. Therefore I believe it to be wrong in that it came from an agent of Satan. I was depressed over the separation from my then wife, tired from my journalism work at the North Little Rock Times and very spiritually vulnerable. So I let the witch do her magic before I realized what she was all about.
That is my explanation for what would seem to most sane folks as being a very vivid imagination on my part. But as I said, reality is the chair you are sitting in, or the perception of a chair. If you are blind folded and placed in a chair, you really don’t know if that is a chair or not. It could be a sofa bed. It could be a porch bench. You really don’t know if you are blind.
Well, whatever that out of body experience really was, I perceived it as very real and very scary. And I took away from it a very valuable lesson.
I came away very much dedicated to the idea that when I leave this body for good, I want to be holding the hand of Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of the Living Jehovah God! I know the out of body experience was a trick of Satan and met to hurt me, but because I prayed to Jesus it ended up being a valuable lesson in perceived helplessness.
Indeed, when it comes to where our spirit goes after death, we are helpless. We can choose to ask Jesus Christ to come into our hearts and grant us the free Gift of Salvation, forgive us of our sins (all of them, past, present and future) or we can logically think we are pretty good eggs and go it alone.
If we go it alone, walking this earth and trusting in ourselves rather than in Jehovah God, the Bible is plain as to assuring us we will split hell wide open. So should we say the Bible is wrong? Me, I figure life is like going to the race track. You choose the horse you bet on. I bet on Jesus Christ as the Savior of my soul to win.
How do you bet? If you are a Christian and decided to ignore the laws of God because many say we are under grace, no longer under the law, does this make you think? We are not under the law, but do we not need to do our best to live by it even more so than if we were under it?
I think we owe our Savior that much. The Bible says our flesh can never be tamed by an unsaved spirit and is lead by our sinful desires, many times prompted by the tempations of Satan. But after we are saved we can choose to live by His Spirit and channel our deeds toward embracing the teachings of Jesus Christ instead of marking time chasing our fleshly whims. When we accept Jesus, we have the power to not act on our fleshly desires and lusts. We can say no and the Spirit of Jesus inside of us will back our play, allowing us to reject Satan’s temptations to commit sins of the flesh.
In theory, we could say no to sinning every time. Jesus was strong enough to do so. My bet is nobody else ever has been or ever will be, but we can, and should, do our best to walk with His Spirit more often than slipping up and walking in our flesh if we want to be a Christian who is at peace with God.
The Bible says a man or a woman who is set free by Jesus Christ is free indeed! Yes, we are. So let’s exercise that freedom by asking God for guidance and direction every day and asking Him for the strength to obey what He has dropped in our spirit as truth.
If you have any doubt that what you perceive to be a message from God in your spirit is really from Him, check it with the Word of God.
If a spirit tells you in your brain to shoot someone, other than in self defense, remember God says thou shalt not kill! In short, use common sense. But the over all point here is if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, let the overcoming process begin. As a good friend of mine once said, “I know I don’t always do the right thing, but I do not believe God will leave me this way forever.”
Indeed, He will not. But you have to be willing to overcome your sins. Then the Potter can go to work… The Potter, which I define as the Spirit of Jesus and His Biblical teachings, is indeed a treasured friend of the overcomer. As I said earlier, all real power is in the Name of Jesus Christ. Invite Jesus the Potter to come into your life and show you real happiness and purpose. I give you that challenge.
I like the Potter illustration because I picture the slow and tedious process a potter goes through to make something beautiful out of something ugly; sort of like Jesus does when He begins helping us to be more Christlike in all of our ways.
SCRIPTURES
1) SALVATION A FREE GIFT – Ephesians 2:6-9King James Version (KJV) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
2) SALVATION NOT A LICENSE TO SIN – Romans 6:1-14King James Version (KJV) 6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
3) JESUS IS A FRIEND TO THE OVERCOMER – 1 John 4:2-7 King James Version (KJV) 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
1 John 5:1-5 King James Version (KJV) 5 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Edtior’s Note: Jesus beat death. Happy Easter! Remember, we all die. Will you ride out on a winning horse?

Finishing the course
as we try and promote
our Lord and Savior
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Have you ever been tempted to give up on something because the response of other people was just not what you had hoped for? Most likely, all of those reading this said yes in their minds.
My ministry, at least at this point, is to write you a sermon once a week. Most of the time, I love to do this, as it makes me feel grateful that God has given me an active role in the promotion of getting souls saved by His Son, Jesus Christ. But there are a few times when I am ready to trade in the journalism profession all together for a job in landscaping…
I look around at other folks who do not write half the night. They are chipper, for the most part, without those tell-tale night owl black circles under their eyes. I check the calendar and see I have lived 56 years. I watch others in my profession and see three about my age have already retired…
The devil will do his level best to give anyone doing anything for God a black eye of discouragement and keep hammering in hopes that person will throw in the towel. So far, I have resisted the notion. Pray for me that I always do.
For good measure let’s try our own version of John 3:16 (1) here just to make the devil have a fit. That scripture, for those who do not go to a Christian church, says something to the effect that “God so loved the world that He sent His only Begotten Son into the world so that the world might be saved from the fires of hell and the loneliness of being alive.” That is a John Nelson version. You can go to the scripture section of this article for the real McCoy.
So let’s get back to the subject. Some folks have even given up on their own salvation after feeling the power of Jesus Christ enter their spirit and give a hug to their very souls. I really can not understand that sort of thinking. Sure, I have felt unworthy many times of the gift of salvation. But I asked for it, I received it and nobody is going to talk me into throwing it away – although now that I have said that I am sure the devil will double his efforts. Satan loves a challenge.
So what about you? Are you tempted to give up on something the Spirit of Jesus Christ has told you to do? Do you want to continue to do right, but hey, that would be painful? Maybe you laugh at all of this and claim to be always living a sanctified life. Satan loves the legalistic attitude. If you believe your last sin occurred sometime before you accepted the salvation of Christ, God help you…
I have known for sometime that I am at least partially insane. But if you believe you have never sinned since accepting salvation, you are definitely a danger to yourself and others. You need mental help and probably in-hospital commitment. That is just my opinion, but think about it.
How sane is it to believe yourself perfect and sinless since your salvation? OK, enough on the criticism of the legalistic, holier than thou mind. You know who you are. And you also know the scripture that says we need to be righteous, through Jesus Christ. (2)
It does not, however, have good things to say about those who proclaim themselves self-righteous in their legal action. Look at the story of Cain and Able. Cain was convinced God would accept his version of being righteous. He was cursed by God to wander and do very hard work to survive – the rest of his natural life. And he was to do so apart from God and His love. In fact, our Christian Bible says our righteousness is as filthy rags in the eyes of Jehovah God (3).
Your legalistic belief has “jacked you up.” In other words, it has deceived you and done you wrong. And it is important, if you humble your own ambitions to serve Jehovah God, to do His will, to the best of your ability, for the rest of your life in Christ Jesus with no condemnation of yourself or others. It is important that all Christians do this. As the song says, they will know we are Christians by our love.
We all fail at this, from time to time. I am trying to take care of my best friend. He is very disabled and a three-tour United States Veteran of the Vietnam War. Mike is a good guy, but his current needs sometimes frustrate the living heck out of me.
I should have went over there to see him this weekend. I used, as a convenient excuse, the fact that two of my grand babies sort of exhausted me today… The fact is I loved keeping those two little girls and the exhaustion was well worth it. Satan knew I was lying to myself and should have checked on my friend. This is especially true since I am planning to go fishing in the morning. Mike loves to fish.
The truth is, I simply needed time for me. Was this wrong? Probably. Am I writing this to you instead of sitting with Mike? Yep. Am I OK with my decision? Yep. So there you are. So why did I make that decision? I did it to relax and get ready for tomorrow. I made the decision, that in my opinion, was in the permissive will of God. He can bless His perfect will or His permissive will. But He will be more likely to advance us in the chess game of being considered an effective Christian if we choose His perfect will – when we know what that is…
And very often, if we take the time to pray, we will know His will from that still small voice that speaks to our soul of His great love and how we should spread it whenever we can.
But back to the original premise, will you have the strength to say you are a Christian until your last dying breath? Or will Satan convince you to give up on it somewhere along the line? Ever since I started this sermon, the devil has been attacking me. I just wrote a news story that could turn the mayor and the dog catcher against me in my now home town. I don’t think it will, as I am going to let both read it before it goes in and it is simply a promotion on how far our animal shelter has developed in eight years.
As to the Christian aspect, I feel the shelter department head has a deep love for his dogs and anytime we get a chance to report on someone expressing love it helps the cause of Jesus Christ, the ultimate source of love.
From a worldly venue, it is rare that we see someone pour love into their profession. Greed, the devil’s favorite tool, is usually what gets the ink. The Christian thing to do, at least in part in my mind, is allowing others to use their talents to enhance love. In the case of our shelter, I believe giving a man of good character his say so has been good for our town. I want to see that freedom continue for a man who used it for the benefit of the animals in his charge.
Delegating authority is not something a leader comes into office knowing. I think we have an excellent mayor and an excellent animal control officer, but there seems to be communication problem. It is my hope that my feature will somehow get them to realize they both want the best for the dogs out at the shelter and perhaps my olive branch story will stir some mutual respect. The devil hates it when we do something with good intentions. There is an old saying that no good turn will go unpunished. Time will tell in my case.
Legalism, or the perception of it, comes in many forms, as does political socialism. Socialism is the ideology that a leader knows best and those under him must line up at any cost.
Many religious legalists and world leaders have the best of intentions, but would be wise to take a lesson from Jesus. At one point in the scripture, when Christ was asked what a person had to do to be saved, Jesus started out by telling the guy what he had done right. Then He suggested a next step toward a mutual goal.
I present one of my own struggles to put love first to illustrate this is not always easy. The Word says the people persecuted Jesus for doing this and we should expect the same.
The Christian needs to follow God’s rules in His Bible first. Man’s kingdoms will die with the man. God’s Words, such as are in the Golden Rule, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, will be there forever.
A friend of mine pointed out a scripture that gives me encouragement on this. It is a red-letter quote from our Lord Jesus Christ. It is John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world, ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
I have read the end of the Book called the Christian Bible. Those who love win – if that love leads to the accepting of Jesus Christ and his blood sacrifice so their names stay eternally in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
The end is coming soon for all of us that occupy flesh. Will you hold your Savior’s hand until the last stanza of your song? Or will you find some human reason, such as fear, or human logic, to defy the need for the cross and our Savior Jesus Christ?
I once had an Assembly of God preacher named Jesse in McLeansboro, Illinois to ask me about this subject. Jesse said he would always confess his salvation through accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior and friend because it was the wise thing to do.
Jesse put it to me like this. If a man refuses salvation, saying it is all a hoax and you don’t need the pure and sinless sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ to enter heaven’s gate, and that man is wrong, he goes to hell.
If that same man accepts the gift of salvation from Jesus Christ, counts himself in the fold and on the way to heaven, and he is right, he goes to heaven. If it is all fantasy, the second choice means that man has lost nothing. He has treated his peers with golden rule integrity, probably stayed loyal to his wife and worked on reducing and controlling his sinful desires his whole life. He will be remembered as a good person.
So the choice is easy. Accept Christ as your personal Savior and see what happens. What happens is you will be filled with the Spirit of Love and you will realize you made the right choice. Still don’t believe me? Give it a try and see what happens.
SCRIPTURES
1) GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD – John 3:12-19 King James Version (KJV) 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
2) BEING RIGHTEOUS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST – Romans 3:20-28 King James Version (KJV) 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:18-21King James Version (KJV) 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
3) MAN’S RIGHTEOUSNESS AS FILTHY RAGS – Isaiah 64:2-8 King James Version (KJV)
2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!
3 When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence. 4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
5 Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
8 But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Editor’s Note: We who have asked Jesus Christ to come into our hearts and have believed Him to be the only Begotten Son of God should be saved.
We must also repent of our sins, past, present and future, and ask Jesus to cover those sins in his pure sinless blood.
We must also believe in the miracle that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day from his grave, walked this earth among the living and the ascended to the right hand of Jehovah God the Father.
In short, we must admit we are sinners and that we need the grace offered by Jesus Christ in order to gain our mansion in the sky.
We must then lead a life that is more and more Christ like, and the potter, Jehovah God, will bring us to a more Christ like, over comer state of mind, as time goes on if we ask God to give us guidance and direction in our daily lives.
We then read the words and study the life of Jesus, as we accept the challenge to spread the gospel through the Great Commission of God.
If our efforts produce one man or woman who also repents, accepts Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior and share the love of Christ, there will be rejoicing in heaven and all of our struggles with the Great Commission will have been worth it.
Consider the lyrics of the Christian song, “Jesse Taylor” and see if you can relate to any part of it. We, as Christians, that is followers of Jesus Christ, are to bring souls to a humble place of repentance and then let the drawing Spirit of Jesus Christ take it from there.
* JESSE TAYLOR – Among the local taverns there’ll be a slack in business
‘Cause Jesse’s drinking came before the groceries and the rent
Among the local women there’ll be a lot less cheatin’
‘Cause Jesse won’t be steppin’ out again
They baptized Jesse Taylor in Cedar Creek last Sunday
Jesus gained a soul and Satan lost a good right arm
They all cried ‘Hallelujah’ when Jesse’s head went under
‘Cause this time he went under for the Lord
The scars on Jesse’s knuckles were more than just respected
The county courthouse records tell all there is to tell
The pockets of the gamblers will soon miss Jesse’s money
And the black eye of the law will soon be well
They baptized Jesse Taylor in Cedar Creek last Sunday
Jesus gained a soul and Satan lost a good right arm
They all cried ‘Hallelujah’ when Jesse’s head went under
‘Cause this time he went under for the Lord
From now on Nancy Taylor can proudly speak to neighbors
And tell them how much Jesse’s took up with little Jim
Now Jimmy’s got a daddy and Jesse’s got a family
And Franklin County’s got a lot more man!
They baptized Jesse Taylor in Cedar Creek last Sunday
Jesus gained a soul and Satan lost a good right arm
They all cried ‘Hallelujah’ when Jesse’s head went under
‘Cause this time he went under for the Lord
Editor’s Final Note: Never give up. That is the key. Accept Jesus as your Savior and hang on! The devil will tell you it is a fantasy.
Look around you at those also trying to overcome their favorite sins and how the potter’s wheel of God changes their actions daily.
Don’t let the devil rain on your salvation parade. He is a loser and eternity will prove it out. And never forget, as long as your faith is strong and you never stop loving the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus will help you through life’s tough times and the integrity that seems impossible for you to grasp will come – in God’s time.
Hang on until your spirit hears the words in scripture that say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

 

God’s Miracles and the miracle of His return…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The thing is miracles do not always have to seem so impossible. I believe it to be a miracle that I have been settled down in one place these past 10 years. I used to love to travel and to relocate, but one fine day I put down an anchor.
Then again, some miracles are really carnally unbelievable miracles. I have mentioned it before in a sermon, but I did witness a tooth growing over night in a young girl’s mouth during the course of a revival in Bryant, Arkansas back in the 1980’s. That made me drop my jaw at the awesome power of Jehovah God.
Nothing, indeed, is too big for God. I remember praying, on another occasion, for God to fix something I did out of anger. I was late for work and one of my daughter’s cats tripped me. I threw that little animal in the air before I realized what I had done.
The cat came down and just laid there. I figured it was dead. I prayed to God for it to get up and a few minutes later, it did. It shook itself, meowed at me and trotted off unharmed. Sure, it might have just been stunned, but me, I figured it was another break from the All Mighty that I probably did not deserve.
My grandparents raised me on an Indiana farm. They were 96 and 92 when they passed away. I had them 30 years. Now that was merciful of God and also a miracle in my mind. I am sure, if you think about it, you too have experienced some things in your life you would consider miracles.
They make a person think. I became a Christian at age 15. I accepted that I needed a Savior and went to an altar in a Methodist Church back in Hagerstown, Indiana. I am now 56 and realize that was the best decision I have ever made.
The miracles of my life have a lot to do with God’s protective hand in my life. I have done a lot of crazy and wild things in my past, but I have always refused to let go of my faith that Jesus would see me through.
I remember trying to pick up a girlfriend to go to a rock and roll party with my Jaycee group back in Osceola. She had to work. I got to her house and found her cousin and a little sister wanting to go… I took them and the night was OK, but I was very disappointed that Teresa was not with me. I took the two young ladies home, and I admittedly had too many beers to drink. I was in my old Dodge Charger. I drove that thing toward my trailer in Gosnell. I was mad. I pushed that accelerator way too fast. Then I saw it, Highway 18! I realized I was about to cross this busy road and might be smashed by a passing semi truck.
I immediately started praying. I said, “God, I am drunk. I am out of control and I admit it. I ask you to forgive me of this sin and I add that I love you with all my heart. If I am to die now, I am sorry that we have to meet face to face in this embarrassing way.”
I tried to slow down my hot rod and it cleared Highway 18 at about 90 mph. I had been going about 125. I did not meet any cars or trucks crossing that highway and I landed my rocket on an old dirt road across the highway that I did not know was there.
I slowed the car to a stop and sat there shaking. I cried and I shook. Then I turned around and headed to Gosnell. I thanked God for His mercy and took a ragged breath. Did it stop me from partying? Heck no. I was young, dumb, 10-foot-tall and bullet proof! But it made me think. It made me think how blessed I was to be young, healthy and friends with Jehovah God, my hero and my best friend.
I had thrown away my life in a fit of anger and disappointment. Teresa was a hot chick and I wanted to spend the evening with her. I acted as a fool, yet God had mercy. How many times in your life has God given you a merciful break, a merciful miracle if you will?
I bet He has given you such a break, as your eyes are alive to read this sermon. Chasing a rabbit a bit, I heard a preacher on VTN this morning talking about how we are not sinners saved by grace, but we are new creatures in Christ. Bull feathers. We are both. That is what this writer’s life has proven to him concerning this dispute.
But, giving the man a break, he may have been simply trying to get people to think about their futures in Jesus, so I will not be too critical. That is a good idea, but we must remember our past if we are to benefit from our mistakes and do better in the future.
Better, in this sense, meaning better in our walk with Jesus Christ and our quest to become a more Christ-like creature in our behavior and our thoughts. I seek to do better and hope you do as well. But we are who we are, were and intend to be. God may put our sins in the river of forgetfulness and forgive us of all of them at our acceptance of salvation, but we, while alive, know exactly what we did and did not do.
To pretend we are not sinners saved by grace sort of disputes the purpose of salvation, to save a sinner!
But getting back to miracles, the biggest miracle I can think of is the fact that Jehovah God sent His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be sacrificed for our sins – yours and mine. He knew I would make that drive that night from Victoria, Arkansas to Highway 18. He knew I would be going too fast to stop at the Highway intersection, and apparently He intervened. I refuse to believe that I have been allowed to live this long, and write you this confession and sermon, by accident.
Is your breath at present an accident? Is God a creature of fiction, made up by the weak? No way Jack or Jill. God and His miracles are real. Those not believing that are destined to be proven wrong – if they meekly accept the salvation of Jesus Christ. If they choose not to become an individual saved by grace, then perhaps they will still see miracles – miracles destined to be disputed and written off by Satan, the great deceiver.
Miracles are in the eye of the beholder. My business crashed in 2012. I put it on the net, took another job and got the site hits up. It is doing OK now. I give God the credit for any success I may have. He is the miracle worker, not me.
The Word says some in the body of Christ will have the gift of healing. More power to them. I have the gift of gab. That is why I am writing these sermons, to use my gift to attempt to help someone find Jesus.
God will protect those who accept Him. When I was a little boy, growing up on the farm in Indiana, my folks were very busy people. Farmers rest very little, even old farmers. So I found myself alone a lot.
When I was about the age of my grand daughter Rayne, 3, I decided I was going to climb across barn beams and follow my cats. If I had fallen on to the tools below, I would have been killed. God had His hand on me.
The Word says He is no respecter of persons. But the doors that open when you accept Jesus Christ in your life are amazing. They are too amazing for this writer to describe. A friend of mine once said, you can try God. If He lets you down, the devil will always take you back. The rub there is that God will never let you down.
Another miracle, in my mind, happened when I was about 10 years old. I loved my bee bee gun and I loved shooting sparrows to feed to my nine cats in the barn. So just before dark, nearly every evening, I took that gun up to the undeveloped part of the hayloft. The other side had my grandfather’s touch. It included a basketball goal, straw to practice archery and a ping pong table. Plus there was an old couch and huge radio that my Mom and Dad brought back from Germany after their part in the Korean War.
But on that undeveloped side, there were storage items; old doors, old straw, a wagon wheel and a broken top window where the sparrows came in at night. I would hide in the corner and blast those birds as soon as they got in for the night to sleep. Yes, I was all boy. But the miracle is that spiders were all around me crawling here and there as I waited for those birds. I never got bit, not once. I later found out from biology class that those spiders were brown recluses…
The list of miracles for me, or most any of us, would probably go on and on. When I was in the United Pentecostal Church, which is famous for its display of the gift of healing, people claimed prayer stretched legs to the right length. I never saw it, but maybe so. My current preacher had a couple with the healing gift pray for his aneurism by his heart. One similar had killed his father at the same age.
Brother James said the doctor confirmed the thing was gone the next day. This was a couple of years back so it must have been. It would have killed him by now otherwise. This is an awesome God we serve.
Another awesome miracle is the book of Revelations. My daughter Kelley sent me a video this morning that depicts folks having implants put in their hands to activate credit cards and security systems in a major city. The accents are British, but I am not really sure what part of the world it is from. And the Mark of the Beast shall come. And the anti-Christ beast will represent his father the devil. And the number of the beast/man will be 666… And the people will throw their then worthless money in the streets (1).
This is some scary stuff if you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. That video of the implants is, in the mind of any Christian who has read the Bible, the beginning of the end. Our mere survival, if this practice spreads, will be a miracle within itself.
Christians, can not take the mark, as it is the clearest definition of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost of Jehovah God that is eluded to in scripture (2). So we will be forced to survive by barter trade. We all need a victory garden, plenty of ammo and arrows for our bows. Plus we need a hidden home in the woods as soon as financially possible. This may never be possible for most of us, but if it is, wise up folks, we need to take cover.
I am a Sci Fy fan. I enjoy watching the absurd and unlikely. But the Book of Revelations revealed to the disciple John is not fiction. Some believe those of us saved by grace will miss the seven years of tribulation mentioned there. I do not. My research, so far at least, leans more toward a rapture after 3 and a half years for the Christians.
The Word of God says all on earth must hear the sermon of salvation before Christ comes back (3). With mass communication and those in the mission field to third world countries, this is now possible.
As I have been saying for the past few sermons, do not renounce your miracle of Christian salvation! As Pastor Happy Caldwell says on television, “Sin is awful and its against the will of God. But it will not send you to hell. The lack of confession of your sins, repentance of said sins, and asking Jesus Christ in your heart as your personal Savior is what will make you split hell wide open.”
SCRIPTURES
1) THROWING MONEY IN THE STREETS – Ezekiel 7:18-21King James Version (KJV)
18 They shall also gird themselves with sackcloth, and horror shall cover them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all their heads.
19 They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumbling block of their iniquity.
20 As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it in majesty: but they made the images of their abominations and of their detestable things therein: therefore have I set it far from them.
21 And I will give it into the hands of the strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil; and they shall pollute it.
2) MARK OF THE BEAST – Revelation 13 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. …
Revelation 13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
Revelation 16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
Revelation 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
3) ALL MUST HEAR THE MESSAGE OF SALVATION – Matthew 24:12-20 King James Version (KJV) 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day.
Editor’s Note: Just as an addition, consider the number of the anti-Christ; Revelation 13:15-18 King James Version (KJV) 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Note: Our sermon was on miracles you have seen. The text of Revelation is of miracles to come. We must all be prepared. While no man will know the time or the hour when Jesus Christ is to return for the souls saved by salvation paid for on the cross, we can know the season. Accept Jesus into your life now, for indeed, tomorrow may never come. Or perhaps, when the book of Revelation becomes a more obvious road map, you will wish tomorrow did not arrive.

A Sinner Saved
By Grace…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I am a sinner, saved by grace. Yes, it is true. I have a Christian conscious that has grown over the years since I made my trip to the altar at the First United Methodist Church in Hagerstown, Indiana – some 41 years ago now.
But I am still a sinner, saved by grace. As the years go by, my Christian conscious (good dog, as my Cherokee Indian relatives say) has grown and my sinner selfishness (bad dog) has diminished somewhat. But, in all honesty, if the devil puts up his product of temptation in a certain way, sinning still occurs on my part.
For example, I still catch myself judging others – although I hate to be judged and know the Bible tells me not to do it. I hear the words of Jesus Christ, “Judge and ye shall be judged likewise” echo in my brain every time I think to myself, “This one kid of mine should tell her husband to baby sit their children and go back to work because he seems to be a better stay at home dad and she seems to be a better steady working mom.”
I am not walking in her shoes, and I have no right to judge her or suggest to her how she and her husband should live their lives. I know this, yet I catch myself thinking these stupid judgmental thoughts. And then I realize lifestyle, and the cares of this world, were probably not what Jesus was talking about anyway. If you really read the implications of the afore mentioned scripture, Jesus Christ was telling us not to judge the other man’s soul, especially if he or she says they are saved by grace.
Why? Because we Christians are all sinners saved by grace. As we grow in the understanding of the faith and what Jesus stood for, our wisdom to keep more and more sin out of our lives grows too. Moreover, I am sure I look totally immature to a man or a woman in the faith who preaches on a steady basis, has conquered some of the sins I have not (such as vulgarity coming out when I am frustrated etc.), and is further down the path of incorporating the righteousness of Jesus Christ into his day to day character than I am.
I like to think I am on a path of improvement in my overcoming efforts toward sin, and some days there is actually evidence. Then an absolutely gorgeous girl will smile and wink at me and I catch my self thinking those thoughts that can ruin a marriage… In my defense, it has been many years since I acted on such thoughts, which is probably one reason my current wife has stayed married to me going on 17 years. But now and then that bad dog raises his head. My wife tries to make me feel better by informing me all men are dogs. I just smile sheepishly and go to my room…
I am not particularly wanting the bulk of this sermon to be about personal confessions. But if you are honest with yourself, and you are still young enough to have “manhood” or “womanhood,” the devil has probably tempted you into at least day dreaming about such sins. And if you have ever worked on a computer, or any machinery that is not perfect (which none of them are), vulgarity has probably crossed your mind from time to time when the machine malfunctions at the very moment you need it to work efficiently.
The Christian Bible says all sin separates you from God and everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s standards (1). Any sin you care to talk about will keep you out of heaven without the blood covering of Jesus Christ. Jehovah God, being perfect, can not allow visible sin in heaven. (2). This is why it is so important to make that trip to an altar, or even to the side of your bed, to ask Jesus Christ to save you from the eternal punishment your sins justly deserve. You must believe that Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of the Living God Jehovah, never sinning during his 33 years of life on this earth. You also must believe through hope, faith and love that this miracle Son of God has the power to forgive your sins, past, present and future. Otherwise, we would all have to live at an altar, asking forgiveness 24 hours a day.
I have had preachers tell me if I commit a sin and am either too stubborn, or too ignorant of what I did, to ask for forgiveness, then my salvation will be null and void and I will go to hell. I believe that is a lie from the pits of hell because the Word says Jesus will stay with you if you make your bed in hell. Sure, if God spurs my conscious that I have wronged Him by committing a sin, my Christian consciousness will prompt me to tell the Lord I am sorry and I will try my best to turn from that sin. But God saw those future sins when he saved my soul years ago and yet He gave me the gift of salvation for the asking through Jesus and the cross, as He will you as well.
The devil will try and convince you that breaking one of God’s laws is all you have to do to be unworthy of salvation. Bunk. God will never let you go – unless you walk away and/or commit blasphemy of the Holy Ghost. I have never found a clear definition of what that is, but it sounds like those who make fun of God’s Holy Ghost in any way, shape or form are definitely in danger of hell fire.
We need a sinless man’s blood to keep our name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. The Word says the souls in that book, although they have sin association on earth, will enter heaven because of the purity of the blood of Jesus and the visibility of His righteousness to Jehovah God instead of our sins being visible and us being responsible for the ramifications of our actions. In short, Jesus offers us a pardon but we have to ask for it and we have to repent of our wrong doings, now and in the future – and trust Jesus to forgive those sins we do unaware.
We must begin a path to be an asset to the cause of Jesus Christ instead of disrespecting God and assuming the gift of salvation is a ticket to continue embracing our sin nature. Jesus forgives freely, but we must ask with a sincere heart. Once a person realizes God has taken away the burden of sin through Jesus, his or her priorities change out of thankfulness.
If Jesus was a sinner, we have no blessed hope. The covering of our sins by the blood of a man who had also sinned would not satisfy a perfect God.
We must believe the words of Jesus Christ about salvation in the Bible are true and that on the third day he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven to be with God the Father – cutting a clear trail for us to follow if we but have the hope, faith and love in our hearts to call ourselves a Christian and travel that Roman road to salvation.
I always forget the exact scripture location for my favorite Roman version of John 3:16, but it is somewhere in the Romans 8 or Romans 10 books and it proclaims we must believe in our heart that Jesus Christ was the only Begotten Son of the Living God Jehovah and that he died for our sins so that our names could remain in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
The Word says no sinner shall enter into heaven, with the exception of those whose names are in that Lamb’s Book of Life. Those folks are forgiven of their sins. But it is not enough to believe Jesus Christ was the Son of God. We must also confess with out mouth that he was crucified, dead and buried, and that on the third day He arose from the dead to ascend into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. We must have faith in all of this in order to be in that Lamb’s Book of Life.
You see, if we can not sincerely believe Jesus went to the cross as a perfect man, there is no way we can really believe He could help us do the same thing through His pure and sinless blood – that is His righteousness.
We are sinners, everyone one of us. But grace is real. Grab it and never let go. Our salvation gives us power to resist the temptation of sin if we will just use it. If a preacher tells you that you can be saved but you are expected to live a sinless life afterwards or lose your salvation for not having a perfect score, ask him to show you that in the Bible.
I understand many preach that the old man dies and a new man is born. I agree. But that old man dies slowly sometimes, mostly because of ignorance of the power of God, and that new man may take a lifetime of overcoming sin to shine in the eyes of other Christians and more importantly in the eyes of the lost. Take heart, keep trying to overcome your sins. The Word says God is a friend to the overcomer. You are not alone in your struggle.
There is a passage in the Bible that says we need to be able to discern the spirits of prophesy and false prophesy.
Discernment is the God given ability to tell in your spirit whether or not an idea came from a man under the deception of Satan or from God.(3).
All I know is if we indeed are required to live perfect and sinless lives after we accept Jesus, than Jesus went to the cross for nothing. For you see, according to the Christian Bible the wages of sin are death, hell and the grave. The good news is Jesus Christ came to pay our debt and the Bible says He will never leave us or forsake us. His sacrifice was enough. Hold onto your grace and never let go!
I know that discerning the spirits is a good thing. We are merely looking at the evidence to offer counseling or at least protect ourselves from falling to the devil through an apparently cruel and unrealistic individual who is trying to add to the requirements to be a Christian bound for heaven. When I was in the Pentecostal movement, there was a legalistic section of that church known as the “brow beaters.” They kept folks docile, rather than humble, scared to death God was going to set fire to them in their easy chairs for eating too many helpings of potato salad (gluttony is a sin), or some such a far fetched notion.
I can stick with Jesus Christ for the rest of my life, that is I can keep claiming His salvation gift, keep praying that he helps me be a better example of a Christian and I can keep asking for his guidance and direction. I can obey His Word to the best of my ability, which is not too bad in the spirit. As to my flesh obeying anything without the power of Jesus being applied, that is not likely to happen. But I have the power to reign in the desires of my flesh if I have Christ in my heart. We must pray for Christ’s righteousness in our lives. Our own righteousness, as the Word of God says, is but filthy rags. And that is putting it nicely.
We can do all things through Christ Jesus, so Paul said in the Word. But all we have to do is look up in the flesh, and eat one too many chicken legs, gain too much weight and we are going to hell in a shuttle… No, I do not believe that. My Savior saved me. I believe that. He knew when He did what He was getting. And the Bible says it is the will of God that Jesus not lose one of us out of His hand.
A certain segment of the Christian population believes once saved always saved. I do not. I believe we can walk away from God, denounce our believes and send ourselves to hell without the protection of Jesus and His blood. The Bible says God will turn someone over to a reprobate mind – if indeed that is what his or her heart truly desires after the devil convinces him or her that pleasing God is impossible. If not for the blood of Jesus, our blessed hope, the devil would be right.
Being saved by the blood is more than fire insurance. Being saved, to me, is also a way to live with a new friend, build trust through His grace and turn it over to Him when for some reason our own strength is just not enough to overcome whatever hurdle is in front of us.
The Bible says be humble and it says to take the yoke of Jesus for it is easy. The burden of obedience to Jehovah God and doing all you can to show the love of God in your life may not always seem easy, but once your hope, faith and love are roaring through your veins, they push out the hopeless stress that causes persistent doubt, crass acts that hurt others intentionally and the worship of the power of gold.
Worshipping money has been a devil child trait from the beginning of time. The theory of obtaining money without honest effort is also a good trick of the devil. The Bible says the children of God prosper more and more as they obey God’s guidance and direction. Moreover, it says those who are not under the blood of the salvation of Jesus Christ may prosper, but only for a season.
I am a sinner saved by grace. I am not saved and satisfied. I do not want to just sit on a bench. I want to do all I can to find out what God wants me to do for His kingdom and get on with it. The trick is to keep striving to please God, even when the whole world of people around you are saying you will never make it and your efforts just are not good enough. You are a sinner saved by grace, which is the highest rank in the human kingdom. And between you and the guidance of Jesus Christ, that sinner saved by grace just might be turned into a Christian soldier – obeying orders that help someone else go to an altar of salvation.
The Word says Christians must be wise as serpents, yet gentle as doves. We have to call them as we see them in our hearts. But when it does come to judging a guy that tells you he is saved as not being saved, I believe we need to let Jesus do the judging. Jesus says he will judge us as we judge the other man.
Lost people judge others all the time. Christians are supposed to love them and take them at their word if they tell us they have asked Jesus to come into their hearts. If I want to hear about their soul, and they have not volunteered said information, I will ask them. If they say yes, I am saved by the blood of Jesus, I will take them at their word and try to encourage them to seek God’s guidance and direction to grow in their day to day walk.
If they say no, I am not saved, then I will encourage them to walk that Roman road with me and have the hope, faith and love in Jesus Christ to mean their plea as they ask for forgiveness and openly admit they need a Savior or they will never make it to heaven.
Avoiding a trip to hell, and having one’s name blotted out of the Lamb’s Book of Life forever, is enough of a reason for most people to ask the Lord to forgive them of their past, present and future sins and to seek guidance and direction to live more like Jesus did when He was on earth for their rest of their lives.
But being saved by grace is even more than fire insurance for those of us who have had a long-term friendship in our minds with Jehovah God. I have such a relationship with God. Sure call me crazy, but I admit I have probably talked to God every day since I started talking at 2 years old! If God were to leave me in hell and be away from me forever, I would be one miserable person. For you see, I would not just be upset about my eternal destination being horrible, I would be terribly upset about no longer being able to feel the presence of my best friend, Jehovah God…
SCRIPTURES
1) ALL UNREPENTED SIN WILL KEEP YOU OUT OF HEAVEN WITHOUT JESUS AS YOUR SAVIOR – Question: “What is the greatest sin?” Answer: No sin is greater than another sin in the eternal sense. All sin separates us from God, and all sin needs to be atoned for.
Romans 6:21-23King James Version (KJV) 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Colossians 3:5-6 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.
Galatians 5:19-21 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Victory Over Sin 1 Corinthians 15:57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
We Are All Sinners
Romans 3:23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Isaiah 64:6 We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
We Need To Confess Our Sin – Proverbs 28:13 People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
Hosea 5:15 Then I will return to my place until they admit their guilt and turn to me. For as soon as trouble comes, they will earnestly search for me.”
God Forgives Our Sin – 1 John 1:7-9 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Forgiving One Another’s Sins
Luke 17:3-4 So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”
2) THERE WILL BE NO SIN IN HEAVEN EXCEPT IN THE PASTS OF THOSE COVERED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS AND WHOSE NAMES ARE IN THE LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE FOR THE REDEEMED. THE SINS COVERED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS ARE IN THE SEA OF FORGETFULNESS AND NO LONGER REMEMBERED BY GOD – Revelation 21:26-27King James Version (KJV)
27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
3) DISCERNING THE SPIRITS – 1 John 4:1King James Version (KJV) 4 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
1 Corinthians 12:1-13 King James Version (KJV) 12 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the self same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Editor’s Note: It sounds like even Christians are quite different from one another, made up of individual gifts and talents.
Even our example of judging is nothing to worry about if a person who realizes their mistake asks Jesus to forgive them. Again, it is not sinning that sends you to hell, but the lack of accepting salvation.

Did you hear
from Jehovah God?
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I am a farm boy from Indiana who grew up an only child on his grandparent’s land. I talked to God a lot. The question is, did God ever “talk” back?
Since I have put this monkey on my own back, let me say I am not claiming to be running around earth with a telephone line stretched to the heavens. But I do believe Jehovah God has communicated with me in my 56 years of life.
A belief in God, and in His constant presence in our lives, depends a great deal on faith. I was raised in the Methodist Church and grew up with basic protestant beliefs in Jesus Christ, the cross and our Savior crucified. For me, it was not that hard to believe there is a good and there is an evil in this old world.
The first preacher I remember, who had any real influence on my life, was the Rev. Harry Hashburger. He used to say if you decided to become a Christian, there would be evidence of your beliefs that hit you in the face every day when you got out of bed. The devil would be there to tell you that your beliefs in a Savior were some sort of ferry tales. That devil would tell you how much fun it might be to spend all day chasing girls your own age for sexual favors, how taking the name of God in vain was some sort of sign of a macho icon and how lying to your friends and family was normal – everybody does it…
All of this sort of deceit is common and yet almost nobody questions whether it was God or the devil who conveyed such ideas.
But let God tell a guy to write sermons in a magazine, and everyone wants to tell you God would never have told you such a thing. One friend said, “I understand. You write a weekly sermon because that is what your Christian audience expects and wants to hear.”
No, that is not why I do it. I do it because of something that happened to me in about March of 2012. Print bills had pretty well assured me that my Southern Arkansas Tailgate News publisher days were coming to an end. I was considering a total shut-down and a job offer I had with an area chain newspaper. I remember praying about the situation.
A friend called and offered to build me a web site to continue publishing my magazine. I took him up on it but still took the other job for about a year to get the audience count above 3,000 a week so I could have a chance to sell ads in the digital magazine world. A feeling came over me that threw my mind back to my days growing up alone on the farm. That friendly thought pattern of goodness was so familiar and so comforting. Then it was like a bright light went off in my brain and I felt like God was asking me to do something in my “new world” publication.
Yes, I believe God conveyed the message to me that I am to publish a sermon every week that Tailgate News remains a publication, and I am to back my thoughts with related scriptures. I am a writer, photographer, lay-out man and advertising promoter. I do not claim to be a minister. Sure, I accetped Jesus Christ on hope, faith and love as my personal Savior when I was 15. And I admit being a Christian work in progress. I can not remember ever denying this salvation experience, nor do I ever intend to do so.
But preacher man? No, not really my thing. Even so, the feeling that God wanted me to produce a sermon every week led me to give it a whirl. Would the prince of darkness make such a request of me? I do not believe so. I believe the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News sermons are inspired by God. According to what I have read in the Christian Bible, the last thing satan would want me to do is to glorify Jesus Christ in print as the only begotten Son of the Living God Jehovah and the man who made the perfect, sinless blood sacrifice for your sins and mine so we could join God in heaven at the end of our lives.
Telling me to write weekly sermons is just one incident by where I believe God has gotten word to me. Most of the time, the divine advise and direction come after a Bible reading. My religious education tells me if you believe Jesus Christ told you something, that belief will be backed by guidance and direction written down in the King James version of the Christian Bible. I use that as a sort of a measuring stick on how much trust I put in what I perceive to be a message from God.
Many people have testimonies of how God inspired them to become Christian lawyers, doctors, missionaries, evangelists, pastors and more. Their sincerity usually speaks through the love they project. That is another personal measuring stick as to the truth coming from their mouths that I use in my own evaluation of what is being said. If they condemn others who profess Christianity, you can bet they are listening to the legalistic, evil spirit of the devil.
If they are expressing love and preaching how the world needs the gift of salvation that only the Son of God can give you, then I believe they are about their Father’s business and true Christians. I try not to judge the legalistic condemners. Instead, I can not help but feel sorry for them. Many, in my opinion, are simply confused and need a lot of prayer. In psychology in college, they taught me that a man who puts another man down is looking for some way to boost himself up because he feels guilty of whatever it is he is accusing the other fellow of being or doing.
In other words, there is a good chance if I ride you about your vulgar language that I am letting a few fly in secret myself…
Christianity is a religion of faith. We believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. We trust God when things go right and when things go wrong. We do not claim to be sinless or perfect. If we use common sense, most of us profess to be works in progress.
There is an old Methodist Church song of the 1970’s that comes to mind. It says, “We are one in the Spirit. We are one in the Lord. And they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. And they will know we are Christians by our love.”
And Christians, by trust, hope, faith and love of their Savior, hear from Jesus Christ. If they do not hear from the Lord by some sort of non-verbal feeling that is inspired by scripture, then they hear from God by way of reading those red-letter scriptures themselves.
It is apparent I am not the only person who has ever claimed to communicate with Jehovah God on a regular basis. Let’s consider the lyrics of another old hymn, “Mine is a blessed Savior. I love Him every day. You ask me how I know Him, I have to say. He walks with me, and talks with me, throughout the live-long day.”
The faith I have in Jesus Christ is backed by what I have seen happen. Oh, I have not seen the red sea part, but I did see a girl grow a tooth in her head through prayer where no tooth existed during the revival night before. She was a working girl at a fast food restaurant in Bryant, Arkansas. No tooth was in that head one night. A brand new healthy tooth was in that same spot in her head the next night!
My belief is that Jesus Christ and His healing power put it there! It made my jaw drop. It was a faith building experience.
My best friend and I spent Saturday night together. He is a three-tour Vietnam War vet and worked 30 years for the government after his regular service. I have heard him preach from a Church of Christ background before. But he looked at me, during a political discussion, and said asked what difference does it make if Islam flies its flag in Washington D.C. instead of old Glory flying there? I told him it means all of the difference in the world to me.
For you see, good is good and evil is evil. No miracles occur in the Islamic faith. At least none have been given any American press I have read about. Those folks simply say believe our way or die as a Christian. So we die as Christians – probably after we take out some of those folk attacking us if we have any old fashioned guts. But we die as Christians, not as someone who chose to embrace “the other religion” to supposedly have a little more time on earth.
So no, my God is definitely not telling me to shut up about Jesus Christ. On the contrary, my God is telling me to share what little I know about the Savior of Love and a deep seated love I have for others down deep in my soul.
Don’t get me wrong. The Islamic ISIS extremists may one day come to my door and put my faith to the test. I do own a shotgun for such an occasion and am not afraid to use it. But that is just me. Me and a lot of other American Christians, at least in my humble opinion, may give a few of these devil worshippers a quick trip out of their misery. As the Word says, there is a time to kill. I believe a self-defense situation is that time.
We Americans do not like to be threatened. And boy am I looking forward to the next presidential election, as I believe the next person in office will not deny that America is a Christian nation. I believe that will mean America will more whole heartedly back Isreal, the homeland of God’s chosen people, and that change alone will give our country many years of freedom of choice in our lives we would not have had backing the power of gold.
But I digress. When is the last time you believe God tried to tell you about your assignment in life? I am 56 and still getting some of my orders. I believe God inches us along, if we let Him, toward the ministry we are destined to conduct – if we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. If we choose arrogance, self indulgence, our own brand of satanic logic or simply to stay away from our Godly purpose in life to embrace the cares of this world, we may not get a lot accomplished.
If we humble ourselves before God, thank Him for breath and blessing each day and do all we know to show love instead of hate, in the Name of Jesus Christ, then good things will happen. There is power in the blood of Jesus. Yes it makes a difference whether a Christian oriented flag flies over our capital. If we are under the wing of Jesus, we will live a lot different type life than if we are under Islamic Sharee law, or whatever brand of fear-factor dictatorship you want to talk about.
Do you want to talk to God? I hear the birds singing outside today. The weather is to be mild and I hope to travel to many advertising clients. I feel a peace inside because of those birds singing. I feel a love for my fellow business men and women and for the kids in school. My God is love and love speaks to me in many ways. The Word says seek ye first the kingdom of God and all else will be added unto you (1). What is that kingdom? Love, that is what.
Live. Don’t be afraid to do so. Live. The Bible says God will dwell with man as long as that man is pleased to live if he be obedient to what he God is directing him to do (2). If living your day to day is stressing you out so much your body, mind and soul are in torture, pray to God for guidance to take you a new direction. Or if you know you are on the path He would have you travel, pray for the strength to do your assignment with competence and joy. I personally believe if a man is on the right path that God deems your destiny, you will live each day with a joy unspeakable inside that will conquer any adversity that hits you in the face.
God built a tooth in a girl’s head for me to see in 24 hours. My faith in God is strong. I believe when and if the ISIS blade comes for me, my God just might do a little beheading job on my aggressor as a Christian testimony. And if He does, I will praise Him forever. And if I am killed because I refuse to give up my Jesus, what a wonderful cause to go out for. Contrary to the satanic fear of death that many still embrace, I have concluded that I will not live forever on this planet so it is my duty to make the most of it for the cause of Jesus Christ – his Great Commission, so to speak.
There is a scripture in our Bible that talks about God talking to us. There are many. My favorite is the red letters around a sermon given by my God in the flesh, Jesus Christ. It is called the Sermon of the Mount and a man or woman seeking their purpose in life can not go too far wrong by reading those words and getting a good start (3). Then listen to the birds. Search your heart. You will hear the voice of God down deep in your soul if you open your heart to unconditional love. Sure, I talked about that time to kill. When it comes to self defense, listen to God and what He is telling you. If your assignment in Christ is not finished, and you will know that down deep in your soul, then do what it takes to keep living when they come for you. I am sorry to be so heavy in this sermon, but perhaps someone among you needs to smell the coffee.
I was accused on line, in a political discussion, to be living in a bubble because I made the statement that a Christian president in the United States would make a positive difference in our country’s direction, and that Barack Obama’s Islamic sympathizer goals would soon be just a blot in our history books. If the love of Jesus Christ is not the answer, what is? What difference does it make how much cruel control over others is exercised, how much belittling of talents and goals are exchanged for “a check” instead of encouraging folk to work hard for what they want in life? I will tell you what difference it makes.
It makes the difference in having a chance to be satisfied with your life or ashamed. And it makes the difference between feeling like you are a man or woman of good character and integrity or simply a ward of the state. There is a Christian scripture that says those who Jesus sets free are free indeed. This is just the opposite of Islamic logic. Our country is at war against ISIS. Our souls have always been at war against satan and his demonic agents. Be wise. Preach love well and have a good week. I invite you to listen to God and join me in my quest to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and the freedom and joy we can have following the God of Love.
SCRIPTURES
1) SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD – Matthew 6:25-34 King James Version (KJV) 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
2) GOD SAYS OBEDIENCE TO THE WORD IS KEY TO A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE – Deuteronomy 6:1-2 ESV / “Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the rules that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.
Exodus 23:25-26 ESV / You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.
1 Peter 3:7-12King James Version (KJV) 7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 2 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
3) HEARING FROM GOD THROUGH THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT – Matthew 5:1-15King James Version (KJV) 5 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Editor’s Note: Keep your salt. Listen for the voice and direction of God Jehovah through words spoken by Jesus Christ first. Look for the light in the words you hear in your soul. And pray that you are not listening to the wrong voice. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are your only hope to meet the entity that put a tooth in a little girl that was not there in 24 short hours. Satan has no such power to heal like this. The devil is a salesman with no real product to sell. I pray that my life’s experiences point you to asking Jesus Christ for the salvation you need to enter real life, life long and prosperous through the King of Kings, the God of Love, God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity.

 

 

Well Done My
Good and Faithful Servant…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The words “Well Done, My Good and Faithful Servant (1),” are said to be what every Christian will hear when God welcomes in those whose names have remained in the Lamb’s Book of Life because they accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior rather than to claim their just reward of eternal death and damnation for their sins on earth.
I hope to live another 70 years on top of my already 56-year life span just because I have a lot of unfinished business on earth and hope that by sticking around I may be able to write something that will lead at least one more person to salvation by way of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Living God Jehovah. But that is just me.
I don’t want to just hear those words of approval for my own soul. I want to write something that will convince another soul they might as well have faith in Jesus Christ and believe in his perfect pardon for their sins, rather than ignoring what God’s Son did for us. Salvation is free to get. The real challenge is to not let anyone else talk you into throwing it away – especially some know-it-all legalist who is on the way to becoming cross eyed by looking down his or her nose at the rest of us.
By the way, I do not hate legalists, but I do wonder if any of them would have cast the first stone on the adulterous woman caught in the act in the Bible after Jesus said, “Ye who has never sinned, cast the first stone. (2)”
The old time preachers of my younger days said the preacher’s job was to bring the fish in, not to clean them up. Once Jesus is in the heart, Jesus will begin cleaning house – as long as the occupant is willing to admit that the will of Jesus in their lives is far superior to his or her own will. This took some time for me to understand. But as of late, things are starting to make more sense as I reread those words in red… I have heard folks condemn Christians for not being perfect in regard to always keeping the 10 commandments and lesser known laws. Once Christ is in your heart, you want to do so. At least I do.
But nobody does right all of the time unless they are a sinless human being. To my knowledge, our Savior was the only one of those ever to exist.
A person can not help but wonder what the finger pointers do with the scripture, “Judge not or you shall be judged likewise. (3)” Instead of judging others, the Christian life should be about improving ourselves in regard to obedience to God and sharing the inner peace that knowing Christ brings. After all, would you not rather be trying to improve your own character when you draw your last breath than trying to find fault in someone else who professes to be your brother or sister in Christ?
The fact is, I could die anytime. We all could. It is God’s ball game. I am just a second basemen with a pen… But when the end does arrive, and I stand outside those pearly gates of heaven, I too want to hear those words about, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Come on in.”
Instead of continuing the sermon, let’s read together where these words do come from in the Bible. Then we can continue this train of thought on the same page, so to speak.
1) WELL DONE THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT – Matthew 25:21-46King James Version (KJV) 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
SERMON CONTINUED
Those words from Jesus would have to make all Christians do a little re-evaluating of their character. It certainly encourages me to help those who I see in need. But let’s face it, at least in my case, my faith in the promise of Jesus to save my soul and place my sins under his blood is my only chance to appear to perfectly fit this mold of God’s righteousness.
I believe someday I will be the perfect overcomer, with a perfect ability and understanding on how to behave and react like Jesus Christ did on this earth. I believe that day will come after they lay me to rest – probably over at Rose Hedge Cemetery here in Gurdon, Arkansas where I live. That day will come for my soul and a celestial body. My terrestrial body will lose its flesh in the ground and become solid bone – destroyed from my sins on this earth…
I know a guy right now I should go see but I have been busy with my career in journalism, my family, my finances – the list goes on… I have no real excuse. I have a pardon from accepting Jesus, but I also have a drawing to do what I do not want to do – go try and help someone who does not appear to want to help themselves.
You see, my old friend has put himself in a prison of his own making and continues to say his reason for living is over. I know from my old days as a crisis intervention worker years ago that my friend is crying out for help. I will go to him, at least I hope I will, and encourage him to make his peace with Jehovah God.
Yes, I need to go see that man. If I am iced in again tomorrow, I will make that walk just because – or at least I hope I will have the strength to go encourage this gentleman either in person or at least through my prayers. My faith in my salvation is my key to that “well done, my good and faithful servant” phrase, not my perfection, or lack of perfection, in good works.
As the Rev. Happy Caldwell said on VTN the other morning, sin (disobedience and imperfection rolled into one) does not send us to hell. However, not accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior does buy you that wicked servant reward – life in a lake of fire forever. We live in this wonderful age of grace. Can you imagine how worrisome of a life you would live if Christ had not died on the cross for your sins and mine?
Then, if you did believe you were on the path of righteousness you would have every reason to freak out if your loved one seemed to be sinning at the speed of a windmill.
Our Bible tells us a Christian must work out his or her own salvation with fear and trembling. That tells me my spiritual walk, in regard to the destination of my own soul, is between me and Jesus Christ.
I am very grateful it is. My prayer is to become a man with much more integrity when I am fighting mad about something so that my reaction can be an encourager to someone considering the Christian walk. I do not want my self-righteous temper to turn someone away from Christ toward some trinket the devil holds before him or her.
To me, as a Christian, we have a big responsibility to be so thankful for God saving our soul that we do not want to shame our Savior. We want our Savior to be pleased with us and for our continued overcoming efforts to make us part of the fold mentioned in the Bible – where it says God is a friend to the overcomer.
Our mid-sermon scripture passages also brought to mind the subject of mercy and kindness to those who reach out to us in need. In the case of some folk, we can do little more than hear them out. Other people will take a leg up. They will use a bit of food to gather energy to regroup their lives and go on to be contributing, happy members of society.
We can rarely tell the difference between a user and someone really in need on the front end. Our job as Christians is not to judge their intentions but simply to try and be merciful to their immediate needs. If they come to you naked, give them a shirt and a pair of bottoms. If they come to you hungry, give them a little food. Whatever you do, do not give them a slammed door. But if Christ is in your heart, I don’t have to tell you that.
You can not use my integrity and I can not use yours. It sort of comes down to a teaching I learned in childhood, doing the best you can with what you have to offer at the time. If you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you ask for his guidance and direction for your day, you and Jesus can take it from there. The Lord will show you which “jaw bone of the ass” to use to fight a particular battle.
And when you accept the gift of salvation from Jesus Christ, and do you best to honor Him, if the end should come for you, it is my hope, and I have faith in it, that you will hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter in to the joys of the Lord.”
The man Jesus Christ was a giver, a giver of life and eternal joy. We may not can give what He gave, but we can give what we have and point an unsaved soul to someone who can give them a more contented life; Jesus.
SCRIPTURES
2) YE WHO HAS NEVER SINNED, CAST THE FIRST STONE – John 8:1-12King James Version (KJV) 8 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. 12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
3) JUDGE NOT OR YOU SHALL BE JUDGED LIKEWISE – Matthew 7:1-10King James Version (KJV) 7 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
Editor’s Note: God is good all the time. Yes, that is a Christianize phrase from many a preacher in many a time era. And you know me, I am not a big fan of Christianize unless it rings true in my soul. God is good all the time. Someday, if we hold onto our faith in Jesus Christ and his ultimate sacrifice for our sins on the cross, we will hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Remember a couple of keys we learned to help us in today’s sermon, 1) Strive to be a better example of the character of Jesus Christ in your day to day walk. 2) Be kind always. Use what you have to show kindness and mercy to those who reach out to you.
Until next week, thank you Lord for allowing me to write John’s Sermon. May Your message come out from the words I have presented. Amen.

 

 

Staying Humble
On The Mountain Top
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Some folks see their glass as half full, others half empty. I see it both ways from time to time.
But when a guy wins big, which I have in a few areas such as becoming a Christian, having a great wife, kids and grand kids, you still have to stay humble.
When you fly high, the most common temptation from Satan is him getting on your shoulder and whispering, “Hey, you made it already, you don’t need God anymore!”
This is, of course, a lie. What we have is God’s doing. He may have used our available talents to get it, but Jehovah God gave us those talents in the first place.
I recently set myself up to be able to develop another leg to my advertising business. If I am able to make the 10 plus cold calls a week, 2015 may very well be the year Tailgate News becomes solvent instead of me singing the old song that I am getting really good at barely getting by.
Instead of visions of sugar plums, I have visions of getting out of debt and staying out. If this occurs, my nervous system will be forever grateful. And if it does, you, the reader, are to blame. You have checked out my magazine and found all of my advertising customers are present and accounted for. Hopefully, if you need their services, you will contact them.
Although finance is complicated, let me tell you there has been an update. I got the same loan for nearly $100 less a month and for 9 percent instead of 21 percent! I give God the glory and also US Bank. I say I got all this. Time will tell. But I am smart enough to realize the real cutting edge is whether or not the loan money can be used to build a small Haskell paper within my Gurdon and Fountain Lake paper. I have one Haskell supported page from Benton. I need four to six to make this thing work right. Keep praying for me, but at least the chance for personal success looks more promising than it did a few weeks back. And again, I give God all the glory for the improved circumstance!
My business, like any business, is a gamble from the get go. But if I should win financially this year this sermon is as much about me as it is you. We all need to thank God for everything we have, whether that is just a little or a lot.
The Bible tells us that God would have us all to prosper (1), but we need His continued guidance and direction for that prosperity to last. Remember where you came from. If you started from scratch, be sure and invest in someone who is doing the same. Pass it on to insure continued good times. I have often heard you can not out give God. Still, I would love to give and give, just to see if I can.
I know I can not, but still yet, if a person has succeeded financially, then it only stands to reason that he or she should share it with those less fortunate souls who are working hard to create their own boat to float.
I have often compared myself to Peter in the Bible. He had family problems, his fishing business had a lot to be desired, but he had faith in Jesus Christ. It paid off. Jesus told Peter to lower his fishing nets just one more time even though Peter and his crew had fished all night long and came up with nothing to write home about (2).
Peter took a ragged breath and obeyed his Lord. He told God about fishing all night and getting nothing first… God knew it, but Peter needed to get it off his chest. God blessed that divine dropping of the nets and they had more fish then they could haul; had to get a second big old boat to take them to shore!
Peter, instead of gloating about his success, preached the gospel the rest of his days and told the executioner to crucify him upside down because he was not worthy to die in the same manner as his Jesus did…
Now that is showing humbleness after success and that is an example we could all learn from. And I forgot the best part of the story. Jesus told those fishermen to take heart, it was going to get better, He would make them fishers of men…
Having the privilege of preaching this sermon every week is one of my victories in life. I was scared to write them at first, as I felt unworthy. But with the encouragement of Jesus, I have persevered for nearly two years worth. God bless each and every one of you who reads them.
I also had a bit of success with my singing talent recently. Six couples got up to dance to me singing a slow, country ballad. It made me feel good because I was singing about love. To me, that is what it is all about. Bragging is for the birds. But being thankful for God allowing you to use your talents is scriptural. The song was “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by the late Keith Whitley.
So now then, let’s get down to what this success thing is about to us humans. We all want power and money, Christians included. But the trick is the why we want it. If we want to be at the top of our game, that is on the mountain top in our field, because we want to glorify Christ with testimonies about how He made it possible for us to have so many blessing, that is healthy.
If we get up to our mountain top and begin to brag about how good we are at what we do and therefore everyone should admire us for being so wonderful, this is the same line of thought that got Satan kicked out of heaven forever. We are created beings. A proud man or woman who thinks so highly of themselves that they do not think they need to be saved by Jesus and his pure blood is doomed, according to God’s Word. This leads to a life of lonely times and an eternity in hell.
As the Bible says, pride goes before a fall (3). I have a personal example of that. I was running a newspaper called the Marmaduke Chronicle a few years back. My wife was doing the ad make-up and we had a pretty good salesman and sports writing team. It grew from a 6-page weekly broadsheet to 14 pages a week in four years. That is fantastic in the paper business.
I looked at Michelle one day and said, “This paper is really solid. Even God could not sink it.”
It was a line from the Titanic movie and I was about half kidding. The Lord did not take it as a joke. Our ship sank within a few months. The 911 disaster did us in, as it scared our advertisers and reduced our revenue by about half.
We started struggling to make print bill costs, much less any profit. It may not have been from my half-hearted brag, but then again it just might have been. If you succeeding at anything, always remember to give God the glory. Not only does He deserve it, doing so insures your continued success.
After my brag, we tried selling stock to a few friends. The money was provided but it just did not work out. I believe I queered the deal, so to speak, with my bragging. I almost did that again today, but gave God the glory for having what seems to be a bigger readership than my competition in Gurdon. I do believe it is true, but I pray mentioning it did not offend God. If it were not for His blessings, we would be lucky to have half of our current site hits per week! Thank you Jesus for each and every reader.
You may have had a similar circumstance if you share my lifestyle of trying to build something in our unstable business world. Preachers on VTN tell me the thankful Christian will prosper regardless of poor country leadership or an economic downturn. I am and advertising sales guy. I base that remark on the fact that weekly revenue was at least twice what it is now a few short years ago. Evidence indicates we have a very secretive president in Barack Obama, who also appears to be of the Muslim religion.
I have no problem with him exercising that freedom to be secretive and of another religion, but I do have to wonder how he got elected twice in a Christian based country? I pray that I have a thankful heart always and that my mountain top reactions are pleasing to Jehovah God. My main goal is I want to get the word out to more people that they need a Savior and that Jesus Christ is the only real deal, according to my believes.
The Word of Jehovah God tells me to be thankful in all things. I have heard some try to water this down and say it means be thankful for the good turns and thankful you make it through the bad ones. I do not see that in the Bible. It says be thankful in all things. To me, that means if you find yourself with a broke foot, be thankful God did not allow you to get some dreaded foot disease where you lose that sucker.
If we look hard enough, we can find something to be thankful about in all of our circumstances. The Jews who left Egypt were given manna from heaven for food every day during their journey to the Promised Land and they started complaining about it. This probably had a lot to do with why they wandered around the desert for 40 years instead of making a straight line for that promised destination.
Just think of all of the great testimonies that were lost by those folks because they had the attitude that they could design a better subsistence food than God All Mighty! The Word says God is a jealous God. To me, that includes a jealousy of the human ego. If we put our ego before our thankfulness, then God is jealous of that. He is our source and deserves top billing when anything good happens. And He deserves top billing when He walks with us through the thickets of life.
We are so fortunate. We have the opportunity to be friends with our Creator and to enjoy his gift of forgiveness through accepting Jesus Christ as a personal Savior. The path to success in that area is so simple a challenged person can see it – if they will just get beyond the false reasoning that they can make it on their own…
I recommend highly the reading of the entire book of Romans in the Bible. It explains salvation so much better than this writer can. And salvation is the first step toward learning to enjoy the roller coaster ride we call life. Sure, hard times are real. And I believe growing in the Lord, as well as growing in human wisdom, is going to mean you make your share of mistakes. But if your mistakes lead to success, and your Christian walk is strong enough to give God the glory, I also believe you will climb higher in your goals than you ever thought possible. It comes down to having a thankful heart and a giving spirit. Just like my surprise better business loan. Now that had to be God. That just does not happen to a struggling business man without divine intervention!
SCRIPTURES
1) PROSPERING – 2 Corinthians 8:7-11King James Version (KJV) 7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.
11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 3 John 2
I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
2) EMPTY NETS – John 21:1-18King James Version (KJV) 21 After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. 2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.
5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.
6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. 9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. 10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. 11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Mark 1:17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. PRIDE GOES BEFORE A FALL – Proverbs 16:16-18 King James Version (KJV) 16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul. 18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. 1 John 2:15-17 King James Version (KJV) 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Editor’s Note: I have learned something new this day on humbleness. This pride of life thing strikes home with me. Sure, I can agree to give God first praise for anything good in my life and even praise Him for guiding me through the hard times, but it will be an overcoming effort for me not to be proud of doing my best at his work, my own career ambitions, friendships and even in marriage.
I was raised to do my best with what circumstances are available to work within at the time, and I was raised to do it honestly.
I will have to study up on this pride of life thing. It would seem to me that perhaps all pride is of this world and meaningless in the eyes of God, yet he tells us a workman is worth his wages and instructs us not to lie.
I suppose we are to work on doing these things silently, not expecting or wanting any sort of recognition for our best performance or for being truthful in a world of excessively fake folk…
Yes sir, that one will be something I must work on; pride of life. I do see the scripture’s point about a haughty, self centered spirit, but I must pray about trophies etc.
I see nothing wrong with them, as they are incentives for high perfomance. Perhaps God is saying He is all the incentive we need to reach that Mountain top and praising Him is all we need to be concerned with when we get there – that and always being a giver to those in need.

Satan’s Mission:
Kill, Steal and Destroy
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
When I was a young man, Satan tried to steal my soul. I remember the thunder crack on the night I chose Jesus Christ as my Savior instead of the devil. It is a sound I will never forget.
But Satan never gave up. I was 15 when I received Jesus Christ as my Savior though faith in John 3:16 and certain scriptures in the book of Romans. I went to an altar in the Methodist Church at Hagerstown, Indiana a day or two after my decision and asked Christ to forgive me of my sins; past, present and future. I had faith that He would mold me into a respectable follower of the only Begotten Son of God.
Living the Christian life is a matter of interpretation in some areas, but not in the area of faith in our Savior. One must place faith in the Savior and never let go of it. Salvation is given freely to those who ask for it. Then we are to repent of our sins and be baptized, if time permits before our death. But asking Christ into your heart and receiving Him is free. The hard part is to resist the temptation of the devil and the insistence of the devil that we give back that free gift of salvation in exchange for the pleasures of this world without repentance.
After 7 years of education on the gospel, I knew in my heart of hearts that I believed Jesus was the only man who had beaten death, and that He was the only sinless man ever to live. Therefore, I concluded, only His blood was pure and so only the covering of my sinful blood in His presented to Jehovah God, or Mr. God as I knew Him, would save me from my just reward of death from my sins.
I have never stopped believing that the gift of eternal life in heaven is real through the acceptance of Jesus Christ, but I have since realized that the battle I fight with the devil gets hotter every day. When it gets too much to bear, I want to give up. And I do give up in that I give my problem to Jehovah God to solve right here on earth.
If I were not saved, I might give in to a life of lust and violence that would end in an early grave and an eternity in hell. I have never done that because of the love of Jesus that has flowed through my veins since I was a teen. I recommend salvation highly.
I have a great career that makes me feel worthwhile. I have a wife that is better to me than I deserve. I have a disability in my nerves that has remained symptom free for going on a decade and I have wonderful children and grandchildren. I also have a few good friends that I would not trade for anything in the world.
Do I still have hard times? You bet I do. Satan did not just come to steal, kill and destroy (1) from the sinner man who will not accept the gift of Jesus Christ and salvation. Satan came to steal, kill and destroy from all of us. Nothing would please the devil more than for you or me to renounce our salvation agreement with the Lord as a fairy tale. But in doing so, God’s hand of protection would be off of us and Satan would not only ruin our lives but he would damage severely the lives of those we love.
I am convinced I am not alone when it comes to Satanic attack. Everyone I know who professes Jesus Christ as their Savior is in a constant battle. Jesus says in the Bible that the servant is not above the master (2). If they persecuted Christ for telling them the truth, then anyone choosing to do the same will be on the devil’s list. But the Bible describes the devil as a snake and a liar.
One of the devil’s favorite lies is that accepting Jesus as your Savior is not enough to keep your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Instead, you must constantly strive to live above reproach of God’s law or Jesus will come along and mark your name out. The Bible says Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. It is not Jesus that would ever walk away from a salvation agreement. It is the individual who gives up on him or her self as too far gone to be saved and walks away from the love of God and His perfect gift.
So we have to remember that when we are in the midst of temptation and keep the faith that Jesus Christ is our Savior and He will never break that promise. As I glide through the hour glass of life, I am less and less impressed with what Satan “has to offer.” In short, he has nothing I am interested in. Sure, I want power, money and a total feeling of happiness on a constant basis. But being of more or less sound mind and body these days, the insanity of thinking I will ever get such a condition short of visiting heaven after death does not register in my brain as real.
I suppose you could say I have taken off my rose colored glasses about such things. If God does choose to prosper me, I want to be able to give a larger tithes and offering and also to open a karaoke coffee house so I can sing to folks and enjoy the voices of others as they pour their hearts out in song. Mostly, I want to sing to them about life and what it means to me.
Everyone of us has been given talents by Jehovah God, our Creator. Mine are writing and singing, and perhaps the ability to love unconditionally. I am discovering that accumulating wealth may not be among my talents, but I am working on this. The Bible does say we should be good stewards of our finances. That talent of loving unconditionally has caused me the most pain when I get rejected. But again, Jesus Christ got rejected a lot. So as a less than perfect follower I expect adversity; especially when I point out that the only ticket to heaven is accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.
And I expect people to crucify me in their speech and actions when I sin, or simply make a bad judgment. It is part of life, whether you are a Christian or not, to have some people not like you for a variety of reasons. I read once that 10 to 20 percent of everyone we meet will dislike us from the get go and there is nothing we can do about it! That was from a sales and marketing guy, Dale Karnegie I believe. But his words ring true in my life’s experiences as I would be willing to bet they do in yours.
The devil will do all he can to be sure you are destroyed and your soul goes to hell. Your only hope is invite Jesus into your life as Savior and keep the faith that He will never leave you. You can and will deny what I just said. We all do. But in the end, you will need a Savior to escort you to heaven. Without accepting Christ, you will get that front seat in hell that so many of the unsaved brag about wanting to keep…
If this sermon sounds harsher than most I have delivered to you, there is a reason. Sometimes we all need to be shocked into reality. If I am wrong about Jesus being the way, I lose nothing by following one of the most loving and tender hearted souls ever to have been on earth. Following His teaching to the best of my ability will make me a better man by far. I will be learning from a man who was kind, slow to anger, forgiving and a wonderful counselor to those who study His words in the Bible. Obeying the teaching of Jesus will make me a good man in the eyes of other men.
But if I am right, and you go by the theory that God will grant you a pass for being an nice guy or girl, you will go on being nice and believing in the worship of something different than Jesus Christ and you will split hell wide open… Are you willing to let Satan sand bag you? Satan would have you believe it is the good works of a man that save him from hell.
You will die. So will I. Do you want to be trying to come up with some sort of Satanic excuse for not accepting the free gift (3) of salvation when your check out time arrives? I chose to hope Jesus Christ is for real and to have faith in that hope. I choose to pledge my loyalty to my perceived and believed reality – the reality of needing Jesus to save me from my just reward. The Bible says the wages of sin are death and that we have all sinned. It also says the pure blood of Jesus covers our sins and allows us to be forgiven and accepted by Jehovah God. What is your choice?
I was in a position Sunday night where I might have been killed. My wife and I had a flat and had to pull over and wait for a guy to come and remove a lug nut lock before we could head to the house. During that 2 hour wait, I had time to think. I thought of my life and what I had and had not been able to accomplish. I thought of Jesus and the Kingdom of God and how I wanted to have more chances to please my Savior and lead others to Him. I also thanked Jesus for covering my sins in His blood and insuring that my name would never leave the Lamb’s Book of Life without me asking for it to be removed.
If you were being brushed by semi trucks going 80 mph or better, what would you have been thinking about? My wife Michelle took a nap as we waited. Her confidence in the mercy of her Savior was obvious. I stayed awake and prayed. I thought a while and I prayed awhile. Then a car crossed two lines of traffic to get to an exit he almost missed. That caused some of the other cars to swerve and nearly hit our Nissan Rogue. But nothing touched us. Satan’s plan to destroy us failed and God’s mercy prevailed. To God I say thank you Sir. To Satan, I say what my grand kids would say, “Nanny, Nanny Boo Boo, missed me!”
But in all seriousness folks, Satan will attack anyone who stands for Jesus. Sure, if you listen to God’s guidance and direction, diligently obey what He tells you to do and seek first the Kingdom of God, all things will be added unto you. But Satan has even convinced the rich and prosperous to throw down their salvation and turn their back on everything good. Make no mistake, his powers of deception and manipulation are second to none.
Rather than go on in preacher lingo, let me just be plain spoken and give an example of what I am talking about. Are you married? If so, have you ever seen a woman, or a man if are a woman, that you would just love to take on a honeymoon? Yes, me too. The devil tells you if you go out on your spouse just this once nobody will ever know. Your hormones kick in.
You jump the fence and the words of Jesus in the Bible come back to you; “Your secrets will be shouted from the roof tops!” Sure enough, one adventure leads to another and then you get sloppy. You are discovered and a divorce is put in process. Your spouse is hurt. You look like a fool and your kids are confused as to why Daddy has to move out…
It is the same with other sins. Satan makes it look good. As my preacher says, if sin were not fun, nobody would do it. I could go with confessionals and/or examples of how Satan can trap a person, but you are human and therefore you have already experienced temptation to do something you know to be wrong. Satan is not really just out to shame you. He is out to shame you into either renouncing the gift of salvation or into never accepting that free gift from Jesus Christ and his crucifixion in the first place. If he can shame you to the point where he has you convinced that Jesus could not possibly forgive you and help you start a new life, then he has stolen another soul from God.
The big argument is between God and Satan. Satan is convinced that God will desert His children, Jesus or no Jesus. Or at least Satan tries to tell us this in a most convincing manner. He lies to us every day, either in person or through his demonic angels that roam this earth in the spiritual realm. He would love to kill us in an unsaved state of mind, but God usually stops short of letting this happen.
Still, there is a place in our Bible that says God will eventually turn a man or a woman over to a reprobate mind. If this is the case, and a man or woman makes up their mind to follow the devil and his believes, this means said person has sent themselves to hell. This is not God’s will, as He said He would have it that not one of His children would ever be plucked from His hand. You see, Satan, with all his tricks, can not take you away from God. Only you can do that. And as a favor to yourself and this writer, don’t. Don’t turn from God and give up on yourself. There is always hope. If he saved me, he can do it for you. The Word says He is no respecter of persons. Hold the hand of your Savior through faith until your last breath and your trust in Jesus will bring you your reward.
But God is a gentleman. He will not force Himself on you. I grew up an only child. I talked with God a lot. Sure, you can call it crazy. Sure, it may be. But I learned a lot from my “crazy” conversations with my Creator. I learned that God is my best friend. He can not lie and He is there to help you if you but ask Him to do so.
Satan claims he will help you get lust, power and money. If you believe him, the devil’s sales pitch will convince you your greed is your need and your dreams will die. Satan won’t stop there. If he can push you to suicide in an unsaved state of mind, he will do it. Satan can not destroy you. He can only attempt to convince you to destroy yourself. Even if his agents destroy your body, God will save your soul if you but accept the free gift of Jesus Christ and his pure blood sacrifice and keep the faith that Jesus paid your ticket and that is all there is to it. It is said that the devil is the author of your confusion. So if you are confused right now, turn to Jesus. Jesus Christ will come into your life and the confusion will go away. It may take some time, but soon you will be filled with hope, faith and love. When the devil comes back to tell you it is all so much fake show, smile at him and go on. You now have the eternally right kind of crazy. Don’t ever turn loose of it.
SCRIPTURES
1) SATAN CAME TO KILL, STEAL AND DESTROY – John 10:10 King James Version (KJV) 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
2) THE SERVANT IS NOT GREATER THAN THE MASTER – Matthew 10:22-26King James Version (KJV) 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. 24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
3) SALVATION IS A FREE GIFT – Romans 3:20-28 King James Version (KJV) 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Romans 3:20-28 International Version: God Gives Us Righteousness through Faith
21 But now, apart from the Law, God’s righteousness is revealed and is attested by the Law and the Prophets— 22 God’s righteousness through the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah— for all who believe. For there is no distinction among people, 23 since all have sinned and continue to fall short of God’s glory. 24 By his grace they are justified freely through the redemption that is in the Messiah Jesus, 25 whom God offered as a place where atonement by the Messiah’s blood would occur through faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because he had waited patiently to deal with sins committed in the past. 26 He wanted to demonstrate at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies anyone who has the faithfulness of Jesus. 27 What, then, is there to boast about? That has been eliminated. On what principle? On that of actions? No, but on the principle of faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the actions prescribed by the Law.
Editor’s Note: Faith is the key. Jesus gives salvation to whomever will ask for it and then by faith decides to never let it go out of their lives. We must have faith in the pure blood of Jesus and his promise never to leave us, even if we bungle things up and make our bed in a hell on earth. Keep the faith and that old devil will never be able to destroy the part of you that will live on in heaven. And that faith will have you walking more and more in step with the teachings of Jesus in God’s time – which seems to speed up the more we obey the integrity and principles of living as outlined in the Sermon on the Mount and other teachings found in red ink in most King James Bibles.

God Honors
Good Imagination
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Imagination is one of the strongest weapons we humans have to conquer depression and all out boredom, but we have to be careful what our fantasies, hopes and dreams are made of if we want to obey God.
If we fantasize like the late preacher Lester Summerall, we will imagine at 50 years old that we will be a part of leading a million souls to Jesus Christ for the purpose of them accepting the free gift of salvation. And if that is the case, we will meet the devil’s resistance head on. Summerall said in a sermon, probably more than once, that Satan tried to convince him he was 50 and finished.
Summerall died somewhere around 90 years old and had been a missionary for the Great Commission in so many pulpits around the world that at least some of us believe he did lead those one million souls to our Lord.
He fantasized. God approved his fantasy and led him down a path to make it come true. As people subject to temptation, Satan tries to convince us to fantasize for much less noble things than Lester Summerall did. Satan may suggest we fantasize about power, money, sexual conquest and a variety of other things that as we learned last week are legal for the saved man or woman, but are certainly not expedient toward making us better witnesses for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Obeying the 10 commandments is not all that it takes to be a good witness for Jesus Christ, but the blessings associated with successfully accomplishing this are vast and many, according to the Bible. For example, the Satanic fantasy of a man seducing a woman he is not married to is against those 10 commandments if he or she happens to be married. It is wishing for an adulterous experience instead of a wholesome marriage where a man and a woman respect each other and uphold the vows they took at a marriage ceremony.
Satan encourages us to fantasize by playing on the pride of life. While it may very be good, in this writer’s humble opinion, to be proud of the honest work we do, I do not think that is the kind of pride our Lord was talking about when his scriptures told us pride goeth before a fall (1). That latter pride deals in arrogance and a self-centered desire for instant gratification no matter what the cost. That my friends is the pride of life.
Satan told me as a young man that the more girlfriends I had the more of a man I was. He told the same lie to many of us fellows growing up. It took years for me to realize that it is not how many girls you have known in your life but how many of them you have treated with the kindness and respect they deserve that “makes you a man” and gives you self respect.
A preacher friend of mine in Florida once told me if a woman lets a man know her, as the Bible calls sexual intercourse, than she has given that man absolutely all she has. No matter what the circumstances, this means the woman deserves his absolute respect. The good life is not a contest of conquests. It is a matter of realizing that God’s plan of respect and loyalty to a spouse or to a friend is the only direction that leads to Christian love.
A girl on her wedding night gives herself to her husband to form a family bond and more importantly to express her love and respect for him. A wedding night is where my Bible tells me this sort of thing belongs. Satan, on the other hand, encourages men to bend the rules and rationalize the cheapening of an intimate relationship.
He tells us to fantasize and then take what we want if the other person consents. This is not a God thing, as most Christians can see. But in our society it is a common thing. A Satanic relationship, of this nature, sears the conscious of both the man and the woman and only if and when they make a legal commitment can this guilt be purged from their minds. Frankly, you could have talked to you were blue in the face and never have convinced me of this when I was under the “if it feels good do it” doctrine. Now, I am sorry for my disrespectful actions.
Let’s look at power. God tells us if we obey Him, and take His guidance and direction, we will prosper because His yoke is easy and His burden is light. There is a joy in obeying God that can not be explained until you try it. And believe me, I was probably as rebellious to this idea as any of you. And I do not always obey God, even though I know it would make my life a lot easier.
Imagine yourself with a rewarding career, both altruistically and financially. Imagine yourself giving tithes and offerings of a huge nature because God has granted your fantasy to become successful at work and in marriage. I can find no where in the Bible that these very common human fantasies are in any way offensive to our Lord. On the contrary, He says a workman is worth his wages (2). So work hard for your righteous dreams and God may very well give them to you. Even if God has other plans, He will not punish you for working hard at your chosen profession and for a successful marriage where both partners show mutual respect, kindness and even love.
But let us look at the pride of life version of this power fantasy. Suppose you fantasize about having the power of plenty of money so you can buy a bass boat, a big house and a fine car. And then you fantasize about having many conquests to encourage your spirit to love itself. The materialism part is not wrong if you are telling God you need this and such to use as a tool in your Great Commission work or even if you simply want to be comfortable so you have the time and the money to do volunteer work or give to charity.
But when Satan convinces you that keeping up with the Jones is the only way you will ever be happy, and you start to believe it, even as a Christian you are on dangerous ground. You might even get what you want, but one day Satan will hop up on your shoulder and say, “And you call yourself a Christian. My, my, all you do is work and slave to have more and more to be proud of and you never think of leading someone to Christ for the sake of their eternal soul. You, a Christian? Renounce that malarkey my successful man of the world and let’s buy some more land.”
Many things lead to the guilt necessary in a man or a woman’s life to make them renounce their acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Savior. None of them are expedient for that Christian. Obey the Lord’s guidance and direction and win the game. What you get on this earth is sometimes much and sometimes little, but when you leave this planet you have Jesus if you never lose the vision and righteous imagination that He will keep your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life after you accept the free gift of salvation (3). Your biggest Christian obedience is you simply don’t give up the fight.
The Lord has led me to Deuteronomy in the Bible. It is a chapter that contains the blessings of obedience to the 10 commandments and the cursings in store for you while you are in this world if you refuse. It has certainly made me think. I can imagine myself blessed for obeying them. Vulgar language and taking the name of the Lord God in vain stand in my way.
I am going to pray about this and put 100 percent of me into allowing and encouraging Jesus Christ to purge fowl language from my mouth. I have violated this commandment about taking the name of the Lord in vain so much in these 56 years it rolls off my tongue when I get angry before I even realize what I have done. That, I am sorry to say, is the very definition of addiction. Yes friends, I now realize how wrong I have been and I have asked God to forgive me and guide me away from such shameful acts.
Do I believe violating this commandment, or any commandment is a salvation issue like the legalists believe? No. But it obviously hurts the God I love and so it is time to stop. I believe any sin comes with consequences and I am tired of worrying so much about the basics of life and am ready to share my wealth. Of course, to share it, a fellow has to have some. From my readings, obeying the 10 commandments will be a great start toward God’s blessings beginning to flow in my life – and in yours.
Some of you share my besetting sin of cussing. Join me in my quest to purge it from my life. Let’s imagine ourselves talking just as straight laced as we would write a letter to a preacher. That just might help some of us bridle our tongues.
You can do all sorts of things with your imagination. It is the first step to turning goals and dreams into reality. An example of a man having to leave the poverty mentality behind to enjoy the blessings God had for him comes to mind.
I enjoyed the Happy Caldwell story about God telling him to buy an expensive suit of clothes that he shared on the television station VTN. Caldwell is the pastor and owner of that station. He said when God told him he would start VTN God told him to go buy an $800 suit. Happy, who was raised conservative and used to just making do, said he could not imagine himself wearing such a suit if he could buy it in good conscious. God told him if he could not imagine buying an $800 suit then he never would own one. And furthermore, he told Pastor Caldwell he would never start a television station for Christianity if he could not believe for a nice suit.
Happy believed for the suit and wore it with a thankful heart. Now he is the owner of a multi-million dollar television station known as Victory Television Network (VTN). In short, he imagined it, God blessed what Happy imagined and the God-inspired dream got financed. Happy trusted the right God.
That is what you and I have to do. We have to trust God enough to imagine what He inspires us to achieve in life. That could be a television station. It might be a magazine like this one. It is hard to tell. But we serve a limitless God. Let’s turn Jehovah God loose by trusting Him because it is the right thing to do, obeying those 10 commandments and letting God’s blessings flow in our lives. In short, there is more to being a Christian than living in a hell hole of confusion with a glimmer of hope that someday we will leave that hell hole for paradise.
Salvation and heaven can begin right here, if we but trust and obey the teachings of Jehovah God and his only begotten Son Jesus Christ. Sounds like a tall order? Yes it does. Personally, I believe I will enjoy working on that order. Or at least I am imagining I will and that is the first step.
SCRIPTURES
1) PRIDE GOETH BEFORE A FALL – Proverbs 16:18King James Version (KJV) 18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
2) A WORKING MAN IS WORTH HIS WAGES – Luke 10:3-8 King James Version (KJV) 3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. 5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.
6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. 7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:
1 Timothy 5:15-19 King James Version (KJV) 15 For some are already turned aside after Satan. 16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
18 For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
3) SALVATION IS A FREE GIFT – Romans 5:15King James Version (KJV) 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Romans 10:2-18King James Version (KJV) 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
Editor’s Note: I have imagined myself saved by the grace of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Living God Jehovah. And through the cross, God has placed my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life, as is promised in scripture. I call upon His Name, the Name of Jesus. As the old song says, put your hand in the hand of the man who stills the water. Amen.

 

Lawful, but
not expedient
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
While doing research on last week’s sermon on having a peace with God, I discovered a scripture I had never seen before concerning what is lawful for the Christian.
If my Bible is to be believed, and I am convinced it is, “Everything is lawful, but some things are just not expedient (1).”
This is a back handed way of saying you can get away with your old sins but if you don’t change your ways to be more like the example Jesus Christ gave to live, you will not be of much use to the Kingdom of God and more precisely the preaching of the Gospel. In other words, be expedient if you want to be an effective minister of the Great Commission.
Moreover, it probably won’t make you loose your salvation to do something like cuss out another driver who cuts you off from a parking place if you are a new covenant, Bible believing Christian man or woman, but if a non-Christian hears some vulgarity coming from your mouth you are fueling the devil’s fire and it is highly unlikely that person who heard your “road rage” will come to an altar from anything you might have to say.
Non-Christians judge Christians by the law because that is all of God they know – the law he sent to humanity by way of Moses. In specific, but not in its entirity, the 10 commandments.
And doing things to make people turn away from the Savior of Love, to be sure, is no way to thank God for saving you. Let’s look at this word expedient again. Now to me, to do something expedient toward a goal is to do something that will lead to that goal happening. If I have a sales meeting with myself, make out a list of advertising clients to see on a certain day and then print out the “spec ads” and business reports necessary to show said clients, that would be doing things that are expedient to me getting a sale. I may still not get that sale, but I have set the stage to where my percentages are better that it will happen.
It would follow that if the sale you seek is for somebody to come to Jesus Christ and ask for salvation, you should concentrate on improving your own integrity so as not to shame your position as an agent of the only Begotten Son of God. Let me say this. As long as you truly accept Jesus Christ, the blood he shed for your sins at the cross and his death, burial and resurrection, as is noted in Romans the eighth chapter and John, the third chapter, I can find no other requirements for your name to be permanently written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
But here is the deal. If you never learn what a Christian can do to thank a God that saves him or her, you will be concentrating on worldly pleasures with a devil at your shoulder trying to tell you God could not possibly find you innocent with all that you have done wrong since your salvation experience. This, of course, is not true. Jesus is quoted that he will never leave us. And, Jesus Christ says, “If you make your bed in hell, I will go with you.” But if you find yourself wanting in the good works department, and fall victim to the devil trying to convince you that you are never going to make it to heaven, Jesus or no Jesus, then that same devil might convince you to give up on Jesus Christ and tell Him to leave you.
If you do that, He will leave. You might live long enough to invite Him back in and try again, but then again you might not. If you continue life in a back-slidden, rejecting Jesus state of mind, my Bible tells me Jesus will turn you over to the reprobate mind you desire (2) and hell will be your home. In short, once you accept Jesus, He will not walk away from you. But you remain free to walk away from Him.
So it is very important, no matter how much you let yourself down and God down, that you never give up on thanking God every day for your salvation and keeping your eye on the ball of your beliefs. If you hang on to the end, God will forgive you of all of our sins (acts of disobedience) and the pure blood of Jesus Christ will still maintain your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life – which means you can still go to heaven. It has been said that some saints will be saved but all of their works shall burn up. Other saints will be saved and stars will be added to their crown.
My preacher, James McCain of Sycamore Church in Beirne, Arkansas, said this morning that Romans Chapter 8 was his favorite book in the Bible because it contains so much about salvation and why Jesus died so that we might avoid an eternity lost in a lake of fire. I agree with him. It is a beautiful chapter full of hope for the believer. We need hope. It leads to faith and then divine assurance. The Bible also says there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (3).
Jesus knows who we are. There are no secrets from the Three-Person Godhead. In this, I refer to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. All three are very influential in my day to day walk down the road of living here on this earth.
But preaching the Great Commission, even in print like this, will get a person attacked by the devil in some pretty strange ways. I have lost a couple of friends this week because they wanted me to drop another friend if I wanted to continue to be their friend. I don’t let people choose my friends. So I have not called that couple back. I have known that couple and enjoyed fellowship with them for 21 years.
I may go back and approach them in a month or more, but for now I just want to leave the situation alone. I have already forgiven them, but the black mail attempt really hurt my feelings. But I am reminded of a scripture where Jesus tells us, “They persecuted me. Is the servant greater than the master? No. So do not be alarmed when the persecute you.”
I stretch that to apply to my friendship situation. For some time now I have wondered what is wrong between me and them. But ever since they rejected me for wanting to remain friends with a guy who would not give them the $100 they wanted for a seat cushion, I have been thinking about our friendship. For years now, it has been growning stale. The time I spent over there got shorter and shorter, as I have changed my priorities.
But it would not be expedient in my Christian walk to abandon them. I will give them space and find a way to try to still be of some use to them – if they ever want to be friends again. But it would also not be expedient to give in to the black mail. My other friend, who they asked me to drop like a hot potato, has done nothing wrong to me. In fact, he even bought back my dream of being a professional writer for me a time or two when I dropped the ball and was not sure where to turn. I did not ask him to help. He just took the steps necessary to set me back on my chosen path.
This is where praying for the guidance and direction from my Savior Jesus Christ comes in. I pray for that guidance in love and in business. It helps me build trust in God and helps me to be as influential as possible when it comes to steering a person to salvation. Some of my business clients are saved, some are not. As Brother McCain says, only the individual knows if they have accepted Jesus as Savior in their heart of hearts. So when I enter an establishment, I ask God to give me the words that person needs from me today.
That does not always mean I will sell an advertisement to that person, but hopefully it does mean I can be a positive spot in his or her day. That is important to me. Life has enough folks come into our space that cause us stress. I don’t want to be another sore spot.
And you guessed it, for one reason, because being a sore spot in someone’s day would not be expedient to showing them a bit of Christian warmth.
Things that are expedient to getting the love of Christ across are not necessarily easy to do. I desperately need to sell on Tuesday of this week and Tuesday of next to make my bills. But a disabled friend needs a ride to the doctor or both days. I agreed to take Mike to the VA both times because it was the right thing to do. I trust God to make up those sales somehow.
I suppose it is probably easier for me to do something like that than it is for some of the folks I know. Don’t get me wrong, I want to succeed financially like most people. But if I have done what God told me to do, and the funds are not there when I think they should be, I look for what God is trying to teach me in this time of adversity.
I could jump up and down, shake my fist at the All Mighty and cuss like a sailor. And, admittedly, when I become aggravated enough, I have been known to do so. But when I reach a calmness, like where I am at right now, I no longer feel an anger toward God. I simply figure something different is about to happen for reasons only God understands. I then remind myself that God has always taken care of me and my needs, even when I was sure the sky was falling.
And the thought has occurred to me that when God lays something in our spirit we should ask Him to explain rather than run off half cocked and squawk about God saying this and that when we are not really sure of what the whole deal is. God told Sarah and Abraham they were going to have a baby and be the father of the Jewish nation. They assumed this would happen during Sarah’s child bearing years. God waited until she was elderly and did a miracle so she could conceive and give birth to a healthy son.
God told me repeatedly last year that 2015 was going to be my year of success. So far, due to mostly me not getting out and developing enough new clients, it has been tough to see how His message to me will come true. But it would not be expedient toward trusting God for me to throw up my hands and quit. I will trudge on and see what happens. I did ask God to convey to me somehow what he met by success? He has not done so yet, but I am sure He will explain it to me in His time.
I think about how much more important things there are in this world besides money and it makes me want to kick myself for getting so concerned about it. I met an old friend at a client’s place of business today. Richard told me my good friend Mark, who retired about a year back, does not have a life beyond going back and forth to the Hot Springs horse racing track… Mark is a personable man who was a good writer for many years. He is also a kind hearted soul.
I do not know the state of his eternal destination, but I can not help but wonder if he has accepted Jesus and if there is anything I could do to be an encourager in the matter? Perhaps I am answering my own question. For me, even though I would love to be debt free, the greater success would come if someone who had read one of these sermons contacted me and told me it led them to a salvation experience.
In other words, my actions need to be expedient toward spreading the message of the cross and if the success of being debt free also comes about it will be icing on that cake. One of the simplist requests God has given us in His word is to be thankful. And I have discovered that no matter how deep the valley, I can be thankful that God is right there with me, directing me to another mountain top in due season.
SCRIPTURES
1) ALL THINGS ARE LAWFUL FOR THE CHRISTIAN, BUT SOME THINGS ARE NOT EXPEDIENT TOWARD SPREADING THE GOSPEL –
1 Corinthians 6: 9-12 King James Version (KJV) 9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not EXPEDIENT: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
2) ACQUIRING A REPROBATE MIND – Romans 1:28-32 King James Version (KJV) 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
3) THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION IN CHRIST JESUS – Romans 8:1King James Version (KJV) 8 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
John 5:24King James Version (KJV) 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Romans 5:16King James Version (KJV)
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
Editor’s Note: We walk in the free gift of Jesus to the degree we understand it at the time. Paul said in his writings that we see in this life as a man looking through a glass, in part and that is all. We will see clearly what Jesus Christ really is in regard to perfection and glory when we meet Him in heaven. Moreover, the biggest and most expedient course of action we can take in this life is to ask Jesus Christ to come into our hearts and give us the guidance and direction to complete our Christian purpose on this earth.
It is my humble opinion that Jesus knew we would make mistakes, even sin after salvation from time to time. But He is the most excellent teacher. Although we learn every day a little more of the puzzle as to how to best promote the free gift of Jesus Christ, we are who we are. If there is no condemnation from Jesus Christ to those who refuse to give Him up as their personal Savior, then it would seem wise to not condemn ourselves for our mistakes, but rather strive to overcome them one by one until we draw our final breath.

 

The Peace
God Brings…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
There are many scriptures that talk about the peace that knowing God can bring. He is a God of mercy, or He would never have sent his only begotten Son Jesus Christ to save us from our just rewards from sin in a Lake of Fire.
The Word says nothing will enter the Kingdom of Heaven that has the remotest sin aroma. However, it also says that those in the Lambs Book of Life will enter in because of the pure blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross to pay for our sins for us. His pure blood puts our sins in the river of forgetfulness by covering it with divine purity. But we have to accept the free gift of salvation to have our name written forever in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Once we accept, peace will slowly seep into our worried lives.
After we have asked Jesus to come into our hearts, he goes to work on our old sinful nature and our attachment to this world of evil. Oh, we all have such an attachment. After all, this world is our home. But the longer we go down the path of righteousness that only God can take us, the more ashamed we are of our self-serving, human decisions. When we feel the shame, we can tell Jesus we are sorry and his forgiveness comes into our soul. There again, that produces a very peaceful feeling. Most of us made more bad decisions during the years before we asked God to forgive our sins, past, present and future through the miracle that Jesus Christ completed with His blood sacrifice on the cross.
I did not do much overcoming in my younger Christian walk. I kept making self-centered decisions for awhile, but that practice has gotten less frequent as the years have rolled by. As in the case of most children, my Father has gotten smarter somehow. It is not that God was not leading me. It was me. I was too stubborn to try His suggestions for way too many years. Then somewhere along the line I begin my quest to please the All Mighty that had secured me a future in the land of milk and honey. I learned to be thankful for my life and my salvation. Learning this has increased my peace.
One thing I heard in a recent sermon on VTN here lately that makes a lot of sense to me and gave me a bit more peace in my soul is that idea that sin does not send you to hell. What sends you to hell, according to Pentecostal Preacher Happy Caldwell at least, is not accepting Christ as your Savior. Even so, the wages of sin are still death. Sin clips opportunity in our lives and hurts God who would have it that we learn to obey Him in all of our ways and reap rewards in this life instead of more hard times.
It makes sense. Otherwise what would be the point of asking Jesus for help? The Bible says no drunkard or whore monger will enter the kingdom of heaven. I have done both in my day. But those sins, though I am now ashamed that they occurred, are under the blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, they are not seen as convicting factors when I face my judgment day. Instead, because Jesus was a man without sin and He died for me, I will receive a pardon for the afore mentioned sins, the sin of swearing and taking the name of the Lord in vain and many other sins too numerous to mention.
To gain a peace, at least in my estimation of things, a man or a woman must forgive themselves of their past sins once they have asked Christ with a sincere heart for a pardon. Then, when they make sin choices in their futures, they must forgive themselves for those wrong decisions and then use a little wisdom. Learning from mistakes is a good thing. It brings more peace. If that man or woman believes Jesus Christ has the power to wash those sins as white as snow (1) and that His mercy is real, then peace in one’s soul should follow.
I have come to the point where when I know that I know that an action of mine is sin, I ask God to forgive me and to help me overcome the temptation to repeat the indiscretion on a much better percentage than in my younger days. But don’t get me wrong, I still have much to overcome in my quest to be an obedient servant and friend to Mr. God.
I have vices in my life that I do not consider sin. If God shows me that smoking a cigar to stay awake and type my columns is a sin, I will do my best to find a reasonable, unsinful, substitute. So far, I have not seen anything in the Good Book to indicate God cares whether I smoke a cigar. Moreover, I do not consider it unwise to self-medicate this body in other ways if the result is more productivity for the Great Commission, for my family and for my quest to make a positive difference in my society.
Peace is often not an easy thing to gain; especially when things happen that do not make any sense. I have never really understand why my biological mother died when I was 17. I don’t know why my biological Dad does not seem to have any desire to be friends. I do not understand why my oldest daughter feels that way as well. Sure, I did some things when I was younger that looking back understandably made them mad or aggravated – or maybe even afraid of me.
But desertion seems a bit much. After all I am his son and her father. I would welcome either into my home and back into my life at any time. I am very grateful that my daughter Kelley and I seem to have a solid friendship and that she allows me to keep her three kids one weekend a month. It gives me a wonderful opportunity to know my grandchildren and that brings a peace to my soul of sorts.
While we may never know answers to some questions, the serenity prayer helps me to cope. It starts out like this; God give me the strength to accept the things that I can not change, the wisdom to change the less than helpful things I can and the understanding to know the difference. That may not be a quotable version, but you get my drift.
It has been nine years, as of 2015, when I began taking better care of myself and dividing my time between career and family, no longer giving way too much importance to making a positive difference in the world. I was obsessed with my career before that. My wife swears I still am, but my daughter Kelley recognizes there has been a big change. Oh sure, I am a writer and I love to write. And I will always want to make a positive difference whenever possible, but somewhere along the line I learned to smell the roses before they dried up…
I now cherish the moments I spend with my wife, children, grandchildren and friends in a much more rational proportion than I did as a younger man. I have gotten less concerned with being so accomplished and more concerned with showing love in my work as well as to my family and friends. That change in me has brought me considerable peace in my soul.
I have begun to believe God can change anything about us that does not fit His idea of a Christian man or a woman if we will just accept His prompting and let Him do the work necessary in our lives to accomplish the change at hand. I find that praying to God to show me what needs to be changed to make my words to you more effective in regard to encouraging you to seek salvation seems to be a step toward even a deeper peace for me.
My pastor, Brother James McCain, is a kind hearted soul. He sends comforting scriptures to those of us who want them faithfully every morning. I admit I do not always take the time to read them, but when I do I usually walk away with a little peace renewed inside of me and that makes the day go a lot better.
The Bible says do not forsake the assembling together with other Christians (2). I have mentioned in other sermons that finding a good, Bible believing church that teaches what Jesus Christ taught is a real plus for those of us who have accepted the Lord. Sure, I enjoy the serenity of fishing in the early morning – even on a Sunday from time to time – but I also love hearing a good Bible based sermon. Some of those sermons tickle my ears and comfort me. Other sermons wake me up and make me realize I must trudge on in my quest to be more Christ like if I ever hope to help as many folks find Jesus as I fully intend to do.
The biggest peace I have is the salvation that I accepted from Jesus Christ. Television preacher Andrew Womack likes to say that the law is a great measuring stick but the real reason God gave us the law was to make us realize we do need a Savior. No human could ever go by every letter of the law. I don’t care how good of a person you are, you do not have the power to place your own name permanently in God’s Lamb’s Book of Life. Only Jesus can do that (3). Only the only Begotten Son of the Living God Jehovah can lead us into eternal communion with Jehovah God. Jesus died, was buried and walked the earth again, defeating death in front of more than 500 witnesses. It is in the Word and I choose to believe God has left me an accurate road map.
Believing the miracle of Jesus Christ is a choice. The other choice is to minimize the sacrifice at the cross as some magic show by an admittedly great teacher. Choosing to believe the second way means you are throwing away the gift of salvation and the only hope you have of leaving this body and finding eternal peace in heaven. If I am wrong, I have lost nothing. Believing in Jesus Christ as my friend and personal Savior has added to my life. If I am right, and the critics are wrong, I get to go to heaven and they get to make hell their home…
A Christian physics professor of mine, Greg Swackhammer of Indiana, once told me a story about a group of scientist who planned to prove Jesus was a fake. Nearly a dozen men set out to do this. All of them accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and began to serve God the best they could. There is more evidence that Jesus is real than there is he is fake. No other religion has a leader that came back from the dead to give further help and direction. Again, the decision is yours. Is your cup half full or half empty?
I write this sermon to you on Martin Luther King day in my United States of America. I respect what Mr. King stood for, although I may not agree with everything he said. If I understand his words correctly, which I am certainly no history expert, King said all men are equal. I believe all men and woman are equally important in the eyes of God our Creator. But we are all different in many ways after that.
Some of us like to fish and play chess – and write a lot. Other people like to deer hunt and work at factories. That does not mean one fellow is better than another. I see King’s point though. We should all have equal rights in our society, but we all have very different likes and dislikes. I know people, black, white and Indian, who love accounting. I do not. To me, working with all of those numbers is a necessary part of being in business, but I can not say I like it.
Still yet, it gives me peace to remember the old saying that God did not make junk. His Word says whosoever will can ask and receive the salvation of Jesus Christ. And when a person does that, they join a train of thought that will benefit them all of the rest of this life and on into the next. Preacher Jimmy Swaggart once said on television that many folks will be surprised who is there in heaven with them when they go – and also who is not there…
I have heard it said there will be no more tears or sorrow once we reach heaven and those that did not make it will no longer concern our minds so I am not sure how much stock I place in Swaggert’s illustration, but I do get his point. Again, having a peace with God depends on accepting Christ and learning to trust Him no matter what hand of cards you draw in life. Some people have horrible burdens to bear. So far, I do not. Some people seem to have easy lives. So far, I do not.
I think accepting where we are goes a long way toward accepting the peace that God offers His children. The Lord knows your every thought and action and is the world’s best predictor as to what you will do in the future. But I think sometimes even God is surprised by us fickle human beings. Otherwise free will is a myth. Even so, when a fellow like me goes through door number two and passes up door number one, God is still with me. The Word says Jesus Christ will stick with you even if you make your bed in hell.
A VTN preacher said this morning that we can not make peace with God because He beat us to the mark. With the sacrifice of His Son, and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our personal Savior against the just punishment of sin, God has set the stage for us to have peace with Him because peace comes from repentance, acceptance and desiring to please God out of a grateful heart. The Bible says be thankful in all things. Contrary action to that has produced the phrase, “Those who complain remain.”
The first eternally oriented obedience is to realize we can not save ourselves through any amount of self sacrifice or man-made religious ritual. The problem is many of us have not realized peace is in the salvation package.
God sets the stage. He fights the battles for the believer. Stress and anxiety, which we all have to a degree, is of Satan. It is brought on by the feeling of helplessness that the devil loves for us to dwell upon. God’s peace is there for those of us who reach for it. But we must reach for peace where we are, not where we wish we were in life.
A lot of this sermon may seem like it goes round and round to you. Rereading it, I can understand how that thought might occur in your mind. Let me just come to the point here at the end. If you want to have a peace with God, seek first to know God, then develop a friendship that nurtures into trust. Once you do that, ask yourself if anything is bothering you? If you doubt your eternal destination at that point, read the book of Romans. If you choose to go down the Roman road to salvation, then you will find peace with yourself and peace with God All Mighty.
As a friend of mine used to say, “Give God and His ways a chance. If it is not your cup of tea, have no fear, Satan will gladly take you back.” But remember this, God is love. If it is love you seek, go to the water spout of Love. You will not find love by turning your back on its source.
SCRIPTURES
1) WASHING YOU WHITE AS SNOW – Isaiah 1:18 [Full Chapter] Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
1 Corinthians 6: 9-14 King James Version (KJV) 9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
2) DO NOT FORSAKE THE ASSEMBLING TOGETHER – Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
3) NO OTHER WAY TO THE FATHER – John 14:6-10King James Version (KJV) 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Editor’s Note: God has done the work for our lives and our futures after this life. To have peace, we must accept God’s Love and strive to spread it. Thus, the Chistianese saying, “And they will know we are Christians by our love.”

 

 

 

Being humble takes work,
but being arrogant shows
you won’t let God be boss
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
To seriously believe you have the power to move mountains on your own usually disappears after you fall on your face a few times in life.
But sometimes that ego persists. The Bible says pride goeth before a fall (1). I ought to know. I have been a proud person in my past and every time I got too proud, the fall came. Then somewhere along the line I realized my wife Michelle was right; a happy heart is a humble heart. We should thank God for the good things that evolve from our talents and hard work, but we should not allow the devil to convince us this or that could never have happened without our expertise.
Because if it were not for God starting our engines, we would stall out pretty fast. The Bible says it is Father God’s good pleasure to give us the keys to His kingdom, if we are His children. All you have to do to be a child of God is to accept Jesus Christ and His blood sacrifice into you and believe the miracle that Christ beat death so you can too!
Well now hold it. You also have to believe Jesus Christ was crucified, dead and buried. And on the third day he arose from the dead. Since the Bible says 500 people saw him walking around after he was supposed to have been dead three days, and a Roman soldier punched his dead body that spilt liquid after he died on the cross, this is not hard to believe – at least it was not hard for me.
That is, the story of Jesus rising from the dead is not hard to believe if you have but a little faith that this old life does not end with a slow moving hearse pointed toward a hole in the ground with a stone above it where your name goes… Getting saved sounds simple to me. Yet hell is bursting at the seams with people who tried to find another way to heaven without accepting that they needed the pure blood sacrifice of the Son of God to get their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life permanently.
One of my church friends in Assembly of God, now in heaven himself most likely, used to say that there will be many good people respectively split hell wide open… Buddy was right, in my humble opinion. Jesus says there is no other way to the Father but by Him (2). It might do all of us good to remember those words…
I have known many good people in my life who would never darken a church door. Some accepted Christ and that was their choice to stay on a fishing bank. It is between them and Jesus what they do after the salvation experience. Preachers in the Bible advise us not to forsake the assembling together but that is not an order. I know this because the Word of God also tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.
What happens to others who don’t accept God’s safety net and invitation to have their name written, and/or remain in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Well, the Bible plainly says what happens to them if they dive into eternity without the grace of Jesus Christ. They go to hell and wait for their final judgment, a lake of fire to torment their eternal soul forever. Strong preaching? You bet. I was not kidding last week when I said preaching is a battle, but it is a battle I personally accept.
So getting back to today’s subject, what does it mean to be humble? To me, it is the opposite of being full of one’s own value and self worth. I do believe we should use our talents to our maximum potential. But I believe we should never forget to thank our Creator for those talents and never forget to give God the credit.
Again, this is strong preaching for the likes of me. But God has inspired me to use a little fire today. Before I get on with a prideful fire, let me tell you something I heard on a Christian radio station today that humbled me. American Family Radio, in Arkansas where I live, has a lot of commentary on what other Christians face day to day. I heard them say that the latest statistics indicate that the generation who is getting married now has an 80 percent success rate.
Us Baby Boomers of the 1960s and 1970s had a 52 percent success rate in marriage. This is my fourth try and it has lasted 16 years, but I still live in fear that she will find someone better and off they will go on his white stallion. She assures me she won’t end our marriage, but I don’t really have a great wedded track record so I smile a nervous smile when she reassures me. I promised her I would stick with her and I have. She did the same and our love continues to grow. But the humble thing is this, my kids apparently know more about what it takes to keep a marriage together than I do!
And then there is this magazine. I was all fired up about having more readers in 2014 than I did in 2013 and thinking I was making progress in my expanded personal news coverage – even though I am a one-man-show running a publication designed for three workers. Then I did my tax evaluation for the year and discovered I was $3,000 short in 2014 from where I was at the end of 2013. But naturally I have more bills to pay because we bought our home late in life. We used to travel a lot and expenses were very minimal on the road. Yep, you guessed it, when I discovered I had made less in 2014 than I did in 2013 I hung my head in shame and humbleness and began to pray to God for direction with my business.
I started listening for answers that might be right in front of me. God seems to do that with me. He lets me ignore the obvious until it becomes the necessary. I started going over my sales time and pattern. And I realized I have six blocks of time to sell. They are the morning and afternoon hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Last year I was lucky to actually solicit sales in four of them on an average business week. No wonder my funds grew slim…
So my biggest New Year’s Resolution, and promise to myself, is to use all six blocks, every week, in 2015 and keep praying for God’s guidance and direction. That, my friends, was one humbling resolution. It would have been nice to blame the economy, blame the president or blame my cat. But the fact is, it was me who botched the job. My time management slacking has become a serious problem to my income. So, today I sold in the morning, ate, and sold in the afternoon.
I only have 48 more issues to publish, counting this one, in 2015, where I need to keep on managing my six blocks of sales time – whether I want to watch a TV show – or even write an article during that time – or not.
Between realizing I need to do a better job pleasing my spouse and also running my business, Nelson should have ample reason to remain humble this year… Frankly, I am glad because God can work with a humble man or a humble woman a lot easier than if we go on believing the lie that we can handle everything and don’t need His input. The Word of God says prosperity for the wicked ends in a season. But for a Christian, God wants us to be prosperous the rest of our life. It is up to us to humbly question Him as to how that is to be accomplished and then to follow his directions.
I gave you a slice of life about my marriage and my business because many of you also have marriages and businesses and when something is talked about that a person can relate to he or she is more likely to get something out of the conversation.
Others have relationships and jobs instead of marriages and careers and/or businesses. It amounts to the same thing. You are trying to take comfort in another person and in doing your best to be a contributing member of society. Some of you do not have either challenge before you. You have resolved to live alone. Your working years, if you ever had them, are over. Some, of course, have been so disabled they could not work for gainful employment.
If you fall into any of these other categories besides trying to maintain a life with a significant other and an business/career or job, I am sure there are still things in your life you would like to improve. So take your baby steps to do so quickly. We may pray for tomorrow but we are not promised it.
But getting back to the preaching, as I have said to you in many other sermons, you may choose to ignore trying to improve your life. You can even choose not to be humble if you like to get slapped down because you are too full of yourself. But please don’t ignore salvation. Jesus said take my yoke, it is easy (3).
I believe he was comparing us to oxen who are yoked with a type of harness that allows the farmer to safely guide the beast between the ditches. In comparison, Jesus wants to drive us through our problems and keep us productive instead of lying in a ditch of life somewhere spinning our wheels.
From one who is feeling probably too humble right now because of an extremely hard day without the expected reward, I can tell you this much. I am glad Jesus is in my heart right now to give me a hug. Oh sure, I could go get my wife to give me one and she probably would. But frankly, just now, I need a hug from my Savior.
I went to a basketball game and took some photos for Tailgate News on Monday night. Back in the day, there would have been several photographers there from competing publications. I was the only one doing photos, at least as far as I could tell. I enjoyed the experience, as always, but felt a little sad. I realized that even though I have converted an old style publication to the web, I am still putting out a 1990 or before style magazine. My training, and my experience, are dated. It happens to everyone. I do not feel unique, just sad.
I miss the simple times and I miss being a journalist who traveled from town to town because the demand for my skills was high and I was above average in my performance – or so I have been told by most of my bosses years ago. One guy denied that. And one guy doubted it. But you are going to get a critic now and then when you move as often as I did.
When I was on the road, I never had to worry about financing a house, nice cars, too many credit cards etc. All I had to do was worry about eating and keeping a temporary roof over my head. But acquiring the “normal” things in life, these past 10 years especially, has made me humble. I realize now what it means to worry about the cares of this world. Jesus warns us in His Word not to get too wrapped up in those cares. I am still working on that one.
On another subject, the latest statistics says yelling pushes people away. My daughter said it made her come to tears when she read this statistic because yelling in anger was bred into her. That, as I see it, was my fault. I passed on to her by example a trait that had been passed on to me in the same way. I did not mean to pass on to her anything bad, but when you raise a person you give them your good and your bad. Perhaps she will determine in her heart to give up yelling as a stress release. She is a Christian and so perhaps God will honor her determination. I am of the belief that God can change a person’s very character and make-up; an ability I firmly believe we human beings lack.
I just try not to yell in public or direct it at others anymore. I do. I still yell if you push me far enough down the anger scale. I admit it humbles my spirit that this seems to be something in me only God can cure. In my defense, I try and put yelling in anger in the same category as my beer drinking or cigar and/or pipe smoking. I still do that stuff to unwind, but I try not to impose my ways on others.
There are exceptions. Those people get the “real me” if that is what they choose. But respecting the wishes of others is something I have learned is much better than imposing them to my unpleasant side. I don’t mind the restriction anymore. I used to, but then I realized that forcing my dark side around others was not only rude but very un-Christ-like. Oh sure, I have heard the speech from other Christians about how I was supposed to “change” in a quick time frame. That preaching humbles me too because it sure never happened that way for me.
I am what I am and I pray to God that He changes me for the better every day. I want to be a more effective spouse, father and grandfather. I want to be a better journalist. And I want to be a better friend. But more than all of these, I want to be a better preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In my humbleness about my still less than perfect life and habits, I take comfort in the scripture that we are all on that potter’s wheel and God shapes us every day. How He shapes us depends on what we spiritually unleash to our Creator as His grounds for change. God is a gentleman. He will only change what we want Him to. I am working on that, in prayer and humbleness.
Many Christians, and non-Christians a like, would like to judge a fellow like me as wrong in the way I live my life in the best way I know how. I respect their opinions. I simply choose to not accept them at face value. Oh sure, that is an unpopular path. But here is the deal. I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior at 15. They can say what they want but they can not take that away from me.
When you go to the altar, it will be the same with you. You will have a diamond in the rough that even when God Himself humbles you and you feel lower than a snake’s belly, nobody can take your salvation away from you but you. And you had better not give up. Hang on to your gift of salvation until the very end of your days.
As the Word says, keep your faith in Jesus Christ to save you until your last breath and He will remember you. You will hear the words, “well done, my good and faithful servant.” And as you live, you may put more and more of the old you into a box in your closet as I have. Who knows, maybe someday God will complete our overcoming while we are yet on earth and He will direct both you and me to get that box of “stress relievers” out of the closet and burn it… If He does, I have faith he will replace that box with a divine stress release system that never fails. When He gives me that degree of strength and determination, I will not mind the change.
In the meantime, you and I would be wise to bear our crosses of imperfection and keep going. down the path of life that includes thanking God for our every breath and doing all we have the strength to do toward the Great Commission of God. Your personal desires while on earth are yours. The grit of them makes you who you are. You can even try and keep all of your “bad habits” a secret. Good luck with that. But remember what Jesus told folks about secrets. He said they will be shouted from the roof tops! We as Christians are to be creatures of light. And if we do what we do without apology, I believe the light of God will make us better people as we go. It humbles me to think how far I have to go in my Christian walk, but it does not really scare me. I am what I am and to that I plead guilty. The first step to any positive change is to admit a shortcoming and ask God to help you overcome it.
SCRIPTURES
1) PRIDE GOETH BEFORE A FALL – Proverbs 16:18King James Version (KJV) 18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
2) THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO THE FATHER BUT BY ME – John 14:6King James Version (KJV) 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
3)JESUS SAID TAKE MY YOKE, IT IS EASY – Matthew 11:26-29King James Version (KJV) 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Spreading the
Gospel is a
hard battle…

By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
By the time you read this it will be 2015 and most of us will have already given up on our New Year’s Resolutions involving personal improvement – unless we have asked God to help us make some small but permanent changes.
If we have, then we are in battles about self-improvement, but we have the best partner in the universe; Jehovah God! As I have stated before, I talk a lot to the human side of God – that is to His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. In response, it is my belief that, in His way, my God answers my questions and gives me his opinions on my comments. Have I ever heard God’s voice from a cloud or something? No, that is not my gift. I do believe it is possible. It has just never happened to me – yet. But I do believe the Holy Ghost slips the answers to my questions into my mind.
Although it is my opinion from reading the scriptures that Jesus Christ was sent here to save us from our sins, that is save us from the negative eternal results of said sins, I also believe God learned a lot about human nature by occupying directly a human body for 33 years. Our Main Line to the God head of Father, Son and Holy Ghost is the Holy Ghost, but the memory of Jesus, accumulated from His years down here, has to count for something. Otherwise, how would God know what it is like to smell a rose from a human nose, or feel hot after a long day of walking through desert sand?
On the other hand, we were created in the image of God, according the Christian Bible. And we are talking about God. Still, I believe even if God has a body he was never in the body of one of us weak mortals before Jesus Christ – that is never was the first soul of that human body. Ok, so I am weird. Now back to the sermon.
In short, God knows what we are going through as we trudge through our less than perfect lives. Since history, and faith, record Jesus Christ as the only perfect and sinless man, we have the best guide in the world for self-improvement. We also have the best guide in regard to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
But doing so is a battle. In today’s world, with ISIS and other Satanic organizations getting so much publicity, becoming too scared to call a spade a spade is probably even more common than it was a few decades back.
The main purpose of this week’s sermon is to inspire pew sitting Christians, and those of us who know we are doing some but probably not enough, to find some additional way in our lives to spread the love of Jesus Christ.
I was invited by a good friend to help out at the local food bank. Although I am not sure I have the time to take away from my career and family obligations, I am considering his motion. I have found that some of the most rewarding experiences I have had in this life take place when I step out of my comfort zone.
Our Bible tells us God will not dwell with us always, but the allotment of time he gives to each man or woman who is pleased to take it averages about 120 years (1). That is a Nelson interpretation, but you can read our scripture section at the bottom of this sermon to get a more accurate reading of what the Lord has to say about age. I personally have put in a bid for 125 years, 9 months and 12 days. I know that sounds off the wall, but I have my reasons.
Now if God comes for my soul earlier than that, so be it. I have had a colorful life and a good life. The good has far outweighed the bad. But at 56, I feel the urge to fight. I do not mean a fist fight or bar room brawl. I mean I want to fight to keep the freedom in the United States to preach our gospel and I want to at least continue preaching it through this digital magazine every week.
I mentioned the Islamic State (ISIS) folks earlier. This group makes my heart ache with pity. Who in their right mind would allow the enemy to convince them to join an organization where if you preach its doctrine three times to someone else and they refuse to join you are supposed to kill them? We as Christians, so Christianize of old tells us, are to love the sinner and hate the sin.
If some dude is standing there with a huge knife, about ready to cut my head off, it would be very hard for me to react in love. But the possibility of those circumstances happening to active Christians is greater every day – even in the United States. This is especially true with the apparently slack screening going on at the Texas border. So again, if you are going to cheer for Jesus, get ready for hell on earth. The devil’s people do not seem to be so quiet or peaceful anymore.
The devil knows his time grows short, and he knows a lake of fire awaits him as his final judgment. Therefore it would seem Satan has more and more motivation to manipulate souls into joining him than ever before. By the same token, when Jesus Christ walked this earth, I am sure He found even worse receptions at times than we do because Satan saw what he interpreted as an opportunity to stop God’s plan of salvation.
There is a place in the Bible where some people sought to kill our Lord and He simply walked through the crowd and mysteriously got away from them (2). Pontius Pilot did not want to crucify a man of peace, which is what he seemed to think our Lord Jesus Christ was. But crowd pressure pushed Pilot into having Jesus beaten and crucified.
Jesus also says in the Bible, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute those who believe in me and follow my teachings(3).” Again, that is a Nelson interpretation, but it is easy to tell Jesus Christ was a soldier with a mission rather than some wimpy sort of guy who backed down at the first threat of violence or worse.
I believe that is why it is a wise decision for any man or woman following Christ to do all they can to choose His ways instead of our own. Many have preached that our ways die at the point of salvation. I love the Lord, but not all of my ways have died. I will agree that my old way of looking at life died. I do not think I am unusual. God saved me, not some robotic version of myself. But by the same token, we learn from hanging out with our friends as well as through the experiences we accumulate over the years. And if Jesus becomes our friend, His teachings will eventually change our actions – if we open our hearts to such change.
The comment in the Bible, or so I have been told is in there, about Jesus being the potter and us being the clay would indicate to me that we are indeed a work in progress. As I have stated many times before in this commentary, I believe that the last time a person is tempted to sin is right before he or she draws their last breath. But again, that is a Nelson interpretation and a non-salvation issue in my mind.
If I believed that I was automatically going to quit sinning and be a perfect creature in Christ after salvation, I would continually be asking God to save my soul over and over again. I personally can not help but believe that a life of angelic perfection would be too hard to maintain for any human being and therefore most of us would question what it was we must do to be “really saved.” After all, if angelic like behavior was expected of the Christian, indeed who could be saved?
As to my Bible on salvation, it says who so ever will may come to the Lord and ask for His gift of salvation and it will be granted. I take that to mean it is at that point our names are written in that Lamb’s Book of Life. And that Book is the only pardon for sin that I have ever heard of or read about.
Then there is the question of whether or not salvation is a license to keep on sinning. Paul tells us it is not. It is, however, a pardon from the eternal consequences of said sin, plus the mind of Christ we receive during the salvation experience encourages us not to continue in sin as a lifestyle. There is one sin that can not be forgiven, according to the Word of God. That is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. While it is unclear in the Word to me what exactly constitutes that sin, the Bible does say we can renounce our gift and deny Christ.
This does not mean you are a goner if you go through a stage of doubt in your faith. But, to me, it means if you once accepted salvation down deep in your soul and then later got so engrossed in the cares of this world that you started telling people you were wrong and that the story of salvation was just a myth – even though God had revealed the truth of it to you – then that would be blasphemy against the Holy Ghost of God. My best advice on discovering what blasphemy against the Holy Ghost really is, is to pray about it and study it out in the scriptures for yourself.
I believe once you have felt the real power of God running through your veins, proclaiming it a myth should be unthinkable to you. God’s love is that strong – at least it is in me.
So as you soldier on in your quest to serve Jesus here on earth, out of thankfulness and love, don’t be too hard on yourself. If Jesus pricks your conscious to quit something, quit it if you have the strength. And if He asks you to quit a thing, then you do have that strength… But only you can exercise it. Nobody can quit your bad habits and sinful ways for you. Only you can turn the key that the presence of Jesus Christ in your life has given you.
And this brings us to another point about being a Christian soldier. So far we have gone around the barn to illustrate a soldier’s old adage called, “Know your enemy.” In the case of a Christian, Satan and his sinful pleasure imps are the enemies. Don’t get me wrong, pleasure is not your enemy, only the disobedient use of it. For example, God does not say do not enjoy sex. God says enjoy sex only with a committed partner. In the United States, this usually means your legal marriage partner.
But our Bible talks of men who have more than one wife. Apparently, at least in times of old, it was OK to unite with more than one woman and become one flesh with more than one woman. The stipulation was you would then provide for all of your wives and children. I am not of the Mormon faith, but I can not say it is anti-Jesus.
In my country, the United States of America, bigamy, that is having more than one spouse at a time, is illegal. I leave it to you to decide whether it is anti-Christian. Again, adultery is against the Word of God. Fornication is also described in a way that most of us would call it sin – that is disobedience to God’s plan for the family unit. But polygamy is not something I find to be addressed in any negative way in the Bible. I am sure if other preachers read this, they may take exception to that. All I can say is bring me the scripture and we will go by it.
So in addition to knowing our enemy, we need to know Jesus Christ and His ways like the backs of our hands. If a soldier does not know what his leader is all about, it would be very difficult to promote that leader with any effectiveness.
Remember, with every time you obey what Jesus says in the Bible is the way to live, then you will be blessed of God with more and more tools, and your strength will mount to go further in your own attempts to prompt someone to seek the salvation of Jesus Christ.
The Year 2015 promises to be even more financially challenging for us worker bees than 2014 – as we have two more years of an essentially leftist, socialist type, leader in President Barack Obama.
Contrary to what some think, I believe now that the Congress leans more toward capitalism, that should slow Obama down in his attempt to socialize our country – that is discourage our young people from reaching for their dreams because getting those dreams in a socialist world means being forced to spread individual wealth and gaining very little additional means to support our own families, friends and charities.
Again, this is just my opinion. Believe what you will about our nation’s political turns, but do not neglect the most important decision of your life – to accept the gift of salvation from Jesus Christ.
Because whether I am right about Obama hurting our country during his presidency, or history proves me wrong, one thing I know in my soul that I am right about is if a man or woman leaves this earth without accepting Jesus and His pure blood salvation gift, that man or woman, no matter how good in the eyes of others, will split hell wide open.
The first two points of being a Christian soldier are knowing your enemy the devil and secondly knowing the character and essence of your Savior Jesus Christ. The third is not being afraid to tell people what Jesus stands for, even if they seem offended to hear it. We are not telling them they are bad people in our eyes. We love the sinner and hate the sin. And therefore, we as Christian soldiers, once we know that something is a disobedient, offensive sin against Jehovah God, have the obligation to warn others of the possible ramifications of their actions. But remember, sinning does not send you to hell. Not accepting Jesus as your Savior and sole means of being pardoned for those sins sends you to hell.
The Indians say do not judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins. We have all walked a mile in our own moccasins. God says work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. This tells me repentance is important. I believe we need the Lord as our Savior for more than fire insurance. We need to be with our Creator now and forever because we love Him. If we are simply trying to avoid an eternal spanking, God may save you like that but I believe He will show you there is a lot more to being a Christian than that in the long run.
Remember, if one thing you say prompts a sinful person to accept Christ in their lives, then your reward is great and more importantly, that individual has a serious opportunity to begin life a new. They have a friend that they can take all of their problems to in prayer, and an encourager who will never give up on even the guy or girl who stumbles and falls time after time but still holds on to the blessed hope.
When you are tempted to give up on someone ever accepting the Lord, just consider what your life would have been like if your Christian friends had given up on you before you went to that altar of salvation. The Word says there will come a day when a sinner who refuses the gift of salvation will be turned over to a reprobate mind – the mind of Satan. But we are not God. Therefore, let us not forsake even the most rank sinner. Fight on Christian soldiers and one day you will hear a voice saying, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
SCRIPTURES
1) LIVING 120 YEARS? Genesis 6:1-3King James Version (KJV) 6 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3 And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
Psalm 90:10-12King James Version (KJV) 10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.
12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Editor’s Note: It sounds to me like there is no real stipulation of time each man has on earth, but that God is telling us that it will not be forever that we live in this world. Therefore a wise man prepares for each day of life and also comes to the realization that even our next breath is not guaranteed so the big thing is to do all you can for the good of the Great Commission and will of Jehovah God.
2) JESUS ESCAPES ADVERSITY – Luke 4:28-32King James Version (KJV) 28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. 30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way,
31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. 32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.
3) IF THEY PERSECUTED ME, THEY WILL YOU ALSO – John 15:18-22King James Version (KJV) 18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.
Matthew 5:9-13King James Version (KJV) 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Editor’s Final Note: Stay salty. Keep stating what you know to be true. All sin has earthly consequence… But the saddest consequence is when a man or woman refuses to drink the eternal antidote; that is accepting the Lord Jesus Christ and His blood sacrifice to be sure of an entry in the Lamb’s Book of Life – a ticket to heaven.
Accepting Jesus also brings you a peace with God on the inside while you yet dwell on earth. As the Word says, those whom Christ has set free are free indeed!

 

 

Keeping your
promises to God…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I am a person who makes very few promises to people or to my God. When I do, I try my best to keep them. But yes, I have broken promises to people.
I am trying to think if I have ever promised Jesus Christ anything that I did not do my best to deliver… Not that I know of. I do realize I should probably promise him that I will eat better, quit smoking and stop drinking beer. I have never promised anything of this nature regarding those bad habits except to cut back on all three and to continue what I call a lifestyle instead of an all work and no play existence. Sure, there are other ways to have fun, but my view is I like to do what I know to be fun as long as it does not hurt anyone or bring me to the point of death.
While fishing, I generally drink coffee and water and still have a great time. But when I sing, I like a few beers. When I work on my writing, I enjoy smoking my pipe and puffing on cigars. So far, none of this has caused me to slow down. I am a vitamin freak and that is probably one reason my writing pace is as good as it is.
As to eating the wrong foods, I am frankly not solvent enough, or knowledgeable enough on how to avoid this sort of thing. And another reason I will not avoid it is taste. If I am going to eat, it is going to taste good. So therefore, I have never promised God I would do anything about this extra 40 pounds I carry except to slowly but surely eat less and exercise more to get rid of it someday.
So here I am, writing about promises to God. A good friend of mine was called to preach in front of a church body. She refused. She preached in her gospel music and also through her poetry and I am sure she promised to love God all of the days of her life. She was still saved by grace in my opinion, but never did preach behind a pulpit. I don’t think she promised to do that but I do believe she promised to do what God called her to do to the best of her ability.
I have made that last promise myself. This sort of gives God an open hand as to what to call us to do. She refused his call to preach because her mother said it was not a fitting thing to do for a woman. In her generation, respect for your parents was very important. Ruby died in her 90’s. She could not walk her last 20 or so years. I believe her ability to walk was taken away because of her disobedience in regard to becoming a full-time Christian preacher.
The Bible says everything we do has either a reward or a consequence. If God ever tells me to quit smoking cigars and my pipe, I will have to consider the consequences of disobeying Him. I do believe He is the source of the check in my spirit about cigarettes. They have papers and glue that are about as dangerous as the nicotine itself and even more so when it comes to causing cancer. I smoke one now and then if a friend offers, but I have only bought one pack in 15 years. That was because the area I was in did not sell my cigars.
For me, if I decided to go back to cigarette smoking on a regular basis, I believe my health would suffer as a consequence. For the next guy, it may be sweets God has taken from him or her. The big thing here is if you promise to do what God calls you to do and it goes against your grain, think twice on it.
King David of the Bible refused to go to battle when God told him to go. He checked out a pretty woman taking a bath and ended up having an affair with her, getting her pregnant and then having her husband Uriah put in harm’s war in battle so he could marry Besheba.. As a result of the disobedience, their first baby died. King David made his peace with God and he had a good marriage to Besheba after that, but there were consequences to the unGodly way he got his bride. Was the death of their baby a direct result of their adultery and murder? The Bible leads me to believe it was.
All I know is people who promise God something and do not do it are probably making the wrong Person mad. Christianize says, “Woe unto the man who falls into the hands of an angry God (1).” I can not find that quote in God’s Word, but I did find several scriptures to support the sentiment. God is love and that is a fact. But God can still get mad at someone who breaks a promise to Him, especially in the area of disobedience.
At this point, I am called to write a weekly sermon for the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News for as long as my cognitive and physical abilities allow me to do so. I am honored at this calling and I have been doing it now for nearly 2 years. God has blessed me for it.
But let’s look at the salvation promise Jesus Christ made us. Jesus said it was a free gift for who so ever will ask God to come into their heart and take up residence, confessing that they were sorry for their sins and that Jesus is a miracle worker in that on the third day He rose from the dead.
No where, that I can find, does it say, if you want to be saved you will live a perfect life after accepting the gift. We try and fail. But when God tells us to stop something, if we keep trying to dump out on that particular sin, we will eventually strip it from our desires because of our love for Jesus Christ. That, of course, is my opinion.
The Word of God also says a man or a woman should work out their own salvation with fear and trembling (2). To me, I take this to mean that just because God told me to quit buying packs of cigarettes that is no sign that I have the right to impose my standard on you.
In another passage, Jesus Christ is quoted as saying to remove the beam from your own eye before attempting to remove a splinter from the eye of your brother (3). He also told the man who had no sin in his life to throw the first stone at the woman who was caught in the act of committing adultery. Nobody stoned her. Instead, they walked away in shame.
This is a Christmas and New Year’s sermon, as the Tailgate News will be out of print on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2, resuming the every Friday schedule on Jan. 9. So let me say this, New Year’s Resolutions, that is promises to ourselves, are one thing. We can break such resolutions with little or no consequences. But if you are a Christian, and you promise God (and yourself) you will eat one sandwich instead of two sandwiches a meal, you had better think twice before eating that second sandwich in 2015 and beyond.
If you realize you can not keep your Word to God, don’t give Him your word. If you promise God something and then realize it is going to be next to impossible to do, the best thing to do is do it anyway. If you simply can’t, ask Him to forgive you and to have mercy with you on the extent of the consequences to follow.
There is another illustration in our Bible that backs this view. Jesus taught in parables. In once such teaching he said a man who refused to do a task but then turned around and did it, would be more likely to please a boss than the fellow who said sure he would do such and such for his boss and then never did.
In the business world I rarely tell a fellow I will call them back. But when I do say it, I try my best to make that telephone call. I do this mostly because I want to build trust with my advertising clients. Now other people, on the other hand, tell me quite frequently they will call me back and then don’t do it. In fact, this happens so often, when a person tells me they will call me back I automatically count it as a lie.
If they do call me back, I give them a golden star in my mind. My grandfather taught me that a man might get so hard in life that someday knowing a hit man could be an advantage. After getting my attention with a statement like that, he followed it up by saying no man will ever have a use for liar. Grandpa admitted running moonshine from Illinois to Indiana in his younger days and to having some association with the John Dillinger gang. He was an old farmer who lived through the Great Depression and hated seeing other people suffer. Besides that gunfighter logic, we as Christians need to be trustworthy souls.
If you can not trust me to call you back when I say I will, how can you trust me when I preach to you that Jesus Christ is an honest soul who really did make a perfect blood sacrifice on a cross long ago so that you and I can join Him in heaven some day by having our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life – and there will be no need for a separation between the Creator and the created?
We need to keep our promises to mankind as well as to God. So this year, please don’t make any New Year’s Resolutions unless you are willing to keep them. Making them and coping out makes you look like an untrustworthy scoundrel in the eyes of those you are trying to lead to salvation. And in the end, God wants Christians to be people of integrity. He wants them to lead the unsaved to salvation by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior. He wants His Christian soldiers to make a commitment of doing their best to spread the Great Commission so that the men and the women of the world may find peace and live life knowing the joy of the Lord.
When your source of money is God, even if your business fails you will find the strength to go on. It is much harder to give up on a perfect and all powerful deity than it is to give up on yourself. I am a blessed man in so many ways. And I trust God, although Satan constantly tries to get me not to in the area of finance and in the area of my love life. God assures me in His Bible I will be become solvent in my money matters and he will teach me how to be a good steward of my fiances so I can stay that way – if I obey His guidance and direction.
God also tells me I have a lot of love in my life, that is for my spouse, family and friends and that by giving out love I will receive love and not be so lonesome in this old hard hearted world. I believe all of that stuff, yet there is a part of me that constantly prays, “God, I believe you, but please help me minimize my unbelief.”
I am human and therefore still experience doubt from time to time, especially when the “fun falls through and the rent comes due, somewhere down the line.” That was a line from an old Billy Joel song, but it is a truism. If I ever get to the point where adversity does not make me slow down and doubt my God, I will be a big step ahead in the business of overcoming fears that slow down my success.
I am getting there. When I am having a hard time making a bill, Satan hops up on my shoulder and says, “Ok Ace, where is your God now?” I tell him devil if I can trust God to save me and keep my name in the Lamb’s book of Life, surely I can trust Him to grant me a way to earn the money to pay my debts as they come due. Now I am not saying I always do, but when I have my doubts as to God’s promise to take care of me as he does the sparrows, I have to say His perfect record of doing so has yet to be broken!
Joyce Meyers, one of the television evangelists I listen to from time to time, says we worship an on time God. She also stipulates that He is rarely early, but always on time.
This philosophy has gotten me to the point where I do work harder to get my monthly bills paid in a timely enough manner to be able to save during that last week of the month. My discipline for savings has a lot to be desired. To take care of that, I am going back to having an investment company auto draft $100 a month from my checking account in January. I can promise you that if I never have to touch that money for an emergency, it will still be accumulating interest and growing until I retire. I intend to let it keep growing then too, but I do plan to take a few thousand out for a vacation as my reward for leaving it alone, should I find myself seven decades old and still healthy enough to enjoy a tour of our great United States.
We will see how I do toward keeping this promise of leaving my investment alone. I did this Edward Jones thing before and ended up using the money to help buy my house. I chose to invest in some basic improvements on the house and discontinued the savings. I am now ready for having money to do other things besides home improvement.
I said that to say this. In my case, it is easier to keep a promise to God, who I know could make this body a decaying lump at a whim, than it is to keep a promise to myself, when I know I do not intend to directly destroy myself.
Before I was saved, I remember bargaining with the devil. I wanted evil things and so I would agree to do such and such if I could convince so and so to go sin sexually with me… The devil will usually cooperate with you if he thinks the bargain will lead you deeper into the self deception that you are surely not a good enough person to ask Jesus to save your soul and expect Him to keep your name in that Lamb’s Book of Life.
Bargaining does not seem to be an option with me in my relationship with the Lord. I believe it is because I tend to overload myself. If I were to say, Lord, if you will help me pay my monthly bills and come out a few dollars to the good, I will read my Bible at least three hours a day, there has never been a confirmation dropped in my spirit for such a proposition. God knows the devil, though things that just sort of come up, would keep me from doing my part of the bargain and so he does His thing some call checking the spirit. It is that still small voice that says inside your head, “Be careful of over shooting your abilities with a prideful pledge.”
The proper way for me to approach God in the above example seems to be to say, Lord, you know I need to come out ahead this month and every month. I am asking you for that, knowing full well you can make it happen and I probably can not. I remind you that your Word says it is the Father’s good pleasure to give His children the keys to the kingdom. That kingdom includes peace and prosperity for the born again Christian.
By saying it that way, without offering to deliver some empty promise, I have simply given God the go ahead to bless me and mine as a tool to give me more time to glorify Him through a testimony. Now that, to me, is one thing God wants, our testimonies of success.
SCRIPTURES
1) MAN FALLING INTO GOD’s ANGER – Psalm 94:21-23King James Version (KJV) 21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. 22 But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.
23 And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off.
Psalm 7:7-16King James Version (KJV) 7 So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about: for their sakes therefore return thou on high. 8 The Lord shall judge the people: judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me. 9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
10 My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart. 11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. 12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. 13 He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors. 14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. 15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
16 His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.
Matthew 18:7-12King James Version (KJV) 7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. 12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
2) WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH FEAR – Philippians 2:10-15 King James Version (KJV) 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.
3) REMOVE THE BEAM FROM YOUR OWN EYE – Matthew 7:2-6 King James Version (KJV)
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Editor’s Note: After writing this sermon, it occurs to me that the most important promise a Christian can make to Jehovah God is to obey His guidance and direction at all costs. This is very heavy and does not need to be taken lightly. For if you pledge it and can not for fill it, who is to say, that like Judus, you too will not seek to take your own life and renounce salvation?
So if you are reading this, consider what I say. Do not promise God what you can not deliver. To promise to always obey God when you are yet in a carnal body would be suicide to our salvation to most of us because we do not have the fortitude of Jesus Christ to back it up. This of course, is Nelson talking. The most important thing to Nelson is that you love Jesus Christ and do your best to serve Him in love of Him, yourself and others. Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year!

‘Foolishness of
the Cross’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I listened a little more closely this morning to my pastor’s sermon and started thinking about what he said on how we worship a God that loves us so much that when the whole human race turned to sin and away from Him our God Jehovah provided us with a way out of the just punishment.
This gives a little different twist to current political correctness saying we should all get what we are “entitled to.” If God felt that way, everyone of us would be entitled to, and receive, an eternity in hell’s lake of fire!
Stop and think about that. A sinless man hanging on a cross for a lost and dying world of sinners who have the good sense to accept the gift is true love!
Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the only begotten Son of Jehovah God who was that man on the cross of salvation long ago, according to at least some historical accounts, was born on Dec. 25 more than 2,000 years ago. Yet He is still the most talked about person on the planet. According to my religion, Christianity, Jesus was born of a virgin and walked this earth for 33 years as the only sinless man to ever be here before or since.
We Christians believe Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, who was engaged to a fellow named Joseph. Joseph was going to break the engagement over an apparent infidelity, but God came in a dream and told Joseph about the divine insemination. The Father of Jesus is the Holy Ghost of God. That is how I choose to believe it and in my mind this is the truth.
No, I was not there. But I have faith that God, who is perfect, made this perfect plan happen for you and for me.
Critics beware, if you try and behead me for my beliefs, I am also a survivalist. I recommend strongly you wear a bullet proof vest when you come to attack me. I was taught at an early age to be quite accurate when using a gun. But at any rate, those ISIS extremists are a good example of what the Bible was talking about when they said to some who do not believe the cross is foolishness rather than salvation (1).
It is a rough world we live in. Perhaps it was always rougher than we thought, but the Internet gives us a means of communication that nobody ever thought possible in the 1970’s when I was young. Back then, we relied on the truthfulness of ABC, CBS and NBC. I think my folks might have gotten a couple more stations on the farm antenna, but those were the main three television networks.
One tie in to this sermon that I thought about was from the move “Men in Black.” Cane told his partner in that movie, “There have always been aliens here and the world is always at risk of being blown up at any minute. It is our job to make sure the people down here live peaceful and hopeful lives. In other words, we have to make sure they do not know just how bad it really is.”
The Internet of 2014 contradicts this order. We indeed know a lot more about how bad this old world is than we did 40 years ago. And yet it makes a person wonder just how much worse the sin in it has become.
I was listening to a VTN program on pornography this morning. Victory Television Network had this to say. It recommended we save a porno image we think is particularly lude and then one year later look at one that is acceptable to most in society and note how much worse the second photo is in regard to common decency. My point is sin is a progressive thing. Sin, as the Bible describes it, is simply being disobedient to the will of God. Breaking the 10 commandments qualifies, as do a lot of other actions we humans experiment with as we seek earthly pleasures.
I have never been very good at stopping something I enjoy unless I finally get a hold of how my habit is hurting somebody else. The Bible is plain on how disobedience hurts Father God.
Have you ever wondered, as you were all excited about pornography, swearing, going out with somebody else’s wife, cheating on your income tax or just neglecting to charge tax on a cash deal, what unrepented sin will do to you in the long run? Our Bible says the wages of sin is death, that is eternal separation from the Spirit of God the Creator.
God is pure love and heaven will allow no sin to enter its gates. The Word of God makes one exception. There is a passage that says a sinner, saved by the grace of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice of pure blood that Jesus shed for us on Calvary, may enter heaven if his or her name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life (2).
Jesus Christ paid the price with his pure blood (no sin there) for the rest of us and all we have to do is accept it as His free gift to be in the Lamb’s Book of Life. But I must warn you, your life will begin to change after your salvation experience. This too, of course, is foolishness to the non-believer. At first glance, not much changes. Then slowly but surely the saved person begins to take on more of the integrity Jesus Christ had while walking this earth.
Thus the old time religion saying, “If they come to Christ, Christ will clean them up.” For some of us, this cleansing is a slow process. I got saved, I got water baptized, I spoke in tongues and I am still a work in progress. Yet slowly, but surely, God is removing the scales of the devil’s deceit off of my eyes. I personally believe we all in an overcoming improvement process until we draw our last breath. For those who keep the faith in the grace until the end, Jesus will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. (3)”
Oops, you may remember that passage as reading that God will say that part about coming on in to heaven. But there is also a passage in the Christian Bible that says Jesus Christ will be both our advocate and our judge on that final day before we go to heaven, or descend into hell if that is our choice.
In short, Jesus alone writes your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life when you accept the free gift of salvation. Our job, after that, is to make sure the devil does not convince us we are so inadequate that we might as well tell Jesus his gift was in vain… Remember, Jesus is the God of second chances. His word says we are to forgive our brothers and sisters seven times seventy when they continue to commit sin through weakness and simply being human. Seek the comfort of God’s Holy Ghost and you will hang on until the end, holding the hand of Christ as you walk into your heavenly home.
Mentioning the Holy Ghost brings me to another Christian belief that people scoff at and call foolish. You see, many Christians, including me, believe that God is in three persons; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and that it is sort of like an egg with a shell, a yellow yoke and the white part. An egg is an egg anyway you divide it, and so is Jehovah God, that is the God of Love. God is still God, no matter what part of the Godhead you want to examine.
Sure this sounds far fetched to the non-believer. But let that same non-believer have a near-death experience and get an inkling as to who God really is and see if he or she changes their minds. The Bible says to fear God, that is to have healthy reverence for his power and might. And it says that revenge belongs to God when someone strikes at one of his children.
I had a self-proclaimed witch friend once named Elaine. She said her and her coven were hired to burn down the house of a Christian. They showed up with the gasoline and the match and could not go further. She said it was the dog gonedest thing, there were angels all around that house guarding it. She just knows she saw angels. Funny how Elaine is now a Christian…
I had one of those foolishness experiences myself. I was already saved, but I do not understand much about the healing power of God. One of our church members had some sort of disease in her mouth and she lost a permanent tooth. It just swelled up and fell out. She had no money to do anything with a dentist. The congregation prayed. The next night of the revival, Donna showed us all the new tooth God had given her! I saw this so nobody can hood wink me on this one.
I learned fairly early in my Christian walk that God is not limited to five senses like mankind. If you think He can not do something, maybe you should think again about such foolish thoughts.. It is, after all, just a matter of do you believe that life really ends with a slow moving hearse? And even if you do not believe that and you have convinced yourself that any decent person will go to heaven, ask yourself this, are you a decent person? In truth and honesty, Jesus Christ was the only “decent” person ever born. The rest of us have sin in our lives, just like Adam and his nature.
You can go ahead and call my preaching foolishness. If I am wrong, I have lost nothing by accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. If I am right, you have lost everything by not asking Jesus Christ to save your soul from an eternal hell.
SCRIPTURES
1)THE CROSS AS FOOLISHNESS –
1 Corinthians 1:16-19 King James Version (KJV) 16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
2) THE LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE –
Revelation 21:23-27 King James Version (KJV) 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
3) WELL DONE MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT –
Matthew 25:20-23King James Version (KJV)
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

 

The Patience
of Waiting
on God…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
It is human to think God must have lied to us if we have to wait over a few months at the most for Him to make good on something we just know the All Mighty dropped in our spirit as a piece of our futures…
But the trouble is, God’s Word says He is not a man and so therefore can not lie. What do we do with this? The whole idea of waiting for years on something to be delivered that God said we could have as a tool in this old life is an outrage to this writer. But then again, what real choice do we have?
Many years ago, probably in my teenage years, God dropped in my spirit that I was going to be financially solvent and even rich in the eyes of mankind. Now this revelation came with no conditions. Many of you will say that I was just experiencing wishful thinking.
I can understand very well why you might say such a thing about a man who drifted around the country as a reporter and editor for more than 20 years before settling in to one area and running one publication, now going on eight years old.
I finally bought a house and two decent cars over the past decade as well. I am in debt for the house, the cars and a half of a dozen credit cards, new windows on the house etc. To clear me to back on even would be a number nearly too big to write; probably $100,000! Does this sound like a man who is going to get rich in life? I am 55, soon to be 56 next month.
And then I look at Abraham and Sarah and their promises in life. God gave them the baby he promised them in their youth when they were nearly 100 years old each (1)! This is a long time to wait, if you ask me. I have waited 40 years on my success financially. But I have never been given any time table in my spirit until this fall.
God dropped it in my spirit that sometime in the next year success would be mine. I have wondered if this means I will win the Publisher’s Clearinghouse gamble? I enter, as it is free to do so on the Internet.
Whatever Mr. God met, I am sure something good is going to happen this year. Being the sort of crazy I am, I speak of it freely. Now we shall see if by next December my ship comes in and for once in my life I am not at the airport. To be honest, I am not an unhappy man in my current position. I run a business I love. I come and go as I please and I have a family that for the most part seems to love and respect me. So, in short, life is good.
As for doing things for Jesus, I write this sermon every week, I sing the music ministry for children’s church every other Sunday in Beirne, Arkansas and I do a lot of praying for family and friends. I also give money and time in the name of love whenever I get the chance.
I have a decent office to do my journalism out of, decent computers, a good car and I am increasing in readers and advertising clients on a monthly basis. To many, I have already achieved success.
I would feel so too if I could get out of debt and have a few bucks to spare each month. I am working on that and expect to get the job done before I plan to take up fishing and golf full time at age 72. We shall see, as my hero Moe of the Three Stooges used to say. I also hope to live to be 125 years old, maintain good health and continue writing my weekly sermon for this web site even after I stop traveling for the advertising business end of it.
The Word of God does not seem to clearly tell me how long I will live but rather talks of living 120 years and then talks of living 70 or 80 years… I think I am more inclined to believe another passage in Job that says God knows the span of our lives and nobody else really does (2). As to time limitations, there seem to be exceptions even in today’s world where men and women are still healthy well over age 100. If God takes me home tomorrow, I figure I will have to accept the fact that some feelings are whimsical and yet other views really do come from God and merit waiting on. Telling the difference is hard, and explaining the discerning of ideas, as I see it, might take another sermon.
But I really do feel like God has impressed upon me many times that I will succeed financially in my lifetime. If it does not happen, to my satisfaction, this very next year, that will be OK. When it comes to getting rich, I have the patience of Job. If I do get an over abundance of money, I would like to secure an out of debt future and give a healthy tithes and offering to the truly needy of this world…
But alas, enough on patience and personal aspirations, let’s take a look at waiting on God in general and how we can get that sort of patience without it driving us bats.
God tells us not to worry. Most of us worry about that fact… If you do not worry, I want your telephone number and I want you to tell me how to achieve this. Sure, I can see there are many good techniques a fellow could learn to worry less.
Going fishing helps me. Also, I like to play chess and an occasional card game. I am usually not worried during any of these activities. I also sing karaoke to my old favorite songs. This also tends to make me worry less and relax. It is also reassuring.
But stop worrying all together? I plan to do that just after I take my last breath. It is sort of like over eating. I do pretty good for a few days or even weeks, and then somebody cooks a big meal I like and Katie bar the door!
Resisting sin consistently takes a lot of self control, as does not giving up on something. And not giving up on something is what patience is defined as being in the first place. If another man tells you the sky is falling, it is quite permissible to smell the air and walk away. But if God All Mighty tells you this, and you try but you just can not pray it off, it might be wise to ask when this sky is supposed to fall exactly? Not that God willl likely reveal to you the hour and the minute, but a person might as well ask. Then we simply wait.
Now don’t get me wrong, my Bible tells me the Lord will never tell me anything that can not be backed by the Word of God, that is somewhere in Holy Bible. So before I go believing something will ever come to pass too strongly, I look it up in my Bible. If my assumption can not be backed there, I usually chunk it as to being my imagination.
But achieving success to have the means to give to others is something my Bible does not discourage. It says to love my neighbor as myself and to not grow weary of my well doing.
In addition, there is a passage where it says it is the Father’s good pleasure to give His children the keys to the Kingdom (3). And God is not broke in His kingdom. Enough on patience for prosperity. Suppose you are waiting on God to give you a compatible spouse instead?
He did me. But I had to marry four times to get her. Again, I had to be patient. Sure, Michelle is not perfect, but neither is John. And most likely, neither are you. We have to do a whole lot of compromising to live with another person, especially if it is a man/woman marriage relationship. Some people are just naturally tenacious about it. They hang in there no matter what comes around the bend. I would like to think after 16 years of marriage I am now one of those people.
But as a young fellow, I did not have that patience. An older and wiser fellow than me once said we should not settle for a girl we can get along with, but rather wait for one that we can not get along without… An old saying of my grandfather’s comes to mind, “Everything,” he said, “comes to he who waits.”
I am not sure this sermon has been able to nail down the strength it takes to be able to wait on a promise from God. We all wait at the dentist’s office, we wait in line at ball games, we wait for the doctor to tell us its a girl or its a boy. We can all think of times in life when we had to wait and we wondered if waiting was worth the frustration, but when we wait on a promise from Jehovah God, it is always worth our time.
If there is a point to this week’s sermon, it is this, to an eternal being like Jehovah God, time is not an obstacle to events. If you can see the decisions of every man or woman before they make them, then waiting would take no effort. To the rest of us, who are not God, waiting builds character and it humbles the one doing the waiting. At first, the natural thing to do is to try and speed God up. But He won’t be pawed and He won’t be hurried. Thus the expression, “in God’s time.”
But like a man trying to wait on being lowered into a healing pool, we spit and sputter while the waiting is going on and then finally, if common sense overtakes us, we begin to humble ourselves before God and thank Him for a revelation no matter how long it may take. I believe it was Job who said, “The Lord giveth an the Lord taketh away.” In short, a wise man realizes God could snuff him out like the burning end of a cigarette.
We are but God’s agents and caretakers in this world. We really own nothing and need to thank God a lot more than we do for the use of His goods. In addition to humbleness, excessive waiting on what God has promised makes us appreciate the little things of life. When we are waiting on God to move a mountain in our lives, we might as well listen to a bird singing, or pull out a fish at the pond. Another passage in scripture tells us when we have done all we can, then stand… and wait…
God will not give us what He has promised before we are ready. And being happy where a person is seems to be a prerequisite for advancing toward a goal. Thus the Christian phrase, “If you complain, you remain.”
My advice in all of this, seek the salvation of Jesus Christ, secure that eternal gift of everlasting life in your soul and then waiting on anything will not seem nearly as frustrating.
SCRIPTURES
1) GOD’S PROMISE TO ABRAHAM AND SARAH – Genesis 21:1-8King James Version (KJV) 21 And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken.
2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.
3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.
4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.
5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.
6 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.
7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age. 8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
2) LIVING UNTIL GOD CALLS US HOME – Genesis 6:3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”
Psalm 90:10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
James 4:14 Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Job 14:5(KJV) 5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;
John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
3) IT IS THE FATHER’S GOOD PLEASURE TO GIVE YOU THE KINGDOM – Luke 12:28-34King James Version (KJV)
28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Editor’s Note: Here is another scripture about the patience required to wait on God;
2 Peter 3:9-13King James Version (KJV) 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Editor’s final note: The point is waiting on God’s promises should make us realize that accepting Jesus as our personal Savior is what is important. Whether or not we get our house fixed up, acquire a compatible wife or pay our debts in hopes of a few worry free days is pretty shallow stuff in comparison.
God knows what we have need of and He is faithful to provide. We should be waiting on his guidance, and praise Him for always coming through in regard to meeting our daily needs.
Any man or woman who is more concerned with the cares of this world than with what God has in mind as our calling needs time to prioritize. Perhaps our periods of waiting on God are put there to allow us to help ourselves…

 

 

Lord’s prayer
directs us away
from sinful
temptations…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I am not an expert on anything, much less the temptations Satan comes up with for other human beings. But I can tell you about how the devil tempts me and about my successes and failures in such matters.
The Bible deals with temptation in many passages. One writing involves the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew, and in other books as well (1). Let’s consider one version of said prayer. “Our Father, Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name. Thou Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, On Earth As It Is In Heaven. Give Us This Day, Our Daily Bread, And Forgive Us our Trespasses as we Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us. And Lead Us Not Into TEMPTATION, but deliver Us From Evil. For Thine is the Power and the Kingdom and the Glory Forever and Ever. Amen.”
This is how I learned the prayer by heart in the Methodist Church years ago. We will look at the actual Biblical version in the scripture section of this sermon. Let us consider the line in the prayer, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
There in lies the point of this writing today. God will lead us to where the tempter is not effective in his temptations if we will pray for the Holy Ghost side of God to do so. That is my opinion. This brings up another point of contention amongst the variety of Christian denominations. Some think there is a God Jehovah, a Jesus and a Holy Ghost, but that the Holy Ghost is just something that manifested itself in the days of the original apostles. I find no evidence for this claim.
The end of the Bible should be good enough proof. It says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Let no man try to change this Bible or suffer the consequences of the wrath of God. And so it will be, come quickly Lord Jesus. Amen(2).”
Again, this is a memory thing. We will check out those words in our scripture research at the end of the sermon as well. For now, suffice to say, God is three persons in one. God is an egg, so to speak. The egg is an egg, yet it has a yellow part, a white part and an shell. But still, it is an egg. And if God’s Holy Ghost Comforter was important right after Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins, the Holy Ghost is still our Comforter today and presents a way for us never to feel alone… He is the way the Spirit of God communicates the mind of Christ and the inner sanctum mind of Father God.
It is like the biological theory that we all have a left side of the brain in control of one area of us and a right side in control of the other. And, thankfully, my believe on this is not important to your salvation. What is important is humbling yourself enough to ask God to forgive your sins, believing that Jesus Christ died for those sins to shed perfect and sinless blood to cover our sins and allow our names to be written in the Lamb’s (Jesus’s) book of life. And you have to ask Him for that salvation.
The Bible says Jesus Christ is no respecter of persons and He will provide salvation from your sins, the avoidance of hell and claiming of heaven. And even more than that, salvation will put the Spirit of Love, that is the Spirit of God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost, down on the inside of you in order to give you an conscious like you have never had before.
That conscious will help you resist temptations. And resisting temptations, even when we know God is leading us away from evil, sometimes results in temporary disappointment. As my preacher, James McCain of Sycamore Church in Beirne, Arkansas, says, “Sin is fun or we would not do it.”
Indeed it is. But “the wages of sin is death.” This may not be the death of our salvation unless we make the conscious decision to condemn ourselves by walking away from the gift of Jesus Christ. The Bible says God does not condemn us to hell, we do. This can be true of the Christian as well, if that Christian chooses to reject from his soul the covering to the blood of Jesus. My Bible tells me Christ will not remove it, but a man can choose to reject the Lord and remove his own name from the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
Indeed, God will allow us to reject Him, as is illustrated in the passage where it says that the Lord will eventually turn the rebellious man over to the reprobate mind he is proving by his actions that he desires. Again, this is my believe and you should study it out for yourself. The big deal is to get saved and always hold the hand of Jesus, no matter how many post salvation sins you commit or how much trouble you get into. Because, when you are ready, Jesus is your ticket to peace on this earth and in the life to come.
In other words, if you reject Jesus, whether you once knew Him or not, then you reject His help in this life and the life to come. So please accept my Lord Jesus Christ and hold onto Him so that you and I can ask God all sorts of questions throughout eternity instead of playing a very sad card game with the devil.
The thing about temptation is it is based on getting things you want because you think they sound fun, with no consideration for what your actions would do to a spouse, a family member, a friend or even to a career and the integrity that goes along with said career.
Let’s look at the sin of adultery as an example. When a man and a woman get married, they promise to love, cherish and obey one another, and to do so through the leadership of Jesus Christ if they are Christians. Yet the divorce rate among Christians, so I am told, is nearly as high as the 48 percent rate in the general public.
If you don’t love someone in the first place, it is easy to walk away at the first sign of trouble. Satan tells you your promise is no good because you just never did really love that person. So, since that is the case, you might as well set yourself and them free. Most of the time, if you do love your spouse, Satan is told by your conscious mind to go jump in the lake.
You hang on tight. You meet your lover’s eyes and you work it out. Thus the old line from the song, “When things get tough, we don’t give up.”
But suppose you fancy yourself happier with a lost love and she offers herself to you after your marriage to another. You consider all of the physical and mental fun that come with a person who actually “understands you.” You don’t think about the busted trust in store for your marriage or the horrible example you are giving your children. You are usually young and dumb when you submit to this sin anyway.
But as I have quoted in other sermons, there is no fool like an old fool. Sometimes an older married person figures, “I am only going to do this once and I know this won’t hurt a thing.”
Pain like a knife in the chest follows for your spouse, as the Bible assures us that our secrets will be shouted from the roof tops. You find out that the fluffy little angel you wanted so badly is just a flesh and blood woman like your wife, and yes, you find out too late, she is not perfect either.
Thus the Biblical phrase the wages of sin is death becomes very real in the eyes of the folks who are caught cheating on their spouses, and even more sadly, on themselves and the integrity that could have been in their future.
Not tempted by adultery? OK, how about obesity. You figure, just one more sandwich and a cookie. I will take care of this weight problem tomorrow. I know the Bible says gluttony is a sin, but just this once I can have three plates full at the Chinese Restaurant. Just one time won’t hurt a thing.
Sin, by the way, is habit forming. When you meet your girlfriend at the motel “just this once,” it becomes easy to make the next appointment. Satan tells you that your spouse did not catch you the first time so she probably never will. Then you get sloppy. And pretty soon that little girlfriend becomes pregnant, or your wife or her husband happen on your cars parked together in the motel parking lot.
It will never happen to me, you reason. And then when it does, you become “somebody nobody will ever want to trust.” Let’s get back to over eating.
You have that extra plate full. You tell yourself it is not important how you look and besides everybody is used to you being this way; fat and sassy. Soon you are 25 pounds over weight and you look OK. Some say you look better than you did thinner. You figure if a little over weight is OK, then why not really enjoy food. You can do it and never suffer the consequences, Satan assures you.
Soon you are 100 pounds over weight and your chest begins to hurt one morning. You wake up in an intensive care bed, after a quadruple bypass, brought on to save your life after a major heart attack! Now its not funny. You remind Satan he told you it would be fine. That old snake smiles and slithers away.
So no, God is not trying to punish us by offering to help us overcome old, familiar sins; like cheating on a spouse or over eating through four clothing sizes. God is a God of truth. If he encourages us to resist temptation, give that encouragement a try.
I have a wife, kids, grand kids, a career I love and a pile of bills I can barely squeak by and pay. I am working on that last part, and I believe I am making a little progress. A friend of mine, who is single at this time and has been for four years, tells me I am living the dream life. I am not so sure about that, but I am the first to admit I feel blessed.
Am I perfect in the resisting of temptation? Nope. For example, when you get me angry, I am still likely to cuss a blue streak. Oh, not right away like in the old days. My self control is much better than it was even 10 years ago. But insult my character, mock me and then tell me what a low life I am because I want guests in my house to respect my few house rules and I just might scream at you loud enough that the police think there has been a pipe bomb exploded in the neighborhood!
This sort of thing happened to me recently. One thing I will say for myself is I did not stay mad long and I tried to apologize to my spouse and make things right. I was going to back down about the house rules but decided that was not worth it to me. Respect is a mutual deal. If someone refuses to be respectful of you, I believe there is nothing wrong with letting them know you are not a boxing bag and if they want to raise the devil in destruction and disobedience they can do that somewhere else. But by the same token, if they want to meet you half way, that is called decency and family or friendship love.
So here is a conclusion I have come to; only a coward and fool deserts someone they love. And that coward and that fool will suffer for that sin of abandonment just as much as any of us suffer for our sins. We are called to love one another. Nobody wants to be abandoned, yet, as the Bible says, better to live in one room alone than to live in a big fine house with a brawling woman (3). If she loves you, she will meet you halfway. If the guests love you, so will they.
If she, and/or the guests leave, a man or a woman of Christ is called to peace. That is also in the Bible and I love that scripture. It tells me that I am then free to think of the good times I had with that person, wish them well and pray God fills my life with folks who are willing to meet me halfway and not insult my intelligence in the process.
Now let’s relate my painful example of the results of abandonment to our sermon. The devil tempts you to desert your loved one and best friend Jesus Christ. He tells you Christ will desert you in the end anyway because you are not perfect and it takes a perfect man or a perfect woman to enter the Kingdom of God. This, of course, is a lie. The Bible tells us that the blood of Jesus Christ atones for and provides for those who believe in the free gift of salvation and by accepting the gift Jesus puts our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Having your name in that book means you are going to heaven. But if you abandon Christ and His gift because Satan convinces you that maybe you really are mean and nasty and beyond ever being “a real Christian,” then you will be out on your own without His blood covering like before you asked Him to cover you in the first place. And you will be on your way to a devil’s hell where you will have all of eternity to regret abandoning your former best friend, Jesus Christ.
If you feel used, abused and lied on, turn to Jesus, not away from Him. Remember what we said last week, God is an offerer of peace, not confusion. If sticking with Jesus leaves you alone for a little while, it is OK. If you stand up for respect and decency, somebody will recognize that and those who called you a smart aleck or worse will recognize something too; the smeller is the feller. This was true for all of us when we were 5 years old and it is true today.
If somebody calls you names and talks to you in a disrespectful and accusatory manner about something that you know you are right about, it is usually because they are feeling guilty about being the real one who has traded the cool breeze for hot air.
I am tempted to go on, but I think you get my drift. As the Biblical Golden Rule says, “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” I really don’t find anywhere in the Bible where it says, “Let those who would disrespect you walk all over you so they will come back to see you and do it some more.”
Now maybe those ISIS beheaders in Syria might feel that way, but I guess I have just not ever been tempted to be that kind of crazy. Besides, I find nowhere where we are to worship a God by being door mats, but rather a God who is Love.
Love is long suffering sure enough, but remember this if you choose to judge me for what I say, I stand up for what I believe Jesus would do if He were here when I seek to claim what I call right. Sure, I fall into temptation from time to time, but maybe the best way for you and I to resist it is to quote scriptures to ourselves while that old devil is talking, even when he talks through someone you love…
SCRIPTURES
1)THE LORD’S PRAYER – King James Version (KJV) Matthew 6:9-13
9 .) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10.) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11.) Give us this day our daily bread.
12.) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13.) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
2) THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA – Revelation 1:8 King James Version (KJV) 8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Revelation 22:13-20 King James Version (KJV) 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
3) BETTER TO LIVE ALONE THAN WITH A BRAWLING WOMAN – Proverbs 21:9 King James Version (KJV) 9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.
Proverbs 25:24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.
Editor’s Note: May you all find the peace that God promises.

 

Knowing the voices
of God and Satan…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I am a spiritual type person. I have communicated with an entity that I believe with all of my heart is Jehovah God since a very young age.
At the age of 15, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. It is a road I highly recommend. Read Romans in the Bible and you will see the procedure I took to ignite salvation in my life.
But on this rocky road of life I have chosen, I have had to deal with a nervous disability that has made me act in ways that I am now ashamed to report. Thankfully, before the condition ruined my chances for a decent career and family, I turned things over to God and logic. I began to take responsibility for myself. Now that may not be the same as the next Christian, but for the past eight years life has been much easier for me.
Even with my medication, and my dedication to work, family and fun, I still have one huge problem that I share with all other human folk. That problem is being able to tell the difference between a satanic deception and a Word from God. Oh sure, I would like to sit here and tell you I have always been successful at this, but that would be a lie.
Instead, I will talk to you about a few things I have learned in my 40 year walk with Jesus in my heart, but also with admittedly way too much of my own personality in control of my life.
One point that comes to mind is bargaining. I have figured out the hard way that God is not a poker player and we as humans can not offer Him restraint from a bad habit for a healthy lung. God wants our obedience. If you want to know obedience to what, read His word about how Jesus Christ lived while on earth. God, in the human form of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, is our example as to what would be the ideal way to live – if we were blessed with good health both mentally and physically.
Jesus got angry but did not sin. He expressed Himself with vigor yet no place does it say he killed anyone or cussed them like a yard dog. I don’t find anywhere in there where he coveted another man’s wife, although had He not been on assignment to be crucified for the rest of us, I am sure He would have made the perfect husband and father.
Again, he was sent here to be a man without sin so no matter the circumstance Christ could not afford to sin or the rest of us would have been out of luck for a Savior. For you see, it is Jesus’s pure blood that covers our red spotted lives and without it God would have to turn us away at heaven’s gate – friendship or no friendship. For the Bible says no sin shall enter heaven and unforgiven sin is still sin in His sight (1).
The devil will come to you an angel of light (2). This, to me, means that the master of deception is very good at what he does. He can twist scriptures, twist your ideas and distort any “straight up deal” you have going with the All Mighty.
Satan can turn “love never fails” into a license to go to bed with some married lady that you fancy when you have a good wife, good family and your very own soul to consider. The older a man gets, the less this one works, but then again, as my grandmother used to say, there is no fool like an old fool.
If a thing is of God, there will be no confusion. I can use finance as an example and also the Bible. The Bible says the devil is the author of confusion (3). You can not really say God is confusing unless you have a hold of the wrong god…
As to the financial part, I think of my own business practice. When I earn $100 in the advertising business, I put $15 in my pocket for gasoline, food etc., $70 in the bank for my bills and slip $15 in the tithes and offering bag. When I do this, I feel like I have completed a straight up deal with God. I have not cheated Him and I have not cheated me. And I have not cheated my bill collectors.
If I say, wow, I think I will spend $50 on going out to eat, skip my tithes and offering and pocket the rest of the hundred for fun, then I feel terrible afterwards. I feel dirty and like I have let everyone down. Satan always asks me why I feel bad?
Then he points out that I earned the money and therefore should spend it any way I want to spend it. While I do not believe sin after salvation will send a fellow to hell, unless of course it causes him or her to turn their back on Christ and His plan for salvation, I do believe that post salvation sin hurts God and hurts our witness very deeply. Do I do it? Of course. Do I feel guilty and minimize it? Yes, most of the time.
I have learned the hard way that being irresponsible with earnings is not worth it. I still do it occasionally because I get bored with always doing the right thing. That is my human side. Still yet, the more I get involved with telling the tale of salvation, the less I need such childish toots. For the most part, I would rather pay my bills, pay my tithes and offerings and buy what provisions I need to stay at it than to hang my head in embarrassment from a short month that was nobody’s fault but my own.
You see my point? There is nothing gray area about my first financial pattern. It is mature for all concerned and it works. When I blow money, I feel guilty and confused. When I feel the confusion, I know I have listened to the wrong god.
Satan does that in other areas besides finances and a person’s love life. Those are just a couple that most of us can understand from experience. Satan can come in when things look innocent and smoke screen you with confusion.
I am not a puritan by any means. I made love to all four of my wives before I got married and I had a fair number of girlfriends in life as well. But looking back, at age 55, I have to say that trying to decide who I should live with, and coupling that with who really wanted to live with me in the long haul, is not what I personally feel guilty about. I just feel guilty about the few times I gave into lust when I knew down deep in my soul that was all it was – lust.
I got pretty lucky. My wife Michelle is a looker and a pretty smart cookie. Other than choosing to spend her life with a lug-head journalist like me, she usually exhibits some common sense as well. Our love is far from traditional, yet the seed was planted more than 16 years ago and the fires burn right along as the seasons and the years go by.
Do I still get offers for adultery? Sure. Not very many, but occasionally. I said I was old, not dead. But my point is, I am courteous and I tell the gals I am married. I tell them I could use all of the friends I can get, but I make sure they know there are only two possibilities that I will actually date them, the death of my marriage or the death of my wife. I am sincerely hoping neither one is in my near future.
So Satan has a tough time with that one. He tries to change my mind daily, but when I hear him talking, I also hear the voice of my God asking, “Is that really a straight up deal John?” Would going out on your loyal and Christian wife bring you lasting joy or be fitting for a man writing a sermon once a week in a magazine?
Since the answer is no, I move on and ignore the temptation. Let me say this, I am also not a legalist. I live. I do not make any apologies about it. I live. I do not just exist. I have fun. I had my three grand kids over this weekend and the party of good tasting (and mostly fattening or bad for you) food, late hours and lots of laughing and horse play was on!
But none of that stuff registers as wrong in my spirit. I can not avoid something just because a modern day Pharisee tells me a glass of beer will send me to hell. That is the same sucker with heart problems early because he never relaxes.
And the only basis he has Biblically is that Jesus said no drunkard will enter the kingdom of heaven. He also said no whore monger would, and that those who take the name of the Lord in vain are sinning… But the drunkard and whore monger stuff refers to obsession and excess in most people’s minds. A glass of wine and a beautiful lady under your arm, especially when she happens to be wearing your wedding ring, does not register in my mind as wrong. The cussing does. It is part of the 10 commandments and I pray daily for God to take it from my life.
But I really do not care what the legalists think. My Bible tells me you can not earn your way to heaven. You go on the basis of salvation, accepting a free gift from God known as Jesus Christ and Him crucified, not on the basis of what you do to relax or how much dating you end up doing to pick a wife – or husband if you happen to be a female person reading this.
When you go out, you know if you have good intentions and a purpose or if you are out to see how much sin one person can commit in one evening. Satan knows it too. Accept Jesus. That is the first step to being able to tell when Satan is doing his tempting thing.
If the Lord’s Spirit is inside of you, He will clean you up. Some say it happens all at once. I say it is an overcoming process that takes a life time. I also believe the fourth quarter of your life is the biggest of the big deals. The Word of God says we must finish the course in life – never failing to still love the Lord Jesus Christ and always putting our down deep trust in Him.
If you suspect you are listening to the devil, ask God if you are. Then do some sincere praying about the subject until you feel that nudge of truth and peace. It really would not hurt to give it a sort of Rotary Club test and ask yourself if what you are about to do is good for all concerned and if you would like to die and meet your Maker in the middle of your act?
And pray that God pricks your conscious. That way you know to pray about a notion in the first place. The Bible speaks of the “still small voice of God.” I take that to mean that some blow hard thought about sweeping a girlfriend off of her feet while your wife stays home and sleeps is not of God. On the other hand, if God tells you to thank your wife for fixing you supper and asks you in your spirit when was the last time you took her out to eat and talked about her instead of you, you can pretty will know that as God rather than Satan. Satan is a seriously selfish musician and selfish critter all together. He and his followers are the ultimate me generation.
He comes to children often because they have not learned to share. Unfortunately, many adults are nearly as selfish as these toddlers and young teenagers.
I will selfishly end our sermon now, as I want to present to you some accomplishments from our Gurdon Primary School on “How to Cook a Turkey.”
If your child is not mentioned, check our next week’s issue as well. We will put three pages more of these recipes in then.
One final word of advice on how to distinguish the influence of the devil from God. If what you are hearing your thoughts say involves selfishness, or in any way stepping on the other fellow to get what you want, remember where that selfish education you have acquired over the years originated…
We are approaching Christmas. One of my favorite movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I love the part where George Bailey tells the girl he loves how she is not going to settle him down because he is going to see the world.. Then he considers Mary and what sticking to his plans would do to her… He grabs her, kisses her and chooses the unselfish path that leads to the wedding altar. Which would you have chosen?
SCRIPTURES
1) NO SIN IN HEAVEN – Revelation 21:27King James Version (KJV)
27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
2) SATAN AS AN ANGEL OF LIGHT – 2 Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
3) THE DEVIL IS THE AUTHOR OF CONFUSION – 1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
Psalm 71:1King James Version (KJV) 71 In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.
Editor’s Note: Again, I learn something. At least in this research, the term, “the devil is the author of confusion” is implied but not stated in the Christian Bible. I take it from the Bible verses above that we as humans may also generate confusion, but it is clear to me that confusion does not come from a loyal and trustworthy God.

God’s Timing is

the way to Success
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I have written sermons on having faith in Jehovah God, trusting Him and in believing in His Son Jesus Christ for eternal salvation. I have talked of a day to day friendship with God and his Son side, Jesus Christ.
I even wrote to you last week on finding a calm in the middle of the storms of life by doing all you can do and then standing on the promises of Jesus Christ, which the Bible says can not fail. I can honestly say, even for a pole cat type individual such as myself, God has never failed to provide. Have I suffered? Yes. But the trick is to keep on seeking His guidance and direction and keep on doing it to the best of your ability – even when it hurts like a finger held over a flame too long.
The need for all of this stuff boils down to God’s timing. If God would give us what we want when we want it there would be no need for us to have faith that He hears our requests and will help, no need to trust God to finish things we can not do and no reason to believe that Jesus Christ is a way out of hell and a guide to a happier life while we are here on earth.
So there we are, most of us, experiencing a Christian learning curve in the most painful way that Satan can come up with. Some of the pain can not be helped. Some is done quite easily by hitting us where we are the weakest and watching us squirm. Finance is an easy hit that nearly everyone has in common.
For example, if you own a house and a car, you have to find a way to pay for them.
I have recently experienced some financial setbacks that I will spare you the details on. Let’s just say I had my own come to Jesus meeting about it and came up very short of a load. After a good sobbing, or at least a complaining session that amounted to the same thing, I realized the situation was not the fault of my business, but rather the fault of the guy managing the time and effort put into that business – me.
Since good help is hard to find, I have kept Nelson on the payroll but given him some variation of duties. I also pray for the guidance of Jehovah God in all of my business dealings on a daily basis, and have now taken to praying for the strength within myself to first understand His guidance and second have the strength to carry out what He suggests – even if it is contrary to what I had my heart set on doing at that moment in time.
I have found over and over again in business that most of my ideas for an advertising agency are not bad, but many of them will not work if done on the wrong time schedule.
Timing is also a big deal in love for most of us. Sure, the older I get the more I realize that many men and women just give up on the idea of a love life. After all, they figure they are past the big 40 and all life has handed them is a bunch of wilted roses to remember.
But then there are those of us who really do want to wait on God. I am pretty lucky. My wife of 16 years is a pretty good looking gal that seems to understand me enough to know that my intentions are good at least. And she realizes I do the best I can to make a living for our family. She also knows I am a dreamer and always will be, and that if I am not writing I am not working.
But some are not so lucky. I have a lot of friends living in a marriage bondage instead of a wedded bliss, or else they are free and lonely as a man might be at the bottom of a well when it is raining cats and dogs. If we look in the Bible, Sarah and Abraham are the most obvious case of where man’s timing and God’s timing, for a promised event, were about a million miles apart (1).
And even though Abraham and Sarah had to laugh when God told them she would have Isaac after all when her body was nearly a century old, Sarah dutifully got with Abraham and low and behold they did have a child together. God had told them they would. And being late in man’s terms is not even a concern, in my opinion, of the God I profess to know. This is logical if you think about it.
Would you really get in a hurry on timing if your skin never aged, your brain never got dull and you could do everything your whole life at top speed like the God of all gods experiences daily?
There is a saying in Christianese that our God is always on time to keep a promise but rarely, if ever, early. God made a promise to me here lately that involves the word success. I do not understand yet what He really means, but I do feel in my spirit it is a good thing.
I learned something this morning. Sometimes God promises us something, makes a way for it to happen and then makes us realize our desires would not have been for the best anyway. I think they call that growing pains, learning to sacrifice…
So perhaps God’s timetable teaches us patience, and gives us time to evaluate our heart’s desires. After all, if you are like me, you really do not want your heart’s desire to come true if your family and friends will suffer over it. I would just as soon quit my business and pick up cans before being willing to let that happen.
But I believe the good Lord means for me to publish Tailgate News every Friday, if for no other reason than to write this sermon to you. If one of you finds within yourself the need to go to Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Living God Jehovah, and ask Jesus to forgive your sins, save your soul and remember you this day in the Lamb’s book of Life, than it has all been worth it to me.
You may be the biggest witch and proudest sinner around. Once you get saved, you will notice a change if you are. You will not be able to do your incantations to get your selfish desires without guilt. And then one day you will love Jesus more than yourself and you will fill your days with trying to add to his Great Commission instead of to your material or lustful gain.
You will no longer be proud of your sinning. One day you will find the strength to sin very little and thank God for all you have been blessed with and all He has helped you avoid. I am a writer, but my example is a true one… I learned witchcraft as a child from books in the upstairs of my grandparents’ farm house in middle Indiana. I did not accept Jesus as Savior until 15 because sin and being a little “Harry Potter” was just too much fun.
Then I realized where my life of embracing sin was leading me and I quit my childish actions. Then I became a teenager with Jesus in my heart but a desire to have a girl friend in my soul. I was raised as a Baby Boomer little brother in the 1970’s and I did not care about God’s timing back then. I wanted what I wanted right now!
Slowly I began to change. I would rush into things, repent. Then I would rush into some more things; girlfriends, majors in college, trips to Florida, whatever looked good to find myself. I told a childhood friend of mine on Facebook the other night (through the miracles of technology we can reconnect with folks we would never have been able to and that is both neat and scary) that one of my favorite songs was “Goodbye Yellowbrick Road” by Elton John.
It is an old song and some of the younger readers will not remember it. The essence of the lyrics were about a person who tried to rush his life and then realized everything he really needed was right there on the farm where he grew up. Most of us can not go back to our roots. Some do not want to because of bad memories. I am one of the lucky ones. I have good memories.
I have noticed good results when I say the following to God in my spirit, “You lead. Whatever you want to do is fine. You know my needs and you know what you would like me to do today for the Great Commission. Please help me do your will for me today.”
Chuck Chamberlain, an AA counselor who I used to listen to on cassette years ago, drove the point home to where most of us could understand. If you go in to a man’s business and start talking about how you must pay your light bill, he will probably start thinking of his own bills and put his wallet away.
But, to use a personal business example, if you go into that same business and say, “Wow those football players at the local high school are doing great. They just won the conference championship and there will be a playoff game in our town this weekend.
“And next week those youngsters at our elementary school will need some space in our magazine to publish their recipes on how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey. And you and I both know these young athletes and their younger brothers and sisters are our future. We need to invest in those young hearts and minds.”
And then you shut up and let the person think, you just might get a couple of sponsorship advertisements to help make a car payment if you ask for them at that point. Again, it is all in the timing. Love is God’s target. Our wants, needs and desires are the spoils of a successful battle.
Do I always get it right in business and love? No way. I mess up plenty. But it helps to have Jesus Christ inside of me. He lets me know when I mess up and He intervenes if I show respect and ask Him to. God is a gentleman. He will not force Himself on you, nor will He force His ways on you after you are saved. You have to have a willing Spirit and be willing to take whatever the consequences are of following Him.
In our modern world, as in the days when Jesus walked the earth, this might mean you will die for professing Christianity and go to heaven.. Still, who wants to be beheaded by a barbarian looking to force you to worship the devil in one form or another? We buck up. I know I do, when the consequences look too grave.
But the Word of God says God is not a man that he might lie (2). Like most people, I have tried to prove to God that my timing would be best, admittedly out of my own arrogance and impatience.
So far, in 55 years, God’s ways have always proven to be way above my ways and ended up bringing me a whole lot more happiness. And more importantly, to use that business example of the advertising business I am in again, a lot more advertising lineage to help the youth of my community to believe in themselves.
Sure, you can push self-esteem into arrogance. But for the Christian, or the person nearly ready for the altar, you have to believe in yourself and your own talents to have a thankful heart and to want to spend eternity with the Creator who gave you all that you have. That is why it is important to back the dreamers of this world. A few will thank you, but more importantly, in God’s time for drawing their spirits, they will thank God and embrace the gift of salvation, that is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, with open arms.
An entire Jewish race evolved from the patience and obedience of Sarah and Abraham. Yet a few years before God told Abraham to leave his land and travel to where He wanted him to be, Abraham tried to save himself. He told his hosts that Sarah was his sister in order not be killed by some barbarian who wanted to run off with his wife… Then years later Sarah asked her husband to breed the hand maiden so God could have His son (3). This resulted in the entire Islamic nation and now, 2,000 years later, ICIS extremists from that nation are plotting to destroy anyone not willing to give up their profession of Jesus Christ as God Jehovah’s Chosen One and the only avenue to live with the Father in Heaven forever…
Man’s bad timing has consequences. If we know something is God inspired but yet nothing toward it seems to be happening, we put ourselves in danger of harsh consequences if we rush things. And besides, have you ever noticed when you put the bum’s rush on people in business, their love lives or in the consideration of their eternal destinations, it generally backfires? Reverse psychology is real, and unfortunately for most of us, it really works.
I will give you a personal example and then present some scriptures that will hopefully make it easier to not only obey God’s orders but to take your time in doing so until God says it is time for action and produces what He has promised.
When I was seeking a perfect mate, many years ago now, I happened on a young lady who was considerably younger than me. I felt a strong love for this girl, and I am pretty sure, until God takes me from this earth, I will always have feelings for her. But I had a family and responsibility. She was foot loose and fancy free and in need of a man who could commit to her and care for her, and love her as her days went by.
I realized, finally, that even though she and I both took turns believing the best thing to do for our love was to make it come true – no matter who we hurt – that the best thing to do was to insist she find someone in her own age bracket and to allow me to go back to my world and leave her to find a world of her own.
Now this was painful, but it was the right thing to do. Now she is seemingly happily married and I am happily married and we are both straight up with our spouses and our kids. I used to want God to change all of that because after all “Love Never Fails,” according to the Bible. And then it dawned on me, when I realized how happy I am and how happy she appears to be, love did not fail. Love sometimes requires sacrifice.
If you want to know about love, read the love chapter in Corinthians. Then those of you who think I was crazy for setting my mid-life crisis free might come away with a different perspective. I love my wife and I am so glad we stayed together.
But Satan tried to convince me for years that the grass was greener on the other side. I want to now tie up this sermon by showing you how that relates to God’s timing. We can not always act on our feelings in our time or we will miss the blessing that God intended when he gave us those feelings.
Impatience seems to be the key to destruction in this old life. I believe that is true for the saved and the unsaved. However, take heart, when you are impatient out of ignorance we have a merciful God who will many times put you on community service instead of in prison, so to speak.
Go with God’s timing. Ask Jesus Christ in your heart when you feel the Spirit of God drawing you to do so. By invoking the ultimate spirit of love, and allowing God to operate in His time, you cut off your arrogance and allow your self esteem to make you fit for duty in the Army of Jesus Christ and the carrying out of the Great Commission (4).
SCRIPTURES
1) SARAH’S HAND MAIDEN GIVEN AN ORDER OUT OF IMPATIENCE – Genesis 16:1-12King James Version (KJV)
16 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee.
6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thine hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
7 And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.
9 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
10 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
11 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.
12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
2) JEHOVAH GOD CAN NOT LIE – Numbers 23:19King James Version (KJV) 19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Hebrews 6:18King James Version (KJV) 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
3) HAGER’S SON AND HIS FUTURE – Genesis 16:15-16King James Version (KJV)
15 And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. 16 And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram. Genesis 21:8-16King James Version (KJV)
8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. 10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. 12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. 14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.
4) THE GREATCOMMISSION – Matthew 28:18-20King James Version (KJV) 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

Finding Peace as
the Storm rages…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Here lately I have been pondering something. The Lord has put in my spirit that the next 12 months will bring me success I have been seeking for years.
Even though I have prayed for more details in this matter, none have come my way. I will keep praying. I do know that every time I try and do this “success thing,” stuff starts going worse than ever. In my case, I need to seek God’s guidance and direction nearly all of the time. My own financial judgment, judgment in matters of love and general way of doing things does not always make me a worldly success.
In my own defense, it has gotten better over the years. But still, for real success, I need to learn the art of not only following God’s directions but also relaxing in the process.
The title of today’s sermon is Finding Peace In the Middle of the Storm. This will be a lot easier for me after the Nov. 4 election. The voters will give a direction to the town in which I live. Either candidate will learn a lot from being our mayor.
And perhaps the newness of leadership in my little neck of the woods will shed some light on what success God was talking about in my spirit. Oh, I see a way to survive. But its ugly. It is an invention of survival. To me, that is surely not what God met.
I am sure you have your own battles. I have a disability in my nervous system that has seemingly been under control now for almost a decade. I am grateful for the remission. I have enjoyed trying to build a publication business, but again, I fail to see how survival equals success. Success to me would be to first of all be out of debt and in a giving mode for the remainder of my days. Success would be the ability to concentrate on helping others first and me second. I do give. I give tithes and offerings in church and I give love to my family and friends. But somehow, it just does not seem enough…
But no matter, I feel like peace is required inside of me before success of any measure can be realized. For one thing, I must quit arguing with God about time tables. I have always been a dreamer and many times in too big of a hurry to see those dreams come true. Perhaps that has been part of the reason I am against the wall in so many avenues of my life.
So now for the solution of peace I promised you. I sit here on a Sunday night alone. I would probably have been better off going to Sunday night church, but I felt I had to stay home and get ready for my work week. I did that. It brings a little of that peace. Doing my best at the task in front of me has always brought me a degree of peace.
I suppose the first point I would bring to you about peace is to stay away from denial. Some years ago I went through Celebrate Recovery. I spent four years in the program and those were some of the best days of my life.
I met others that were “damaged goods,” made capable again by way of their strength to carry on. So I would say the first step of peace is to realize you are not alone. There is always a group of people that feel the same way you do.
In my case, I went to an altar of God when I was 15. Asking Jesus Christ into my heart was the smartest thing I ever did. At least I have a friend that will walk with me through anything I find myself going through. There is a phrase to summarize a few scriptures that all of us going through troubled times should remember. The Bible is often misquoted as saying, “this too shall pass.” (1) And indeed specific pressure rarely lasts unto death. The only thing that is certain in life is that it is temporary. We might as well enjoy the ride.
I suppose the hardest part for me has been that I realize I have cheated fate on more than one occasion. This was especially true before my disability was not under control. I deserved a lot worse than I got as consequences back in the day. Oh, I was not an evil fellow. But I was, and am, a man who believes in survival. I am not sure if that makes me a coward or just makes me human and wise.
But I do know this, there has been more than one occasion when I was glad a set of circumstances came to pass.
Another aspect of finding peace in the storm of life is to get away from the problem long enough to feel free from the problem. If you do that, you will be more ready to take it on. Resolve brings peace. I believe I am coming to some resolve in my own life. If you know what you want, do not let the cares of this world short change your efforts to get it.
I am feeling better as I write this. The feeling of hopelessness is leaving my soul as I pour my heart out to you in this sermon. The Bible says “Take my yoke, for it is easy. (2).” When we put ourselves in the hands of Jesus Christ, this scripture compares such submission to that of a mule or other work animal pulling a wagon for a master. And Jesus is a worthy master. After all, he died on a cross so you and I would not have to be separated from love for eternity.
Thinking about what Jesus did for you and I brings me peace inside. Sure, the storm rages on for all of us, at some point or another in our lives here on earth. The Bible says be thankful in all circumstances (3). A friend of mine says that means to be thankful that God puts us through trials so we can see what we are made of. If a man or woman does not know themselves, then they can not possibly overcome some things God needs to remove for that person’s own success.
I have a movie in my collection called “The Ultimate Gift.” It is about a grandfather who wants to show his grandson the steps it takes in life to be successful and happy. One line the actor James Garner says always sticks in my mind. “I have lost it all several times. The bottom is the perfect place to start over.”
Sometimes that is the key to peace in a storm; a willingness to start again on a more divinely blessed path.
I worry about things. Our Bible says not to worry. I am not sure how to turn worry into simple concern except to pray. I find that prayer brings a calm to me even when the storms of financial chaos flow around me.
If I were a younger man, I might run from my circumstances. I might embrace denial and try to say my harsh circumstances were somebody else’s fault. I can not do that anymore. I have to face my man in the mirror every day because God might still be able to use me if I keep on keeping on. I used to love a poster back in my college days illustrated by whoever the author of the Andy Capp comic was.
It showed a man trying to comfort a woman who was crying on a bar stool. He said to her, “You are a winner if you keep on trying even when the odds are stacked against you. The only real difference between a winner and a loser is the winner refused to give up.”
So keeping on trying, even when things look like they are nose diving brings me peace in the storm. I get up, try to greet my God and my world and keep on keeping on. After all, in so many ways I have never had it so good. I think of another comforting line for storms. This one is from the famous Christian evangelist Joyce Meyers.
You have seen it in several of my sermons. She says, “I know I am not where I need to be, but I thank God I am no longer where I was.”
So if you are feeling down, go to the park and watch a young mother swinging her child. Watch a daddy playing pitch and catch with his son. There is good in life. Our cups are half full, not half empty. My own father, Dr. John W. Nelson of Oklahoma used to tell me life is a roller coaster. It goes up, then down, then up. Our job, the good doctor said, is to learn to enjoy the ride.
I have discovered, now that our Gurdon election is over, that some things are just not met to be understood. Sherry Kelley is our new mayor elect and will take office for four years in January. I believe her to be capable, fair and a good leader. I also believe she has one thing that my friend Tommy Potter does not have; the ability to make peace with old ghosts. Tommy is a good counselor, a giving soul when it comes to food and resources and I believe he had some good ideas for Gurdon. But Tommy and our local police see life very differently.
Another point to having calm in your storm of life is to learn a get along to go along attitude. This does not mean giving up your views or convictions. It just means learning the art of compromise to the point of capitalizing on common ground. A mayor and a police department have to establish common ground or they will lack the trust needed to cooperate effectively during a crisis.
Sherry gets along with most everyone in town. Sure, there will be things she does or does not do that somebody will take exception to. She and I disagree about a prison in Clark County. I believe the problems could be worked out and the 500 jobs would be worth the effort. Without speaking for her, I will just say at last interview she did not share my opinion. I understand our little Southern Clark County area might still be in the running for a pretty big state prison. Time, as they say, will tell.
But Sherry’s heart is in the right place for Gurdon, Arkansas. And her winning this election may be a calm in a storm for me and many others. The reason it brings calm is I know Sherry understands how to agree to disagree about certain issue and yet still be on the same team. My grandmother Marvel used to say my grandfather was a horse’s rear end, but that nobody else had the right to call him that but her because he was her horse’s rear! In other words, they might have their disagreements but when push came to shove they were a team.
I am not a politician. I am a writer, photographer, business promoter and a college/street educated news reporter. But I am not a politician. Sherry is and I wish her the best of luck as she learns how to be mayor of Gurdon. She is fortunate in her training that the current mayor, Clayton Franklin, will be there to help her. Perhaps his mentoring will be the calm in her storm of excitement as new doors open up for her.
So let’s wrap this sermon up by agreeing that God’s understanding of things is much higher than our understanding. Whether your storm is some sort of unresolved issue, like who is going to be the mayor of your primary reporting town or how you are going to increase your monthly income by at least $500 to have a better chance of meeting your financial obligations and still save a little money for when you get older and slower, you still have to learn to ride out the storm and to feel that calm that Jesus Christ felt in the bottom of that boat more than 2,000 years ago (3).
His disciples began to panic in the crisis. They woke Jesus up from his nap and asked him, “Lord don’t you care that we will soon perish?”
Jesus told the winds to be still and the sea to be calm. Nature obeyed him. You might say, well he was, and is, the Son of God. True. However, we that have accepted him as Savior have untapped resources to calm the sea and still the winds. Yet it is like a cigarette lighter. You can look at what you have all day and there will be no fire until you look at the lighter fluid and seeing it gives you hope, then you have to have faith that striking the lighter will ignite the flame and thirdly you have to strike that lighter with action that you believe will bring you the desired result.
So take my dad’s advice, realize that being calm in crisis is at least as important as being calm when the good times are rolling. And remember the old Native American saying, “He who panics last wins.” Have a great day and remember, this too shall pass.
SCRIPTURES
1) THIS TOO SHALL PASS – Editor’s Note: The most familiar scripture to the idea that nothing lasts forever, even though one might get the idea one is in a no-win situation, is in Corinthians 10:10-13 King James Version (KJV) 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer (Don’t complain or your complaining will give Satan grounds for your eventual destruction).
11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall (Don’t get too comfortable with a temporary reprieve from your troubles).
13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Editor’s second note: There are scriptures describing the “coming to pass” phrase as talking about consequences being the results of specific circumstance. Deuteronomy 18:19King James Version (KJV) 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. Luke 2:1 King James Version (KJV) 2 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2) TAKE MY YOKE, IT IS EASY – Matthew 11:29-30King James Version (KJV) 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
3) JESUS SLEPT WHILE THE WIND TOSSED THE BOAT –
Mark 4:37-41King James Version (KJV) 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
Editor’s Note: The Word of God says God is Love. The fact that the Son of God, believed by us Christians to be a part of the Father, Son, Holy Ghost God-head, could calm the storms by telling them to be still, tells me that real power rests in love… So when the winds of your life blow strong and trouble seems to be the name of your days, remember to turn to love. Forgive, even when there is no logic in forgiveness. Let love rule and Jesus will bring the calm you seek.

 

Doing Battle In the
Army of Jesus Christ
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I have pondered this for awhile now. What does it mean to be in the Army of Jesus Christ to you?
I suppose the first question is are you a Christian? The second one would be are you saved and satisfied or do you want more from your Christian experience than to sit on the bench while the team players try and increase the numbers on our side?
I suppose the biggest reason I want to be an active Christian soldier is because I like to fight. Don’t get me wrong, I am not particularly talking about knock down, drag out events. I am talking about I like to fight Satan and his plans to increase the numbers in the valley of the damned. This is my Halloween issue of the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News so I guess I can get a little colorful with how I refer to a place called hell.
To me, being in the army of Jesus Christ means getting to know who you serve first. I wish I knew a lot more about Jesus than I do. Sure, I have read that Bible, or at least most of it, time and time again. Sure, I was an only child and I still spend a considerable amount of time alone and praying – even at 55 years of age.
But yet, do I really know enough about Jesus to be a good soldier? Probably not. But I am attempting to get to the point where my service to Christ is much more effective. The Bible refers to people like me as overcomers (1). VTN preacher Joyce Meyers says it like this, “I am not where I want to be in Christ, but I am sure glad I am not where I was.”
In short, we are never too old to improve our walk with Jesus. After all, what more important task does a soldier have than to learn who he or she is fighting for and then proceed to be obedient when taking orders from Jesus Christ on how to proceed?
Right now, I write this sermon every week and every other Sunday it is my job to lead the singing for about 10 young people in a church service at Sycamore Church in Beirne, Arkansas.
Sure, I would love to be preaching to thousands and seeing hundreds a night give their lives to Jesus Christ by accepting the gift of salvation that our Saviour offers to who so ever will (2). But right now, I am only qualified to do the smaller tasks for Jesus that I do. Even so, I am honored beyond words that the Lord is using a guy like me at all.
THE BATTLE
But getting back to the meat of the subject of soldiering. Our Gurdon High School Go-Devils will face Mt. Ida Friday night, in a Halloween conference championship play off. As Head Coach Kyle Jackson put it during our Monday morning football game interview, “This one is for all of the marbles.”
Whether it is a football game battle, or a battle for Jesus, we all have to get our game faces on and learn how to do battle.
I have my patterns every morning and so do you. Our life circumstances, our needs and our desires, dictate how we start each day and on which path we end up going down. The Bible says put on the whole Armor of God (3) before you go out to fight. I can see that. Those football players I mentioned would not do too well against their rival Mt. Ida if they all showed up in boxer shorts and flip flops to play the game. A person has to be ready for his or her attackers in this life.
Satan is always ready to go a few rounds with you. If you do not feel him punching at you, then you may want to check yourself. It could mean you are walking in step with the devil. An old preacher friend of mine named Harry Hashburger, in the Hagerstown, Indiana Methodist Church, used to preach that analogy years ago.
When we stand up for Christ, we must expect to get slapped by Satan. It is interesting how that works. I had a slow advertising month, yet I kept on working on my magazine and trying to have faith the God would make a way for my bills to be paid. And He did! This may not seem like much, but I had $2,200 worth of bills to cover for the month and was only able to put $1,200 toward the debt from my collections… Through a series of small miracles, the rest came in to our household!
It gave me the hope and faith to try again next week. That is the beauty of trying to do battle for God. When God is for you, no weapon formed against you will prosper. That is in the Bible too. Don’t get me wrong. Financing is not my thing.
I just want to find a way to get out of debt and save a few dollars before I retire. Then I have this vision of taking one last decent vacation before settling in to a mail-out advertising business and a smaller version of my publication.
I don’t ever envision quitting all together. I am just not the porch sitter type. I was a bench sitter in Christianity for years, but that got old too. That’s the big reason I accepted God’s challenge to write a sermon a week for the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News.
I could write about a lot of battles I have fought in my life, but I think I will share with you something a friend of mine told me about his personal political battle instead. This guy used to be something I used to hate. I was an old school farm kid with no use for folks who peddle drugs.
This guy did more than his share of that when he was a kid, so he admitted to me about 10 years ago. His drug dealing days were 20 years ago or longer. Since he straightened up, he has done a lot to make up for his youth. But since he chose to run for a public office, his past has been published like the advent of the 440 Dodge engine!
Yet he chose to continue to run for office because he wants to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem in a society of self-centered politicians.
At any rate, he is having a tough time. He told me he went to church Sunday in Amity by himself, simply because he needed to do so, according to what he believes God was prompting him to do. The service went great. He was even given an opportunity to finish the sermon! And then he was prayed for by a Holy Ghost filled minister that told him to hang in there and plow forward with his desire to win his political race and hold his head up as a Christian.
This encouragement made his day and he was on cloud nine. Then Satan attacked the character of his past in print and tossed around some accusations. Ironically, there have been no charges levied by his accusers. As a journalist, this makes me believe the whole bunch of accusations were false and a good lawyer might even win a libel suit. When police believe accusations are true, charges usually follow pretty quickly…
So you never know, God may grant him his dream yet. The secret to living a dream is to keep on believing and keep on doing battle until the end. Never give up and you will reach your goals in Christ. And the beauty of it is what we build through battle for Jesus Christ will last. Our own air castles may materialize and then fade with time, but a ministry to spread the Great Commission will outlive you!
In today’s world, the battles do rage. We see preachers who are being racked over the coals for quoting scriptures that put down somebody’s favorite sin. Folks, sin is sin. If you want to know if something is a sin, read the Bible. It will tell you. You sin. I sin. The key is being sorry and going to Jesus Christ and asking for His forgiveness. You see Christ has the power to forgive your past sins, those that haunt you now and those that will stumble you in the future.
Nobody else but Jesus has the power to forgive. The battle that really counts is the one about such a subject that each of us goes through in our minds. Don’t lose that one. Salvation is a free gift, but getting to an altar just might be the hardest job you have ever had.
I went to an altar when I was 15 in the First United Methodist Church of Hagerstown, Indiana. I remember how hard it was. I felt like everyone was looking at me and Satan assured me that if I did this I would be made fun of for the rest of my life. It was pretty much one of the few half truths the devil has ever uttered to me. For you see, we will be persecuted for being Christians and selling salvation.
I can not tell you if my friend will win his political aspirations, but I do know one thing. God knows his heart and if God wants that fellow in that office, he will win. If God has bigger plans for him, well that will have to be the way it is. We can not always get what we want, but as the Rolling Stones once said, if we try real hard we can get what we need.
SCRIPTURES
1) THE OVERCOMER – 1 John 5:4 – For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. John 16:33 – These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Romans 8:37 – Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
James 1:12 – Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Revelation 3:21 – To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
1 John 4:4 – Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 1 John 5:5 – Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? Revelation 3:5 – He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
2) ALL WHO ASK JESUS FOR SALVATION MAY RECEIVE THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE WITH GOD – John 3:13-17King James Version (KJV) 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
3)THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD – Ephesians 6:9-13King James Version (KJV) 9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Editor’s Note: And stand we must. For you see, it is indeed not as important what has happened in the second quarter of this game for eternity as it is how we finish that fourth quarter. We must learn as we go, so to speak, and the battle must be won. And if one soul reaches out for Jesus Christ because of something you or I have said or done, we have done our part.
And folks, all anyone professing to love the Lord Jesus Christ can do while still on this world is his or her part.

 

 

‘Submitting to God
and God alone’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I am a man who really does not trust a whole lot of people. There are a few that I do trust, but mostly I am a skeptic.
I suppose that comes from being an advertising salesman these past 30 years. A salesman, regardless of what we are selling, has the reputation of exaggerating the truth to get the customer to buy. I try very hard to sand bag my customers. In other words, I try to sell them a product and then throw in something very positive and extra in their advertising package that they were not expecting.
It comes from being taught to sell persimmons as a kid. Those of you who know me very well have probably read about how my grandfather taught me to close a sale by selling a quart of persimmons and then actually giving them a quart and a half. It is a good way to get repeat business.
But alas, this sermon is on submitting to God. I actually got the idea from my dog Gidget. When she has been a bad dog and wants my mercy, she turns over and sticks those little paws up in the air – in total submission to the guy who feeds her.
Again I trust very few people. But I do trust the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the only man to walk this earth without sin in His life (1). I also trust Father God, or Jehovah God as the Christian Bible (King James Version) refers to Him on more than one occasion.
And so here is the deal. In previous sermons, we have talked of trusting God and then renewing our minds by being willing to put that trust to the test. I used advances on tithes and offerings as an example. But frankly the only thing I can find that God has said through His word about tithing is it is giving a tenth of a first fruit. Offering goes beyond that. But it is a dividing principal. Therefore to expect God to fill up an empty bucket because of a bribe is not Biblical in my opinion. So I am going back to tithing in the traditional way, and to giving an offering on each ad collection made. I do have a peace about such a division. My trust comes in when I pray to God to guide me to the right clients so that the bills can be paid and a decent profit made.
I have been praying for God’s guidance to the right clients and the right words to say for seven years so far with Tailgate News. Regardless of the future, this method is Biblical and has served me well so far. As long as I am handling my finances in a Biblical, hard working and honest manner, I believe God will never let me down.
Even for a Christian, having such faith and trust is not easy – especially if you too are a skeptic like me. So God inspired me to go one step further and submit my worries to Him. If I were a dog, now would be the time I turned over on my back and stuck my little paws up in the air – praying for the mercy of my friend, Mr. God. That is what I have called Him since I first learned to talk and understood that He exists.
Submission is a tall order. Some other cultures have their women submit to the will of their men. I do not think this would work on American women too well. If ICIS, or some other devil group, tried to enforce it here, there might not be any American ladies left alive, as they would end up beheaded. Then again, there might be plenty of them left alive and a bunch of dead ICIS worshippers…
Submitting to a man, or to a woman, or to a beast, is indeed, in this Indian’s opinion, ludicrous. In other words, foolish. But submitting to Jehovah God is different. If you have gotten to know Him by way of the Bible and communing with Him most of your life, you have probably figured out He is a lot smarter and a lot more honest, trustworthy and loving than any of the rest of us.
The Bible says God is not a man, that he might lie (2). Indeed, He can not lie. If you believe you have caught God in a lie, it is you that are deceived. But don’t feel bad, we all get taken in my some Satanic double talk from time to time. Look at me. I thought I could bribe God into filling up a bucket. I know another god that it might have worked with – if I made the bribe big enough…
So take heart, God is safe to submit your will to. As I indicated before, in my advertising business I ask for His guidance and direction daily. I also pray before I go in to see each client, “Father God, please give me the right words to say to this person – sale or no sale – please do not let me harm them in any way by my sales talk.”
When I say that prayer, I feel a lot better about going in and pitching my heart out. I have learned the hard way, no matter how bad I may want a sale, there are no guarantees. But win, lose or draw it is my job to be a blessing to these customers – even the ones who throw me out on my ear…
So I submit my sales pitch talking to God. What areas of your life are you submitting to God? Many preachers say we need to submit all of us to God. I am not sure how you do that unless you are a robot. We all make the little decisions of life without thinking – at least part of the time.
I am always amused by preachers who tell me they have not sinned in years. They are either mostly brain dead or they are lying. Now I do believe the more you submit your will to the will of God, the less you will sin. For you see, God and his bidding will begin to occupy more and more of your time and there will not be as much idle time to think evil thoughts or to do evil deeds.
Here lately, there seems to be a group of people who want to redefine right from wrong. I personally do not know anything you or I can do about their views on such things. But we can tell them what the Bible says is right or wrong. At least that way, they have something to compare their own interpretations with – something that a God has inspired!
I submit that if we all adopted God’s version of right from wrong, even if we did not momentarily find the strength to always do right – as defined by the Christian Bible – at least our society would all be on the same page. It used to be more or less that way, until the melting pot melted way further in the past 20 years.
One way to know what God thinks is right is to submit to His way of thinking. Try it a little while.
I found an interesting section in the Christian Bible the other day about being a good soldier. I interpreted it to say a Christian soldier is supposed to be satisfied with his wages, not prone to violence and to stay the course to promote the cause of the Great Commission. It actually just said soldier, but beings as it was in the Christian Bible, I took it as instruction for those seeking to be Christ like in their soldiering.
This sort of lets out greed and lust if you are going to be such a soldier. To quote a golf phrase, it would seem God wants His troops to keep their eyes on the ball. I suppose there has to be somewhere in that Book that tells us to submit. One verse in the Old Testament comes to mind where God tells us to come to Him with our whole heart (3).
One thing I will say for learning to trust God, putting my faith in Him and now attempting to submit to Him on many levels is that it is purging a lot of my self righteous anger. I am not nearly as upset when things I am working on do not go my way. For you see, my way is no longer the goal. God’s way is the new goal for the new creature God is creating through Jesus Christ who lives on the inside of me.
But let’s look at the Satanic counterfeiting of submission to God a little closer. I have been reading on the Internet news lately about some place where preachers are being put in jail for telling homosexuals that they are committing sin. It is plain in the Bible that it is. One scripture calls homosexuality a stink in the nostrils of God and an abomination. That, in my humble opinion, does not sound good.
When I was young, one of my favorite sins was fornication. I have also cozied up to a lot of swearing – especially when on deadline. Now I liked my childish lifestyle. I have since gotten married to someone who has put up with me going on 17 years but still have a sin problem from time to time day dreaming about pretty girls. Most of us heterosexual guys do this. Still, we freely admit the Bible says if you have thought a lustful act through, you have committed it in your heart and therefore sinned.
If I can admit my sin, why, I wonder, do homosexuals have such a problem admitting their sins? Oh well, I suppose Christian sermons will touch on that topic from here to eternity. But the Word says hate the sin and love the sinner. You are to hate the abomination act but love the innocent soul committing it without even caring that God All Mighty disapproves. I am not big on condemnation. I figure that is the job of God on judgment day – if indeed it ever happens to an individual. My advice would be to ask for mercy from God, ask Jesus Christ to save you from your sins and repent (admit you were wrong and did sin in as many ways as you are aware of) so that you can go to heaven instead of securing a front seat in hell. So many try to make heaven on the merit system, yet the Christian Bible plainly says the salvation of Jesus Christ is a free gift for the asking and that our own righteousness is as filthy rags. Do we all need a Savior or what? If you agree, submit to Him and enjoy loving the man or woman in the mirror more than you ever have before.
I plan to continue to submit to God in the respect that I will preach his Word. If somebody is offended by that, I suggest they don’t read the sermon. But don’t come up to me and tell me what I can write about concerning the Holy scriptures. If it is in there, and God has inspired me to write on it, I really do not care how many judges inspired by selfishly righteous men and women of the world tell me to shut up or be convicted of a crime. For one thing, if my free speech really does become a crime, watch out. If loving and backing God becomes criminal, I really believe there will be more criminals than straight people. In fact, that law might become outlaw ways and some poor complainer about not wanting to hear a certain sermon might just find that very sermon is what he or she listens to for eternity in hell!
Submit. If God says you are to clean the church before service, that is places thought of action in your spirit, then clean it. Submit to the Word of God and your life will be come kinder, more honest and happier. Sure there will be problems you did not face before, but wondering about your eternal destination will not be one of them. God will give you peace. That is a by product of being submissive to our Savior; peace of mind. And peace of mind is one of the most valuable things I have discovered in my 55 years on earth so far.
SCRIPTURES
1) JESUS CHRIST, THE SINLESS MAN – Isaiah 53:9 King James Version (KJV)
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
1 John 1:4-10King James Version (KJV) 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanest us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
2) GOD CAN NOT LIE – Numbers 23:17-21 King James Version (KJV)
17 And when he came to him, behold, he stood by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said unto him, What hath the Lord spoken?
18 And he took up his parable, and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor:
19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
20 Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.
21 He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.
Titus 1:2King James Version (KJV)
2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
3) SUBMIT WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART – Psalm 138
I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. In the day when I cried thou answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul. …
Mark 12:30-34 King James Version (KJV) 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbors as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
Editor’s Note: Serving God whole heartedly is the ultimate submission. Unfortunately, we are humans and can be tempted if we look away from this servitude even momentarily.
Submit and stay in the fold is good advice. For those of us who submit and go back in the heat of the battle to get the Great Commission before more and more eyes, we must submit, chase rabbits, resubmit and continue.
Even so, the older in the Lord we become, the less the Satanic rabbits tempt us – or even the rabbits of our own making begin to lose their appeal.
Sure, everyone needs to relax and take a break. But to serve God with our whole heart means those breaks are spent thinking of better ways to serve Him. We do not submit to become robots but to become better people and better Christians by tapping into the wisdom of Christ and choosing it over the wisdom gained by living in this world.

 

 

 

The Renewing
of the Mind
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I learned a lot this weekend form my wife, three grand kids and step-son. I had a great time for someone boxed in a house in the rain with family who wanted to go to the park about as bad as the kids did.
But we made the best of it, even went to church.
The part about me learning a lot is what I want to talk about. The sermon at Sycamore was on who is your master? Do you obey the voice inside of you that is Jesus Christ or do you obey Satan’s? Or if you have not accepted the free gift of salvation through the blood of Jesus are you still obeying your own judgment and whims – with a lot of free advise from the devil of course?
That sermon got me to thinking about renewing my mind (1). I also heard a sermon on television from Kenneth Copeland ministries about our flesh simply being a covering for our spirit and thought about the Biblical quote stating that God is a Spirit and we must learn to worship Him in Spirit and in truth (2).
I began to think about what was happening this weekend. I realized how much I love the people I spent the weekend with and something inside of me kept saying, trust God. Change your mind and do that by listening to your spirit that already has an intense desire to obey the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
My old mind, for 55 years now, has been concerned with making good financially so that I could have a few things I wanted beyond the bills. I have been learning some solid economic ways to do that here lately that I was never really aware of before. But still, I turned over and over to my own abilities, breaking my arm to pat myself on the back when my ideas would succeed and kicking myself in the butt when those ideas left me “a little short.”
My new mind on finance goes like this. At the suggestion of something Brother James McCain said in a sermon at my church, I now write my tithes and offering check before the marketing work week starts. Last week this faith walk left me about on even, and disappointed that my cash flow did not skyrocket…
This week, it is Monday noon and I am yet to turn a lick at money. I did interview the head coach for Gurdon football and got a great story about us beating the socks off of Murfreesboro, but no money solicitations yet.
Instead of pursing my meager leads and pounding out a living, I am taking this long rainstorm we have been having here since Friday evening and using it for a bit of writing. When I finish this sermon, I will take off on the money box and proceed to do the very best I can to reach the goal of $900 cash collected by Thursday night.
I have already written an appropriate tithes and offerings check that would be valid for a cash collection from $750 to $900 and a bit beyond. I will continue seeing how many times the good Lord will help me make this cash collection goal until March 1. If all goes as planned, I will then start writing the tithes and offering check for a little bit more.
My spiritual promise to the Spirit of God is to never write the tithes and offerings check for any less than what we have started down this faith path doing. In order to do this, and resolve to continue to do business in this manner, my spirit man had to have a war with my flesh and bones, as well as with my mind (heart and brains according to research, the sum of which is the human soul according to me). Yes, the mind, that is our thinking mechanism plus our emotions, is about the same thing as the soul, to the best of my Nelson interpretation (3).
So halfway through that first week, Satan said to my spirit, if God fails you then you are worshipping a demon and there is no God – at least not in your life.
But that is not what the Word of our Lord says. It says if we do not get what we expect, then God has something better for us. I have to believe that, which is easy in my spirit.
But for my mind to believe it, my form of renewal was to simply stare my soul down with my eternal spirit and say, you will do this. Your doubts will leave eventually, but if you are going to trust God to save you Mr. soul from the flames of hell, surely you can trust God to guide your financial life into moderate success and the avoidance of bankruptcy!
It took some fast talking, but my mind finally decided to throw up its hands and give my spirit its way – the way of taking God at his Word and trusting Him to see us through financially, emotionally and every other way.
But let’s back up and not lie. My mind still thinks there are some things that God should make no suggestions about. This is especially true when it comes to stuff like self righteous anger, sexual satisfaction or having too much to eat or drink. The mind argues with the spirit that much of this stuff is just fun and won’t hurt anything spiritual.
Unfortunately for me, my spirit sits silent too many times. But that is why I am writing about renewing my mind. If I think differently, and I feel differently, about what is important, plus I make up my mind to listen to my eternal spirit more, and to encourage that spirit to seek guidance from the Spirit of Jesus Chirst, then my mind should change from trying to find activities that might not hurt my spiritual walk to seeking activities that will exemplify the value of salvation and keep perking the ongoing job of spreading the Great Commission.
The selfish mind, that seeks self recognition and gratification, is called the pride of life and arrogance, or the me part of me. The word says our carnal side will always be there and is not able to be subject to Jesus.
But our spirit does have power over our bodies, and has the power to renew our minds to be more like Christ once salvation is in the picture.
I think the reason those of us who have a lot of experiences in our carnal mind have a hard time buying our spirit’s argument to change everything is because our mind has heard God will never take away its free will so it hangs on to that.
God does not change the mind. Our very spirit pleads with God to change the soul and the spirit man lets the carnal mind know that things are going to be better.
For example, the mind may believe a man and a woman in love is the best thing that could ever happen to the soul it serves. But the spirit man begins to be closer and closer to the Creator and His Son Jesus. That spirit then has a long talk with the old mind about priorities and how the love of God trumps marriage love, friendship love and love with any other human beings.
God assures us that he wants trust and obedience as our choice to Him, not as something we feel we must do out of obligation even though we think with our old mind that blind obedience is bogus. So the problem is renewing the mind, that is reprogramming our minds, to trust and obey HIm at every level we can at any given time for the sake of our selves, our loved ones and those we try and help to see why salvation through Jesus Christ is something they so need in their lives.
In defense of what the mind is thinking about being needlessly controlled, no other god is worth giving up freedom of choice for. But when it comes to Jesus, we still have choices when we have a renewed mind and are getting deeper and deeper into His will. It is just that those choices revolve around a common goal with God – how to best spread the gospel instead of some carnal goal like finding the perfect spouse.
So the only way for renewing my worldly mind is for my spirit to convince the old mind that priorities must be changed to achieve a greater happiness from pursing a divine goal. I am beginning to understand why God says do not worry. Worry is brought on by the mind, which is egged on by the “what ifs” that Satan throws at it. A calm mind means the human spirit can live a much more calm life and productive life – while in this body. The body is God’s greatest gift and we need to take care of it. This means renewing the mind so the body is not in a state of frenzy that needs some sort of medication to make it better.
I am not talking about legitimate ailments that a doctor’ prescription might very well help. I am talking about self medication that leads to addiction and a mind that is ruled by a body gone ape. We are humans. We are spirit. Our bodies are our bodies, not the devil’s, and we need to learn how to use them to our best advantage. That means renewing our minds with trust and obedience in the ways of Jesus Christ that we learn a little at a time instead of storing His ways in our spirit and hoping our mind and body will somehow straighten up on their own…
If your mind is like mine, you will think of something that might make your body feel better and get side tracked from a spiritual assignment. My trouble is I have chased too many of those pleasure seeking rabbits in my day. This weekend made me realize just how lucky I am that those rabbit hunting expeditions did not kill me.
I buried a favorite kitty cat this weekend. By digging that hole for Calley and having my grandson Josh along for her funeral, it made me realize that the boy was not the only one who did not want to face the death of the body, which is our direct vessel under the control of our soul and mind….
I too think that would be an unwelcome change. I began to realize that I have not totally made my peace with God. I told my grandson that one day I would die too. What I did not assure him of is that my spirit, and his, and yours, will live on.
I believe the renewing of the mind concept is the breaking of the wild horse known as our soul so that the spirit that God has a friendship with inside of us can ride our soul and mind into a servitude and friendship that will make the biggest dent in the numbers going to hell that we are capable of influencing with the time we have left on this earth, using the talents God has given us.
Our bodies will one day be in a hole, or burned to ashes. But no amount of burying, heart stopping or burning can kill our spirits. And let’s face it, if our minds are left to rule us, then that mind/soul will sooner or later reject the need for Jesus Christ as Savior and drag our spirits down to the lake of fire to join Satan and his demons who also made that very wrong spiritual choice.
So today, my mind wanted to go continue a few bad habits that have been in my pattern of life for years. I pulled in the reins. I said no to a couple of them and agreed to the other couple on a very limited basis because I do not believe renewing the mind is a one-clean-sweep deal in my case. I intend to replace those habits I let go of with spiritually sound ones so that I do not fall into the category God was talking about where the fellow got rid of his demons, cleaned up his body and put no spiritually healthy habits in himself to carry on and those demons came back with friends to have a party in his soul and it was in a worse state after the clean-up than before the man tried to fix things in the first place.
This is where God comes in. He will have to guide me on what to put in there. I insist on a swap-out instead of an elimination game. Otherwise, instead of a renewing of the mind, I will end up with a bored stiff self who might try about anything for a bit of excitement. In short, our own time proven habits, if they are allowing us to function in society with reasonable success in the eyes of others, are better than wild child habits that one might accumulate after a quest to destroy what the mind has created without any idea what to use for replacement filler.
In short, if you embark on a quest to renew your mind, take heed that you let God do the renewing. Just cleaning the cage is not enough. It must be cleaned so God can redecorate and prepare the Christian soldier for battle against the devil and his legions that would send souls to hell out of revenge toward a God that gave them their just reward.
God will have to be ready to do some replacing in the patterns of life our soul has settled for to survive in a human society. And the only way that is going to happen is for us to realize God is ready. He is just waiting on us to ask Him to get on with it – in my case one habit at a time.
A second aspect of renewing the mind that I have thought of involves enjoying the armor as it goes on. I am 55, overweight and a slow dresser. But when I get a sock on it is truly a wonderful thing. Then I get another one and then my undergarments and pants and shirt. Pretty soon, I am presentable to the public but not without thanking God for each piece of clothing that goes into getting me presentable. I see the Great Commission in a similar way.
God puts on one piece of armor at a time. This is not easy. Our mind, especially before an old habit is broken, will keep insisting to go back to the old ways of worrying about money, seeking pleasures that are inappropriate, spewing words out of our mouths that are anything but Christian and always thinking of self instead of others. While it is true we must prepare ourselves before we can be effective helpers, the misconception is we must prepare ourselves before retiring and sitting on a porch.
Happy Caldwell said on VTN, a Christian television station, the other day, that we might as well die when we have finished our purpose on earth. I can see that, but the rub with me comes with the idea that as long as one soul needs to hear the good news Gospel of Salvation from Jesus Christ our purposes are not done.
One friend of mine had a heart attack and then got some sort of tunnel infection that left him hospitalized for months. When he got over it and back to work, he told me he was determined to have God catch him in the act of doing something to help someone when the angel of death was sent after him. Indeed, shame on the man or woman that decides the ultimate goal of life is to be a full-time lump on a couch – drawing a check, eating and wondering what disease the doctor will tell them they have next… I am not judging such a person. They may be saved and satisfied, but if they chose to go on a quest to renew their minds and enter the ranks of God’s Great Commission Army, they would not just be satisfied, they would feel alive like they were young and strong again – stronger in some ways.
I want to renew my mind and put on the whole armor of God to continue my work with the Great Commission for 125 years. If God gets done with me sooner, so be it. If he needs me longer, so be it, but that is my goal; 125 years, in good health, and able to write weekly sermons on the Internet for Tailgate News. A lot of whether I am successful in my goal is going to depend, in my opinion, on if I can renew my mind by finally bringing it under submission to my spirit and get my spirit totally under the submissive covering of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
If I focus that well, and get my soul to act as my horse and God to act as my spirit guide, I might just match what another preacher, Lester Summerall, told God he wanted. The Rev. Summerall is dead and probably in heaven now (at least in my humble opinion), but he started a ministry in his 50’s to where he went all over the world preaching with the intention of influencing one million souls to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. To me, the number of souls is not the thing. God said there is rejoicing in heaven for every soul saved. But then again, one million sounds like a good number for one Indiana preacher. It should good for this writer as well.
SCRIPTURES
1) RENEWING THE MIND – Romans 12:1-9 King James Version (KJV)
12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
2) IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH – John 4:22-26 King James Version (KJV) 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
3) MIND OR SOUL, THE SAME? Mark 12:30 King James Version (KJV) 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Romans 8:5-7 King James Version (KJV) 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
EDITOR’S NOTE – Commentaries I have just read indicate that the heart and the brain both think and are of this earthly body. These learned folk call the brain and heart the same thing. They apparently make up the carnal mind. The mind of Christ is a spiritual mind and communicates with our spirit and soul.
Those commintaries also talk of our soul and spirit being the same thing, yet the Word says we worship Him in spirit and in truth. This is something the reader will have to study for himself. The essence of what we are and who we are is a mind filled with either carnal things or spiritual things. Those heavenly spiritual things would seem to me to bring us closer to a mind of Christ. The spirit would therefore strike a match to a evil mind if that spirit accepts the perfect will of Jesus and rejects the carnel will of the human soul as it develops without devine guidance. Once again, the heart is said to equal the brain in those same commentaries. It contains our thoughts that lead to our deeds. So the spirit man, after accepting Chirst and His ways, must relearn how to think if indeed that individual is to be a soldier for the Great Commission.
My point is this. We must pour clear Christ-like water into our mind that we bring to the ball game of life through communicating with Jesus and dump out the dirty water our heart and/or brain has given us through the road of hard knocks.
We must believe God can change us from our rough and ready self to a creature with a twinkle that says God is ever with me.
This is the only way I can see anyone obeying Mark 12:30.

Satan: The Accuser
of the Brethren
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I am very tired of folks who say they are Christians proudly accusing other Christians of this or that imperfection that will surely send them to hell.
Why, I have asked myself, would I, as a professing Christian, want to find reasons to tell other believers that their best efforts to honor Jesus Christ are not good enough to be worthy of salvation? Is that not the job of the devil? I have heard it said that Satan is the accuser of the brethren (1).
I have also heard that on judgment day Satan will ask God to send each one of us to hell as the sinners we are and that our advocate to the Father, Jesus Christ, will not only come to our defense but the Christ part of the God head will actually be our judge as well.
This means that the accuser of the brethren, Old Scratch himself, will be hopping mad when purity blood covered sinner after purity blood covered sinner goes to heaven because those sinners have asked Jesus Christ to forgive them of their sins and sealed the deal of all of their sins being under Christ’s blood, shed on the cross – forgotten by the All Mighty in the sea of forgetfulness.
Satan will say things like, “But he took your name in vain! He had a girlfriend when he was married and wished he could be married to both of them at once. He coveted his friend’s success in finance. He refused to give his tithes and offerings every time like you said he should.
“He murdered a lady who was robbing him at gunpoint, as she accidently fell down and hit her head on a rock! I demand you send him to hell!”
The person we are talking about will lower his eyes and start crying, realizing that Satan has told the truth.
Then Jesus will wipe away his tears and say, “Well done my good and faithful servant. Your sins have been forgiven you. Enter now into the kingdom of heaven (2).”
The Word of God says the saved individual will have his or her sins thrown into the sea of forgetfulness, where God will remember them no more. God is good to us all of the time and Satan’s arguments about the times we cussed out a friend, pushed down a kid on a parking lot or ran over a drunk at a party and then lied about it for years, will not be rememberd.
Apparently Satan will remember the bad dog things we do in life, but God chooses not to for those purified in the blood of Jesus and the sacrifice there of.
But enough of this speculation as to what will happen on our judgment day. Let’s look at how Satan accuses the brethren right here on earth, in front of others, to make the unforgiven sinners think asking Jesus to come into their hearts is a futile experience.
Satan is a loser, in that he was kicked out of heaven and apparently asked to never return by Jehovah God Himself (3). So being the immature and prideful brat that he apparently is, Satan loves to make us feel hopeless. He tells us we are fat and ugly, never to succeed in business, marriage or even friendship and that we might as well just overdose on drugs or jump off of a bridge.
Yes, Satan is a real nice guy and a warm hearted freind. NOT. Oh that is right, my Bible tells me not to lie and my daughter Kelley has said the same thing. OK, so the part about Satan being a nice guy was really not so truthful.
All joking aside, cozying up to the devil is a dangerous thing to do at best. But if you get to know the ways of Satan, you can recognize the accuser of the brethren in sermons by those who condemn a saved Christian for an unplanned sin or mistake.
Let me say this. I believe God did want humans to be strong enough in character to get saved and sin no more. Some preachers say it is possible and others claim they have done it for years. Again, I have not followed them around but I do know this. We are to judge not or the Bible says we will be judged likewise. Therefore it presents no real threat of change for Satan to accuse us of sin and therefore demand and even believe that we are destined for a front seat in hell. But consider this. Suppose blashemy against God means playing God… In short, the Word of God says the unforgiveable sin is to blashemy God’s Holy Ghost. It also says God will not be mocked…
Nobody that I know really knows what blashemy of the of the Holy Ghost is. Maybe it is for the best that we don’t because if we did we would be afraid that hope would one day leave our lives. I have heard we are not accountable for things we are ignorant of, but I am not really looking for an escape clause here as much as I want to make a point. Let’s get earthly real. Suppose I look at a judge in a courtroom and tell him you are guilty of robbing me and raping my wife.
You swear it is not so. You say my wife gave you my shotgun as a gift and she has been giving you her body behind my back for months on end…
The judge believing my story gives you 20 years time served. Believing your story would get you a girlfriend whose husband is filing for divorce…. That might seem like heaven to you if you loved the woman. But if my story were believed and you were facing 20 years in prison, that might seem like hell.
Now suppose I accuse you of the rape and robbery and you go to jail but you were really just guilty of fornication with my wife and accepting a shotgun as a gift. You begin serving your sentence. What is the fair thing to do if it is later proven you are innocent and I lied? Do you forgive me (the Christian thing), or do you assume the old testament says an eye for eye so you hunt me down and shoot me with that shotgun, right between the eyes. Then you strip me, burn my clothes and dump my body in a river… In short, you adopt the Satanic view that two wrongs do make a right.
Maybe, through this fictional story, you are getting my point. Satan can go around accusing us of all sorts of things and might even remind God that we deserve hell for swearing at a cat that scratched us after we had our salvation experience.
But really now, whose business is our judgment day hearing but ours, the Lord Jesus Christ’s and the devil’s? Not a dog gone soul has anything to do with that day but the afore mentioned, and that is the way it should be.
The deciding factor in salvation, as is at least indicated by Biblical quotes, the accepeting or rejecting of Jesus Christ and HIm crucified so that our sins are either seen by Father God as white as snow on judgment day or black as night if we go it alone. But if there were no sins after our salvation, why not just get a sheep to sacrifice? That, according to the old testament, used to cover past and present sins for a person standing before God.
But nowhere that I can find in the Bible does it say anything will cover our sins in the future except accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. It is not a license to sin rampently, but rather a safety net from our own weak natures that will never be stripped away by God unless we arrogantly ask Christ to leave us…
None of us are good enough to go to heaven without the grace of Jesus Chirst. This is the Good News, almost too good to be true that we hear about.
But for the man or woman who does not ask Jesus Christ to forgive their sins and then sincerely asks Him to come into their hearts to live forever, the future destinations of hell and then the lake of fire appears to be what God has in store for them. The Word says God would have it that none choose hell. Hell, He says, was created for the devil and his fallen angels, creatures that had already sealed their own fates by choosing arrogance and pride over humbleness and forgiveness of self and others.
God will not accept sin in heaven. If the pure blood of Jesus covers you, He will not see any of your sins on judgment day so therefore will believe Jesus over Satan in that particular courtroom setting.
Satan has a point. We sin. We sin as long as we are human in my opinion. Admittedly, I would venture to say Christians, who are hopefully trying to overcome their sin habit, sin less than the guy or gal who could not care less and is really just looking for sexual comfort, lots of money and a good stiff drink.
I can, and I will, if Father God gives me the time, show you scriptures to back my theory on salvation. After that, it comes down to what you believe. And it also comes down to where you want to end up.
Either way, do yourself a favor and let Satan do the accusing of the brethern and the sisters. Their destinations or conduct are really none of your business and none of mine. We can try and guide then to heaven, but they will do just what they want to do in the end. The job of a Christian, that is follower of Jesus Christ, is simply to provide Biblical guidance as to how they might steer their ships back to Jehovah God. The rest is up to them.
SCRIPTURES
1)THE ACCUSER OF THE BRETHERN – Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.
Job 2:2 And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
Job 2:3 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
Job 2:4 And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
Job 2:6 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
Philippians 1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
2 Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2)WELL DONE MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT – Matthew 25:20-23King James Version (KJV)
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
3) SATAN BANISHED FROM HEAVEN –
Isaiah 14:12-17King James Version (KJV) 12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?
Editor’s Note: My current research indicates the phrase “accuser of the brethren” may be man made instead of a Biblical quote about Satan. But look at this last verse: Isaiah 14: 17. Does the devil sound like somebody you want at your birthday party? How about your funeral? Have a great week.

 

 

 

Jesus: The best
Counselor ever…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
In today’s world, if a fellow has too many troubles they get him a guidance counselor. If that does not work, they try and send him to rehab, a mental institution or to jail.
But there is something else that can be done if a person is having trouble yet has a bit of faith in Jesus Christ. You can save yourself a lot of trouble and money by just “Having a Little Talk with Jesus. Tell Him all about your troubles.”
Those are words from an old timer’s Christian song, sung in church by many of us back in the 1970’s. But it is true. Jesus not only is the answer. He has a lot of answers.
Everyone is going to have their own method of communication. I pray and then when I believe it is God who is answering me, I give it the demon test. If the answer is arrogant, it is a demon talking to me. If the answer involves a suggestion to bribe or blackmail God, it is a demon at work. But if the answer is free from suggestions of sin, humble and requires a bit of love and patience, it passes my test to check the suggestion out in the Bible. I believe anything Jesus Christ conveys to my spirit can be confirmed with the Word of God, that is the Christian Bible.
Sometimes in a sermon, too many generalities are mentioned and not enough personal examples. So let’s look at one of my own counseling situtations with Jesus. I used to talk to Him a lot about my future. Then He made me realize the future is now. Where we are says a lot about where we are headed, borrowing any natural disasters or visits from ISIS etc.. If you want to be accurate about what tomorrow brings, look at your pattern of life.
I have told the Lord I need three people to do this magazine efficiently and also to be sure it continues after I am too old to do the thing. God has told me in my spirit that I will get another sales person who is enthusiastic, honest and cares about the content, and then He will send a woman to help manage the office, doing accounting, spec ads and ad appointment calls. He has also told me this is the year of success. I take that to mean we will be monthly bill solvent and have a decent savings by April of 2015. This magazine’s first digital year began in April of 2012. The first paper year began in May of 2007 so I might be off a month…
I do my best to believe God, although it is discouraging after seven years of business and still no sales guy or office girl. And they have to come in that order. Otherwise, there would be no advertising revenue to pay a salary for the office girl.
The wrong people at these posts would be disasterous. I realize this. Both would have to be marketing oriented. Because if the commissioned sales guy (or gal) could not sell and the office girl could not set sales appointments, I would be in a much bigger mess than I am at present with just me at the helm.
Part of accepting God’s counseling is having faith and trust. If it is God, it may not pan out nearly as soon as you hope, but you will not discover a lie, arrogance, black-mail, a bargain deal or some other sign that the whole thing was a conjuring of Satan and his forces.
If you feel a spirit coaxing you to say sure, I would do such and such, watch out for your desires to cross sin boundaries such as adultry, fornication, gluttony, over indulgence in drink, taking the name of God in vain or some other such Satanic pit. Sin, being a blatant disregard for protecting the body and soul and a blatant defiance of the 10 commandments, is never something God backs.
But suppose you tell God you are in love with somebody and that somebody is married. Do you believe He would always tell you to leave it alone? God is the same entity that put in His Bible that love never fails (1). So how could it be wrong to have genuine feelings of love? Personally, I don’t believe it is. I believe there is a time and a season for everything. But I believe God calls us to leave our feelings alone for a time, even feelings of soul-mate love…
The love of your life, and maybe even you, may be married right now, but 10 years from now things might be different. My best advice, and I believe the advice of Jesus, would be to respect your own marriage and hers. If indeed someday you are both free, then there could be a Christian based relationship in the future.
But so many people jump the gun. And so many times, daydreaming never comes true. We should not mistaken God telling us if something was true, then so and such would be OK, for something really being true and therefore you may approach a situation in a Christian manner.
It is not just in matters of love and money that people need counseling. I mentioned giving you a personal example. Here it is. I have asked God the traditional questions about life on more than one occasion. In other words, God, why did you create a person like me and what can I contribute for the good of hummanity before I check out of this oversized hotel known as planet earth?
I got no answer for years. Then back in March of 2012, when it looked like the Tailgate News was about to be no more because of print bill expenses and dwindling advertising , coupled with increased living expenses, God got in the picture.
He inspired a friend of mine to build me a website, through an expert he knew, and the digitial world was slowly opened up to me. We have grown from 700 viewers for the first issue of this digital magazine online to more than 7,000 viewers per week, that is actual site hits, for about the last two months. That is a miracle in my mind. But God did ask something for the transition and miraculous transition. God asked me never to publish a Tailgate News without a sermon. I could have said no and the publication might have grown anyway for a season. God never tries to stop our free will. But instead, I chose to promise Him I would.
So far, I have always kept that promise. And I hope I always will keep it. I asked God what I could do to help Him after He gave me my dream and my living back by keeping Tailgate News alive? That is when He told me it might help the Great Commission to write sermons in the magazine. He reminded me of the scripture that said a Great Commission effort is well worth it if one soul is saved from the flames of hell (2). Not that I can save anyone, but I might possibly point someone to Jesus Christ and salvation. And that, as they say, is all a human being can do to repay a God that has given him everything anyway.
Getting back to counseling, Jesus is my consultant on where to solicit advertising, where to search out a story and how long I can sleep on a given night.
You see, other than the presence of God, I put this magazine together alone a lot. Being alone makes one have the tendency to talk to God more. And wow what a listener. I not only work alone much of the time at 55 years old, I grew up an only child on a farm in Indiana. Me and God go way back. I still remember the barn beam incident…
A HEDGE OF PROTECTION EARLY ON
I could not have been much older than 3 when I started watching kitty cats walk across our old barn on the beam on the Indiana farm that I called home for many years. I was raised by my grandparents and there were times when I was my own baby sitter. The incident I am about to mention may require governmental intervention. If so, my grandparents are both dead so it might be pretty tough for DHS to conduct any interviews at this late date. Besides, I walked those barn beams 52 years ago, in the spring of 1962 – or there abouts.
I remember walking across the beams and looking down at an old combine and the Mayflower. The Mayflower was an old bent wagon bed that Grandpa used for a fishing boat from time to time. Had I fallen on the Mayflower, I might have survived. But if I had fallen onto the combine, it would have probably been the end for “Johnny.”
I remember Mr. God telling me now don’t stand up. The Word says Jesus promises to make His bed in hell with us if that is where we choose to go (3). For a 3-year-old, falling on a combine would have been hell. I remember Mr. God’s Spirit saying to my little boy spirit, “You don’t want your grandfather to see you up here and get scared. And let’s make a steady stream for over there where we can crawl back down to solid ground.” I took Mr. God’s advice, that I felt in my little boy spirit, and I am very glad I did.
It does not matter what you want to talk with Jesus about. He will talk. He will listen, and many times His responses will surprise you.
But I encourage anyone with anything preying on their mind or troubling them in any way, take it to God. You and Him can kick it around and come up with a sensible, rigtheous direction to go – and Mr. God will help you stand for something so you don’t fall for anything.
SCRIPTURES
1) LOVE NEVER FAILS – 1 Corinthians 13:1-10New King James Version (NKJV)
The Greatest Gift
13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
2) HEAVEN REJOICES WHEN ONE SOUL IS SAVED –
Luke 15:3-10New King James Version (NKJV)3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying:
4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.
The Parable of the Lost Coin
8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins,[a] if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
3) JESUS STAYS EVEN IF OUR BED IS MADE IN HELL –
Psalm 139:3-10New King James Version (NKJV) 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. 5 You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. New King James Version (NKJV)
Editor’s Note: King David knew Christ, the salvation side of the God head, even before Jesus Christ walked this earth in the flesh. I am nothing. Not a thing. I do not want anything anymore. I give myself to the servitude of Jesus Christ.
God, I give you my home, my family, my friends and all that I am under the illusion is mine – at least while on this earth and reasonably sane. I will maintain my free will through it all. If You are making a mistake in my mind, like you seemingly admitted after destroying this world and its people by water, I will tell you. I will know it is not a mistake in your vast knowledge and that it is me who is wrong. But I will use my judgment, that you gave me, to think.
If you do not want my thoughts, or my free will to speak, please, do what you must and we will talk it over in heaven. I am a sinner saved by grace. I am not a mindless zombie, nor will I ever be. I ask those reading this to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. And I ask them to trust that Jesus will not strip you of your free will – only ask you to put on His will for the good of you and The Great Commission.
It is my prayer that those reading this are stronger than me. Please, have a good day. And until next sermon, I love you all.

 

 

‘Lifelong friendship
with God makes each
day a joy inside’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The apostle Paul once said that he counted all of life joy; that is the good and rich times and also the bad and impoverished hard times. He counted it all joy because Jesus Christ was with him through it all.
This takes a lot of faith, but more importantly it takes a lot of friendship and trust in a Lord that we have never seen with our naked eyes. Or at least I can not claim that I have. For me, God speaks to me. I feel his presence in my soul and around me as I go through my day, but no, I can not say I have actually seen Him. If I did, being a professional journalist for more than 30 years, I would probably have tried to take his picture.
No sir, I can not say that ever happened. But I have felt His presence so clearly that I could imagine a smile on His face when I did something right – say resisted the temptation to have a cussing fit – and I have imagined a frown on HIs face and a tear in his eye when I did wrong – like not giving as much to someone else as what I could have out of selfishness. Sure, I mess up. We all do. We are human and the bad dog is always there, bowing down to temptation if you feed that dog too much. As some of my Cherokee brethren have said to me years ago, you can choose to feed that good dog and he will be the strong one in your life. If you know Jesus Christ, He will help you grow that good dog into a creature of strength and beauty.
He will create out of your good dog a new you, right along with you and your overcoming efforts, as your days slip by on this earth. You will be His friend and He will be yours. The more one tries such a relationship, the happier one will become. At least that is the way it has worked in my life.
My television minister that I listen to about three days a week, Andrew Womack, said he took God with him to Vietnam when he was 18 and not being alone is one big reason Andrew made it home (at least that is his testimony and I believe it). God will protect us, if we freely give ourselves to Him for service. God is not big on accepting black mail or bribes, but He seems to love a humble and true heart. In fact, the Word of God (Christian Bible) says pride goeth before a fall (1).
When we swell up with what we can do, we put our friend Jesus in a silent corner. He waits patiently until finally our conscious brings Him an apology in humble adoration. Because if we are Christian, we do that. At least I believe a Christian will always come to the conclustion that God’s ways are not only higher than our ways, they are superior venues toward getting the desires of our hearts. We realize inside of our selves that life is so much better when we ask God to help us for fill the purpose in our lives that He would have us to do than it is chasing rainbow on our own.
GROWING PAINS
Let me say that I have spent years on end chasing my own rainbows. I just had to have a workable marriage, children, grandchildren and a professional writing career. I have had four wives and this last one has stayed married to me for 16 years.
My route to my family and professional goals was rocky and painful to me and many others. Then it looked like in March of 2012 that I was going to lose that writing career. But I was growing. I had been thanking God for my home, my marriage and my writing career daily for sometime.
The marriage I was trying to hang on to on my own had disappeared into separation in Novemeber of 2003. My friend God gave me that marriage back in July of 2005. I was humbled, along with skeptical, but very grateful. She has stayed ever since and our love has grown. When the writing career evaporated, God had a true friend set me up with a Word Press blog site on the Internet. He even paid the dues on it for two years without telling me there were any dues… Through Britt “Santa” Armstong, and his computer wiz friend, Daniel Morehead, I was pulled away from the paper business into an animal I now refer to as a digital magazine.
This website was created in April of 2012 and I got 700 site hits the first month. This past month, in September of 2014, I got 7,000 hits a week (actually more than 30,000 for the month so far)! As we grow, God sometimes asks us to do a few more tasks for Him. God asked something of me when he switched my work to the Internet. He asked me to write a sermon for every publication I put out for the rest of my life. This was scary at first. But so far I have kept that promise and my intention is to continue writing Tailgate News for Friday publication and include a sermon for however many years the Lord will allow.
I have financial problems, mostly due to insisting on a few home improvements and giving into the temptation to pay for them on credit cards, but slowly but surely God has been teaching me financial accountability and blessing me.
My Spiritual Savior, Jesus Christ, has been working His magic and told me to take my financial recovery one day at a time. Patience is sometimes hard as nails for me, but I seem to be learning the lesson. This month, I have a very good chance of paying every one of those bills. I thank God for that and give my friend Mr. God the credit for the small bit of fiscal success and for having patience with his mule-headed friend. Indeed, His mercy abounds!
THE GREAT COMMISSION
God will not force the Christian to participate in the Great Commission, that is the act of attempting to lead one or many souls to Salvation through Jesus Christ. But God will encourage it, at least He sure does with me. When God first asked me to write a weekly sermon, I told Him I was not qualified to do such a thing. He pointed out how rough some of the Bible characters were. He reminded me Peter lost his temper and cut off the ear of a Roman soldier. He reminded me that same Peter got scared when Christ was on trial and denied knowing HIm three times to save his own neck.
Then I realized I must do what He asked, not because I had to but because deep down inside I really wanted to do so – take baby steps to participating in that Great Commission stuff. I am not perfect, but God accepts us as worker bees with our flaws if our heart is right. Change, in the Christian world, comes when we are ready and God confirms we are ready. If you try and rush it, God just might give you a lesson in humbleness like He has me on the afore mentioned situations and many more. God has spanked me over and over for 40 years since I gave my life to Jesus Christ what I was 15. It has taken me 40 years, but I do believe I now have an inkling as to what I accepted at the Methodist Church altar way back then. Jesus Christ has never walked away. Neither have I, although Satan has done his best to convince me I might as well…
I am grateful the All Mighty apparently thought I might be a usable soul after all. I am not anything great. But I am happy. And I do love Jesus Christ and Father God. And of course, I love the Comforter they sent to communicate their wills, technically known as the Holy Ghost. I believe the Bible depicts then as three phases of the God head, thus declaring them one God (2). That is hard to understand for many of us humans, as we seem to have just one soul, with admittedly a good side and a bad side.
But even if you also have trouble understanding God’s make-up, I advise you to trust God on this and seek His friendship with your whole heart. Don’t just settle for being saved and satisfied. Seek God’s audience and I don’t believe you will be disappointed.
God is a Supreme Being, also known as Love(3). He is there for us. All we have to do is reach out and take His hand. If you hold His hand (in your spirit), you can not go too far wrong with your personal friendship walk. This sermon, as stated already, is about being a friend to God.
A song I have heard says we love Jesus because He first loved us. That would mean to me that our Savior saved us and we were thankful. Then that gratitude evolved into a union of love between our free will and the free will of Jesus Christ. That is a Nelsonism conclusion so take it with a grain of salt.
On a personal basis, I believe I loved God before I ever went to the altar. I can not remember a time when I did not. And I can see His protective hand on my life, even before I was saved. But after asking Jesus Christ into my heart, it is like a flood gate of love from Him came pouring into me.
I was watching a commentary of the late Johnny Cash, a famous American country singer, on Youtube last night. His friend Kris Kristopherson said, “John was the most spiritual man I have ever known, but also a wild man. I believe the tension in his face came from trying to balance the two.”
Indeed, it will be a fight to the end to hold on to God’s hand and refuse to let go, even when He spanks you hard, but to me, if I get to be with Mr. God in heaven, it will all be worth it. And if my training down here means someone else accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, then all of these farm boy sermons I have written will have been well worth the effort.
After writing 49 sermons last year and about 35 more so far in 2014, I am used to that assignment in my life. In fact, I enjoy it. If God can use me in the least little way to push even one person toward saying those words to Jesus Christ that constitutes salvation; “Help me Lord. I can not make it on my own. Forgive me of my sins on this earth, past, present and future and help me to resist sin just as much as my soul is capable of doing. Lord, I need you. I need your pure blood, that you shed on the cross for me, to save me from my own just reward of going by way of hell and the grave. I need you Lord and I believe you are the only begotten Son of the Living God Jehovah. I believe you died and rose from the dead on the third day after your crucifixion, cutting a path to heaven I can follow by holding onto you. Amen.”
That is the John Nelson version of the Roman road to salvation. Read the book of Romans and the book of John for a better version and to learn more about what it means to be saved. Salvation is, in my opinion, the first step toward happiness. And it is a big step to becoming a closer life-long friend to Father God than you ever thought possible. Plus, one day, you will receive your heavenly retirement plan. When I get mine, I have so many questions of God that I want to ask Him face to face.
But once in heaven, I will not be a bit surprised if none of those questions really matter anymore.
SCRIPTURES
1) PRIDE GOETH BEFORE A FALL –
Proverbs 16:18 King James Version (KJV) 18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
2) GOD IN THREE PERSONS – The New Testament doctrine of the Trinity is evident in such a verse as John 15:26, where the Lord Jesus said: “But when the Comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father, He shall testify of me.”
Then there is the baptismal formula: “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).One name (God) — yet three names! JESUS — That Jesus, as the only-begotten Son of God, actually claimed to be God, equal with the Father, is clear from numerous Scriptures. For example, He said: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).
3) GOD IS LOVE – 1 John 4:8-10 King James Version (KJV)
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The Righteousness of
Jesus lives in the saved;
He can be our guide
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Ever wonder how it is you know you have accepted Christ but the idea of accepting yourself now that you have accepted a perfect Savior into your life seems impossible?
I know I have wondered this often. I have heard the legalistic advice of how I am to just change into a saint from a sinner, leaving the “old man” behind. I understand the process. I do not understand how some folks seem to think it happens over night.
I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior 40 years ago. I suppose my heart of loneliness changed first. For some reason, I just knew that I knew that Jesus was living on the inside of me and I would never be alone. But at first, I went back to my day to day life, making decisions based on my 15-year-old intellect that most likely were not the most “Christian” in the eyes of those looking for some overt sin or another to send me to hell on “their list.”
It took awhile, but I began to understand that the only way to become more Christ like was to let the spirit of Christ living inside of me have more say so in my day to day behavior.
I never used to feel particularly guilty about vulgar language for example.
Then, I began to want to serve God instead of just hold Him at arm’s length for when I had really messed up so I would have a counselor available 24-7. When I realized I wanted to serve Jesus, I started praying for a cleaner tongue so I would be a better witness for the Great Commission.
My three little grand kids have taught me more than most adults about such things. This past weekend was Grandpa weekend. It happens about once a month. Michelle and I take my daughter Kelley’s children to raise for a couple of days and it gives her a break while building a relationship between us and them. They are 8, 3 and nearly 2.
This trip out I only embarrassed myself twice. You see, for the better part of the 55 years on earth, being raised on a rather rugged farm in Indiana, my first language inside of my head had been sprinkled with what some folks call colorful expletives – more commonly known as the vulgar expressions that go along with self-righteous anger. More often than not, in my Christian walk as of late, I choose milder forms of communication – especially when I am around other human beings.
But as with all of the humans I have met, when you make us mad our native tongues and feelings surface pretty fast. In other words, when we boil our true colors come out.
This Saturday night, I was at a bull ride and my 8-year-old was acting up throwing mud. I called him down and told him to get his butt in the seat. He obeyed. Michelle said I got a few looks. Not for that I guess, but for my impatience. I was aggravated because it was taking the rodeo folk so long to get to the bull ride I wanted to take pictures of for this magazine and apparently some of my native tongue slipped out a little too loudly under my breath.
For whoever heard the words of this writer, I apologize. But the embarrassment brought me to the real message of this sermon…
God communicates with baby Christians, which most of us still are in one respect or the other, by way of his righteousness not ours… We are a work in progress.
The Bible says to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (1). God will not take Jesus away from us, but our own embarrassment, if we let it fester, can cause some to walk away from Jesus. And this is not our goal. It is the goal of Satan.
So when the devil tells you that you are not worthy of Jesus being in your life, don’t let him convince you of it. God says Jesus Christ sacrificed his life, and his pure blood, for who so ever will accept this gift as a passage to his or her salvation in eternity – and perhaps just as importantly – as a passage to true happiness in life.
I have mentioned before that I watch Andrew Womack on Christian television. Andrew says the law was given to us by God to convince people that we all need Jesus to measure up.
Nobody can measure up to everything in God’s law on their own. It is human nature to think things like, “Well this part just can not be right.”
You know, like the devil convinced Eve that the only reason she was not supposed to eat the apple was that God was being stingy with his wisdom.
No, Father God wanted his children to be happy in the arena of knowledge he had given them – so He created an Eden of low stress.
But Eden comes with a price. You have to trust Jehovah God and you have to trust the Spirit of Jesus Christ living on the inside of you. The more you turn to them when situations come up, the better advise you get on how to act. The native tongue of cussing rises up less and less.
Adultery is seen for what it is, a way to wreck families for a moment’s pleasure…
God will teach us, through the Spirit of pure righteousness, which is Christ Jesus, at our own pace. It has taken me 40 years to get this far in my walk and I am the first to admit I have a long way to go.
But will I listen to Satan as he assures me I should give up every time I slip up? No, not this half-breed Cherokee. Me, I will hold the hand of the Man from Galilee until the end. I have asked Christ to remember John and His word says God is no respecter of persons (2). In other words, what he will do for you, he will do for me.
Therefore, in Nelson philosophy, that equates to this, he had mercy on the thief on the cross because that thief asked in all sincerity and faith. The thief did not try to justify his sins. Indeed, our own righteousness is like filthy rags (3) and that righteousness does not get any cleaner when we point the finger of blame at others or tell God He should lower his standards to meet ours.
We have to strive to hear Him when He wants to show us the path to His righteousness and true happiness instead of trying to loudly make excuses why we as humans can never initiate God’s righteousness. The most we can do is our part to help someone else see why Christ is worth accepting.
The term “look at me” is of Satan and anyone who says it is not is not being totally honest with him or her self, at least in the opinion of this writer.
For example, we can try and church it up all we want, but when we have a few words with our spouse and a 3-year-old grand daughter tells a person they had better watch their attitude and language, you know you had better fine tune your God righteous hearing for the sake of the innocent if nothing else.
All I could do when Rayne told Grandpa to not talk mean was to smile at the child and give an apology from Grandpa. I then said a silent prayer to God to please give me the strength and sensitivity to hear the righteousness of Jesus Christ on the inside of me next time the stress boils over so my words are Christ-like to the child’s ears within hearing distance – not words of self righteous anger.
I believe I may be beginning to learn a few things from my Savior. I realize I do not know anything of myself and I mean that. Every time I think I have figured something out, my theory springs a leak somewhere.
But that is not the case when God’s righteousness takes over. The biggest evidence I have found of God’s righteousness is the conveying of love not hate during times of discipline in children and love, not hateful meanness when talking to a spouse or peer. Because of Jesus Christ accepting our request that he save us from hell and our own fear of hurting others, he has done a miracle.
He has given us access to the answers. This gives us an alternative to just getting scared and saying some self righteous rhetoric “to show the other person who is boss.”
My preacher sent me these scriptures this morning that I believe apply to our sermon today.
Romans 8:14-16King James Version (KJV)
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
I believe my 8-year-old, who has learning problems because of a disability, asks me for a hug for a reason. He knows I love him and my response is going to be yes and that hug will be given. He has faith that even when Grandpa’s tongue does get sharp, Grandpa will always love Him.
That used to be enough for me. Now I want a sweet heavenly tongue to come along with the evidence of carnal love to spare my family and friends of any momentary pain that might be caused by exposure to my self-righteousness.
Am I growing in Christ and growing up a little? Probably, but please don’t tell anyone!
SCRIPTURES
1)WORKING OUT OUR OWN SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING –
Philippians 2:11-13King James Version (KJV)
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
2) GOD IS NO RESPECTOR OF PERSONS – Acts 10:33-35King James Version (KJV) 33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
3) OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS IS AS FILTHY RAGS – Isaiah 64:3-8King James Version (KJV) 3 When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.
4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
5 Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
8 But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Editor’s Note: I was the world’s worst at being Cain in the Cain and Able story. I thought what I grew was pretty good and surely God would like it. But the problem was me. I kept thinking of what I had done, not what God had done simply using me as a means.
God’s righteousness involves being humble. Every time human arrogance takes over, those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior see that as a green light to glorify in their own self reliance. I too believe in self reliance, that is my ability to submit myself to a God of love.

Never ever give up
on the other person…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Jesus Christ promises us in the Bible He will never forsake a person who has asked Him for salvation. They may walk away out of shame or addiction to sin, but He will not do the walking. It further states that if we make our bed in hell as Christians, Jesus will be right there beside us.
I take that as a hell on earth. The literal hell does not have much to do with this old life other than we don’t want to be judged worthy of it when we split this scene… My thinking on this comes from the scripture that God Jehovah is the God of the living. My point is, Jesus does not believe in abandonment so why should we?
I heard an interesting sermon on American Christian Radio tonight, as I made my way home from a City Council meeting in Haskell. The preacher talked about praying for a politician to get saved for weeks on end with his group of church members and then finally going to the guy’s house. He said the wife told this preacher her husband was drunk and gambling in the back with his friends. The preacher thanked her and left…
He admitted not wanting to go back but God kept after his conscious until he returned a week or so later to that same door step. This time he insisted on seeing the politician. The man, who had a reputation as a mean womanizer throughout the city, came to the door in silence and stood before the preacher.
The minister asked him if he could lead him into salvation with Jesus Christ? The guy looked him straight in the eye and said yes! The preacher took him down the Roman road to salvation and the politician’s life was changed forever. What would have happened if the preacher had abandoned him as too hard to change?
Psychologists say that the giving and with holding of love is the most powerful set of actions in the world when it comes to mankind. I can see that. When people go right on loving you, like my grandparents did me, it is so easy to love them back. Even when I knew in my heart they had every right to disown me for being such a skunk with a loud mouth and sassy temper in my younger days, they waded through my immaturity and stuck by my side.
I carried both of their caskets to their final resting place, along with five others that were present, when I was 30 years old… Marvel May went first at 92. Four months later John Hans went at 96. They said he was healthy enough to have lived past that hundred mark if he had wanted to, but when his wife of 69 years legal and 74 years in reality went on to heaven, he wanted to go too… Both of them, when I was `15 and newly saved, told me with their own mouths that they were saved too.
His words were, “I want to go where ever Marvel went!” And so he did. In my mind, God gained a couple of good dancers around His stars. They had always talked of missing their youth because they loved to dance the nights away.
But not everyone has tenacity like my folks did and like our Savior Jesus Christ does.
I have been abandoned before on a few occasions. You probably have too. It feels awful doesn’t it? It feels like you have been thrown into some sort of human trash can.
If a person goes to hell, it is said in the Christian Bible they will gnash their teeth and wail (1). I can see why. They say going to hell separates us from God forever. No more chances at redemption. You have checked into the wrong hotel – for eternity…
That preacher on the radio said he once prayed for a guy 23 days and quit. God made him start up again, but he quit for a time. The way God made him start up was to give him an example. He made it possible for that preacher to learn of an instance where a fellow had been praying for someone 23 years and the other person finally got saved.
I have a few on my prayer list and that scares me. I know if I quit praying and talking Jesus to them, they might miss heaven. Not that I am anything great, but God will use even us mules to pull a load.
And when God says, you know that girl you used to tell me you loved? Yea, that is the one. Well, she needs your prayers for her salvation… Well now, that puts a weird light on things. But I heard Him loud and clear in my spirit. I will pray and pray until I hear from her own mouth that she is saved. Even if it takes 23 years…
I have a kid that I wonder about. I know in my heart she asked Jesus Christ in her heart when she was little but I believe she has done her best to talk herself out of the ramifications of being tied up with the man of love. But I will pray and pray until she says with her own mouth, I have accepted Christ and I will never let go of His hand. You, John, will just have to trust me on this.
This business of not abandoning anyone goes to a lot of areas in life. There is a fellow that I wish would join me in business. I get so aggravated with this sales guy I could spit fire. But he is also on my salvation prayer list. I must hear from him that he is saved, even if that takes 23 years.
I keep using that number because of the radio preacher’s sermon. In 23 years, I will be 78 years old. If these three have not confessed salvation to me by then, I will pray some more – for as many years as it takes.
That is what it is all about folks. Jesus did not give up on us so it is our obligation not to give up on anyone else – especially those he lays on our hearts to pray for like the afore mentioned three.
It is hard for me to take what I am about to say. But, as Christianese says, “You may be the only Bible they ever read.” That makes me want to walk much closer to God.
I will now confess another kind of abandonment. Some months ago, because we believed the place to not have an adequate children’s church, my wife and I deserted our long-time place of worship. After settling in to a nice church in another town – one with plenty of Christian teachings for our grandchildren, God began to put something on my heart. Then He put it on Michelle’s heart. We realized we needed to go back to our church and volunteer to be the music and teaching crew for the young children.
We obeyed the offer and corrected the abandonment. Sometimes, when there is a problem, instead of running out, it is much better to confront the problem. This was one of those times.
Now let’s look at a couple of Biblical examples of what I am talking about.
There once was a man named Jonah who was told by God that he was to go and preach in a place called Nineveh. It seems that God was fed up with the rampant sin in said place and decided it was time to give a warning before he made a final decision to clean house.
If I understand it right, Jonah decided that the folks of Nineveh deserved no warning and so he refused God’s request to go there. Instead, he boarded a ship for elsewhere.
As most of us know, Jonah was eaten by a whale on that voyage but he did not die. Inside the belly of the whale (2), Jonah relented and promised God if He would give him another go at it, Nineveh sounded like the best thing since sliced bread.
The whale miraculously became sick and spit up Jonah. Jonah went on and told the folks in Nineveh what Jehovah God was planning if they did not straighten up. Therefore, it is my contention, that God does not like being abandoned, ran out on, or however you want to up it.
And what we hate to happen to us, we rarely impose on others. I could abandon the two family members that have abandoned me in my personal life. But the pain those two have caused me for many years makes me not so quick to abandon people – or responsibility.
In another Biblical example, Jesus Christ Himself was tempted to abandon His assignment to carry your sins and mine to the cross of Calvary so that His pure blood could become our sacrificial lamb and a bridge could be built between Jehovah God’s heaven and men and women who asked to be forgiven.
The Bible says Jesus went to the Garden of Gisemine on the night before His crucifixion to pray to Father God about reconsidering His plan (3). Jesus wanted God to change His mind and come up with an alternative way to save mankind from eternity in hell so bad that He perspired in blood.
God told Jesus there was no other way for the reconciliation of mankind to take place. Jesus bowed His head and submitted to the will of the Father. The part of Jesus that was part of God won out over the flesh that was crying out in fear about being crucified. If Jesus would have listened to His flesh instead of Father God, there would be no Roman road to salvation for us sinners saved by Grace.
Oh, I know the Pentecostals say we are saints saved by Grace and sometimes we may be. But sometimes, when sin creeps into our lives and must be dealt with, I for one am so glad the blood of forgiveness exists.
I am so glad Jesus Christ went through with it and we indeed are not abandoned to reap the just deserves of our particular brand of sins.
SCRIPTURES
1) WAILING AND GNASHING OF TEETH – Matthew 13:42 King James Version (KJV)
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
2) JONAH CHANGED HIS MIND INSIDE OF THE WHALE –
Jonah 2:1-10King James Version (KJV)
Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly,
2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.
6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.
7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.
10 And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
3) JESUS PRAYED TAKE THIS CUP AWAY FROM ME IF YOU CAN, BUT YOUR WILL BE DONE FATHER GOD – Luke 22:39-47 King James Version (KJV)
39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. 40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
47 And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.

 

Saying thanks when it
seems like a joke…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Word of God, known to most of us reading this as the Christian Bible, says to be thankful in all things. Ever get blamed for something not entirely your fault? Ever miss the cut on the golf team because you knocked a ball in the water?
Yea, me too. Been there done that on both examples. But God says be thankful in all things. To me, he is saying there is good in every situation if we just put our pride, anger and doubt aside long enough to see it.
I will use the business end of my magazine for a further example of what I am writing about. I have a goal to collect $1,000 a week, plus have a few bill outs develop, every week to stay solvent in my bills and financial goals. Meeting my goal keeps money off of my mind for a bit and allows me to think about other things much more important to me – like playing chess, fishing, watching a movie with my wife or just simply writing to you.
I have had a few good weeks lately. The collections have not quite met goal, but counting bill outs the business generated has been peaking at over the $1,000 mark. That situation, for a small businessman like myself, is easy to be thankful for and I do thank God after every advertising sale he gives me. This past week we had more than 7,000 site hits on our Tailgate News. That is a new record and fantastic.
Again, that news makes it easy to say “Thank You Lord!”
Now let me tell you about summer slow down. A couple of months back, we had to take a second mortgage out on our home to pay off late bills and have a few dollars to gamble that the ad sales would go up the deeper we got into Haskell coverage this fall. So far, it looks like this may be working.
Our first full month of bill paying since the loan came through fell short about $300. But before the loan, when the credit cards were paying $800 plus of our bills per month, it was a lot worse. We are indeed, going in the right direction lately. Two months ago, going under looked a lot more like a real possibility than it does now. Back then, I had to thank God for another breath, the ability to walk into a bank and discuss a loan without being laughed out of there and for sunny skies amongst the never ending rainy days.
Did I thank God for the $800 or worse monthly deficit? You are expecting me to say no way right? Wrong. I said God, if this is the way you want my finances to go you have your reasons and I thank you for helping me avoid something worse happening. The reasons, it turns out, involved getting the back bills paid via a second mortgage. Enough about my personal struggles so I could start to climb month by month again. You get the picture. It is easy to thank God when times are good, but not so easy when it feels like you are losing everything you have worked hard to get. But that, my friend, is where faith and trust in your God comes into play.
Now don’t get me wrong. I do not always thank God for the bad times… I normally do after I calm down from a good old fashioned fit. But that temper tantrum is many times my first reaction. The flesh will yell if you slap it in the face. At least mine does. But then I step back and realize growing in God means learning how to lose as much as it does learning how to win. Most of us do a bit of both in life.
Christianese says, “God is in control and still on the throne.” Now if you have the good sense to pray for His will in your life, that may very well be true. But we all go off half-cocked once in awhile. I can not blame God, who gives me free will from that throne, for the ramifications of my own stupid chess moves in life. I am the one who quit a good job in Bossier City, Louisiana as their editor of the Bossier City Press Tribune out of foolish pride. I am also the same guy who went out on his wife once during our separation years ago… I thank God she forgave me. This lady I am married to is a keeper and I am very grateful she has accepted me as I am.
Sure, I did both of those blunders. And, I paid for them. I do not blame God. God, if He would have been asked for His guidance and direction before either one of them, would most likely have advised me against both decisions. Still, I have to stop and thank God for my free will. Without it, I would be some sort of robot, you know, like the ISIS Muslims want us to be if they steal our freedom… OK, so that is another can of worms. But again, you understand my meaning.
I would rather have the freedom to decide my own life and fate than to live in a protected glass jar any day. Still, I have learned a valuable lesson in this now more than half of a century of life, God is much wiser than me. Therefore, I more often than not do seek His guidance for my decisions in recent days. It is just easier than taking the high risks of negative ramifications that my own decisions seem to cause sometimes.
But there are times when my carnal side wins and I tell the Lord in my spirit, “I have got this.” If a spanking comes, I am faced wth what this sermon is about; thanking God when I feel anything but gratitude. The Bible says God disciplines His children because He loves us (1).
It also, as previously stated, says, “Be thankful in all things (2).” Let’s look at what God has given you and then maybe you can understand my point here. If gratitude is in your attitude, your tongue is busy thanking God and your brain and soul are not given opportunity to whine excessively, go into a rage or whatever other negative reaction you may have to something not going your way.
My third point of the sermon involves being thankful for God’s mercy. Many times God has bailed me and you out. I know I should not speak for you, but think about it. How many times did you expect a disaster to occur and by some strange fluke (probably the hand of God) you came out smelling like a rose? Let’s look at a Biblical example in the plight of the thief on the cross.
Here was a guy condemned to death, yet he recognized that Jesus Christ was someone very special. He cried out to Him, “I want to go where you are going!” His faith plucked the heart strings of Jesus, who forgave that thief and said, “This day you will be with me in Paradise (3).”
These words are deservant of a thank you and I am sure that thief felt it in his heart, even if he did not say it on Biblical record. Mercy is like that. We are thankful when other people, or even God All Mighty, offers it to us. Therefore, since we as humans like mercy, the gratitude we express should bring to mind the idea that we ourselves should offer mercy to others. In short, we should forgive others of their trespasses. We hope for it of God so the least we can do is to learn to forgive those who cross us up… And God insists on it so most of us that would like to end up in heaven submit to that insistance…
If you do not buy that one, study the Lord’s prayer. Jesus Christ tells us to pray, “Forgive us Lord as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
You are to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. And I am not trying to tell you how to do that. But the scripture does say, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” were the last words spoken by Jesus Christ in the flesh before His spirit left his carnal body on the cross. Forgiveness is what it is all about.
The Word says Jesus Christ came to the world so that through Him the world might be saved. We must humbly ask God to forgive us and He will. But, in the opinion of this writer, it is virtually impossible to want to ask God to forgive you if you have never forgiven those who have wronged you. Revenge is God’s and he won’t share it. Those who maintain revenge in their hearts are relying on their own abilities to deliver justice.
This is the same thing the pharencitical hypocrites of 2,000 ago were trying to say to Jesus. We will decide what is right. We are God’s agents of justice. Well folks, when those jokers tell me I am going to hell for the type of clothing I wear or if my body has a tattoo, it amazes me. If Jesus can forgive the sins of a man who has murdered or raped, don’t you think He can forgive a fellow for wearing a short sleeved shirt or getting a tattoo? Personally, I am unclear that either of those even constitutes a sin. If not, they may not even need forgiving. And of course, when they tell me I am going to hell for this or that, I say thank you. Well, sometimes I do.
But this comes back to faith. I have faith that Jesus Christ has forgiven my sins; past, present and future. And I am seriously thankful for that. I also have faith that having invited Jesus into my heart, He will tell me when I am doing wrong so I can deal with it on an overcoming basis. Here lately, I have not had to deal with very many legalists. But I am sure they are still out there. I have always wondered if Jesus is sufficient to save us from hell and He gives us the power to have healing, miracles and the like in our life, what do we need to worry about mustaches or short sleaved shirts for?
But hey, I am thankful for those folks who believe the law will save them from hell. They give me somebody to preach to in my writings. You see the contradiction. A Christian believes Jesus Christ has saved their soul from hell. There is no where in the Bible that it says Jesus Christ only will save you if you never sin again for the rest of your life. Some men try to read that into there, but I have never seen it written or implied. And for that, I am truly thankful.
SCRIPTURES
1)GOD DISCIPLINES HIS CHILDREN IN LOVE –
Hebrews 12:6-11King James Version (KJV)
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
2) BE THANKFUL IN ALL THINGS – 1 Thessalonians 5:17-19 King James Version (KJV)
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Quench not the Spirit.
3) BEING THANKFUL, LIKE THE THIEF ON THE CROSS, FOR THE MERCY OF GOD –
Luke 23:41-45King James Version (KJV)
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
Editor’s Note: God is good all the time, so Christianese tells us, and indeed that saying rings true to this writer.
Our first scripture section lets us know we should be grateful for the potter’s hand molding our ways closer to the ways of Jesus as the sands of our hour glass drift away.
The song “He’s Still Working On Me” comes to mind strongly when it comes to this man’s life. I have often wondered about folks who claim to have to all together and no longer sin, make mistakes or shame the Lord daily…
We are as little children. We try so hard, and then we fall on our face crying because we have disappointed our Father in Heaven, much as we probably did when we disappointed our own Daddies down here on earth.
God is indeed shaping us to be better Christian witnesses, as he prepares us for the journey from the body to Paradise and on to Heaven. And I am so thankful.

 

 

 

Perfect is a Goal,
Not a Given…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I have heard it said that the perfection talked about in the Bible means completion, and that Jesus said to be perfect as He is perfect because He wants us to finish our course of life always looking for ways to be a better example of a Christian and finally achieving perfection in death – when the tempter can no longer tempt and taunt our flesh.
One of my kids posted something on Facebook that I am not so sure I agree with. It said our beliefs do not make us a better person, but it is our good behavior that makes us a better person… I am half Cherokee. The Native Americans I have been around believe we have a good dog and a bad dog spirit within us. Sometimes, when our fur gets ruffled, the bad dog takes over. If we are young, that bad dog might even lead us into things like adultery, theft or murder.
When the sin gets heavier, everyone knows it is sin. Also, most everyone knows it is wrong. Behavior helps in the Christian walk. If we are well behaved, and we have a belief system based on the premise that to make it to heaven we need the grace of God to enter a perfect heaven, then we may be able to sell it better.
But here is the thing. If your arrogance, stubbornness or just plain apathy makes it to where you never ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart and save you from your sins, then good behavior means very little in eternity. A lack of believing in Jesus, the only true source of miracles I have ever experienced, also means there is no power in your words. They are temporal, carnal and die when you die.
The Word of God says those who do not believe they need a mediator to get to heaven consider the sacrifice of the only begotten Son of the Living God Jehovah to be foolishness (1). I suppose that sort of person would be worried about behavior for behavior’s sake. After all, if you are nice to people, have integrity and morals that more or less line up with the 10 commandments and a jolly personality presentation, you will probably have a great chance to advance in our society for your 80 or 90 years on this planet.
Of course, if you do not believe in Jesus Christ, then your definition of perfection must be altered from my original premise as well. You will have to believe instead your common sense and your dictionary, both of which tell us perfection means without flaw. Again, can we be perfect in anything without the help of Jesus Christ, the only guy who ever lived that was perfect? Me, I say no. Again, our non-believers who think God will tolerate the rejection of his gift of salvation from Jesus, and they can make it on their own because after all they have pretty good behavior, will respectfully go to hell, according the Word of God.
If I am wrong about Jesus Christ being the only key to heaven, I lose nothing in eternity. If the non-believer is wrong, he or she will perfect themselves in their own eyes perhaps… But one thing is for sure, perfect in their own eyes or not, with some sort of gold star for excellent and tactful behavior, I f they reject the gift of salvation that Jesus Christ offers, they will risk an eternity in torment (2).
I am an gambler. I gamble in the advertising business and sometimes, in the old days, I gambled with my very life. But here is the deal. I play it safe when I can. I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior because I have hope there is something beyond that pine box for me.
And I believe heaven is a perfect place. Therefore, it makes no sense to me that a perfect God, living in a perfect place, would accept me as a heavenly man with sin in my life that has not been covered in sacrificial blood. The blood of Jesus is enough. “You ask me how I know He lives? Christ Jesus lives within my heart.”
I do believe, as a Christian, I have a long way to go in my behavior. And I do believe, because I want to please God and as many people as possible, seeking perfection is a great thing for me. Do I expect to reach it on earth? No. Seeking to have irreproachable, and impeccable, behavior reminds me of an extensive exercise program. It is good for me, but is there really that much value to it if it takes my mind off of preaching the Great Commission? And it would. I am not much of a multi-tasker.
Or am I better off just doing a moderate work out schedule and going about my business? I wish I had the discipline for even that on a more consistent basis. Pray for me that I might have such strength. I preached on the tongue last week. And this week, I cussed in front of someone I was supposed to be witnessing to… It really does make me ashamed to be so weak. But my Word also says when I am weak, the influence of Jesus Christ is strong (3).
Our preacher, Brother James McCain, of Sycamore Church in Beirne, Arkansas, said something Sunday morning in his sermon that stuck with me. He said many of the flock walks with God beside them, but this year he wanted to teach us and lead us to the place where God’s Holy Ghost could also walk and talk on our insides. Indeed, there is more to perfecting the duty of being a Christian soldier than being saved and satisfied.
But it takes being saved and satisfied first to ever develop the ever thankful attitude that God has keyed us in on to see us through the war against our own imperfections. If you look at your successes, they will multiply. If you look at what God does for you and not what he does not do, and then thank Him for his efforts, your friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ will deepen.
We need to take Jesus out of the box. Someone in our life might need a Christian miracle and turn to us to lead them to one. I believe that is why Christ said always be ready. Indeed, we must be ready whenever anyone asks what is so special about our Savior to list a miracle or two they have done in our lives, talk of a life long friendship and list a few daily happenings that just could not be attributed to chance in the mind of any logical thinking individual.
Praise God, we need to continue to strive for completion. And that completion is going to be different for all of us. Sure, salvation will separate the wheats from the tares. But trophies, the trophies in heaven will go to God’s worker bees, not God’s bench sitters. When you feel God tugging you to do something for the Kingdom, do it. Strive to be the perfect you. After all, what better task do you have in mind?
God will get His will done. He invites you and I to be part of the process. I admit total insanity, according to carnal definition. In short, I claim that Jesus Christ and Father Jehovah God are from the same spiritual stem of true love and I am a friend of Love. No other scenario except for Jesus Christ and His crucifixion, ends where a sacrifice saves an entire population of dead, born and unborn human beings from the fallacies of their own errors in life.
Why did God do this? I read a thing is Psalms today that might help. It said something about God judging each man by His own righteousness and integrity. In the old Testament, that was the only covenant available and people consistently failed the test. God loved His creation too much to let imperfections stop Him from an eternal gathering in a place called heaven.
PERSONAL STRUGGLES
I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior at 15. I spoke in tongues about 30 years later in a church at Lono, Arkansas. I was song leader. We turned to Amazing Grace as a church and the praise God part ended up loosening whatever inhibitions I had. I have not spoken in heavenly tongues since. I hope to muster my faith up to do that again someday.
But God showed me, before I went to church that night, that I was going to be sued by my first ex-wife Renee for $23,000 to help Erin, my oldest daughter, go to college. He also showed me that Renee simply wanted my life as a writer ruined and me put in jail for back child support. The judge in Indiana, at least, indicated Rene was upset that I was paying the money because after all, I had chosen another woman over her to spend my life with so I should be buried in a jail.
I did not know all of this before I spoke and prayed in tongues. God told me I was going to go through my darkest hour but that He would be there with me and to keep on keeping on. I did not handle the situation perfectly. Colorful expletives came up. I got drunk on numerous occasions. I moved to Minnesota to avoid being extradited to a jail in Indiana so I could pay the kid’s college instead of playing into the vengeful hand of my ex-wife. My perfection level was pretty low back then, but I got the entire thing paid and did so going to jail only one night during the entire three and a half year lawsuit.
I have talked to others that were sued similarly. They ran and did not pay. I ran to work and did pay. It hurt. Sure I lost a good business; the Magnet Cove Community News. And the whole deal was not much fun. But my daughter Erin is now a computer programmer. She does not stay in touch but I pray every day that our relationship will some day be restored. My war was never with her. It was with Renee. And I forgive Renee. I know Renee is a good person so eventually she will realize that trying to destroy me and put me in jail rather than working out payments, was wrong. I pray she can forgive herself.
So there you have it, a few examples of my own personal struggles. I could go on with stuff that happened from ages 15 until my current age of 55, but I will bet you already have the point. If not, I ask you to look back at the struggles you have under gone on this planet. If you are very old at all, I am sure there are decisions you regret.
Even when Christ is in the heart, your soul has final say-so what your actions are. Our God is not a dictator. I do not believe He is sitting up there with a baseball bat, ready to smack you up side the head of you make a mistake.
As television minister Andrew Womack, of Colorado says, “God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for all of your sins. His one time sacrifice did it for all of us that will accept the gift. God is not mad at you. He is simply waiting for you to take what He has provided and put it to better use. I believe He expects us to put action to our Christianity.”
This may be an indirect quote, with some Nelson in it, but to me it says this perfection Jesus tells us about (Be perfect as I am perfect) is brought to fruition when we are saved, satisfied and finally ready to work for the Great Commission. This flower of the Christian walk blooms slowly for some, but quickly for others. A rather famous late minister from Indiana, Lester Summerall, began taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to all of the world in his 50’s and recently passed away close to 90. He said his biggest critics told him, “You can not take the gospel out on the mission field at your age. You are 50 and finished, as far as your productive years on this earth.”
Brother Lester remembered Abraham and the patience of Abraham and Sarah and of Job. He realized he was ready to preach – finally – and the calendar had nothing much to do with what God told Him he had permission to accomplish – lead 1 million souls to Jesus Christ!
Bless his heart, from all records, I think Summerall did that and more. His perfection, I suppose, was when the number hit that 1 million. But in my mind, he hit perfection when he told those that said he was 50 and finished to go jump in the lake! After all, we are on God’s time table and a Christian is finished when God says so – not at the whim of a humanistic retirement schedule written on a factory wall somewhere.
I am 55 and spent way too much time as a Christian bench warmer. When this publication went digital two years ago I started writing a weekly sermon. You are reading an example right here. I was scared at first, but agreed to do it. Recently God answered my secular request to be a rock star. His version of said dream is much better than the one I had in mind as a teenager. I am the music leader and guitar player for children’s church at Sycamore in Beirne, Arkansas. The audience includes babies up to sixth graders, usually less than 20 young folk. But I am a rock star there, singing things like “This Little Light of Mine,” and “Jesus Loves Me.”
Am I now perfect? No way. But I am growing every day I spend on earth and that is the willingness to be perfect that my friend, Mr. God, tells me He is looking for. One of these days, when I do even better, I will be debt free and making enough for family, friends and a much bigger tithes and offering to the church. If you saw my bank statements, you might laugh. But if you saw my journalism run sheets over the past four months, you would see steady growth. There is hope to get rid of this red ink yet. I will continue to strive to please God and He will give me more financial responsibility when I am ready to handle it.
In the mean time, I will write a sermon a week and practice my Christian praise songs that I sing and play for the children. I love them all and hope they turn to Jesus as a Savior and personal friend.
I will end this sermon, before hunting scriptures to back it, with one more testimony. I was saved at 15 but Jesus was my co-pilot for many years – only getting out of the box in my heart when I was in extreme trouble from my youthful actions.
I had a date with a blonde woman that I really liked in Victoria, Arkansas when I was about 32. Teresa double crossed me, at least in my mind, and had me to take her aunt and a couple of teenage girls to a Jaycee dance in Osceola. Teresa allegedly had to work. I was mad, but I took them there and got them home safely. I am afraid something else was in that charger besides me. It was a whole lot of beer and it was in my stomach.
When I got the crew home, about 10 miles out in the country from Osceola, Arkansas where that dance and band had been, I was finally alone and drank another beer on the way back to Gosnell, Arkansas, where my three-bedroom trailer was waiting on me. Now remember, Jesus was with me in all of this. He was my co-pilot and He realized I had gotten out of hand. I had that car up to 130 mph before I realized I was heading down the straight away of Highway 180 – speeding toward the intersection with busy Highway 18.
I went from a whiney, self-centered young party boy to the One that was waiting in my heart for me. I said, “Jesus, I am sorry I drank too much tonight. I am sorry this car is going over the speed limit by far and I deserve whatever happens next. But I love you Lord and I ask you to forgive me and protect me, in the beautiful and wonderful name of Jesus Christ.”
There are indeed no atheists in fox holes because those of us who love God know He will reach down from heaven to save us from our folly if we but ask. I had no idea there was a gravel road on the other side of Highway 18. I pictured a semi truck crossing about the time I got there. By the time I went airborne over that highway, I probably had the car down to a slow 60 mph… I figured I had bought the farm…
I thanked God for his friendship and my life and I did it pretty quick inside of my head. Then I told Him how sorry I was for being so foolish. I landed on the gravel road on the other side, got the car stopped and came out of the whole deal without a scratch. Did I act perfectly? I did for all I knew. I had enough sense to ask Jesus to save me and then I had enough sense to believe in Him further for answered prayer. Again, I am 55 and God has a perfect record with me. He bails me out daily and I still cuss, fuss, doubt and sputter upon occasion. But I am accomplishing one thing I set out to do on this Christian walk. I am making new mistakes all of the time, which means I must be learning something or I would be making the same ones…
Here is hoping you will strive for Christian perfection. It is a battle worth fighting your entire life; be that a few years or more than a century. In closing, let me give you some advice; onward Christian soldiers!
SCRIPTURES
1)THE FOOLISHNESS OF THE CROSS – 1 Corinthians 1:16-20 King James Version (KJV)
16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
2) THE UNSAVED WILL BE DAMNED = Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
(Romans 3:19). BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus as Christ, the Savior, to forgive your sins.
John 5:28-29, ” Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which ALL that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the RESURRECTION OF LIFE; and they that have done evil, unto the RESURRECTION OF DAMNATION.”
Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
3) WHEN I AM WEAK, I AM STRONG – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 King James Version (KJV)
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

 

‘The Power
of the Tongue’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I was reading the third chapter of James last week, as I needed a few scriptures to put on the Gate Briefs page. And I discovered some interesting words about the phenomenal power of the tongue.
I used to think it was funny, useful and delightfully deadly, to cuss someone like a yard dog. I did not do that the other day, but I did have a few choice words because I was tired of one friend making fun of the other friend instead of giving the guy a chance to improve.
Everyone needs a break from their past. Me, you and all of us. Oh well, it was my fit and I am ashamed I said what I said. I pray the party involved forgives me. Still yet, making fun of another person, that is bullying someone for being different whether they are present or not, is not very heart warming to me. Even our modern-day school systems have rules against bullying because they realize the long-term cost of someone being put down and belittled.
Enough said and I will drop that subject. But I will not drop the general subject of how we all do more damage with our tongue than we do good (1).
This sermon is not so easy for an old curser like me to write. I have expressed self-righteous anger since I was 2 years old. Some say we can not talk that young. I did and I will not change my story. And I also knew how to express myself. I was raised by a fellow that I believe knew and helped the John Dillinger Gang. After that all blew up in the 1930’s, Grandpa farmed again and stayed a farmer. He and his wife Marvel were essentially my parents. She rarely cussed. He rarely did not…
Grandpa did actually cut way back on the habit in his older years, but those younger years taught me the words. I made up a few of my own to go with the ones I heard coming from his mouth when he felt strongly about something. The only one I have ever found that could cuss like me is my daughter Kelley. And she put controls on her words years ago – for the sake of my innocent grandchildren. Perhaps, since she has done that and Grandpa tries to control himself around the babies, our generational curse of foul language will phase out.
But when I read what the Bible writer James had to say about the tongue the other day, it really got me to thinking. It is my first scriptural reference so you can read the chapter for itself. My reference is James 3: 1-13. I will put it here for a change of sermon format, as I do not want to get it wrong using my own paraphrase without reading it thoroughly; James 3: 1-13 King James Version (KJV)
1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
Now if those scriptures don’t put me to shame, nothing does. I am appreciative that the Word says out of the same mouth comes blessings and cursings because in my case they sure do. Verse 13 seems to tell us the wise thing to do is keep humble speech and yet still present one’s works for the glory of God. That is how I take it.
But who can stop those blessings and cursing coming from the same mouth? It sounds to me like the Rev. Andrew Womack is right – Christ apparently used the law to show mankind they were helpless without a pure Savior, like the Son of the God Jehovah, in regard to practicing every tither of the law – without sinning your entire life.
For you see, I may say a four-letter word and take the name of the Lord in vain, and you may say sinner you are going to hell. If I am saved, you are wrong, but for the judgment you may go yourself as the word plainly says do not judge others.
Sure, we can have our opinions, but judging the next man’s eternal destination means we are going where we said he or she was headed – if the Bible is accurate. In short, it says judge not or you will be judged likewise (2).
But more pertinently to cussing, it says those who use idle language will not be judged innocent and we are not to take the name of God in vain or swear by the moon, the stars or anything God has created (3). I don’t believe over eaters, whore mongers, whores or liars will be judged innocent either as “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” But my focus just now is on those of us who use swearing as our chosen, sinful, stress reliever.
By the Lord, and my sweet daughter Kelley, allowing me to keep my three grand kids once a month for the weekend, I have learned the value of attempting to control my own tongue. Oh, my grand kids know the “bad dog” Grandpa. But the fits are shorter, and the outbursts less and less with each visit. God is giving me the control that I seek over my tongue, at least when I am around Joshy, Rayne and little Daniel.
As the only preacher some of you will ever know, it has come to my attention that I also need to bridle my tongue around you the readers. This is also never going to be 100 percent because I am just a sinner saved by grace. Sure, I have heard the preachers say the saved do not have to sin. Personally, I believe all sin will stop in a person’s life once they are laid to rest and the tempter can no longer tempt. Oh sure, I am concerned with overcoming. And there are certain fruits in my life, such as tithing and offering, writing a weekly sermon and now being song leader for my church’s youngsters, that show I am a Christian. None of these things would be in my life if I had never been saved. I would simply have no interest in making them part of it.
Just now, Jesus has put on my plate the attitude I have had on cussing all of these years is quite unbecoming to a Christian. Sure, I will slip up with vulgarity and sometimes even taking God’s name in vain. You may be thinking, well I would never do that. Well, I would never tell people they are going to hell. Again, judging them is just a sign of your arrogance and according to the Bible puts you in danger of hell fire.
My friend in Indiana, Penny Stevens, who I used to know as Penny Weisheit when we were both playing the clarinet in the Hagerstown High School band, sums up my feelings on this subject very well.
She posted on Facebook for me a slogan on a church billboard that says, “Never judge someone on his or her choice of sin.”
The point, to me, is that we all have sin in our life. Happy Caldwell, a television minister who owns a television network, says it is possible to go through life without sinning anymore once you have accepted the salvation of Jesus Christ. Perhaps it is, but I have never seen it demonstrated in the life of anyone except Jesus Himself.
So let’s take a closer look at this weapon called the tongue. One of my friends got her feelings hurt over what I consider to be a misunderstanding. But now she does not want to sit on two different town boards. She is very talented and will be greatly missed because she is living by that feeling. I have been hurt plenty in the past, but I do not let it stop me from continuing to help anyone who needs me – even if they are the source of my pain. This gal is still helping our town too. She just does not want to deal with more of the same kind of pain while doing it. That is human and in my opinion not a sin. It is her wise choice to lessen the odds of her being hurt in the same way again.
It is not that she has not forgiven her adversaries. It is just that she chooses not to give them a chance to use her as the blunt of their blame games. I understand that. I even see why. I have never carried through with such an arrangement personally, but my Dad and oldest daughter have. They abandoned me several years ago and that hurt worse than any cussing ever could…
Psychologists say the withdrawal of love is the worst pain to inflict on another human being and I believe it. I have forgiven them both, and if they choose to come back into my life I would accept them. Still, even though they are family, I would have to take it very slowly before getting too cozy.
Words hurt. Harsh actions, like abandonment, hurt worse, so I say. But whichever hurts worse is not the point. Your words still need to be sweeter and sweeter as your life goes on if you want your Christian witness to be more and more effective. My Aunt Anna always said if you can not think of anything good to say, remain silent. She was a very quiet woman…
And in the case of other people, maybe even you, words just might hurt more than actions against you. No matter. It takes all kinds of people to make up a world. My point is words can hurt and hurting people hurt people. I am the world’s worst when I am attacked verbally.
If someone tries to defame my character, such as telling me in so many words I need to quit writing and get a real job, I have been known to shriek out some pretty sword like words, followed by a few Maltese cocktails and then finish my defense with an atom bomb. Verbally speaking, I can wage war with you in about 20 sentences that is nearly guaranteed to bring you to tears or cause you to make plans to beat me up. Then I will do the justification part, telling you I make my living selling and making up promotional advertisements and the writing is just my pleasure.
But my point is not this particular pressure point in my own life. The point is most everyone I know has their pressure points. The key is how we handle it when someone pushes one of those points. Since the Bible says it should not be so that cursings and blessings come out of the same mouth, even though there is a lot of evidence that they do in all mouths other than that of Jesus Christ, it might be a good idea for a Christian to put out the effort to be Christ like and keep the cursings in the mind as much as possible instead of spouting them out.
In the case of a professional cusser, such as me, this presents quite a challenge. But if it is my wife I am under fire from, it just might save her some pain if I kept still… So let’s see, around kids and my wife perhaps I should pray for sweet words to come out of my spout instead of cursings… Then I thought a bit deeper. Perhaps all of humanity deserves sweet words from the Christian side of me. Now comes the task of changing that part of my character. As the big time preachers say a lot, the down side of becoming saved is the Spirit of Christ comes to live in you and is in conflict with your sinful, carnal nature. It is really a good thing, but when the pain is on it is hard to convince yourself that changing points in your character will be worth it.
But you can change too, with guidance and direction from the Holy Ghost of God. As to the thoughts in your soul, they are your own. I believe Christ can change them, if the Christian is willing to pray for the change and come to Jesus with his or her whole heart.
This is very difficult, and nearly impossible for most of us. But through God, all things are possible – even temporarily binding the evil and vile tongue. The reason for praying for such time slots of controlling the tongue should be obvious.
A sweet spirit and a loving spirit speaks out in love, and that is the sort of spirit Jesus used to attract folks to the Great Commission and the good news of salvation through the sacrificial gift of Jesus Christ.
So to work toward our mutual end, the salvation of one soul right after another, a Christian would be wise to consider the broken bridges foul language can cause. To use Christianese, it hurts your witness. I have heard those who rarely cussed in the first place say it makes a person show their ignorance. I question that one.
To me, self righteousness, as witnessed by all of my swearing over the years, pushed me to find the help I needed. If I had been some mild mannered fellow, I question if I would have had the spunk to even begin the Christian walk I am on by going to that Methodist altar at 15 – during the terrible teens.
THE SCRIPTURES
2) JUDGE NOT OR YOU WILL BE JUDGED LIKEWISE –
Matthew 7:1-4King James Version (KJV)
7-1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
3) THOSE SWEARING WILL NOT BE FOUND INNOCENT; DO NOT SWEAR BY THE SUN OR THE MOON; DO NOT TAKE THE NAME OF GOD IN VAIN –
James 5:12King James Version (KJV)
12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
Exodus 20:7King James Version (KJV)
7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Editor’s Note: James, so it seems to me, is the legalistic of the disciples. But legalism as a guide still has merit or Jesus Christ would not have included it in His teachings.
Again, Andrew Womack, television preacher from Colorado, says the law was put here to show man he can not obey it 100 percent on his own and he needs Jesus Christ, the only man ever to walk the earth sinless, in order to have an advocate to enter a heaven where no unforgiven sin is allowed.
So when considering the sins of the tongue, or any sin, the main thing is not to lose faith in Jesus and his ability to cover all sin.
Still, the Bible says God is a friend of the overcomer. To me this is saying that grace is no excuse to not do your best to be the best Christian soldier you can be. If you swear, get hold of yourself.
Tell God you are sorry, mean it and try harder to not cuss, back bite or judge the next time. The harder you try, the more you will succeed in bridling that tongue and then it can be used, at least most of the time, to spread love and mercy instead of filth and rumors.

 

 

‘You must come
as a small child’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Some people overcomplicate Christianity. If they read John 3:16 or the Roman road to salvation, chapters 8-10, it is hard to miss the idea that salvation is a free gift. We can not earn it. We simply ask for forgiveness of our sins, believe Jesus Christ to be the only begotten Son of God and ask Him to remember us as He did that thief on the cross.
Once we have done this, as a child asking for Daddy to help him, Jesus takes it from there. Our reformation is His business and ours, not the rest of the world’s. They will see the changes as they come about, not before. And our speed of becoming more Christ like is between us, prayer, reading the Bible and asking Jesus Christ to guide our future actions through His Holy Ghost. This is not just John talking. Read the Word and pray. If you are open to salvation, your life will change here and in the great beyond. But it all begins with the child-like request of, “Please save me Lord, for I can not make it on my own.”
A friend of mine says all of the words in the Bible are Christ inspired. That is true, in my opinion, but the words in red are quotes from Christ as could be remembered by those who knew Him in human form. The words from the Son of God give me goose bumps sometimes and I believe them to be especially important in my personal Christian walk.
When I read the words Christ wrote about “suffer the little children to come unto me,” I realized our Savior loves child-like innocence. Considering so many folks refer to all of us, 1-99, to be God’s kids, that does not surprise me. The Bible says those of us with a lot of stuff to do for God, and who want to get some of our own thinking straight on earth as well, can live 120 years. That is awhile to be a kid.
But at any rate, let’s look at what just might be what God was driving at, through His Son Jesus, when He told us we must come to Him with the innocence of a little child. For one thing, we must trust Him as most of us did the father who raised us.
Jesus is our soul’s ticket from our body to a heavenly mansion. It is my understanding that a person’s soul is the real them, unplugged and unbridled. That thing will change over the years, as you understand what being a Christian is more and more.
In reading the Word, it says the dead know not. I believe they may know for just a brief few moments or hours, but then they go to paradise or hell, which are apparently the holding tanks for heaven or the lake of fire. That is a Nelsonism though. It is my own interpretation and an non-salvation issue, so don’t worry about it if you disagree.
The point here is Jesus is there to forgive the repenting sinner. The thief on the cross never grew up. He was a man who apparently stole his living, and therefore had the selfish ways of a spoiled child.
Yet he did not want to burn in hell. He wanted to go where Jesus was going, which he believed would be far better than hell. And Jesus said to his bequest, “This day, you shall be with me in paradise(1).
But children are not just selfish. They are loving and trusting. They are untarnished by the idea that everything is going to cost you. Therefore, they can openly accept a free gift – in this case the gift of salvation from Jesus Christ.
It is a gift I highly recommend you take a hold of. I am the world’s worst at telling my friends and children that Charlie Daniels, the country rock singer, was right when he sang, “I don’t want much of nothing, if I can’t get it on my own.” But when it comes to salvation, we can’t get it on our own but it is definitely something I want.
I suppose those of us who ask Jesus Christ for salvation do so out of a combination of fear and love. I know I did. I did not want to burn in hell for my sins and I did not want to be separated from God. The Bible says when one finds oneself separated from God there will be gnashing of teeth (2).
I am trying to get a book of old Christian songs together for children’s church at Sycamore, where I attend in Beirne, Arkansas. They are letting me play and sing a few tunes for the young people. I love it. The song that comes to mind that fits this sermon is something about “Precious Jesus Hold My Hand.”
It says something to the effect, “As I travel through this pilgrim land, there is a friend who walks with me. It is the Christ from Galilee!”
That is the third reason for salvation; your path afterwards as you go through life is not so lonely because the Holy Ghost will guide you away from your sins and into a direction pleasing to Jesus Christ. In short, as another child-like song says, “He is still working on me.”
A child can be molded. If we are too adult, that is hard to do. I have been walking with God in my ear for many years now. I don’t recall the first time I talked to Mr. God, but I accepted the salvation he offered me through His Son when I was 15. I was about to be so old I was going to think too much to accept that gift that this child needed. I praise God for an altar service in the First United Methodist Church of Hagerstown, Indiana. Don’t get me wrong. I felt I was glued to my seat by Satanic doubt. But I got up and went down to that altar anyway.
But yes, He is definitely still working on me. I started out thinking I needed a woman for a partner and I was bound and determined to experience the man-woman love I saw through my grandparents. God granted my wish. I have lived. I have loved. I have drank from the spout of life so deep one would think I would have been killed. But Satan was unsuccessful in his efforts to do so. Why? Because even though I was a child on this earth growing up and experimenting out of being so ignorant and naive, I never stopped loving Mr. God and thanking Him for introducing me to Jesus Christ. Christ changed the course of my life away from the early grave my actions might have caused.
I had mood swings as a younger man, but through the miracle of Jesus I am stable now. And I am loving my life. Do I still have hang ups? You bet I do. But Jesus has seen me through some very bad choices. Hopefully, those choices are improving as the clock ticks on in regard to the days of my life.
I intend to live 125 years, six months, 12 hours and six minutes. Twilight Zone fans will relate. Now most of you will think such an intention is crazy and it may be. But then again, I have an awesome God as a friend who can grant my strange request if it pleases Him. If it does not, I will die at whatever point He chooses and be on my way to a mansion in the sky. I will settle for a cabin. I do want a cat and a dog there. And I want to be able to visit my wife sometimes, even though the Bible says we will no longer be married in the sweet by and by (3).
My beliefs cost me nothing. But the absence of them could mean an eternity in hell. I choose to believe. I am a child, a child of God to be sure. And I invite you to know my Savior.
Let’s look at other things we know about a child. A kid is curious, loving without reservation and usually pleasant enough to be around. I know this, having six grandchildren who are kids as we speak. So I take that to mean I should approach Jesus with a pleasant, thankful attitude.
The Bible says we should be thankful in all things. If life does not turn out just as we planned it, and we love the Lord, then life will turn out better than we planned. Look for the blessings and good times. Human wisdom tells us children are resilient. They bounce back, and so should we. Complaining is learned from other adults. Children just deal with trouble and move on to something else.
The Bible says not to worry. Most kids are not worried about a thing. Give them a few toys to play with and something to do that is interesting to them and they are happy as a pig in mud. I want to be that way. Some day I will be. God will take this complaining out of me and the worry. I know He will. I don’t know how I know. I just know.
So there you are, thinking all that I am saying is ridiculous. That is what you are being told by the devil. But let’s chase a rabbit. There is a passage in the Bible that tells us of a fellow named Lasurus and another fellow who was the rich master who Lasurus served here on earth. The rich man did not treat his servant very well, but the master made sure the master had everything money could buy and Lasurus could accomplish for him.
The children’s Bible story continues with the rich old dude dying and heading for hell. It was hot there and he looked up to see Lasurus who had also died, in paradise… He said, “God please let Lasurus give me a drink of water.” God said nope. He said Lasurus had no power to help a man in hell. The guy had everything on earth, but in the sweet by and by he had nothing but hell, fire, brimstone and others down there with him screaming in agony.
Fact or fiction? Are you sure it is fiction? I am sure in my soul it is fact. I have been a Christian for 40 years and Jesus always provides me with what I need, and lately, what I need to help others through their hard times.
I am currently in position to help my best friend pay his rent. He is not capable of managing his money because of a horrible car wreck he had 14 years ago. I am glad to step in and get this straight for him. He was there for me for years. He covered my back from an assassination attempt in a part of my life that receives very little ink. Yes, I have seen this old world, the good, the bad and the ugly. I owe Mike this much and I am glad to help “Jackson” out with his troubles.
My wife wanted a new vacuum cleaner and steam cleaner. She found a deal on a good used set. Our budget disagreed, but I let it go without too much fuss. Michelle needed the machinery. She owns it now. I will cover most, if not all, of the tab. Why do I give? Why not? We make no points with a God of love by being a stingy, unfeeling so and so. We can not take it with us. We need to be good stewards of the money God gives us but we need to remember it is His money and therefore subject to helping others before we use it to help ourselves.
Did I learn this lesson over night? No. But the child in me paid attention as I ate out of the refrigerator of a stranger when I was down and out 10 years ago. The child in me vowed to be the helper one day. God, as I believe I have said in one sermon or the other, is merciful. He gives us our wants when they line up with what He would have done.
God takes care of His children. The people of the devil’s world wants revenge, revenge for being born mostly. The children of God seek love and love they shall find. We find what we seek for, as a little child finds a kitten if he looks hard enough.
So then, I don’t really know what else to say about being child like in our approach to salvation. I suppose I will end by saying an old 1970’s phrase from the Baby Boomer era that spawned me. “Try love, you will like it.”
SCRIPTURES
1) TO THE THIEF ON THE CROSS, YOU WILL BE WITH ME
– Luke 23:40-45 King James Version (KJV)
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
2) SEPARATION FROM GOD BRINGS GHASHING OF TEETH –
Luke 13:26-32 King James Version (KJV)
26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.
31 The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.
32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
3) IN HEAVEN, ANGELIC SOULS NEED NO HELP.
Matthew 22:25-33 King James Version (KJV)
25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:
26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.
27 And last of all the woman died also.
28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
33 And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.
Editor’s Note: It sounds like God is very concerned about the living and those who make it to heaven are more concerned with praising God than in renewing marriage friendships or any other kinds of friendships.
Perhaps this is where the phrase “eternally gratful” comes from.
COME AS A LITTLE CHILD =Matthew 19:13-17 King James Version (KJV) 13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
FINAL NOTE: Jesus was righteous and kept those commandments always. We win by
sheilding our imperfections with His right standing with God.

Seeing the best
in you and others…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I start this sermon to you on a Saturday. I had a dumb argument about money with my wife this morning, got mad at my best friend for being unhappy with a scooter that is not big enough to suit him and then came home to a printer that I believe is plugged up with the insides of a bug…
I just went through one of the most grueling vacations I have ever had because of money worries, but it looks like the money may get unfunny for awhile. You have heard the tip of the ice burg of my problems and I would be willing to bet it did not cheer you up one dog gone bit, right? I thought so. You, Mr. or Ms. reader would rather I did not share my pain because you hurt too bad with you own. I know this because we all feel that way, all that is except Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God Jehovah. Jesus is our friend and counselor and He can take us good, bad or indifferent.
I know my share of people. That is because I get out a lot attempting to keep a small advertising business afloat. One way to make a sale is to complement someone and ignore the stain on his or her shirt. If you say, “My you look good today. You look like you feel good too,” then you might get a sale. If you go in and start telling the guy or lady that he or she looks like the business end of a mule and should be knocked out by a nun for wearing a shirt that dirty, your chances of success have been exceedingly diminished…
It is the same way with us folks who do our small part to sermonize the Great Commission. We try and get people to see that they will need the pass provided by a perfect man called Jesus to live forever with a perfect God and we do it in love. I find I can see the best in myself, my family, my friends and my acquaintences if I start thanking God for the things around me, and the people around me, who do me right.
I once thanked a cocaine dealer, heavily armed, for not shooting me in New York City. He just smiled and went on with his yarn, but he did not kill or rob me. People, whether they are simple factory folk, doctors, lawyers, teachers, business owners or whomever, need to feel appreciated for something. In churches, when folks get saved, sometimes those folks make a person want to hold their nose. It is not that I am a snob. I love folks from all classes of people. But when someone smells like last night’s drunken orgy and has gone to church, it is hard not to notice. But instead of saying that, maybe the preacher should suggest a quick, water immersion Baptism.
You have heard the old drill sergeant saying, “Good morning campers.” Well, God is an optimist too. He told us our sorrow may last through that night but our joy will come in the morning (1). This sounds to me like when its a new day we need to rejoice and be glad, not take a deep breath and start criticizing others.
I have come to realize my own negativism and have worked hard to put down my bad dog. But the dog loves a game, a game of blame. I have been guilty of such a game and I venture to say so have probably you. I once took a course on self examination. I learned that the blame game was wrong; learned it in my head but my bad dog was slower to understand. Once the tears came, and it got to my heart, it was easier not to repeatedly partake of that particular sin.
THE BENEFIT
OF THE DOUBT
But today’s sermon is on giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. Jesus Christ, if He is to be believed as I believe Him, always gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. You see, He was sent from God as a part of Mr. God Himself. So naturally He had to be a creature of mercy when it came to those of us who loved Him yet somehow still had a bit too much of ourselves in us for comfort.
He gave us the benefit of the doubt and believed us when we asked for his salvation, mercy, daily love and grace. Not a single sincere heart has he ever turned down. The Bible says who so ever will may accept his gift of eternal life in a place called heaven with many mansions (2).
So let’s look at our day to day. If you are like me, you call yourself a Christian yet you are still you in so many ways it might be hard to tell in certain circumstances. Oh, like the legalists of old, you may be good at hiding your real reactions to stuff breaking down, finding out your trust in someone is more of a convenience than a truth on both of your parts or when it comes to some other deep cutting pain.
But my sermon is on believing in yourself and believing in others. I was there at a recent sports banquet in Gurdon, Arkansas where a coach told us of his past and how his father gave him the benefit of the doubt. Coach Paul Calley took that “last chance” and he launched a successful career in playing football and then coaching it. We all need encouragment to succeed at a career, a school experience, a marriage or anything else you might name.
God blessed my family again this week. Even though we were recently granted a small loan on our house equity, it left us very little after catching up on the bills. Well sir, my printer turned out to be fine. It was just a faulty color cartridge. And then the main air conditioner in this house busted down. It would have taken $500 to replace it. It turned out to be a loose fan and my son fixed it with a little metal puddy. As we speak, the sensor to shut it off stopped doing that and the 220 window unit is cooling as good as it ever did – without any pesky shutoff from a sensor kicking on because of the fan moving and sliding. I praise God for the blessing and for a son who cared enough to try and help us.
But let’s move this sermon to the general public. When you are out there, and you meet someone, you only get one chance to make a first impression. You can either invite them to church or cuss them like a yard dog when they fall into you by accident. The choice is yours. I recommend asking them if they are OK? And assume they really meant to stand up straight, not to trip over you and spill a $50 pail of paint.
Or if someone gives you a one-finger wave because your car is about to quit and you are going 40 mph in a 70 mph zone, smile at them and give them a regular wave back. Assume they are just having a bad day and there is not reason to add to it.
The Bible says God will wink at our ignorance for a time (3). To me, that means He expects us to eventually grow out of a bunch of offensive and immature behaviors. I am not doing so hot on collections this week, but I choose to thank God anyway because it could be worse – and it has been. The more you practice the Biblical principle of being thankful in all things, the more you can smile at others and see their attributes and talents without dwelling on their shortcomings. After all, God accepted a lot of shortcomings from us on the day of our salvation. He works to eliminate them in you if you listen to his Holy Ghost. That Ghost dwells with you after salvation and would be glad to share some wisdom with you if you will respect its place in God’s make-up instead of saying something of the nature that it disappeared in the book of Acts. No, God’s Holy Ghost did not disapper and is still pleased to dwell inside of all Christians. God is not dead and neither is any part of Him, past, present or future.
SCRIPTURES
1) JOY COMES IN THE MORNING –
Psalm 30:5King James Version (KJV)
5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
2) IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE, THERE ARE MANY MANSIONS –
John 14:1-6King James Version (KJV)
14 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
3) GOD ONCE WINKED AT IGNORANCE, BUT NOW DECLARES HELP IS HERE AND WE MUST REPENT AND BELIEVE ON HIM –
Acts 17:20-32King James Version (KJV)
20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.
21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.

33 So Paul departed from among them.

34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

 

God can help you
discover your real fears…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News
It is seriously amazing to me that God can reveal parts of my life to me that I have done an excellent job of hiding, even from me…
The jest of this Aug. 1 sermon is about facing fear. I am a person who for years had myself convinced that I did not know what fear was; Mr. Brave, that was me… I think they call it “Ten Foot Tall And Bullet Proof.” And if you believe I really ever got over that, I do have a house in Gurdon appraised for under $30,000 that I will sell you for $50,000 at a real bargain. I will even throw in an old Calico cat.
Ok, here is the thing. We all have our fears. But when God inspired me to write this sermon, it struck an awesome chord. I realized I did not have myself figured out after all.
As with most of us folk in our 50’s, there was a couple of times in my life when I was starry eyed in love from the moment I saw someone. Then I met my current wife and learned what a mature love, built brick by brick, could do for my soul and my loneliness on this planet. I am very fortunate to have her.
But this is not my point. My second starry-eyed gal never really got a chance to blossom from me. I used all sorts of excuses. I was paying for my oldest kid’s college. I had a marriage to consider. I had this and I had that. In short, I was scared of the whole thing turning into an abashment like the first love of my life did… I did the moralistically correct thing and dropped her as a candidate for Juliette. Again, I enjoy my current marriage and the love Michelle and I have built. After years of being together, she is my Juliette and I am very proud to say it.
But here is the deal. I really copped out on someone, not because I was so valiant of a Christian at the time, but because I was scared. God showed me that sometimes when we are scared it is a warning system. Sometimes, it is better to not jump off of a cliff just because we want to fly.
And it is like the old country song says, “you are making me suffer because of the woman before me.” It bothers me that I did that to someone. Sure, there were many “good reasons” for me doing it. But I don’t care about any of them in this confessional. Today, I am preaching about fear. And I was one scared puppy. Perhaps I was also down deep scared of premeditatedly crossing the lines of sin by acting on such a temptation as a possible new “love of my life” could be… After all, it had some dire consequences for King David in the Bible.
Maybe you have experienced the same thing, where fear of consequences just stops you dead in your tracks – fear of rejection, fear of success, you name your own “what ifs.” Fear can really mess a person up. My best friend was a soldier for 30 years. He and I both love guns. My grandparents exposed me to firearms a lot and I fell in love with shooting guns years ago.
At present, Mike has a small pistol and myself an old 20-guage shotgun. This is hardly the arsenals we both had 20 years ago, but time and money have caught up with us. I had two shotguns, two rifles and a six-gun, all in my trunk, all illegally concealed. I also had a glove compartment 22-25 but rarely carried it. And I did that up until I was about 45 years old from the time I was 18. I never thought about it being wrong by the law because I never could figure out what business it was of the law’s where I carried my firearms that I paid for? Oh well troopers. It is too late to bust me now – unless carrying fishing equipment and lawn chairs is now illegal. What say you, socialist regime?
But back to the subject at hand, Mike, being a professional government man and raised a country boy, plus an avid deer hunter, no doubt had a lot more sophisticated guns than me – and most likely a larger number of them. So anyway, we both liked guns and had a healthy respect for them. My Grandpa taught me how to drive a nail with a 22 bullet from about 100 yards with a single shot, no scope rifle he had acquired in the depression era. Yes, I still believe I can shoot. Probably not like when I was 25, but I can still shoot dust off of a flea’s booty if necessary.
Mike and I now enjoy going fishing, rather than hunting anything. He is in a wheelchair and his deer hunting days seem to be over. But sometimes Mike brings his small handgun on our fishing trips. I was taught never to pull a gun on a man unless you planned to discharge your bullet in the same motion right between his eyes. I told my grandfather that would kill a man. He smiled and agreed. He said that is why you just don’t pull a gun unless it is you or him.
Well, Mike does not agree with this never threaten with a gun theory. He thinks it is funny to pull his Derringer pistol and point it right at me when we are fishing. I realize he does not intend to kill me or he would have and I don’t carry my shotgun anywhere unless I am deer hunting so there is no danger of firearms retaliation from me. You can not use what you do not have.
But the last time Mike pulled a gun on me, after being stressed out financially over too much debt and not enough cash flow for nearly two months, I popped off at my former special forces buddy.
I told him go ahead and shoot. I told him I had a good life and I loved it, but if it made him feel better to shoot his best friend, I was ready to meet God. However, I told him I was not ready to be threatened anymore, even in fun.
He shook his head and put the gun away. I had faced my fear. It was not all that hard when it came to a gun pointed at me. I think being 55 instead of 25 helped. You see, if I was 25, I would be thinking about how I wanted a family, wife, kids, grand kids, and I wanted to practice my writing career a few years, own a decent car etc. Well, I did all of that. I want to see the other side of 90, but if I have to live in fear of some dude poking a gun at me it is just not worth it to me. I called his bluff. I thank God he was bluffing, but I had to call it.
Now lets get back to this God thing. As the songsters say, I was afraid to love again. My heart was crushed once. So was my current wife’s. She had lost the love of her life for entirely different reasons, but he too was gone. If the truth be known, we both helped build feelings of love in each other in a one brick at a time scenario and that has been a healing factor for each of us.
But what about Godly love drops, that is the ecstacy of falling in love at first sight? I believe God has given Michelle and I love drops slowly but surely and a long-time friendship to think about along the way. True, sometimes her interests and conversation bore me, as mine do her. And true, she gets embarrased by my saying what is one my mind just about anywhere and I get embarrassed because she is so quiet and introverted much of the time, but perhaps opposites do attract…
When I got married before, to a girl named Doris, it was love at first site on my part and Katie bar the door! I took off like a bull in a China shop. I had been married for three years to Renee, a good friend but just not the “true love” deal I wanted so there was Doris. When I met her, I took the bait. We lasted 12 years and I consider us still friends.
We have not been married since 1995. She says we broke up over me starting to date. I say we broke up because before I started to date I made up my mind I was not going to be put down from some legalistic religious point of view on a daily basis anymore. By reading this sermon on fear, you are agreeing to check out my point of view on it.
You can stop reading anytime, as even if I could I would not force my views on you. I believed Doris expected me to be a perfect Christian, as defined by the old testament. Instead of accepting her position, I turned away. I was afraid if I did not it would destroy me.
The turning away pushed me toward embracing the grace and forgiveness offered by Christ crucified – the only thing I have ever discovered in this world that can keep our own imperfections from doing what Satan desires most – that we condemn ourselves for being sinners with no acceptance or realization that God has forgiven us and paid the price for us to come home and be happy.
The fact is my wife Doris and I busted up because we both blamed the other one for a very essential part of any relationship no longer existing; we had lost mutual respect and the ability to forgive imperfections because of concentrating on our own pain. Two years later I married Michelle. She and I have had 16 years together so far, with our legal 16 years of marriage having an anniversary on Sept. 19. We have maintained mutual respect and the ability to forgive each other’s imperfections without letting the pain of an occasional disappointment ruin what has proven to be an essentially sound, and mutually beneficial, relationship.
Having chased all of the personal rabbits I care to for one sermon, let me say I am not afraid to be in the room with Michelle. I feel the warm anticipation one is supposed to feel for one’s spouse. I still get scared when I see my ex-wife. I have a fear she will legalistically abash me again. And when she does, which is not often, I still hate it. It just turns my stomach and runs up my blood pressure. Then I realize if Doris had not been the way she was I might never have come to the point of forgiving my own trespasses and being eternally thankful that through Jesus Christ God has forgiven them too.
Let me say this, if you are afraid to commit to a pure and Godly attraction and soul to soul love because of getting hurt in the past, be careful. God may not give you a friendship that develops into love like he did my current wife and I. I was not afraid to love again if I could enter the swimming pool of love slowly. But focusing on the pain in my past, instead of mutual forgiveness, had made me afraid to jump off into the deep end.
I never got bitter so I got better. Fear can, however, cause you to get bitter if you are not careful. I comfort my own soul by telling myself I have a happy life and so does the second person I loved at first site…
Fear. You can smell it. You can feel it. And then sometimes you can deny it. To me, the Godly thing to do, whether you ever change your circumstances or not, is to recognize fear when God points it out so that you might end up making more informed decisions in the future. Fear brings up a point of decision, but you are the only one who can say what is best for you. In each instance, the soul must determine whether a course of action will lead to self-loathing or self-forgivness…and then he or she must take the path that leads to the desired result.
In short, to survive mentally, one must learn to respect, and to forgive, the man or the woman in the mirror. A secular person can do that. But taking it one step further, if we are seeking God’s forgiveness we must accept the gift of grace. We must present ourselves to God through the blood of the one man who did nothing to be forgiven for – the blood of Jesus Chirst. If we want to go to a perfect heaven, we must leave our sins and imperfections at the door by bringing along the only true hope of mankind – the righteousness of a perfect man.
THE FEAR OF PETER
When I think of Biblical examples of fear, I think first of the Christian disciple Peter, who briefly walked on the water just like Jesus. He was doing fine until he looked down and got scared. His logic took over. His past experience told him walking on water would surely get him drowned so when the King of Glory beckoned him to do it anyway, he did, without thinking, for a time. And then he began to think it though and Jesus Christ had to save him from drowning at sea. (1)
In my sermon before summer break, I touched on an example of fear from Father Abraham. He was married to Sarah and found himself traveling with his bride. Somebody of another tribe, the Canaanites I believe, thought they might kill ole Abraham and abscam with his pretty wife. Old Abe thought a minute and then told the guy Sarah was his sister and to just try and have her home at a reasonable hour. Just kidding. I don’t know what he told the guy, but scripture will bear out Abraham lied out of fear of being killed and denied his marriage to Sarah to save his own skin. (2)
Moses is my third example of a Godly man caught up in fear. When he saw the soldier striking the jew, he killed that soldier in an apparent fit of self-righteous anger. Then he realized he would be prosecuted and probably killed by the Egyptian government so he “beat feet” out of fear for the desert (3). There he took a wife and had at least one child in a tribe outside of town. He still wanted his peaceful life and a family, like most of us men folk do down deep inside. Moses was afraid but he believed he deserved another chance. Apparently God believed the same thing.
The truth of the matter is before you can change, you must know you. Part of that is understanding your fears and being able to know your reactions. Christ is our example on how the best way to live is for a reason. Jesus Chirst is the ONLY begotten Son of God and the ONLY man who ever lived a sinless life. Even Jesus had fears. He just never took the devil up on his stress release temptations and so therefore never sinned because of his fears, or because of the over reaction stress sometimes produces.
As we noted in the beginning, I had no idea that the reason I rejected a love affair or called a bluff on an old friend had to do with fear. I just thought I was getting a bit wiser as I got older. But somehow patting myself on the back like that did not please God because it was a lie.
He showed me my actions in both instances were brought on out of survivalistic terror; that is extreme fear of rejection and extreme fear of living in constant dread. The strength of Jesus Christ helps us face such fears, but sometimes the truth hurts. Still, attempting to find out the truth about yourself is one of the most satisfying quests a man or a woman can ever make. Forgiving yourself for being you can lead you to seek an even greater forgiveness. Soon what the next guy thinks about your eternal future no longer matters.
If you fear accepting Jesus because of what the next person might think, ask yourself if that other man or woman is going to be there when you die and if there is even the slightest chance that person whose opinion you are so worried about can give you eternal life? Remember God’s Bible says there can be no sin in heaven and that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I have never read a rebuttal to that fact that struck any chord of truth in me except “fear not and accept the sacrifice for sin made by Jesus Christ now and forever!”
With the forgiveness brought on by accepting the sacrifice made by Jesus, we have nothing to fear when the bell tolls for us and our trip to eternity begins…
SCRIPTURES
1)JESUS SAVES PETER FROM DROWNING –
Matthew 14:22-32 King James Version (KJV) 22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
2) ABRAHAM PROTECTS HIMSELF OUT OF FEAR –
Genesis 12:9-20 King James Version (KJV)
9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.
10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.
11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:
12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.
13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.
14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.
15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.
16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.
17 And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife.
18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.
20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
3) MOSES FLED IN FEAR AFTER KILLING THE EGYPTIAN –
Exodus 2:11-22King James Version (KJV)
11 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.
12 And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.
13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?
14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.
15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.
16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.
17 And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.
18 And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to day?
19 And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us, and watered the flock.
20 And he said unto his daughters, And where is he? why is it that ye have left the man? call him, that he may eat bread.
21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.
22 And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

 

Living what you believe,
striving to live more
like Jesus Christ
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
This sermon could be a difficult one for me to write. For you see, there are beliefs inside of me that do not go along with traditional religious views of Christianity.
As a matter of fact, the condemning part of certain denominations registers in my soul as full-blown Satanic. I mean how can someone plead ignorance when they are telling people they will go to hell if they don’t attend their church, worship in their way, dress in their attire and basically adopt some sort of denominational robotic lifestyle?
Am I condemning those who do in like manner? No. But I do pray that God shows them how their cruel and cutting remarks make a baby Christian feel. I realize there will be people out of all denominations in heaven.
But it has come to my attention, through listening to them, that certain preachers really do believe if old so and so does not go to their church then old so and so will go to hell praising Jesus in the wrong building!
So let’s look at a few things that Jesus Christ said. He said, through the apostle Paul in Corinth I believe, “Love Never Fails.” (1) If a fellow accepts Jesus Christ at a Methodist altar, is baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, that is in the family name of Jesus Christ, and then he begins to learn what Jesus is all about, working out his own salvation with fear and trembling, is he saved? My Word (Christian Bible) says I am. I believe myself to be. But the particular Church of Christ preacher and United Pentecostal preacher that I am thinking of apparently believe otherwise.
My old self, before accepting Jesus, would have cussed them out and advised them to carry on with their condemnation and I would see them in hell. My new self just looks at them with wonder. I wonder what is so wrong in their lives that they have to go around casting doubt on other people’s walk with God? Are they so insecure that making the other man feel small gives them some sort of ego boost? Who knows. Perhaps they will tell me one day.
In the meantime, I will go on believing the salvation of Jesus Christ is for who so ever will believe that the blood He shed covers their sins, past, present and future, and also gives them a more desirable life down here. Not necessarily does it give them an easier life, but a more rewarding life for sure. And the Word says it is important to believe in the miracle of Jesus and his dying on the cross for our sins, that is He rose from the grave after three days and walked among the living, eating and drinking, before going to the right hand of the Father. (2)
I also believe baptism is important, both water baptism and baptism in the Holy Ghost of God for a direct Main line in one’s heart and soul to the deity in order to have divine guidance and direction in the day to day thing we call life.
However, I find no where in my Bible that says I have to be baptized to be saved. I have been baptized because the Bible says do it as a public proclamation of your salvation, but that is not the point. Salvation is a free gift. Then we learn to walk the walk and talk the talk. Now this brings me to today’s sermon. I don’t always live what I profess to believe, but I am working on it so that one day I will live exactly what I believe – or as close to it as humanly possible this side of the grave.
Does God condemn me when I realize cussing is against His Bible but when intense stress comes my “bad dog side” spouts off the cuss words pretty vividly? No, the sin of cussing is covered in the blood of Jesus. Am I proud of messing up and doing it? No. It is part of my overcoming goals to quit all together and even if I never reach my goal of total abstinence from swearing, the effort will make me a better Christian witness and happier within myself. Because you see, when we sin after accepting Jesus, we put one more nail into his wrist on a spiritual cross He hung on for us. Oh, God knew we were going to sin when we do, but we did not know it. I believe we owe Him our best effort since he gave us His.
In my defense, the swearing fits are less frequent than they used to be because I have been putting forth an honest effort to curtail them.
According to the afore mentioned legalistic preachers, this effort is in vain if I continue to mess up until I don’t… And the “don’t part” might be when the breath quits going in and out of this carnal body. I really don’t know. But if I were a legalist going around saying a Christian can live life without sin, I believe I would be Satan’s best friend. For you see discouraging a baby Christian just might get that person to walk away from their own salvation instead of asking for forgiveness and giving it another try.
And there are other things I believe differently than traditional “religious Christians.” I believe it is extremely wrong to lie to anyone, but get me in a tight, were I might lose a spouse, go to jail or some other horrible consequence, and sure, I will become the silver tongued devil of my former self.
Why? Survival. Another fellow you might remember from the Bible was no better than me. Abraham told some folks Sarah was his sister so they would not kill him to possess her… I intend to survive, both as a Christian and as a human. Will I repent of such action? Yes. And I will also ask God for a more Christian solution should the situation ever arise again.
Yes I will – because I want to please Mr. God… But will I lay my life down for a human law that does not agree with what I know about the Bible, say a terroristic threatening charge over getting angry at a loved one and spouting off stupid threats? No. If the law is wrong, I will not uphold it. What is wrong? Wrong is when the law is against the Bible. Sure, it is mean to threaten people. But if the high minded folk who made that law would go out on the streets for even a few months, they would find out the real deal. Folks who kill others, or do them bodily harm, are nine times out of 10 the same folk who are sitting silently with a loaded gun under their coats. The barking dogs of life are just that. They bark and most do not bite. The biter, whether a dog or a human dog, is the silent and deadly type.
Knowing this to be true, it makes no sense to me that some non-street smart “idiot” decided to pass a law to cage the barkers and leave the silent types, rifles and pistols in hand, to do some more killing! Pardon my soap box, but this is confession time. Do you have some law that if you were caught you would lie about your guilt or innocence to avoid being put in jail over something you do not see as wrong? If not, perhaps you are a much better person, and/or Christian than me.
My point is sometimes we go with what we have in response to the situations that come up in our lives. I am not proud of that, but I would be willing to bet 99 percent of those reading this do the same. I realize a certain percentage have a closer walk with Jesus Christ and a better knowledge base as to how to Biblical handle a tight situation than I do. I say to them, God bless you and please teach me.
WHAT I BELIEVE
I started out this sermon telling you some of my Christian believes are non-traditional. I shared my outlaw believe about how a terroristic threatening charge on the legal system books is a joke. Now I will bring my views of confession to Christianity.
The Word of God says we are to preach the Great Commission and salvation above all else (3). I can not find one single place where we are supposed to preach from a clothes line or a television set condemnation like I experienced from certain Pentecostal churches in the 1980s.
I find nowhere that it says not to drink alcohol. It says do not get drunk and to take a little wine for your health. In short, a little alcohol is good for you, but like a lot of things, too much alcohol can damage you extensively or kill you.
Food is the same. Being a glutton can actually kill you quicker than beer or cigarettes. Yet, those who would ignore a salvation ministry in favor of preaching legalism always toss the beer out the window and stomp out the cigarettes. And many times they do both with a body 100 pounds or more over weight. In the words of my doctor Daddy, “Johnny, there are old smokers. There are old drinkers, but there are no wards in this hospital for old people who are too fat. Those folks die pretty quickly. Your body can live with up to 100 pounds overweight for quite a while, but when you carry more than that it is fatal. You become a stroke or heart attack waiting to happen.”
He is a neurologist, Dr. John W. Nelson, and he told me that at age 15, back on the Indiana farm where I grew up on. I have never heard gluttony preached in a legalistic, how-to-live sermon. So you see, I take issue with the hypocrisy I find in legalism. One man gets drunk. Another man eats too much. Both are sinning, yet somehow a drunk man knows it and repents… Justice right?
What else do I believe that is odd? I am not sure marriage starts with a ceremony. To me, when a man and woman fall in love, want to live together and start a family and can think of no others besides themselves in regard to a personal relationship, they are married in God’s eyes. Both have made the connection in their heads. The ceremony is just to make family and friends happy and to be sure property they accumulate will not be given to someone other than the spouse after death.
So with odd believes, am I working to change them? No. Not yet. I have to believe something is a sin, or at least doing horrible damage to my body, before I will put forth my best effort to overcome and stop it.
Going under water and coming up in baptism does not make salvation in my mind. Putting on rings does not make you married. Both are symbols of love for God and spouse. Both are great things, but the legalism preaching connected with them does not make sense to me. I have never understood the old preacher’s statement, “If you do not have a ring on your hand, you are living in sin.” Well, heck, I can get a ring at a dime store… Get real. I can not, however, find love for sale at a dime store, or in a marriage ceremony. Love comes from God.
A third point of contention in my own Christian belief system, besides baptism being required to be saved and a marriage ceremony being required to be married, is about sin. Jesus Christ died once on a cross for my sin and yours. Once we have repented, confessed the miraculous power of Jesus, we are saved. We have believed in our heart, confessed a need for Jesus and His pure blood for our soul in our heart and then confessed with our mouth that Jesus was crucified, dead and buried. And that Jesus Christ rose on the third day to point a path of eternal life in heaven for all of his followers to come along and enjoy.
I buy all of that. But my point of contention with the legalists is about messing up. If I sin, as a Christian, the Holy Ghost will prick my conscious. I then repent because I do not like my actions hurting God. Now then, am I already forgiven? Yes, in my opinion. I do not believe we have to be “re-saved” every time we take the name of the Lord in vain! Give me a break. I am working to be as sinless as possible, but my sins, past, present and future, are covered by the blood of Jesus after I am saved.
If the legalists are right, it would be like a shady insurance company canceling your policy every time you have a fender bender… You would think such a company to be crooked. Is not God a better entity of integrity than a crooked insurance company?
Enough with the examples. We all have them in our lives. And most everyone I know has their own interpretation of the Word of God. Perhaps that is what makes us different from robots. Jesus said he came into this world not to condemn the world but so the world through Him might be saved. So if a man or woman says he or she is saved, let them be. If Christ has given them that assurance, who are we to try and pull it out from under them.
So living what I believe, if I ever really do, just might offend some preachers. But if it makes them stop and think, as they shout their laundry lists of things that will send you and I to hell, then I hope this sermon does offend them and wake them up. Once again, God is love – so my Bible tells me. I find no where that this same Bible says, “God is love as long as you behave yourself.”
SCRIPTURES
1) LOVE NEVER FAILS –
1 Corinthians 13:1-12New King James Version (NKJV)
The Greatest Gift
13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
2) JESUS CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD, LIVED…
1 Corinthians 15:1-8 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Risen Christ,
Faith’s Reality
15 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
3) GO INTO ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL, THE GREAT COMMISSION – Mark 16:14-18New King James Version (NKJV)
The Great Commission
14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Editor’s Note: OK, if you believe and ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart, you will be saved, but were I you my believing friend, I would obey Christ and also be baptized…

 

Have Mercy
on all you see,
God did you…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I was crying here lately over some financial changes that hurt like the devil but had to be done. God had mercy and it looks like everything is going to be OK. A chance for solvency before retirement years, so it would seem, is on its way…
I was under a lawsuit a few years back where 65 percent of my wages were garnished for more than three years to pay for my oldest daughter Erin to become a computer programmer. The way it was done hurt, but the end result was worth it. God had mercy. Erin is successful and my money had a hand in paying for her hard work.
I lost my wife of 12 years in 1995 and thought I would die of loneliness. I cried when she left. Even my cat scratched me and ran from the trailer – the self pity was so thick. But God gave me a new wife, Michelle, who has stuck it out with me since 1997 and made my old wife a friend and grandmother to three beautiful little kids that we share. God had mercy.
I am sure you get the point. And I am sure you could tell me about times when God had mercy on you. The subject of this Christian sermon is mercy. In specific, if God has had mercy on you and saved your soul from a deserved devil’s hell through the blood of Jesus Christ, should you not have mercy on the next guy?
I write to you today on the Fourth of July 2014. Our president, Barack Obama, has been declared the worst president this country has seen this side of World War II by some sort of extensive Internet poll. I say when you are paying your new Obama Care tax, have mercy on the man from Kenya. He was a junior senator with two years of experience. He is not a very good diplomat in foreign affairs (look at the way he treats Israel) but he is doing all he knows to do. Have mercy on him.
As an editor, I have pretty well quit bad mouthing him. Whether it is Obama or your wife, have mercy and try to find something good to say, or do something that will encourage the person your gut would like to slap silly sometimes. If you want a reason, go back to counting your blessings and the many times God has had mercy on you. So Mr. Obama, thank you for preventing another 911 on your watch. Things could be worse…
I have some friends my age, or about a decade older, that now need a little help. Their bodies have about gone out due to a lot of hard physical work. I have buddies using canes and one in a wheelchair. My mother-in-law, who was my most formidable opponent while helping raise her grandchildren, is in a nursing home and can not get out of bed on her own.
I would have never believed any of this about 20 years back. But some people do not grow old gracefully. Instead, they fall apart…
So far, at 55, I am not a whole lot worse off than I was at 40. But nobody can keep being 40 forever and I am fully aware the bell of self-demise will ring for me one of these days. In the meantime, I will go get my disabled veternan friend’s beer and cigars. I will take him fishing and try not to complain about the wheelchair or the fact that I must put the line on his reel because his hands are now too cripled to do so.
I must have mercy because God would want me too, and besides one day it may be me. We indeed get what we give in this old life. This sermon is not just about heaven, hell and Jesus Christ as Savior. This one is about how to live, whether you are Christian yet or not. Have mercy always, and perhaps mercy will come back to you.
I run into this mercy thing in my job. The journalism writing, lay out and design is the fun part for me. The advertising make-up is fun. The advertising sales is the job part. I thank God I have sales talent enough to sell enough ads so far to keep my little magazine going, but it is still a challenge. You have to look at the other fellow’s needs and try to fill them. Some just want to sponsor their schools. That is easy enough to accomodate with a business card advertisement.
Others want to sell something and increase their sales revenue. That is more challenging. Still, I really do enjoy it when we get a satisfied customer. I had a story pack a few weeks back with a Malvern business where the two sisters were very complementary of the story I did. That made me feel a bit better about my craft. But then, sometimes, other customers start blaming me and my publication for their hard times. I listen. I promise to do better if I can and I have mercy on them.
Sometimes I have too much mercy on them when they want to drop out for awhile. And thus I put myself in a pickle. But I would rather have too much mercy and still get along with the clients than not enough mercy and hurt someone’s business in a serious money crunch. The key is the Golden Rule. If you want mercy when you are down and out, give mercy when you are in the giving position.
I have a very special cat and dog. Charlie and Gidget are partners in crime at the Nelson house. I feed them and hold them when sometimes I am not in the mood. But they need loving. So I have mercy even when I do not feel like it. It has paid off. We three get along great. People who know me realize I do not put a lot of money into my animals, but I do try to make up for it with love… and mercy.
GOD’S MERCY
Now let’s look at God’s mercy a bit. If you look in the old testament, it says God has created humans in his own image but given us minds of our own. Some call the soul the mind of a man or woman. If indeed, as we have discussed in earlier sermons, mankind is three fold; spirit, soul and body, that would indicate the mind is the soul – at least to me it would. I have kids and grand kids. I have mentioned that often enough, but hey, we always have new readers in this weekly. There are times I want them to do something my way pretty bad and nearly force them to see that point.
But that sort of thinking, at least in my family, rarely pans out. In our cases, the old salesman’s philosophy of making someone think something is his or her idea is usually the best way to get my desired action. Of course, God gave me the talent to manipulate – that is sell. And it makes my living. But God could manipulate the coat off of an Eskimo if he wanted to do so. That sort of deal stopped when Jehovah God sent Jesus Christ to the cross for the Ultimate sacrifice. Not only does the gift get us a ticket out of hell, it gives us the freedom to make our own decisions without fear of devine destruction – at least in most cases. Why? Mercy…
To get you to understand my line of thinking here, let us consider tithes and offerings. God, in the old testament and under the old Jewish covenant, tells us giving 10 percent of our earnings to the church for dispersion to those who can not work, is our reasonable service (1). It goes on to say that if we give more than the tithes and enter the offering realm, that is where God will bless our finances so we can prosper and we will have even more power to give. At least that is this writer’s understanding at this point in time.
Now let’s look at an old testament story where God repented that he ever made humanity. He had Noah build an arc and put those who sinned with no restraint to a drowning death and subsequently a devil’s hell – or so it would seem. There was another instance where a couple lied to God and told Him they were giving a tithe of their earnings and did not do so. He killed the man for his lie and then his wife for her lie that followed.
Apparently God realized that spanking examples did not seem to improve matters with his people. In the days of Moses, when Moses would go up in the hills to get the Ten Commandments or other such Godly instruction, the people would give a whoop and party down. They built ideals, they danced, they got drunk and when Moses came home they were caught in their sin. This made the good Lord angry enough to have Moses bring them stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, leaving no doubt what the rules were.
From the beginning, we can find evidence of mercy after mercy that God granted, as well as extensive punishment to show the results of unrepented sin. In vast majority, legalism failed – and still does. So, Jehovah God gave us Jesus Christ and a new covenant of grace. That grace is the ultimate mercy, and as the preachers say, “the good news!” Indeed it is good news.
So now, God has buried the hatchet with folks that have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. He wants our love and some of us need His love even worse. I know I do. I count it a privilege that God allows me to love Him. He tells me in one of His commandments he will not count me blameless for my swearing during my frustration moments and points out several other faults I carry on a daily basis.
I have accepted the pure blood of Jesus to save me from all of my sins. I do not want to sin. I do sin, as I believe all humans do. But I am as sincere as I know to be. I would rather live with no sin in my life. I can do nothing but continue to work on that goal. And while I am working on it, I ask for God’s mercy, understaing, guidance and direction. He grants it daily for me. And I know He will for you. But you have to ask.
Preachers of old have called Jehovah God a gentleman. He will not force Himself on you. But if you will accept Jesus, your relationship with Him will be something more valuable than anything else in your life. And your relationship to God, through the mercy provided by the pure sacrificial blood of Jesus, will allow God to laugh and cry at your efforts and your failures. He will literally lift you up and dust you off, time after time. His mercy never quits. God has been this good to me and still has 100 percent record of proving my doubts wrong. That is 55 years of doubt proven wrong in my case. Why does He do that for me? He has mercy on a kid with less than perfect righteousness and judgment. The Lord’s mercy is our example. He reaches down and saves us from ourselves though grace (2).
If you have a chance to cut off the head of your worst enemy (literally or figuratively), have mercy. Throw the sword of destruction to the side, reach your hand down to your foe and lift him or her out of the dirt. It is merciful and it is just. Two wrongs, as I taught my kids, do not make a right. Be known as the guy or girl with the heart of gold. It will attract friends and more importantly, it will gain you work. God will give you more when you appreciate what He puts before you and yet have learned to demand nothing.
To have mercy, we must forgive. As we mentioned last week, we must forgive seven times seventy. And we must be willing to pick up the cross of our burdons in life and follow our Savior where ever he leads (3). Resisting the temptation of legalistic discipline, when mercy would accomplish more toward love, is not always easy but it always worth it.
I once saw my grandmother do something that comes to mind. She was old and partially senile with a touch of hearing loss. She was past 80 years old.
Grandma Marvel and my grandfather had a 69 year marriage and a 5-year courtship before tying the knot. He had 96 years of life, her 92. But their lives were not without problems. She said she fell in love with her man eight times during the marriage. That tells me there were times when it was troubled waters before them and perhaps, for a time, she stayed out of obligation instead of adoration.
As a child growing up (I was 30 the year they died) with essentially elderly parents (my biological grandparents), there was really little fighting amongst them. They kidded with each other a lot, but argued in anger very little. Time had lessened the need for verbal or physical confrontation. But one day, while I was home visiting them, there was an exception. I must have been about 21.
Grandma forgot to turn off the stove after cleaning up the kitchen. Grandpa, who never did show any signs of sinelity that I can recall, came in from the tractor shed and realized the stove was left on and just might burn their old house down. He yelled at her and raised his big fist. I looked on in surprise. She cringed, shut her eyes and said, “I hope you will not hit me, but if it has come to the point where you must, I am ready to receive it.”
The tears came into my Grandpa’s old blue eyes. He lowered his fist, shut off the stove and hugged his wife. He had mercy. When you are confronted with frustration, embarrassment or some sort of other irratant with your partner or your friend, won’t you follow suit? Oh how much better a memory for a grandson to have than if he had hit my grandmother. Have mercy. It is the best way…
SCRIPTURES
1) GIVING TITHES AND OFFERINGS IS AT LEAST PART OF REASONABLE SERVICE – Deuteronomy 14:22-27 (KJV)
22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
23 And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.
24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee:
25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose:
26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
27 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
Romans 12:1-5 (KJV)
12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Malachi 3:8-10King James Version (KJV)
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
2) GOD”S MERCY AND GRACE THROUGH THE GIFT OF JESUS CHRIST – Luke 23:34King James Version (KJV) 34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
John 11:26-28King James Version (KJV) 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.
John 3:15-18King James Version (KJV)
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
3) WHEN WE FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST HE WILL SHOW US WHAT MERCY MEANS – Luke 5:4-12King James Version (KJV)
4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
12 And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
Editor’s Note: And if you follow Christ. His mercy will give you peace inside and some day you will join Him in paradise.
As an old friend once said, it costs no more in this world to believe Jesus will save you than not, but what about eternity?

 

Forgiveness means
letting go of grudges,
grabbing hold of God
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Forgiveness starts with forgiving yourself. You are not perfect and no sin will enter heaven. Therefore, you need to forgive yourself, forgive others who may have wronged you and seek help.
There was but one perfect man who ever walked the face of the earth and he is still influencing people’s lives today. God sent Jesus Christ to preach love to us and so that the world through Him might be saved. Some say salvation is not a free gift, yet my Bible tells me it is for who so ever will.
Being saved by the pure blood of Jesus Christ from our just reward, the is eternal death and damnation over our sins in this life, is no excuse to live like there are not game rules in the Bible. And the biggest game rule is to love your God with all of your heart and soul. The closer we live to God’s guidelines, the more we can do for the cause of Jesus Christ and show that love. But as we go about trying to live more Christ like, we still carry our “bad dog” and now and again that bad side comes out. When it does, we must forgive our self. Repentance is enough for God in that case. We must make sure it is also enough for us. We must learn to let things go.
When we let something go, we can get on with business of writing the next sermon, visiting a shut-in or giving a dollar when logic would suggest we pocket it. But forgiving our self, others and God is worth it. After all, who among us really wants to feel the flames of hell right after our body quits breathing? If we walk away from the free gift of salvation offered by Jesus because we judge ourselves unworthy, Christ will reluctantly let us walk back to Satan’s camp after a while. If Satan can convince us to leave the arms of the Savior voluntarily, the lake of fire is our only future – according to the Bible. So be quick to forgive yourself and never let go of the hand of the man from Galilee.
So far, when the chips are down, my love for God and my thankfulness that He allows me to love Him have been enough for me to keep a hold of the hand of Jesus. I know that I know that, even though I may try his patience, Jesus said who so ever will ask in my name, that is the Name of Jesus Christ, will be saved.
So I hold onto those words when Satan tells me I am toast. It helps me, so I share it with you.
We have to forgive ourselves enough to believe God will forgive us too or our mistakes will become stepping stones to dooming ourselves. And we have to turn from our old mistakes. After all, there will be plenty of new traps set by Satan so we will have plenty of opportunity to make new ones.
Salvation is a change of heart and a slow, but steady, change in behavior. And it is a non-condemning change.
If someone tells you, hey, to stay saved you must do this or that, give that person a good hard looking over. They may be acting like a legalistic, Satanic puppet, which means an evil spirit of condemnation (somebody playing God) is using them. That sounds judgmental right? I have heard the legalists, that is those who tell me I am going to hell for wearing a short sleeved shirt, to tell me they do not judge, they just discern the spirits.
Whatever. Personally, I have forgiven all of them, even though it appears to me that they do not feel they need forgiving for judging the eternal destination of their fellow strugglers in this world. Jesus was right on the cross when he said, “They know not what they are doing, Father forgive them.”
The Bible plainly says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (1)” We can have our opinions about others, but judging their eternal destination is not our job. The Bible also says our confidant, counselor and friend Jesus Christ is also the part of the three-pronged God head that will judge us in the end. This seems fair to me, as Jesus has been there with me every step of the way and knows me better than I know myself.
So far this sermon sounds pretty opinionated and way too religious for this writer. Let’s look at this forgiveness thing from a different angle. When we forgive ourselves, we usually plead ignorance when it comes to whatever action we are forgiving ourselves of and do a bit of shoulder raising. It never hurts to throw in a sheepish grin… But let’s bring this close to home. Suppose you are married and you commit adultery. Your spouse forgives you because she really does love you and believes with the proper size baseball bat you will straighten out. But the violation of trust involved with old fashioned adultery eats at you as to what a sorry person you must be to have taken old gal to a motel like that. Satan really lays it on thick. You can not seem to forgive yourself.
Well, you have to. In my estimation, blanket forgiveness of yourself, others and even God is essential to not walking away from the free gift of salvation. Unforgiveness leads to giving up. And when you give up on heaven, bitterness will eat you alive on earth and after death. For you see, if Satan can convince you that what you have done is so bad you might as well forget God ever forgiving it, then he can convince you to walk away from the gift of eternal life in heaven, offered by Jesus since he paid for our sins, past, present and future, by dying on the cross.
Since you are so sorry for cheating, that will probably not be the sin that makes you stubble again. Next time it may be one of the more subtle sins, like gluttony, or cursing when you hit your finger with a hammer… But you will slip up. You are human. Your God conscious will help you to not repeat known sins to you, but only time and maturity will make the sin bundles less every day. Thus the old Baptist song, “He is still working on me.”
The Word says most of us can expect three score and ten (70 years) before this body gives up the ghost, but it goes onto say that a grace period of up to 120 years exists for those of us without enough sense to figure things out early (2). OK, so there may be some Nelson interpretation going on there! After all, Nelson, with the help of the Bible, is writing this.
What really gets me is when the other guy tells me my salvation is no good like he just already knows my heart. Only Jehovah God knows my heart. Even I am not sure what I am capable of, although being me, I have a pretty good idea.
God knows how we will react to certain pressures before we do. So forgive. Forgive your socialist government for jacking up free enterprise. Forgive yourself for making a wrong move in a marriage. Forgive your dog for having an accident on the floor. Forgive, forgive, forgive.
I want to say a little more on guilt. I do not care what sin we are talking about, I am usually guilty. Now, I am basing my definition of sin primarily on the 10 commandments (3). I am not sure I have ever killed anyone, but I have been in a wreck in my youth where there was doubt so who knows. I sincerely hope that two fellows in that car that day were not killed. I may never know.
Thinking myself responsible for taking the lives of others, even in self-defense, brings me no pleasure. I would defend myself again if need be but praise God it has been many years since such a need has surfaced in my normally pretty predictable life. I forgive myself for that day.
One time, many years ago, I had a thing for a gal that is now married. I am very happy in my own marriage to Michelle and I trust this girl is in her marriage. But coveting another man’s wife, sports car, house or anything that man owns is a direct sin and violation of one of the 10 commandments. So I forgive myself there too and work to block any feelings of coveting that might come up in my mind. Have you ever wanted anything that belonged to the other fellow? Most of us have. The big deal is to not act on it and to forgive yourself for the sinful thoughts.
A friend of mine told me he had that problem a lot and his solution was to tell the devil he was happily married and that pretty girl would most likely make her own husband just as happy. He tells the devil he is thankful God has made so many attractive women, as a man needs a suitable wife in the flesh, spirit and soul. That is throwing cold water on the devil and I applaud it!
Murder, coveting things, adultery, stealing, lying, taking the name of God in vain, these are some obvious sins that we need to pray to God for the strength to not even think of very long, much less do. I have found on a personal basis if I tell you I will never do something again, Satan will find a way to convince me to do it just one more time. I like what they teach in AA; “Just for today, I will not take a drink. Just for today I will stay clean and sober.”
And the days turn into weeks and the weeks to months and the months to years. Pretty soon you are a sobered up guy that can help other alcoholics also choose not to drink “just for today.” If you hear one say they will never have another glass of whiskey, wait for them to leave their room or office and go find their bottle. That word “never” is a pesky, covering up word, at least in many cases.
So forgive yourself.
If you are an alcoholic and you fall off the wagon one night, forgive yourself. Then ask God to forgive you and give you the strength to go longer next time before you fall again. Once you make heaven, I will bet you can take one glass of wine with the Savior and not want another. If Jesus is half as awesome as I believe He is to behold, beer, wine and whiskey will have definitely lost their attraction for this Indian. If this is you, forgive yourself, ask God to forgive you and go on pursuing your goal of a non-alcohol addicted lifestyle.
In the Bible, Peter asks Jesus how many times he must forgive people? Jesus said seven times 70. I believe Christ was telling His disciple to forgive and keep forgiving, no matter how many times it takes. This is much easier to say than to do. This sermon is about something the very disciples of Jesus Christ had a difficult time doing. So don’t give up trying to master forgiveness if you try a few times and fail.
These men and women were alive when the only begotten Son of the Living God was carnally alive on this earth and they grew weary of forgiving.
People sin and sin and sin. But before you go getting that helpless feeling, remember another Bible verse says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. You are not alone as you struggle to overcome what you know inside of you to be sin when you do it.
Now for a Nelsonism. I think we probably always will sin as long as these bodies are breathing. Sure, perhaps smoking a cigar to stay awake to work late at night is not a sin in my mind for me, yet if you were to do it smoking that same cigar might put you under conviction. We all have our own convictions that are not really addressed in the Bible. Some modern thinkers tell professing Christians, “don’t tell us what we are doing is sin because that is hateful. I dare say if you think my actions are sin, at least tell me. I may disagree and then again your words may start my mind to thinking and to realizing I have one more sin to overcome than I thought I did.
But don’t tell me to stop looking at pretty girls or stop drinking an occasional beer, least I go to hell. Both actions can lead to sin. On the other hand, both actions can be as innocent as eating popcorn on a kid’s slide. Only the doer knows the truth. Let each man judge himself and use Jesus Christ as a measuring stick as to how to live his life (girls, this includes you as well).
But something like excessive drinking, or prescription drug use, or anything we ingest that will put us out of control, is a sin, as the Bible is plain about it. Jesus said, “No drunkard shall enter the kingdom of heaven.” If you slip up, while taking a little alcohol to avoid platelets building in your veins and killing you via a heart attack, and you get drunk “accidentally,” ask God to forgive you and try harder not to go over a reasonable recreational limit the next go around. Don’t listen to Satan who will undoubtedly be screaming something about it is too late for you now.
He will tell you next time go get drunk and call your old girlfriend for a date. Heck, you are done for anyway. Might as well go out with a bang! No. Just say no to the devil. If he could be your boss, you would already be dead and in his hell.
Jesus said take a little wine for your health. Medical Science of 2014 says two glasses of wine per night will result in your life span being an average of 10 years longer than the non-drinker. And not drinking at all is against what Christ said about taking a little wine for your health. You be the judge as to what is sin.
Remember Jesus told His disciples it is not what a man takes into his body that will destroy him, but rather the words that come out of the body – because they come from his heart.
So be honest with yourself. If your action is breaking one of the 10 commandments, it is sin by definition. Immediately upon realizing your mistake, forgive yourself. Then ask God to forgive you too, and anyone else you might have wronged by doing it. If it is not breaking one of those commandments, ask God in your spirit if something is right or wrong for you. He will let you know. Christianize calls it developing our own convictions. And I do see some value in doing so.
If God has called your action an abomination to him and a stink in his nostrils, something like that would go against my goal of pleasing God. I would ask God for forgiveness and the strength to not do it again. We all have our own life to work out. The key is to keep on trying to work it out. Seek your peace with God and one day you will find it. You are the judge for your own soul before your Maker gives final judgment.
Another Christianize saying is judge yourself and God won’t have to… The main thing is, ask Jesus Christ to forgive you of all of your sins and when you feel the release, forgive yourself. Then determine to live more Christ like every day the good Lord gives you on this planet.
He may give you 70 years. He may give you 120 or he may give you 25. None of us understands early departures of our loved ones except God. Even though I hate to see them go early, if they seem to me to be Christians before they leave, I thank God for that thought.
Funerals are horrible experiences as far as I am concerned. But if I believe the guy or girl loved God, that brings me a comfort that nothing but the love of God could bring. I forgive the deceased of any “wrongs” he or she might have committed against me or anyone. After all, if he or she was a Christian, they left this old world for a much better place.
Heaven is a place where all is forgiven and yet there is an eternity to enjoy new life without fighting sin or the devil ever again.
In conclusion about forgiveness, let me say this. Some couples, like I believe was the case with my grandparents, the late John and Marvel Nelson, just seem to belong together. They forgave each other daily of little pet peeves, yet when one left this earth the other one seemed to wilt before our eyes. The Bible says married souls like them will no longer be wed when they get to heaven, but they will still recognize one another.
My folks loved to dance when they were young. I guess they are now free to dance with old flames and cutie pies up there in the clouds, moving their celestial bodies around to harp music, or old fashioned church hymns (however you can see it), but my Bible says love never fails. It could be that the strong love of marriage and commitment does fade, but the special gift of love that only comes from God goes on forever. If Grandpa cuts in and takes his old dance partner back, I bet you the other guy does some quick forgiving… even in the sweet by and by.
Enjoy your July 4 holiday. Remember, be kind to your “good dog” and don’t over indulge. If you do though, for goodness sakes, forgive yourself! Then ask God and your peers to do the same.
No matter what they do, forgive everyone for the sake of personal peace and promoting the cause of Christ. Do it to be a better witness and because you will simply be a happier camper. Forgiveness is a sign of strength of character, not of weakness. Need evidence? Go spend the day with a grudge holder and watch the fear grow in their eyes when you simply refuse to go along with their hateful thoughts…
It is said once we are saved, Jesus will never leave us. So don’t you let unforgiveness on your part talk you out of the most important partnership you will ever have – the pact of salvation with the only Begotten Son of the Living God – Jesus Christ.
SCRIPTURES
1) WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION – Philippians 2:12King James Version (KJV)
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
2)OUR LIFE SPANS ON THE AVERAGE –
Psalm 90:10King James Version (KJV) 10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Genesis 6:3-7King James Version (KJV)
3 And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
3) WHAT WE MUST DO OR BE FORGIVEN OF FOR NOT OBEYING: 10 COMMANDMENTS – Exodus 20 King James Version (KJV) 20 And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
Editor’s Note: For those who have accepted Jesus Christ, there is a new covenant with God called grace. But without Jesus, it would seem to this Indian it is impossible to please God…

 

‘Tired of
Being Good’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
There is a place in the Bible where God warns us not to grow weary in our well doing (1). This is hard for anyone who has experienced a personal or business setback because the natural reaction is to run from responsibility and take a break from the task at hand or to start a battle with the attacker of your comfort zone.
It is just plain hard to keep smiling sometimes. But we must remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways and His love should always make you smile. There is an old saying that it is not what a man or a woman has to go through in life that matters much, but how the individual handles his or her problems reflects true character.
For example, my business is going through changes. I believe these changes will help Tailgate News to grow in a few months. God told me in the spirit to help a second community directly with my reporting ability some years ago and I ignored it.
I have finally started to cover news at Haskell and it is exciting but the newness of it is scary. Right now, the transition from being the Gurdon editor to being the Gurdon and Haskell editor is about to make my eyes bug out with worry. I have been praying and trying to find a peace about this, and I believe I am finally doing a bit better. Still, it has been a hard month for me and mine. God got me to listen through financial pressure. He got me out of my comfort zone.
The necessity for hard-nut change is going to happen from time to time, no matter what business you are in. But the Bible says we are to do business and occupy until Jesus comes back (2). In light of that, this work-a-holic does not have a problem trying to comply with that order from Mr. God. I must adhere to God’s guidance and direction and offer my journalistic ability to the Haskell community and school if I ever hope feel peace with my God again.
One good Christian associate of mine told me God is never late when times are hard, but he is rarely early. I have been eating good, nothing is shut off yet and the house and cars are still here with us. We got to go to church this morning and enjoyed the service. I even went down to the altar and prayed for someone very close to me. She is in some sort of stage of life where she believes any god will do and Jehovah God is not really the special one. I believe she knows salvation through Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. I am praying she does some serious thinking on that knowledge.
Am I judging her? No. I am simply telling you I am worried about her. As one of my pastors, Brother James McCain of Sycamore Church in Beirne, Arkansas, says, we never really know if the other person is saved. The only one who really knows is that person themselves.
The word of God says if we confess Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God, ask him to forgive our sins and believe that the purity of his blood shed at the crucifixion was enough to save us from a devil’s hell, plus believe Jesus rose from the grave on the third day after his crucifixion, we shall be saved (3). So if you believe all of that, and you have asked forgiveness for your sins in your heart with all sincerity, than you shall be saved. Then, and only then, will you have more than a passing desire to obey God instead of self.
So once you are saved, you may notice yourself asking God what He thinks a lot? Then you will probably go through a stage where you try a few things His way. Then you get to where in a lot of instances you simply do not want to take the chance of making a decision without first consulting your best friend in the spirit – Jesus Christ, as is represented by His Holy Ghost, the omnipresent part of God that Christ said in the Bible would be there to comfort all of his followers. Part of our sermon at New Life Church today was about the three branches of God and the three branches of man. I had never thought of it that way before, but it makes a lot more sense to me now.
Jehovah God is said to be part Father, part Word (Jesus) and part Holy Ghost. A man is part spirit, part soul and part body. I realize this sermon is to be about getting tired of doing good, but allow me to chase this rabbit just a minute. One of the reasons we get tired of doing good is we spend too much time worrying about what the body wants. When the soul and body agree, which happens more often than not in the unsaved and the newly saved, than the spirit man, that is the part that communicates with God directly, gets outvoted and many times tied up and muted.
The key to continuing to want to write sermons, volunteer for classroom teaching at a church or whatever your spirit and God’s Spirit may be leading you to do, is to attach your spirit to your eternal soul in regard to action and communication. The soul, according to my New Life preacher this past Sunday, is only made glory bound eternal when you get saved. Your soul has a new partner, your spirit. It is no longer naturally in partnership with the flesh. This switch has taken me years to understand. Your spirit is in charge when you accept the gift of salvation. It must educate the soul on the ways of Jesus, which is a life-long process.
You can not ignore this transition forever. The Bible says there will come a time when God no longer winks at our ignorance. If you allow your soul to team up with the carnal body too often after salvation, you run the risk of the devil talking you out of the idea that you were ever really saved. And remember, God will not walk away from a saved man, but he gives even the saved the option of walking away from Him by committing the unforgivable sin; blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. In short, if Satan convinces you your efforts to do God’s will are in vain, he will then try to convince you that you are not “good enough” to be saved. If Satan tries to do that to you, remind him the Christ would not have had to save you if you could have saved yourself and that your Christian work is not to earn the free gift of salvation but to put legs on the thank you that you have uttered to God for saving your soul and souls of those in your household.
BURN OUT
Enough on that rabbit, let’s talk about burn out. That is essentially the crux of getting weary of well doing; burning out. In the past two years, two of my business associates and fellow journalists have hung up their gun belts. One said he was too disabled to work any more because of a head injury he incurred boxing years ago.
The lady said she was going to work for a lawyer and then start a trading post. I have not heard what really happened to either one. All I know is the theory, when we were younger, was that a journalist would get printer’s ink in his or her blood and never be able to get it out. I have held other jobs, but always came back to journalism. I hope to be able to continue this magazine until at least 65, but would rather continue selling ads to it and keep it going full time until I hit at least 70 so I could get a little extra Social Security and have a better chance of retiring debt free.
If the economy continues in its downward spiral, as far as the business community I serve, I may find myself taking whatever job or jobs I can get instead of accomplishing my druthers and making a living selling advertising for Tailgate News. I trust God on this. I believe He is leading me to continue the magazine and I will continue to believe that until if and when He shuts off any chance of making a living using the talents that He gave me.
In short, I am not burned out on what I do. But if Tailgate News will no longer pay the bills, I will have to be inclined to believe God has other plans for my future and will open other doors. God has always taken care of me and I believe He will always do so, but I leave my best future in His hands. In other words, I seek His will for the rest of my life over my own preconceived notions.
WHAT TO DO
ABOUT BURN OUT
One thing you can do about burn out is to get a good night’s sleep. You can only fuss and worry so long before you run yourself physically into the ground. Jesus said, “Take my yoke. It is easy.” And it has been true for me. When I am doing something for Christ, like writing this weekly sermon, I am not stressing out over the cares of the world – my world or anyone else’s world. Instead, I am doing my best to offer hope, the Godly hope of Jesus Christ, to a lost and dying world.
When a person lives in the spirit, like I do when I write these sermons, it just seems like the concerns of the body are not nearly as important. I wish I could tell you I was spiritually minded all of the time. If I did not give into the desires of the body from time to time, I am sure my life would go smoother. Also, if I were to consistently tell my soul it should be grateful for a new eternal destination and adhere to what the Savior has instructed my spirit to do, I bet my worries about a “comfort zone” might just go away. As humans, we need to be aware how powerful that word “if” can be and ask Jesus to give our spirit the strength to strive to rule the soul all day and all night.
If I were stronger in the spirit, I would start to become more concerned with matters of love and less concerned with turning a decent profit in the business world. I have heard that sometimes the best way to maximize a business profit is to get out of God’s way. And when we sin after salvation, it gets in the way of God using us for the Greater Good (Great Commission). I will have to try staying out of God’s way in my business. Won’t you join me in trying to stay out of God’s way?
If we live more in the spirit, as is our right and duty as Christians, then we should have less problems with a body that begs do such earthly pleasures as getting drunk or committing adultery with some gal who just excites your body to the core. If our attention instead goes to our spirit and listening to what God is telling our spirit to do, life will begin to be less complicated and the voice of temptation will begin to lose volume.
If we listen to our spirit, it would probably tell our tri-layered self how to succeed in business so we can give time and money to the needy. We could spend more time spreading the great commission to those who openly admit they have never accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and asked Him to live in their hearts and forgive them of their sins, past, present and future instead of worrying over the cares of this life. Through showing them the love of Christ, perhaps that love would make them more curious as to the true nature of our Savior.
If you recall when King David became weary of doing the right thing in the Bible, you can clearly see how deciding to cop out on what God would have you to do can lead a man down a dangerous detour in life. David told his army to go on ahead and fight the next battle. He, the king, was tired, and would like to take a break at the castle. I am not sure where his wives were at the time, as back then most all of the kingly types had more than one woman in marriage, but he found himself alone in his resting. Then he looked over yonder at a naked girl taking a bath. He sent word by way of a messenger that the girl, Basheba, was invited to his kingly bedroom for a little bit of kingly entertainment.
The entertainment was of such a nature that David got Basheba pregnant. He loved the way she was, physically and apparently mentally as well. So he decided she would be his. But then he found out she had a husband named Uriah who was part of the garrison out fighting the battle where he was supposed to have been.
You know the rest of the story. He had Uriah go to the front lines after he could not convince him to sleep with his wife to confuse the identity of the new baby. Uriah said it would not be fair for him to enter his home and indulge in sexual pleasure while his friends were in the battle. So when he went back to the battle, David had him put on the front lines and made sure he got killed. Now his soul/mind, in partnership with his body, had not only convinced David’s weary spirit to commit adultery but also to cover it up with murder.
God was very displeased with David’s sinful actions and the baby in Basheba’s belly was born but died shortly there after. David took her for a wife anyway after Uriah’s death and had King Solomon by “knowing her” again. David repented of what he had done, as to how he acquired Basheba using adultery and murder, once a prophet pointed it out to him by using the same set of circumstances allegedly happening to someone else and asking David to proclaim his kingly judgment on what should happen. David told the prophet a man that would steal a man’s wife and have the man killed so he could keep her should be put to death.
Then the prophet told David he was the man and he had killed Uriah and claimed Basheba as his own. David wept, dressed in sack cloth and ashes and asked God to forgive him for being so stupid.
God forgave him, allowed him to marry Basheba because love never fails and blessed their child Solomon. To my knowledge, King David never killed a husband to steal his wife again. It was seared in his brain how much it displeased God and made him ashamed. By taking the life of the baby born from the adultery, God allowed David to reap what he had sown. I have never read where David and Basheba split up. So apparently she was a good woman for him even though he acquired her in an unrighteous manner. The moral of the story is we not only need a compatible woman to live with, if we are a man who likes female companionship, we also need a woman that is not already married and is able to give herself to us “in a straight up deal.”
But enough of chasing King David’s troubles. His affair, and subsequent marriage to Basheba is an example of God turning lemons into lemonade. God said David was a man after His own heart. I take that to mean God is saying if we know for sure we have done wrong, we should turn from the said wrong and beg forgiveness from God right away, and turn from the evil and handle it in a way more pleasing to God if those circumstances come up again. This takes a strong love for God and a strong spirit that is able to team up with a soul and put the body in its place.
There is an old saying in my family that idleness is the devil’s workshop. My grandmother taught me that as a kid. If we have asked Christ to save us from ourselves, our spirit man should be able to team up with our mind/soul and stay plenty busy enough not to have time to give into the temptations of hard core sin that the body enjoys for a season. Yet we all have our moments of weakness, busy or not.
Burn out can come in many forms. I grow weary of trying to overcome my cussing and weary about still enjoying pipe smoking when I am on the computer because the nicotine helps me stay awake for that late-night deadline work.
The big reason I have not quit the minimal smoking that I do is God has never told me to, not in the word and not in our spiritual conversations. And most nights, just before bed, I drink a beer or two to go to sleep. Doctors tell me I will live 10 years longer because of the habit. I don’t get drunk so I am not convicted in the spirit that this is sin, even though non-Christians tell me touching booze or smokes is sin. I say my Lord does not forbid me to take a little wine for my health or smell my modern day incense to stay awake or relax.
As for my vulgar language, I know it displeases God and I make no excuse for it coming off my tongue. I pray constantly God will deliver me from this spirit of cursing. Join me in that prayer when you get a chance.
So we all fight our own battles. Could my body, which desires too much beer occasionally, and would just as soon I smoked two packs of cigars instead of a half of a pack a day, convince me to increase the habit to where the body’s desires rule the soul and the spirit is tied up? Without salvation, definitely.
Any medication can be over used. The key is to let your spirit stay in control .This is why we should never take more of any medicine than our body needs to maintain a readiness for battle.
Whether it is booze and smokes, prescription drugs, too much food etc. anything done to excess that stops you from being an effective soldier for Christ should be cut out of your life if your best effort to moderate it fails. As the Word says, if you right eye offends you, pluck it out. It is a parable, but you get the drift of it. In modern terms, if you can not put the brakes on, don’t drive the car. So can the man of God live without ever doing anything someone else not saved would consider a sin and therefore use as an excuse not to come to God?
Jesus did. I have never heard of anyone else who did, or at least who I would believe if they told me they did not do things others would consider sin. My goal is to be straight up with the man in the mirror and open myself for God to use my talents for his glory in any way He wants to use them.
Jesus could lose his temper and not sin. He tossed the merchants out of the synagogue without sinning in His anger. You or I might spit out a vulgar word, but not our Lord.
I am not advocating a Christian intentionally do anything he or she knows to be sin. I am asking that instead of giving up on yourself if you are trapped in a sinful pattern, pray to God above to somehow change your circumstances and give you the strength to break loose of that sin that so besets you.
BURNING OUT ON
OVERCOMING OBSTACLES
Another form of burn out besides getting weary of maybe writing a sermon or taking a plate of food to a shut-in is burning out on trying to curb obstacles that God has told us needed working on for the sake of a Christian witness in our lives. The last time God told me one it was about being fat. Obesity does not please God and is a bad witness to a lost and dying world. Gluttony is a sin. I have no defense for over eating and I am making progress in this area.
My solution is to pray for God’s guidance and direction as to what and how much to eat, and for personal strength to follow His advice once I know what it is. God can fix anything if we just let Him work.
I just turned on VTN Christian television and the men talking gave me a good ending for this sermon. When you are burned out on doing the right thing, thank God for everything He has done for you and ask Him to make you a blessing to someone else.
As you reach out to a hurting man or woman, you may be surprised to find you have just given God a break from your worrying and allowed Him to fix whatever circumstance was causing you grief in the first place. So you can fix your weariness from well doing by being a blessing to someone else and making yourself too busy to worry about something only God can change.
SCRIPTURES
1) WEARY OF WELL DOING – Galatians 6:9 King James Version (KJV) 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 2 Thessalonians 3:13 King James Version (KJV) 13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
2) DO BUSINESS AND OCCUPY UNTIL CHRIST COMES BACK – Luke 19:13 King James Version (KJV)
13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
1 Thessalonians 4:10-12 King James Version (KJV) 10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; 11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
3) BELIEVING UNTO SALVATION – Romans 10:9-12 (King James Version) King James Version (KJV)
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
Acts 16:31-35 King James Version (KJV) 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the sergeants, saying, Let those men go.

When your dream stalls,
turn it over to God and
live one day at a time
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I am a dreamer. God made me that way. But sometimes I get in a blue funk and nothing seems to go right toward living that dream.
It is during those times that I have to remember that God is working on things and I need to tend my garden; take care of the small stuff. I am not advocating living one day at a time and giving up on your dreams. I am simply recommending the strategy as a patience coping device.
When I was a young guy on an Indiana farm, I learned to shoot rifles and shot guns and drive nails into the walls of old sheds without a scope. I am not saying I was the best shot in Indiana but I think I might have been close at that time. Bragging, Probably, but I did have a bit of truth as my defense.
I am now 55 instead of 15 and I won’t make that claim anymore. However, if the bills loosen up and I get the equipment (guns) to target practice, watch out! Tiger just might ride again. This, of course, is silly. But I do enjoy shooting and hope to one day buy 10 acres of woods, set up my own deer stand and join my fellow Arkansans in the sport of deer hunting. We shall see, as the old Three Stooges saying goes.
But target practicing is not a dream of mine; solvencizing is. I want to be ahead of my bills and have my paying percentages to suit the bank. And I want an Edward Jones account that rocks for a rainy day. The thing is, that is what my sites are set on materialistically and by golly I will be surprised if I don’t hit the mark by age 70.
My preacher, Brother Martin Jones of New Life Church, said Sunday that our air of confidence will not help in serving God. God respects a humble man, willing to serve Him, who has an honest love for Jehovah God, that is our Creator.
I try to be that guy. I want these sermons to help someone. However, I do believe one must believe in one’s own abilities, through the power of God, as to getting things done. A parked truck goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing.
I heard the other day that one thing about living one day at a time is that God wants us to get stronger every day we are in His service. There is an example of Moses being able to see just fine at 120 years old (1).
That is what I want. I want to work an exercise program into my daily work day, say just after sales on the days I am out. I want to redress and get on a good pair of tennis shoes for at least a couple of laps up and down Gurdon Pond. I used to do that when I first came to this town 10 years ago.
And so we have talked about what a person might do while obeying the commandment of the Lord to “occupy” and wait on God (2). I occupy my house and business, play with my wife and grand children, and try to stay on good terms with all those dear children. My oldest daughter Erin is not speaking to me just now, but one of my dreams is to mend those bridges. I pray she reads these sermons. Maybe she will see this part.
DREAMS
But the sermon is on what to do if it all slows down and you are faced with a breather. We have an economy that is being switched from capitalism to socialism. I personally am a capitalist. I believe in working for my living. But if I ever get too old or disabled to do so, I will appreciate the government help, if it still exists.
My modern world tells me that Christianity is no better than other religions. I go back to the old Testament on my proof they are wrong here. You see, there were these folks of the Baal religion that said their magic was as strong as the power of Jehovah God. They were proven wrong. I believe it was Daniel who set them straight. Our God has real power, not want to be power like witchcraft or its variations.
I am not saying people don’t have the right to send themselves somewhere else besides the mansion Jesus Christ offers in my religion. I am saying if, after they have seen enough demostrations of real healing power and other miracles of my God that they want to become a Christian, then they need to learn what their Creator wants them to do. I am in process of that. Yes, I was a natural witch and I do know what I am talking about. At 15, I gave up calling the corners and casting spells in favor of asking Jesus Chrsit to save me from an eternity in hell.
But believe it or not, the big reason I made my choice is because Mr. God, that is Jehovah God, the Father of Jesus Christ, who gave us the Word, that is the Christian Bible, has been my best friend for as long as I could remember. There was no lie Satan could come up with to convince me anything he had to offer was more valuable than spending eternity with my best friend. In short, I love God.
This did not go along with practicing white witchery. So, I had to make a choice. And I did. I am speaking to those of you who will give honest consideration to making the same choice. The devil will only help you get your dreams if your dreams consist of materialistic success. That will burn up with the first fire on this old earth.
The Bible says the wicked will have success for a season (3). So even though it feels like this past month that my dreams have been put on hold, I still praise God for how far I have come down the road to being a better servant to Him. And hopefully, as I grow and try to obey, I have become a bit better friend to Mr. God. Our preacher Sunday, that Martin Jones guy, said God is pleased with His children who sincerely love Him and desire to do a better job of living as close to how Jesus Christ lived as they can. Honest love of the Creator can go a long way toward overcoming sin. And sin gets in the way of getting a dream if it is a Godly dream.
But the proof is in the pudding. I have five kids; two biological ones, three step kids that I adopted in my heart and helped raise, and soon to be seven grandchildren. Four out of five of them wished me a Happy Father’s Day. One is still burdoned with seeing the darker side of me in action years ago.
I did not visit Erin but once or twice a year. We were four states away and I was making less than $10 an hour as a reporter. But I should have made a better effort and at least visited her every six months consistently. And I should have taken my ex wife to court and gotten at least a couple of weeks visitation with Erin in the summer at my home. I was foolish. I pray someday Erin can forgive me for being such a fool.
Because it is true. We get out of life what we put in. And I put a lot in the four kids in Arkansas, who now seem to still express a lot of love and appreciation for it.
My own father does not want me to contact him, or he may be dead by now. The last concrete proof I had that he was alive was around the year 1998 when the Interent said he was on the governor of Oklahoma’s long-term care committee. I love Dr. John W. Nelson very much. And back then I had a lot of anger that I no longer have.
I believe we could be good friends like in my youth if I had that chance. Again, I pray that he and my step-mother Nancy, if they are still alive, can forgive me for being self-centered and blinded by the hormones and immaturity of being young.
I also have a disability in regard to mood swings. It has been controlled for years by mediation, but when Dad and Nancy put up the blocks so I could not contact them without some fancy detetecitve work, I was in denial and did not take my medicine. I have taken it, every day, for eight years. And life is different and much better. God is a God of second chances. He made us. He knows our faults. The Word says vengenance belongs to Him, not us. I suppose that is one reason I have never been too interested in revenge. I have felt the emotion, but stopped short of committing action toward it.
The devil’s people say an eye for an eye. My Savior Jesus Christ says turn the other cheek and forgive those who persecute you seven times seventy. There is a big difference, is there not? You may be thinking, but the eye for an eye theory is in the old Testament. Yes, it is. But that is one reason Jesus had to come. Vengence leads to hate and our God is Love. Therefore he had to absorb it by the pure blood sacrifice of His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. So what do we do when our dreams slow down? While I am waiting for my business to pick back up, I pray that God solves issues such as: abandonment, unforgiveness, misunderstanding and the like. And only Father God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, that is the God Jehovah’s three parts rolled into one, has the power, if the Christian asks, to solve such issues.
I will not blame God for the slow economy in my part of the country. Folks in a richer area backed Barack Obama and our now president’s desire to socialize our nation. With less than 50 percent of able bodied Americans now working, it is no wonder the need for advertising has slowed down. I am attempting to start another weekly in my region, covering Haskell as much as I cover Gurdon, in order to hit pay dirt in other places besides Gurdon/Arkadelphia. If my car and stamina hold out, this may work out. If not, God will make a way.
Once the dream of expansion and hard work for my chosen occupation kicks in, and the quest to pay off my debts resumes safe speed, I will put some of the prayers I have time for now back on the back burner. But this is intermission. During intermission, we can not give up.
The Bible says it is the Father’s good pleasure to give His children the keys to the kingdom. It does not say when. To me, I believe God wants our obedience and our believe in His Word and His praise when there is no carnal reason to believe His promise of prosperity, or expanded duties for the Great Commisson – that is for the occupation of spreading the blessed hope of a soul being saved by the pure blood sacrifice of Jesus Chirst. To the devil worshipper, be it by awareness or default, the cross and Christ crucified, was a foolish thing.
To the believer, it was the beginning of a friendship with God that only the turn tail and run action of said believer can stop. My advice; when Satan says boo, stick your tongue out and go on. The Bible goes on to say if you have accepted Christ as your Savior He wil follow you into hell, if that is where you choose to make your bed.
If you are waiting on your dreams, and you believe God put those wholesome dreams of being loving and helpful inside of you, then, as we said last week, stand on God’s promises and tell the devil and his impatient logic to go bother someone else. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, don’t ever let some preacher tell you the whole thing was a fake because he sees no fruit in your life. He is not your judge, and we can not always see a seed growing until it sprouts into a plant!
SCRIPTURES
1) GOD WANTS US TO GROW STRONGER AS WE AGE IN CHRIST – Deuteronomy 34:6-8
King James Version (KJV)
6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.
7 And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.
8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.
Editor’s Note: This tells me the strongest leader spiritually in the Old Testament, who talked with God and carried his 10 commandments to the people of that day, was not a man plagued with mental or physical ills all the way to the end of his time. God says what he will do for one, he will do for all who love and follow Him…
2) GOD SAYS AFTER WE ACCEPT SALVATION, WE ARE TO OCCUPY OUR WORLD AND TO OBEY HIS COMMANDS TO OFFER SALVATION TO THE LOST – Luke 19:13 – Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Revelation 22:14 – Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 10:22-30
At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.
Luke 19:11-27 As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business.
3) THE FLEETING SUCCESS OF THE WICKED – Ecclesiastes 8:14-17 King James Version (KJV)
14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity.
15 Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.
Psalm 37:3-8 King James Version (KJV) 3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. 7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

 

Standing
with Dignity
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Bible says when we have done all that we know to do about a situation, we are to stand… I would like to add to that. I can stand and cuss and complain, or I can stand with dignity.
I am ashamed to say that the former has been more often true than the latter in these 55 years. Christianeze, that is the cheesy sayings of the modern Christian world says if you complain you remain. I am not sure I buy that. I believe if you complain and then do not seek God’s presence down deep in your soul to find an answer to the question, say poverty when you have worked hard to avoid it, then you remain.
In my career, an editorial is suppose to present a problem (complain) and then offer a solution or series of solutions. The complaining is part of human nature and God knows this about us. Just read the 10 commandments. He saw 10 problems and told us how to handle them. The thing is we have to do more than just object to something. We have to then stand, with dignity and wait upon the Lord (1). In other words, God says His children are blessed. When you know that you know that you know that God has saved you from yourself and a devil’s hell, then it follows that you can say to yourself, “Self, I am blessed of the Lord. Therefore put a muzzle on your doubts, get some hope in your soul, then some faith in that hope because God said to have it and wait for the Lord to say your faith has made you well of said disease and/or any other kind of problem.”
And since in my life God has such a fantastic batting average for coming through for me, I need to not only stand with dignity, I need to stand with confidence that I can trust God. If he says I am blessed and highly favored (1), then I am blessed and highly favored. It is true and my spirit man knows it is true. But it is convincing my “earthly wise” carnal man that God is true blue in a world where virtually nobody else really is that becomes difficult sometimes.
I visited one of my old churches this morning. I love Brother James McCain and his Sycamore Church out at Beirne, Arkansas. Our grandchildren needing early Sunday school teaching whenever we got them to church is the only reason we switched to New Life in Arkadelphia. We love that church too. Brother Martin Jones is also a wonderful Christian man and pastor.
But this Sunday, I was alone in my attending. One of those grand babies had a belly ache and the wife stayed home with Ava. Brother James said we needed to focus on what God said in His word and stand on that. Like the old song, from my era, said, “Standing on the Promises of God.” Brother James admits he fights his carnal man and that man’s judgment just like the rest of humanity. Brother James teaches pretty much as I believe; we are saved by the grace of God and because of the pure blood of Chirst covering our sins after we ask Him into our heart and ask Him to forgive our sins. Once our sins are covered, we are saved from the flames of hell. However, our bad judgments on this earth still have to be reconcilled as we live here. Therefore to strive to be an overcomer of one’s shortcomings is wise. It allows God to bless us right here in a much bigger way than us being a strong willed, stubborn child, ever will.
As another friend of mine used to say, “There was only one perfect man. He was our perfect example of how to live and not sin again. For his perfection, the peers of Jesus Christ crucified Him.” Jesus warns us that the more we preach for Him, the more we too are likely to be persecuted for His sake. But what an honor. Indeed, to be persecuted for trying to lead another soul to salvation has to be the greatest honor we could experience.
And they crucified Jesus out of jealousy. Peter preached for years after the Lord had been crucified, dead, buried, rose from the dead and ascended to be at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. Peter denied Christ three times in fear of being crucifed as well just after they took Jesus into custody to be killed (2). After his repentence and ministry, Peter was crucified upside down at his request. He said he was not worthy to be crucified just as the Master was.
Brother James commented on how Father God is everywhere and can heal us from anywhere. And after we are saved, His Holy Ghost comes to live on the inside of us and help guide and direct us – if we will but hope, have faith and believe that His wisdom is the way to go. Another Christianese saying states that it does not matter what the question is because Jesus Christ is the answer.
I can see that. And if you want to know “what would Jesus do,” simply ask him through His Holy Ghost. Of course, the first thing to ask Jesus, if you are serious about finding true love, is to save you from your sinful ways and to profess your belief that Jesus Christ died for your sins to be forgiven, using his pure, no-sin blood, to do the deed.
Once you do that (John 3:16, Romans 8 etc.) you are in the family of Christ. The battle, sure enough, may be rough and tough, but Jesus Chirst will never let you down. When it seems He has, and that may occur for most of us, you have to look at the big picture, maintain your dignity, pray your humble prayer for mercy to survive and understanding so you don’t make the same mistake twice. Don’t blame God and shake your fist like the untamed carnal man would have you to do. Stand, even if the tears must come as you stand, muster up hope and then have faith that Father God knows the best way to pay for your mistakes on earth and get on a path of doing better next time.
As to the cussing and fussng, the Word of God says we will not swear by the sun, the moon, the earth or anything that God has made. And we will not take the name of God in vain, asking him to damn this or that to rid us of our short-term pain (3). I have made a habit of breaking these orders from God on a regular basis, but my foolishness is about to come to an end. I have been praying for a bridle on this tongue against harming others. And I also pray that I can obey God’s notion of not swearing on anything. I know people who use ufimisms, that is substitute cuss words. That may help in polite conversation amongst humans, but you are not fooling God. You probably are not fooling yourself either. What do you really mean to say when you say dog gone it? You thought it. Let’s both ask forgiveness for it.
Will I be able to quit swearing all together? Not having a crystal ball, I don’t know. But I intend to do the best I can to practice what I preach. Time is a great revealer of all things. We shall see how well I cope with this new found directive of standing, not complaining but merely telling Jesus my problem, and then telling him what I have done with the talents He gave me to solve my problem, and then simply asking for His will to be done in that particular situation. Instead of getting up off my knees and taking the problems with me (right now I am concerned with the welfare of a sick friend who is getting so cripled from his arthuritis he can hardly get out of a wheelchair and also with my own budget managment as I am about $300 a month over budget), I intend to “have a little talk with Jesus, tell Him all about my troubles” and use his wisdom to set myself on solid ground once again.
I recommend highly you do the same.
SCRIPTURES
1) BLESSED AND HIGHLY FAVORED Luke 1:26-30 King James Version (KJV) 26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
2) DENYING CHRIST OUT OF FEAR – Mark 14:66-72
King James Version (KJV) 66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.
68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. 69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them.
70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. 71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.
72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.
3) NOT SWEARING AN OATH OR TAKING GOD’S NAME IN VAIN – Deuteronomy 5:11 (King James Version) 11 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Matthew 5:34-37 King James Version (KJV) 34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Post Script (PS) Here is the deal. Swearing has always been my besetting sin. It slides off my tongue as a sort of natural pain killer before I realize what is happening. This is how much it is ingrained in me to cuss up a storm. So my battle to communicate with a yes or a no instead of a four letter proclamation will be a hard one. But, I am ready to try. Won’t you try it with me? Perhaps we can both be better Christians because of such an attempt to overcome such a thing. Once we have done all we can do to not swear, we need to stand; stand in dignity and wait upon the Lord. We need to stand because we are highly favored and God says it is His good pleasure to give us the keys to His kingdom.
Still, we have to ask. The Lord says many have not because they ask not. So ask. If you ask for something bad for you, that is ask amiss, the Lord will let you know about it. But you won’t know if you don’t ask.
When we swear, shake our fist at God and get all sorts of disgusted, it ties God’s hands from helping us. His help is our answer. His ways are higher than our ways and so we should not be too disappointed when He comes up with a different solution than we had in mind.
Delays are the hardest for me to control me tongue for, yet I can not count the times God has probably saved my life by not giving me just what I thought I wanted with all of my heart.
Trusting God means laying our will down. One preacher in my past used to say the cross represented our wills and that is why it was perpendicular; two pieces of wood going in the opposite direction. If we give God the freedom to put His will into our lives, then all of a sudden instead of getting all crossed up, we are getting straightened out.
Before I go to cussing when I don’t get my way next time, I think I will chew on that revelation awhile.
Here is hoping all of you have a blessed week. And remember, the good book tells us to fear God, that is show respect to Him. I pray I will grow up a little in this respect. How about you?

 

 

God’s Will verses
Our Will…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Indians say the soul is divided between a good dog and a bad dog. And it depends on which the person feeds the most as to who wins the fight for control.
Christians say when Jesus Christ comes into your heart then you all of a sudden have a Godly conscious. Depending on the extent of your sin nature, that Godly nature should begin to cause you to drop sinful ways like scales from a fish. It should do so… And then there is the strong willed child.
The Bible says there will be people in heaven that have accepted Christ but all of their works have been burned up in order for them to slip on in the pearly gates (1). These folks are not the overcomer group, but more than likely the death bed confession set. If God is in you any length of time, you will change a bit, even if you are as stubborn as a mule like I am.
The Bible also says that in Jesus Christ there is no condemnation. Normally, this is an easy rule for me to follow when it comes to other people. Love the person, hate the sin, so to speak. But when it comes to myself, then things are a bit different. I think thoughts like, “OK fat boy, why are you so lazy that you have yet to lose that 30 pounds?” Then I remember, oh yes, healthy food costs more and the bills are high just now.
Or I may think, Lord kid, are you still slipping up and saying those nasty words? When are you going to realize that I think it was the Apostle Paul advised that Godly praise and cursings should not come from the same mouth (2). But they do, they come from yours. So what is a Christian to do? Accept the blood of Jesus as more than strong enough to cover all of your sins, past, present and even future, and go on with trying your best to feed that Christian good dog and starving out that Satanic bad dog that says you need to run off with your neighbor’s spouse or the like.
I believe we should always strive to be more Christ like, that is if we have accepted Jesus Christ and His gift of salvation. The Bible says Jesus will travel with you no matter where you go. If you make your bed in hell, He will be there (3). If anyone leaves a salvation contract, It is us that walk away from God, or at least that is how I understand the scripture. God does say if we persist in doing evil and ignoring Him, one day he will turn us over to a retrobate mind. I used to think this was talking about the sinner man, but most confirmed, unrepenting sinners are already retrobates by definition so to speak.
I have since come to believe God was simply stating that if a Christian refuses to follow the guidance of the Holy Ghost (the Comforter and ever present form of God that stays close to us always) and insists on following the carnal nature of his own making, then sooner or later God will let you have your way without pricking your conscious any more. Does this mean you go to hell? I don’t necessarily believe so. Consider dimenshia patients.
Their minds are gone, but when they were sane some were professing Christians. Will they not go where their souls asked to go? Does a disease like Altimers cancel out one’s plea for salvation? I don’t believe it does. I was raised a Methodist and taught early on that the Methodist Church believes God will not send a man or a woman who has accepted salvation in their heart to hell, but that man or woman does have the power to repeal the plea for salvation and send themselves to hell and the lake of fire… Frankly, I still buy this teaching.
FOLLOWING THE
HOLY GHOST
Following the Holy Ghost’s will in your heart, even if your good dog is strong, can be very difficult. If the bank offers to bail you out of financial choas and the Holy Ghost tells you to go for it and your wife thinks it is a ploy by Satan to get your house, what do you do? I must admit, I would consider my wife’s theory but then I would keep praying for God’s guidance and direction before taking any action. This actually happened to me and after much prayer I decided to consolidate my unsecured debts and leave my house and land out of the deal.
The still small voice of God (and my wife’s skepticism) guided me to the conclusion that it was Satan who wanted me to take an unnecessary gamble with my property. God just wanted me to opt for a lower interest on my debts… Sound like I was thinking crazy? I never professed to do otherwise. When it comes to seeking God’s guidance, I will plead crazy over logic every time. But that “crazy” God is always right.
As an aside, I have noticed that because God is present in my life, and vocal, because of me inviting Him to be with me always, we have become good enough friends that He will give me glimpses of the future. That is, of a future if I don’t choose to change certain things about my behavior. Does he talk to me like you and I might talk? Not exactly, but He does get messages very clearly to me, especially if I pose a question to Him in my mind.
The last time God did what I just mentioned, I was sitting at the computer writing when He came into my mind with this sermon idea. I have to believe these sermons are God inspired, as i am sure I am not intelligent enough to come up with a different sermon story line for every week from here until I am in the ground. And that, by the way, will probably be a long time from now. At least, that is the inkling I am getting when I think about it.
So if you start asking God for direction in your life, and He somehow conveys to you a change would be helpful for you today, listen to Him. Sure, test the Spirit to be sure it really is the Holy Ghost. But by the same token, if it is, and you have given your heart to Jesus, you will know His voice (4). Or at least you will think you always do. Me, when He tells me something, I pray for confirmation that it was the Spirit of Jesus who communicated with me. That seems to save me a lot of trouble because if you ask for confirmation from the Holy Ghost, you will get confirmation. At least that has been the case in my lfe. Jesus Christ said all of His followers will know His voice. You may have noticed I talk about Jesus the man, the Holy Ghost as the Spirit and Father God as that omnipresent being that sees everything we are proud of and all of the stuff we wish we had on the overcomer list but is just not quite there yet.
They are One. As one friend puts it, they are of the same being, like an egg shell, the white coating and the yoke inside. It takes it all to make up an egg. Well it takes Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost and Father God to make up the God head of Jehovah God.
This is especially true if you have a New Testatment Covenant going on with Jesus Christ because you have asked forgiveness of your sins and for Christ to come in your heart. I believe it is that way to give us humans with a good dog heart all the chance possible to feed that good heart and do good on this earth while we remain. For you see, Jesus was a man and can tell you how to react in your flesh if you ask. The Holy Ghost is a Spirit that will teach you the ways of Jehovah God if you will ask Him to do so. And Jehovah God, or Mr. God as I callled him in my youth, is the mind I want to melt with the most, as He made sure I had a chance to live long enough to get to know his other two parts, and He is the one who loved me before I knew enough to love Him back.
So why would a guy turn down guidance from the Spirit of God? Simple, loneliness, being too broke, being bored beyond tears, you name it there are all kinds of excuses to go out on the town with Satan. None of them are acceptable. And whatever you are running from will still be there in the morning when you wake up and the Holy Ghost lays it on your heart to forget about chasing a dollar today and go sit with a shut-in friend.
SCRIPTURES
1)FAITH NOT WORKS LEADS TO SALVATION –
2 Timothy 3:15
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2)PRAISES AND CURSES FROM THE SAME MAN – James 3
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. …
James 3:10-13
King James Version (KJV)
10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
3) IF YOU MAKE YOUR BED IN HELL, JESUS WILL GO WITH YOU – Psalm 139
King James Version (KJV)
139 O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.
5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
POST SCRIPT – In my younger days, I walked into bars and started having a drink with the wrong sort of person. It was like some sort of warning system from my guts told me to get out of there.
I usually chalked it up to intuition and left. Looking back, since I had my salvation experience at age 15, I believe the Hand of Jehovah God guided me out of danger.
He is a good friend. I invite you to get to know Him… And remember, His Holy Ghost gives great guidance and direction for your day to day walk on this earth.

 

Blessing others
will bring harvest
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I wish I could tell you I knew all about this subject. I am a very blessed guy, but so far I have not won Publisher’s Clearning House. I just might though.
A lot of us probably have those thoughts. We wonder why our bank account is the laughing stock of the political drones keeping track of us Christians, and or professing Christians right?
Here lately the TV preachers have been talking a lot about harvesting without going in debt. My grandfather had a similar view on life. I used to, back when I did not want a permanent home or a car that might actually not break down every month.
But when I settled down, I got into the Baal way, that is the principal of building credit high enough to buy a car on time and a house likewise. Then I fixed my house up enough so it would not fall down around me and began to face the payments.
I must say these moves were not the smartest and also not the most Christian. I understand there is a way to get them without paying the hard-work price I just named. I, like you, would love to know how. Let’s see what God has to say about in the Bible. Perhaps it will get us both out of a financial mess.
I know tithes and offerings are supposed to be a key. In the Old Testament, Malichi says if a man does not give 10 percent back to God of what he earns, that man will get cursed financially, as it is only reasonable service to God.
With the disposition of Grace, God did not remove those curses in our carnel life. He did, however, stop them from following us into eternity. (1) I tithe and I offer out of service to God, but mostly because I want to give to those who can not earn for themselves. I have been there to where I could not. The Good Book says we are blessed on our offerings and the more it hurts the more God will bless us.
The Bible also says be a borrower never and a lender always. My take, considering the financial position I have gotten myself into by borrowing enough for what I consider some basics, is that all I can do now is lend what I can, give what I can and stop borrowing when I get all of this paid for – unless some emergency comes up. That is why I hope to repay all my debts and maintain some sort of good credit, just in case. For those of you with suspicions, you are right. My faith is not what it should be yet, but I am willing to work on mine. Are you willing to work on yours?
I have conquered the wreckless spending temptation, but I am not to the point of name it and claiming anything. If God tells me to change, I do my best to do so. So now that I have made my bed, I am willing to change the sheets. Will that help? Time will tell.
THE HARVEST
Another scripture tells me I can not outgive God (2). I am willing to give God anything I possess and head for the woods to live if that is what He tells me to do. If not, I will struggle on the best I can. His Word says if I give my tithes and offerings from my heart, he will return my efforts to me “pressed down and in good measure.”
I intend to call His hand more on the blessing scriptures. The Word stipulates that God will put up with us testing Him. Look at doubting Thomas? The Lord came back from the dead and invited him to feel His nail scarred hands. (3).
The thing that has been bothering me about the television harvest sermons is they sound off about the possibility and yet don’t tell me how to do it. They do supposedly spell it out, but patience keeps getting in the way of me listening long enough to hear it.
Perhaps I just do not have the patience to hear a lead of a story at the end of that story. This is no dobt a character flaw I have because I did take professional journalism training. So here is my lead take, halfway down in the sermon (maybe not quite as bad as telling you the formula at the end). I believe God will take care of our needs with what is left of our blessings after our known sins are paid for on earth.
I figure the guy who has very little sin in his life is the fellow getting the most blessings. God has always taken care of my needs. As to my wants, it would not be fair to God to say it is His fault that many of them are yet to be met. Most of them are not big things, and perhaps I would already have them, if I could lose some of those known sins…
I want to finish the remodeling my wife and I have planned for our house, and have it all paid for. And I want to pay off our two cars. I want a gun cabinet with about $3,000 worth of guns and ammo because that is what I want. Besides, it is a great protector against rainy days. Guns, in reasonably good shape, are easy enough to sell quickly in a tight. Still the real reason I want a gun collection is I love to shoot.
I want an old, but reliable, pick-up truck and a boat trailer with an old boat on it that I can pull to the lake for pond or lake boating. I would like a small, but reliable Johnson or Evenrude engine on it so I don’t have to row and can concentrate on the fishing enjoyment.
If I got those brand names messed up, pardon me professional fishermen. I am admittedly an amatuer angler, but I sure love the sport.
But before all of this stuff, I want to be out of debt, or at least to where there are no significant debts on any of my credit cards and they are boxed up for emergency use only. I want my bills to be at least 20 percent less than my income and more importantly than all of this, I want continued, reasonably good, health.
I would not mind a new computer system with new software, but as fast as that stuff wears out I really just want to make sure I have the resources to replace the old stuff if that becomes necessary. In short, I love my journalism career and want to keep it going in some form or fashion.
I would also like the cash to pay for at least 10 acres of woodland with a stream on it so I could take up the sport of deer hunting. I have always wanted to do that and even gone a couple of times, but the only way I would be a consistent hunter of deer would be to have my own land. The stream, of course, would be for my fishing habit.
And last, but not least, I want to get my funeral pre-paid for and at about the $9,000 level, counting a decent tomb stone. That way my meager life insurance policy could go to my family for other expenses and the burdon of figuring out what to do with my corpse would not be on the survivors. In addition, I want a savings. Hopefully, within the next year, I will start a significant savings. If I could put $200 a month back for the next 15 years of full-time journalism that I hope to accomplish, that would be good enough for me.
I could go into a list of things I want for my wife, my kids, my grand kids and my friends, but it would create another book at least as long as my autobiography, “The Path I Took.” If you want to read that much of my thoughts, I invite you to read the chapters in the first half of 2014 Tailgate News issues, under oldies, on this website.
Will God grant me all of these wants since I now have them listed and ask for them in the all powerful Name of Jesus Christ? He does say in His Word, ask what you will in that Name and it shall be granted unto you. And I believe with everything in me He will bless me with all I can stand without slipping further into sin. In short, God knows my Christianity is more important to me than any other request, and so that has to come first. If that means no other blessings come my way, so be it. I ask for God’s guidance and direction daily to improve my life’s habits enough that He is pleased with me as His servant and to where I can be an effective preacher of the Word of God.
So far, that means writing you this sermon every week. But God is still God. He can clean me up further, as He can you. If you see a truck and boat on my property, you will know He must have done so. How fast? Don’t ask me, I just work here.
HARVEST MOTIVES
I believe greed is something God hates. I know He says he hates a prideful heart. And I know He hates an entitlement spirit. In short, God owes us nothing but to make good on His promise to save us if we ask Him too. He only owes that because He promises it to “who so ever will.”
So once again, this harvest sermon is written by a man who wants comparitively little if you look at what many do want in life. For me, money has always been a tool. And hard work must be applied for it to multiply. That comes from being raised on an old farm in Indiana by a couple of old Indiana farmers.
I don’t know if you can take much from this sermon, but this is about all I have. If you have gained nothing else, ponder this; God says many of us have not because we have asked not. Don’t make that mistake. Ask for you salvation, and ask for some stuff that you believe would add to the lives of you and yours as for as comfort or funding to survive, get a good education and the like.
I do not believe God grants us sinful requests. I think that is what He means by asking amiss. If a fellow loves women and asks for a harem instead of a good and decent wife, good luck with that. If he asks for $1 million when a more humble amount would do, that is also something I believe happens for very few.
I have friends who believe all rich folk are crooks and unsaved sinners. I disagree. But I will agree that an overabundance of money would bring an overabundance of temptation. As Dan Folgerberg once said in a song, don’t get taken in by the “Power of Gold.”
SCRIPTURES
1) TITHES AND OFFERINGS – Nehemiah 13:5
And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests.
Malachi 3:8
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
2)GOD’S GIVING – 2 Corinthians 9:10-15 (KJV)
10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; 13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; 14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
3) DOUBTING THOMAS – John 20:27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

‘Why God Says
Don’t Worry’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
If you think about it, you will worry about it. God says don’t tell if he heals your broken leg, cures blindness or deafness. He says in his word don’t tell a soul…
Some things just can not be helped. But they can be minimized if you love God enough. I think worry just sort of happens. So perhaps I will learn right along with you as we explore what the Word of God says to do if you worry.
I don’t really think He means don’t be concerned with your work or your family or your own sanity. After all, we have to fret over something a bit if we are going to do our best. I think God is talking about the ringing of the hands and the assumption that the sky will soon fall on your head.
His word says worrying will not add anything to our life (1). He talks about how He takes care of the sparrows and knows about every hair on our heads.
There are also numerous places where Christ tells us not to fear because he has things under His grace and control (2).
He responded with action and not much comment when His disciples told him the boat was about to sink. They, in fact, had to wake Jesus Christ from a sound sleep (. Peter was told to follow him out on the water and did it – until he looked down and lost his nerve. Then Jesus had to resue him from drowning.
I think that must happen to all of us; losing our nerve I mean. I know I have strarted nearly a half of a dozen newspapers on $2 in my pocket and a lot of faith. All made me a bit of change in their time. I am about to embark on a new coverage area in the Tailgate News and hope I get a friendly reaction from a place called Haskell. We shall see, as one of the Three Stooges used to say.
So we all have our concerns. But I have known people who carried it to extreme. They worried about their next meal, their next paycheck, whether their kid would make the baseball team and so on and so forth.
I don’t have time to spend a great deal of energy on worrying. I like action too much for that. But when I get alone, like I have been this weekend, worrying does seem to crop up. Naturally, I want to succeed at all of my endeavors. Who does not? But I am 55 years old and I know that not everything is going to work out as I have it planned. In fact, even when it does, there is always a surprise behind door number two.
I used to worry about who I was married to. Consequently, I have had four wives. The one I ended up with is good to me, she is pretty and she is pretty smart. I don’t guess a guy can expect much more than that from a life partner. She also accepts the fact that I love to write and hope to make a living doing this the rest of my life.
Finding a woman that would accept such a dreamer was not an easy task for me. I could still worry that she is not little miss perfect. But what good would it do? I would rather enjoy her attributes and thank God for her than to worry about what she is not.
I think this view can be comfortably transferred to other parts of our lives. You may not have the perfect job or career, but you do have the ability to say thank you Lord and to make the best of it.
The grass is not always greener on the other side of the mountain. Sometime or other, you need to face the person in the mirrow and get on with the business of doing the best you can.
It took me a lot of years to come to that conclusion. The devil still tells me I should have ran off with my last girlfriend. It is lucky for me and her I did not. As it turns out, we both have happy marriages that could have been jepardized by such a foolish act.
The best advice I can give the Christian, or potential Christian, about worry, is take it to the Lord in prayer. He has already provided all of the answers for what you face, and for what you will face, as yo ur life unfolds. Sometimes we just have to stop worrying long enough to open our eyes.
There is one thing I believe is worth worrying about. That is where we will go after this carnal body dies. I left this body of mine once. It was nearly 20 years ago now, but I left it as sure as I am writing this sermon to you.
I was going through a divorce from wife number two and working at the North Little Rock Times newspaper as a sports writer/dark room man. I had stopped off at a club for a drink on the way home to my lonesome apartment when it happened. A woman dressed in black, whom I will always believe was an agent of the devil, told me she was going to show me many new things that evening. Then she left as quickly as she arrived. I have never seen her since, nor had I ever met her before.
I ordered my margaretta and was going to drink it quickly and vacate the Iron Horse bar in a hurry, as home seemed like a better place to be just then. I felt something tingle and then it happened. My spirit rose out of my body and I started floating around the room. I could tell you what all of the folks were talking about, as I visited their tables.
I saw my body sitting there sipping the drink but I could not rejoin it. This whole experience did not suit me. I begged the Lord to put me back in my body and to not remove me again until it was time for me to die. He did so and he has not.
But I did learn one thing from that out of body experience. I learned that these shells we call bodies are just that. We are spritual creatures. Although my experience was not what para normal folk would call near death, it still served to open my eyes to some reality. Realistically, we will go somewhere in the spirit after death. I have studied several religions and found no other religion where their book says they are love. My Christian Bible says God is Love.
And what Jesus did at the cross should take some of the worry out of your life (3). All you have to do, in order to have Christ build you a mansion in the sky, is to accept Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God, believe He rose from the dead on the third day and embrace this whole forgiveness thing. You must forgive others in order for God to forgive you. Grudges need to be let go of. You must honestly express sorrow for all of your sins, past, present and future, and you must realize that the pure and sinless blood of Jesus Christ is a gift from God so that you personally can buy a ticket to heaven when your spirit leaves your body and that you personally can have a much easier life on this planet, for the rest of your life, as you build a solid friendship with the Savior.
Or, you can discount all that I have said, ignore John 3:16 and Romans 8, and just figure God will probably be OK with your unforgiven sin… He is pure. He is the light of the world. God wants you more than you realize, but impure things can not enter a pure heaven. And the only way to appear pure is if your sins are covered by the blood of the Risen Savior, Jesus Christ.
Once a person accepts salvation, God begins to clean the fish. It is an ongoing process. I worry that I am not speeding down God’s highway of righteousness fast enough. Like a cigarette smoker who just quit, a lot of new converts have this immature attitude that their next step should be condemning the other guy to an eternity in hell because his walk with Christ is not like yours. My Bible says judge not or you will be judged likewise. This sounds pretty serious if you are condemning the other guy to hell!
What you can do is encourage the other fellow to get salvation. Whether he does or not is totally up to him or her. If they tell you they are saved, be happy for them. If they are deceived, we can only hope the power of the light will show them that self deception since their goal when they went to the altar was to embrace Jesus Christ, Jehovah God and a heavenly home.
The Bible says we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. There it does advise a man or a woman to worry. If I am trembling at the prospect of success or failure, I believe that constitutes worry. God said worry would not give me more carnal life, or add height to my body. In the matter of working out my own salvation, I am seeking neither one. I am seeking the same thing as the thief on the cross, for the grace of Jesus Christ to fall on my soul so I can hear Him say, “This day you will be with me in Paradise.”
SCRIPTURES
1) WORRY ADDS
NOTHING TO LIFE
Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
2) TRUST GOD WHEN
TROUBLES COME
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
3) PETER SINKING
IN THE WATER
Matthew 14:28-32
King James Version (KJV)
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
In other words, Christ came through for Peter, proving that our worries are not something God can not overcome. But the Bible tells me those worries should be replaced by an overwhelming trust in the Lord, coupled with a thankful heart.
Some people even worry that they are worrying too much. Do what you can to solve each situation of trouble, but be quick to ask for God’s help. Once you do, the worry will leave your mind like air from a balloon if you but have faith in a God that has never failed any of us.
An old friend of mine once said, “I only trust God and me, and with me I have my doubts.” I can understand that. We can do what we can do and then its time to take a bench and send in a Player with a lot more going for Him, Jesus Chirst.
(3)CONCLUSION AND
COMFORT
Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.
Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

 

 

 

 

Do Everything God
taught you before
asking for a miracle
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I want my own newspaper. I know I had just gotten out of college, and the year was 1982 when I first made that decision. I just got married and had barely entered the work force as a $200 a week reporter in Marianna, Arkansas, but I wanted my own newspaper.
It would be 1988 before that dream was achieved. Actually, the Bryant Community Press ran from 1989-1994 if memory serves. But I wanted my own newspaper from the get go. With hard work and a grandfather backing that dream, this college boy from Indiana has owned five newspapers and a magazine so far and the night might be young!
But something happened with this last one that has never happened before; a miracle kept the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News in business. That miracle was assisted by my good friend Britt “Santa” Armstrong and his good friend Daniel Morehead, a fantastic website builder, who worked on payments. The Tailgate News ran in print from 2007 until 2012 and ran a-ground to high print bills and low ad lines in April of that last year.
With a lot of prayer and hard work, it stayed alive because of the blog system on the Internet and the tool called Word Press, coupled with a Facebook Widget that tells how many site hits the magazine gets every Friday. We have it built up to around 3,500 site hits a week, which is not bad as far as being able to sell ads.
The magazine is Ball State University, 1980’s fashion, and each one could still be printed if need be, because that is what yours truly is trained in. The pdf has taken the place of the printed page and is a whole lot easier to distribute and prove validity for.
But I say the afore described set of circumstances do not incompass the whole story of the magazine’s survival. When it nose dived to the ground, I hit my knees and prayed.
I said, “God, if you will let this Internet thing work, I will promise to write a sermon every week that has some sort of reference to your amazing grace and willingness to save the forgiven from an eternity in hell.
The Word of God, that is the Christian Bible, says before we come to God we need to forgive others who have wronged us. Then we need to ask God to forgive us of our past, present and future sins and express regret for the entire bunch of imperfections that we have given into, or will give into, in the future. (1)
Then it says we must confess that Jesus Christ, the only sinless man to ever walk planet earth, is our only hope to see paradise and heaven, much as He was for the thief on the cross (2). Then we must confess that we believe that Jesus Christ was the only Begotten Son of the Living God, he was crucified for our sins, died and was buried. And on the third day, he rose from the dead and walked this earth.(3)
I will make a fourth Biblical point for this sermon, as we need one relating to miracles. The Word of Jehovah God says Jesus said, You too will heal the sick and do greater works than I have ever done. Your power is in your tongue. It is greater and sharper than a two-edged sword.
That is my take on what he said there. The verses I am getting it from are more along the lines of Jesus knowing that he was leaving our planet, carnel flesh wise, and was letting his disciples know that the Comforter, that is the Holy Ghost, would be coming to give them guidance and direction to doing more and more miracles.
The miracles, that is the goodness, always comes from God (4). But it can flow through us just like it did through Jesus Christ. And this is only because Jesus has cleansed our blood for such a thing to take place. We still have temptations, but the Word says when we are saved we are children of the Living God, no longer children of the devil.
In being such, we can pray effectively for miracles. But a miracle, which we are now coming to the main point of this sermon, would not be a miracle if it were a common, every day occurrence. I could name you small things in my life, like finding a $20 bill I did not know I had, or printing an important ad logo from a seemingly down printer, but those things may not seem like miracles to you. To me, they most certainly are.
MORE OF GOD
The key, as my new pastor, Martin Jones, of the New Life Chuch in Arkadelphia, said during his Mother’s Day sermon, is to get enough of God to be pressed down, in good measure and flowing over. He used the Psalm 23 King David example in the old testament where David could not believe the fact that his cup runneth over with all that he could ever hope to want or need.
My wife Michelle said Pastor Martin referred to us getting so much of the Holy Ghost kindness and goodness inside of us that we overflowed with treating the other man right, even when we ourselves might not have much to give.
I took it more financial. I suppose that comes from being a business man. I took it that if we get more of the Holy Ghost in our day to day actions, our financial cup will run over so that we can give a bigger tithes and offering check as well as somehow have the time and opportunity to give back to those around us less fortunate. I believe there to be some truth in both interpretations.
A GRACE PREACHER
I am a grace sermon writer. I promised God a good honest sermon a week and my walk with God, my experiences in Christian churches and my personal reading of the Bible lead me to believe we are saved by the grace of Jesus Christ and his pure blood that makes us creatures our Father, Jehovah God, can look upon as we finish our carnel lives and people who will one day be welcomed into heaven.
I understand that faith, like it takes to believe what I just said, is dead without works. We must make an effort to overcome our sins and lead a life more of an example for Jesus Christ if we are to carry on as a Christian soldier in the work place or at the bowling alley.
When we commit sins, and know this, I believe it does our heart good to ask God to forgive us on the spot. For the Christian, who has accepted the grace of the Lord Jesus, God and that person have already made peace, but asking for forgiveness helps us to look at the man in the mirror and still have a peace about us in regard to knowing we are doing our best to serve the Lord who has blessed us with a good life here and the promise of an even better life, with a masion in heaven, in the sweet by and by.
I can not preach a legalistic sermon, as I have sin in my life. I believe everyone does. Jesus told some pharencitical hypocrites who allegedly believed themselves on his sinless level, “Yes, she has committed adultry and even been caught in the act. Yes it is sin. Now, the one among you who is not guilty of some sort of sin, cast the first stone.”
Silence fell over that crowd. They looked at the girl and at the Lord and they walked away. Not one crossed the line Jesus Christ drew in the sand and the guilty girl was asked by our Lord, “Woman, where are your accusers? Now go, and sin no more.”
Just as those who were told when he committed miracles like extending legs, fixing blind eyes or removing deafness from ears, “Go and tell no one,” that woman may not have had the fortitude not to make love to her boyfriend and then seek a formal marriage ceremony (like in the Bible, man/woman style), but I bet she thought twice before all out prostituting herself for a few dollars. I know I would have. We can safely assume she was not married and caught having sex, as the legalistic old testament plainly states that no sexual act, agreed on by both partners, can defile the marriage bed.
But the legalists persist today. I know of two denominations that appear to judge a man or a woman by their choice of sin, and appear to condemn them for said sins. And those sins would have sent those folk to hell, according to the Bible, if they had not accepted the sacrifice of the Lamb of God and did their level best to minimize their sin level for the rest of their days to honor the commitment that Jesus made to wash them in His blood.
I have a hard time not judging those who condemn others to hell for this sin or that sin. The ticket to hell, I say because my Bible says so, is to enter eternity without asking for and receiving salvation from the grace of Jesus Christ. Jesus is our lawyer when the devil demands payment in the end for each and every one of our sins. But Jesus tells the devil to take a hike for those who have accepted the gift of salvation from his crucifiction into their hearts.
To me, to judge the other man as going to hell over his choice of sin is overstepping our bounds as Christians. We are to tell folk what the Bible says and what pleases God, according to that Bible. We are not to tell the gay couple they will burn in hell for getting a marriage certificate. In the natural, that whole procedure seems stupid to a straight guy like me.
But I would rather see them marry and then somehow be invited to a revival, find salvation and repent of their sins and then determine in their own minds that a revamping of their “marriage” relationship was in order, than to legalistically tell them they can not marry and that they will split hell wide open for that abomination and stink in God’s nostrils when in my younger days I was guilty of fornication and adultry after marriage, both of which God condemns as sins against him and against my own body.
I have controlled my urges for extra marital affairs for years, and would encourage anyone reading this to do the same. My wife and I have had 16 years of marriage and we are monogomous. I plan to keep it that way. If a guy like me can overcome adultry years ago, then who is to say these gay couples can not overcome their sins? Sin is sin. And it is not my place to condemn you for it. It is my place to point you to Jesus Christ, the only sinless man, and the only man to ever conquer carnel death. Those facts make my faith rise up.
And so we have chased a lot of rabbits that I did not intend to chase. As to when to ask for a miracle, I say ask for one after you have used every ounce of your ability that God gave you to complete a task. And only use it after you have sought, and feel a peace about, a direction to take those talents, through prayer to Jesus Christ.
Miracles are what God does to change the course of our lives when it comes to stuff we can not help. He has taken away my mood swings now for the past eight years. That is a while. Medical science can not believe it, but it is true.
I needed gas money last week and found a $20 bill, as I said, where I know good and well one was not placed in my wallet. I once prayed to God for lunch money and $5 blew to my feet as I walked by Reynolds Park in Pargould. Miracles?
The television preachers give testimonies of people who were infested with cancer or bad livers as now being all clear. Sin did not cause the diseases in those cases, so God is free to do a miracle.
The law of sin and death says all of our sin will be paid for, in this world, and without Jesus in the next. A cigar smoker can not run as long as a non-smoker, although he might not smoke enough to get lung cancer… It is all relative.
An old preacher from the 1970’s, Jimmy Swaggert, once said, “People might be surprised who think only their bunch will be in heaven. The word says who so ever will accept the gift of my Son Jesus Christ will have his place in paradise.
“That might be a Catholic, a Methodist, a Baptist, a member of the Church of Christ or even a United Pentecostal. It is not about their approach to Jesus, it is about whether they ever did confess their sins and ask Him to save them.”
Swaggert was ambushed and crucified for enjoying pornography of pretty adult girls. Back in the day, nobody realized preachers sin too. But he redeemed himself and received his forgiveness from Jesus Christ, swore off his habit, and kept preaching. He is on television now under Sun Broadcasting. He kept the faith and continues to fight the good fight. That is a miracle right there. And the blessing God has put on him and his since the roust with the legalists is amazing. The legalists, backed by the best lawyer of the dark side, Satan himself, had it planned to get Swarggert to fold his preaching cards over embarrassment but Jimmy and Jesus had other plans!
Swaggert could have quit from being embarrassed, but he did not. He got it right. Jesus, once in your heart, will not walk away when you make a mistake. The key is to forgive yourself, ask God to forgive each and every sin you know about in your life as they come up and ask Him to help you swear them off. It is called Christian growth, and yes, Christian growth is surely a miracle in a world where Satan knows all of the tricks to bring down the self righteous man. But Satan knows none of the tricks to bring down a man relying on God’s Son and His righteousness if that man cries out for God’s mercy and a miracle life line.
SCRIPTURES
1) ASKING CHRIST TO SAVE US – Romans 10:8-13
King James Version (KJV)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
2) THIEF ON THE CROSS –
Luke 23:39-43
King James Version (KJV)
39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
3) JESUS WALKING ON EARTH AFTER DEATH Matthew 28:7-9 King James Version (KJV)
7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
4) MIRACLES FROM GOD –
John 3:1-8 (KJV)
3 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

 

Jesus as Friend
and the importance
of all of our friends…
I had a long think with myself the other evening and did not like what I found. My career has taken a turn, as I finished a book I was writing.
Now I go back to building the magazine one brick at a time, seeking new accounts and a legitmate 50 percent sold out, 16 page paper with an average of $4 a column inch in overall sales. What all of that journalism jargon means is I desire to make a living and will be working toward that end so I can maintain my investments in home, car and business equipment.
So as I sat there thinking, in my back office, about all of this stuff, and as I listened to my exhausted wife snore in the front of the house, I realized how much my life had changed over the past 40 years. I realized a lot of my thoughts are of the distant past for one reason; friends. Back then, I had a bunch of friends…
Now I have business associates, a good wife and some dog gone good kids and grand kids. They are all wonderful and I thank God for them. I also still have a day to day friendship with Jesus Christ, a fellow I met as a young man an number of years ago. And I thank God for every conversation with Jesus that I have ever had. Are those conversations all in my mind?
In my opinion, no. In my opinion, Jesus Christ was a real live living person and is now a real live living celestial being that can come to us in our times of trouble and our good times. I have good company in my belief. Whomever wrote, “What a Friend I Have In Jesus,” surely agreed with what I have just said. I have never seen a physical Jesus but I believe His voice speaks to my heart.
Last week, I wrote you about finding a good place to pray to commune with Jehovah God and Jesus Christ, as a friendship with the Godhead, which also includes the Holy Ghost, is essential if a Christian curiosity and subsequent changing lifestyle is even hoped for, much less be maintained.
Jesus, speaking for the Godhead in the Bible, said, “There is no greater love in a man, than he who lays down his life for his friends. (1)”
I have a handful of so-called friends left in this world. But as far as day to day running buddies, like in my younger days, the responsibilities of running a business and trying to keep family members happy has cut me out of much of that. They, of course, are my new friends, and for that I am grateful.
But sure, I miss folks like Ben, Leonard, Allen, Frankie Joe, Dean, Shorts, Ed, Leslie, Steve and several more I could name from the past, some alive now, some not. I shared with those people things that I have a hard time sharing with Mike, Santa, Terry, Cynthia, Terry, or Douglas, to name a few that come as close to being my friends now as I have.
So I try and be kind to them when I can. And I try and dote on my kids and grandkids when I can. But Jesus is about the only person who knows all about John Nelson anymore. My friends, family and business associates know bits and pieces about me. I find this sad and hope your circle of friends are closer to you for all of your life than that.
Enough of this. This sermon is on friends and why we should treat them like gold. I have already confessed to you that writing a book and putting out a magazine took me away from those I love and hold dear these past four months. The book is over and now it is just back to building a business. Perhaps now I will take more time for my friends. And yes, several of my sources, like Tambra or Tommy, or some of my business associates, like Max or Phil, are what I would call good friends too. They, and their familes in many cases, have been wonderful to me.
I have met people in church over the past 10 years in Gurdon I would also call friends of sorts. But the trouble is the closeness. I believe the reason I do not feel as close to anyone I now know as I once did other friends is because I have not taken the time to get close. It takes more than a Facebook brush to let a friend in your heart. It takes some back porch visiting, some laughs and going out together to do some absolutely worthless activities. Or going out to be in business together can cause friendships of sort.
Jesus, who died on the cross and sacrificed sinless blood so that you and I could go to heaven and be in the presence of God All Mighty forever, is surely the most loyal friend any of us have. He is also a great conversationalist and will talk to you over and over about the same subject until you get a peace about it in your own mind. One thing about an eternal being, Jesus does not get in a hurry. As for a human who is not in a hurry, that is a rare gem in my life at present.
I used to have such a relationship with some of the other friends afore named. We were kids seeking love and we found it, with bonds we never thought would go away. And perhaps the memories of such closness never will.
My grandfather, who was my best friend for the first 30 years of my life, used to say if your friends die off or leave, make friends with the sons and daughters of your old friends. They will help keep you young and dreaming, using those dreams to fuel your work ethic and to carrry on when life’s road gets hard. He was right. When I have tried to make friends with the younger set, it has paid off.
I am a person who has a long way to go in life, but as those of you who might have read my book, “The Path I Took,” may know, (which is in our oldies section one chapter at a time, from January 2014 until April 2014) I have also come down the road “a fur piece.” Maybe, as Kris Kristopherson’s song says, I can help someone else from the troubles I have known.” The song “Why Me Lord” is one he wrote right after getting saved.
But the point of this sermon is that friends are important. And to get a friend, you have to be a friend. Go that extra mile and stop by unexpectedly to help a friend with a special project. Share a secret with friend. Oh, it won’t be a secret long in a lot of cases, but share it anyway. Show the person you trust them and value their confidence and opinion.
I seem to be able to do this a lot easier with Jesus these days because he is there on all of my breaks from work, He is watching me type this right now and He will be there when I go to bed tonight, if I am alive and well to do so.
I have people reach out to me occasionally that I figure I could be friends with, but life is not like a college campus or a singles bar. There is just so many hours in a day and most of it has to be spent on business in my case if I am going to have a shot at keeping all of my bills paid. Yes, that is what is known as an excuse. I just called someone back that has been trying to reach me for several weeks. So no, I am no longer the guy with a lot of close friends. I have tons of almost friends, but very few who I take the time to hang out with. I went fishing with my best friend Mike Saturday. But he has gone down so far physically, it is really hard to be close friends anymore.
Being friends wth Jesus is differnet. He never grows old and he always understands when I just finally get to that point where I want to sit and stare at my backyard red birds… I do try so hard to make a positive difference in my writing and through the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News. You are my judge. You know if I make that difference. I plan to write more books, and I will publish them a chapter at a time just like the last one. But the books of the future will be fiction. I will start publishing my second novel in July, after my sales guy and I build up the money a little in the magazine.
I wrote that book years ago, but lost the only copy. I will create, “Freedom to Be,” from memory, adding life’s twists and turns in the new version that I never thought possible. Again, that work should start hitting the net in July.
So to have a freind, you need to be a friend. The second key to a friendship is after you have checked the person out and they have checked you out, there must be enough common ground to develop a friendship. In the case of Jesus Christ, this is easy. He was there as God’s Word, which was to be made flesh, from the beginning of time. So therefore, you have the common element of you. He already knows everything you have ever done and why. This pushes the friendship to the next level, where you are actually talking with someone who wants to be with you in spite of understanding the “real you.”(2) He says take His yoke, as it is easy.
A yoke is a burdon. The burdon of Christ is to try and spread the word that Jesus loves you and you need to ask him for your free gift of salvation so He can bring your soul to peace on earth and to heaven after your physical death.
Nobody else can accomplish this task for you except you and Jesus. If you never forgive others of all the wrongs they have done to you, forgive yourself of all the wrongs you have done to you, and then ask Jesus Christ to forgive your sins, and accept his forgiveness in your heart, then He never will be allowed to give you the gift of eternal life in his presence. You will split hell wide open. That is not my rule. That is Bible and truth because God’s heaven can not host an unforgiven sinner.
The sad thing is, it is hard to go have lunch with the Lord. You can in your mind, but people also need people friends.
People friends can: go for a car ride, go have lunch, go to the park, go to a ball game, go to church, listen to music, watch Sci Fi together and say “ewww, yukey spiders,” play chess on a Sunday afternoon or just go drown a worm on a pond bank early some morning… Good times, man, good times.
Sometimes friends of the opposite sex turn into marriage partners. This, they say, is a good thing. It has been for me. I found this chick who has been with me 16 years. Michelle is my lover, my wife and my good friend. I am more and more grateful to God for giving her to me every day.
OK, this is a hard sermon to write. I crave more time with friends. A friend of mine once said there would come a time when I just did not noed to be so dog gone accomplished. I think I am beginning to know what he met. As far as a friendship, another point is the part about alone time.
The Bible says Adam walked with God in the cool of the evening (late day). The work was done and it was time to just enjoy each other’s company. (3) Now, after he and Eve learned about shame, Adam was ashamed of his nakedness. Still, God cared enough to not destroy the man and his wife. He kicked them out of Eden, but allowed them to live. Our parents, heavenly or earthly, may discipline us, but a kind heart allows his child to live and learn.
In the new Testament, there is a passage that talks about not forsaking the assembling together. That means go to church. We do that. But the other foot is fellowship. That takes a lot of effort the older you get. My wife and I both need to do more of that.
There was a fellow when I first came to Gurdon who used to stop by my office for a game of chess nearly every night. Steve was a friend. We understood each other and we had chess in common., as well as a background of extensive travel around the United States. We had wonderful talks and I miss the guy a lot.
So take the time to develop your friendships. The work will still be there the next day. Live a little and reach out and touch somebody in an old fashioned way. Facebook and the like is great, but going fishing with a friend is much better.
And remember, it is important to hang out with people that you one day hope to become like. It gives you a teacher for what you crave in your life.
I find it equally important to hang out with those less fortunate. Perhaps you can inspire them to do better. Better, of course, being a relative term. But whatever you do, don’t try to go to heaven on your good works. It does not work, according to scripture.
And remember, you can go through life not believing scripture and taking your chances that way, or you can accept Jesus Christ, just as the thief on the cross did way back when, and gain a very important friend who would then say to you, “This day (and that day of your death might be today or 100 years from now) you will be with me in paradise.”
SCRIPTURES
(1) FRIENDS WILL DIE FOR YOU – John 15:13
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Mark 12:30-31
King James Version (KJV)
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
(2) THE BURDON OF SPREADING THE GOSPEL –
Matthew 11:28-30
King James Version (KJV)
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
(3) ADAM TALKED WITH GOD EVEN IN TIMES OF TROUBLE – Genesis 3:8-10
King James Version (KJV)
8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

 

‘A Garden

To Pray In…’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Sometimes we all need a place to go to be alone with God. I like my office, my car and the bank of a body of water. In particular, in the wee hours of the morning, about this time of year, I like to watch the sun come up alone as I fish and talk to God All Mighty.
I am not sure where you do your talking. I would imagine nearly everyone has a special place who is a believer. As an only child, I had plenty of places back then to get alone with God. As an adult, selling advertising for a living, I still have plenty of places. The ones above are probably the most common.
But the point of this sermon is find a place to be alone with God (1). You can not develop a friendship with somebody you never talk to. I have lost a few that way, but never developed one. Check your own life on this and see if you don’t agree.
I just came in from my screened in porch, after using it as a think tank as the rain started. We are supposed to get some heavy rain and winds tonight. I got most of my yard under control, and the roof no longer leaks, so I guess I am as ready as I will ever be.
While on the porch, I spoke softly with the Lord. It always does my heart good (2). I also listened to a couple of sermons on love and marriage this morning. Being married, such things are of interest to me. Regardless of our other differences, my wife and I are both of the Christian faith. Mine is more like a Kris Kristopherson faith, while hers more like the Gaithers. But it will be OK. He is the same Jesus.
I don’t suppose any of my places to just be with God could be considered my favorite, but fishing alone at dawn would have to come close. I usually think about the fact that Jesus Christ told His disciples, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men (3).”
When I approach God and have absolutely no idea what to do is when I invoke the Lord’s Prayer. In the Bible, it is somewhere around the sixth chapter of Matthew, for those of you who might want to read it. The “thy will be done” part intrigues me the most. It is one thing to put forth a plan for God’s approval when you have at least half-way confidence that He may well allow it, but when the chips are down and you have tried all you know, the “thy will be done” time is at hand.
I believe a modern day Carrie Underwood song called it, “Jesus, Take The Wheel.” Those are the times when our faith is tested. It is hard to hand over the wheel of your life to anything, or anyone, even the only Living Jehovah God of the Universe. For you see, when you do, He will go to work to fix whatever might be on your mind or hindering your path. But one should remember the ways of God are higher than the ways of man so Katie bar the door! In short, if you ask a God for help, you can expect the unexpected.
Some people say when its the fourth quarter and it does not look like you have but one touchdown run left is when the strength you have, and the faith you have in God, either makes you or breaks you. I have been talking to God in my office today. I believe in Him always. And so I am trying to put my cards on the table to see what I might see. You see, I have a dive going on. I know I am blessed and I know God has got this. But I have a nose dive going on that I must fix. I revamped my format for 12 pages instead of 16 this morning. I wrote my 15-chapter autobiography book so I do not need that extra space anymore on an inflated basis.
Now it is time to get back to business and let the advertising lines dictate the space so my business won’t fizzle out.
So you see, I had to have my own come to Jesus meeting. I believe we all do from time to time. If there is anything I have learned in 55 years, it is the truism of what Al Lyons, my old boss and friend from years ago in Florida taught me. We only have the right to freedom if it does not cross up somebody else’s right to live a peaceful and productive life. In short, wave your arms all you want, but be sure you are not hitting someone in the process.
So whether it is in the office, where I prayed this morning, or on a fishing pond bank, where I hope to pray this weekend, I am grateful for the opportunities to sneak off and pray. This, as I must remind myself, is God’s magazine. I appreciate that fact more each day and will try to take more of me out of it and put more of Him in it as time goes on.
What are some of the goals of your prayers? As the song says, “Have a little talk with Jesus and it will be all right.”
I think back to my Bible readings on when Jesus was praying in the garden that the cup of dying such a cruel death on the cross so his pure blood could bridge the gap between man and Jehovah God was uttered.
The Word says Christ sweat blood as He got in earnest with His Creator. Now that is more in earnest than I have ever gotten about anything, but my family usually makes it past 90 so the night may be young.
As I get older, I find myself praying for others more than I do myself. When it comes to me, I pray for the health to continue this sermon, week to week, and I ask the mind of Jesus Christ to influence the writing.
But for now, not wanting to get heavy in this sermon, let me just say this, I pray that all of you reading this accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as yours and ask Him to save you from your sins and the consequences of those sins, past, present and future.
And I pray that you enjoy a warm friendship with Jesus and Father God. And I pray the Holy Ghost comes upon you and gives you peace in your heart, no matter what circumstances you may find yourself in. Until next week, here are a few sermon related scriptures for you to ponder.
SCRIPTURES
1) THE VOICE OF GOD –
Genesis 3:7-9
King James Version (KJV)
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
2) MAN TALKING TO GOD – 1 Kings 18:36
And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
3) FISHERS OF MEN – Mark 1:16-18 King James Version (KJV)
16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

 

Is Jesus on
your bucket list?
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I have had two people in the last year or so tell me that something was on their heart about the end of their lives. Both said a little voice told them down deep inside if they were going to accomplish any specific new tasks now would be a good time to get started.
Both Burl and Beth are still alive, although Burl is more than 80 and I believe Beth will be 70 her next birthday. Time, apparently in their minds, is catching up to them. Burl is a retired surveying engineer and a part-time preacher at the church I used to attend. So I am pretty sure pleasing Jesus Christ is on his particular bucket list.
The girl, Beth, well she tells me she is Baptist and has Christians credentials. So perhaps she is also good to go with Jesus and that all-important list of things we humans believe we must do before we die. Neither party gave me any specifics as to what they did want to accomplish. But both brought up the subject so both may very well be harboring private thoughts.
Since Burl and Beth did not elaborate, I will. At 55 I can honestly say God has not told me down deep, or any other way, to get ready for the end of my life. Now I could die tomorrow. God is the only one who knows that. But I feel inside I will see the other side of 90 like both of my grandparents did. If I do, that is 40 some more years of living, And who knows, maybe even a few more.
Still, there are things I would like to do before I die. Becoming a more effective soldier for my Lord Jesus Christ is on that list. Overcoming is a process. Most things that are worth it do have an incubation period. I believe the Bible calls it patience. It refers to the patience of Job (1) and calls patience a virtue. I have heard from several clergy that one should not pray for patience unless you don’t mind a lot of junk going wrong.
But it was too late. I already prayed for it, and I still do. Even though I don’t mind waiting on God’s time, there is enough human left on the inside of this follower of Jesus to tell you I want my time on certain things and not getting it is going to make me blow that occasional gasket.
Temper tantrums, getting so mad I yell at folk or situations, is one of the things I have worked hard to overcome because it embarrasses me afterwards and I realize it probably does not give a good witness for Christianity. But I had one of those temper tantrums last weekend over politics. Since politics is a no-win conversation, I should have known better than to discuss it with someone on the opposite side of the fence from me.
My values are more like Ronald Reagan’s were, with an occasional Bill Clinton ideology sprinkled in. I call myself an Independent, rather than a Republican or Democrat. Our current president, Barack Obama, in my mind, is a loose cannon. Responsible people make budgets and try their best to stick to them. And responsible leaders do not get caught with their pants down regarding being mistaken about the Alternative Care Act allowing everyone insured to keep their policy. I would come closer to believing Obama thought we could keep our insurance because he did not understand his own mandates. It is my understanding that some of us can keep it and pay penalties for our insurance not having the 10 health points he wants. Others simply lose their coverage and then must purchase it from the government. The point is, I say it needs revision.
The person I was discussing it with had more to worry about than political debates and we both lost our tempers needlessly. We made up though and I am so glad we did because she is one of the most special people in my life. Charity is my daughter by marriage and I had quite a bit to do with her raising. But we seem OK now. One of those bucket list things for me would be to go through a temper flair up just once without anyone else even knowing I was mad. I used to enjoy showing out. Now it just embarrasses me, no matter what the reason. If I get mad, I would rather keep it between me and God. He seems to forgive me faster.
Another bucket list item for me would be to write songs again; this time mentioning the times and trials I have been through to write these sermons for Jesus Christ. I try to be good to people also, get them jobs, ask them if they know Jesus, help them get the education to start their careers and anything else God prompts me to do that I can at the time.
But accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior is not on my bucket list, maintaining my salvation and becoming a better witness for Christ is on that list. As to the initial salvation, been there, done that, when I was 15. I have mentioned my salvation experience several times so I will skip it here.
What about you? A friend of mine once said many respectable and nice people will break the doors of hell wide open… I suppose Buddy was referring to the scripture that says there is no other way to the Father but through the Son. (2)
The scripture also calls those who would try to get into heaven without accepting Jesus Christ as their savior thieves and robbers (3). It makes sense to me. There is but one truly good and that is God. No one else would ever listen to my complaints and yet still call me friend.
Let’s face it, we all have a need to trust in something about the after life. I can agree with the Psalm 20:7 (4) and that is worth an extra point to this sermon. In short, some men trust in chariots, some in horses, or as to modernize my statement, some folks trust in money or power, but me, I trust Jehovah God, the Creator of the Universe, and if He says I need to accept his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to save me from my self, then that is what I will do.
Join me won’t you? Put a salvation experience with Jesus Christ on your bucket list and I will “set um up” so we can play a game of pool in a heavenly land…
SCRIPTURES
1) PATIENCE – James 1:2-8
King James Version (KJV)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
2) ONLY THROUGH JESUS WILL WE GO TO HEAVEN – John 14:5-7
King James Version (KJV)
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Ephesians 2:13
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Hebrews 10:19
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
3) THIEF OR ROBBER TRIES TO ENTER WITHOUT JESUS – John 10:1-3
King James Version (KJV)
10 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
One could argue that the Bible is false, but there is more scientific evidence that Jesus Christ did all that he said he did and that he indeed was the only man on record with no sin in his life.
His Father was Jehovah God. His mother was Mary, who was impregnated by the Holy Ghost part of the Godhead..
This is also in the scripture. I find no where in there where is says you must be a great overcomer to enter heaven, or to form a close friendship with God All Mighty, as this only child writing this has done.
Everyone of the scientists I have read about that tried to prove Jesus was a liar came back and admitted no lies could be proven as to what Jesus Christ was claiming he had the power to do.
He can save your soul through his precious and pure blood, he can put you to work for him if you will listen and your income will go up as well as your sense of purpose will improve.
As a friend of mine in Celebrate Recovery used to say, “Try it God’s way. Ask him to save you and believe Him. If he lies to you or lets you down, which by definition he can not, but if God does lie to you or let you down, the devil will always take you back.”
So don’t you owe it to yourself to accept Jesus Christ, who died for your sins, past, present and future, as your personal savior from a life of hell and its repercussions and from an eternity that would only get worse without the wedding garnet on you of the precious and pure blood of Jesus Christ?
An Assembly of God preacher, Jesse, up in McLeansboro, Illinois, told me in about 1986, “I believe and I choose to do so. Even if it is a hoax, people who believe in God and his Bible seem to have so much happier lives than those floundering around in disbelief.” It costs nothing but a little time to find an altar and ask Jesus to save you. It could cost you everything in your future if you don’t.
So many look at our lives and judge us imperfect and they are right. Christians are forgiven sinners, and I have never met one that did not occasionally fall down to sin – having to ask forgiveness and getting back on the God horse. As Pastor John Hague said on VTN, “You think church’s are filled with hypocrites. Come on to service. We have room for one more. It is not your perfection that saves you, but rather God’s amazing grace, available only if you ask.”
It has always amazed me that people use other Christians good or bad behavior as a measuring stick as to whether or not they want to be saved from the flames of hell and the excessive repercussions of untempered sin.
The Bible says judge not or you will be judged likewise and to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Start by accepting Jesus, the ultimate gift.

 

‘Being honest

with God’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Friday morning is my usual time to get organized for the next three days. But I have this one client who has worked all night and I really need to be down there talking to Carolyn.
That is the honest truth. I can say it to you or I can say it to God. It does not matter who I say it to because it is the honest truth. Still, I need to take a shower, get some breakfast and get on with my day. If I miss the gal I am talking about, I am told I can catch her Wednesday afternoon. I will do one or the other.
But one thing I will not miss and that is my opportunity to write to you once again. I need to say this sermon in the worst way because there are times in my life when I lied to myself and inadvertently lied to my Creator. What I mean by that is simple. I can not always physically do what I really should be doing as a one man show in business or as a one man show in life. And yet I tell myself and my God I am good to go.
My client and friend Carolyn is an example. I should have been down to her store at 6:30 a.m. I worked late and did not have the energy to get around that quick. Was it poor planning on my part? Yes. Am I sorry that what I told God I would do this morning did not happen? Yes. But then again, I should have been seeking His divine guidance instead of pledging my plans.
I wonder if you have had similar circumstances with God? It is easy to say we are always honest until it costs us more than we want to pay to keep our word. And then there are circumstances, like an early client appointment in the advertising business, when it was not a matter that I did not want to get over there that early, I just overloaded my 55 year old butt and could not move as fast as I wanted…
This is why we should get up in the morning, make our plans and then pray to God, saying, “I honestly have these thoughts and plans as to what I want from this day. But I am older now Lord, and I have learned the hard way to set my wants and desires aside and once again Father ask that your will, not mine, be done in this day.
“I thank you for all you have given me. I thank you for the new product being out and the chance to sell and create another one for next week and I thank you for all of your many blessings, on the scene and behind the scenes, that you do for me each day. Amen”
Prayers, like that one, are meaningless unless you mean them. Don’t tell God you want His will and then when a curve ball hits in the behind get all upset about it. When something surprises me, I jump, then I regroup and go on. My grandfather who raised me used to kill moles in the front yard. If one popped up out of the ground and started making his run out of nowhere, Grandpa might jump in startled surprise, but then he would go get a shovel and deal with the situation.
Sure, when we are honest with God and he does not perform on que, but rather throws us that curve ball it just may startle us, but then we have to take that ragged breath and deal with the cards he has laid out before us.
As you get older, you realize the risk of being an unintentional liar by informing the All Mighty you are going to do such and such, like thus and such was etched in stone because that is your plan. I think God intentionally throws a monkey wrench into the finest plans of men because of the arrogance factor. Sometimes we might have a great plan, but if we think too much of the plan and ourselves at the time, God feels obligated to humble us a bit.
God is Love folks. A humble and thankful man can show love to others, as we discussed last week. But an arrogant man or woman can not even show real love to themselves. They are too busy trying to find a doctor to set one of their arms after it breaks from trying to pat themselves on the back.
So the bottom line is be honest with God. And in order to do that, be honest with yourself. Keep your promises realistic. Just like my promise to go see my client early. I am just now getting in the shower and will finish this sermon later in the week. But it is 7:40 a.m. and the lady in question may have already gone home to bed.
We have to know our limitations. I planned poorly. I should have crawled into bed early and got up at 4 if I wanted to meet that appointment. Now all I can do is ask the girl and my God to forgive this old man for momentarily thinking himself 10 foot tall and bullet proof with the endurance of a mountain lion instead of the limitations of a house cat…
But what does the Bible say about honesty in the character of Jehovah God? One statement made is that God is not a man that he should lie (1). That tells me God is not a liar. He also says that liars will have their place in the lake of fire. So will the rest of the sinning world without the salvation brought by accepting Jesus Christ as a necessary friend to get to heaven, the dwelling place of All Mighty God. The Word says there is no other way to get to heaven except by Jesus (2).
We are coming up on Easter this Sunday, a resurrection day celebration for us professing Christians. It is an important point in God’s honesty to us. Jesus Christ said, “In my Father’s house there are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you. If it were not so, I would have told you.” (3)
So we believe we can trust God. If we can not trust God, then we really are in trouble. Christianity says Jesus died on the cross, and then on the third day he rose from the dead as is witnessed by nearly 500 people of that day. It also says he went to hell to preach to those there that had never heard His Salvation message. Perhaps those who heard it and accepted His salvation got a get out of jail free card to Paradise. This writer has not read the Bible deeply enough yet to tell you the answer that possibility being real or not.
But when Jesus said those final words on that cross that it was finished, and Father, forgive them, they know not what they do, it gave a lot of the rest of us a “get out of hell free card.” I can tell you one thing about being honest with God, sometimes I am so proud of my Creator for what He did to save us from ourselves. And I get so ashamed of those who try and put the other fellow down for sins that are under the blood and out of the mind of God. If God can forgive and forget, why is it so hard for some people? The only answer I have to my own question is that even a saved man still has the devil on his shoulder whispering in his ear from time to time, and sometimes we repeat the evil and hurtful thoughts we think before we weigh what calling someone retarded or obese etc. can do to them.
But it can not do as much damage as the “fool hearted person” who tells someone who has been to that altar that they are not saved because the alleged Christian heard the newly saved man cuss when he tripped over a rake… I agree with my old pastor, Brother James McCain, about that one. Brother James said the only one that knows if you are saved in your heart is you. If you have accepted Christ as Savior and in doing so you believe him to be the only pure, sinless man that could ever purge the sins of humanity, then don’t let man or demonic force talk you out of it.
If you are the guy who cussed when the rake hit him in the face, ask God to forgive you for your sin and go on. He has already forgiven you for your past, present and future sins when you asked Him to come into your heart and accepted salvation. But me, I need to ask him to forgive me nearly every time I commit an unintentional sin, such as cussing at a wild rake.
My advice, what it is worth, is to ask your Father God to forgive you of both known and unknown sin when you feel it necessary. Even if He already did at salvation, telling God you are sorry for sinning and causing Him pain is not wrong. And it should help the friendship you have with your God. Confession is, after all, part of the whole concept of honesty and integrity.
SCRIPTURES
1) GOD CAN NOT LIE – Numbers 23:19-20 New King James Version (NKJV) 19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? 20 Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.
2) ACCEPTING CHRIST ONLY WAY TO SEE HEAVEN – John 14:6 New King James Version (NKJV) 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
3) MANY MASIONS IN HEAVEN – John 14:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV) The Way, the Truth, and the Life 14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
If Christ was being honest in John 14: 104, as I trust in my heart He was, then one can quickly see why one must accept Christ and His pure sacrifice to spend eternity with God. As I have said before, and I will say again on this Easter weekend, don’t leave planet earth without your ticket to heaven.
Find an altar, by your bed side, in a church or out behind the barn. But find an altar and invite Jesus Christ to come and dwell in your heart. Let His love flow though your veins so you actions of love can be enhance through a humble plea of, “Jesus, take me just as I am.”
As most of you know, the Word also says God will save us all through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, but you have to ask. That is the key.

 

 

Be Thankful,
Humble…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Frustration has got to be the biggest bear in my life when it comes to serving God and serving myself or my good friends.
I mean when I get frustrated, I have a Sgt. Carter fit in my room and then have to apologize to God for being such a child inside. But I am a child. And I am a thankful child to boot. This weekend, over Arkadelphia way, there is to be a Love and Peace Fest where folks of the Christian faith will get together for some Christian praise and worship music.
I am thankful for that and for my former music leader Brad Loy. He still goes to Sycamore Church out at Beirne, Arkansas, as far as I know, and he started this festival a few years back. He and I like different kinds of Christian music. I like the old type hymns and the Pentecostal get up and go songs. Brad likes the K-Love Radio music with the softer, soothing format. Still, if it is Christian music, I am very thankful it is around.
And who knows, Brad’s version of the right stuff in music might be better than mine in your mind. Everyone has their own tastes in music. I have a suspicion that the God of Love enjoys it all. The Bible does say He will inhabit our praises (1).
I heard a bit of disturbing news the other day on a sermon on television. The preacher said God does not necessarily want me happy, just so I do the right thing and suffer the pain for the gain. I do not buy that at all. Yes, doing the right thing is always the right choice, but our flesh is not always strong enough to make that right choice. Sometimes we get in the way of such perfection on earth.
Still, I am thankful for what the fellow said. It made me think and it caused a humbleness to grow up inside of me. The main reason it did so is because, for the most part, I am happy. My unsolved problems keep me humble, and when my God suggests something that I can do to solve one of them, you bet the thankfulness I am supposed to be practicing all of the time swells up inside of me over a small victory.
I will give you a real example of what I am talking about for clarity. In all honesty, to some, this will not seem as though it is a success story. But to the humble soul writing this, it is an honest account of an improvement in my character.
I suppose I quit smoking cigarettes, on a daily basis at least, about 16 years ago. I pulled that yearly figure out of the air because it was 1998 when I married my current wife Michelle. It was around that time, maybe a few months before, that I stopped working at Dr. Pepper factory in Paragould and started the Marmaduke Chronicle Weekly Newspaper. When I did that move, I started pipe smoking and cigar smoking in earnest.
I don’t recall buying more than four packs of cigarettes since then. I was a man who smoked a half a pack of cigarettes per day for the better part of the previous 20 years. That is not a heavy habit, but with all of the glue and papers involved, it might just have caused me a significant amount of health problems had it been left unchecked.
I used the cigarettes to help focus my over-active nervous system, just as I do large doses of coffee. It would seem, since my teenage years, caffeine and bad nerves have been playing the amphetamine of many late night hours composing newspapers and magazines, while beer and tobacco have been used to calm the same body down enough to relax, concentrate and sleep.
My father, Dr. John W. Nelson, was a neurologist. He told me that the cancer risk was much higher with cigarettes than to ingest the tobacco concentrating agent into my system by way of a pipe or cigars. It would still stimulate concentration, but without the glues and papers to bring on lung cancer.
Pipe smoking and cigar smoking, if done in extreme cases, will cause a bit of COPD (emphysema) in the long haul, but the cancer risk is to the throat if you do the deed heavily every day. I skip days and nights, sometimes three of them a week. I use the pipe and cigar smoke when I become too tired to finish a column and yet the deadline insists it is written.
So, rather than go on with my own medical analysis, perhaps you get the picture. God confirmed my Dad’s report that glues and papers from cigarettes were the irritant that would land my lungs into the area of lung cancer. I prayed about it, as I needed my years to write these sermons and other informative pieces. God gave me the answer. All drugs, he said, have side effects. The glues and the papers had nothing to do with tobacco’s ability to improve my concentration. Cheap cigars still have a small amount of the dangerous material, or at least their form has always made me suspect they do. But the pipe tobacco seems to boost the mind and not bother the body. I thanked my God for that tip and went on creating stories with this formula, designed to keep the body functioning and out of the way of the mind.
Is all of this supposed to be my idea of perfection? Heavens no. I do not pretend to be anything but a man who loves to use his talents, has accepted Jesus Christ as a much needed savior for past, present and most likely future sins.
I have exposed my method to keep the mind sharp to write, do photo evaluation and magazine lay-out. Now what about you? Do you take any medications? I am 55 and take one nerve pill a day. It is natural salt, of a type, and way too low of a dose to be medically sensible, yet the doctors and I have agreed that it levels my nerves to be compatible with family, friends and colleagues.
But the 450 mg. is not without side effect itself. It puts 20 pounds of water weight on me and it makes my body fight sleep.
I fight these side effects with coffee and tobacco. Few of you younger readers will probably believe the effectiveness, or the reason, for this formula. But it works for me.
Now, before I go further, I remind you this is a Christian sermon about humbleness and having a grateful heart. I am grateful that my faith may very well have helped me elude lung cancer, and hopefully cancer of any kind.
But unless I add a degree of exercise and appetite suppressant, this body’s usefulness to my quest to continue my writing may be more limited than I desire. Fat is also a big killer.
The formula I have evolved to so far, in order to get this body and mind to perform, could be improved on, or found to be no longer necessary, if my faith in Jesus Christ were used more. In the case of a fellow like me, that change in this mortal world will probably only come should my own wisdom totally fail me. I do not want my current wisdom to fail. I am human and would rather not be an example of the spectacular.
But if God stops this health formula from working on his creation, that is OK by me. I am grateful for the years it has worked, and I will be grateful for the years the body does just fine without any of it, should that become the case. The nerve pill is the key. If the doctor I use says I do not need it anymore, then I will stop the other parts of the formula that are in predominance in place to counteract its side effects without negating its usefulness.
I am grateful for my health and my ability to write to you about my God of Love (2). Gratitude is a key to good mental health. So is humbleness. I could not have come up with this formula to produce “normalcy” in this body and mind without the help of my God.
I highly recommend you find your own friendship with Father God Jehovah, as well as his pure son, Jesus Christ. For you see, they have their own formula for your salvation so you can avoid eternity in hell.
Grab it now, while you still have the ability to understand what this aging, hippy journalist is trying to tell you. Our Bible says a pure God in heaven can not have sin enter there in. So, we need to accept the pure blood sacrifice of a man who lived on earth for 33 years without said sin.
He was it, the only sinless man to have ever walked planet earth. His father was the Holy Ghost of God Jehovah and his mother a human being, Mary, a virgin of his day some 2,000 plus years ago. I am nothing without the guidance and direction of my God. Unfortunately, I may not be much with it, according to the standards of success proposed by those living in my 100 plus years of breathing, eating and the like in my spectrum of time.
But one thing I am not, and that is damned by my own negligence. Can you say the same? I pray you can. Salvation by way of accepting Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Living God who created you and I, as your personal Savior, can be obtained by grabbing this spiritual life line. To do so, read and accept Romans 8 in its entirety. In short, accept Jesus as your much needed source of forgiveness, after forgiving yourself and others of your shortcomings and their shortcomings.
Then you must step out in faith. You must be grateful God sent his only Son to save the world as a free gift. He did not send Jesus to condemn us, but that through this perfect sacrifice the world through Jesus Christ might be saved (3).
God told us to be thankful in all things. I am thankful for my talents and my wisdom to make them work. I humbly ask God to forgive me of my shortcomings, that is my sins against his eternal perfection. And in so doing, according to His word, I will be saved from the flames of hell and guided to my mansion in the sky, that is in heaven. I will believe that until I kick. I sincerely hope that is way in the future, but if my earthly wisdom, which is intended to prolong my mental functionality, backfires and shortens my life, I can tell God I did all I knew to do to glorify Him and lead people to a mind set of accepting the salvation He has offered through the gift of Jesus Christ. In short, I intend to do my small part to promote Jesus with all I know for as long as there is breath in this body.
Christ, according to the Bible, is the second person of the God Head. Thus the term Father, Son and Holy Ghost has come to be. I do not understand how One can be three and so forth. But an old Methodist song, originated in my mind at least, by the late John Wesley of England (founder of the Methodist Church) explains it as plain as I could ever put it; “God in three persons, blessed trinity.”
Those words are in an old hymn that I reference. I believe it is entitled, “Holy, Holy Holy.” Look it up on Youtube on this Internet if you are curious. The more in depth quote of the song says, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God All Mighty, God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity.”
I am but a man. I have desires, weaknesses and dreams for this life, as most men do. I desire to live my life within the law. I desire to be wanted by a special woman, so as to not be so lonely in my older days, just as I had a like desire when I was younger. I desire to own a home, reasonable transportation and have a little money – enough to be debt free and considered competent by myself and my peers. Accepting the salvation offered by Jesus Christ at 15, by way of going to an altar in the First United Methodist Church of Hagerstown, Indiana, has never lessened those human elements of me.
However, the older I get, the more I realize that patting myself on the back for any “self centered accomplishments” is nothing but foolishness of a very human heart.
The bell will invariably toll for me, and for you. I hope to meet you in heaven someday. And that is all I have to say about all of this for this particular sermon. I humbly ask you to consider accepting my Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, and as your personal guide and lifelong friend. It was the best decision I ever made in this life and it will be yours, should you choose to make it. And it has led to a great deal of happiness. The good has definitely outweighed the bad. In my life, this is especially true since accepting Christ as my personal Savior.
Until next week’s John’s Sermon, may peace and love follow you wherever you go. Forgive much, forget much, remember much, and with God’s help, there will be another message to read.
SCRIPTURES
1) PRAISES INHIBITED BY GOD –
Exodus 15:10-12 King James Version (KJV) 10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.
11 Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.
Matthew 21:8-14
King James Version (KJV)
8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
2) GOD OF LOVE – 1 John 4:7-9 King James Version (KJV)
7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
3) JESUS CAME TO SAVE US – John 3:12-17 King James Version (KJV)
12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Editor’s Note: God displayed his anger in the old Testament because, like other fathers, he thought maybe paddling His kids would help… He still paddles us, but now those who have accepted his salvation are the ones who incur his discipline.
The rest of the world goes the way of the grave, dust to dust, ashes to ashes, to a place where the worm never dies in a place called hell. That, of course, is not the worst of it. Hell is a holding tank.
From there, the worm, that is the soul of the man or woman who did not accept God’s gift of salvation, through Jesus, will burn and burn forever. And forever, folks, to the best of my knowledge, never ends…
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

‘Putting Off
The Altar’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
When I was a boy in the 1970’s, there was a movie we saw at the Methodist Church Youth Center called, “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” It was about a young couple in love that planned to get saved together the very next Sunday so they could insure a heavenly home, but that same couple got drunk that Saturday night and ran off the road…
In their cases, tomorrow never came. One can put off a lot of things in this life, but putting off the altar, where you accept Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as your personal Savior from the eternal penalties of your sinful nature, is not something you want to postpone. When the spirit moves you, that is when God calls you to that altar of faith, do not let floods, deaths, marriages or land slides stop you from getting to an altar just as soon as you can. In fact, bend down right there and pray the sinner’s prayer, because God can tell your heart and hear your words from a fish bank…
Procrastination is really a nasty word, especially when it comes to a conversion standpoint. I put mine off 15 years, so I know to what I speak. I could handle it. I was not that bad of a guy. I really never stooped to the devil’s level, just a little salty lust and cuss. My sins, after all, were nothing serious. The devil would say this to me over and over again until I would go to sleep each night convinced there was plenty of time to get saved, plenty of time to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and only escape from the devil’s hell I deserved…
Still, the whole thing worried me. And then I met the legalists when I got to Arkansas. They said accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior was not enough. They said I had to live a sinless, saintly life after that or my salvation experience did not count… This confused me to say the least. It sort of made the whole thing I did up in Indiana seem questionable. Yet I went back to my Bible and there is was again; Romans: 8 (1) trying to tell me that If I would ask Jesus Christ to come in my heart and accept his free gift of salvation, plus say verbally that Jesus died on a cross, shed perfect sinless blood to cover our sin filled lives, past, present and future, and that on the third day Jesus Christ rose from the dead, ascended to the right hand of God the Father and goes to prepare a place for us, that is a mansion in the sky, then I would be saved.
It also says he will send the Holy Ghost comforter to help us through this life and that there is no other way to the Father God but by me, Jesus (2). I see no where in there that my cussing, needless worrying about finance or even adultry with some pretty cheerleader type, can keep me out of heaven if I have accepted salvation. Now desire to act on sin admittedly diminishes after salvation, and we do our best to not act on it at all. But when we mess up, and we ask forgivness, he is faithful to forgive. The main thing is to develop a personal friendship with Jesus Christ and ask Him to always let you know when you have sinned. That way you can ask forgiveness quickly. It is highly unlikely that you or I will ask forgiveness of a sin that we do not know we have committed.
If you run into one of these legalist, pharancitical types that insist on giving you every excuse in the book as to why you are assuredly going to hell, salvation experience or not, smile and go in peace. That type of individual needs your prayers because they are seeking a God of bootstraps and Jesus Christ is the only Begotten Son of the Living God of Love.
Let’s look at this logically. There is good in the world and there is bad. You can go to any funeral and its the same thing, that is if the person dies of natural causes and is to be buried, there lies their shell of a body. They no longer have a use for it. Some would say they are dead, but that goes against the laws of energy that we humans have so aptly discovered in the scientific realm. It says energy can neither be created or destroyed, just transferred. Numerous reports of after death experiences from those that had a brush with the spirit world but returned to earth have been a part of American folklore for centuries.
You can look at the dearly departed and believe they are done for, caput, check out time etc., but then there is a possibility that the body was merely housing a spirit. Having had a personal out of body experience, that I have written about countless times, I John Nelson believe there is not only a spirit world but I believe that spirit world is more “lasting” and more “real” than what you experience in your 70 to 120 years on this old earth.
It comes down to choice. If you believe your body goes back to dust and what was you is gone after you are dead, then there is no need for a Savior in your life. As the Bible says, “The cross is foolishness to those who do not believe.” If there is no hell, and there is no heaven, then what difference does it make where you spirit goes after death. On the other hand, if you somehow believe that your spirit simply leaves a dead temple when you die, then one might be behooved to think of a plan to land in heaven instead of hell.
Point. Jesus Christ is the only son of the Living God and he died on a cross, rose from the dead after three days and walked the earth, as is witnessed by an excess of 500 people, and then assended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father, that is Jehovah God. I personally believe that because if feels right, because there is more concrete evidence that it is true than not and because I am just not arrogant enough to believe a God who is sinless would allow me into heaven unless my sin nature is somehow covered. Blood covers sin. We learned that in animal sacrifice to God before Christ.
But it is temporary, as the other animals, although they are not sinning, are temporal and carnal like we living and breathing human beings are.
When Jesus Christ came to earth, He knew he had to die on the cross so his blood would save us and never get off of us. As television preacher Andrew Womack says, salvation and the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ is grace and a free gift from God. We Christians try our best to avoid Satan’s snares and to bypass sin not because we think it will send us to hell, our salvation is sealed with the blood of Jesus. We try to avoid sin because sin has consequences on earth, even for the Christian, and sin is something that displeases God and Jesus so we try and avoid it because our goal is to please our Creator, not to sadden Him.
But this old stuff about salvation being in jepardy every time a cuss word slips out is legalistic, pharancitical hog wash. That is a Johnism, but you can take it to the bank. If I am wrong about that, then Jesus Christ crucified was a waste of time for a guy who asked God, “If there be any other way, please take this cup from me,” (3) and then Jesus got so worried at the Garden of Gisemanie that he sweat blood. But God gave Him a peace about the sacrifice so He could go to that cross and utter His final words on earth, “It is Finished.” And perhaps just as important of words, right before that, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
It all boils down to looking at that dead body in the funeral home. One day that will be your dead body. What if death comes by a surprise like it did to the two teenagers in the movie, “Tomorrow Never Comes?”
Would you not rather go to an altar, accept Jesus Christ as Savior and get to know him as a friend to be thankful for and learn to live a happy, faithful and forfilled life trying to do good to please a good God who sent His Son so you might have a mansion in the sky than to go on in human false pride and arrogance thinking to yourself, “I really am not that bad. What do I need a savior for? God can take me in…”
Considering our God is sinless, living in a sinless heaven, that argument does not really bare a lot of convincing merits to it if you are this writer. But go ahead, put off getting saved. You can get saved tomorrow right?
I saw a religious track the other day with two paths to go. It asked, when you get to the end of your road, where will you be? Me, I intend to be holding the hand of the man that stilled the water.
“As I travel through this Pilgrim land, there is a friend who walks with me. Leading me to that heavenly land, it is the Christ of Calvery. Jesus, hold me hand. I need thee every day. Jesus hold my hand. Along life’s narrow way.”
That is a partial song lyric from an old hym we used to sing when I was young. But it tells it like it is. Salvation and not putting off your salvation experience is important to avoid a future in hell, but it is also important because after you are saved, Jesus Christ reveals so much more about himself to you and you find you have a precious friend for life.
The narrow way is the accepting of Jesus as your personal savior. It is not how good you can be on your own but rather the destination of our spirit and soul after you die depends on if you at least obeyed God and got yourself humbled down to realize a journey without Christ as your pilot will crash and burn.
The Word says the wicked will prosper for a season. It also says Christ came so that you may have life and life more abundantly, with joy, no worry and a ticket to avoid the wages of sin being death to your treasures and torture to your very soul.
So what is going to be, salvation through the God of this world that created you and still watches over you and all, or salvation through yourself with no power to go anywhere after you die except where the angel of death takes you – “on that long black train?”
SCRIPTURES
1) BEING SAVED; Romans 10:8-16
New King James Version
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”[a] (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”[b] 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Israel Rejects the Gospel 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”
2) JESUS IS THE WAY TO FATHER GOD – John 10:7-38
New King James Version
Jesus the Good Shepherd
7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me[a] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
19 Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. 20 And many of them said, “He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?”
21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Shepherd Knows His Sheep
22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”
Renewed Efforts to Stone Jesus
31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?”
33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? 35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”
3) TAKE THIS CUP FROM ME – Mark 14:32-41
New King James Version
The Prayer in the Garden 32 Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”
35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.
41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners!
Editor’s Note: Peter so wanted to do what his master said, but his body was tired and he could not force it to stay awake with his spiritual desire. He needed a savior from the power his flesh had over his actions.
Thank you Jesus for being that Savior. Easter is coming soon. Go to a church of your choice and thank Jesus Christ for the chance he has given you to see those pearly gates. Indeed, “Up from the grave he arose, like a mighty fortress over his foes. He arose a victor over the dark domain and he lives forever in our hearts proclaim! He arose. He arose. Christ Jesus, He arose.”

 

 

‘Love, the
true picture’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Bible says God is Love. Therefore it scares me a bit to write about the subject. But hey, here goes.
One thing I do know, at least for me, love is a key element to success. Paul says in Corinthians that without love, all music will sound as a thud against brass (1).
What I know about love, like most humans, is probably not a tenth of what there is to know. I do not pretend to be an expert. I have been married four times, had several friends that I would have taken a bullet for over the years, and now I have this tribe of grandchildren that seem to understand that Grandpa may be strange, but he does love us.
I have one grandchild who seems to already count herself my side kick. I hope she is always as fascinated with me as she is now. That is my Rayney. Everyone else calls her Rayne Rose Marie Hagelstein. Me, I just know she is Grandpa’s Rayney. It is not that she is any more loved than my other kids, but when a baby returns what is given as much as this little gal returns my love, you can not help but smile when you mention her.
Rayne is as bright as the morning star. She is 2 and already knows how to count to 15 and say her ABCs, plus she has the Twinkle, Twinkle song down pretty good.
So what, or who, do you think of when you think of Love? God is Love and that is a fact, but most of us see love in relationships with others a lot more than we feel it from the all seeing Spirit we know, or don’t know, as God… One of my preacher friends just texted me a message saying most people want God tomorrow, but the fact is all we have is today. Me, I want Him today and tomorrow. I want God to be by my side for eternity. And since I am human, which means I sin, I have accepted the salvation offered to me through the pure blood of Jesus. Salvation is a beginning.
Salvation allows us to make plans with Mr. God beyond the confines of this life. Don’t ever let some well meaning legalist preacher (or lay man) talk you out of being saved. I once told a legalist that I was going to heaven because of the sacrifice Jesus Christ offered for me and if he did not like it, I was really sorry. But the fact is, I was not interested in lining up with that preacher’s rights and wrongs. The only rights and wrongs I want to line up with are the one’s Jesus Christ reveals to me as time goes on. And most of those are revealed through studying His Bible and praying for guidance and direction in day to day life.
I feel lucky to have grown up on a farm as an only child. It gave me ample opportunity to talk with God and develop an attitude of thanksgiving and appreciation for my Creator. I thought it was really cool the Bible does say “God is Love (2)” because who would believe anything but love could have created the earth and all of its assets?
Sure, unharnessed sin sometimes makes this old world look and act sad. I especially feel sorry for those who will not accept the blame for the consequences of their own actions. Poor planning causes pain. I have been guilty of that too so I am not condemning, but God’s only begotten Son took my guilt and pain and exchanged it “for Joy in the morning (3).” Once you accept your salvation, the Spirit of God begins to bring certain things to mind that perhaps you will no longer find necessary to do. Some folks call them convictions. The danger is when somebody looks at you and says they feel conviction about wearing a short sleeved shirt and so therefore you had better not wear a short sleeve shirt or you will go to hell… Convictions are for the individual.
They come up because of the Spirit of Love that dwells inside of us after salvation. It is more than a human love that might fade with familiarity. It is a God thing love that grows. My current marriage to a Christian girl named Michelle has grown and continues to grow. Sure, the devil tries to shoot it down daily, but so far it has been 16 years and I can honestly say she been a good wife. Is she perfect? Nope. Am I? No way Jack. But we are forgiven because we forgave and let go of the revenge and bitterness and accepted the unconditional love that comes only from knowing the Son of God on a salvation level.
There is another passage in the Bible that says the cross is foolishness to the non-believer. It also says the no-believer is damned already. The Bible can be very harsh when it comes to salvation being required to spend eternity in heaven. It says no man shall get to heaven by his good works, but only by the free grace of Jesus Christ. Christ says, “There is no other way to the Father but by me. I am the way, the truth and the Light of the world.”
And what a wonderful Light Jesus is. The trouble is, some have to hit rock bottom to find Him. Others, well they just have to Love God more than that old trickster the devil. As a child, I felt sorry for Satan. Then I saw hell in the distance one night when demons unsuccessfully tried to take my soul to the Lake of Fire. I will never forget it. In the dream, I told the demons, dressed in black and white tiger stripes, that they could not have me because the blood of Christ had covered all of my sins, past, present and future, and my God and my Jesus would protect me from eternal damnation as promised. When I said it, I felt the grip of the demon next to me loose up my neck. I was right, of course, but still it was scary.
Before I took the ramifications of my sin seriously I remember hanging with those who were either unsaved or saved and just plain spiritually stupid. One of the wild sayings was, “I will not give up my front seat in hell for anything!” Well, I will be glad to give up my place in hell since Love told me I don’t have to volunteer to sit in it unless I am too stubborn to accept help from a Savior.
Jesus Christ, said to be God’s only begotten Son, died and shed pure blood as a sacrifice for our sins; past, present and future. It was an unconditional gift, as long as we do not walk away. How does one walk away? I have not done that, or I would not be writing this sermon and love God more than people and more than my own self. So I can not answer that question. God made me. I did not. I was given free will and did things I did not know any better from doing. I still do things that I have reasons in my head for doing.
Will I ever be perfect like the God of Love? Yes. After death I will not be God, but I will be a perfect me with a celestial body. That will be the first time John will not be tempted to sin. Will I ever be a better witness and overcome a lot more than I have already done while still on earth? I sure hope so.
I try daily to please God. My cussing fits are a lot less then when I was younger. I did fall down on keeping someone’s confidence the other day because I wanted to know if what the other person had told me was true. It was. Perhaps I should have kept the confidence. But, I am a weak human when it comes to wanting to know facts that might help me protect my family – or even myself. So I asked God to forgive me for spilling the beans and for the ability to do better next time in regard to keeping a trust.
What is your favorite sin? What sin would you really rather not admit? You don’t have to tell anyone but God. The Bible says “His banner over me is Love.” Thank you Jesus for your eternal, one-time sacrifice. And thank you for forgiving us when we mess up, even when it is hard to forgive ourselves.
A television preacher, Joyce Meyers, says we are supposed to enjoy everyday life. I do that, but I do it because of the challenge I give myself to be a more accomplished me today than I was yesterday and in doing so be a blessing to someone – pointing the way to an old fashioned altar of love. An altar of love is what the world needs so they can all meet my Jesus and know what it feels like to be free of the devil’s best snare; hell and its hopeless prospects.
Oh sure, Christians pay for the sins they commit on earth. But as to eternity, they have been washed whiter than snow. Christ did that for those who have accepted Him as Savior and He has even prepared a place in heaven for each one of God’s saved children. Christ saved me from a devil’s hell. If that is not love, what is? In short, Jesus Christ took the bullet through his heart that was met for John Hancock Nelson. That’s love.
And also in the Word of God it says, “There is no greater love known to man than for a man to lay down his life for his friends.”
I had a child to tell me Jesus was just a man. I had to smile at that one. Folks, name me another man who is still being talked about 2,000 years after he was crucified? And name a man that could walk on water, walk through walls after death, eat food after he was dead and raise the dead? Still, salvation is a choice. I lovingly say, I choose to believe. I therefore choose to fight the devil and all of his trickery as long as this body shall live. I chose to get up when I fail, ask God to forgive me for my shortcomings and ask God to continue stripping the seared consciousness from my being so that I can be a better and better witness until the day I kick.
I am not as concerned with the next Christian’s walk with Jesus as I am my own. The Word says we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. I don’t recall one single verse that says I can work out yours so why should I try? I bring the fish to the altar and the man from Galilee, in His time, cleans them up if those fish want to shed some muck that they realize is in the way of them having a genuine, loving relationship with God All Mighty and His Son Jesus Christ while they are still on earth.
But until the Christian sees why a certain rule must be obeyed to climb another step toward Christ from his or her walk own with the Savior, a “well meaning meddler” human being trying to point out “rules and regulations” usually results in hurt feelings and many times results in the individual not attending a church for quite some time. If you are a Christian, and you want to say, “I think you smoking that pipe at the computer late at night is just of the devil,” do us both a favor and pray for me and my bad habit. Don’t condemn me because like most of us humans, condemnation brings anger and being angry about a behavior makes the immature mind ready to do the behavior that much more since they are being condemned already by an obviously unqualified judge. And we humans are all unqualified because every one of us still sins.
I could go on about love in marriage, love in friendship, not just love between you and God. But here is a Johnism. If you are in a romantic relationship, I can not work that out for you anymore than I can work out your salvation. All I can do is tell you what has worked for me and smile at you. You must work out your own marriage, just like your relationship with God, “with fear and trembling.” Here is hoping all of you find God to be the love of your life and that you take a salvation experience as a starter to where the supernatural begins to make sense – in a comforting, loving way.
SCRIPTURES
1) WITHOUT LOVE, ACTION PROFITS YOU NOTHING – 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 New King James Version (NKJV) The Greatest Gift: 13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
2) GOD IS LOVE – 1 John 4:7-9 (NKJV) Knowing God Through Love 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
3) JOY IN THE MORNING – Psalm 30:4-6 (NKJV) 4 Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. 5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. 6 Now in my prosperity I said, “I shall never be moved.”
I was discussing love of a type with my wife, while I gathered my thoughts to finish this week’s sermon. We started talking about how Jesus Christ was, and is, much more than a man. No man walked this earth without sin, but Jesus did. Therefore no man’s blood, sweat and tears can save that man or another. Nothing but the blood of Jesus can save a man from his rightful reward in hell when he leaves this earth.
But what we were talking about was Jesus and his love for the innocent little children. Peter was irritated by them flocking up toward the Savior during sermons etc. Jesus, oh Jesus, with his never ending love and patience stood up for the children. Jesus Blesses Little Children Matthew 19: 13-15; 13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.
So dear friends, consider by grand daughter Rayney. Consider your own side kick of a child. Observe their innocence and how their minds are like sponges to learn. Mine was too when I first came to Christ. And it still is.
Christ says do not forget your first love. Learn what love is to you. Learn to laugh, learn to be happy with the gifts God has laid on your table. Learn to lay down greed. Reread 1: Corinthians, Chapter 13 often. Forgive yourself when your old man stands up and sucker punches somebody. Let it go. Ask Father God to forgive, take a ragged breath and go on spreading the gospel in true Great Commission style. After all, bragging on God and his mercy and his grace shows love. Love of a creation for the Creator because the Creator is no longer mad at the sin of the creation. That sin is covered with the pure blood of Jesus Christ and tossed into the river of forgetfulness.
But Love, what is it? Where is it? Is there but one best friend? Oh, how we question. I have but one answer. Love is… And Love will always be. Grab it or be left behind here on earth and in eternity. Are you really willing to take the chance that I am wrong? Remember what your folks taught you way back when, if you don’t buy a ticket, there will be no ride.

 

Having steadfast faith
because God is God
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I am sure I have written about faith in one way or another in some other sermon this past year and a half or so. But I feel like God may be wanting to control these fingers today to give you some encouragement in that area.
I will do my best to get my own ideas out of the way and talk to you through scriptural principles. The first thing I have to say about it is that the Word does say we all have a measure of faith. (1) Jesus Christ made the statement that we could move mountains if we had faith as big as a mustard seed.
In short, we do have that faith, but we have to believe in its power before it can activate. A friend of mine says we do what we want to. He says people talk a good one, but actions speak louder than words.
I would have to agree with the old guy in most cases. I have always tried to respect good intentions because they often lead to good actions, but every now and then the devil’s proverb proves itself right; “The road to hell is paved with good intentions. And, be careful what you wish for, or you shall surely get it.”
I often wish I was completely honest and full of integrity. And I am both of those most of the time. But I live in the real world. Until my balloon bills of the past are paid, and all of my car and house bills are gone, my borrowing from the other man’s dime makes me a crook. I don’t like to admit it, but it does.
The Word of God says be a borrower never and a lender always.
But we get this strange idea that we need a decent house to live in, a good car to work out of and another one for our wife to do her driving to see her relatives in – and of course -for her to get back and forth to work in.
I had a fellow laugh at my wife and I yesterday because compared to other states our combined income for what we do is so low. Heck, I think its pretty good for a writer and a tax cab specialist. Best living I have had in a long time… At least in Arkansas it is, apparently not in Delaware. And I have faith it will get better. I am glad they cut off the new credit. Now I can pay off my worst card and restart my Edward Jones savings as soon as I finish my siding project cash and carry.
To do so, I have to have faith I can come up with the $700 more for the siding and $400 after that to kill my highest interest credit card… Faith is involved with nearly everything we do. I am a purpose driven man. In fact, I am going to write an entire ninth chapter about that in my “The Path I Took” book in this publication.
I believe, at least in my case, having faith to get up off the floor and dance comes easier if you are purpose driven. As I tell my kids, there must be something you enjoy and are good at. My son Jacob says it is how we are wired. My grandfather used to say he had certain genes and certain other ones were missing.
Jacob is wired to work on cars. Grandpa loved farming. Me, I love publication work, specifically the writing. When we love something because we have had some success at in the past, and some enjoyment out of doing it, it is easier to have faith that we can do it again.
I once took a sports writer’s job in Malvern, Arkansas, right after 911 sort of shut down the Marmaduke Chronicle’s finances. When I was considering the change, a fellow journalist named Mark Bivens, who was editor in Malvern at the time, said, “Well, you need a steady job right now. I know you can do this because you have done it before.”
In college, they called that “Thorndike’s Law of Effect,” that is if something happens once, it will happen again. I got an inheritance once for a fairly large sum of money from my grandparents and have not seen such a large check now for 24 years. But I have faith another one is on the way! You may think that faith is misplaced but I really do need a financial break, as do all of us Christians. That way we can give more in tithes and offerings – and support homeless missions – etc.
FAITH UNDER
A MICROSCOPE
Not that I don’t love rambling introductions, but getting to the point, what is faith to you? Do you believe it takes faith to start a car? How about to get out of bed in the morning? What about if you have a financial need that looks sort of ify? Does it take more faith to meet that financial goal or do you think it would take mare faith to walk after losing the use of your legs in a car wreck?
Faith, the Word says, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (2) My point is you can not see faith like you do a baseball. You can see evidence of faith, if you look, on the face of a spouse that loves you when you are applying for that new job or starting that new business.
You can also see it in the face of a grand child as you sit at the bottom of the slide, waiting to catch them as they come sliding down that cold steel. They have faith you will not let them get hurt.
As a Christian believer, living in the real world, I have faith every week that my advertising customers are going to need a little service and that my bill collectors will take payments until I can pay them off.
But now let’s look at God’s faith in regard to eternity. If you examine that kind of faith under a microscope, things get a little more difficult. First off, we have to have some curiosity and we have to lose our perspective that life is a constant road trip that will never end.
This usually means the good Lord will have to allow you to just about mess up. When I was 14, and contemplating making a girl I knew in church choir my girlfriend, Satan got on his band wagon. Joni and I, both pure as the driven snow at the time, got together. We lasted five years, in our common law union, which ended just before I turned 20 years old. At the time, I had faith we would legally marry and have children, and I believe she also had such faith.
Immaturity on my part, and probably a bit on her’s, stopped that from happening. From the stand point of what is good for John, I could have done much worse than staying with Joni. Her name was Joni Michelle, and my current wife of 16 years is Marian Michelle, always going by Michelle. So I did not marry Joni, but ended up “Marian’ Michelle.” Ok, just a touch of humor.
Here is my point folks. Satan came to me in a dream and showed me a scene where Joni was Eve and I was Adam. He told me we could look just like that and enjoy our love past 100 years if I would pledge my service in life to the devil… Yes, it was tempting. Joni was a looker and my first love. I so wanted us to last forever. .. But something just did not smell right. I went to an old fashioned altar at a Methodist Church a few months later, giving my heart to Jesus Christ. Satan brought the dream back to me just before I did that and I told him no way was I interested in serving an eternal being that had second rate power…
Apparently thunder clashed outside just after I turned Satan down in my head, as Grandpa came into my room to make sure I was OK. I had faith in God over a materialistic weasel that night, so “yes, everything was OK.”
THE FAITH TO GO
TO THE ALTAR
Now let’s look at something besides little bits of faith, coupled with defiance of the devil. Let’s look at the faith it takes to go though with a salvation experience and the faith it takes to believe God has not deserted you when you have a human moment and go do a favorite sin – or even think of doing such a thing instead of thinking about how to help another soul find Jesus.
Our final scripture will be about Jesus telling us he will never leave us or forsake us, and he will stay closer than a brother. (3) This sort of shoots down the legalistic theory that the first time I over-eat, cuss, get drunk or whatever, that is it, God hates me and demands that I ask all over again for salvation because I made a mistake.
If a man or a woman has the faith to get saved from the just deserves of their past, present and future sins, and they love God with all of their heart, ask Jesus to come live in their heart, confess with their mouth that he is the only begotten Son of the Living God who died on the cross so his pure blood could make us totally acceptable to the Living God Jehovah (Daddy God, in other words), and on the third day Jesus rose from the dead (I love Easter season), then you will be saved. We have taken you down that Roman road, Romans 10, many a time in these sermons, coupled with John 3:16 and Acts 28.
They all point to the cross, but we have to have the faith that Jesus Christ will save us and keep us saved in spite of us. That is not as hard when we are pleading with Him at the altar, as it is when we get home and the devil jumps up on our shoulder and starts talking about how great it would be to make love out of wedlock, cheat on that calculus test or whatever else the temptation might be.
The Methodist Church I was raised in said marriage started with a sexual union, not with a marriage license, and if you could not make a commitment to a person of the opposite sex, it was best to remain a virgin. None of us kids listened very well, as we were all young, with racing hormones. Looking back, at now 55 years of age, I see their points. Of course, that certificate is important, but the marriage does begin with the consummation. If you never give yourself up to your spouse, annulment usually results.
Now let’s look at how that compares to salvation. Salvation begins when you invite Jesus to live in your heart, ask him to forgive you of your past, present and future sins, and believe that He is the only begotten Son of God and your ticket to a mansion in the sky. You have to believe Christ has the power to raise himself from the dead before you can believe He can do it for you. That faith and belief makes the God in three persons, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, come alive in your life. Thsi is not to say “once saved, always saved” is real. God clearly states we have the power to walk away from Him by blasphmy of His Holy Ghost.
Acts 28 says get baptized in the Name of Jesus after your salvation experince. I did that. It was nice. I went down in a pond in Hillsboro, Illinois and came up to a bunch of family and friends smiling at me. I did not feel any more saved than before this baptism took place, but I felt closer to God because I had displayed a small token of obedience, like signing a marriage certificate…
We have to have faith that our salvation took. Otherwise, obeying Christ’s requests, that we can back in the Bible, or requests on our person that we know came from the God of Love Himself, would seem useless. I am one of those that believes if you have a vision or a dream to do something for God, or if you even believe a still small voice is pulling you to some action, you should first find in scripture what it says about a particular circumstance. God backs all of his orders in that book. That is where my faith stands on such things.
The Bible says faith without works is dead. I often wonder if another accurate translation of that intended meaning might be faith without working for God dries up and dies. But that statement is a Johnism instead of Biblical, so take it with a grain of salt.
In science there is potential and kinetic energy. No matter how huge potential energy might be, there will be no explosion unless somebody lights the fuse on that 9-foot nuke…
The Bible speaks of Faith, Hope and Love. Many scholars argue the order. To me, we have to hope for a change and have faith that our hope merits a change that will glorify God by giving us a tool we might use to do so (like cherrying out a house so we can pour cash into the needs of others without feeling guilty). Then we have to have a love that goes beyond self. Do I believe a person should love themselves? Yes. I believe we should take care of our bodies, souls and spirits the best way we can and that loving yourself enough to buy a new computer if you are a journalist fighting high tech obsoleteness is not wrong.
That computer makes possible the continuation of sermons on faith and other subjects. But when the first thought is “I need,” I think God is saddened. Like our natural parents, I perceive God as wanting to hear, “I need a decent car to carry my sister and her friends to the ball games on Friday night.” I don’t think God really wants to hear, “God, could you give me an extra $50 this week so I can buy a couple of 30-packs of beer and take this wild girl I met at the bar out to my favorite fishing hole Saturday night?”
We know. We really do know right from wrong. And if we don’t, and we are saved, Jesus will remind us of acceptable behavior for a Christian soldier. How do I know this? I know it because I have faith!
And how do I know Jesus Christ lives? I have faith that He is living in my heart.
When the devil hits you on the head for reading this, have faith that asking Jesus to help you be a help to others, and thanking Him for whatever He has already done, will see you through. I also see nothing wrong with copying Jesus in His plea to God, when He said, “If there be any way Father, please take this cup from me, but never the less let your will be done, not mine.”
So if that telephone bill is about to cut you off from your texting and voice mailing, and you feel like it needs to be paid but there is no money in the bank, you know the prayer. Still, butter God up a bit. He invites us to. Let Him know how grateful you are to be alive, have a good significant other, a good career and a good enough body to still enjoy some life.
Praise Him for giving you healthy children, children that have at least heard hell hot and heaven to gain preached in an old fashioned sermon. I can see why God says be thankful in all things. And after I thank Him, and mean it of course, then I turn to my faith and hope for whatever tool needs tending to at that time. Then I ask Him because God says in His work, many do not have because they have not asked. So don’t be afraid to ask.
So then, I am going to have faith that at least one reader got something out of this sermon that will point them to the purpose of Jesus Christ dying on a cross and being resurrected as the perfect sacrifice for our sins that would otherwise take us to a long stay in a place called hell.
SCRIPTURES
1) A MEASURE OF FAITH – Romans 12:3
New King James Version; Serve God with Spiritual Gifts – For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
2) SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR – Hebrews 11:1 [ By Faith We Understand ] Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
3) CLOSER THAN A BROTHER – Proverbs 18:24
A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Hebrews 13:5
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
He Himself, as I understand is Jesus Christ. If we are to go on with our faith, we must first have the faith that this is true.
Stick with us closer than a brother Jesus and thank you for never leaving, even when our minds get so disgusted with our sin choices we could not blame you…
I submit a comforting fourth scripture that might help you have that faith as big as a mustard seed that makes all things possible.
4) IN PARADISE – Luke 23:39-43 (NKJV) 39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ,[a] save Yourself and us.”
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

 

 

Heaven will be fun,

but heaven can wait…

‘When We All
Get To Heaven’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I don’t think about heaven very much. I love my God and He is my best friend here on this planet. I have much to do for Him before I leave planet earth and “heaven can wait…”
But I felt in my spirit that God wanted me to describe to you what I believe heaven will be like. In my case, if my own prophecy can be believed, I will die in 2084, with 125 years to my good on the living and breathing creature side of being human.
You may scoff at that sort of a prediction, but I feel perfectly at peace with writing weekly sermons right up unto the end. I have even shared in this column about my final dwelling being an isolated cabin, somehow Internet accessible and amongst fire and brimstone coming out of the sky.
So if indeed my daughter Kelley discovers my body in a sitting position, in front of a chess board, as I have been on several occasions in life, what happens next?
I have talked of my burial, performed by my daughter on my last property, next to my life partner’s grave. In 2084, Kelley may be the only one listening to “I’ve Got A Name” by Jim Croce or “Amazing Grace,” a traditional version with the 10,000 years verse… For you see, friends from the past will be already in heaven or hell. Perhaps some of their grandchildren might care if an old hippy has died.
By that time, from an earthly standpoint, it will be too late for me to care. The cares of this world will grow dim, as one old song says…
So where will John Nelson be when his daughter is burying his body next to the body of a woman that loved him? When I was 15 years old, I went to an old fashioned Methodist Church altar and asked Jesus Christ to save me from the eternal results of my sins; past, present and future. I agreed to forgive all that had done me wrong and I humbly admitted that none of my works – past, present or future, could get me to heaven. Only the Son of the Living God, who died and rose again after the third day, could do that.
The blood of Jesus Christ is the only blood pure enough to pull my spirit from a well deserved destination of a front seat in hell forever to a mansion in the sky to spend eternity with God All Mighty, Jesus Christ and the fellow humble servants of Christ that I will find up there.
Jesus said, “In my Father’s House, there are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you.” (1) Those words hit the airways more than 2,000 years ago when Jesus realized his pure blood was the only atonement a human could get to stop the justification of “the wages of sin are death.” (2) No good work would do for salvation.
The Bible plainly states that God is a friend to the overcomer. That would tell me that what we do in regard to preaching the Great Commission, coupled with what we do to present ourselves a living sacrifice unto God, does matter. Perhaps we will have crowns to our credit. After all, the Bible does also speak of the wisdom of building treasures in heaven. (3)
On the other hand, it speaks in one passage, or so I have been led to believe, that some will be saved from hell but all of their other works will be burned up as unrelating to the bequest made by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to pick up our cross, follow Him and start presenting the Great Commisson of the plan of salvation to our fellow human beings.
It is my goal, in the next 70 years, to present that salvation plan in as many media outlet ways as God will allow, with the blessed hope that you too will go to an old fashioned altar and confess Jesus Christ to be your personal blessed hope and only chance to spend eternity in God’s heaven.
So let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that I am right about heaven and what it takes to get there for guys and girls like me and you. I believe it takes confession of sins, repentance of past, present and future sins and believing Jesus Christ was crucified, dead and buried and on the third day, as witnessed by more than 500 living souls, according the Word of God (Bible), He rose from the grave, “like a mighty fortress over his foes!”
Let’s say I am right, and Jesus is the only one that still lives that is the head of any religion on earth, and that man worshipping the works of man just does not impress Father God. And let’s say I make it to heaven in 2084.
I can see my little girl crying as she puts the last bit of dirt on the earthly grave of her daddy. And I can see the light rain stopping and the sun coming out. The fire and brimstone will have somehow stopped falling on the day of my burial; at least long enough for the abbreviated funeral service my kid will perform for me.
But what about my spirit? “I’ll Fly Away’ comes to mind. Some great morning, when this life is over, I’ll fly away. To arrive on God’s celestrial shore, I’ll fly away.
I believe my spirit will leave my body on Sept. 12, 2084 and take the hand of Jesus. I will see the light of the world up close, as so many preachers have discussed. The next stop will be paradise. I believe the dead know not, another Biblical quote, means that when the spirit of a man crosses over into heavenly realms, the earth and all of its people concerns go out of focus.
I believe, for a very short time, our spirits do roam earth as we want, but it is a time when our celestrial bodies are being prepared to house us in heaven. To me, those celestrial bodies are our mansions in the sky. I believe those headed for hell get a body too, but one that is formed as the results of unforgiven sin and probably not too pretty for most folks.
But as the spirit in paradise sees the spirit in hell, so do all spirits get to see the living for an undetermined amount of time. In short, ghosts can exist, but only for a brief moment. When a friend of mine, in her 90s passed away last year, I felt the spirit of Ruby comforting me when I sobbed and told her, as if she were next to me, that I was sorry I did not make the trip to El Dorado to visit her during her last couple of years on this planet…
But somewhere, after we die, if we are Christian and holding the hand of the Lord, he separates us from our earthly connections and we go to a holding tank called Paradise. The Word says no man (except Jesus) has seen heaven and will not until the judgment day. I believe Paradise is also a very beautiful place and many, who have had near death experiences, have seen it. They also knew it was a holding tank for a heavenly home.
Jesus Christ, so my Bible tells me and I choose to believe, died and went to hell. His spirit preached to those who had not heard the gospel on earth and I believe those who accepted Him took off with him for Paradise on that day – way back then.
At any rate, I believe I will leave my body, watch my child finish my burial and grab the hand of the Savior as He leads me to Paradise. Then, my judgment day will come. As to time, I believe at that point time will no longer be of any consequence. But when it comes, the devil will point out all of my sins; cursing, lying, commiting mental adultry against a life partner and the few times I committed the physical act and more and more sins that I had not even realized were sins. But then, as the Bible says, my advocate, Jesus Christ, will stand up in that heavenly courtroom and point out my salvation experience and how I never went back on my beliefs. And how I never gave up on trying to praise God with my work and my life, living the righteousness that I was capable of living with the restrictions of taking care of my carnal body host and fighting the temptations to stray thrown at me daily by Satan.
I believe God All Mighty will be there smiling at me and me at Him. I believe the pure blood of Jesus Christ will cover all of the sin in my life so God can look at me. In other words, my sins will be forgotten by God All Mighty, as Jesus paid the price for them to be forgiven.
So I will hear, from Jesus, who will judge me because He walked with me on earth closer than a brother and knows all there is to know about me, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You are my friend. Come in and enjoy your masion.”
And so, after that, heaven will be my home. Will I be the guy who never sinned on earth? Hardly. Will I be the guy who held onto my belief that Jesus Christ died and paid for my earthly sins so I would not have to do so throughout eternity? Yes.
SCOPING HEAVEN
So there I will be in heaven. They say heaven is pictured very differently by each man and woman. I see it as a place with streets of gold, angels and other former humans in their new bodies, walking around checking things out. I see it as a place where I can approach God, unlike on earth, without shame in my heart that I am not approaching him in perfection. Because, after being judged, and without Satan to tempt me, new sin will no longer be an issue.
I believe I will get to talk with my grandparents and with Ruby and with Jim and several others that I have every hope of reuniting with up there. Some say we will have jobs there too, and some sort of dwelling we can call home.
Maybe God will let me be a reporter on day to day activities and write some sort of weekly heavenly rag to share around the Throne of Glory. I don’t know what else to say. But I see heaven as a wonderful place to spend eternity, with the end of sorrow and pain forever. That is my story and I am sticking to it.
So tell me friend, which do you prophesy for yourself, an eternity in heaven or one in hell’s lake of fire?
SCRIPTURES
1) MY FATHER’S HOUSE –
(New King James) John 14:2
In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
2) WAGES OF SIN – Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
3) TREASURES IN HEAVEN – Matthew 6:19
[ Lay Up Treasures in Heaven ] “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
Matthew 6:20
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

 

 

Discerning
the Spirits…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
There is an old Army saying that if you want to win the battle you need to know your enemy. I am here to tell you that the devil, with his evil laugh, wit and smell in the dark, is one slick dude unto those who have yet to see his parlor tricks.
I do not pretend to be an expert on discerning a fool’s gold spirit of light from God’s Light but I believe the Spirit of God that dwells in me has taken care of that for years. Listen to the voice within, if you have accepted Christ as your Savior, and you will be able to discern the spirits and escape the snares of Lucifer.
The devil waits until a person takes an action and then offers you something beyond the logical limit. God warns us upon occasion what it would appear someone else is up to so that we have a chance to get out of the way.
And so that is the John Nelson version of discerning (1) the spirits. Rather than put what the Bible has to say about discernment at the end of the sermon, as is my habit and form, I present them now for you and I to try and understand. I don’t know about you, but the Lord’s prayer will be on my lips. I have always figured that when I do not know what to pray about a matter, the Lord’s prayer says it all.

(1) DISCERNMENT
Job 12:20
He deprives the trusted ones of speech, And takes away the discernment of the elders.
Proverbs 2:3
Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,
Proverbs 15:21
Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, But a man of understanding walks uprightly.
Philippians 1:9
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment.

Job 12:20 sounds like it may refer to the devil depriving trusted ones of knowing what to say. Then it says he takes away the discernment of the elders, which goes well with the first part about shutting up the preachers, teachers and lawyers, or whomever it is you trust.
And surely it is the devil who daily tries to take away the understanding us old timers have learned with the passing of said time. Instead of discernment of right and wrong spiritual influences, we become led around by the devil’s parlor tricks and all out deceived. Been there, done that.
The Proverbs 2:3 scripture is like God telling us it does not have to be that way. He will grant us understanding of right from wrong, through the eyes of our Savior, if we will but ask him and then get down right loud and determined in our asking. God may not respond to all we consider need, but like a daddy to a baby crying, the louder the kid cries, the more the daddy wants to give him what he wants in order to have some peace.
If God gives us wisdom enough to not let go of His ear until we have cried out for discernment and we know he has surely heard us, then he will honor that through His Holy Name of Jesus Christ. Ask and you shall receive, the Word says. It also says, you have not because you have not asked. The legalists go on to say we can not expect God to grant us anything unless we live up to their “holier than thou” standards.
After all, us “common men and women” are just not good enough for God to grant our requests right? And if you believe that, go join a legalist church and God bless you. You can keep reading my sermons, but you probably will not be very happy with my views.
Then in Proverbs: 15:21, we get down to it. If a man can not weigh consequences, by understanding and trying to avoid, the negative reprocussions of things like carryng marijuana on your person (at least in most states), then folly kicks in. While the young fellow is enjoying the Satanic feeling of being 10 foot tall and bullet proof in utter folly, that joy sometimes ends with the introduction to jail, an oak tree, an early grave or a child being removed from your life…
This sort of discrenment, to do our best to walk uprightly, hiding nothing and being a friend to the man in the mirror, usually comes with age. At 55, I believe I have had this sort of discernment since I hit my 40’s. Before than, it is wonder the joy of folly did not keep me from serving God in this little magazine nitch like I am today.
Indeed, when God sees that one day we will seek a more self-respecting way to live, it is almost like he drives the car of our life. I will bet you, if the truth be known, God has driven for me more times than I have asked a woman to eat a meal with me. And believe me, that is a bunch of times.
And I love our last discernment reference (Phillipians 1:9). It would seem to be saying that the more you understand, or discern, what is right and what is wrong in our spiritual moving around, the more you know what real love is. I can also see where the futurist definition of discernment comes into play here. We look down the chess board of life and can see that moving in a certain direction will result in us feeling bad about ourselves because our actions will cause us embarrassment or humiliation. Those are two of the devil’s favorite results in my life. I try to smell them coming. When I get a wiff of Satan’s ploy, I attempt to go down a different street. I can usually wake up to a different type of discernement, that is knowing that I am pursuing God’s plan for my life – not some devilish fool’s gold – if I just don’t take the bait.
And when you know you are on the right path, there is a certain whistle in your brain. It is a pleasant whistling. Sort of like when I used to pick strawberries as a kid and ran into a few juicy ones I just knew where a great match for my tastebuds. The point is God’s discernment, if you will learn to feel it, and then act on it, will lead you to those strawberries you seek – be they a great spouse to spend time with, a challenging career that still can make you a decent living or just to a sit down with a friend that the devil has told you there will never be time to do.
But going beyond our Biblical references a moment to a common misconception, many of us think of discernment as the inactment of prejudice. In other words, I discern you to be a bumbling idiot and so therefore determine to avoid you because you must be going to hell for being different than me. This is, if you will, the apparent legalist’s creed. The Bible says, though shalt not judge lest ye be judged likewise (2).
So how, we ask, can we discern someone’s actions to be folly and resist the temptation to judge them to be a fool? Part of discernment is to realize something is not right for you, but also realize you may have a very wrong concept as to why it is not right for you.
The legalistic view of judging the other man to be going to hell for this or that is more vocal than the Christian discernment. I heard a fellow on television this morning express what I call legalism. His words were, “I was praying for a woman and she had her family’s spirituality on her shoulders so I had to be careful as I prayed. You see, her husband, well he said he believed but his life said othewise.”
And this guy has a bunch of good qualities. That judgment of that husband’s eternal destination, and subsequent belittlement by that preacher, makes me want to throw up. God help me never to judge another soul like that. Indeed, we can not logically know what makes people do or act the way they do. A girl who is used to going naked may very well consider a bikini in church to be modest. Life is relative, at least it is to me. The legalist mind of judgment, at least in my understanding of discernment, presents a mind that condemns.
And condemnation is not supposed to be in the Christian arsenol. Scripture in point. There is therefore no condemnation in Christ Jesus (3). Paul said that as he was preaching, to the Romans I believe. Our preacher at Sycamore, where I go to church in Beirne, Arkansas, says it this way, “I can think I know what I see and God can get me concerned enough to offer an prayer of salvation, it the other person recognizes a need for it, but we are the only person in the world who really knows if we are saved.” This is the sentiment I get from Brother James McCain, a very nonjudgmental man in my opinion.
God’s word says who so ever will may come to him for salvation. And it has been my experinence at least, we best leave things in God’s hands. The Word also says we will be judged by our advocate, that is the Spirit of Jesus Christ, in the end.
The Father God head is one of mercy, true enough, but the part of the God head, sitting at His right hand, Jesus Christ, is the only part of God that has walked a mile in our shoes. It is therefore fitting that the Mind of Jesus have final judgment on our souls. I am happy about it. I discern that the spirit of legalism is from my old friend the devil. It is a prompting of the pharencitical Satanic mind that would lead us to put others down so we may build ourselves up – even to the point of judging another man’s soul.
So learn to discern. Discern what God knows to be right for you and enjoy your spot in life. Other than to encourage a man or a woman to accept Jesus, do not try and do the job that God has given the Son of Man. Jesus is the fruit. We are followers. If anything we say, or allegedly learn, matters, experiencing love matters. And, from my heart to yours, if you are judging your brother or sister as low life and going to hell, it would seem to me that would stop any real love from shining through.
God is famous for taking the most unlikely person and using them to teach those “in the know.” And the worst part of playing the fool is when you successfully fool yourself. We can pray together for this discernment God wants us all to have so that maybe that won’t happen to you in the future. As to the past, you can see clearly when you played the fool if you are honest with yourself. Take it to God. Ask for forgiveness and grab Him. Don’t let go until you learn to discern, and then, just as importantly, learn to act on what you have discerned, not on the speech the devil has then used to try and talk you out of heeding the discernment.
As with all Tailgate News sermons, if you have any questions or comments, email me at: jay_nelson_72443@yahoo.com.
SCRIPTURES
2) JUDGE NOT OR BE JUDGED YOURSELF – Matthew 7:1-4
New King James Version (NKJV)
Do Not Judge
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
3) THERE IS THEREFORE NO CONDEMNATION –
Romans 8:1-4
New King James Version (NKJV)
Free from Indwelling Sin
8 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Our Sin Nature…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I have heard tell from some famous preachers on television that a fellow who loves Jesus Christ no longer has a sin nature. The theory put forth is that a true Christian only sins by accident and then asks immediately for forgiveness.
I submit to you that salvation is only the beginning of the constant battle we have inside with sin. After salvation, our eyes are open to what sin will do to our life. We start weighing consequences of our over indulgence opportunities.
Getting saved enhances your guilt for wanting companionship outside of a marriage if your partner will not make enough time for you sexually or mentally, enhances guilt for wanting to swear when you are in pain or for being jealous when the other man makes out a lot better than you do financially. These, of course, are only examples of sins of shame. The question hits my mind, is there sin if there is no shame? This plays into the supposition that pesonal convictions are indeed personal.
The Word of God tells us that salvation is a free gift from God, by way of the crucifixion of His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. (1) It further states that after we are saved we should then repent of our sins and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Many scholars believe the Father, the Son and The Holy Ghost compile that Name and so therefore there is no conficit from the Matthew passage. (2) At any rate, it is clear that asking Christ to save us from hell and from the certain destruction that unharnessed sinful behavior on this planet will surely bring is not all God is interested in for His children to accomplish on earth.
Perhaps more importantly to God, He wants to be our friend. The Bible says Jesus Christ calls a man or a woman a friend who does what they are commanded to do. (3). I submit to you that being an overcomer of disobedience to God is a process.
But it is a process worth pursuing because the more commands we obey, the more God can trust us to be instruments of true love. But before we get so down on ourselves that we turn from our Saviour, consider this. If we could always obey God’s commands, what incentive would we have to accept Chirst to save us from ourselves?
Satan continues to tempt us every day, Christian or not, with phrases like “just this once,” or sure one more shot of whiskey might get you addicted to alcohol and out of control, but go ahead and take the chance. Chances are you will never develop an addiciton to booze, women, smokes or illicit drugs right? As the devil says, “It will never happen to you.”
When one takes on the Nature of Christ, one does not automatically decide to never do anything that looks like fun again. I have noticed there are a lot of fun things that my Christian red lights do not warn on that the legalists (modern day Pharasees) say are sure tickets to hell. And then there are a lot of things, like judging others, that the Christ inside of me strongly rips at my conscious for doing.
In short, there is no redeeming quality to judging someone else. Discerning where their walk in their life may be helpful for self defense. But that is very different than judging a woman on her way to hell because she wears make-up or a man because he has a beer after work before going home to his wife and kids…
Life’s wisdom says it is not the use of food, drugs, drink, smoke, opposite sex friendships and the like that are forbidden by stiff consequences. It is the abuse of such things. Abuse brings sad repercussions. Thus the term, you will reap what you sew. If you’ve got Christ our Savior in your heart, He will warn you when you near abuse.
My life tells me the sin nature I lost upon accepting Christ was the nature to want to abuse things like beer, the accelerator on my car, the private company of the opposite sex when I get lonely due to my wife being away from me more than I like etc. I get warnings to stay in line. I do not, however, get warnings from singing an old song along with the croner on the Internet as I drink two or three beers at midnight, lighting a pipe of tobacco to keep me from dozing off on deadline to finish my magazine, or from drinking two pots of coffee to do the same thing.
Those actions keep me focused and purpose driven. It is my way. God may one day show me a better way, but I can not believe throwing the baby out with the bath water is the Christian thing to do. We are soldiers for Christ so we must fight to spread His Great Commission by whatever means he puts in front of us. Thus, the war-tip Biblical passage of using a jaw bone of an ass to fight off the enemy is still valid in my mind.
Whatever medications we use to do our work, from the doctor or by way of our own discovery, are simply tools of survival. If that turns out ot be two pots of coffee and a deadline met instead of drinking the legalistically recommended two cups and the whole publication being late because of human weakness, I chose the two pots of coffee and getting the job done.
Now if the devil gets on my shoulder and says I need to do illegal amphetamines to get that job done, my personal red light warning system goes off. Not because of the law, but because my wisdom and definitely my Lord’s wisdom would be screaming “abuse.”
And abuse leads to dying and death, whether of a dream, a lifestyle or a very life. I personally believe if we continue to abuse the body after salvation, we will one day no longer see the need or reason for an eternal Saviour and we will simply walk away from the Greatets Man Who Ever lived, Jesus Christ. I pray nobody takes that path who is reading this.
But let’s get back to the title of today’s sermon; Our Sin Nature… If you believe that asking Jesus Christ into you heart will automatically turn you into a sin free creature going around praising God all day long, more power to you. It did not do that for me. And I really don’t know anyone that it did that for. I do know people so busy bad mouthing the other guy’s Christianity that they do not realize all of their negative judgment is a display of hate, not the love they profess. I also know people who try and put on a sinless face and yet something does not smell right.
I am 55 years old and my priorities of favorite sins are sure changing. I went from wanting to win awards for my writing because I thought myself so blasted good at it, to being humble before God and thanking Him that I even still have the ability to compose a publication.
I went from just knowing the perfect woman was around the corner and one day I would be her knight in shining armor and she would be the queen of my double wide to realizing that people stay with one another because of integrity, trustworthiness and because they need help with their sexual needs, the needs to have and raise babies, the need to have someone to talk to when the loneliness becomes so intense a body just can not stand it and because, for most of us, it is very undesirable to always be alone…
Sure, romantic love exists. I have stared into the eyes of two women in life and felt absolutely mesmoried. I even tried to make a life with one of them but she chose to walk away when my immature actions were crying out for help and understanding. The other one, well frankly I never knew her well enough to know what might have happened.
Here lately, I have been thinking a spark and mesmorization just might have been placed in the hearts and eyes of two Christians, that is me and my wife Michelle, even though it might have been a long time coming. God, as we know, can work miracles in the heart and trust, loyalty and friendship sure carry a person a long way down the road where google eyes many times fails to go.
But I digress, you have your battles and I have mine. What irritates me is the legalist who will look at me and tell me he or she got saved, all sin ceased in their life and Jesus Christ automatically made them as pure in thought and action as the driven snow. I am not saying it could not happen. I am saying having it proclaimed smells like something one might find on a summer’s day in a horse barn. And I do not mean a horse!
I write sermons because God told me to do so. If he ever tells me to quit, OK I will. But so far, during these past 53 issues or so, God has told me to write a sermon a week for publication. I heard a man on television say there is no bad side of a person left when that individual becomes a Chirstian. This is another horse barn smelling statement in my nostrils.
Of course we have a bad side. If we did not, how could Satan tempt us? And you can not say the devil never tempts a professing Christian.
The Word tells us we can be perfect as Christ is perfect. I believe that is true, as I believe all of our Christian Bible is true. However, it does not say when we should begin this perfection. When God gives me a celestrial body, I will no longer need coffee and smokes to keep it awake or beer to put it to sleep. In the meantime, with this earthly vessel, what should I do, run around proclaiming I am a sinless man because Jesus was?
I am just glad to know Jesus. If you don’t, ask Him into your heart. It might zap you into perfection toot sweet, like I believe a death bed confession does, or it might mean you have a chance to live your life showing love and consideration for others, while righteously expecting to be transformed into that perfect version of yourself in the sweet by and by.
Until next week, here is hoping you got something good out of the sermon. Again, anyone with a response can email me at: jay_nelson_72443@yahoo.com. The bottom line of what I was driving at today is don’t puff up. Christians and non-Christians have dirty laundry. On the other hand, the conscious of God leads a man to so many more happy days than the conscious of man ever thought about. This sounds like the beginnings of another sermon; understanding the mind of Christ. Perhaps we could look into that for another week and both of us learn something. So long folks.
SCRIPTURES
1) THE FREE GIFT OF SALVATION – 1 Corinthians 1:18
[ Christ the Power and Wisdom of God ] For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. Romans 10:8-12 New King James Version
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”[a] (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”[b] 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.
2) BAPTISM IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST; THE FATHER, THE SON AND THE HOLY GHOST – Acts 2:38
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19-20 New King James Version
19 Go therefore[a] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.[b]
3) JESUS CALLS THOSE WHO OBEY HIS COMMANDS FRIENDS – John 15:14-18
New King James Version (NKJV)

14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

 

LISTENING…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
This is a hard sermon to preach because I am not the world’s best listener. It seems I always have a thought to interject or something to say about nearly everything.
I suppose that is what creates my continued interest in writing. If I ran out of material, how would I fill up your columns every week? But no matter, today’s sermon is about listening. We can really learn from it.
I have been thinking about how I could best fit exercise into my daily routine and really make it work. I love to listen to birds and fish and such, but there is really too much racket going on over here in City Hall parking lot to be effective. Plus I don’t like walking in the dark. Most likely I would be better off walking just as soon as my wife leaves for work every morning.
That way I could get my tennis shoes on, slip on an old pair of blue jeans and a comfortable shirt and hit the pond. I could work up a sweat by walking at least a couple of laps down the pond so that when I get home a hot shower would feel so good.
She leaves before 7:30 a.m. so if I got out there right away I could beat the school bus traffic. Yes, this plan is coming into fruition because I am listening to my body tell my soul that there is a need. This is the key to good health, good friendships and even financial stability. You have to listen for the warning signs when something is amiss and make the needed adjustments.
Be careful. Only make adjustments you can handle. Don’t try to please the other guy. Do what your body, comradery cycle or wallet says to do. Listen. Did you hear that? No, probably not unless you are sitting in Gurdon on a still morning as your eyes go over this work. What I hear is the Presbyterian Church song bells. In the now decade I have lived here, they have comforted me on more than one occasion.
My grand daughter Rayne, on her last monthly visit to Paw Paw’s house, was staring out the window on a Saturday morning, watching the train move along and listening to the train whistle. You could see it fascinated her. It was there all along, but somehow, she was taking the time to really listen to it.
In addition to the spiritual voice of God telling me to work some exercise/God talking time into my mornings, I am plagued by a desire to portion control my food. I hope to listen to that spirit too during this spring season coming up.
WHAT IS GOD SAYING
TO YOU?
The Word of God talks about listening to “that still small voice of God.” (1) Have you ever noticed God is a gentleman, and like a gentle wind, when He talks with you? Or at least that is the way it is with me. When Satan says stuff to my mind, it is brash. You can feel the devil, even when he tries to imitate God. You know in your heart you got the wrong telephone line.
When I was in the Pentecostal Church, we used to sing a song called “Jesus on the main line, tell him what you want.” That is a good thing to do, but an even better idea is to listen to what He wants. Oh, the Word tells us God wants us to obey Him. (2) That sounds so impossible. Yet the more success we have with it, the more it seems like the right thing to strive for.
I am listening again. The Presbyterian Church bells just played, “Jesus Loves Me.” Indeed He does, because the Bible tells me so.
My body is telling me to get my work done, one step at a time, and to not be so greedy with time. I am not sure how this adds up with efficiency, but I do know listening is the key. When I accepted Christ, I listened to the still small voice of God calling me into repentance and into a family far larger than my own called the Body of Jesus Christ.
I remember pulling myself off of the bench seat to go down to the altar where my Methodist minister met me with John 3:16 and Romans 10:8 and whatever other salvation scripture you might care to use to convince a young man that there was more to life that what meets the eye, or what that young man’s own brain could come up with while sitting on an old couch with his girlfriend out in a barn! For you see, my girlfriend Joni was a big part of my world in my youth, and sometimes I felt I was making a choice between her and God. And I was. I had put her first. And so I lost her.
My point is this, we worship a jealous God. (3) He has got to know that you put Him first in your life or will keep slamming your plans until either you walk away or God’s way becomes your way. So listen to the Lord early. He is your best friend. Sometimes you know that. Sometimes you don’t. But He is your best friend and your only hope for the future. If you don’t believe me, listen at two types of funeral services; the Christian on and the non-Christian one. With the Christian one, they talk of a Christian solider, friend and family man or woman going home to be with Jesus Christ and God.
In the other type service, if anyone says anything at all it is to tout that person’s work; he was a great writer. He was a great neurologist etc. Nothing wrong with saying a man was a hard worker, but for work to become an addiction, like it used to be with me, is just as nonproductive as alcoholism. Be leery of too much of a good thing. Listen, and you will hear the signs of it; groaning from being too fat from overeating, no longer seeking to help the other man but rather to get home to your beer, or just plain deciding church is too much trouble and going to the lake this week would be a great personnel experience. And it might be.
But what do you do with the scripture, do not forsake the assembling together? Listen to your heart and it will be OK. Sometimes God tells you to stay home and study. My life experiences tell me very little is true all of the time. I can be fighting mad at someone and then hear them out and be fine. Because I listened, my guard dropped and it was a good day after that.
Well the bird calls are blocked a little with the increasing sounds of society waking up on this Friday. I will listen and God will tell me what to do next. And God will hold me when I hear things that make me sad – like a report in a church about how great some fellow or gal was in this world instead of how kind hearted he or she was and how if you needed him or her, they would drop everything and you would find out “who your friends are” shortly after you called them.
Joyce Meyers, the television evangelist lady from St. Louis, issued a challenge on VTN this morning, asking people of the Christian faith to go out of their way to talk to people they seem to have nothing in common with. I will make a related challenge. I challenge you to listen to the dreams of someone you think you have nothing in common with. If you will listen, really listen, perhaps you will bless each other.
Have a comment on this, or any other Tailgate News sermon? Email me: jay_nelson_72443@yahoo.com
SCRIPTURES
1) STILL SMALL VOICE OF GOD – 1 Kings 19: 11-13; 11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
2) VALUE IN OBEYING GOD – Genesis 26:4-6 (New King James Version)
4 And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5 because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
3) GOD IS JEALOUS Deuteronomy 4:24
For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Deuteronomy 4:23-25 (in Context) Deuteronomy 4 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
Thank you Lord for sending Jesus so that your jealousy no longer means we can not be forgiven of our sins. Jesus Christ died for our sins; past, present and future. But we must listen sincerely to please God to be better servants of the Great Commission.

 

God’s Footsteps…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I had this plan recently to get ahead of the game financially. I worked and worked. I tried harder. I even took out loans. I got in deeper and deeper… Then I spun out of control…
Does this sound like you? I have lived on a working poor income as a reporter a good deal of my adult life so usually being broke is just normal, nothing to really worry about.
I got a better business when I converted my print media training to a magazine on a web site, where site hit numbers can be proven and there is a substantial number of readers for sale. My wife Michelle and I bought two cars, complete with payments. We did our best to plug along and do some home improvement, redoing the back porch and her kitchen so far. We helped our kids all we could. It was all going pretty good until I looked down at my feet one day and realized how much I was drowning in my debts…
I needed God’s foot steps. Sometimes, as the little familiar poem says, God must carry us to the shore in life so we don’t go down for the third time.
The old familiar scripture comes to mind; “Take my yoke, it is easy.” (1) And I have thought about that scripture a lot lately. I have been so busy I have not had time to really think my current finances through. I made the classic mistake of planning my bills on what I wish I had coming in with this business instead of trying to live within what I actually had coming in.
Preachers with much more training that me say the quickest way to feeling better, when one needs footsteps from Jesus Christ, is to put your problems on God’s shoulders and pray for the baby steps back to humming along. The Word says, “Be thankful in all things.” (2) That sounds pretty good right now too.
As God is having to carry me because I am all out of ideas, I might as well thank Him for all I do have. That should get me fit to work about as quickly as any medicine I can think of. I am thankful for good health. I am thankful for a career that I understand how to do and make a stab at a living doing.
I am thankful for a wife that tries to help me when she can and who seems to be interested in being with me when she can.
I am thankful for our home, our children and even for enough credit to get by. Our budget is nearly too big and it will take a little trimming to get it back down to normal. Instead of all building, I will trim what I feel comfortable with shedding. At this point, that is getting rid of an insurance policy I never use and attempting to buy modern day rabbit ears for television reception that I have grown weary of paying so much for. But enough of my money problems.
God showed me a long time ago if you can learn to be wise with your money, being a good steward, spending a little, saving a little, doing the best you can, then you can create that “straight up deal” needed to live with a smile on your face.
The same thing is true in relationships. God’s Bible is what gave us the Golden Rule and what a rule it is: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (3) If we did that all the time, just think what a wonderful place this old world would be to live in!
So what happened to me that got me all balled up inside? I overshot my mark on budgeting by about $400 a month. I can fix this with the help of God and being frugal. The temptation is to proceed and get in debt even further to “fix it” on the back end. That is a lie from the devil and most of you know it. To be happy, we must live within our means and we must constantly work to do so in order to not have as many of life’s uncertainties take us by surprise.
The guidance and direction God has been walking me through is helping me to clear my head. Perhaps you too have overspent a time or two in life and just needed some solitude to “Have a Little Talk With Jesus” so you could come out with a practical fix-it plan. Don’t feel guilty for overdoing things. Just start fresh from here on, in finance, in love and in reverence to our friend, Jesus.
And personally, I am grateful for the chance to begin again. As we all know, that chance will not always be there. There will come a day for all of us that is our “come to Jesus day.” Some of us will walk up to the judgment of God and be told, “I never knew you.” Others, who have been loyal to accepting the saving grace of Jesus until the end, will hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
So how, you might ask, can Satan fool us into going to hell? In my opinion, one good way would be to join a legalist church. Listen to the preacher tell you if you wear a short sleeve shirt to mow the yard, you will split hell wide open… There is nothing wrong with having personal convictions to wear a long sleeve shirt for modesty’s sake, if God has led you to believe your bare arms are some sort of sex symbol that drives women to come up to you and ask for adultery! But come on guys, how many of us really have that sexy of arms?
Still, my point is this. If we listen to the people who tell us we will go to hell for this or that “sin,” we are going to have a problem believing down deep in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Salvation, according to the Word, is a free gift. When you wonder if your actions are a sin, or in some way wrong for you, pray about it. Don’t listen to a human judge. Seek the guidance and direction of God All Mighty and if you are wrong, God will gently guide you to a more appropriate action, whatever your vice may be.
But the deal is this. Some listen to those legalists and throw up their hands and quit. Take my finance example, from earlier in this sermon. I could have said, “Well, I got in debt for my house and vehicle so I might as well just get in debt further. After all, I will never get out of it anyway. And the Bible says be a lender always and a borrower never…
Instead, I sought God’s guidance and he is gently leading me down a new path to breaking even and even having a decent savings account one day. I have not given up hope on correcting my wrong doing. But when somebody tells you that you will go to hell for swearing or for drinking too much etc. etc., many people figure, they are done for. So they give up on the power of Jesus to save a sinner “like me.” Don’t be a quitter. Love your Saviour to the end. Pray for God’s guidance and direction. When He offers it, accept his gently prodding to a more acceptable action toward being a better soldier for Jesus. Anticipate him saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
In short, when the going gets too tough, let God carry you. Then His footsteps will be the only set in the snow or sand.
We are all going through battles. An old friend of mine, The Rev. Harry Hashburger of the First United Methodist Church in Hagerstown, Indiana, used to say if we wake up in the morning and there is no conflict in our mind at all about our plans or actions, it means we are in step with the devil and his world.
Once you have been saved by grace, God’s Holy Ghost will wake you up with the conviction to strive to be more in line with the way Jesus Christ conducted Himself on this earth.
But then we take a break from our work and get to thinking. Satan tells us our spouse is not perfect for us and we should strive to find and conquer the perfect woman.
Or he might tell us to rob a bank if we are broke. The devil’s job is to suggest. Some preachers say we as Christians are not drawn to sin. And our spirits are not.But in the flesh, we still want to “get away” with an extramarital affair, eat too much, or tell the other man how to live his life.Sure, Christians are sometimes tempted into action by some sin that the devil describes as “victimless.”
Or maybe someone shortchanged themselves and gave you an extra $50. Do you keep it? Anyone would be tempted to unless they have ice water in their veins. If what you want to do is something you want to hide afterwards, it is probably a guilt trip in the making. I have found it is not so much what you do in a gray area, but if you remain in control and of good conscious afterwards.
One part of the Bible tells us essentially to respect the customs of the people you are with. Of course, if they customarily break one of the 10 commandments, you might want to rethink that stand. We must judge our own actions and let God worry about judging the actions of others. All we can do to help the other fellow is to suggest prayer and scripture reading, and resist the temptation to go beyond simply stating what the scripture says about certain things. Otherwise we are condemning them and driving them away from the Saviour.
SCRIPTURES
1) TAKE MY YOKE – Matthew 11:29
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
2) ALWAYS BE THANKFUL –
Colossians 3:15
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
3- THE GOLDEN RULE – Matthew 7:12
Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

 

 

Dreams and Visions
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Dreams and Visions

By JOHN NELSON

Tailgate News Editor

It is hard for me to believe it is going to be February tomorrow. One of my kids was born on Feb. 1. Happy birthday Erin, where ever you are…
Yes, we all have dreams and visions that come true, and most of us have a few that never will. I got to thinking about that this week. The paper turned out pretty good, especially the story about the Hagerstown High School Band… Of course, that is just my opinion.
I hope to hear yours soon. I have been having dreams and visions all of my life. Here recently, I have been praying that God would give me some of His and help me sort through the real and the fake of my own. You know those fake ones, the ones we either concoct ourselves or borrow Satan’s logic to come up with.
I looked at a couple of videos that represented me a few years back this morning. One was Nickelback’s “Want to be a Rock Star,” and the other one was Kid Rock’s “Want to Be a Cowboy.” Both are visions of the young. Sure, I still want to be both. Why lie? God knows what we are and what makes us smile.
But the thing is, as my mother-in-law Thelma used to say, “you are not the only cube of ice in the glass.” Yes, that quote is cleaned up a bit…
I have another daughter, Kelley. I have three step kids; Charity, Danielle and Jacob. I have six grand kids; Josh, Zander, Rayne, Laila, Ava and Daniel, plus a step grand daughter, Sarah, that I love as well.
If I decided to go with my youthful vision of being a Rock Star or a Cowboy, I would probably lose at least part of them over acting stupid.
I acted stupid as a child and my Dad the doctor bailed. So did my oldest daughter Erin, the successful computer programmer. I love them both. But they both bailed because I acted too selfish and not sophisticated enough to suit either one of their highly intellectual butts. I am bitter to a point, but not really. I have forgiven them for hurting me. I honestly am not sure either one even realizes their abandonment did hurt me. I just think, in their ivory towers, they had no time for a son or a father that wants to be a rock star or a cowboy…
But look at the folks in my life I did not lose. And look at the fact that my preacher, James McCain of Sycamore Church, is right, “I am blessed and highly favored!”
A good friend who passed away used to say that. I really like Charles. He used to go to our now defunct men’s meeting club through my church. I miss that club too. I guess I was also not sophisticated enough for those folks either. They still meet, that is the elders of the church do. But the rest of us, well, we don’t get together anymore… Sure I hurt. Everybody hurts over something.
But the point is, we have to realize that not everybody shares our dreams and visions. Not everybody is physically capable of pursing a darn thing anymore and many times life does go on, long after the thrill of living is gone. That is another line from a song, for those of you who might not remember John Cougar Mellancamp.
Ok, so I am wandering. Ok, the sermon is about dreams and visions. The Bible says old men dream dreams and young men have visions. (1) It also says take my yoke, it is easy. I will give you rest. (2).
Christ insists, before you come to Him, you must forgive your brother (or your dad or your oldest daughter). Jesus, when asked by a rich man what that guy had to do to be saved, said something that God has conveyed to me.
Basically, he told the rich man he would have to be willing to give up any of the blessings, money, possessions he had, at a moment’s notice, and give the money away, and follow Christ down the road of his nomadic preaching. (3) I am not sure Christ ever intended for the guy to do this. Most of the time God already knows what we are going to do before we do it. Some say he does all the time. I am not sure I agree with that. Otherwise, how do we really have free will or a true friendship with God?
But, once again, that is the wrong rabbit to chase here.
At any rate, I believe most of the time, when God throws something in front of you to get your reaction, it is for your own benefit. We need to know our true selves before us and Jesus Christ can work together to change the bad parts, that is the parts that hurt the work of the Great Commission. In short, if you smoke five packs of cigarettes a day, that might deter a sinner from believing you are a happy Christian more than if you smoke a cigar while you are waiting for a computer to catch up with your needs…
The cigar or pipe smoke could say, this guy has a human side that he needed Jesus to save him from. If a person is too goody two shoes, you might get an unsaved sinner, like I was at 14, to say, “I know he is the preacher and all, but he has never done anything! We are talking about a guy who has never had a girlfriend, drank a beer, drove a car too fast or even stayed out on the lake all day fishing instead of going to work that day! I mean this preacher probably never even smoked a cigarette his whole life! What the jxj? does he know about my life or how to unravel my sins and bring me to Christ?”
And I was right. For me, it took a colorful old barber, named the Rev. Harry Hashburger. He had been a barber for 20 years, living the day to day, working hard and playing hard, before God called Harry to preach. But Harry could talk to me. I got saved at 15 because I thought, “Well, if Harry could get saved by the grace of Jesus, maybe John can too.”
I had a dream back then that I shared with Harry. I dreamed I would sing my rock and roll music (I used to play guitar and sing quite a bit more than I do now) for Jesus someday. I described the dream and the devils that came against me in it. Harry smiled and said some of that is actually Biblical. He did not condemn me for it. He just listened.
I suppose that dream I had at night really qualified as a vision of the future. As to dreaming of the past, I do more of that now that I am 55 than I did at 15. Obviously, I have more past to think back on now.
AND WHAT ABOUT YOU?
And what about you? Do you dream of you favorite fishing trip? Do you have a vision of making your first million before you are 40 and buying a House Hunters mansion for about $500,000 in Argentina? Or have you lost interest in those dreams and visions and are more concerned with what God might need you for in His Christian soldiers army?
Sure, for years, I wanted both too. Now I look at it like this. If I lose every possession I have, and God still loves me, that is fine. If I gain all of the possessions and talents I dreamed of and had visions for, and lose the love of Jehovah God, I don’t want any part of it. I mean that. God knows I mean it. Otherwise, he would burn my house down, wreck my car and have all my advertising clients go away.
I am blessed and highly favored, not because I have given up every comfort in this world, or every friend and family member for that matter, but because God knows I would be willing to do so, if need be, to keep His love.
I think all Christians have to come to that point in their life. When we say, OK, I really don’t need all of this stuff. I own most of it on credit for the next 10 years anyway… If God wants me to turn it all in and live on the street, OK I will. He blessed me with all I have anyway.
And everything is relative. I have noticed many people have a lot fancier stuff, and more of it, than I as a journalist have, or could ever hope to have. The Bible says do not covet your neighbor’s things. I can obey that one pretty easily, as materialism, even back in the day, has always bored the bejesus out of me. We could go on to areas where Satan’s darts do tempt me, but that is not the point.
My point is my advice is to have hope, faith and love when it comes to having the tools and some of the wants in life we believe we need to have a good and productive journey. But consider this writer’s favorite old saying, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” I believe that. But I also believe if we use what he gives us, God will give us even more and what he takes away will be stuff we no longer need anyway.
FAVORITE VISION
Before I quit, I want to share with you my favorite vision. It has come to me in a night-time dream for years and repeats itself in my head like an old friend.
I am in a cabin somewhere. Perhaps in the Arkansas Ozarks, or up by my Cherokee area near Mammoth Springs. All I know is it is my cabin. I have an electric generator and Internet access, but my life is somehow off the grid. In my vision, I am 125 years old. I don’t look a lot different than I do now, except for my gray has grown… I am putting a sermon on the web and hear a knock at the door.
I recognize the knock and open the door. There stands my daughter Kelley, only she is about 100 years old and her blonde hair has been replaced with gray. She has on an old beat up leather jacket, military issued, and she has a great big smile on her face.
Kelley says, “Hello Daddy. How are you?”
I look outside, just behind her, and notice fire and brimstone falling from the sky. The place looks like a Sci-Fi movie about Mars or somewhere like it. Then I return my glance to my daughter, and respond that I am well and ask her in. We sit down, talk over recent events and over people we both miss… Then I convince her to play me a game of chess. I still have a refrigerator, thanks to solar energy and whatever type of electricity I have for my communication on the Net. So I offer her a beer.
We sit and drink one each, as the chess game progresses.
She says, “September is just a couple of months from now Dad…” I glance her way and smile. “Yea well, I wanted a straight up deal with the Lord. I am ready if He is ready for me to leave.”
Kelley assured me she would be back before fall got too old but she had to get back to fighting her own war. We hugged and said our goodbyes…
In the next scene, Kelley is at my door again. It is November 1, 2084. The last X on my calendar is for September 12, 2084… When my daughter lets herself in, she sees me in my old black coat, propped up at the chess board, only the flesh has already begun to leave my bones. Actually, in the vision, I am already a skeleton dressed to play another game of chess, with an empty beer can in my hand of bones… Kelley opens her beer and takes a deep swig, as she sits down. Then she takes a ragged breath, moves a chess piece and walks outside to get a shovel out of her jeep…
Out back, there is a graveyard. My wife is already laid to rest there. Kelley begins to dig a hole for my body. The tombstone already has my date of death on it… No, it was not suicide. It was just time to go…
And that is when the vision ends. It rolls over in my crazy mind a lot. Sure, I am crazy. If I were not crazy, how would I ever cope with the day to day?
I have absolutely asked my God what that vision means, over and over again. He tells me I will understand as the days get shorter and the nights get longer. And so I wait for it to become crystal clear in my mind exactly why that vision is one of those things that I just know that I know will really happen. If it does not, that is OK. I will give it up for the love of the Lord.
But it is my favorite vision. For you see, at its conclusion, my body goes back to dust and my Spirit goes to my heavenly mansion in the sky. I get my beach house in heaven, with the waves lapping up against white sand… And my war will be over… I will have fought the good fight and done all that I could do. That is how I want to go out. That is my version of being a rock and roll star and a cowboy for Christ. Check out those videos. They really are dream and vision prompters.
SCRIPTURES
1) OLD MEN DREAM DREAMS, YOUNG MEN SEE VISIONS
Joel 2:28
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
Acts 2:17
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
2) TAKE MY YOKE, IT IS EASY
Matthew 11:29
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
3) WHAT I MUST DO TO BE SAVED
Matthew 19:16-24
King James Version (KJV)
16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

 

 

On Friendship…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Sometimes we don’t stop to think about how good of a friend Jesus Christ is to those of us who have asked Him to come into our hearts, or how good a friend He would like to be to those who are still trying to make it on their own merits in this old world.
There is an old-time song, that we sang quite a bit in the Methodist Church where I grew up in my first steps toward Jesus, that is entitled, “What a Friend We Have In Jesus.” The lyrics hit on the head what I believe the Lord would like me to get across in this week’s sermon.
It says something like this, “What a friend we have in Jesus, love and grace are everywhere. When things go wrong, do not tarry, take it to the Lord in prayer.
“What a friend we have in Jesus, love and grace are everywhere. When you are weary or worried, take it to the Lord in prayer.”
This may be a bit of editorial liberty on the words, but you get my meaning. For those of you who might have noticed I use Jesus Christ and God interchangeably. Let me explain what I have come to believe. I am not oneness all the way. But I do believe there is only one true God of Love, that inspired the Christian Bible and is faithful not to lie or deceive us. The Bible calls him Jehovah-jireh that is Jehovah, my provider. The Jehovah Witness folk seem to get upset because the name Jehovah was removed so many times from the Bible during translations. But I bet they missed a few. (1) As our scripture section shows, there are a few if you look under traditional King James. New King James, strangely, came up with no Jehovah’s in their translation. This is indeed alarming, especially for the poor souls who changed the Bible and omitted it…
God wants us to know Him specifically and that name Jehovah, the God of Abraham, can not be mistaken for Budha, Mohommad, or some othe fellow trying to put himself on the level of a supreme being.. God, our God, is simply the one true God, that is the miracle working Creator that created the heavenly city in the sky for his children who accept the path of Jesus and ask to be forgiven of their sins; past, present and future, when they put their trust in the only Begotten Son of the Living God, Jehovah, God All Mighty, or Andy if the Sunday school joksters of old can be believed.
OK. Joke break.
A challenged man with a good heart, who had long accepted Jesus as his Savior, approaches the pearly gates upon his mortal death. St. Peter says, “Welcome Steven, but you must answer one simple question before I let you in. What is God’s Son’s name, by whose pure, sinless blood you make the request to get into heaven?
Steven thought and thought. Then he finally said, “Andy.” Peter knew Steven’s heart was belonging to Jesus so instead of rejecting the challenged man, he said, “Please explain.” Steven said, “I know I have walked and talked with God all my life. And there is a song in church that says Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me. So I guess God’s son, who the Lord lets come down and be my friend, must be named Andy…”
St. Peter smiles and says, “Come on in Steven. In the Name of Jesus Christ. And His other name… Andy.”
I believe in the Word of God. The Bible says Jesus Christ, the physical Son of God’s being, is the Word. The Bible, of course, is also known as the Word. .. The Bible describes Jesus Christ as “the Word Made Flesh.(2)” Therefore to know the Bible is to know Jesus Christ. Christ was and is a real person in human form. He now has a celestrial body and through the Holy Ghost can be with everyone. As the old Methodist song says, “God in three persons, blessed Trinity.” It does not mean three Gods. It means three parts of the same God, with Father God in heaven and earth, omnipresent everywhere.
Again, as I have said before, I do not believe I was called to preach to you in writing on non-salvation issues. So let’s make it simple. God’s name, according to old Testament, is Jehovah, the true God of purity, honesty, integrity and all that is perfect. God sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to live a sinless life on earth for 33 years and then die by way of the cross so that we sinners could enter heaven if we ask forgiveness of those sins, forgive others and let go of believes that we can solve our own problems.
In short we come to a perfect God by way of the only perfect Man that ever lived and that perfect man’s purifying blood. Salvation is for you. God says it is for “who-so-ever will.(3)”
After all of that, we must believe in our hearts and confess with our mouth that Jesus died, was buried and rose on the third day because He is the key to a heavenly home and a much more forfilling life on earth than our own ingenuity could ever come up with!.
Then ask Jesus, by way of His Spirit, the Holy Ghost, to come into your heart and your new friend will open up ways of looking at life and enjoying life that you never thought possible. And protection, what are you talking about? Jesus Christ calmed seas and he can calm the seas of turmoil in your life right here on earth! Talk about better than the government or the mafia, Jesus is the ultimate protector of God’s children.
We must believe in the miracle of God’s son dying for all of our sins and raising again from the dead in order to be saved. Then we are instructed to shout about it, repent from those sins God just pardoned us from and be baptized in the Name of Jesus, that is in the Name of the Father, the Name of the Son (Jesus) and the Name of the Holy Ghost (our Comforter and friend).
After that, we are to begin to get to know our new friend. Jesus Christ is the personality side of God that is forgiving, long suffering and our Counselor in good times and bad.
He will also prick our conscious when we slip up and sin and point us back to a better way. Again, here is a Nelsonism. We all sin. Get over it. We all do it. The Word says it is possible to walk without sin after salvation, as we have a choice in the matter. Ok, God said it so I will claim it as truth.
But I have never met a man or woman that is not sinning or in process of it. Everytime they condemn someone else and then claim discerning trouble should mean they have a right to call somebody hurting a piece of trash, that judgmental soul is sinning just as much as an adulteror, a killer or a thief. But the good news is, if they have Jesus Christ in their heart, He will deal with them and their sin problem. My job is simply to point the unsaved sinners to the cross. Then their futures are between them and the God of Love. Believe me, I think that is leaving a troubled soul in good hands, don’t you?
TRUSTING JESUS
I am not sure everything I have been impressed with in my Spirit has come from the pure counseling of Jesus Christ. In fact, I know it has not. For example, sometimes lost loves are really lost and all of the wishful thinking in the world can not bring them back.
But you can “Have a Little Talk with Jesus” and understand what is happening. God has made me a few promises. I have expanded on those in my mind, trying to understand what the All Mighty was trying to convey to me. That does not make Him a liar. It makes me a dreamer who sometimes just needs to let God be God and me be the pack mule.
The Word says God is not a man so he can not lie. It also calls Jesus Christ the only sinless and pure sacrificial man that ever lived, so by definition the Spirit of Jesus Christ can not lie either. Therefore, when life does not turn out like I think it should, or like I believe God told me it would, I am the sucker who misunderstood. I can not blame Jesus for letting some of my dreams get so real in my head that I am really tempted to take actions that would be dishonorable toward my loved ones or that would display a lack of integrity.
The beauty is, God will bring me back to His guidance and direction, even on sensitive issues like beliefs concerning your personal life line or love of your life, or your personal enduring good health. I have come to believe that my visions are possible through following God’s guidance and direction, but it has to be in His time, not mine. And, since God never seems to tire of waiting for an opportune time, it would be wise if we also develop some patience.
The bottom line is Jesus Christ is my friend, so while I wait on all my dreams and visions to come true, I can walk with Him, talk with Him, along life’s merry way.
SCRIPTURES
1) JOHOVAH PROVIDER (All from King James Version)
Genesis 22:14
And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen. Exodus 6:3
And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them.
2) THE WORD MADE FLESH (JESUS) John 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
3) WHO-SO-EVER WILL – Romans 10:7-9
King James Version (KJV)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

‘A Yard from
the Gates of Hell’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
When I was a young man, and I first accepted Christ, I somehow did not believe what He wanted from me was to just sit on a church bench, sing a few songs, listen to a sermon, half fall asleep and go home to eat too much so I could take a good nap.
Somehow, in my mind of minds, and heart of hearts, I wanted to fight for what Christ did; saving souls from entering the gates of hell. I see Jesus as my best friend and I take his Great Commission very seriously. I still want a mission a yard from the gates of hell.
That was a song title by a Christian band in the 1970’s called Karmen. The message is pretty self explanatory. If we don’t tell them they need salvation, who will? When I was on the road those 20 years, I met a lot of people who were one-man or one-woman missionairies. They sat in bars, they were across from me at lunchrooms or they were in my journalism offices. All of them wanted just want I want, to have a mission a yard from the gates of hell so I can somehow encourage good people not to enter those gates.
And they are all good people. Everyone has some good in them. You just have to take the time to find it. You may ask what can I do? I ask that all the time. Last year I wrote 49 magazines and published 49 sermons to promote Jesus Christ. This year, God willing, I will do the same.
We went in debt last year for a couple of good cars and to do some needed repairs on our old house. There is a lot to go, but the red lights have gone off in my head as well as my wife’s. Siding can wait a year if need be. We have put the whole matter in the hands of God. He allowed us to prosper this far. Now we have to fill the shells and get in the black. That may take a few years of hard work.
But anything worth having is worth taking a risk for and worth working hard for, or so I have been taught all my life. What does God’s word say? It says it is the Father’s good pleasure to give His children the kingdom and that He wants his children to prosper while under His guidance. (1&2).
As to a mission a y ard from the gates of hell, I pushed my life near that gate on more than one occasion. Some might say I have done it financially now. I believe I have set up a reasonable challenge and acquired the necessary equipment to continue the battle.
I ask God every day to show me when to take gambles and when to flow along eating hot dogs for awhile. I enjoy both. But there is an ultimate battle to be won here. One that does not have anything to do with better equipment on earth, a prettier or smarter spouse, or whatever tempts you the most as you walk around this planet God has given you for a temporary home.
Whether we live 20 years or 125 years, we will die. Most likely we will fall down and die. I don’t mean get a little sick and get over it, I mean die…
As you sit there with your third Burbon on the rocks, staring at the mirror across the bar, what do you see amongst your smoke rings. Oh, I realize some of my more conservative readers have never had this experience. It is a great self-evaluation technique. Get a designated driver lined out, or a taxi-cab number, and go try it…
Am I encouraging you to get drunk and out of control? No. But I am encouraging you to get alone with God and relax. Give it a real think. You are going to die. Where are you headed when you leave this body? I am one of these people who refuses to follow an entity that has not been there done that. That is why I follow the only entity that has ever come back from the dead.
There were 500 witnesses to a walking/talking Jesus Christ, still in a terrestrial body, after the soldiers declared him a dead and crucified man. Tell me, where was Mohammed or Budda after death? Where is the proof?
One of the beautiful things about the critics of Jesus Christ is they start out to prove its all a lie, the whole story of the man who loved us so much he allowed himself to be crucified so that his sinless blood would cover our sins and assure us of a mansion in the sky when we leave this body. And then they find out there is more proof that the story of Jesus Christ being the only begotten Son of God Jehovah is true rather than being false.
I use that Name Jehovah because historically the only God of Love and of Abraham in the Bible went by that name. I do not claim to be a Jehovah’s witness or anything else except a Christian. Non-salvation issues are not what I was called to write sermons about.
THE PORCH
I remember going out under the stars with my grandfather on the farm in Indiana to take care of business off the back porch. There were some beautiful nights back then and it was when I first noticed the big dipper and the small dipper.
But my point is I was scared to go out there alone. However, as long as I had Grandpa’s hand, I knew I would be safe and all would be well. I feel the same way about Jesus Christ. In the Word, He says, “In my Father’s house, there are many mansions. I go so that I may prepare a place for you. If it were not so, I would have told you.” (3)
I love that song, “Precious Jesus Hold My Hand.” It reminds me that when I leave this body to go out on the porch of eternity, I want to be holding the hand of the man who stilled the water and calmed the sea (another song lyric from “Put Your Hand In The Hand” for those who did not know).
Life is a battle. It is about having the right equipment to take the stand you choose to take. And it is about giving every day to God. Ask Him for divine guidance and direction to do what your heart is telling you to do for the Kingdom of God. Don’t know Jesus? Hit your knees and pray. Tell him John the mule sent you.
Tell me, do you want to go out on the porch alone when you die, or holding the hand of a man who has beaten the evil’s of death and went to a God’s house where there are many mansions?
SCRIPTURES
1) GOD WANTS TO GIVE US THE KINGDOM Luke 12: 32-33 New King James Version
32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.
2) PROSPERITY IS THERE FOR THOSE WHO KEEP GOD CLOSE Genesis 39:21-23 (NKJV)
21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. 23 The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.
3) I PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU John 14:1-3 (NKJV)
The Way, the Truth,
and the Life
14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

‘Wait for
God’s Direction’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
There is a place in the Christian Bible where Jesus Christ is taking inventory with a fellow who wants to get hired as a follower.
I am not sure what that paid during the life of Christ, and certainly the pay varies for each follower in modern time. We get anything from free chicken dinners to redicule for quoting our company manuel (the Bible).
But in this particular passage (1), God says something to the effect, “I see you are very diligent in following my 10 commandments, you tithe pretty regular and the people around you consider you a loving individual, although you have been known to offer to work for those in need instead of giving from your stack of possessions.”
Jesus, in this instance, was telling this young man he was doing pretty good but that he was never going to be Jesus Christ himself when it came to unselfishness. No doubt, having been schooled to try and save what you can, after taking care of your family and basic needs, the young man might have smiled at Jesus and thought, “Well, I do know how to save. Maybe I could buy the disciples dinner, if you would not mind.”
No doubt God reads our minds before we speak. God, in the form of fleshly Jesus, the Son of Man, commended the man for keeping those commandments, tithing and even giving from his savings occasionally for something special.
Then he hit him right between the eyes. “If you want to follow me (that is do what I did down here on this planet), go and sell all of your goods. Sell everything you have and give the money to the poor.”
In fact, now that I think of it, the man’s true question was, “Lord, I have kept your law since my youth. What must I do to be saved?”
Does this whole line of Biblical memory mean to imply that I believe Jesus Christ wants each and everyone of us to sell our house and car, then sell our clothes, then sell our business equipment and toys, then, with one robe left to dress modestly in, take off down the road and physically follow Him? I got news for you. This man spoke in parables. If you did give it all and set out, He is not here in t he flesh anymore. I believe Christ was telling the rich man if he chose to be a Christian, it was more than keeping the law.
I believe Jesus was telling him that a Christian soldier must always be ready to do whatever the Lord asks. If I want to get my sales sheets done for this advertising business and the Lord reminds me it is time to work on this week’s sermon, I need to bend with that devine direction. If I want to please Him, and not be subject to disappointing my spiritual Father, I will wait on the sales quotes and do that sermon first.
WAITING FOR GOD’S DIRECTION
Sometimes I just know I have heard from God and yet whatever it is that He is telling me to do or enjoy is nowhere to be found in my realm of reality. Then I remember God’s promise to Sarah and Abraham about Issac. They waited way past reasonable to see that baby.
I used to tell my grandfather that the main thing I wanted from life was a chance to succeed. The actual success, should it come, was not as important to me as the journey. I have a life plan that I believe is God inspired. Being me, I sprinkled the plan with an actual timetable. That surely made God laugh.
He gave me the plan. As sure as I am sitting in the Tailgate News magazine office on Jan. 10, 2014, God gave me a business plan involving me, an advertising director and an office manager/book keeper/ad make-up artist.
I have known about this business plan since 2007. I even had a few folks act like they wanted one of those positions. But, alas, it will be 7 years this May since I started Tailgate News. It has evolved to a 16 page digital weekly with 5,000 site hits a week being about average for most of the year. It is a viable audience I write to and I appreciate it.
God has repeatedly laid in my spirit how the staff is supposed to work and how the future is going to go for me and mine. I have hope His words are true. The Bible says He can not lie. I have faith that “Love Never Fails.” That is what is says in Corinthians 8. (2). But as I wait on God, and seek His direction each day, I do not understand why He gave me vision after vision of a successful business and a yet to expand immediate family.
I hope to spread my business out a bit with 16 pages to fill up. I can do a lot more experimentation and grant folks better deals in the advertising business, having made this decision to add four pages and to have actually done so in the first issue of the year.
But that is not the vision. I feel like I am marking time as I wait on God to show me when all of this stuff is to come to pass and why… For you see, the business, my current family life and my personal health and happiness are all OK with me. God wants more for me than that. He wants more for you than that too. Above all things, I want my children to prosper, says God. (3)
That is what I have concluded about the visions we are given from Jesus Christ and God. He is showing us what will be down our Christian path so we do not weary in our well doing. My conclusion, grab the Father’s Hand and hang on. The Word of God says if we draw near to the Father, he will draw near to us. My believe is if I tell God I love Him every day and that I appreciate what I see in my world that He has provided and that I thank Him for that and His revelation of my future, I will not be deceived.
Because the devil can give you visions too. But if you examine your vision and it is selfishly motivated, consider the source; you or Satan created it in all likelyhood. If it is God’s vision, it’s coming to pass will bring a simple thing; a straight up deal where everyone is blessed with gifts that God has promised both you and me as followers of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes God calls a loved one home so that another task to save the lost can be accomplished. As we said last week, when you seek first the kingdom of God, He will give you all things. All includes the good with the bad. We may never understand the high ways of Father God, or how anything could love so much as to sacrifice His only Begotten Son so that sins could be forgiven. All I can do sometimes is give thanks and to tell the Lord I love Him. Indeed, we can know things that will help us work for the Great Commisson, but to say we will ever understand God – at least before we meet Him face to face in heaven, could be a bit of wishful thinking.
Paraphrased, God says, “Take heart my son, for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the keys to the (your) kindom.” Why would he want to do this for you and me? I plan to ask Him that face to face one of these days.
If I am reading the Word right, we may be happy to pay for a house and car, have a bit of vacation money and have the credit cards all paid for before we retire so that our meager savings is not ate up with too many bills for a retired person. God, on the other hand, does not seem to like a mediocre plan. He told me the other day I should retire from journalism, when His direction says to do so, and learn the trade of being an auctioneer.
Such a person makes a lot more than a journalist, especially a farm equipment auctioneer. I ran God’s idea by my family. They love it. So who knows? I may work this magazine another 20 years and then spend 20 years traveling around auctioning off things and praising Jesus in some sort of evangelitstic and oral way instead of through my writing.
You are right. I am guessing about my vision. We can not understand God. But we can learn to believe what He says more quickly as our hope turns into faith faster than in our younger days, and our faith spurs us to follow His direction with more assuredness than we ever had from looking with our own eyes as we crossed another kind of street in our youth. Thank God for all of your blessings and opportunities. Tell Him you love Him and keep on keeping on.
SCRIPTURES
1)JESUS’S ANSWER TO THE RICH YOUNG MAN – Matthew 19:21-22
New King James Version
21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
2) LOVE NEVER FAILS
1 Corinthians 13:8
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
3) GOD WANTS US TO PROSPER –
Psalm 35:27
Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favor my righteous cause. And let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.

 

‘Seek Ye First’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Christian Bible tells us to accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior from hell’s hot flames and from the ugliness we could get into on earth without His devine guidance and direction.
If you don’t obey anything else in life, obey that. I did at 15. That was 40 years ago. I am very glad I accepted Christ into my heart and soul or I would have probably wound up on death row without His guidance and direction.
Either that, or I would have wound up filthy rich and so well protected by the Mafia that the whole world would have been afraid of me. A stretch and a brag? I wish it were. I do have a very… colorful… background.
But I accepted Christ over the devil, good over evil, as a very young boy of 15. Did I live perfect after that? Give me a break. There was but one fellow who lived perfect and they hung Him on a cross so that His perfect blood would atone the rest of us.
Would I like to live perfect as Jesus did? Yes, if that be God’s will. But God made me as I am; a terrestrial being. I believe perfection is God’s will for us, but not until we move from the terrestrial to the celestial body in heaven. That is just my interpretation of the Word on this. Set me straight if you have another view. The Word says, “Then there is no more sorrow, tears etc. (1)”
But, look around. This ain’t heaven. So what is a Christian supposed to do in this old world? Spread the Great Commisson and show love to others. That is my take. The Bible says, in answer to our question, “Occupy.” If the public perceives us as haters, we have not gained anything. It is hard for me to see how an offer from Jesus Christ to guide my soul to heaven is hate…
I, like other folks, did my own evaluation of pros and cons before accpeting Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. But part of my deal was that Christ is the only being recorded in history to rise from the dead after three days behind a rock in body and the only one that can talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime. He still lives. “You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart,” so the songster said many years ago.
SEEK YE FIRST
So the word of God actually says, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things will be added unto you.” (2)
If you are a mule like me, you might ask, “How in the heck is seeking my Creator going to get me all things? OK Einstein, what things do you want first? Me, I want an eternal life that I can enjoy. Christ said He could provide said life if I believe in my heart that He is God’s Only Begotten Son and that He rose from the grave on the third day.
Jesus said, “In my Father’s House there are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you. But I will not leave you comfortless. I will send the Holy Ghost as your Comforter.” (3)
Now here is the deal. In my 15 year old brain, I figured I was supposed to do what the Word said the best I could to first of all get saved from hell’s flames and a life of not knowing what was wrong or right. So I went to an alter in a Methodist Church and asked Christ to save me from the just rewards associated with my past, present and future sins. He did that. How do I know? Hope, faith and love. I hope so. I have faith He did and I love the Carpenter for all that He has taught me about how to live and not dismantle the other children around me.
Sure, as the recent news said, Christians have had “holy wars,” where the Christian legalism way of life was forced on folks with the threat of death. This is just as wrong as the Islamic terrorists are doing today. Attempting to force somebody to think like you do “ain’t gonna work.”
So let’s look at this closer. Seek ye first, the Kindom of God… That part was easy for me. I sought Christ as my Savior and He accepted me, with all my faults. He also made me ashamed of my sins and gave me inspiration to overcome them as best I could while on earth. Not to go around and proclaim to people that they should get saved and therefore have the strength to NEVER sin again, like the arrogant legalists do, but to give me a shame in my conscious so that I would crave to know the truth about right from wrong and therefore want to spread this Great Commission.
And All His Righteousness…. Not that is a harder pill for me to swallow. If I seek to know all of His righteousness, I reasoned, I might find it. And if it is some life strangling junk like the part of the old testament that says we should stone to death a disobedient child, then I would end up walking away from the best friend I ever had (Mr. God)… But God said do it, so here goes.
What I have discovered about His Righteousness so far is that God is anti-sin because the wages of sin are death. If you smoke four packs of cigarettes a day, you are killing your chances of seeing 75 years old in most cases. Death. Now if you are saved, hopefully Christ will show this right from wrong and you will smoke less or maybe even not at all…
It is a process. Do I believe a perfect God could have regrets? Yes. I believe before Christ came to earth to atone for all of our sins that accept Him as personal Savior, God regretted the actions of people who took His words to their own conclusions. God said, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” This does not tell me we ought to have a Deteronomey town hall meeting and decide to stone a disobedient teenager! Nor does it tell me stoning a child to death is God’s righteousness.
So I resolved to seek what God’s righteousness is by reading the Word of God in both the Bible and in the actions of non-leagalistic Christians that I believe are also doing their best to live lovingly, not with a spirit of condemation. Paul says in Ecclesiastics that accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Savior means we will have “no more condemnation.” In short, we let God be judge. We just pass on the criteria His Word says will be used on that judgment day.
And All of These Things Will Be Added Unto You… Now that part is great. We all want all things. All good things that is. The trouble is it does not say all good things will be added unto you. It says all things. I will check on that before I print this but it is my recollection that God said all things… I take that to mean if we choose Christ we can expect the blessings of God and the hatred of unsaved mankind. We better expect it because we are sure going to get it!
The good news is I read the end of the book. We win.
SCRIPTURES
1) NO MORE SORROWS, TEARS…
Revelation 21:1-5 New King James Version 21 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John,[a] saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me,[b] “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
2) SEEK YE FIRST
Matthew 6:33-34 (NKJV) 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
3) MANY MANSIONS
John 14:1-20
King James Version (KJV)
14 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
Submitted by
Kim House Phillips
Glen Rose
A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.
She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and the last she placed ground coffee beans.
She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She then pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied. She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked, “What does it mean, Grandmother?” Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity — boiling water — but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?” Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat?
Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of your life. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you changed by your surroundings or do you bring life, flavor, to them? ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN?N?

 

The Man
In the Mirror
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I have been working on the man in the mirror for a number of years. I am not sure I am really any better person than in the old days, but I have become less prone to do things that seem to bother folks around me.
The self-righteous cussing fits of my youth are pretty well minimal anymore. I am no longer prone to change jobs a lot since I own my own business and have for a number of years. In short, I ask God for guidance and direction most every day and things go a lot smoother. But I am still paying for mistakes from years ago.
As they say, we reap what we sew. I would love to be out of debt. Right now, I am investing in home improvement and in my house itself. I want to have it cherried out and completely paid for before I go on Social Security. I do not plan to do that until I am at least 72. Even if I do it at 70, that gives me 15 years to pay off about $40,000. I think I can do that. Time will tell.
Every man must decide how to live. I was raised cash and carry. I prefer that. I realize our Bible says do not be a borrower ever. But I am a businessman. I need a car and an office/home. I need them to make a living and that means paying them off. To me, I feel no remorse for attempting to do so.
I would venture to say I feel no remorse on the few balloon bills I have (included in that $40,000 or less total debt I will pay by age 70). The reason being, I will do all in my power to pay them an then keep my old self from borrowing against a Social Security check! That would be wrong, in my opinion.
I will need that money to just live. Of course, we could talk health insurance. I have some so far. I am still waiting to see if my country is going to call me a criminal for not judging alternative care (Obamacare) to be worth my time. As the Iowa advertisements say, it is a joke. And not a very funny one.
So there you have it, a bit of slice of life. No, I am not perfect. Yes, I do believe we should pay as we go whenever possible. Yes, I can see it is my own lack of faith for cars, houses, school expenses and business equipment, that made me break that rule.
I pray you have more faith than me. The word says we are all given a measure of faith. (1) We will look it up as to if that means we all have exactly the same faith. I would say we have the same faith potential, as children of the most High God. But I believe we have to ignite it a little at a time. I believe that radical change rarely works. To me, the slow change is the only change. But that is just between me, you and the man in the mirror.
What else do I feel guilty about when looking in the mirrow besides my debts? Women. I love a lot of women as sisters and men as brothers. I do not feel guilty about that. And I love my wife Michelle more than any other woman. I mean that dear, if you are reading this. But there are two other women in my past that I felt a “strong” spark of love for. I still feel that spark. I would not act on it out of love and respect for my wife. But I still feel it. I feel “man in the mirror” guilt about that when those thoughts cross my mind.
And eating too much. And drinking too much. Yes, I eat hamburgers and I drink a little beer. I do not eat to excess or drink to excess. I used to. Now, I am 30 pounds over what I would consider a comfortable weight. I am slowly losing it. As to the drinking, do I think a little wine (or in my case light beer) is good for my health? Yes I do. So I don’t feel guilt unless I consume over a six pack in an evening. It has been several years since I broke my limit, so not much guilt there.
As to the food, yes, I feel more guilt about that than I do the beer and singing that helps me relax after I have worked at this magazine 12 to 16 hours a day. There is no excuse for eating two and three helpings of a holiday meal, or any meal. And when I do it, I feel awful. I mean I feel awful mentally and physically. My father is a doctor. He says fat will kill me quicker than booze or cigars. He is probably right.
It is indeed rare to see a fat old person. I am working on this, as I am the debt problem. They say confession is good for the soul. Now you have mine.
Let’s look at yours? What makes you look in the mirror and not smile like you should? What is the devil tormenting you with that steals your joy from time to time? Satan is an expert at stealing joy (2).
It is an addiction? We all have them. Is it gossiping about the other fellow or gal? We all do that too. Some more than others.
Remember what I have repeatedly tried to share with you in my sermons from John; we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Our good works are as filthy rags. I believe our attempts at good works before salvation can even be detrimental to our eternal futures because “good people” are harder to convince that they have a need for Jesus Christ to save them from themselves.
Those of us who have admittedly spent our youth playing cards with the devil know very well without the miracle of Jesus Christ and His grace just where we are headed, both on earth and beyond – alone and in hell.
And believe me, the man in the mirror would rarely smile if I believed that was waiting for me at the end of the road. Now do I have problems yet unsolved? Financially, eyes wandering, cussing etc.? You bet. Am I doing my best to please the Lord that saved me from hell on this earth and beyond? You bet. The good book says God is a friend of the overcomer. (3) And I am sure glad He is. Sometimes I look in that mirror after the devil convinces me to “get away” with some slip of the tongue or some huge pile of food and I find only one friend there and that is Jesus Chirst. I look in my own eyes and smile because I believe Jesus is in my heart and gratitude swells up.
The Christian walk is more like a live, animated movie, than some dead scroll. At least mine is. And so it will be Christmas soon. This is, of course, the time of year to celebrate the birth of Jesus Chirst, our savior and friend. It saddens me that the politically correct socialists currently running our governement do not want a Christmas tree in the white house. If anything, they want a holiday tree.
Whatever they say. Just like in my youth, if I have to pick between what I read as God’s law in my Bible and call it right, or do what is legally correct according to the leaders of the “free world,” I know in my heart the trump hand is God’s word…
A positive note has come my way since first composing this sermon. The news says President Barack Obama lit the White House “Christmas tree” for the 93rd celebration in our highest house in the land. Good for your Mr. Obama.
Even though I disagree with much of his approach, at least he did light a Christmas tree without some watered down, insultive, “holiday tree” slang. Thank you sir for doing right by Christianity in this simple matter. I sincerely hope our commander in chief enjoys the tree. His calling it a Christmas tree was a great present to this Christian soldier.
Onward Christian soldiers. My advice, don’t do too much today before you check for guidance and direction from praying to Jesus and before you check your look in that mirror. You can tell if all is well with your soul. If you see that glow of joy and happiness, you know you can pick yourself up and begin to lock and load for Jesus Chirst. That could mean writing a weekly sermon. That could mean helping an old lady to go to the doctor. What God tells you to do is between you and Him. For best results, seek; seek ye first the kingdom of God and all of its righteousness and all will be added unto you.
As a fellow who loves music and sometimes a bit of beer and cigar or pipe smoke before laying his head down at night, I must say I am looking forward to drinking wine with a King. But I am in no hurry. However long Christ can use a mule like me on this old earth is how long I want to stay.
As with all Tailgate News sermons, if you have any questions or comments, please email the editor at: jay_nelson_72443@ yahoo.com
SCRIPTURES
1) MEASURE OF FAITH –
Ephesians 4:13
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
2) DEVILISH DECEIT STEALING JOY –
Genesis 31:27
Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels and harps?
3) ONLY CHRISTIANS CAN OVERCOME WHAT THE WORLD DEMANDS –
1 John 5:5
Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Editor’s Note: It sounds like our faith must grow to obtain all our Savior Jesus Christ has for us, deception is a kill joy and just puts a frown where God wants to see a smile and the only way to overcome our particular temptations in the world is to believe in Jesus Christ and keep HIs ways and His word in our hearts always.
Here is hoping when you look in the mirror, you face is filled with a joyful smile, your faith brings to you a peace with your Maker and your belief in the Savior and Master overshadows your need to repeat a temporary fix familiar sin.

 

A Father’s Prayer
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Being a father is not always easy for this man. Sometimes it makes you wonder how you ever got the feeling you were worth anything. Other times, your kids make you proud. Perhaps, since God made us in His image, he feels this way too.
I am told repeatedly that we must not live by our feelings. My argument is the feelings we have make us work toward having the feelings of integrity we seek. I want to believe my God has looked at me and shook his head, but love kept Him from giving up on this “odd fellow.”
Perhaps you feel equally as blessed. I have one daughter who believes I am a person of non-interest because of my lack of respect for riches. The other daughter is one of my best friends and I would gladly die for her. I long for the prodigal daughter to come home, but thank God every day that I did not lose both of them.
I would imagine God feels that way about the unsaved and the saved. Before you can want to be saved, you have to crave to be close to God.
After paying my share of her college, I tried to develop a friendship with my oldest daughter. I thought it was going OK, but the email relationship went in the toilet when I did not choose to put more money into her future.
The other girl seems to be getting cozier with dear old Dad as the years go by. I would be devastated to lose her, have always stood by her the best I could and have watched her grow into a wonderful lady and mother as the years have drifted by.
But I love them both. Don’t ever doubt it. I suppose God has this problem, loving opposites.
A Father’s Prayer, from the perspective of this writer, would be that both daughters would come around and a solid friendship that would never end would result.
So where did two children of the same father get such different orientations? One went for career climbing, materialism and worldly kindness. Yes, she is kind to strangers and to those who she believes have lived up to her expectations. She also respects God and was raised Methodist, as I was.
The other one, she went for career climbing, kindness to family and friends and a respect for love. She also loves music and dancing like her old man… In some ways, they are like different parts of me. Perhaps this is the norm.
Bringing our story back to Christianity, what about our Heavenly Father? Despite all of the differences in His children, He loves us all. In the hands of God, Jesus Christ, His only Begotten Son, tells us God would have it that none of His kids would jump from His hand, not even one (1).
People worry too much. God will not like me or accept me because I am too fat, too skinny, too smart, too dumb… The list the devil tells us goes on and on to convince each soul there is no use asking God for anything because he would never accept the likes of you. THE KEY IS TO ASK THE FATHER TO SAVE YOU FROM YOUR OWN SELFISHNESS. Then don’t ever let the devil talk you into going back to his nowhere way of life.
If Erin came to my house and said she wanted to stay awhile and get to know her Daddy, I would hit the roof with happiness! I would forgive her the pain of her banishing me from her life in a heart beat. Perhaps God forgives us like that.
I would clear a place out so she could have a place to sleep. I would get her whatever she wanted to eat and buy her a new coat if she wanted one. I would hold her until we both sobbed and had to be nearly pulled apart. Sure, if she wanted to leave, I would sadly let her. But if she wanted to stay, no force on earth, or anywhere else, could ever talk me into booting her out over the past.
My Dad is estranged as well. I would do the same for him. I am a forgiving soul and the love in my life has always outweighed the feelings to jack slap somebody. But it is so rare in the human condition that someone asks you to forgive them. So I forgive Erin and my Dad for leaving me anyway. It makes me feel better and lifts a burden from my heart and soul. Perhaps they think I am the deserter. I leave it in the hands of God to fix it.
When the prodigal son asked for his share of his inheritance, he got it. My daughter got $23,000 that the law said I owed her. Her getting the money was fine, but I owed her time that could not be repaid without effort and forgiveness on both of our parts. I paid my share because I wanted to help her succeed. I believe I did.
Perhaps that is how God is as well. We ask Him for our share of the kingdom so we can learn about the world and drink deeply of what life on earth appears to offer. He gives it to us and we are on our way. Then we realize His company is what we really need.
We listen to the starry eyed humans telling us love is the answer, meaning staying in an alcohol or drug haze, having multiple sex experiences and finally settling down with someone else who is probably equally as burned out. It just is not so. We don’t need the world’s love to be happy. We need to sit on the lap of Father God and tell Him our troubles…
But we worry He will reject us. We wonder who God will allow to be saved? (2) The Bible tells us “who so ever will can come to the Father, accept the gift of eternal life from Jesus Christ, believe that the Son of God has the power to forgive and wash us white as snow (3), just as though we had never wallowed in the pig-pen we know as every day life…
To be saved from hell on earth, as well as after this host body dies, we must believe Jesus died, was buried and rose on the third day, rising above sin and death. He paid the price our soul would have owed going into eternity with no atonement blood. The word says God can not look upon our blatent sins and so we must be cleansed with Christ’s blood before going into His presence.
My preacher told me the Christian walk was met to be more than a child of God being saved and satisfied. Maybe so in some cases. But being saved and satisfied sounds like a pretty good start. It gives a person peace to know Jesus Christ’s crucifixion has saved him or her from the fires of an eternal hell and that because of that we get to be with God for eternity instead of dying and waking up burning.
The Bible says that God draws us all to him and that all will hear about salvation one way or the other. But it also says God will turn a person over to reprobate mind if that is what the individual keeps seeking. God allows our free will and for us to desert him, as Erin and Dad did me. In short, God wants all his children to stay in his hand. But we have the freedom to jump out.
As we Methodist folk say, we have the freedom to send ourselves to hell. Far better to be saved and satisfied than to let Satan talk you into cashing in your hope, faith and love chips for a million dollars or a prettier spouse… or whatever your temptation.
I will spare you a long sermon this week. It is the beginning of the Christmas season and most everyone is trying to figure out where they will fit in to the festivities designed for the general public. Sure, the pagans, Islamic Brotherhood troops, or whichever non-Christian group you want to speak about, are preparing to be festive with one another and do everything but mention the birth of Christ.
We as Christians are just now beginning to realize lawyers can fight for us to have a few rights too; like the right to put up a nativity scene or pass out salvation tracts.
We won’t win every battle, but Christians are soldiers after all and we should always stand for what we believe is right. And we should never give up on the idea of perfect love. Why? Because Jesus Christ is real and His sacrifice was necessary to stay in close contact with God. And that love is perfect. How do I know? I have hope, I have faith and I have a love for God that, with God’s Grace, Satan will never steal.
When my own prodigal life came to a head, I came home to the Father and he was waiting with open arms, just like I said I would be for my Dad or for Erin Anne. Love is like that if you let it into your heart. Don’t believe me? As a friend of mine once said, “Go ahead and take Jesus as your personal Savior and see if He does not open up to you a better life here and give you peace when you think of eternity. After all, if He proves to be a liar, the devil will always take you back.”
As with any Tailgate News sermon, or devotional piece, if you have any questions or comments, email the editor at: jay_nelson_72443@yahoo.com or call: (870) 353-8201.
SCRIPTURES
1) GOD WOULD SAVE US ALL ONCE WE ACCEPT HIS GIFT OF SALVATION – John 10:22-30 New International Version (NIV) 22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
2) WHO SO EVER WILL ASK CAN BE SAVED – John 3:14-18 (NIV) 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
3) WASHING US WHITE AS SNOW – Isaiah 1:18-20
New International Version (NIV) 18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Editor’s Note: That first step is to obey his request to take the Gift of Eternal Life, as is offered by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Then, if your hope, faith and love stay safe in your heart with Jesus, God will give your willing heart a chance to obey. His requests may go way beyond saved and satisfied. He might even lead you to help herd the other sheep to the Father in Heaven. He will ask you to serve love in some way. Just hang on to his promises and never give up on the idea that maybe you too can make a positive difference in the future of one or more souls headed for a devil’s hell – on the banana peel of hopelessness…

 

 

 

 

‘What I am
Thankful For’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
When the good Lord inspired me to write about being thankful, He told me it was OK to share my personal feelings to spice this sermon up a bit. So here goes.
The first thing I will proclaim being thankful for is Jesus Christ, the Son of the living and loving God, who agreed to be crucified so pure blood could flow over your sins and mine; past, present and future – and we could be forgiven.
Without Jesus, I would not be writing these sermons. Because if I had no hope that my spirit would go to heaven to a mansion on the hill, why should I share false hope with you? I have no ulterior motives.
If I go broke tomorrow, what else is new? It is holiday slow down in the business world and these folks will not be concentrating on business expansion until January.
In the old days, January was the slowest month in business. Today, I would say December is. By January, they want to advertise so they can make up for the money they must pay back to maxed out credit cards etc.
The world in December is spending money on Christmas gifts, not on business expansion. But, as my good friend Joe May has taught me, there are a lot of folks who will invest a few dollars in saying Merry Christmas! Concentrate on that in November and December, he said to me years ago.
Time has proven to me that he was right about that. People will wish their customers a Merry Christmas, most of the time. But I digress. Sure, I am thankful to be Saved, to own a business of my choice, to have the wife of my choice, to have great kids and grand kids. I am grateful to have a home in the midst of a socialist trying to make sure I have no possessions.
I am thankful for so much. Sorry for the rib against Mr. Obama. I am just looking so forward to his term of office being over and to somebody being elected who is not AFRAID to say praise God. The newest example is when Obama changed Lincoln’s Getteysburg address to leave God out of it… I am thankful for term limits.
But we were going to talk about me. I am not a politician. I am a freedom fighter. I have always believed that Voltaire was right. He said, “I may not agree with what you are saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
This is the crux of the First Amendment right. So far, despite new laws and a government that seems to be trying to limit our freedom of speech, so far we can say what we believe and feel in this country. I will always do so. But then again, I am thankful to be an outlaw for Jesus.
If my Christian Bible tells me it is right, and my law tells me it is wrong, just give a guess as to which I will obey? Will this land me in jail? I honestly hope not. I hope we will have enough judicial people who have basic salvation to not land a Christian in jail for standing up for basic Christianity. Me, I believe we do so far. I have not seen any personal evidence that we do not. All I have to stack on the other side is a ranting and raving president who can not even handle simply offering a guaranteed issue insurance policy for those with traditionally pre-existing conditions that are uninsurable. Instead, Obamacare is lousy coverage and he is trying to mandate it!
Instead of helping those folks who are traditionally uninsurable, and leaving the rest of us alone, Obama has apparently ended up hurting both groups – those eligible for traditional insurance products and those not. I am thankful many Americans see this and perhaps the Alternative Care act will become a choice in the market place, not a requirement that will penalize those of us not going along with the mandate…
Common sense would tell you that if I need health care to cover possible heart attacks, cancer etc., that I do not need to be paying for somebody to have an anti-Christian abortion. I say it that way because I do believe in abortion to save the life of the mother, if that is the choice the family makes. That is the only circumstance where I believe it should be medically considered.
Again, let the family decide even then, not the government. I am thankful for any decision I am allowed to make and have high hopes that freedom to decide for myself will continue to be in my present and future. God needs to be obeyed. Man needs to be evaluated before obedience is even considered… I am thankful to write that to you here.
For you see, freedom of thought, be it in poetry, novels, short stories, columns, news stories or even news briefs and tidbit photos, is important to this journalist. My friend Joe May, who still runs a printed paper, is right, they can not read Tailgate News anymore if the lights (or cell phone batteries) go out. Well, people who have printers can print all of my 12 pdfs a week for free and read it that way, in print. But it does put some added responsibility on the reader.
Will it break my heart if Tailgate News goes down? Sure it will. It is something I believe I have created with the guidance of God and even though deadline or sales quotas can sometimes make my life difficult, I would not miss it for the world! If I breath, I write. That is the way it stays. That is something I am very thankful for!
So now you have seen just a bit of my character and present day concerns. Let’s look at my past briefly. I grew up on an Indiana farm with my father’s parents. I am thankful for that and my rural outlook on life. I grew up a Baby Boomer, had about 30 girlfriends and four wives. I enjoyed nearly all my days sewing wild oats. This boy likes the girls, but one day I grew up a little and have stayed married to the same sweet girl for 15 years and counting.
She tells me there are no perfect women. Others tell me I have just settled for Michelle. This may get back to her, since some of her friends, or even my wife, just might read this sermon, but if I wanted other qualities in a woman, I would have divorced her a long time ago and kept on searching… We had trouble back in 2002 and 2003. I nearly jumped the fence.
I can tell you folks, I am very thankful I did not do so. The man in the mirror is fine these days. I do not have to look at myself and be ashamed. Sure, I was a Christian back then. My Christianity is based on only one act; the accepting of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, as the Savior of my soul and the fact that I believe Christ was the ultimate and perfect sacrifice, sinless and all loving. He was dead and buried and rose from the dead. I believe that and I accept his gift. Preachers of old have said we must walk in righteousness. We as Christians try to do that in our own ways, working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. I believe the hardest thing to work out is the why to some of the no nos God gives us. Still, a strong force in me drives me to strive to be a better over comer of my faults and to study my Bible to pick up ways I can be a man with more Christ-like integrity.
Whatever success I have had in repentance and over coming actions, I give full credit to God and the fact that Jesus Christ will even save a former “man of the world” like me. You can not truly ask forgiveness of a sin until God points out to you that it is a sin. A man pointing it out usually just confuses the issue. Ask God for guidance to the real truth and He shall surely honor your request.
But I am going out on a limb here, I am thankful for preachers like Andrew Womack, who preach grace. I am also thankful for preachers like John Hague, who preach hell hot and heaven to gain! We need to know grace is available and all encompassing toward a path toward being the best Christian soldier of love we can possibly be. And we need to know that without Jesus in our hearts we will split hell wide open!
The Word of God is not kidding. And it plainly states, (1) there is no other way to the Father but by Me… That is a red letter quote from Jesus Christ. I don’t know about you but when Jesus Christ gives me a revelation, I try to heed his warning.
When a preacher gets up in high gear and gives me an order that I do not see in the Bible, I take it with a grain of salt, just like I do blow-hard politicians who tell me to leave God out of ball game prayers etc. I am so proud that our area football teams still take a knee and pray for those with injuries and that the Lord’s prayer is still said in football circles at the end of each game in most of the South. I am thankful for that.
So (2) “repent and be baptized” is at least implied in the Bible. It sounds like good advice. But is it a matter of salvation to do so? No. Salvation is a free gift, only requiring that you truly accept Jesus Christ as your savior from the wages of sin. If you do, Christ is faithful to accept you into His enternal kingdom Acts says repenting and being baptized will get you the gift of the Holy Ghost. That is wonderful, but again, we are saved by grace and accepting Jesus Christ as crucified, dead, buried and resurrected. The gift is for overcoming sins by way of the ultimate guidance and direction.
Still, forgiveness is required before you can expect God to forgive you of your sins. You must forgive everyone who has ever done you wrong and MEAN IT before expecting God to forgive your sins and grant you salvation by planting the Spirit of Jesus Christ into your heart. So you must come to Jesus with a humble heart and realize He is indeed the way to heaven. It follows a person like that would most likely say to the Lord that he or she was sorry for the way they had been living and after the gift of salvation is granted begin searching for a more “Christian” lifestyle.
As to being water baptized, that public proclamation of what is in your heart is sort of like getting the marriage certificate. Someone may already be married to his or her spouse in God’s eyes, but the public declaration of marriage gives the union legal merit and tells the world that this is a God fearing couple wishing to confirm a holy union and the beginnings of a public family.
It is sort of like when Christ asked us to (3), “Come out of the darkness and into the Light.”
And even though I am just now finally getting to it, many of us will be eating Thanksgiving dinner with our families and/or friends this week. We can look at them, and perhaps at ourselves and realize currently popular television minister Joyce Meyers is right. At least in most cases, we folks who believe in Jesus are not where we want to be in our behavior, but thank God we are not where we used to be!
As always, I will point out three scriptures corresponding with the numbers listed by the suggested Bible readings, to give you an excuse to look things up in the Bible for yourself. And if you have any questions or comments about this or any other sermon, please email me at: jay_nelson_72443@yahoo.com.
SCRIPTURES
1) JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY – John 10:1-4 New King James Version
Jesus the True Shepherd
10 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
2) REPENT & BE BAPTIZED
Acts 2:38 (NKJV)
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
3) INTO THE LIGHT John 8:12
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

 

 

Walking,
Talking Jesus
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Bible says if we are going to stand up for Jesus Christ we are going to be persecuted by the general population, politic