Testimony page 2

This continues are testimony page. The sermon listed is from the paper before current issue. If you want to see our current sermon, go to current issue on the dash board and look at pages 3, 4 and 16. The Southern Arkansas Tailgate News publishes a new issue every Friday. Thank you for you interest and here is hoping you find the sermons useful in your walk, or considered walk, with Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of Jehovah God.

When Hope flies
away, turn on
your flashlight!
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Even if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, hope can leave you at times. As one of my favorite Christian songs, “Master of the Wind,” points out, sometimes we soar like an eagle in the sky and sometimes we tumble to a valley…
When hope flies out the window, it can really be scary. My ad sales collections have been down for two weeks and it is football season. This, to say the least, causes me to question the wisdom of what I do for a living. I try to give that worry to Jesus in my prayers, but like most of us I keep picking it back up.
The recent hard times have made a bit of my hope and faith feel tarnished, but I say a thank you to Jehovah God for what He has provided for me, take a deep breath and keep on keeping on. I was worried about my work car this week because it kept dying. It seems the old Ford needs gasoline without ethanol in it because of the age and type of the engine.
With the purer gasoline, it seems to be running better now. I thank Jehovah God for that! There is an old saying that has seemed to be true for me in life; it is not what happens to you, it is how you handle it that makes all of the difference.
My advice to you is when your hope flies out the window, push the Jesus Christ “plug in” on your mobile device or old fashioned desk top computer. It will help. Jesus says in His Word, “Take my yoke. It is easy. I will bring you comfort(1).” My Jesus Christ button says “biblegateway.com.” That is a digital Bible reading site.
And the Spirit of Jesus Christ sure does comfort me, especially when I read the red letters in the New Testament. I accepted Jesus as my Savior at 15 years old. He has given me comfort in times of hopelessness ever since. And, as with most of us, there sure have been some hard times.
For you see, even though I was, and am, a saved soul with my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life, I have had issues over the years with putting the judgment of Jesus Christ ahead of mine. I claim my salvation because at the onset Jesus forgave me of my sins, past, present and future. Otherwise, His trip to the cross was null and void.
In Christianity, I have found my burden with committing sins can be lifted a little at a time through much prayer, much asking the Lord for forgiveness at the prompting of the Holy Ghost, and much thankfulness for all that Jesus has mercy for and makes sure I get.
This is called overcoming in many Christian circles. That simply means you want to do more of what Jesus Christ defines as right and less of your own thing as you grow in your walk with the Lord. You tire of the darkness and seek the Light of the Great I Am. The Christian Bible says seek and you shall find.
As I have become more successful at this goal, hopelessness has visited this half-breed Cherokee less and less over the years. But in the early days, when I still insisted on running my own life and just used Jesus as my co-pilot, trouble was my middle name. I visited bars. I picked up strange and wild women. I reaped the results of my Biblically unsound adventures.
I cussed a lot more than I do now. I also drank a lot more left-handed soda pops. So you see, I was a mess. But King David writes in Psalms, “If you accept the salvation offered by Jehovah God, and you make your bed in hell, God will be there with you. Since God is pure light, He can see to do what is right even when it looks dark to us humans. (2)”
There were times in my own life that I had to ask much forgiveness, but the Lord stayed by my side in my ignorance. I am so glad He did. It is a rough old life sometimes, and it is easy to feel hopeless when you are down and out in a relationship, a career or even in a hobby you love. But Jesus Christ came so that we might enjoy life, and have the fruits of life more abundantly. There is truth to the saying that God will make a way when to man there seems to be no way to get through a tough spot. It also says, “It came to pass.”
The New Testament Christian Bible, paraphrased, says, “I came into this world, not to condemn you, but that the world of people, through me, might be saved from paying the just price for their sins – eternal separation from Jehovah God and eternity in a place called hell with the Lake of Fire as your final destination. (3)”
In order to illustrate the importance of accepting salvation through Jesus Christ and what He did for you on the cross, consider Cain and Able in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. Cain killed Able. God asked him where Able was? Cain replied with another question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Lying to God is never a good idea, nor is avoiding a question. The Great I Am knows everything. He already knew Cain had killed his brother and was apparently giving him a chance to ask forgiveness. If Cain had taken the cue and been straight up with his Creator, his life might have turned out a lot differently. As it was, Cain slipped into a hopeless exile and is never mentioned in the Bible again.
Jehovah God is like that. He gives us chance after chance. But if we walk away from Him, we face the consequences. The Methodist Church in Hagerstown, Indiana used to tell me Jehovah God does not send us to hell, we do by continuing to stubbornly embrace evil ways and by ignoring God’s offer of salvation. In the modern world, we have the hope of grace.
We can accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, ask Him to forgive our past, present and future sins and begin a journey that has joy even during those hard times of hopelessness. The light of Jesus Christ shines in human darkness and is like a flashlight in a dark room. Whose fault is it if you do not turn on the flashlight?
The man or woman who accepts Jesus Christ and His free gift of salvation always has the blessed hope that Jesus has placed his or her name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. And Jesus has promised us His Spirit will come to live with us if we accept what He did on the cross and how He rose from the dead the third day so He could cut a trail to heaven for all of us. Jesus took on His shoulders the sins of the world. The Word says Jesus is the Light of the world. Turn on that flashlight while you still have the opportunity.
We are bought with a very high price. And the Word says there will come a time when Jehovah God no longer winks at our ignorance. God expects a Christian to grow up into a solider for the Great Commission and spread the Gospel, sometimes though actions, sometimes through words.
We all play a part. If you never do anything with your Christianity but develop into a good example of what Jesus Christ told us to act like in His Christian Bible, then perhaps a child will see and remember. The Bible says there is joy and celebration in heaven every time one soul accepts salvation. Be a part of that joy. Try to help, not hurt, the mission of Jesus.
We always have hope in the sea of hopelessness if we have Jesus in our heart. He is the one who calmed the sea, raised the dead, cured the sick and walked in flesh among us as part of the very Spirit known as the Great I Am. Jehovah God did not have to send Jesus Christ to rescue us. He could have let us take the punishment we all deserve, for all have sinned and come short of the Glory of the Great I Am.
In other words, there was but one perfect man and they crucified Him… The pure blood sacrifice of Jesus makes our sins white as snow in the eyes of God. Nothing we could ever do could bring this about. We all need this forgiveness in this world of dark days. Turn on your flashlight! Jehovah God, our provider, sent Jesus to provide a way to get it. The blessed hope is there for the taking.
I am still going through some very hard spots in my business world. Times they are tough right now in Southern Arkansas in our little economy. But as long as the Lord is with me, I will continue. I do have that hope and some faith and love to boot. A television preacher, Joyce Meyers, recently asked in one of her sermons, “What do people do who get in a bind and they do not have Jesus Christ to go to for counseling?” It is a rhetorical question. They sink, most generally.
And if they do not sink in their wicked ways, they somehow succeed in the eyes of man but only as a shooting star that comes up quickly and burns out. The Bible says the wicked will only succeed for a season. I don’t know about you, but when I get down and out, I want a smarter mind than mine to help me get through the maze. I want the mind of Christ to lead me through the darkness to where the sun will shine again.
So there you are, probably thinking these words in this sermon are nice but my lights are about to be cut off, my husband is running around with his secretary or I am about to lose my house to foreclosure… If something like that is true in your life, give your worries to God so you can work. And ask God for guidance and direction so your work is efficient and it counts.
Thank the Great I am for your family, friends, career or whatever you hold dear. Your future is sure enough uncertain, as is mine. But the love of Jesus Christ is a certainty. It can be counted on. Consider those fishermen who witnessed him calming the sea so they might live. Think back in your own life and you can most likely remember some example of when God must have had His hand in it or things would have turned out much worse.
Jesus can give you real hope. Alcohol, drugs, gluttony and the like, they might make you feel better for a little while and then all they do is stop any positive action you might have done to come out of the pit. Jesus can guide you out. But you must trust Him. Put your hopes and dreams in the hand of the man who calmed the sea.
What, pray tell, if you are feeling hopeless, down and out and in despair, do you have to lose by turning to Jesus Christ instead of that next drink that you know will push you out of control and into drunkenness?
Take heart. If all you see is darkness, turn on your Jesus flashlight. As I love to say, I read the end of the book of the New Testament. We win!
SCRIPTURES
1) TAKE MY YOKE, IT IS EASY – 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.
2) IF YOU MAKE YOUR BED IN HELL, I WILL BE WITH YOU – Psalm 139:8-12 King James Version (KJV) 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
Editor’s Note: King David, the author of Psalms, knew the Great I Am and the Spirit of Jesus Christ before it took flesh. For more evidence that Jesus Christ, that is the Spirit of the Great I Am, will stick by you in hard times, consider the words of Paul about finding hope through his relationship with Jesus.
2 Corinthians 12:1-10 King James Version (KJV) 12 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 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.
3) JESUS CHRIST CAME SO THE WORLD MIGHT BE SAVED – John 3:12-18 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.

All Things Are

Possible With God!
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Sometimes in this old life we get a dream that just seems impossible for us to turn into reality. That can be frustrating for the Christian or non-Christian alike.
Handling finance is a good example in my life. Although the struggle is much easier now than in my younger years, I still have a long way to go. I am trusting Jehovah God, my provider, that He will help me work it all out in His time.
I know that I am a giver who desires to have a lot more to give. In many other ways than money, I have a blessed life because of it. You too may have a similar report. My advice is do not give up! God has always provided my needs and part of my wants. And as I have learned to be a more effective overcomer of many shortcomings I had in my younger days, the Lord has blessed me even more.
Think for a moment of last week’s sermon on eternity. Without being too repetitive, most would agree eternity is a long, long time. Our lives on earth are but a vapor (1) so the Christian Bible tells us. It also says that while we are here, we are to occupy and use the talents that the Great I Am has given us for the greater good of mankind.
The greatest of the greater goods, in my opinion, is the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ of Nazareth on a cross 2,000 plus years ago. He did it for you and me, so that his pure blood could act as a divine sacrifice and give us the privilege of eternal companionship with the Living God, that is our Father in Heaven, the Great I Am. Once you ask for salvation, your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Accepting that gift is priceless.
What I choose to do so far for the Kingdom of Jehovah God is to ask for His guidance and direction from the Spirit of Jesus Christ to write you these sermons every week incorporated with one of my talents; publishing community journalism.
Each of us makes our choices. But when we form the overcoming habit of asking Jesus for guidance and direction in our day to day walks, those choices turn more and more toward finding some way to spread the Gospel, the message of Salvation and the importance of forgiving and being forgiven.
Sometimes we receive a direction that we do not understand. It seems far fetched and impossible. As a friend of mine used to say, “Some things are impossible for a man or a woman, but through God’s guidance, unlimited power and glory, all things are possible.”
There is a scripture that sums it up by saying all things are possible through God (2). So say you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and you are on cloud nine with the onset of salvation “and receiving forgiveness that you never even knew you needed.” Then you begin studying the lives of the disciples in the Bible and you look around you to find that there are so many poor, homeless or wrecked lives that you can not understand why Jehovah God is not providing for them.
The Christian Bible tells us those who do not have, have not asked (3). Regular praying, in the Name of Jesus Christ where all power is given, and confirming your heart’s desires in those prayers is so important. It may be one of the most important tools for a Christian soldier to do if he or she is to put on the whole armor of God and do battle with the forces of evil around us.
It is important not to be afraid to change if you want to improve your thoughts and actions as you attempt to carry out what you believe is the will of Jesus Christ and Jehovah God in your life. I have come far in 42 years since my salvation occurred. But I still have a lot of overcoming to accomplish before I leave this planet. I thank God for the changes in behavior He has already made possible and look forward to a future of Him always being my guide.
But let’s get back to the impossible. Raising people from the dead is physically impossible, according to modern science. Yet Jesus Christ prayed and Laserus came back to life after being wrapped in his death shroud for four days in a tomb. When Jesus called, Laserus came forth alive as Jesus asked him to do. The Bible said the two were best friends. Thus we have a wonderful example of the power of love right here on earth. This same Jesus Christ told his disciples that we would do even greater miracles than Him if we have hope, faith and love in our lives and always give the glory to the Great I Am.
One key for the impossible to happen is humbleness before and after the fact of a miracle in your life.
Satan tried to destroy me in 2006 over too much stress and a nervous system disability. It is 10 years later and I have a better nervous system than I ever have had in my 57 years so far of life. I give the Great I Am all the glory for it and praise Jesus Christ for His guidance and direction to becoming fully functional as His servant, friend and advocate.
If it suddenly came to an end tomorrow, as was the case of Job’s blessings for a time in the Bible, I believe I could still praise God for the good times and also for the bad times that taught me how to be thankful in all things. As Paul said in the Bible, I have learned to be thankful when I am up on the mountain tops of life and also when I visit the valleys.
A song I like is called “Master of the Wind.” It illustrates this point very well and I recommend you give it a listen if you ever have the time. Think about all of the good things in your life. If you are like most of us, you did not deserve any of them. Most people have to learn by mistakes. I know I sure do. I do, however, try to make new and different mistakes every day so things don’t get boring.
The song I mentioned is about praising God for the good times and the bad times. We are all soldiers in somebody’s army. Some are knowingly in the army of Satan and in this life to destroy anyone that gets in their way as a way of honoring the epitome of lies, deceit and destruction, that old devil himself.
Others tell me they never think about spiritual things and if human history and science can not prove there is a spiritual world, then there must not be one. I find this hopeless attitude saddest of all.
And then there are those who accept Jesus Christ as a personal Savior and go quietly into the night. They are met to be soldiers but never seek out their deployment orders. Still, I think God for these meek and tender souls who realize they can not make it in life without God’s spirit in their heart. Far be in from me to criticize anyone who has truly accepted Jesus.
I personally believe some modern day preachers spend way too much time telling their flock, or perspective flock, how to live for Christ. Sure, we are to reveal what is sin, according to the Bible.
But we are not to condemn anyone. Jesus is quoted as saying He came into this world, not to condemn this world, but so that the world of people might be saved. And He further stated that He came to earth so that mankind might have life and have it more abundantly. I choose to believe Him. How about you?
I believe Christians should spread the gospel and remember the old time philosophy of the fishers of men. It was said many years ago if we can lead a man or a woman to Jesus Christ, Christ will clean that person up at the right time for the individual. Amen.
If you have ever been a parent, you know that maturity is a progression. You are pleased when you see your child reach a new level of integrity. I believe our heavenly Father is also pleased when he sees us getting away from the same old sinful disobedient actions we have done for years. When we cut back from abuse to use, it is a step in the right direction.
Speaking of direction, what is your reaction when you receive a direction you believe is impossible? I used to work for big corporation newspapers who would from time to time tell me to cover more stories than I could physically do in a week, or they might tell me how advertising was sold in New York and expect me to apply these unrealistic advertising sales techniques to my work in Southern Arkansas.
I figured they were asking the impossible, but as a loyal employee I would try to either comply or find another job.
But our Christian Bible tells us Jehovah God is Love. Somehow I just don’t believe the God of love would lead us down the wrong path like other men might.
I believe if God tells you to go to your Nineveh, you need to pray for further guidance and direction to do so. If thousands of dollars of funding separate you from being able to go, pray for the ability to give from the heart anything Jehovah God tells you to give and then give it. If you owe money on it, you can not give it away. That would be stealing. I think that is why the Bible tells us to be a lender always but a borrower never. Owing for nothing goes against our world system, but if you look at the lives of folks like the Rev. Kenneth Copeland, who has successfully followed this debt free order from God, it is not impossible.
If God be for you, nothing is impossible because all that is good in this universe is right there at your finger tips. You just have to ask for it and have the hope, faith and love for Jehovah God’s will to be done and then you will get to your Nineveh.
Jonah, of course, refused to go to his Nineveh at first. And God had to put the man in the belly of a whale to get him to prove to himself that his real desire was to obey Jehovah God – even when he believed doing so would be impossible.
Brother Andrew Goodwin had an illustration about how to form the obedience habit in his sermon this Sunday at the Gurdon First Assembly of God. He compared it to a yard. If a man wants his yard to be pretty and healthy, he needs to learn not to take short cuts.
His sermon was on accepting the pain of being a disciplined individual who follows God’s direction rather than having to deal with the pain of regret for taking a humanistic short cut to a goal.
He said the guy who walks to his car through his yard will get away with it awhile and the grass will still flourish. But the guy who takes the sidewalk to his car, even though the path is a bit longer, will not suffer the results of disobedience at a later date.
In other words, if you continue to take a short cut through the yard to your car, an ugly path will develop. If you seek out and use the sidewalk, the narrow path that Jehovah God suggests, you will never have to deal with that ugly path in your yard that long-time disobedience has given you.
I believe this applies to those of us who believe God is trying to get us to go in a seemingly impossible direction.
The human temptation is to short-cut the path, but do we really want to arrive at the goal early or do we want it on the time-table of the Great I Am?
By way of example, a Romeo and Juliet successful marriage is possible in God’s time-table if that is your heart’s desire. God’s Word tells us it is not good to be alone and He will bring us a helper. Once He does this, it is our job to treat that person with the respect and decency they deserve so the marriage will be filled with love and happiness.
It is similar with a career. Keep praying and Jehovah God will provide you with duties where your skills and talents will be used and your needs will be met. You may think this writer has rose colored glasses. Admittedly, there will be pain on any road you take.
But tell me, would you rather end your life with suffering from the pain of regretting the fact that your steps have left an ugly trail in your yard, or would you rather practice more and more obedience to the direction of the Holy Ghost of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ and suffer the pain that comes from denying yourself immediate gratification so that your “yard” would still be beautiful and your final years on earth would be much more pleasant to remember?
Obeying God’s commandments, at least in the majority of cases, is not impossible for the Christian. It is like any other habit. It gets easier the more you do it.
SCRIPTURES
1) LIFE IS BUT A VAPOR – James 4:12-17 King James Version (KJV) 12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. 17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
2) NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD – Matthew 19:24-30 King James Version (KJV)
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.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. 30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
Luke 1:36-38King James Version (KJV) 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
3) YOU HAVE NOT BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT ASKED – James 4:1-6 King James Version (KJV) 4 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
EDiTOR’S NOTE: Impossible is in the eye of the definer. Some religious scholars have discovered a place in the neighborhood of Israel called the “eye of the needle.” For a camel to get through that place, the creature would have to get down on its knees. Will you get down on yours and let Jehovah God perform the impossible?

Eternity Is
A Long Time…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I was raised by a man who made it to 96 and always said what age he would be his next birthday. John Hans Nelson, my grandfather, was an optimistic old cuss and he loved life. He also loved me and I feel very fortunate that he did.
But one dreary January day in 1989, his life on this planet came to an end. He never made it “to my next birthday” and therefore was never 97 on this planet. I choose to believe he lives now in a place in the corner of my mind called “West Heaven.”
I believe Jesus Christ gave the old man that cabin on the lake he and I always thought would be so cool so he could continue “going fishing just like I had a job.”
Eternity… Eternity is indeed a long time. Whether it is my grandfather’s eternity or yours and mine, eternity is forever. And becoming a Christian is a choice.
I made my choice to accept Jesus Christ as Savior at 15. It is a choice I have never regretted and highly recommend to you. The story of Jesus on the cross lets us know we serve a merciful God.
Through His love of the people He created, and the understanding that sin was never going to be licked by a human still in a body, He offered a perfect, sinless man (His only begotten Son) to take our place in hell where our own disobedience and sinful nature was carrying us to on a shuttle.
But let’s for a moment, just for a moment, suppose the story of Jesus and what He said about eternity in true. “In my Father’s house, there are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you.
“I go to prepare a place for you. But I will not leave you comfortless. The Great Comforter (Holy Ghost) will come but I must leave you now.(1)”
Then Jesus Christ is quoted as saying there is no way to the Father but by Me (2). If Jesus Christ, and the story of salvation and the cross is true, accepting Jesus by choosing to believe that He was the Son of Jehovah God on earth, He beat death by rising from the tomb after the third day and He has the divine power to forgive us our sins, is simply a wise decision.
If it is a fairy tale, like the devil worshipping crowd, and/or those on Satan’s team by default (folks who claim to believe only in what they can see, smell, touch feel etc. and that life really does end with a slow moving hearse), then why are you reading this? You are reading this because, you, like me, believe there has to be life after death.
And as we leave this planet, I personally believe we can give a final message or two to the living. Or at least that is the way it seemed to me when my friends Ruby and Mike passed away. Ruby was a poet. She put it in my heart to check obituaries when I was not scheduled to do so for my magazine and I found out she was dead and when her service was to take place. She had always wanted me to have copies of her poetry. I have them. Was it by accident that I discovered she died at the precise moment I did?
Mike left me a song. It is an old country song called “Someday Soon” and it basically says “Someday soon, you are coming with me, some day soon.” Comfort from the grave? I could not tell you when I thought about that song the last time before Mike passed. It had probably been 30 years. Coincidence right?
If eternity is out there, why not accept the free gift of salvation instead of the just punishment due you from the fact that you are human “and all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?(3)” Yes, that is another scripture and we will explore it in the scripture section of this sermon.
Eternity is indeed a long time. Those who accept Jesus Christ as Savior will have their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life, so the Christian Bible teaches us. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice to make our sinful, human selves appear to the Great I Am to be as white as snow.
The New Testament Christian Bible also says if your name is not in the Lamb’s Book of Life, you can not enter a sinless heaven to spend eternity with the Great I Am. Our God of Love is also referred to as Jehovah God, our provider, which is why I refer to Him as both.
I tire of talking scriptures just now. Instead, I will tell you a story about a preacher in Southern Illinois named Brother Jessie. He was an Assembly of God minister and I attended his church when my daughter Kelley was a very sick toddler in the hospital – pneumonia and ear ache problems as I recall.
My ex-wife and current friend Doris may have a more accurate memory, but I think that was what was wrong. I was needed at the McCleansboro Times Leader to finish a special section of that weekly newspaper for Thompson Corporation.
I told my boss I was needed more at the hospital, as my kid was very ill. He told me I had to stay on deadline. I went to the hospital anyway and nearly got fired over the matter. I managed to keep the job but soon found another and moved back to Little Rock, Arkansas. My preacher, Brother Jessie, rode with me to the hospital.
He volunteered the information that he was a happy soul serving Jesus Christ, his Savior and his Lord. I smiled at him and said I too love Jesus Christ and accepted him as Savior when I was a teenager. I told him I was an overcomer, but had a long way to go before I could really say anyone but me was the total Lord of my life. As I write to you, I am now getting closer to saying it and meaning it. Control of my own life, such as it is, has been hard to give up. But when I do give it up on specific issues to the Lord Jesus Christ, things always seem to turn out a lot better.
So there we were, the old preacher and me, riding in silence after his brief announcement and my brief response. Then Brother Jessie opened his mouth again and said, “My critics say the story of Jesus Christ and His being the only Begotten Son of Jehovah God is a hoax. I believe it is real. If it were a hoax, I would still rather have the life I do now – believing it is real.
“You see, I strive for Christian integrity in my day to day walk and it makes me very happy to do so. And if my Savior is real, in the end I will go to a heavenly place to be with God, family and friends forever. If I were to live like it was a hoax, I would either die and be no more or go to hell. Nope, me, I choose to live a Christian life.”
Brother Jessie was old back then; probably close to 70. I was more like 28. But I have never forgotten his testimony that day in the car. It turned out Kelley had a spot of pneumonia on one of her lungs the size of a quarter. The pneumonia had seriously infected her and put my little girl dangerously close to death. Brother Jessie, my then wife Doris and I prayed. Kelley Marie recovered completely. I went against my boss’s wishes to be at the hospital that day, but I know in my heart I did the right thing.
Kelley is alive and well and the mother of my three biological grandchildren. She works for a blood bank and an emergency room and is a Christian. Did she make it through the pneumonia because of our prayers? Only God knows, but I am glad we prayed. We prayed in the Name of Jesus Christ that her sickness would be gone. The Lord honored our request.
Eternity. Where will you spend it when your ticket gets punched? Are you willing to choose that eternal life is a hoax without scientific proof that the spirit world is bogus?
You don’t have to you know. You can ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart and save you from the punishments due you because of your sins. You can get your name in that Lamb’s Book of Life. The choice is yours.
Ever had a tarot card reading? Did any of it come true? What about a wiggie board question answered? Did it come to pass that the board was right?
If the devil’s say so was right and you can not understand why, think about this. In the case of witchcraft, it might just as easily have been wrong but Satan likes to show off from time to time. The devil sprinkles just enough truth in what he says to create confusion. If there is a bad in eternity, is it not logical there is also a good?
Ever hear of another religion where your soul got made white as snow except Christianity? Or do you claim to believe a perfect God will welcome you to a sinless heaven without you asking Him to forgive your sins? Just food for thought. As for me and my house, we choose Jesus Christ, our Savior, friend and yes, my Lord and Master.
Now I will get controversial. I submit to you that your sins do not send you to hell. Preachers are not all in agreement here. But that is what I believe.
I believe what sends a man or a woman to hell is unforgiven sin, not the sin itself. For we all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God, but not all of us have humbled ourselves enough to ask the Great I Am to forgive us and accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His only Begotten Son, on the cross, as our saving grace.
So forgive others often. And forgive yourself. Please do not forget to ask Jesus Christ to forgive you of your past, present and future sins. You need Him in your heart desperately whether you realize it or not. You have nothing to lose by accepting Jesus as your Savior except a one way trip to hell and the Lake of Fire.
If you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, you will gain abundance in this life and the life to come and you will have audience with The Great I Am for eternity…
SCRIPTURES
1) IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE, THERE ARE MANY MANSIONS – John 14:1-6 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.
John 16:7-8 King James Version (KJV) 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
2) NO WAY TO THE FATHER BUT BY JESUS CHRIST – John 14:6-12 King 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.
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.
3) ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALLEN SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD – Romans 3:23-30 King James Version (KJV) 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. 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

Get Thee Behind Me Satan;Understanding
the deceiver…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
There was a book written many years ago called the Screw Tape Letters by Charles Lewis. Or at least that is what my memory is telling me is accurate.
Since I preach these written sermons after praying that the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ takes over my “typewriter,” it probably is accurate. My point is simple. Satan, that is the devil, is there at every nook and cranny in your life to see if he can not convince you that hopelessness is reality and the Christian Bible’s recipe for an abundant and happy life is irrelevant because nobody can go through their whole life after accepting Jesus Christ as Savior without committing at least one unknown sin and sin will send you to hell – no matter whether you profess to have asked Jesus Christ to come into your heart or not.
In other words, Satan is the ultimate legalistic preacher. I heard a man on television Sunday tell me that if I ever took God’s name in vain he had iron clad proof that my salvation is null and void and I am going straight to hell. And this fellow claims to be a Christian preacher.
Don’t get me wrong. The Christian Bible does teach that sin will separate us from Jehovah God for eternity IF we do not ask forgiveness from the Lord Jesus Christ and accept His gift of salvation in our soul and then keep the hope, faith and love that salvation is real for the rest of our days.
And the longer we profess to be a Christian, the more we know about our Savior’s ways and the less we want to sin, that is disobey what Jehovah God’s Christian Bible tells us is the plan for our lives that the Great I Am has ordained. In other words, the more we know Jesus, the more we want Him to be Lord of our carnal lives – not just our fire insurance.
But I have never met a man who does not sin every day – except Jesus Christ in the Spirit. We will be overcoming sin until we draw our last breath. The more you study Christ and His ways and pray for His will, the less you will sin – or at least that has been my experience. But the Christian Bible says the only unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost of God. The rest of a professing Christian’s sins, past, present and future, are covered in the blood and his or her name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life to go to heaven – not hell as Satan and his legalistic crew predicts.
Satan, and his Pharinsitical advocates, would have us to believe that every single time we sin, we need an entirely new Christian salvation experience. I think that philosophy sort of nulls out the reason for Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins in the first place. However, I do believe we have to stay prayed up and humble before Jesus if we want peace in our soul. That is why I do my best to start each day with the Lord’s Prayer (1).
For those of you who have not read it, check out the scriptures I will publish at the end of this writing. It talks about asking that the Lord Jesus Christ keep us from temptation, deliver us from evil and forgive us of our trespasses (debts or wrongs to others) as we forgive those who trespass against us. There is quite a bit more to it so be sure and read your favorite translation of the Lord’s Prayer. It just might give you a bit of comfort as you continue down your Christian path in life.
If you have not accepted Christ as your Savior, it just might give you a reason or two why you should do so that the devil does not want you to know. Speaking again of the devil, let’s explore for a bit the many ways “Old Scratch” tries his best to get you to accept that all hope of going to heaven is lost and what you need to do is enjoy the party here on earth while you can before you plant yourself in your front seat in hell.
Well, that was his old argument anyway. In modern times, or so it would seem to this half-breed Cherokee, the argument is a bit different. Now a days Satan is trying to convince his followers that any old god will do to get you to heaven and the Great I Am does not have the only set of keys to get in the place!
And the weirdest thing to me is that so many people are buying this “easy money” attitude. The New Testament plainly quotes Jesus as saying, “There is no way to the Father but by Me.”
Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of Jehovah God and therefore the only man to ever live a sinless life and have pure blood to sacrifice. Call me old fashioned, but I fail to see how following any man made religion is going to get me anywhere with the Great I Am. Your name is either in the Lamb’s Book of Life or its not. And Jesus is that pure Lamb.
For proof, I point to our preacher buddy Paul (formerly Saul) in the New Testament. Saul was convinced that his efforts to help the Roman government kill these Christians who were saying the Pharisees were wrong in claiming Jesus was not the Messiah were somehow justified. At the time, Jehovah God obviously knew Saul’s heart was in the right place.
He was trying to do what he thought to be right, but Jehovah God saw that it was time Saul got educated to a bit of truth. Saul needed to know that the Great I Am was real and there was just no substitute for the Creator’s one and only ultimate sacrifice in His Messiah, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
So Jesus came to Saul on the road to Damascus (2). As most will recall, the brightest light Saul had ever seen appeared before him and began to speak. The voice of the Jesus Christ asked Saul, “Why do you persecute me Saul? Do you find it hard to kick against the pricks?”
In modern day English, Jehovah God was asking this man if he had noticed that things were not going so well with him since he was trying to destroy the very people who were attempting to spread the Great Commission of the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ of Nazareth? The Light, of course, blinded Saul. I would imagine an appearance of the pure Light of God All Mighty would blind any of us carnal flesh human beings.
I believe it makes Satan mad in his quest of deceit that stuff like this still happens. We get occasional reports of a Muslim converting to Christianity after a personal experience of meeting up with the Spirit of Jesus Christ. And, I have read the end of the book. Us Christians win! But we have to keep the hope, faith and love we feel from our first love experience with Jesus Christ alive for the rest of our days on earth. Jesus warns a guy during his ministry that keeping the 10 commandments is not enough.
He commends him for keeping them, but warns the rich man he can not forget his first love and must be willing to give back to Jehovah God all that he as been blessed with in this life (3).
That very rich and deceived man walked away when Christ told him to give all of His money to the poor. Jesus knew the man thought more of his money than he did the Lord. That money was the rich man’s god and Satan had the man enslaved to a lifestyle of ease.
This brings us to the real message in this sermon; Satan and his many addictions that are used to fill the void for people who have not accepted Jesus Christ and His loving Spirit into their lives.
It does not matter if said addiction is to alcohol, money, sexual relations, over eating or the lifestyle that goes with the personal use of an over abundance of money. Addiction is addiction. Aristotle, a Greek that lived before Jesus Christ came to this earth, recorded the law of the Golden Mean a long time before Christianity existed.
It states that a man can live just fine by taking all pleasures (and pains) in moderation, but nothing to excess. Christ tells us that what a man puts into his body can not defile him, but the words coming from his lips can do so.
There is a carnal truth here where we must give Satan credit where credit is due. Everything we put in the mind or the body is a medication to balance said body and soul for the purpose of either creating a functional human being with purpose or to hide from such functionality. I have seen both types of people in my 57 years of life.
In fact, we all fit into one or the other categories. We humans need crutches to walk or crutches that will make us forget our responsibilities and respond only as animals to stimuli. Satan knows this. The question of balance is one of his biggest “Screw Tapes,” and he uses it with polish to stop most of us from ever reaching our full potential while we live in these carnal bodies. I will go so far as to say I personally believe it stops all of us from reaching our full potential. As a friend of mine, the late Frankie Joe Parkinson of Paragould, Arkansas, used to say, “There was only one perfect Man and they crucified Him.”
I will further state that once we realize our helplessness in this matter, we begin to realize how badly we need a Savior. After a few swipes at trying to balance ourselves, we realize how shallow the whole deal is without a loving communication with our Creator.
That is, some of us do. Others buy the devils lies and choose to believe the Great I Am is a myth. Satan has a big team of scientifically minded folk who believe eternity to be a myth or they believe hell is their ultimate destination because there can not be forgiveness for their particular sins. Both thought patterns make no sense to me.
I was raised on a farm by my grandfather. I asked the old man when I was very young if he believed that the Great I Am, that is Jehovah God the Creator, was real or did we just all get here by accident?
Grandpa thought about it a minute and said, “ I believe our world was created by God. I am a farmer. I grow plants and animals and see how perfectly they grow and develop. Johnny, it just could not be an accident that each stock of corn is so perfectly formed.”
I agree with him. Grandpa accepted Christ when I preached it to him and Grandma when I was 15. He may have already done so. Only his soul knows that, but I saw a light come into his eyes and into Grandma’s that made me feel something special that I will believe until I kick. I saw Christ do a miracle and place their names in the Lamb’s Book of life inside my spirit just as sure I as I am writing these words.
So do I buy it that every time I mess up and get mad and swear it automatically stops my salvation? No way man. I have more faith in the mercy of Jesus Christ than that. But I do believe Christ will quicken my spirit when I break His rules and prompt me to ask Him for a fresh pardon. I pray this is always the case.
When that happens, I grow closer to my Savior and my Lord. Sometimes I have a good cry. But at no point, since I accepted Jesus Christ as Savior at 15, have I ever believed in my heart of hearts that Christ was not by my side spiritually.
His words to those of us who choose to go with Him are, “I will never leave you or forsake you. If you make your bed in hell, I will lay down beside you.” In those words, which are paraphrased, I believe Jesus was referring to the hells we put ourselves through here on earth.
So when you are married, and that girl who just talked to you gives you that animal mating ritual eye, listen to that still small voice of Jesus Christ inside of you and make plans to do something good and decent for her. The sin of adultery causes a man to sin against his own body, his wife, his family and the trust between him and his friends. But if something happens and you do commit that sin, repent.
Do as King David did with Besheba and repent quickly. Whether Satan wants to admit it or not, there is no peace of mind in to be gained by committing sin. And peace of mind is a big key to that abundant life Jesus Christ has promised all who seek Him and find Him. It is not only important to get the reassurance that Jehovah God has forgiven you of a particular indiscretion but also that you forgive yourself. The devil hates forgiveness so forgive often.
SCRIPTURES
1) THE LORD’S PRAYER – Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV) 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) JESUS CHRIST CAME TO SAUL ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS – Acts 9:1-15 King James Version (KJV) 9 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.
3) JESUS WARNS THE RICH MAN HE MUST EXCHANGE ALL HE HOLDS DEAR TO SERVE CHRIST – Matthew 19:8-30 King James Version (KJV) 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. 10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
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. 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. 25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. 27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

 

When God’s calling
sounds off the wall…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I had a dream the other night that God called me to the foreign missions field in a place called Nigeria. It frightened me to say the least.
I have been a professional writer in the United States of America since 1980. At nearly 58 years old, I sort of had it planned to continue this pursuit for as long as my mind and body would let me. Now I am beginning to wonder if Jehovah God has other plans for me.
Perhaps something similar has happened to you in your Christian walk? You know, where you get comfortable and feel like you are doing your part to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ right where you are and then the Great I Am makes a startling announcement that involves change. Your comfort zone is just that, comfortable.
But you know in your heart of hearts you have long since promised Jesus Christ to do anything you possibly can to advance the human race’s knowledge about His Great Commission. So as with any good soldier, you wait for your orders to be confirmed. If they are, it is time to get ready to be deployed.
My mind drifts back to the Biblical story about Jonah and the whale (1). Jonah was an early preacher for Jehovah God way before the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of the Great I Am. God wanted Jonah to go preach to the people of a place called Nineveh and tell them it was time to repent of their disobedience to the Great I Am or get ready for their society to be destroyed. Jonah, at first, refused the new assignment from the Creator.
Jehovah God was determined that Jonah would be the man to give His warning shot to Nineveh so He took steps to allow the preacher time to think things through. Jonah, in his running from the Great I Am, decided to book passage on a ship to another town. The waves around the ship became huge and the crew began to get frightened.
Jonah admitted to the crew that he was in a current stage of disobedience to Jehovah God. And even though they hesitated to obey Jonah’s request to be thrown into the storm-ridden ocean (out of mercy for their passenger I suppose), the crew members finally agreed to toss him overboard to save themselves from the wrath of an angry God. Jonah went under water pretty quickly but was rescued as dinner by a huge fish. Most of us figure it was the ocean mammal known as the whale. The whale is not a true fish, according to biological definition, but my guess that whale looked like a big fish to whomever was writing the story down.
That whale, if it were one, swallowed Jonah and began swimming toward Nineveh. Jonah was reportedly in the whale’s belly for three days. While in there still alive, he had thought communication with Jehovah God.
He told God if He would just let him live, he would go and preach that warning message to Nineveh after all. God responded by having the whale throw up – allowing Jonah to be placed safely on the shores of Nineveh. It is quite likely that Jehovah God knew the character of His preacher to know that Jonah would relent and obey.
The preacher no doubt thanked the Great I Am for His mercy and then began to explain why he bucked Him in the first place, God, he reasoned, would have mercy on this evil bunch in Nineveh, and he, Jonah, found their actions so repulsive that they ought to be destroyed and cast into hell. In that case, the Great I Am and His mercy won out.
Jonah did some warning preaching to these intense sinners, who were doing things like excessive drinking of alcohol, rampant adultery and fornication, making graven images and worshipping them, worshipping other gods in general and all out “getting in the flesh,” so to speak.
Jonah lost his judgmental attitude and gave them the warning from the Great I Am over and over again. Enough of them did repent, that God’s merciful heart blessed them. There was revival throughout the land and a new respect for the Creator because of one preacher deciding God was indeed a better judge than him.
But we have to be sure its God telling us to change directions. We, as Christians, have to pray until we just know that we know it was Jehovah God’s direction and not manipulation from Satan. This, my friends, is no easy task sometimes. I have no money to go on a mission trip to Nigeria, or even Memphis (about 200 miles from me as we speak), but if God tells me to do it, I will be ready when He brings the increase. I am just that kind of crazy, as the old saying goes.
In the meantime, I will continue writing sermons to you from good old Gurdon, Arkansas, where I have a home and computer. Abraham was told he would be the father of the nation of Israel when his body was nearly 100 and his wife Sarah was in her 90’s(2). The Bible tells us both of them laughed. I am afraid I would have laughed too. But unlike us weaker creations, what our Creator wants, our Creator gets. Will you be that willing vessel He uses?
If you hear from the Lord that you are destined to do something your natural mind considers crazy, before you consider psychiatric help, pray. Pray until you have a peace about whatever it is. If it is a divine peace, you will know it. Then go on with your day to day walk and let the Great I Am worry about the details. But my advice is do not run from a calling. After all, look what happened to Jonah. Personally, I would have rather taken a ship to Nineveh if I knew it was Jehovah God telling me to go than to ride over there in the belly of a huge fish. But that is just me.
One thing we know for sure, if the Lord has called you to spread the good news about Jesus Christ dying on the cross so you and I might be saved from an eternity in a place called hell and the Lake of Fire, we better not keep that good news to ourselves.
I am a rebel by nature. I march to the beat of my own drummer, so to speak. For just a little bit I might have been a full-fledged outlaw, but my grandparents raised me to tell the truth and make an honest living. I thank them for that, as it gave God something work with.
Folks, one day, if it be the Lord’s will, I might just get to go preach the gospel and feed the hungry in Nigeria, like one of my dear friends is doing as we speak.
But if I don’t that will be OK too. It took me a lot of years to conclude that I wanted God’s will in my life instead of my own, but if a guy like me can accept Jesus Christ in his heart and seek His guidance and direction, you can too. Christianity is not a club only for the guy or girl who is an obedient soul by nature.
The story of the prodigal son in the Christian Bible illustrates that. That prodigal son, like myself, had to see what was on the other side of the ridge before settling down (3), but he concluded his father knew best.
As a Christian, we must develop the same respect for our Father in heaven – if we are to have peace in our spirit as it communes with our Savior.
For one day, even those of us who love a good fight, will have to make our peace with God and lay down our many weapons. The church bell announcing another soul is gone from this earth tolls for us all…
Don’t miss out on the free gift of salvation. If you have not already done so, find yourself a quiet spot and pray that sinner’s pray of salvation. It is a come as you are club. Ask Jesus Christ to forgive your sins, past, present and future.
Once you have said these words out loud that you believe Christ is the only Begotten Son of the Living God and that He died, a pure blood sacrifice, on the cross at calvary for your sins and mine, and that on the third day He arose from the dead so that He might cut you and I am path to heaven – where His Father’s House has many mansions, your life will change for the better.
Remember His words, “I come so that you may have life and have it more abundantly.” You may fight it. But the more you know Jesus Christ and His ways, the more you will want to be a part of His pure love for yourself and for others. Because once you have accepted Jesus Christ in your heart, His Spirit will comfort and guide you for the rest of your days. That, as the song says, is my story, and I am sticking to it. Have a great week folks. And as I have taken to saying at the end of every one of these sermons as of late, the Great I Am gave us three fantastic gifts; hope, faith and love. The greatest of these is love. Pass it on.
SCRIPTURES
1) JONAH AND THE WHALE – Jonah 1-17 – 1 Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
4 But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.
6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. 7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? 9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.
10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. 11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.
12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. 13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.
14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee. 15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.
16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows. 17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
2) ABRAHAM AND SARAH TO HAVE A CHILD – Genesis 18:10-19 King James Version (KJV) 10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.
11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?
13 And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14 Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. 16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
17 And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
3) THE PRODIGAL SON CAME HOME – Luke 15:11-32 King James Version (KJV) 11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. 25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
Editor’s Note: All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. When one lamb comes home, all should rejoice as the Word says there is rejoicing in heaven. Don’t judge the sinners of this world who have not accepted Jesus Christ as a Savior. Just do what you can to point the way home to the God, who in the Christian Bible, is on the other side of the equal sign to love.

Jesus Christ gives;
are you a taker?
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
There is a passage in the Bible that sums up my point this go around; silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give to you!
Peter said this to a beggar just before he used the name of Jesus Christ to heal him(1) and I have never forgotten reading it for the first time.
Peter followed Jesus Christ for three years when Christ walked the earth in a human body. Then that same Peter preached the Great Commission of salvation through the pure blood shed on the cross by our Savior until Rome finally shut him up years later and crucified him upside down!
At least I figure it was the Roman government who did this. My point is simple; we all have something to give the next fellow or gal in need. It might be a plate of food. It might be an old pair of shoes. You can still help someone in dire straits, even if all you offer is a cup of coffee…
There are indeed two types of people in this world; givers and takers. Now don’t get me wrong. Even folks who love to give can fall on hard times and need a leg up. As a professional journalist for the past 36 years, there have been several times that my folks or friends had to bail me out of a tight. Maybe that is why it is not hard for me to want to give to those less fortunate.
I listen with interest to prosperity messages on Christian television and I believe one day, when He knows I am ready, God will prosper me financially so I may help a lot of others. I had a friend to die here recently in his 80’s. He was a rich man, but came from a harsh poverty background in rural Arkansas. Darrel knew how it was. He used to buy ads from me sometimes just because he knew how bad I needed the money.
When I got a little more developed in my business, he still helped, but just not as much or as often. My point is though, he helped. I give to charity when I can. My finances will not allow me to very often, but when the good Lord sees fit to bring the increase, I also increase in my giving. I was raised to have a heart, to give a fellow in trouble the shirt off your back and the buttons too.
I am convinced I have a blessed life. Win, lose or draw financially, I will keep studying the Word and believing. That is all that I know to do about prosperity, other than to work hard every day and try and do right by Jehovah God. This, I will admit, is definitely not one of those Kenneth Copeland testimonies. But I am rich in other ways besides money. And I try and thank God every day for all He has done for John.
God has blessed me with a career I love, a family I love and a good place to live. As the old song says, there is food on the table and shoes on my feet.
If the gold never falls from the sky for me, what I already have is enough. I give that worry to the Great I Am and I have faith He will solve it much better than I ever could. So what can you and I do about being givers instead of takers? Here are a few things us folks with limited funds can still do.
We can give away our clothes to those who suffer from a fire. We can donate to the hungry. We can donate to the homeless and so many others when we have it. Or we can simply find ways to take from everyone else. Me, I would rather be counted as a giver.
I have known many con artists in life. I am in sales. I am not a con artist so I am not a rich salesman from manipulation. I just try and give folks some decent proposals and see if they are interested. Then, if they buy, I try and give them a little more advertising product than I promised. It makes them feel like they did not waste their money.
But let’s get back to Peter the disciple of Jesus Christ. Peter was a fisherman. He had a wife and kids and mother-in-law who was apparently hard to get along with.
He was a rough character and even cut off the ear of a Roman soldier whom he thought was a threat to the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ, being divine, picked up that ear and remolded it to the soldier’s head. Then He turned to Peter (or so I believe) and said, “Put away your sword. If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword. (2)”
Peter was a giver, but he was very protective of his flesh. When they started to take Jesus away to be crucified for our sins, Peter told Him, “I will never deny you Lord.” Jesus shook His head and probably smiled before saying, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times (3).”
Peter did just that. He got scared the enemies of Jesus Christ were about to kill his rough old fisherman’s earthly body. And when that rooster crowed the next morning, Peter thought back on his three denials of Christ he had made and wept.
Bragging never pays. We humans think we can take more than we can really take, that is if we are of a soldier’s mentality.
And many times we can take a lot, but everyone has their limits. Peter picked himself up after Christ’s prophesy came true, decided he was not going to do Christ wrong again no matter how scared he was and as far as I have read Peter never denied being a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth again.
The Bible does not say where he preached, or if it does I do not remember. I am sure he made some provision, through Jehovah God’s mercy, to take care of his wife and kids. Probably the second in command on his fishing boats shared the profits with Peter’s family as Peter owned the boats.
But the Christian Bible does say Peter preached on to the end. Every chance he got, he gave a sermon about how Jesus Christ died for the sins of humanity and offered the free gift of salvation to anyone who would humble himself (or her self), ask to have his or her sins forgiven and sincerely believed that Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross, rose from the dead after three days and is now at the right hand of God the Father awaiting the go-ahead to come back to earth.
Jesus Christ said to His disciples before He went to the cross, “I go to prepare a place for you. In my Father’s house there are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you.”
Thus, the blessed hope. By the way, history records more than 500 people saw this Jesus Christ of Nazareth walking around among his followers three days after the Roman soldiers declared Him dead and gone and placed Him in a tomb.
When the tomb was opened, the death robe wrappings were folded neatly up in the corner, but the tomb had no body in it. Jesus Christ had risen – just like He said He would. To this, I say thank you Jesus.
Jesus was the ultimate giver. He gave His life as a ransom for many. Those who accept His gift will have their name placed in the Lamb’s Book of Life, their sins washed away before judgment day and live in heaven for ever when this life is through.
We can not work our way to heaven by giving away a cup of coffee to a Christian preacher or to anyone else. But we can receive a blessing for doing so. That Golden Rule is real. Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.
If you would like someone to tell you no after you ask them for $2 to buy a loaf of bread when you are hungry, then deny another person that $2. Stepping into the carnal a moment, what goes around indeed comes around.
From a Christian perspective, Jesus said if a man asks you for your shirt, offer him your coat as well.
I am not sure I am quite that saintly yet. As I have said in many a sermon, Nelson could use a lot more churching. And I hope to get it.
The overcoming life is really a joy to live, but when Jehovah God starts trimming the branches from my tree it sometimes causes me to hurt a bit.
Nobody said it would be easy to walk with Jesus Christ. He makes it easy on our minds to make decisions if we simply pray that Lord’s prayer daily and leave the worrying to Him, but carrying out His orders is not always painless.
I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior at age 15 in an old Methodist Church in Hagerstown, Indiana. I have learned much about the ways of my Savior, but God is still working on me as far as living what I have learned. I can tell you this, living a life without Jesus Christ in the picture is unthinkable to me.
I am a disabled man who has had no symptoms of my disability for 10 years. I am 57 and still fully functional, even still have all my hair. My temper is better than it was 20 years ago but I still slip into self-righteous anger from time to time.
My patience is also much better than in my younger days, but I still have my moments when I just want to kick the living dickens out of a computer or swear at a driver that cuts me off in traffic.
I do not pretend to be perfect, but I will say that I am usually a giver. Now if I know it is a con game, my giving is much more limited than if I look into the eyes of the person uttering the request and realize they simply need a leg up from a friend.
I best go to work selling advertising so I will have some finances to tithe and offer on. I am smart enough to know you can not guide a parked truck. But think about what I have said. Would you not want someone to give you a cup of water if you were thirsty? Then do the same for them when you can.
Sure, take care of yourself and your family so Jehovah God will not consider you an infidel, but give your tithes and offerings to the poor and less fortunate. God will richly bless you, so His Word says.
But even if that blessing comes slowly, or in a way you do not even notice sometimes, do not weary of your well doing.
Giving to those in need is worth it. It helps us Christians have more respect for the guy or girl in the mirror and it gives the unsaved something to think about when they put a Christian down for talking to them about the rewards of unforgiven sin being a trip to a lake of fire. We do not hate them, if our Christianity is for real. I personally am not big on telling someone their actions are sinful. If they ask me, I will tell them and refer them to scripture. I figure if they ask me then Jehovah God is already working on their heart to accept His free gift of salvation.
As to telling the unsaved that asking Jesus Christ for forgiveness is their only escape from an eternity spent in hell, that is just a warning – given in love.
We Christians do not expect anyone to be perfect as long as they are under temptation and in the flesh.
We simply want them to come to Jesus Christ, ask forgiveness and have a sincere hope that Christ is real and will do what He says He will do. Jesus will guide them from there, as their hunger to know the Savior grows.
If you have accepted Christ in your heart, this sermon on giving is especially for you. Think what He has done for you. And remember friends, Jesus gave us hope, faith and love. And the greatest gift of all is love. Pass it on…
SCRIPTURES
1) SILVER AND GOLD HAVE I NONE – Acts 3:6-16 King James Version (KJV) 6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God: 10 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.
11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering. 12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?
13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. 16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
2) LIVE BY THE SWORD, DIE BY THE SWORD – Luke 22:46-50 King James Version (KJV) 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.
48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? 49 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?
50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. 51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.
Matthew 26: 51-53 King James Version (KJV) 51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.
52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
Luke 22: 52-54 Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves?
53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. 54 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.
3) YOU WILL DENY ME THREE TIMES – Matthew 26:32-38 King James Version (KJV) 32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.
33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples. 36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
Luke 22:55-60 King James Version (KJV)
55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him.
57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. 58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.
59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. 60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.

The difference between
being pleased to live
and loving your life…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I am getting older. They say the guy closest to coffin is usually more concerned with what will happen once the human body dies.
In my case, that is true enough. I always did want to know about eternity. But it is more on my mind now that I have seen what has probably been the first half of my life. When I was a very young child, I started going to the Methodist Church in Hagerstown, Indiana because I simply needed to know what those church going folks thought about post-death and the end that ends all ping pong games, chess games and worrying about breathing itself.
I read in the Bible where he who loves his life will lose it (1). I have also read, and heard, that Jehovah God will honor any man (or woman) with more life time on earth as long as they are pleased to live – and being pleased to live, really pleased, means striving to obey the will of Jehovah God (2). I personally think the difference is clear. Those who love life for the sake of staying alive are following a selfish path that leads to a lot of activities that probably do not amount to a hill of beans when it comes to the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ.
On the other hand, if a 90-year-old preacher tells the Lord he would be pleased to live and serve Him another 30 years, God just might give it to him. The Word of God, in the Christian Bible, tells us that a man has 120 years of life available if he or she wants to strive with the Spirit of God that long on earth (3). It also says the average life is 70 years, which tells me most people are not all about living a long time, or perhaps they have not discovered the first option and the joy in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ that goes with it.
I have personally asked for the maximum of the 120 years and have told the Lord I would love to have even another 5 years after that to get all of my affairs in order before making the trip to my heavenly home. The only other stipulation I placed on my request was that Jehovah God provide me with a body until the end that is fully functional in mental and physical respects. Doctors will tell you I will never live that long. My predicted medical death age is 87.
That is arrived at through a calculation average of the two dying ages of my two biological, gender same as mine, grandfathers. My dad, Dr. John W. Nelson, taught me that formula years ago and said medical science finds it to be pretty accurate.
I defy it. I say I will be around more than 125 years and die in my own cabin, at my own chess board. We shall see, as my hero Moe used to say. Moe, for you younger readers, was the head Stooge of the comedy trio known in the 1940’s as the Three Stooges. I watched a lot of their reruns, growing up in the 1970’s. But hey, if I kick off at 87 or sooner, it is OK. I only really want what Jehovah God wants for my time on earth. In short, let the will of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ be done, not necessarily the will of Nelson.
Sure, I told Him what my carnal self wants. The Christian Bible says many times we do not have because we do not ask. In short, I want to live that 125 years plus because. Just because. And I want to produce a sermon with salvation overtones every week in the process. This Jehovah God, for anyone not sure, is a God of mercy. He just might grant my requests.
But that is simply my hope and plan. As I have stated in many a sermon, my greater want is to learn to be satisfied with whatever God gives me in life, or in death, since He created me. He is God, not me, and deserves the superior respect. I am a man of meager means so far, but I am rich in many other ways. When one is at peace with Jehovah God, there is no other feeling like it.
I want to always be thankful for all the God gives me throughout the rest of my life here on earth. I take seriously the scripture that says be thankful in all things. Win, lose or draw in the measuring stick of success we all use on earth, I thank you Jesus Christ for your sacrifice and my name in your Lamb’s Book of Life.
But enough on personal testimony, let’s get back to the difference between the love of life itself and being pleased to live. A person can love life because of beautiful women, if you happen to be a man, or hunk guys if you happen to be a lady. You can love life because of success in business and wonderful vacations every year.
You can love life because of wanting to do more fishing, playing golf or just because you enjoy spending time with family members or friends. None of this stuff, though important to many of us, serves to expand the goal of the Great Commission – doing something in your life to lead people to the gift of salvation offered by Jehovah God, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
While hobbies are great to relax by and get ready for some work, the work has to come if you want to be part of accepting the challenge of God’s Great Commission. I accept that challenge by way of composing, with the help of the Spirit of the Great I Am, this sermon for you every week. I also work on my own goal of getting a 16-page magazine solvent so I can pay my bills and have a little extra. And more importantly, so I can serve the public in the nitch of good news, news that does not always involve some form of tragedy, like so many modern day publications seem to thrive on.
A friend of mine said self starting is essential for the entrepreneur, or starvation is a given. Amen Ted. Amen. So more to the point of the contrast in the title of our sermon, is it wrong to love life and also be pleased to live? I don’t think so. I love life because its fun to be alive. I am pleased to live because I want to see something accomplished for the Great Commission and I enjoy putting my hand to the plow to help get that done!
I believe it is exclusion as to where we run into trouble. If all you want is to love life, enjoying the fruits and not being part of the production, it very likely gives God the idea that pruning you out of the way might not be a bad idea for you or Him. By taking you on to heaven, if you are a Christian in this boat, there is plenty of room up there for enjoyment.
But if you want to work hard and play hard, when you have the chance, that playing just might push you into some fine accomplishments. Now this is just my interpretation.
But if I read the scriptures right, Jesus Christ and his disciples worked hard on the Great Commission all day long and then relaxed to a little food and wine in the evening. Even God in the flesh had to relax a bit. Playing keeps you young, if you use it as medication to do a better job at whatever productive task you believe the good Lord wants you to do.
Many Christians never preach with words. But folks look at their loving and caring lives and get inspired to accept Jesus Christ. The big thing is to remain open for whatever Jesus wants you to do for His kingdom. I love the old Kris Kristopherson song, “Why Me Lord?” It makes me think of all of the times Jesus has bailed me out of my own ignorant antics and yet I am still here, at 57, writing a sermon to you. I feel very blessed and very thankful to have a part to play.
When I first left home at 18, I was a very curious lad. I could go on and on about how my life would have been very different if I had been ready to settle down and act with the integrity of a man. I was not ready. I had a long road ahead of me as a boy. In some ways, I am still that boy, but I work every day to try and keep that adventuresome lad in check so that I can be a more effective tool for the Lord.
Football season is coming up and I will be taking home game photos for five teams this year. In the process, I usually get to know a few coaches and players. Some want to pour their hearts out to me. Over the years, I have become a better listener than I used to be. But again, I work day to day to overcome my selfish desires to go for the gold, somehow accumulate a harem and support all them and their children or whatever boyish idea that might cross my mind.
So sure, there is a part of me that is a lover of life. If I were to put that part of me into action, I believe the good Lord just might take me home early. After all, he did the rich man in the Bible who ran out of productive ideas and decided since he had made it big it was time to build bigger barns. In short, when you sit down in the rocking chair, that coffin is not far behind.
If you are looking for an overall message to this week’s sermon, here is a summary. If you are thinking about doing something that you are pretty sure would be fun but you figure very well might lack integrity – hurt your family, discourage a friend or make you feel guilty when you go talk to the Lord, think twice. Sometimes our ideas are just not in His plans. My advice is don’t press your luck any further than you feel you must.
There are things in my medication regiment that I believe could be replaced by better substances, activities and the like. But I have read the part in the Christian Bible that one should not drop a habit unless one can replace it with something of a more Jehovah God like nature. I leave such things up to God. He knows it is a worry of mine and He is working on the solution to each segment of my life that needs improvement. My job is to have faith that He will improve me a little at a time, as I can handle more change.
To me, this is the very definition of being an overcomer. The Christian Bible says Jehovah God is a friend to the overcomer and that sounds great to me. I recently attended a football fundraiser and listened to an encourager give a speech. He ended it by telling the kids, “Always give it all you have got or the evidence that you did not do so will show itself in the fourth quarter.”
I see some wisdom in that. Live each day like it was your last. Now I will tell you a little secret. If you live each day by giving your worries to God and have faith the He has things well under control, you will have a very happy life that you will be pleased to live.
SCRIPTURES
1) HE WHO LOVES HIS LIFE WILL LOSE IT – John 12:21-28 King James Version (KJV) 21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. 27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
Editor’s Note: I still contend God does not want us to be unhappy, but rather to hate the part of our life that would be selfish, greedy for praise etc. Instead, as Jesus was about his Father’s business (the Great Commission), so should we be as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. And if we do that, we will have life and life more abundantly, just as Christ promises.
2) SCRIPTURE ADVISE ON HOW TO BE PLEASED TO LIVE – Psalm 91:12-16 King James Version (KJV) 12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
Hebrews 13:2-8 King James Version (KJV) 2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. 4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. 8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Proverbs 9:3-8 King James Version (KJV) 3 She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,
4 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, 5 Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.
6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.
7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. 8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
3) MAN’S LIFE OF 120 YEARS – Genesis 6:1-10 King 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.
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.
5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. 9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Editor’s Note: Wickedness and sin (disobedience to what Jehovah God wants for His children) have merited destruction since the beginning, but God’s mercy shows through here with Noah, a just man and perfect in his generations.
Perfect, so Bible scholars tell me, is a term used for those who strive to overcome evil and favor seeking and obeying the will of the Great I Am – instead of just going with the flow and seeking an easy chair.

Choosing the faith walk means giving your worries
to Jesus Christ
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Studying the Word of God, that is the Christian Bible, reveals different things to different minds at different times.
For some reason, the words of a preacher, Kenneth Copeland on VTN, hit me hard last week. He was talking about how walking in faith means turning our worries over to God and leaving them at His feet. He talked about his humble beginnings and money worries of his young marriage. Copeland went on to say that you can not walk in faith if you hold on to your worries. Trust God to solve those worries. When we try and solve our own, we are in Jehovah God’s business and we need to stay out of it!
Since I understand poverty and how hard it is to make a marriage work financially – as well as in many other ways, I listened with attention to what Copeland had to say. Faith, so our Bible says, is the belief that things unseen will come to pass – if we believe in the substance of those things unseen yet hoped for.
That, of course, is the Nelson version of faith (1). The Word of God goes on to say we all have the measure of faith. It, of course, is up to us whether we use it or not. I think of my business world and all of its worries. I never know which sales pitch will work or where to go when I am attempting to sell advertising, but I pray for the Great I Am to give me guidance and direction – and for my personal faith to be mature enough to follow those directions. Win, lose or draw, as to my own desires for an outcome, my bet is on the judgment of the Great I Am.
When worry does not raise its ugly head in my mind, this works out pretty well. Leaving those worries permanently behind has always struck me as pretty impractical. But I love it when I have a faith feeling about a certain situation. It is sort of a parallel feeling to that of falling in love with another person. The deeper you go, the better it feels – at least on the developmental part.
I love the feeling of having faith in Jehovah God. It makes sense to my mind and feels right in my spirit. I catch myself beginning to worry and then apologize to the Lord for getting into His business. Although this faith walk thing is relatively new to me, I believe it will get better and better. Jesus Christ wants to help us. It is His nature. But we have to bring our troubles to Him – not just worry ourselves to death about problems we can not hope to solve in our own day to day lives.
The more faithful we are to bringing beans for God to shell, the more faithful it seems to me He is to shell them. But when we entertain a worry that enters our mind, it shuts out the revelations God wants to give us like a black blanket over our heads in a lighted room. Worry hides solutions. It does not produce them.
Satan loves for us to worry and prompts worry at every chance he gets. He tells us we need a better spouse. He tells us we need to make more money and our furniture needs replacing. The devil is great at creating worry and he will offer you greedy, immoral solutions that go against the Bible and simply will not work. I know they won’t work because I have tried many of them and gotten fed up with the failures.
Faith produces real solutions when we put our faith in Jehovah God, our provider and maker. Those solutions are usually not what we expect. And sometimes they seem a little wacky to our human way of thinking. But that is why the Great I Am is God All Mighty, with total understanding and knowledge, and we are not… Remember, being power hungry and arrogant is what got the devil his eternal destination of the Lake of Fire!
Living by faith is a learned art for me. I don’t know about how your mind works, but worry and then thinking of solutions is part of my brain. Still yet, I can certainly see how I am better off using the mind of Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of God and my Savior, to solve my problems more effectively than me. Besides, I am getting tired. I have lived ad sale to ad sale most of my life.
I tried credit cards and loans for three years and swore them off. I am getting too old to pay all of those big old debts off by the time I reach for my porch chair. At nearly 58, I may try to put out Tailgate News for as much as 20 more years, but will probably take Social Security in my 60’s to supplement my very small business.
That is just a personal aside. Everyone has their own set of problems and if the Lord shows me a better solution, I am all ears. I am a very blessed man. I love my family. I love my career and most important to me, I love Jesus Christ as my Savior and I am doing all I know to overcome my sins (with His divine guidance and directions) so that I can one day say honestly Jesus Christ is Lord of my life. I can say it, but at this point I believe His total Lordship will not come about until I shed this carnal body and temptation is no more.
Pray for me. I realize many preachers will tell you that giving Christ total Lordship is possible in this fleshly body, as to say Jesus Christ can be, and should be, totally in charge of your life. I admire these “perfect” souls… But I say lying is a sin and so I will pray for them. Let’s face it, Nelson needs more churching right?
But the big deal is to never give up on yourself. Humble yourself and accept the gift of salvation that Jesus Christ gives and let his joy flow though your life. He will incubate you and change you if you want Him to do so. And He will do it at a pace you can handle and appreciate.
I think a personal testimony might be in order here. I will choose a dream to recant to you to make you think. I was 47 at the time I had this dream. My wife and children had gone to a funeral and I was in Lono, Arkansas alone, pasting together a newspaper. For younger readers, that is what we did before the digital Internet world made it possible and easier for everyone to read publications online. At any rate, I was getting a paper ready to go to the printer.
I remember falling asleep at the lay out table, the exacta knife falling from my hands. I have no idea how long the dream was, but here is what happened. I saw fire all around me and guys in black and white outfits coming toward me snarling. I heard the voice of the devil saying that the angel of death has come to collect your soul Tygar and your life is over.
I remember looking into the faces of what I perceived as demons and shouting, “You can not do this. I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and the work He did on the cross. I believe in his pure blood sacrifice for my past, present and future sins and He has placed my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. You are the liars and you can not touch me!”
One of the demons came up to me in the dream and grabbed my neck. He said he was going to strangle the words out of my mouth and I was going to hell where my chair was waiting.
I said, “If you can do that, then Jesus lied to me and the Bible says He is part of the Godhead and can not lie (2).”
The demon looked deep into my eyes and removed his hand. He turned away.. I woke up and got up from the floor where I had been sleeping. I checked in the mirror, and as God as my witness I saw finger marks on my throat. But I was, and am, alive! Not a bad script right? Well it was a dream that sure seemed real to me and still does in many ways.
It cemented my trust in Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of Jehovah God, and His promise to place my name in that Lamb’s Book of Life if I would just maintain my belief in Him and His promises that one day I would have a mansion over that hill top!
So now you know why I believe in the gifts of Jehovah God; hope, faith and love. And even though this sermon is about walking with faith, we all know the greatest of those gifts is love – love between us and our Creator and love for one another.
I walked by faith today. I did not do my sales plan but rather listened to divine guidance. I can report a blessing. $440 in ad sales were generated. That is much better than most Mondays. It works folks.
Have faith for your pocketbook. Have faith for your marriage. Have faith in your goals to give to those who can not help themselves.
Jesus Christ praised a Roman soldier for his faith. The man said if You will but say the word, with your authority, my servant will be healed. The servant was reportedly on his death bed. Christ told the man he had never seen such faith in all of Israel (3). So if that soldier were just a good man who believed in God but had not accepted Jesus as Savior, he still had faith. If he was saved, more power to him.
Faith is not a Christians only club, but if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior it sure is a lot easier to use.
SCRIPTURES
1) FAITH IS THE SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR, THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN – Hebrews 11:1-4 King James Version (KJV) 11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
Editor’s Note: In short, having faith means believing in a miracle working God. If we do not believe in miracles, then to those souls it really does all end with a slow moving hearse.
2) JEHOVAH GOD IS NOT A MAN AND THEREFORE HE CAN NOT LIE – Numbers 23:19 King 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?
Editor’s Note: I like the part in the Bible about the many mansions and the proclamation that Jesus Christ gives His disciples. John 14:1-7King 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.
3) OF THE SOLDIER, CHRIST SAID HE HAD NEVER SEEN SUCH FAITH – Luke 7:1-9 King James Version (KJV) 7 Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.
2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. 3 And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.
4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: 5 For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.
6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: 7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.
8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Editor’s Final Note: Try the faith walk with all sincerity. Doubting Thomas felt the nail scars in the hands of a Jesus Christ who had laid in the grave three days and found them real. Will you have the courage to find out if faith in the power of Jesus Christ, though Jehovah God, the Great I Am, is REAL for you?
Remember, Christ said He came that we should have life and have it more abundantly. And, of course, Jesus Christ also said He came not into this world to condemn it, but that the world (all of us sinners) through Him should be saved… Saved, of course, from the fires of hell that await all unforgiven sinners.
Trust me, Satan will not miss you if you do not receive your front seat in hell.
For to the devil, you are just a number in a war game with Jehovah God. But to Jesus Christ, you are a friend in need of a wedding band…

Christians Don’t Run,
they preach salvation
and enhance the
Great Commission
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
There will be wars and rumors of wars until the end when Jesus Christ sets his foot on Mt. Olive and returns to set up an earthly kingdom (1).
The trouble today is mass communication has amplified everything there is about a war. One of the undeclared wars of the day is the war to shut up those who would describe what Jesus Christ did on the cross.
Distractions are plentiful in today’s world of: ISIS will get us, the environment will quit supporting us, our financial stability will slip away like an illusive cloud etc. You name the fear. Satan has a web site to take care of promoting it.
I have a friend, whom I believe to be an active member of the Masonic Lodge. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Masons, and their female counterparts, members of the Eastern Star, concentrate on hard work, honesty, integrity and the Golden Rule (2).
I have heard several of them say that getting saved has made them realize there is more to life than simply living it like every day was your last chance to be a productive and positive member of civilized society, but their Masonic Lodge training does help them focus on something worthwhile.
I personally have nothing against the organization. My grandmother who raised me, the late Marvel May Nelson, was the oldest member of the Eastern Star in Wayne County, Indiana during the 1970’s. She was a very pragmatic person, built on honesty and work, no matter what had to be done to have the opportunity to practice her believes. While she and my grandfather were extremists, I will never forget the night when I was newly saved at 15 years old and they accepted the salvation of Jesus Christ, both realizing his pure blood sacrifice was the only way to go if indeed there was going to be peace with the Great I Am.
Works are meritorious indeed. I take my writing career very seriously and strive to make a positive difference before that hearse carries me away during each and every day that God gives me. But I realize that is but a small phase of things compared to the Great Commission (3).
I suppose it is the work ethic that my Eastern Star grandmother and rugged individualist farmer grandfather poured into my very soul that makes me see things like I do. But focus is the key and the key is to focus on pointing lost souls to salvation. The hope and the relief they will feel after accepting Jesus Christ in their hearts is priceless.
When a good hearted soul accepts the Lord, he or she realizes they are not alone and are not doomed to simply fade away with the human spirited satisfaction that they did the best they could to be a good person. They suddenly know that they know there is more to the conclusion of life than a slow moving hearse…
TEMPTATION TO RUN
The truth is it is one thing to know what Jehovah God wants you to do with your life and it is quite another to have the courage to pursue it. The title of today’s sermon is “Christians Don’t Run,” or at least that is the first part of said title.
A television preacher named Kenneth Copeland recently said in a sermon that you can not live by faith and by worry at the same time. Even telling God to take your worries and then pridefully doing part of the task on your own to show Jehovah God your innovation and sincerity is disobedience and pride. Yet, it is only natural to want to exercise one’s talents in life in a way that one believes the Creator will smile on.
But Copeland made a good point. You can not just go part way on a faith walk. You must turn a problem over to God and then not worry about the ramifications of it being solved. Yet during the incubation period of changing a behavior, this can be difficult at best. We rationalize that the behavior should have stopped with one prayer to Jesus Christ or it is never going to stop. Such a conclusion is worry. And it constitutes a human being sticking his or her nose in God’s business.
This do it ourselves attitude produces a mind set of rebellion and we throw up our hands so to speak. If we get disgusted enough from allowing a worry to fester, we may even run away from our calling to seek solitude and disassociation from the very people God wants us to help!
This was the case with Jonah. God wanted him to go preach salvation to a people in Nineveh who were deep into a disobedient set of behaviors. Jonah could not stand the stench of the wrongs they were committing and so he decided not to go to Nineveh but instead charted a boat away from the whole situation to Tarsus.
Most, who were indoctrinated into the basics of the Christian religion as a child, will recall what happened next. Jehovah God got Jonah off the boat and into the belly of a large fish. It was definitely a divine way to grant Jonah’s wish to escape his preaching duties at Nineveh… In fact, the Great I Am kept Jonah alive inside the fish for three days, as He directed the creature to swim toward Nineveh.
Jehovah God knew that if Jonah had time to think, and realize that the creation is not wiser than the Creator in reaching a goal, Jonah would see reason.
Story tellers make is sound as though Jonah pleaded for his life and bargained with God, saying if the All Mighty would just get him safely out of the whale, or whatever sea creature was used as his boat to Nineveh, that he would obey God and go ahead and preach salvation to the lost.
While this would have definitely been the case were Jonah not a saved preacher and working vessel of the All Mighty, I question if it were the case with Jonah. I believe he knew that God had created him for the purpose of preaching His Word and as long as he was a willing and able vessel work could be done toward that purpose. I believe Jonah’s prayer went something like this: Father God, “You know best. I have judged your people in Nineveh as being beyond listening to a salvation message on obedience to You and I have judged wrongly. If you like, since I have now realized my inferior thought patterns, I would be happy to do as you asked and give them the message you want delivered.
“I ask forgiveness for running from my duties and place my future in your hands, promising not to interfere in the completion of this task again.”
The Great I Am heard this pray of willingness and submission and was moved to compassion. He knew Jonah had what it took to preach his Word, but He had to create a set of circumstances that would prove to Jonah that Jonah had what it took.
After said prayer, God induced a sickness in the fish’s belly and Jonah was expelled, unharmed, onto the banks of Nineveh. The preacher had been through his personal fire and was now full of enough confidence and determination to go to work. You can perhaps relate to this if there is a calling on your life. If there is, don’t run.
Christians don’t run forever. God will bring you back – if you have what it takes to preach about the perfect gift of Jesus Christ and how His pure-blood sacrifice on the cross 2,000 years ago acted as a divine purging for sin and reunited the sinner and the Creator by way of the writing of your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
The Christian Bible clearly states your name must be in that Book of Life or you will not enter a sinless heaven in the world to come. But the good news is all the Great I Am requires is that you admit your ways are inferior to His ways, ask forgiveness for your prideful disobedience and enjoy the ride. Once you submit to the divine will of Jesus Christ, He plainly states that He came so you could have life and life more abundantly – now and in the eternity to come.
SCRIPTURES
1) THE THOUSAND YEAR REIGN OF JESUS CHRIST – Revelation 20 King James Version (KJV) – 20 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
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.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
2) THE GOLDEN RULE – Matthew 7:10-16 King James Version (KJV) 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
3) THE GREAT COMMISSION – Matthew 28:16-20 King James Version (KJV) 16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
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.
Editor’s Note: Indeed, Jesus Christ is with those of us who have accepted his free gift of salvation. And the more we wallk by faith, the more evidence of the Savior we see.
I enjoyed Kenneth Copeland’s evaluation that faith walking benefits increase as we turn more and more of our worries over to the very capable hands of our Savior.
When we see Jesus row one side of our boats, it makes what He wants us to do so much more appealing.

Christian Joy
does not depend
on circumstance
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I once heard a song in church that said something about joy down in my heart. I think it also said something about the love of Jesus…
When a person is 8 years old, this is not hard to buy. Now that I am 57, not so much. I have been through hell and back in this life. Most of it was a great thing. Some of it was simply hell and back…
I am a guy who accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior when I was 15. I had a lot of church education between 8 and 15 that somewhat made me come to that decision.
But mostly, I was running away from Satan full force. You see, I felt like the devil was an entity who stacked the deck. I still do feel that way.
Once I left Satan’s camp, I felt a certain joy of relief. I felt like a great burden had been lifted from my soul, but I lacked one thing; a strongly developed faith. I had all sorts of hope in Jesus as my Savior, but I lacked the strong faith to put my actions behind my hope and press on for continuous joy – after the joy of accepting salvation faded somewhat. So the Biblical “joy unspeakable” evaded me for a time.
Somewhere along the line, probably out of desperation, I admitted to Jesus Christ and to myself that I could not make good decisions without receiving, and obeying, divine guidance and direction.
I started to pray for that guidance and direction daily and read more of God’s Christian Bible for confirmation of what I perceived to be said guidance and direction.
I figured if I did not confirm my feelings of direction with prayer and Bible reading, Satan would probably sucker punch me. As time went on, I did get more confident in the “Golden Rule” guidance my Savior provides. It mostly involves taking my eyes off of me and putting them on you.
Slowly but surely, my faith started to grow. I started to understand just a little better just how wonderful my Creator really was and is. Then something inside of me (the Holy Ghost in my humble opinion) insisted that I grow a love for Jesus Christ that surpassed every other love in my life. And then, it began to happen. I began to feel what I consider to be Christian joy, that is the joy unspeakable talked about in scripture.
When Jehovah God said do something, and I perceived it to be divine guidance toward an act of love to my fellow man or woman, I started making an attempt to obey the guidance and left the worrying as to how I would get the request done to the Lord.
Worry is a great joy stealer. When you feel you must worry, or that there is definitely something to worry about, give the worries to the Lord and let “Jesus Take the Wheel.”
As the Christians used to say years ago, sometimes things seem impossible but nothing is impossible with Jehovah God. As the old time preachers asked, “If God be for you, who can be against you?” Sure, plenty of folks can, but does it really matter if the Creator of the Universe is on your side? When I need a bit of encouragement in this regard, I think about Jesus Christ walking on the water.
Let Jesus figure out how you can serve others as He has directed. Doing that should put a smile on your face while you go through your day by day instead of those worry lines that are so obvious when you are trying to solve a problem on your own and you run into that solid rock met to stop you dead in your tracks.
I have been having budget problems with this publication and praying to Jesus Christ for an answer. I am now expanding the thing from 12 pages to 16 pages, which is more writing work on me. But it gives my readers a better reason to check out the weekly magazine. The word “give” is the key. If you want to receive, you must first give. That is how I have discovered it works in God’s economy.
I have noticed when I spend an overabundance of time trying to figure out how something is going to get done that I know in my heart is a plan of divine intervention, things just take longer to accomplish and I get more gray hair.
Instead of worry, I now try being thankful for the guidance and direction of the Spirit of Love in this old universe, more commonly known as my provider, Jehovah God. If I can not trust Him, who indeed can I trust?
In truth and reality, once a person turns the worries about how things are all going to get done in life over to Jesus Christ, the struggle itself seems to become somehow comforting from detachment brought on by divine trust.
We know the how has to be there, but we put the traction in the hands of the Lord and simply do our part.
PRAYING FOR SAUL
Consider Ananias, who was supposed to pray for Saul to become a seeing entity again while fully knowing that Saul’s previous reputation was that of a killer of those with Christian believes.
Christ told Ananias to pray for Paul so the Roman soldier, then known as Saul, could see to travel about and then ultimately write the biggest part of the Christian Bible (1). If the Christian servant had grabbed a hold of his survival instinct and given in to worry, coupled with the logical action of running, Paul’s vision would have had to have been restored another way and God’s plan would have had to be accomplished through a different prayer warrior.
Perhaps even more importantly, the fellow doing the praying might have gone astray out of fear of failure. This is a problem in the modern world that is right up there with worry when it comes to joy stealers; fear of failure that is.
I used to tell my mother-in-law that the sky is not falling. I said that when she would dwell on the consequences of risk instead of the rewards of putting elbow grease to a goal or dream. I think Thelma was actually glad to hear that I had a thing growing inside of me called faith in Jehovah God and His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and that faith was the only reason I could not, and would not, believe the sky was about to fall.
She has since gone on to be with the Lord. I think of her faith prompting often. She was not a quitter. She just wanted me to pray earnestly before I acted to be sure my actions were indeed prompted by the truth – true guidance and direction from the Holy Ghost of God that lives on the inside of all Christians.
I thank her for her concern and believe it is a point well taken. Indeed, faith without works is dead. But we had better be sure our faith is in our Savior Jesus Christ, not in some man or woman that has no history of miracles and eternal life.
If you believe you are doing the right thing, good. If you need encouragement before you act, pray, read the Bible and get alone with your Lord where His voice can come through the best. Once you know that you know you have heard from Jehovah God, joy will begin to mount in your heart of hearts.
Me, when I need to hear Jesus Christ speaking to my heart, I go fishing by myself. I did so on July 4 morning. I was getting a fishing pole ready for a grandson to use at a later outing planned for July 15. I did catch a fish and so tested the pole and line out in that manner, while experiencing the joy of a bit of success. But more importantly I listened for what Jehovah God wanted me to know.
The result of this experience? You guessed it. I felt Christian joy. I felt an affirmation of some guidance and direction and, as my grandmother used to say, I got a new lease on life. When I was younger, I used to call it recharging my batteries.
We seem to live in a country with what I call anti-Christian leaders. I do not seem to be the only one with this impression of our current administration. I have hopes that things will change for the better in November, but whatever happens Jesus Christ can over-rule any oppression placed on His followers and has certainly done so in the past.
The apparent erosion of my freedom of speech, freedom of religion and other stuff I took for granted growing up as an Indiana farm boy, bothers me. But the devil is a strong critter. Satan, and all of the forces of hate, have figured out that the way to attack the United States is to erode it from within. It worked in Rome, which fell from inner corruption. But perhaps we have learned a little from history.
It is one of my prayers that television preacher Kenneth Copeland is right when he claims God has revealed to him that the erosion of the Constitutional and Christian values over the past eight years will not continue, but rather has simply been a rebirthing process for an up and coming revival of the Christian faith.
People need to wake up to the fact that political circumstances do not have the power to control Christian joy felt in a free heart. There is love and joy in the words and actions of Jesus Christ and in the hearts of his followers that can not be found in any man-made religion.
We Christians have read the end of the Christian Bible and realize we win. But that should not be enough. We need to take as many souls on to eternal victory with us as want to go.
Remember the old rule my grandfather taught me about dances. A girl will never dance with you if you do not ask.
The Biblical parallel to this is where it is asked, “How can one be saved without a preacher (2)?” So if you are a believer, tell your friends. Tell anyone who will listen. We who accept Jesus Christ and His pure blood sacrifice as a ransom for our sins are all called to spread the story of His grace.
The spiritual war of our time is intense. Perhaps it always was, but we are not in the past. We are in the present and that is where our joy, our sorrow and everything in-between is rooted.
We have one chance to make it right. We have now. Now to show Christian love, now to tell folks the good news about Jesus Christ and His pure blood sacrifice for your sins and mine.
Now to feel those human tears and fears we call life. Now to trust God for this moment and forever. Now to make and keep our peace with Jehovah God and to accept the free gift of salvation offered through the sacrifice made on the cross by Jesus Christ. Read Proverbs 27 if you really think we have any guarantees about our next breath.
Do your best and let God do the rest. And then, thank Jesus Christ for the opportunity to serve. Be a giver, not a taker.
Giving produces joy in a Christian heart. God will continue to provide for you. As one of my friends pointed out Jehovah God is a term that means God is my provider. If you do not see this right now, I pray Jehovah God, through the Spirit of His Son Jesus Christ, comes to you on your own road to Damascus.
It is up to you. There is joy in seeing this old life as half full, rather than as a cup that is half empty. But to get that cup fuller, we have to spread love. And the spreading of love will give you true Christian joy.
If you need a third scripture this week, consider Corinthians, Chapter 13. It is known as the love chapter and inside of it you will find that God has given us hope, faith and love (charity) and the greatest of these gifts is love (3).
SCRIPTURES
1) PRAY FOR SAUL (PAUL) – Acts 9:10-31 King James Version (KJV) 10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. 17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. 21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?
22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. 23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: 24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.
25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. 26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.
27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. 28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.
29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. 30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.
31Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
2) TO BE SAVED, ONE NEEDS A PREACHER – 1 Corinthians 1:20-26 King James Version (KJV) 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?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
Romans 10:13-18 King James Version (KJV) 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: If a man or a woman accepts Jesus Christ as Savior from eternal punishment for his or her sins in the lake of fire, then his or her name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life and the true journey of life has been put in motion.
As was said in my generation, a man’s dreams die when he dies. And so time has proven. And a man (or woman) dies not at last breath, but at last remembrance.
Jesus Christ is more than a memory, although I do ask you who else you have heard of that is still widely talked about 2,000 years after their earthly death?
The Savior still meets devout non-believers who are searching for truth on the road to their Damascus. So if you are saved, remember to not only tell folks about the joys of receiving the grace of the Great I Am, but also about what Jesus Christ said in the New Testament about living.
He said I have come so that you may have life and life more abundantly. In short, we who know this Jesus, even a little bit, realize Christ came so that our cup of joy should overflow with victory. Spreading this knowledge puts an idea of hope even in the most critical of minds – but we must preach it to the people, no matter how many times we are called fools.
3) LOVE IS GOD’S GREATEST GIFT – 1 Corinthians 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, 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.

Will your actions
produce the most
love of God in
a given situation?
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
We all make choices in life that are selfish at times. And then we face the consequences. I recently revisited a Sunday school class that I had not attended for many years.
I hope to make that visit a regular occurrence in my life. The teacher, and the students, are not only dear friends, they have enough similarity in age and Christian background to me that I feel like I have come home.
I don’t feel awkward participating in the conversation and that is so important to me, especially as I grow older and forming friendships often means being around when someone’s health nose dives and disability, or even death, comes along while we are chums.
Sure, I try and do what my old man said. Grandpa, John Hans Nelson who raised me on an Indiana farm, used to say make friends with your friend’s child or with his grand child so that your youth and vigor will be extended by the energy you feel from their lives. He made it 96 years with a strong body and mind living that way. It is good advice, but we still can not afford to simply ignore those who are in a similar location on the path of life as ourselves.
At least I can not ignore them. We all have value, from birth to that last breath of life that many take alone. I have long given up on caring whether I take mine alone, as I believe with everything in me that Jesus Christ will be there to guide me from the body to a celestial body in some rebuilding tank known as paradise. Said tank will prepare me for a mansion in the sky, that is a heavenly home someday.
The Christian New Testament quotes Jesus as saying, “In my house, there are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you. If it were not so, I would have told you (1).” I thank Jehovah God nearly every day for that inspiring scripture.
It helps build my hope in a world that seems “hell bent” on embracing hopelessness. They worry about idle chatter and do not look into the hearts of those around them. There is very little encouragement for a young man or woman to achieve their dreams – or at least it is not reported very much in the main stream media.
Sometimes the daily news on Yahoo (an Internet news source that reminds me of the old Associated Press wire service, digital style) reads like a Star Wars speech, where Luke Skywalker is told there is no way that good can dominate evil and all he need do to confirm that assumption is look at the destruction Satan is so proudly displaying. To modernize this, and bring it to a reality instead of a fantasy for you, let’s look at ISIS. The Islamic State is a group of modern day devil worshippers hell bent on trying to destroy the free world. Yes, that is an opinion, but daily news reports sure seem to support it.
And our media is helping that proposed destruction to happen by no longer shaming our politicians into action. OK, let’s stop all of this right here. This sermon is about love and that is sure different than a conversation about a group of Muslim radicals who want to overpopulate the United States, Europe and eventually the entire free world so they can rule with the iron hand of Sharia Law.
By the way, have you noticed how the stories of this form of law remind most of us who have studied a bit of history of what a character named Adolph Hitler wanted in World War II? As an aside, I was so proud of England for bailing on unlimited immigration by the Muslims. I have nothing against a Muslim immigrating to a free country with proper vetting and proven intention to assimilate. It is the conquering stuff I am against.
Yes sir, or mam, Satan and his evil ways will be with us until we shed these bodies. But every time you do something to help someone else, you do a little more of your part to silence such evil and drive it back into the dark caves where it belongs. After all, Jehovah God has assured us that folks who follow Satan instead of Jesus Christ will share the same reward as the devil – a burning hell holding tank and an eternal home of suffering as he or she is permanently ignited in a lake of fire…
I frankly hate to think of any human being’s life ending that way. The title of this sermon is a question. I have asked you if the actions you are about to take will produce the most love that God would want in a given situation? I came up with that, after praying to Jesus Christ, somewhere along the line in a wonderful weekend of fun and friendship.
I went to a city’s annual celebration called the Malvern, Arkansas Brickfest and heard a country music star, Neal McCoy, complement a little band from Gurdon, Arkansas on their singing ability and playing skills. I know one of these guys pretty well. I was so thrilled that Mr. McCoy did this because I know what it meant to the dreams of a young man named Tommy. Whatever those of you who may know who I am talking may think of his singing and dreams, in my opinion this professional encouragement had to have been a milestone for the guy.
It would be like Stephen King telling me I am an excellent writer with a lot of potential. The encouragement from someone who has made it in the field of our dreams is so important as far as fuel to keep going in a world that would have you believe that it is all of no use…
So that encouragement got me to thinking. Then I went to Carla’s Sunday School at the First Assembly of God Church in Gurdon the next morning. I loved it. Indeed, to use her words, it was indeed like coming home. My wife Michelle shared with me that she also enjoyed the group discussion and the lesson. It is indeed such a lonesome world, especially as you get older, unless you do figure out how to fit in with the next couple of generations.
But a person still has to feel comfortable with his or her own generation, and the older generations of folks who may still be around while you live on planet earth. In short, we must find ways to produce love from our actions whether we are talking with a grandfather, a spouse or friend, a child or a grand child – and more generations if you live that long. The feeling of being useless, that Satan and his bunch want us to embrace, is the beginning of the end for a life on earth.
To embrace said hopelessness means you no longer believe, in any shape or form, that you can make a positive difference in this old world, and you are merely concerned with being comfortable until your end comes. You draw your retirement check and you watch the birds in the trees… If that is you, you might ought to check your spiritual temperature.
Those who follow Jesus Christ are soldiers. Soldiers fight. If you have no fight left in you, do yourself a favor and have a long talk with the Lord Jesus Christ. If you have accepted His gift of salvation, I am sure there is still something He will lead you to do to spread the love of the Gospel
The Christian Bible tells us the greatest commandment is to love your God with all of your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself (2). If you love them, do what you can to show them. One thing our current president recently said did register as making sense to me. Barack Obama said the world has too many needs to just get up and spout off as to whatever crosses your mind. He, of course, was putting down Republican candidate for president Donald Trump, who still has not learned diplomacy in his talk. He will, or else he will disappear in the history books very quickly, as Hillary Clinton, despite her faults, will be the next president merely because she knows how to talk to people.
Now don’t get me wrong. I lean toward Trump as my candidate, although I have not fully made up my mind. But even though I believe it is time for America to put itself first so it can help other countries more effectively and so it can remain a playing field for those of us free thinkers who love living here, I do not believe the way to accomplish this is through personal attacks or insults.
Personal attacks and insults fit in with this sermon. They produce pain and hate. This is just the opposite of producing maximum love with our talk and actions. And insults, as Obama said, are a waste of time, as is bigotry and other useless put-downs. God made us all. Jesus Christ has offered to save us all from hell, if we will but ask Him for forgiveness of our disobedience to the Lord’s Christian Bible and ways and if we believe that Jesus was crucified as the only sinless man who ever walked the earth, the only one with pure obedience to Father Jehovah God and therefore the only “pure blood” sacrifice that could get our blemished souls into heaven by placing our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
But the problem with non-believers in this Christian truth is they are not feeling the love from the followers of Jesus that should always be there – even in horrible circumstances. I say this because I firmly believe everyone seeks to be loved and accepted. Now we get to the real deal of this sermon. Ask yourself, do my actions produce love in a situation? Will they encourage and help the other human souls involved to see Christ?
Or are your actions control freak or critical in nature, like an over-zealous parent with a switch on a child’s back for asking questions that the parent does not have the patience to answer? “Because I said so” is the voice of impatience and ignorance. People need guidance that makes common sense. I pray you simply love that child and simply inform them of the consequences of their actions, rather than trying to make them conform without the understanding of “why” in a given situation.
Blind obedience is hard for me. If God was not patient with me, showing me each step of the way why I should conform to this or that commandment, I am afraid this half-breed Indian might be among the hopeless. So I thank God for the patience and love that the Spirit of Jesus Christ, that is the Holy Ghost of Jehovah God, has shown me through the years. Sometimes I get mad at my Creator, but then I realize one of us is in the wrong and since I am very limited in my understanding it must be me…
I wish I had asked more “why” questions in the past when I had the opportunity to talk with my biological father and then again when I had the opportunity to talk with my estranged oldest daughter. Both dropped me out of their lives, but then again, I did not make very much effort to chase them down. So before I give them all of the blame in this blame game, let me say that Jehovah God and the love of Jesus Christ could heal these relationships. And it will not surprise me a bit if He does. God has been so good to me and I thank Him for that. As a matter of fact, I thank Him for my every breath.
It took me four tries, but I now have a wife I want and I believe she wants me. We will have been married 18 years this Sept. 19, if the Good Lord allows us to be and our faith in each other cooperates. I currently have four kids that keep in contact and seem to love me. One of them is my youngest biological daughter. The other three are dear step kids that I would not trade for any speckled pup I have ever seen.
And among these four children, there are seven little grandchildren, three of which are mine biologically and the other four mine by way of my adoptive heart. So despite the civil wars between me, my dad and my oldest biological daughter, my sins have not ostracized me from my entire family. So far, most of them are still by my side and sharing love and kindness.
For all of this, I feel blessed. And I feel loved by them and my dear friends. That is what it is all about, if you feel loved, pass it on.
And I pray every day for another chance to show love to Daddy John W. and Indiana daughter Erin Anne, in this life, if both are still among the living. And I pray both are. You may have similar problems in your family, especially if you had a mouth on you like I did as young, self-righteous man. I was a fellow who thought he knew many answers and in reality only had a few. I had an unmanaged disability, now under control, that frightened some thin-skinned individuals. My moods have since mellowed. I take medication for them and I do all I know to be productive, kind to others and an asset to the people of planet earth instead of a deficit.
Am I having any success? You, who are reading this, are invited to decide such a thing for yourselves. If you believe I am, Facebook me and let John Hancock Nelson know that at least a few of his words might have encouraged you to take another look at Christianity, your dreams of developing your talents or just to mend a bridge or two with a family member or friend. All of this stuff falls under the category of improvement in the art of producing love.
Again, this week’s sermon point is about impression. Do your actions make a positive, encouraging impression of love or do they simply confirm Satan’s claim that all is lost and embracing hopelessness is your only logical choice?
I read a deal this week where a famous comedian made the statement that the Christian Bible believers were folks who believed in myths and should be pitied for our mental illnesses.
It sounds like the voice of Satan came through in old George at that instant loud and clear. That guy came to a bad end and died with hard drugs in his hand, so I have heard. I sure hope I heard wrong, as again, I do not wish hell on anyone but that does not sound like the death of someone professing Jesus Christ to me. And of course my opinion matters little, but impressions are either uplifting or stinging. That impression stung me because I used to think that guy was funny as could be and enjoyable to hear.
But when he called my belief in Jehovah God a myth, I felt a pang of sorrow for him. I realized he had taken Satan’s bait and lost the joy that should have been his with all of that talent. This sounds judgmental and I apologize for that. But part of love is facing reality. The Bible calls it discerning the spirits. We as Christians are supposed to recognize those on a path of disobedience, and even point out to them where they are, but then we are to encourage them that through the gift of salvation available through Jesus Christ, they do not have to stay on Satan’s team. They have a choice…
Without the hope of Jehovah God and the spiritual realm of heaven, life is little more than an ordeal to be endured and ended in disarray. The people I feel the most sorry for in life are those who die without the hope of Christ and then their obituaries cross my magazine desk with some sort of comment about how they liked to hunt and fish… Or it says something about how they liked to read books and quilt etc.
Give me a break. If they liked to hunt and fish, why in the world would they not seek out the Creator of the animals and fish that they allegedly hunted? And if they liked to read and quilt, why did they not use some of that patience to find the love that only Christ can offer? I don’t get it. Do folks really believe it all ends with a slow moving hearse?
Is all hope lost, just like Satan preaches? The answer is simple. Life has hope if you claim it. Likewise, life has hopelessness if that is your preference. In reality, it is up to you to choose. Both are available for your selection.
And despite the political correctness of smiling at those who are in sin without telling them, our job is to love them – not to lie to them.
The Christian Bible quotes Jesus Christ as saying that He is the Light of the World and that nobody comes to the Father but by Him (3). If that is true, all that I have mentioned about encouragement, love and inspiring those around us to be all that they can be in their God given talents to make a positive stamp on their particular time in history is worth while now and in eternity. If Jesus was a liar, then there is no truth. It is all for nothing, as every other religion is man-made, flawed, has no miracles and creates jealousy and hatred, plus pride that leads to self-loathing.
I personally don’t buy it. I have never caught Jesus Christ in a lie in anything He ever promised and if He now wants me to speak out in a more loving way I intend to do what I can to follow my general’s order. How about you?
SCRIPTURES
1) IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE – John 14:1-4King 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.
2) LOVE GOD WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART – Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mark 12:30 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.
Luke 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
3) JESUS CHRIST IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD – John 8:12 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. John 14:6-7 King 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.

Christianity remains
the only religion
that is not man-made
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Ever since Daniel came out of the furnace with no harm done, eyebrows have been raised about Jehovah God being for real.
The king sent three guys in there to burn to death. It was reported that four fellows were actually in the furnace. Three came out unharmed. One disappeared… Other “magic men” tried this furnace trick and died. The fourth man in the furnace was the Spirit of the yet to be born in the flesh Jesus Christ of Nazareth, or so I believe with everything in me.
Paul was given an assignment by the Roman government to seek out Christians and kill them because they were making it hard on traditionally religious men of the time. Jesus Christ met Paul on the road to Damascus and proved to this soldier that miracles exist. A bright light and the voice of a man seemed to come out of nowhere. In an instant, Paul accepted Jesus and His gift of salvation. And being a soldier, he waited for new orders from his new general.
The light of God blinded Paul that day (1), but Jesus made sure he regained his sight to write the majority of the Bible. Christ had hired a very important salesman to spread the Great Commission.
Mohammed tells his followers to kill those who do not accept the Muslim religion and the Sharia law way of thinking. Jesus Christ tells us to accept His pure blood sacrifice to avoid hell when we die and He will show you how to have real life here and have it more abundantly. Christianity offers love and a gift of a better life with a friendship developing day by day with a Creator. The Muslims, as well as other man-made religions like the old fashioned Baal version of devil worship, offer self-absorbing power trip highs by eliminating all of those who disagree with their teachings.
But let’s look at this thing. Any religion, outside of worshipping the one true Jehovah God, is a man-made comforter and a license to attempt to force others to submit to a certain way of thinking. Jesus tells us who He sets free is free indeed. As new Christians, we soon learn that the ways of Jesus Christ are to our advantage to learn and that doing so will not destroy our free will or make us dangerous to the rest of the world.
When I was a boy, the main Satanic based religion was witchcraft. It involved cheap, unreliable magic and a glance into the spiritual powers of those who chose to be self-centered and willing to bargain with the devil to get what they wanted. Demons offered animal instinct rewards, such as sexual immorality with appealing folk from the opposite sex. They also offered endless money supplies and praise for my talents if I would only serve Satan.
I do not see this Muslim religion as much different than that. Sure, there is the shallow version of it that involves naive followers “seeking peace” with Allah. The reminds me of what we used to call white witchery. A white witch claims to be using the devil’s power for good, but is still a servant of evil. He or she is just not aware of the Satanic strangle-hold Old Scratch has on their neck. And now there is the Koran following version of witchcraft, where domination and colonization is the name of the game – as dictated by their now dead and gone leader, Mohammed.
American Family Radio, a Mississippi based organization that broadcasts Christian current events and Bible studies to my home area of Southern Arkansas, said this about Muslim plans for the United States.
When Christian commentators asked Muslim leaders if they had plans to take over America and convert it to Islam ways, the leaders smiled and said of course we do! When asked how, those same leaders told the Christian reporters they would do it slowly, by population growth. They noted that American girls usually have two children, while Muslim girls have an average of eight in their life times.
This population explosion, with free entrance to the United States as being allowed by our current president, Barack Obama, means, according to those leaders, that in about 25 years there will be more Muslims than traditional Americans living in the United States and a take over will be simple.
For you see, even though current political correctness spits on the concept of majority rules, Muslims still believe in it. They also believe rape is not a crime, but rather just a game that men enjoy, and that women are animals only, just to be used for convenient play things and breeding stock. Muslim women, of course, are also made to do household chores and obey their husbands without question. Punishment for disobeying are traditionally very painful or life ending.
Again, while some Muslim men are not as strict, the Koran, which they see as their bible of right from wrong, dictates that a man who does not use his women as servants, both in and out of the bedroom, is going against the teachings of Mohammed. If a Muslim man or woman accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior, and he or she is caught by a Koran following Muslim, the punishment is to be put to death…
So in the natural, if this Muslim population explosion on U.S. soil does take place, we are doomed to lose our country, our freedoms and our way of life. But we have a secret weapon: Jesus Christ and His divine intervention promises that grant mercy for His sheep. CHRISTIANITY IS NOT OF THIS WORLD. Satan has tried for years to get one up on Jehovah God and failed each and every time because Jehovah God is love and motivated by love. Satan represents greed, out of control power, lust without commitment, self-centered goals and, in short, everything hate and acts of personal revenge involve.
Someday Jehovah God will get fed up with wide-spread Satanic worship again and this earth will face destruction by fire, as that is what the Christian Bible promises. I choose to believe it. But that day of Armageddon war may very well be in the distant future. Our current world of religious unrest could just be a stepping stone to a time of Christian revival for an eternal God with unlimited power and an eternal life line.
The Bible says, either way, our job is to occupy (2). I choose to write these sermons once a week for the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News as my way of occupying with an effort to help the Great Commission – that is spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If even one soul is inspired to accept Jesus, then it has all been worth it.
The point of this week’s sermon is to encourage you not to live with blinders on. Face it. Jesus Christ and His offer to give you the gift of salvation is real and His presence in our lives can be eternal. Nobody knows how many opportunities you will have to get saved and see this for yourself. Proverbs 27 tells us the events of one day can change our plans forever. We are not even guaranteed our next breath. Don’t put this off.
Other religious leaders are just men or women who live and die. Jesus Christ still lives and the miracles of Jehovah God still go on. I had a scale removed miraculously from my right eyelid that my doctor told me I would have to have surgery to get rid of. I lost that scale by praying to Jesus Christ, having hope, having faith in the mercy of Jehovah God and loving my Savior with all that I could manage to love Him at the time.
Am I an example of perfect obedience when it comes to living out the “orders” found in the old and new Testaments of our Jehovah God inspired Christian Bible? No way. I have a lot of overcoming in progress. A minister on Christian television this morning, who hosts a show called “The Bottom Line,” made the statement that the new nature of Jesus Christ is on the inside of all who have accepted salvation but many are either too scared, or too ignorant, to claim that nature and embrace it as superior to the carnal nature that still haunts the minds of the unsaved and is hard to put aside by those choosing to follow Jesus Christ. It is hard, but not impossible to break old habits. But remember, nothing is impossible with God (3).
The new you is born on your inside psyche when you accept Jesus Christ and your name is placed in the Lamb’s Book of Life. How quickly you allow “the new (born again) you” to grow is up to your own personal desires and determination.
If you have never accepted salvation, you do not have this duel personality that a Christian possesses, nor do you have the power in your prayers necessary for healing and/or carrying out the will of Jehovah God in other ways.
Without Christ, a man-made religious person or just a plain admitted heathen, will discover rather quickly that his or her own strength will never be enough to bring the joy of life he or she seeks.
You may feel a star-burst in your mood when you win, but there is always a hole in your heart – a hole that only a friendship with Jehovah God can fill. And don’t try to get a notion from a demon to save you from a blazing furnace unless you are really tired of living.
This is not to say that people can not love each other without being Christians. We all know they can and sometimes do. But the winds of time change things. Many who thought they could make it in the long haul, Christian or non-Christian, have crossed the reality of a divorce. This happens in marriages and also in friendships. Psychologists used to say, back in my college days, that divorce is the closest thing to facing a death of a loved one.
I went through three divorces. I am still friends with one of my former wives, but have no contact with the other two. One of them is dead. She was killed in a car wreck at age 27. Tania was a kind and Christian soul who simply wanted children and someone to love her. We conceived no kids on her timetable so she moved on. Indeed, our futures are uncertain. But we do have the freedom to walk with Jesus Christ in love, or walk alone in an eventual decline.
We can look at this from a positive standpoint. The day you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior will change the rest of your life.
The older you get in the Christian walk, if you choose to get to know your Savior by studying the Christian Bible and sharing quiet time with His Spirit, the more the presence of Christ will help you find peace in your soul.
You can also become less disobedient with time to the Biblical teachings of the Great I Am, or at least I have found this to be true in my nearly 40 years of post-salvation life.
I think the biggest reason that is true for me is because I know that Jesus Christ is the ultimate advisor. If an Entity can place my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life, forgive my sins and cut me a path to an eventual home in heaven – despite the devil’s best efforts to cancel said contract – then I have to respect Him and what He stands for as far superior to my own interpretation of wants, needs and desires.
Sure, I still have freedom of choice. When I am wise, I use that freedom to choose Jehovah God’s way. When I am impatient, or persuaded by intense desire over something I believe I just have to have, I, like all of us, sometimes disobey the Great I Am. And like everyone else, I pay the price for whatever sin I commit.
If I did not believe Jehovah God had the power to snuff me out or guide me in love and friendship beyond any man-made religion, I would most likely choose to ignore any claims of higher powers in this life – or else I would play with demons when my lusts burned bright. But I believe in miracles when it comes to my Creator. I believe unremarkable miracles happen to us every day. We get to work and back without bodily harm, or a major wreck. Our spouse smiles at us and our children are friendly more often than not. Our careers hold their own and even prosper from time to time.
This all happens despite the obvious tricks of the devil that all of us face every day. Who has ever wanted to stay home and drink all day instead of go to work? Anybody ever been tempted to seek out that girl or guy who gave you the eye for just one little secret meeting? Ever wanted to find a way to rig Publisher’s Clearing House so you could get a quick $5 million in cash instead of going to work to earn whatever the good Lord wants you to have that day?
Indeed, temptation, on a daily basis, is alive and well on planet earth. The devil travels about seeking who he can kill, steal from or destroy. And destroying a man or a woman’s dreams, hopes and aspirations goes a long way toward causing that man or woman to give up on themselves. Satan knows all this and he is the master manipulator. Without Christ to defend you, Satan wins in the end. With Jesus Christ, if we turn to our Savior for advice, Satan loses. Indeed, as the old timers used to say, Jesus is our blessed hope to win the big prize – hearing that one’s name is indeed in the Lamb’s Book of Life upon drawing one’s last breath. The Bible says the words we are to long to hear are, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
As far as obvious miracles, I have only seen a handful in my 57 years. Still, I attribute every one of them to Jesus Christ and the power in His Name. I do not take any of the credit. And seeing those healings, and even seeing an animal raised from the dead once, have helped make my faith in God steadfast. I have seen no evidence that any other religion has any real power to help a man trying to do “the right thing” in life.
And no set of man-made rules make more sense than the Jehovah God inspired 10 commandments, which if obeyed will give you a happier life and will cause no harm to other people.
Jesus Christ came to earth out of love. The devil works on those who have no room in their hearts for any real love except the love of self and the need to be worshipped or admired – all attributes the devil has also displayed over the ages. Jesus and His followers are givers. Muslims, or whatever other man-made religion you want to talk about, promote taking. Taking freedom. Taking land. Taking life out of some sort of twisted mercy for rule breakers.
Look at the 49 people killed in Florida at the Pulse club a couple of weeks back. A Muslim was asked later what the deal was with killing the group of homosexuals? He told the reporter the murders were done according to the Koran (Muslim bible) as mercy killings. This sort of superior, holier than thou, attitude has always been the main thrust for non-Christians. Wow is it ever important that Christian preachers carry on the tradition of loving the sinner and hating the sin! And the sins of self-righteousness and pride have very predictable results – very unhappy endings – at least in this life.
But make no mistake, there are those who claim to be Christian who will condemn you as well. Jesus warns us judge not or you will be judged likewise, yet we have folks with a holier than though mentality leading some of our major churches. I challenge them to read the Bible, pray and ask themselves who died and made them a god? Humbleness is a prerequisite to being an effective part of the body of Christ. If you don’t believe me, try serving Jesus with a self-righteous spirit and see what happens to your relationships with others and with Jehovah God…
Jesus Christ said He would never leave you or forsake you, and the if you make your bed in hell He will be there with you. So we have the freedom to experiment, just like the prodigal son did. But one of these days, soon I hope, you and I will both conclude that working for Father God beats any man-made occupation we can copy or invent.
Try and find a spouse or friend who will guarantee they will never leave or forsake you. They might want to carry out such honor, but most simply can not do so because of self-preservation. Others have good intentions but simply die before you do.
I can find nowhere that the Christian Bible says Jesus wants us to die physically or spiritually over our sins. There are plenty of people in the Old Testament, before Jesus came to explain the purpose of the law, who assumed God wanted them to weed out the sinners in our culture.
The woman caught in adultery situation should have changed all of that. Indeed, nobody can cast the first stone on a sinner, even one caught in the act, because we have all come short of the glory of God and sinned in our human lives…
Jesus Christ wants us to turn from our selfish disobedience and be blessed. Christ wants us to see the light and learn how to reduce or eliminate said sins as we realize that a friendship with our Creator, that is respect and obedience for Jehovah God, improved with daily communication, is so much more rewarding than some temporary pleasure or act of revenge.
Jesus Christ blinded the Apostle Paul, when he was still Saul, on the road to Damascus. He had to show Paul a bit of reality to light a spark that would last for the rest of the tent maker’s life. God can use you and I too, but we have to have faith in the Great I Am and all that He is, not in some man-made, short-sited pile of condemnation and greed called religion…
SCRIPTURES
1) THE BRIGHT LIGHT OF GOD MADE SAUL BLIND – Acts 9:1-12 King James Version (KJV) 9 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
2) WE ARE TO OCCUPY UNTIL THE LORD COMES BACK – Luke 19:12-24 King James Version (KJV) 12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. 20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: 21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: 23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
3) NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD – Luke 1:35-40 King James Version (KJV) 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. 39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
Matthew 19:24-28 King James Version (KJV) 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. 25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Overcoming knee-jerk
sinful reactions still
possible through Jesus
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Have you ever had a car pull out in front of you and your mouth went into overdrive before you realized just how ugly the words were coming forth?
How about that time you hit your hand with the hammer trying to fix that floor board and you called the board some names that would not be considered politically correct? Or how about the time you caught your girlfriend at the bowling alley with your best friend and the two of them were in lip-lock and you said some things to both of them that might possibly be considered non-Christian in nature?
All of these things are knee-jerk sins. Most of us stand guilty, but my question is do we have to continue to be? The Christian Bible tells us we can do all things through Christ Jesus (1). Notice that word “all.” This means we can overcome knee-jerk sinful reactions.
Can you help your knee-jerk sins, or your sins of habit, without Jesus Christ as your Savior in your heart? Personally, I doubt there are any effective methods to do this sort of character extraction without the power in the Name of Jesus Christ on your side. I have seen folks try to quit getting drunk in AA without believing in “a higher power.”
This usually results in drinking and driving or even involuntary manslaughter… Changing is a God thing. Sure, you have to want the change. Then if you have Jesus Christ in your heart, and you are in a relationship with the Savior, tell Christ you need his promised divine strength. Then check your hope, your faith and your love. I have noticed my God and I share a spiritual smile when I tell Him how much I love Him and how thankful I am for each and every breath He has given me.
If you expect success from your own abilities, good luck with that. Instead, ask God to help you with a particular sin habit and thank him for solving that particular issue.
Then go about your business and wait for that particular circumstance to come up again. This time you are not going about it in an insane manner – that is doing the same old thing and expecting different results. This time, you have involved Jesus Christ and His power to change outcomes. Once you have done that, stand on His promises. The Bible says once you have done all you can do, stand (2). So do it. Stand and wait.
This may be a 5 minute wait or it may be 50 years. God’s timing is not our timing. But the main thing is don’t give up on the Healer. For what He has done for one, He will do for all (3). Jehovah God is no respecter of persons. Throw yourself on His mercy and experience real joy and relief.
Peter in the Bible is said to have had mother-in-law problems. I can relate to that. My current mother-in-law went to be with the Lord last Thanksgiving season. I loved Thelma dearly, but that was not always the case in this now 19-year-relationship I have with a certain blonde wife named Michelle. Early on there, Thelma lived with us while we were trying to raise her three kids and put some finishing touches on my biological daughter as well.
Thelma had different ideas on child rearing. Looking back, they were not all bad ones. But they were different. She and I got along a lot better once Michelle and I moved to Lono, Arkansas with the kids and Thelma remained in Paragould, Arkansas. Visits were still tense, but not nearly as bad as having two heads of household in the same house on a daily basis.
I remember several knee-jerk reactions that amounted to me saying unfriendly things at times when I lived with the mother-in-law. I can not go back and change that, but if I could I would. I would take my own advice and turn the situation more over to Jesus Christ and ask for his strength to overcome those knee-jerk sinful comments before the situations came about.
Believe me, I am still working on this sort of thing. I don’t always respond to folk in a Christian manner. But I will continue to pray for overcoming situations and reactions of this nature. I have learned that just because you feel something is no particular reason to express it. We must consider how it will effect the next person and if our response will make a positive difference or just make matters worse.
Jesus Christ, in the Christian Bible, threw the money changers out of the temple of God. It is written in the new Testament Christian Bible that He got angry, but it was righteous anger. Did Jesus despise the business men and women of the day? I don’t think so. I think he was just trying to teach them what was appropriate in a temple designed to worship and to encourage them to learn about the ways of Jehovah God.
The Lord’s anger was not self-centered, like our anger is more often than not. This is a major point of knee-jerk sins.
Say the devil and/or his demon representatives, whisper in our ear, “Hey, you have been treated unfairly.” Or Satan might say, “What about you?” If we are not careful, our first reaction to such information may be to come forth with some four-letter words, or hand signals, to voice objection. Instead, when Old Scratch comes a calling and tells you how mistreated you are, try being silent until your temper calms down.
Pray for strength during your time-out and then if you still need to voice concern over a situation use the diplomacy that only prayer to Jesus Christ can give you the ability to acquire and pass on.
Let’s go back to our car that pulls out in front of us. Instead of accusing the other driver of escaping from a mental hospital, or inferring he or she has no legitimate parents, just thank God above you did not run into that person’s vehicle.
Turn those lemons into lemonade and enjoy the tonic. You will still be letting out a set of your emotions, just not a set that are in those knee-jerk sin reactions that have a tendency to give us all a case of the regrets when they are unleashed.
It is interesting to note that while Jesus Christ was on earth, he gave many instructions but always seemed to note the positive before suggesting a needed change toward improvement.
A case in point is the rich man who came to Christ telling Him that He had successfully obeyed all 10 commandments since his youth but wanted to know what he personally must do to be saved, or was his obedience to those 10 good enough? Jesus first told that fellow that it was good that he obeyed those commandments but then went on to say the man had left his first love – that is the love for Jehovah God which had motivated him to live by those commandments in the first place.
The man probably gave Jesus Christ a curious look. Jesus went on to say, “Give all you have to the poor” if you want your first love of God to return. The man was very rich and is said to have gone away very sad. The Bible does not say if he went home and distributed his fortune to the needy, but we get the impression that he may have been putting his success above the catalyst for that success – a loving relationship with Jehovah God.
Frustration over money can cause knee-jerk sins. As a journalist, and not a very rich one, I know what it feels like to be behind on my bills. The frustration has caused me to say and do a few things over the years that I am not too proud of, but I have made an effort to adhere to the principle that Jehovah God is my provider and my wallet will be filled with more to help others when my God believes I am ready for that.
This frustration over funds is also a reason many use to split up from a spouse, spank a child too hard or go get drunk during a work day. People pass the blame in order to ease their personal pain and many times the pain they cause others makes them feel so bad about themselves that personal pain goes up instead of down. The answer? Have a little talk with Jesus when the frustrations get too heavy. Jesus can handle whatever you are going through.
As Brother Andrew, our new preacher, said in church, “God never said He would not put more on us than we can stand. God said nothing would happen to us that He could not handle and show us a way of escape.”
And the Christian way of escape is always preferable to our own. Sin, whether planned or knee-jerk, still has repercussions. Without accepting Christ as your Savior, unforgiven sin will send you to hell. Sometimes, even after we begin our walk with Jesus Christ, Satan does things to us when we open the sin door that from a human standpoint seem like overkill in the punishment department. I read the news most every day. You probably do too.
I woke up this morning and found out 50 professing homosexuals had been gunned down by an ISIS sympathizer who came into their club with a semi-automatic rifle. This illustrates a good point about sin. The Christian way of dealing with sin is to love the sinner and discourage him or her from the sin – that is whatever act they are doing that disobeys the guidance and direction of Jesus Christ. The Islamic way of dealing with sin is to stomp it, and its perpetrator, out of existence.
I am not saying all of those professing homosexuals went to hell. Some may have accepted salvation from Jesus Christ and been working on overcoming their former sin habits. But again, unforgiven sin, that is sin committed without accepting the free gift of salvation from Jesus Christ, will send your soul to an eternal torture chamber – first hell and then to burn forever in a lake of fire that never goes out…
If you doubt that homosexuality is defined as sin in the Christian Bible, look it up. It says God considers it an abomination and a stink in his nostrils. That sounds pretty terrible. And the earthly risks are high. Nobody, that I know of, runs the risk of getting AIDS from cussing…
Thankfully, the United States adheres predominately to the Christian way of thought when determining right from wrong. But this massacre is an example of Satan raging in hypocrisy. There is no love in mowing people down, that is taking their lives unprovoked. The gentleman doing the killing in Florida was killed. Such self-defense is a shame, but sometimes a necessity when dealing with a demon-possessed, self-appointed judge.
I believe this is why our Lord Jesus Christ warns us not to judge others or we will be likewise judged. If left to their own devices, it is very likely a bigger percentage of those killed in Florida this June would have overcome their particular sin nature and accepted Jesus Christ and his ways. Now that they have been exterminated, we will never know.
One political candidate insists we protect ourselves from ISIS from here on out in a way that is much more effective than sticking our heads in the sand like our man from Kenya, the illustrious President Barack Obama, has been doing – at least for all practical purposes it sure seems that way to many of us. I bring this situation up by way of illustrating my point in this sermon. The ISIS supporter that killed all of those people was reacting in a knee-jerk sinful state of mind that finally cost him his own life. This, of course, is giving him the benefit of the doubt that those cold-blooded murders were not pre-meditated.
If your knee-jerk sins, like mine, are much milder than murder, thank your God in heaven they are. It is far better to work on a small problem than to allow Satan to fester something like he may have done in that killer.
In short, it is much easier to kill a spiritual fly of frustration and irritation than it is to let it grow. If you let your aggressive feelings develop, they might just produce fly eggs in your body and eventually put you in the hospital – or even result in you losing your life.
One beautiful thing about being a Christian is that Jesus is always there when you need a friend. Let it all out to Him before you act, speak or form some regrettable plan of revenge. Vengeance, so Jehovah God professes in the Bible, belongs to God. God realizes you and I can not handle the results of revenge – as two wrongs, no matter how you slice the pie, do not make a right. Let God balance the books. He will do a much better job of it than any human being.
So the next time you leave church to go to Sunday dinner and some texter pulls out in front of you, hit the brakes to avoid the collision and immediately start thanking God that He allowed you to avoid the collision. Then pray for the texter, as that person may not even be saved. If they are not, your lack of revenge may just encourage them to be. The devil says no good deed goes unpunished.
I say keep doing good. As the Bible says, do not become weary of your well doing. That is my advice, from one overcomer to the rest of the world. If you are Christian, do yourself a favor and take it to heart. If you are a self-professed atheist, or non-Christian, consider my advice anyway. Ask yourself two simple question. Do I really want a front seat in hell? Or would I rather make my peace with the Great I Am before I take my last breath and it is too late?
SCRIPTURES
1) WE CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST JESUS – Philippians 4:10-16 King James Version (KJV) 10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. 15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. 16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
2) WHEN YOU HAVE DONE ALL YOU CAN DO, STAND – Ephesians 6:10-24 King James Version (KJV) 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.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. 21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:
22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. 23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
3) WHAT JESUS WILL DO FOR ONE, HE WILL DO FOR ALL, AS CHRIST IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS – Acts 10:30-36 King James Version (KJV) 30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. 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:)
Romans 2:8-14 King James Version (KJV) 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
Editor’s Note: Hate the sin, but love the sinner. As the song writer says, three gifts are given from God; hope, faith and love. And the greatest of these is love. Keep your faith in love…

The Key to being Saved
is to accept Jesus Christ
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
People of today are falling into the same trap Cain did in the Cain and Able story. Cain thought if he was a good person, he would not have to do it God’s way.
Back then, God’s way was a bunch of rules that people were told to follow. I can understand their frustration. We are animals, then human beings and then eternal spirits. God is in three persons, according to scripture. So it is not hard to figure that man is also three fold. As according to scripture, we are created in His image (1).
When we are behaving as animals, we live by our feelings and our basic needs of food, shelter and companionship. In story books, one can look at the human conception of cave man days and get the picture. An animal cares little what he or she must do to achieve such things as food, shelter or even a breeding partner. Then there is our human soul side. That side does care, but as long as we live and breath our animal needs are still there.
So without the guidance of Jesus Christ, and the benefit of the perfect sacrifice He made, we soul following folk make our own decisions. This leads to smack downs in many cases. Sooner or later, if we achieve wisdom, we realize we can not be happy left to our own wills. And without our names in that Lamb’s Book of Life, those of us with courage fight back with everything we have – moral or immoral – to get our animal sides satisfied with the false hope of happiness as the carrot.
At 15, I saw all of this. I had been going to a Christian church since I was 8 years old and had been reading the Bible all of that while. The red letters of Jesus Christ intrigued me. Satan was steadily telling me I was a natural witch with the power to have all of my human and animal needs met – without benefit of Jesus and what He could do for me spiritually. Somehow, this just did not smell right.
I will share a bit of testimony here. For those of you who have read it before, thanks for your indulgence. When I was 15, Satan was fighting hard.
I was living on the farm as an only child with grandparents who loved me but who had apparently bought into the concept that being a good person was enough to go to heaven. That concept is easy to buy, but deadly to eat…
I had been reading the red letters in my New Testament King James Bible about how Christ said, “I am the way and the light. No one can get to the Father, but through me (2).”
I was also hearing about how the big deal in life was to go by the Golden Rule and to not cause any trouble for anyone. I am not saying that is not a great idea, but it will not get you saved from the fires of hell. To accomplish that, you need to accept the free gift of salvation from Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of the Living God. Any other path, and you simply do not have the key to a happy life after this one is over…
So getting back to my personal experience. I had this dream before I accepted salvation. It was raining like the devil outside my farm bedroom window. I guess it must have been before 11 p.m., as that is when my folks usually turned in for the night.
I saw myself in Eden with my then girlfriend, and sexual partner, Joni Michelle. I had a great puppy love with her that lasted five years. I could have done a lot worse than asking Miss Woodward to be my lawful wedded wife, but I lacked the maturity for such things back then.
I was using her and she was using me. It worked out real good for those five years, but then the results of our lack of commitment became a reality.
We had both been virgins before we made love. I was 15 and she was 17. I did have a love for her, just not an understanding of how to treat a woman with the respect she deserved.
Joni and I had known each other through the First United Methodist Church and through being in band together for a number of years before we both decided we needed more. But enough on all that, let’s get back to my pre-salvation dream.
I had been going to some youth Bible studies on the book of Revelations. The whole idea of the end times was scary to me. After studying witchcraft, along with my Bible studies, for about two years, I was a confused young man. And remember, Satan is the author of confusion and he wanders this earth seeking anyone he can kill, steal from or destroy (3). The devil had big plans for me.
The dream started out with me and Joni, both in the buff, in what looked like my concept of Eden. Satan began a speech I will never forget.
He told me I could have Joni on earth for at least 100 years of marriage, and that our bodies would never age during that time, if I would serve him while I was in my carnal body… I really had a thing for Joni at the time. She was my first, and in my teenage mind she was the perfect female for me.
I was raised in a Romeo and Juliet household. John and Marvel, my grandparents, ended up life married legal 69 years and they had been boyfriend and girlfriend for five years before that. Satan knew just where to hit me… But then I got to thinking about this guy named Jesus Christ and what He offered me for eternity.
I also got to thinking about my long-time friendship with Jehovah God, who talked with me quite a lot before I reached the age of accountability. Frankly, I can not remember “Mr. God” not talking to me and encouraging me to read His Word.
But I was in a “City Council meeting” with Satan in that dream. I looked at Joni’s sweet smile and gorgeous body. She reached out and took my hand in the dream. I then turned and looked into the eyes of what I believe was Satan himself. The wooing was astronomical. I was very tempted to say yes. Then I came to my senses and told the devil, “No way Jack!” About that time, back in reality, there was a very loud thunder clap just outside my bedroom window.
My grandfather came in the room to see if his grandson was OK. I was sitting up in bed by this time and told the old guy I was just fine. He smiled. I smiled. I am pretty sure I eventually told John Hans that dream, as he was also my best friend at the time and I told him everything.
But as for that night, it was hard to go back to sleep. I figured the devil was good and mad now and would come to me again. He did not. Instead, I slept very uneventfully and got up the next morning feeling pretty good.
The next day was Sunday and Martha Giggy, our organ player at the Methodist Church, picked me up to go to church services as usual.
I think it was during the evening service that day that I went to the altar. Every devil and demon from hell tried to keep me in my seat, but I got up and went to the altar…
I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, asked Him to forgive me of my sins, past, present and future, and told Him that I had nothing against anyone. I also told Him I did believe that He rose from the dead on the third day after his trip to the cross some 2,000 years previously and that I believed His pure-blood sacrifice was my only chance to get my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
I felt a great relief come off of my shoulders. I also felt a need to share and went home that night to the kitchen table to preach to Grandpa and Grandma. They both bowed their heads and I led them both to the Lord. I never saw a more relaxed old couple after that experience. And I will believe it was real for both of them until the day I kick.
I believe Joni was already saved when we consummated our “marriage,” and that probably played a hand in me accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior. It has been a bumpy and long road since, but I have never went back on my commitment to Jesus. And believe me, after years of accepting Him as Savior, I finally started the overcoming path of accepting Him as Lord and Master, and that has been difficult at best.
So there you have it. That was my salvation experience. I hope you had one too and could write it down if you wanted to do so.
As I said in my book, “The Path I Took,” which is available on this web site on the home page, we all have a story. Mine is not better than yours or vice-versa. It is simply my story. After my salvation experience, I first used Jesus Christ as my co-pilot in life. That was a popular Satanic deception at the time I was raised. Oh, it is not so evil, just not very wise.
The salvation experience is the beginning of a relationship with Jesus Christ that will continue to develop from that time until you die – and beyond. Without Christ to talk to, there is a hole in a human being that we have no understanding as to why it exists. We try and fill it with the love of a spouse or a best friend and that helps, but it does not fill the hole. The Word tells us God is Love and that is what makes Christianity so different from other religions. There is only one “Great I Am.”
God knew there would be sins that we would try in life, sins our animal and human desires simply could not resist. That is why He sent the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to give us a way to come to heaven and live without sin with Him forever. But the beauty of it is we don’t have to stop being friends with our Creator in this life or the next, once our name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Love is pure. Therefore God is pure. Or you can look at it vice-versa. The point is the Lord can heal the sick, He can raise the dead, He sees the pain we suffer from our mistakes and He will guide us away from our sins if we allow it. For me, it is an ongoing process. Some say when they are saved, they use God’s strength and sin no more. I wish them luck. I am an overcoming Christian who believes he will be attempting to overcome some sort of sin until the last breath is exhaled from this body.
When you are saved, the scriptures tell us the old you dies. But it does not say how long that will take. So don’t be discouraged if Jesus Christ’s example of how to live takes a life-time to master – if indeed any of us can ever master it. The key is indeed to accept Jehovah God’s gift of salvation from hell through accepting the power in the pure blood of the perfect sacrifice, Jesus Christ, His only Begotten Son.
I had a bad day, but as I write to you I am not depressed about it. I have had a little talk with Jesus and told Him all about my troubles. That is a line from an old Christian song, but it seriously is the best medicine to feel some joy inside that I have discovered in my 57 years of living and breathing.
Before salvation, our “old man” is a slave to the whims of our animal selves and human minds. Once Jesus Christ comes to live inside of you, His strength sets us free from that slavery.
We are indeed a “new man” in regard to no longer being a slave to or whims. Sure, we can still disobey God’s Word, but not without a still small voice letting us know when we are doing someone wrong.
I had to learn the hard way that my favorite sins were causing others pain. Once a person learns that, overcoming them becomes much easier.
Jesus Christ is described as a great teacher, counselor and friend. The Great I Am does miracles today. He took a scale off of my right eye a few years back that would probably have destroyed my writing career. I have seen Him take the hope, faith and love a person has inside of them and do even more than that. He fixed a heart in an old pastor friend of mine and made an aneurysm operation unnecessary.
It is all about love and faith. If you want to know more, read Romans 8 in the Bible. It will take you down the Roman road to salvation through accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
But the key works a lot on your soul like it does in your personal vehicle. It has no power to change your life for the better unless you turn it.
SCRIPTURES
1) WE ARE CREATED IN GOD’S IMAGE – Genesis 1:25-29 King James Version (KJV) 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
2) JESUS SAID I AM THE WAY – John 14:1-10 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.
3) SATAN (THE THIEF) COMES TO STEAL, KILL AND DESTROY – John 10:7-12 King James Version (KJV) 7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 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. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
Editor’s Note: Check out verse 12 here. This editor translates that as Jesus Christ is not afraid of His responsibility for His followers. This is true power.
Every other religion in this world lacks it because of the self preservation issue or the self-centered motivation that Satan promotes. What does he steal besides your very soul? He steals your ability to give instead of always take.
Jesus, through the Love of Jehovah God, protects and loves you. Satan deserts you in the end to hell fire and also deserts you in your life to the results of selfish and control-freak based living. Satan runs and his followers get what they have been encouraged to sew – the results of a ruthless and selfish life. Jesus has your back. If you live for love, you will love to live.
Use your key and accept the salvation Jesus offers and you will never have to fight the wolf alone.

Jesus is faithful
to forgive, but
have you forgiven you?
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Outside of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost of Jehovah God, Jesus Christ can and will forgive any sin we commit and ask Him to forgive. I thank God for that, as most professing Christians most likely do.
I will not go into what blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is, other than to advise you never to bad mouth the Comforter in any way, shape or form. Hell, I am told, is not a pleasant place to spend eternity.
What I want to discuss in this sermon is forgiveness. Yes, if you accept the free gift of salvation offered by accepting the pure blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross some 2,000 plus years ago, you will have your name placed in the Lamb’s Book of Life and one day make heaven your eternal home.
One stipulation the Bible makes is that you must be truly sorry for yours sins and ask Jesus to forgive you, that is of your sins in the past, in the present reality and in the future. The Great I Am gives us free will but he also knows what choices we will make before we make them. After all, He is God.
The perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ provides such miraculous grace and is the only way an imperfect being can ever enter a perfect heaven. You also must profess that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried and rose after three days in the tomb. Since there were more than 500 folks back then who testified, so the new Testament says, that they saw Jesus walking about after his carnal death amongst his disciples and such, that is really not too hard to believe.
There is also evidence, via the then Roman government, that Jesus Christ was indeed dead, in the carnal sense. Besides, Jesus cutting us a path to heaven is our only hope. We must have faith that the hope is true. Jesus said he would go and prepare a place for us in heaven, as His Father’s House has many mansions (compartments were we may continue our friendship with Jehovah God, our provider, forever (1).
But there is another part of salvation rarely talked about; that is the definition of forgiveness. While it might be easy enough, with prayer and time, to forgive a wife for adultery if she changes her ways, it might be a horse of a different color for a man to forgive himself for turning his back on a friend in need…
The Christian Bible stipulates that to be forgiven by Jesus Christ, whom Jehovah God’s Word tells us will be our judge on judgment day, one must forgive all who have trespassed against us(2).
This includes, in my opinion, forgiving ourselves, for surely most, if not all, have wronged ourselves.
So what do we do now coach? What do we do about this assumption that logic would suggest that to be forgiven we must forgive ourselves of our trespasses against us? It sounds to me like we must learn to love ourselves, not just the Lord and other people. This is not always such an easy proposition. At least it is not so easy for me.
I have a disability of the nervous system. Through prayer, and medical science, most folks would never know it if I did not tell them. But it is my cross to bear until the Lord, if He does, decides to take it away from my carnal make-up. Part of the way I control my nervous problem is self-medication. It is a delicate balancing act that I really don’t wish on the next guy or girl. But it does bother me. My regular doctor in Malvern, Arkansas told a nurse practitioner that I am a medical miracle of functionality.
I must admit I had to ask forgiveness of the sin of pride that swelled up in me when Dr. Shawn Purifoy said that about me. Sure, I function. So far, I have even held a Christian marriage to a wonderful girl together for 18 years. We have five kids between us and seven grandchildren. We are paying for a house and she drives a nice car.
My advertising agency business is holding its own. Enough on my personal life. Through a love affair with Jesus Christ and Jehovah God, I have been blessed with life and life more abundantly (3). I have learned to say thank you for all that God provides me with and I have learned to praise the Lord in song and in my writings.
As a friend of mine in Illinois used to say, life is good and it is good to live. But let’s get back to something you and I have in common; the need to forgive ourselves for our trespasses against ourselves. I went through this a short while ago when my best friend Mike Reddick passed away of a massive heart attack.
Mike and I were best friends for 22 years. We used to work the newspaper business together from a house in Trumann, Arkansas. He sold advertising for me and we shared a home. He was always there for me. And in the old days, that was no easy task. My nervous system, before medication, resulted in many an instance of verbal abuse and a couple involving physical abuse. Mike kept on loving me anyway and saw me through my darkest hours.
Well, Mike was hit by a double-cab pick-up about 15 years ago and was pretty much confined to a wheelchair until he died at age 65. The last five years he spent in my hometown in the south of Gurdon, Arkansas. He was from Paragould, Arkansas, but was tired of the drama there. He moved closer to me and I was responsible for helping with his bills and general care.
He was very independent and insisted on doing everything for himself that he possibly could. Mike did two tours in Vietnam and was in the 101st Airborne as a special forces soldier. He was also proud of his Native American heritage and claimed to be Osage/Shawnee. Far be it from me to dispute it, although I never saw any real proof. He did show me what I assume was a Bureau of Indiana Affairs (BIA) card that said he had gotten that card from the Osage tribe in Ohio.
Mike practiced sweat lodges etc. I personally have proof that I am 50 percent Cherokee. It is through the Western Cherokee Nation of Arkansas and Missouri. I have a tribal membership card that was given to me after genetic research was completed by then Chief Lola Sholls. Mike and I had a lot in common to discuss, what with all we went through, and our love for Native American ways. We both lived in Florida for a time, both had friends down there on both sides of the tracks.
So I have said all that background stuff to say this. On the night Mike died, he called me on the telephone. I saw it was him. It rang one time. I was tired from working and listening to music to relax. He left no voice mail so I assumed he had dialed my number by mistake. I decided I would wait until morning, as it was late, to get a hold of him if I heard nothing further that night.
A health professional told me the massive heart attack is an ailment where the heart literally blows up from being plugged up and there is not much anyone can do to save a fellow when that happens. In the case of regular heart attacks, there is a normally time for operations etc. to clear the plumbing and buy some more time in this thing we call life.
When I attempted to contact Mike the next day, I did not reach him… I called four times and got no response. I was selling an ad in another town 16 miles away so I contacted two friends in Gurdon who agreed to go by and check on my friend. Tommy Potter, my old Celebrate Recovery accountability partner from years ago, told me Mike was dead and gone and looked like he had been dead several hours…
We had him cremated and sent home to Paragould. The memorial service in Paragould was nice and I got to know his daughter, Rachel Davis of New Mexico, a little bit, which was also nice. I sat there feeling guilty.
I felt like I should have gone running to Mike that night I got the phone call. I felt so guilty and found it so hard to forgive myself. The rationalization about how there was nothing I could have done to help him just was not enough for me.
I had to pray through. I had to have a come to Jesus meeting with my provider, Jehovah God. After much prayer and thought, and after some time had passed, I realized that I had to forgive myself for not jumping when Mike’s name came up on the telephone. God put His arm around me in the spirit and gently told me it was Mike’s time to go. Then He reminded me that my friend had told me a couple weeks before, “I am satisfied with my life. I have made my peace with God.”
So I do forgive me? At least for that episode. But it is a constant battle inside of myself to forgive myself of the pain I have caused others – especially in the old days when I let my temper flair and my self-righteous expressionism run wild…
Now let’s look at you. What do you have a hard time forgiving yourself for? Have you been a Romeo and deserted your Juliet? Or are you the Juliet, but somehow let a Franco in your life? Or maybe you are a career man or woman and have not taken time to love your family like you should?
There are so many things we humans can feel like we can never forgive ourselves for. But there is an answer. Remember that guy you are relying on for your salvation?
If you are a Christian, have a little talk with Jesus. Tell Him all about your troubles. I love old songs, sorry for the lyrics theft. But you get my drift. Let the Lord put His arm around your spirit. You will be able to forgive yourself after that. I just know it. You ask me how I know? Because Jesus Christ has done this for me and the New Testament Christian Bible says He is no respecter of persons. Therefore, He will do it for you.
It may also be wise to remember that forgiving yourself is an ongoing process until you draw your last breath on earth. We sin. We ask our faithful Jesus Christ to forgive us and we have hope, faith and love in us for Him, with a spiritual assurance that He is faithful to forgive those who are truly sorry for their actions.
But we must remember that there are road blocks. Some preachers will tell you that sin has no power over the saved man or woman. That may be true and I can find places in our scripture to back it. But, and there is always a but, generational curses, that is habits we have learned from our childhood and upbringing, do have habitual powers to become repetitive in our lives if we don’t ask God to remove such character defects and the Jehovah God chooses to do so.
I have that problem with harsh language. I heard it all of my life. I rarely write it, but I do think it and when pushed into a pressure cooker situation it comes spilling out of my mouth. These instances have been less as time moves on and I grow more confident in the word of God and less worried about self-righteousness, but I have my moments.
Perhaps you have some sin in your own life that just does not seem to want to go away. Don’t give up on the power of the Great I Am. God will do.
Many times his “do” is different than we ask for in method or time table, but He can and will do when it comes to answering prayer. Still, as Charles Stanley says, sometimes His answer is no. The big deal is to love the Lord with all your soul and accept the no.
Forgive yourself for wanting your way more than you want what God has in store and go on. Time will do one or two things. You will either end up closer to a Christ-like life or you will drift into your own wants and desires. The former is comforting.
The latter sounds pretty empty to me. Forgive yourself, forgive others and take the hand of the hand of the Man who stills the water…
SCRIPTURES
1) IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE, THERE ARE MANY MANSIONS – John 14:1-7 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.
2) FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US – Matthew 6:10-16 King James Version (KJV) 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.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3) JESUS CAME SO WE MIGHT HAVE LIFE AND HAVE IT MORE ABUNDANTLY –
John 10:8-18 King James Version (KJV) 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 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.
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I 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 shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh 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 commandment have I received of my Father.
Editor’s Note: Forgive yourself. Really forgive yourself and it will be much easier to forgive others. That is this writer’s story and I am sticking to it.

God can not lie,
when you know
it’s God, trust Him
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
My daughter Kelley and I both have trust issues. It seems like President Barack Obama may be right about one thing; in our modern society sometimes it feels like lying is the new truth.
But there is one Entity you can trust. His name is Jehovah God. One part of Him, that once walked our earth in the carnal, is also trustworthy. His name is Jesus Christ. The Pentecostals tell me that Jesus Christ is God the Father, one in the same.
I am not sure I totally understand that concept, but it is OK. I sure don’t think it hurts anything to see it that way. The important thing is to accept the free gift that God has offered through His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. In other words, we need to realize we need help from above in this life and in the next that our own minds can not provide.
And if we can not save ourselves from the results of disobeying the formula our Creator has given us for happiness through the Christian Bible, it is for sure other people, with less than pure blood, can not do anything to help our eternal destiny or our inborn desire to be friends with the Creator, Jehovah God.
The Bible says heaven is a sinless place. The tempter, Satan, is not there to tempt us to go our own way. But it also clearly states that a man or a woman can not go to heaven without having his or her name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God. He did the sacrifice that no other human could have done with any sort of effectiveness because He was the only man to ever walk this earth without sinning, that is He lived his entire life without disobeying the Biblical instructions of Father God.
Each soul knows itself better than any other soul possibly could, except of course for our Creator, Jehovah God, who really does know us better than we know ourselves.
We know us. I know every sin I have ever committed, or at least all of the ones that I did with the understanding that the actions were actually sins. I am a believer in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, His ability to raise Himself from the dead and I firmly believe that He went to prepare a place for me in heaven – a mansion in my Father’s House (1) so to speak.
You must decide what you believe, that is if you allow yourself to be honest with yourself and face that fact that it is much healthier to believe in something instead of nothing. Some people run from this spiritual dilemma all of their lives. They have this or that excuse to never address anything that they can not see, taste or touch. In other words, they are pragmatic earth dwellers who will not allow themselves to believe that there is any life, of any kind, after carnal death.
These folks have a harder time accepting Jesus than the Satan worshippers do. At least this has been my experience, and I will tell you why. If a man or a woman has experienced an incantation of the devil and seen results, they know there is something besides clocking in and out of their job and finding somebody to put up with them and their kids. If there are demons and a devil with power that they have seen manifested, it follows there must be a good side to the universe – that is that a Biblical “Great I Am” also exists.
And that Creator, by definition, must have the power to do miracles – like removing a scale tumor from an eye lid. God did that for me a couple of years back after I prayed for relief from the thing “in the Name of Jesus.” For you see, my Christian Bible tells me that is where the real power exists, in the Name of Jesus Christ.
I had hope. I had faith. I believed in the love and mercy of Jesus, and Jesus took that scale right off of my eyelid! My doctor had been contemplating scheduling an operation for me to get rid of it. Dr. Shawn Purifoy, of Malvern, Arkanas, seemed amazed at the Lord’s handiwork.
Many have tried to create their own god without any success. Sun gods, or gods of Baal so to speak, did not save folks from a fiery furnace (2) like Jehovah (my provider) God did in the story of Daniel and the lions den. I could go into personal testimonies about why I trust Jehovah God and why I accepted the pure blood sacrifice made by His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ on the cross 2,000 years ago on Calvary, but in all truth and honesty it seems to me it is always the same process of developing trust that leads folks to the cross.
You start by hoping it is all true. Then you gather as many facts for and against it being true as possible. Then you realize the idea that the story of Jesus Christ is true far outweighs the idea it is bogus and so your faith in Jesus begins to grow. Then, if you choose as I did, you accept Christ as your personal Savior from a deserved destination to hell from the sins in your life and you feel this forgiveness and relief that is cleansing in your spirit to say the least.
Then, if you have a curious mind, you begin to ask questions of your new Spiritual best friend. Jesus Christ will point you to answers; usually through the letters in red in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Then He offers you a job called promoting the Great Commission. That is roughly translated as sharing the Gospel Truth of the story of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the only perfect man to ever exist. And the job has an even more important task. Those who have the honor of promoting the Great Commission are advocating the acceptance of salvation – that is the acceptance of the invitation extended by Jesus Christ for Him to put your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life…
Somewhere along the line, trust grows. You trust Jesus and His Word. You trust Jehovah God, when you know that you know it is the “Great I Am” trying to tell you something. If you doubt it, back up what you are “hearing” from the a still small voice inside by Biblical verses on the subject you are studying. If you can find no proof in scripture, it could be you have fallen for a trick of Satan. I personally doubt if God is going to tell you something that has not already been revealed in the Bible, at least as far as lifestyle philosophy or what pleases Him.
Now He might tell you about a harmless tranfer of location, like moving to a cabin in the woods. He might talk to you about preaching a Christian, Biblically based sermon in an on-line magazine, but Jehovah God is never going to tell you to do something that is a lie.
Given enough pressure, nearly all of humanity will lie to you.
The Bible says God is Love and God can not lie (3). Therefore, if a spirit that you have been communicating with tells you a lie, or half-truth, you can bet it is not the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Jehovah God or more accurately the Holy Ghost of God that represents the Holy trinity of Jehovah, Jesus and that Holy Ghost in our lives. Or, at least that is the way I understand it.
When Jesus left this earth in body, He promised a Holy Ghost Comforter would come to all believers – so we are never alone. There is always a prayer driven way to get our questions answered.
You need to research all of this for yourself. It is not that I would intentionally lie to you, but researching it all for yourself will help you understand in the long-run just why you want to spend eternity talking with Jehovah God and how accepting the sacrifice made by Jesus is your ticket to do just that.
The Bible says that those who choose to not accept salvation through Jesus Christ are destined to an eternity in hell and the lake of fire, plus there will be cursing and scraping together of teeth. Plus there will an awful separation from the Great I Am forever and ever. Don’t let this happen to you.
Plus, gaining knowledge builds trust. Take the circumstance of getting to know another human here on earth. Suppose you are dating a new girlfriend. You believe you love her, but you realize you only love what you know about her. You begin to find out background answers. Sometimes this confirms the idea that loving her is a good choice. Sometimes it makes you realize that you should lose her telephone number…
In the case of doing a background check on Jehovah God, it confirms you have made a good choice in loving Him.
The Word says Jesus Christ will never forsake you or leave you and if you make your bed in hell, at least the hell one can get entangled in during the years we live in this carnal body, He will be there with you.
No non-God can promise such a thing and make good on that promise. Indeed, the more I know about my Savior, the more I am starting to call Him not only Savior and Friend but also Lord and Master – and mean it.
For me to trust anything enough to call it Lord is a miracle in itself. Because, as I said at the beginning of this sermon, when it comes to other people, I have trust issues. Those issues, thankfully, do not extend to my relationship with Jehovah God and the three threads of His Spirit that make up the God-Head. The life of Jesus Christ, having been deemed perfect by the Great I Am, is our perfect example of how to live and strive toward our maximum potential – that is to have life and have it more abundantly.
SCRIPTURES
1) IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE, THERE ARE MANY MANSIONS – John 14:1-4 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.
2) THE FOURTH MAN IN THE FIRE – Daniel 3:22-27 King James Version (KJV) 22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
3) THE GREAT I AM, JEHOVAH 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 1:1-4 King James Version (KJV) 1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; 2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour; 4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Hebrews 6:16-20 King James Version (KJV) 16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
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:
19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

God’s Ways Are
Higher Than Ours
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News
I recently learned a way to justify a work day in the business world that made me smile. A fellow church member is a barber and he tells us he is never disappointed with his earnings because he only wants what the Good Lord wants him to have for that day.
The more I think about it, the more I believe Stan is right on the mark. I have wasted many an advertising sales day worrying about the fish that got away. Through Stan’s logic, I can now see the futility of such concern.
I worship a God with a 100 percent track record of always coming through for me. I see this in my spirit, but my human logic seems to keep having doubts when God’s guidance and direction take me down unfamiliar roads.
I make my living in a hunting and gathering fashion. It is a Native American way of life that I adopted many years ago. I go from store keeper to store keeper gathering ads and making volume advertising package deals. I am not the best sales representative, and yet I am also not the worst. And the ad agency end of my publication allows me to continue writing professionally, as I make a living for my family that is at least above the poverty level.
My wife has a good steady job. Yet in most years, my business gross is a little bigger than her steady paycheck. But we both have a need to have something to count on and also a need to know that if I work hard in sales we just might get a good bonus from time to time. I am glad to be married to a woman like her. She pulls her weight and I pull mine. Or at least that is the plan both of us have.
Still, the uncertainty of making a living on commission can be scary. Yet I know in my heart that Jehovah God’s ways are indeed higher than man’s ways. He knows what we need and He provides it – one way or the other.
Think of your own life. You have needs. The Bible talks of how Jehovah God takes care of even the sparrows and yet they don’t even work. And it asks then, “How much more will He provide for you? (1)” I find these words especially interesting to ponder when folks tell me God does not care about my needs…
I am not sure which “god” they know, but my Creator Jehovah God definitely cares about my needs and yours. However, admittedly, His ways are indeed many times very different as to how He meets those needs than the method we ask of Him.
Still, think about it. Would you not expect a God, who is sovereign (2), that is all seeing and all knowing when it comes to every living creature on this planet, to have a quite different perspective than us humans who are limited in our scope and usually in our intelligence? I have come to believe the old church song I learned as a young Methodist boy years ago more and more each day. The lyrics I am thinking of go something like this: “Trust and obey. For there is no other way. To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
In other words, over thinking a goal that we need does not pay. It constitutes worry and Jesus Christ Himself pointed out that worrying can not add one single cubit to your statute. This tells me worry is worthless when it comes to meeting goals.
So the path I take, and I recommend it to you, is to look at the need before you, thank Jehovah God for all that you have and ask Him how to move that mountain? If it is a perspective sales client, I pray to Jehovah God for the words He would have me say.
I pray that He gives me guidance and direction to do it His way, not mine. Then I wait. A follower of Jesus Christ should wait on that still small voice that will speak on the inside of you. That still small voice of encouragement will gently guide you to another victory in Jesus!
It has occurred to me that this sermon is written a bit too much in “Christian ease.” So let’s get real, shall we. Suppose you need $265 to pay a mortgage payment. Sure, you need $250 for a family phone bill and $150 for some car insurance. And you also need $235 for a window payment, plus $260 for automatic bank drafts to push you into a small breathing hole before mortgage is due again.
Logic would suggest you take your bills one at a time. Task orientation is a very common successful way to earn money in any business. Decide on the target, say that first $265, and then sell your heart out until you mow that number down.
This is basic marketing. I do it every month. But in the 2016 economy, it is difficult to do it with ease, like I used to do in the Clinton and even the Bush economy.
Mr. Obama says those of us working and living in the South rely on our guns and Bibles. Although our Kenya born, communist raised, United States president met it as a slur, it is true and it is priceless.
Without the hope of Jesus Christ and the weapons against the adversities of life provided in the Christian Bible, life would indeed seem pretty shallow.
Satan has tried to destroy me, my bills and my business in a million ways since the inception of the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News magazine in 2007. But the devil keeps missing the mark. It is because “I know the Master of the wind.”
Time after time, the bills get paid and these sermons and stories keep getting published. This happens, by the grace of God, even in an economy that is weak at best. I thank Jehovah God for each and every customer I have ever served in my advertising agency and I pray every day that somehow the 4,500 folks who look at this weekly magazine patronize their stores and use their services. Some do, some don’t. It is the way of the world called earth…
And yet, we have survived. Now ask me if I take credit for that survival? Nope, I do not. I give full credit to hope, faith and love in Jehovah God and His only begotten son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. My God is my friend. It is a relationship I have cherished since I was a small boy growing up as an only child on an Indiana farm.
And my friend has never let me or my family down. I have let myself and my loved ones down before. If you are honest, you probably have as well.
My human friends have let me down upon occasion, but Jehovah God simply takes a ragged breath when I cry out to Him in despair for guidance and direction, and then He provides my needs – every time so far in 57 years of living.
Another old hymn comes to mind. “You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.” I believe Jesus Christ does His best work on a willing overcomer when that guy or gal has given it all they have and then humbly asks for just a little help.
The path to a goal can be rocky. But the adventure is always exciting. The Lord has taken me down a road with some very unexpected twists and turns, and yet the end result has been survival and satisfaction.
So yes, my friend in church is right. Indeed Stan, God gives us what He wants us to have each day so it is best to leave the meeting of a fellow’s needs up to our Creator. You could not be in better hands. As the Lord Jesus told us to pray, “Give us this day, our daily bread (3).”
In order to truly get away from generalities, let me share with you what God did for me during my darkest hour. Some 13 years ago now, back in 2003, my ex-wife Renee decided it was time to make me pay for my every mistake, as she was apparently sure that everything that went wrong in her life was my fault.
Our daughter needed $23,000 to go to computer programming school and the law said between back child support and college abatement, I must pay it and pay it quickly or go to jail for my lack of funds.
I was running a business at the time called the Magnet Cove Community News. It was a broad sheet newspaper that covered six schools and came out every two weeks. My wife and I were living at Lono with her three children and my daughter Kelley was also in our home part of the time.
The business was fairly prosperous, but it was strictly cash and carry – no credit cards, no outstanding loans. I actually loved living like that. And I could see that it just might amount to something fairly successful – given a few more years.
I was song leader at the Victory Assembly of God at the time, but I was a lot shorter on victories in the overcoming department than I am in 2016. Still, I trusted Jesus Christ and considered Jehovah God my best friend in this world and the next.
I had a newspaper office on Highway 270 and spent a lot of time there composing the paper and working hard to build it. A Magnet Cove sign maker named Britt “Santa” Armstrong threw in with me and he knew many businesses in the area. Most of them advertised with us. Things were going my way, or so I thought.
Yet God had other plans. I would occasionally ask for His guidance and direction, even back then, and indeed He came through. Looking back, I am ashamed to say I was not very grateful. You might say I felt like I would succeed because I was just simply a successful guy.
The Lord, one night, took me down a peg. I can honestly say that what I had a vision of going home from my office to Lono in March of 2003 scared some of the devil out of me and it most certainly did come to pass.
I was thinking of my family out at Lono and driving down Highway 270 when God laid it on my spirit that I would soon go through my darkest hour. I had known the feeling of impending doom from time to time in life before that but never so profoundly.
I tried to shrug it off as just working too many hours and resolved to get a good night’s sleep. A few moments later, while I was still driving, God told me to go to church that Sunday with expectations because He planned to give me a new spiritual weapon (gun if you will Mr. Obama) to fight off Satan.
I went to church and stood before the congregation. My pastor, the Rev. Glen McClung, said, “We all know what song John will choose first so turn to it. This is John’s night.”
My song book just sort of opened to “Amazing Grace.” I started leading the congregation in the song and before long I came to the part about praising God. It did not take long before I was speaking in tongues for the very first time in my Christian walk. Frankly, that experience rarely happens to me – even now in 2016. And it never happens in public. I am not saying it never will happen again in public, but that night in 2003 was very different from anything I have ever experienced before or since.
The Bible says when we don’t know what to pray, the Holy Ghost within will pray for us. I find this to be true in my own spiritual walk. The next work day, in late March of 2003, my ex-wife’s lawyer called me and told me if I did not pay $20,000 all in one lump sum I would go to jail for eight years!
It took three years of payments, working two jobs for a year in Minneapolis, Minn., and finding myself working in August of 2004 as the Gurdon Times editor with regular payments going toward a total of $23,000 to help my daughter Erin go to college, but trusting in Jesus Christ and going down a totally unexpected road got the job done. She is now a successful computer programmer and I am very proud of her.
I have remained in Gurdon ever since 2004. It would seem Jehovah God had placed Jonah out of the whale and into Nineveh. I could go into detail about what the whole experience did to my family life, or tell you about how it made me lose my business at Magnet Cove, but all of that stuff is water under the bridge.
God’s ways are indeed higher than our ways. He not only made a way for me to help my oldest daughter Erin go through college, which I wanted to do by the way but simply could not see where the money would come from, but He gave me a home in a little community in Southern Arkansas where I feel like I fit in. More importantly, I believe this is where God wants me to be at this point in my life.
My wife Michelle and I separated for 23 months over the lawsuit but came back together at Gurdon in June of 2005 and have called 111 East Cherry Street home ever since. We will be celebrating 18 years of marriage Sept. 19, if the Lord and my bride are willing.
It is not always easy here, but here we are. And frankly, I give Jehovah God and His love all of the credit for this berg I call home.
What would have happened if I had ignored God’s warning in 2003 and tried to solve the college abatement lawsuit on my own? Obviously, I have no idea. But I can tell you this, I am eternally thankful and very convinced that I took a path that only Jehovah God could have led me down.
Don’t get me wrong. Trusting God over self comes with a price. You might lose touch with friends or family members, at least for awhile. You might lose a business, or postpone a dream for a time.
You might even think you have lost someone you love dearly and want back with everything in you. But it is worth it all.
Now what about your life? Have you ever felt Jehovah God tugging at your heart to accept the sacrifice Jesus Christ made at the cross to make possible a forgiveness of your sins and to place your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Before you shrug such a tugging of your heart strings off to some sort of insanity or illogical whim, think about this writer and his darkest hour.
I lost my family, my career and nearly my freedom, but God led me to a place of peace in a small town with love in my heart for my community, my reunited family and my cherished friends.
Are there bumps in the road? You bet. Do I have to take three steps backwards from time to time to take one step forward? Absolutely. But I am thankful for the opportunity to do so and for the friendship I have with the God of Love.
Jesus Christ was the only man to ever live without sin. His blood sacrifice on the cross was sufficient for me and you to avoid hell and begin having life and life more abundantly while we still live and breath on this earth. In my opinion, much of the abundance He mentioned in the Bible comes from the friendship we develop with our Savior, Jesus Christ.
But you have to start with hoping it is all true. Then you have to have faith enough to ask the Spirit of Jesus Christ to come into your life to stay, forgiving your sins and then slowly change you into a creature who obeys more and more of the Christian Bible. If you ask Him to, the Holy Ghost (Comforter) will unfold the Old and New Testament secrets and slowly but surely those secrets will begin to make sense.
Or you can reject Christ and live in a state of hopelessness and despair. Even when you feel happy now and again, if you remain on the outside looking in of accepting Christian salvation there is an unexplainable joy inside of you that is missing.
The best part of my Christian walk is my friendship with Jehovah God and the Spirit of Jesus Christ. I walk with them and talk with them “throughout the live-long day.”
Even though all of this spiritual stuff might scare you and you may be fully convinced that this preacher is crazy, consider one thing for me momentarily. Do you have an empty space inside of you and longing for some sort of joy unspeakable that you just plain don’t understand?
If so, come to Jesus. If you do, I have absolutely no doubt that hole in you will go away. After accepting the Lord, a relationship will begin that will mean even in your darkest hour you will have a friend that will never forsake you – even when the road has gigantic chuck holes.
His ways are indeed higher than our ways – and that is as it should be in order to get rid of that emptiness that only Jesus Christ can drive from your soul.
SCRIPTURES
1) THE FUTILITY OF WORRYING – Luke 12:22-34 King James Version (KJV) 22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. 24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?
27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 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.
2) JEHOVAH GOD’S WAYS HIGHER THAN OUR WAYS – Isaiah 55:6-12 King James Version (KJV) 6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
3) GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD – Matthew 6:6-15 King James Version (KJV)
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 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.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Renewing your mind
through Jesus Christ
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I don’t often include scripture so near the top of one of my sermons, but in this case I felt it was necessary.
For you see, I disagree with television evangelist Andrew Womack about the renewing of the mind. Yes, I believe if we wait on God, Jehovah God will teach us what is truly of Him and what sort of stuff is of the father below, that is Satan.
But where I disagree is that Womack seemed to be implying that once we know right from wrong we should immediately stop doing what we know to be wrong. In short, if you know it to be sin, don’t do it or else… Or else what? Womack’s view implied to me that Jesus Christ is going to walk away from a man who has accepted his sacrifice and salvation if he hits his hand with a hammer and through pain utters the wrong phrase.
I say that man will be convicted by the Holy Ghost inside of him about his swearing and then will ask Jehovah God for forgiveness and mercy. This, to me, is normal for the Christian and does not mean the end of salvation. So again, I ask or else what? Sure, we suffer from our sins down here as carnal men and women. I can see that, but scaring people that Jesus may just throw up His hands and walk out serves no purpose that I can detect.
Sure, in an ideal world, I can see why the preacher, Andrew Womack, would assert that a renewed mind guarantees the sinner will quit sinning entirely. But on planet earth, considering every man and woman who has ever lived, excluding Jesus Christ Himself, has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, I question how being of any state of mind means we still won’t disobey the Lord out of ignorance, or bad judgment, from time to time. And what is more, a Christian will continue to be tempted by the devil until the day he or she leaves the carnal body. And so therefore you just might sin again, even if you know better.
However, Jesus does warn us there will come a time when God no longer winks at our ignorance. This implies to me we are expected to learn more of the ways of Jesus Christ and we are expected to do more toward incorporating those ways in our actions as life goes on.
Perhaps I am misunderstanding Mr. Womack, but something just does not smell right in what I heard him say about renewing the mind. There is rotten meat in the camp. We are to work toward perfection in our actions. We will renew our minds through the Holy Ghost inside of us through the Spirit of Jesus Christ and we will learn what is right from wrong in the view of Jehovah God. We are to do our best to overcome what we know to be wrong. I do not disagree with any of these things.
But the word perfect, so scholars say, means working toward an agreed upon end. You are not going to arrive at perfection, in my opinion, as long as you still possess a carnal body. In other words, from time to time, all of us in the human condition will make bad decisions. As to the renewing of one’s mind in Christ, to me, it means when we do sin we will realize we have blundered and do all we can to honor God by asking forgiveness at that point and praying for strength not to repeat said action.
The Christian Bible tells us salvation is not a license to sin (2), but rather a means to work toward being more the servant and friend of the Creator that God intended us to be.
We learn by example. Jesus Christ’s life story in the New Testament is our example of what it means to live and act in love, not in arrogance or presumption… Christ warns us not to judge others or we will be judged likewise. We should not take a prideful attitude that we have somehow arrived at being perfect because we are forgiven.
I personally believe the Christian will do well to study the wisdom in Proverbs and Psalms that God revealed to those who would listen. Indeed, my mind is renewed daily. And I thank God it is. As television evangelist Joyce Meyers likes to say, “I may not be where I should be in my Christian walk, but I thank God I am no longer where I was.”
Here is the only scripture cluster Bible Gateway provides to indicate anything about renewing our minds. If you notice, reading down a little past the second verse, Paul even warns us not to think we are something superior if we can follow a Biblical rule and the next man has not conquered the temptation to do so yet…
1 ) RENEWING YOUR MIND – Romans 12:1-10 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. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.
So does this sound to you like renewing your mind with the truths of God means that you will then never again sin on this earth, saved or not? Well, it sure does not sound that way to me.
I have known several preachers who thought they were better than the rest of us. My preacher now, James McCain, does not. He works every day fixing food for children and washing dishes to keep his health insurance and he is nearly 65 years old!
He preaches a salvation message and a message of Christian fellowship and love. He encourages us to work for our livings… He does not, in any way, come across as thinking he is better than the rest of us.
There is a school of thought that believes once Jehovah God forgives you of your sins, upon accepting the gift of salvation, that you will then automatically never sin again – unless you backslide and have to come back to the altar at a later date to renew your salvation… I am not buying that school of thought.
My Christian Bible tells me if anyone walks away from a salvation commitment, it will be the human not Jesus Christ. It all amounts to faith. I have hope in Jesus Christ for a better life here and throughout eternity. I have faith in the example Jesus Christ has given me as to what living in love means and the unconditional nature of the pure blood sacrifice He made for you and me. And I love Jesus Christ, as well as Father Jehovah God, for remembering a little speck like me.
The Bible promises me that if I believe in the power of the pure blood sacrifice on the cross, done by Jesus Christ more than 2,000 years ago, confess with my mouth that He died and rose again in three days, therefore cutting a path for me to have my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life on judgment day, I will be saved from an eternity of separation from Jehovah God – stipulating that I ask forgiveness of my sins, past, present and future, and that I am truly sorry for not realizing His ways are higher than my ways.
And the other element of salvation is faith that it is true. We believe by faith that the example of how to live that Jesus Christ left us can lead us to a better life than we can muster on our own. We all have faith in something. Why not have faith in a God who defines Himself as love instead of in the materialistic world that is apparently our only other alternative?
As to the renewing of the mind quote mentioned in Romans 12:1-10, another point I got from the passages has to do with study. It tells us to first renew our minds to being open to Christ’s teaching, then recognize what talents Christ has given us individually and thirdly to absorb the words of Jesus as recorded while He was in human form through studying the Bible before attempting to use those talents for the Great Commission.
The Great Commission, if I understand the Christian Bible correctly, is for us to attempt to reveal the value of seeking salvation from the punishments we justly deserve for being unrepentant sinners in a world promoted by Satan – a creature of evil that even a sinner knows has no good future. Jesus came so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. He did not come into the world to condemn the world but so that the people of the world might be saved from the eternal punishments they justly deserved for their disobedience to love.
The renewal of a mind, to me, means that after salvation we operate in love, rather than with motives of greed and hate.
It means we take the attitude of Jesus Christ that it is better to give than to receive and that to forgive those who come against you is not only healthy, it is the only way to go if we are ever to repay even a portion of what Christ and the cross forgave us for on into eternity
. To forgive is to start again. When we begin to think in terms of how much love we can show the next guy or girl instead of how we might take advantage of them for personal gain, that is truly renewing a mind.
As to doing it perfectly, that, again in the view of this writer, is what heaven will be all about. Jesus said Jehovah God hates an arrogant and proud spirit in a man or a woman. Thinking in terms of I am saved and you are not so you are worthless is not a Christian attitude. The Christian is to look at the unrepentant sinner and think, “since God has given me this wonderful gift of salvation surely there is a way I can be a part of the next guy or gal finding value in asking for this same gift instead of wondering around with Satan’s way of thinking that all will be well if I can just find a way to buy a new car.”
So be thankful for your renewed mind in Christ. Open yourself to learn more about what He taught each day and don’t give up on you when you fall and skin your knee. Jesus will help you up. All you have to do is ask Him to with a sincere heart. As the Word of God says, Jesus Christ will go with you if you make your bed in hell. Does that sound like an Entity that will turn His back on you because Satan convinced you to sin?
There is an argument for being hopeless. Many buy into it. But the argument that love brings hope is there as well. Get to know the mind of Christ and it will get easier to ignore the argument for hopelessness and choose to believe in the grace of Jehovah God provided through the pure blood sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on the cross for “who so ever will(3).”
I had a good day on the sales field. Not much money, but a lot of laughs. Sometimes, in marketing, that is enough. There will be other days to make quota. I thought about what I said to you about the renewing of your mind. Prayer seems to be a key to it. The Bible says to pray to Jesus Christ without ceasing.
Most of us have not mastered that. But it sounds like a worthy goal and a good thing to do someday, perhaps in our heavenly home. In the meantime, put it on your overcoming list. Know that Jesus wants a relationship with you. He wants you to know that you know He is real. The more you pray to Him, the easier that gets to believe.
2) SALVATION NOT LICENSE TO SIN – Romans 6: 1-6 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.
3) WHOSOEVER WILL – Revelation 22:7-21 King James Version (KJV) 7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.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.
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Followers of Jesus
need devotion…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I do not pretend to be the perfect Christian. Jesus Christ died, in body, on a cross at the age of 33, more than 2,000 years ago. He was the only perfect Christian.
The rest of us, who have accepted the sacrifice and gift of Jesus Christ as our Savior to keep us from paying eternally for our sins, study our Savior’s life and listen to His Holy Ghost that lives on the inside of us, side by side, with our own human spirit. Perhaps we improve our actions eventually to be more Christ-like from that study, perhaps not so much.
Overcomer or not, we know we need the perfect blood sacrifice of Jesus to enter a sinless heaven, so we are at least devoted to that notion of truth if we are indeed a follower of Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of Jehovah God, the Creator of us all. To continue following such a trail in our real belief system, it is required that you have devotion to such a belief.
It is a choice. If you make that choice, and then begin to walk and talk with Jesus inside of you, devotion to Christianity becomes easier because the Lord becomes a part of your day to day life here on earth. Those of us who have a marriage that has lasted awhile know what devotion means. It means you don’t always get your way but you stand by the one you love. When one stands by Jesus Christ, and His teachings in the Christian Bible, one sets him or her self up for criticism by those who choose to do life their own way.
In our world, that is in the United States today, doing it your own way is a very popular premise. Folks don’t want to hear about you trying to be more like Jesus Christ and the way He told us to live. To keep on keeping on, even after hearing mockery, condemnation and sometimes even threats, one must have a sticking power to make it through. In other words, one must be devoted to the cause of Christianity, even when that stand is not popular in the local bar – or even in some of the ritualistic “Christian” churches.
Don’t get me wrong. There are Christians everywhere. Some of us are vocal. Others just keep a silent reverence for the Lord and show their Christianity in their acts of love. My grandfather was not much of a church goer, but I know who he was talking to when he went off fishing alone. His favorite Christian song was, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”
Grandpa’s life was one of determination and grit. When he and my grandmother bowed their heads at the kitchen table when I was 15, they both seemed much calmer afterwards. Salvation does bring a peace to one’s soul. And my own life, after accepting salvation when I was 15 at an altar in the Methodist Church, was much calmer for awhile. Sure, the devil will attack you and knock you down. That is his job.
But it is our job to thank Jesus Christ for helping us both survive the bad times and enjoy the good ones. Most of us are pretty good at enjoying the good times, but it takes true devotion to Christ and what He stands for to survive the unexpected loss of a loved one, a career set back or a financial gamble that went south. When those things happen, many throw up their hands and walk away.
The Christian Bible says Jehovah God will never leave you or forsake you (1). It is us foolish children who do the walking away. Besides, speaking from the perspective of a guy who used to do plenty of running away (my resume used to read like a novel), I can tell you there will be problems where ever you land. The good news is the Lord Jesus Christ will still be with you, where ever you end up – as long as you don’t renounce your salvation in the process of your anger and despair.
God has blessed me with a way to write to you every week. My own efforts in the print media publication business topped out in April of 2012. My wife thought my public writing career would end at that time. I did not know if it would or not.
A good friend and U.S. Veteran, Larry Britt “Santa” Armstrong, who is a semi-retired sign maker from Magnet Cove, Arkansas, has saved my bacon several times in life. He is Methodist in his Christian background, just like me. But the point is Santa is a fellow Christian. He found me a fellow named Daniel Morehead who agreed to build me this “blog” so I could start an online traditional regional weekly magazine called the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News.
I had it under the same name as a monthly magazine in print for five years before the print version of it became unaffordable to me and my family. Mr. Morehead’s efforts to give me a good start panned out. I am very happy with the version of this Friday weekly publication. Apparently you like it to or you would not be reading this sermon on it.
If you see one of my sponsors who sells a product you might could use, please use them. I will be forever grateful if you do. As far as I am concerned, and I have said this from the beginning, Jehovah God is the publisher of this digital magazine. I am just the editor.
Thanks for putting up with that commercial. Getting back to the sermon, my second point is that Jesus Christ has said, “Take my yoke, it is easy. Take my burden, it is light (2).” And being the Son of the only Living God, that is Jehovah God, Jesus can not lie. It is not in His programming. His burden is really light. As to a yoke, it refers to the collar that the old timers of His day put on oxen when they would plow a field to eat. We, my friends, are the oxen of Jesus Christ. He is the fellow behind the ox that says mush. Christ’s work is the Great Commission.
Oxen, like American mules, have to be willing to work. They can be stubborn, spurt and sputter etc., but they have to be willing to get on with it and preach the Great Commission (salvation) of Jesus Christ, regardless of how Jesus instructs them to do so.
I am studying a thing in the Bible called a renewed mind. I may write a sermon on that one day, but right now I know too little about it. Andrew Womack, television minister, said folks who are Christian have no excuse to act on sinful temptation if they have a renewed mind. No excuse that is, in my opinion, except for the fact we are human and not perfect. I am very devoted to Jesus Christ and learning His ways so that I may incorporate as many of them into my own mind programming as possible.
I am not, however, particularly devoted to those like Mr. Womack who tell me I need to be sinless in my Christian walk. Womack is an alleged grace minister, just like I preach, but in this instance the old saying about how the preacher might like to walk on water too came to this old hippy’s mind…
So devotion is not always easy. I don’t care what you are devoted to, it is sometimes pretty tough. My wife and I spent all day together with some financial and repair stuff that had to be done for the family and the house. We fought like cats and dogs. I have never stopped loving her, and as a matter of fact that love and respect has grown quite a bit in 18 years of legal marriage and a year of intense dating. But as to the like part, I did not like her much today.
After threatening to run off, we both decided to just go home and cool off. I learned a lot from Proverbs 27, that is that the happenings of today could change my plans for tomorrow drastically, so I figure to take that relationship day by day. All is calm at the moment, but the undercurrents may rise up again if we incur that huge amount of stress again that we did today. I do like her again. She is in the living room, undergoing television therapy. I do understand why God says not to get yoked together with the unbeliever (3). We are both Christian in our believes. If it were not so, I am not sure where I might be staying tonight.
But so far, after 19 years of knowing one another, we are devoted. She hates my yelling when I lose my temper. I hate her obsession with cleaning and how easily embarrassed she gets. I am pretty certain, from what I gleaned this morning, that Andrew Womack would tell us to renew our minds and our faults would somehow drown in the saving blood of Jesus… I am not sure I buy that one. I do believe, but Lord Jehovah, please help my unbelief…
Being half Cherokee, I am more inclined to believe there is a good dog part of our spirit and there is a bad dog part of our spirit. When Satan eggs us on long enough, that old bad dog will start barking and spurting. In the case of a Christian, or at least this writer, when the good dog realizes what an idiot the bad dog is making of me, the good dog takes over with a bit of tact.
That requires devotion to be able to get to the point where that transformation happens. It also requires a good dose of a forgiving spirit. Both are available by praying to that Holy Ghost of Jehovah God that lives on the inside of us – if we have accepted the gift of salvation and the sacrifice Jesus did for all of us sinners on the cross.
So what about you? Are you devoted to your Savior and trying to figure out how to make His ways Lord of your behavior while leaving your old ways behind? The Bible says the old man dies when the new man is born. I had a really bad old man in me. Is it dead? I really don’t guess I understand that concept. To me, our evil side can be subdued. But sin will happen from time to time. That is why my prayer has always been God, forgive me of my sins, past, present and future. I will leave the rest, at least for now, up to those perfect water walkers. But take heed, Jesus Christ wants obedience to His cause.
He states plainly in His Book He is against us judging others. He tells us to love one another instead and that no man has a greater love than he who would lie down his (or her) life for his friend. Is perfection possible in the carnal while you walk this earth?
Me, I doubt it. But as we used to say in my younger days, that is a non-salvation issue so let it go. To me, the big thing is to be devoted to listening “with a third ear” as to what part of the Christian Bible Jehovah God wants me to work on increasing my ability to obey next and and to get on with that effort to increase my obedience to the teaching of Jesus Christ – with a lot of devotion.
SCRIPTURES
1) GOD WILL NEVER LEAVE OR FORSAKE YOU – Deuteronomy 31:5-9 King James Version (KJV) 5 And the Lord shall give them up before your face, that ye may do unto them according unto all the commandments which I have commanded you.
6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 7 And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the Lord hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.
8 And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. 9 And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel.
2) TAKE MY YOKE, MY BURDEN IS LIGHT – Matthew 11:26-30 New International Version (NIV) 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
3) DO NOT YOKE WITH THE UNBELIEVER – 2 Corinthians 6:11-15 King 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?

Coming Back Alive
With the Help of Jesus
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
In Christianity, there is a thing that many of used to do called giving a testimony. Although this tradition, like many others, only exists in rare instances in modern worship, I believe it was a mistake to stop the tradition of giving a testimony.
My life these past few months has been filled with sadness. My best friend Mike passed away of a massive heart attack unexpectedly at 65. He was a Christian, with Church of Christ roots. He was also a believer in Native American Christianity. So am I.
Although my roots are Methodist, I am a half breed Cherokee. I am not just like Mike was in my belief system, but I do believe that our Lord Jesus Christ visited many other parts of the world while He walked this earth for his 33-year life span some 2,000 years ago (1). Otherwise, the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ could not have been heard “in all the earth.”
Some countries spoke of a white elephant that brought an understanding of the Golden Rule never before understood. For those of you unfamiliar with the Golden Rule (2), it basically says do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
I am a writer, yet I am a businessman. Note, I did not say I was a particularly successful businessman, but I do consider my writing career somewhat of a success. I have written many features and news stories over nearly 40 years in the profession. I also wrote two books. I started being a working writer in 1980, some 36 years ago at this point in time.
Before then, I wrote songs mostly – and mostly for the enjoyment of myself and a few close friends. They were of the genre known as poetry rock and roll. I miss those days, but am looking forward to coming back alive in regard to an increasing amount of free thought and action. That phrase is the title of our sermon this week: coming back alive.
Ever since Mike died, which the coroner said was March 31 but I believe he was gone during the night of March 30, I have been moping around a lot. Before he left this earth, he and I discussed how I might return to my cash and carry lifestyle without dislodging my wife’s plans of owning a house when we retire from traditional work. So far, the plan Mike and I came up with is working out pretty good.
It is a rough road to come back alive as a free soul, minus a car payment and such for at least a good while, and having a bit of money to invest in other things more important to me. But again, the plan is working and I have Mike to thank for brainstorming it with me on one of our weekends together. Mike was a disabled veteran, wheelchair bound for the last 15 years of his life. He needed a bit of help with his bills and getting around sometimes.
I realized he wanted to do most things on his own power and left him to that. But on the last weekend of every month, I stayed at his apartment and we drifted back in time – going over the best parts of our 22-year friendship. We met when I was a Paragould Daily Press reporter back in 1994 and we enjoyed many good times together. Although she is a bit wild at times, I really liked his sister Donna. At his funeral in Paragould weekend before last, Donna thanked me for taking care of her brother.
I smiled and said thank you, but I think we both realized Mike also took care of me. I am a dreamer. It is what makes my writing work. I do not regret being a dreamer, but sometimes I dream so much that I nearly lose touch with the pragmatic around me. Mike, and my dear wife Michelle, have kept me in touch with that reality these past few years. I am grateful, as the pragmatic side of life is worth having too.
I love to smoke and drink. I do not believe either act wrong in moderation. However, reader take note, developing a moderation attitude takes a lot of work. Those who choose to obstain from both might be better off. But me, I see no point in living without some “last supper” partying. I love to sing and I love to cuddle with my beautiful wife. I love to pet my cat Charlie and hug on my little doggy Gidget. My wife spells Gidget with two t’s, me I spell it with one. Everyone one, even spouses and/or life partners, have their differences. It is what makes the world go around.
Jehovah God, Father of our beloved Savior Jesus Christ of Nazareth, indeed works in mysterious ways. I personally believe, with the help of Jesus, I will see the other side of 100 years old while I walk this earth. Time, as my friend Santa Britt Armstrong says, will tell. I am currently nearly 58, with a birthday coming up on Dec. 24. So at 57, I expect to use my last 40 or more years to start a new life – living free again financially like I did before 2012.
I moved into the credit and loan world out of curiosity. I wanted to know how the other half lived. I also wanted to have a house with certain improvments that I could enjoy and I wanted to drive a fast car. Oh, my little Nissan Versa was no Corvette, but that 2012 car was a really cool gem and made doing my business a lot easier – in some ways at least.
Now I drive a 1987 Ford Escort Wagon, an antique so to speak, with 51,000 actual miles. With any luck, I will own her outright before the year ends. With proper maintenance, I hope to be driving her without a payment for several years. I have another car, a 2012 Nissan Rogue, with only 60,000 miles on it, that is also in my name. If all goes well, my wife and I will continue to enjoy driving that one for years to come. She makes that payment.
Michelle is more of a traditionalist. She does not mind things like credit card debt or paying on an expensive car. I question the credit cards. I approve of her car payment. And her job allows her to still have a retirement plan that is decent. Me, I am on my own, along with my Edward Jones account, as to creating a financial retirement. Now, with my lifestyle changing back to its previous habits, this half breed Cherokee has a chance to retire with dignity also.
But the change has its price. In my case, it is my Versa. If all goes as planned, I hope to buy another one, or a good used Nissan Sentra, from a friend in the summer of 2017. I have learned that Nissans usually last more than 400,000 miles. Longevity is very important to my lifestyle plans. Yes, that would be a payment, but in two years that car would also be payment free. If I can not pay for it, hopefully my Ford Escort will still be usable. Time, once again, will tell how that plan goes.
I have said before in these writings, I believe in the old adage, if you want God to laugh, tell Him your plans. For you see, the plans of our Creator are many times different than the best made plans of mice and men. I had a plan that Mike and I would get to go fishing again. I also planned to fish with my best friend for about 10 more years. Looking at his family’s life line averages, I calculated his death age at approximately 75. I was wrong.
But God knows best. Genetics, and medical science, calculate my life span to be about 88 years. I could go into detail about how that figure is arrived at, but I choose not to do so at this time. Besides, I believe I will have a bit more time than that. Again, time, will tell if I am right or once again I am wrong. I have learned it is not how long we spend on this earth, but how much positive difference we make once we decide we need Jesus Christ as not only our Savior but as our Lord.
When one gets “saved,” a person begins a walk with Jesus Christ much as I had with my old buddy Mike. A friendship begins and it is a step by step affair. Some look at the Bible and all of its rules and decide Jehovah God is totally off his nut if He really expects us to live by His Word – that is live by the Christian Bible. When I first read that Bible, I was one of those guys. It all seemed like a pipe dream to this Indian. Sure, I could see shooting for one day living by the 10 commandments. Most of the time, I did so anyway – other than a bad habit of taking the Name of the Lord Thy God in vain. I am still working on that habit and do a lot better in the controlling area than I used to do. Such is the life of an overcoming Christian (3).
Being an overcomer is a lifestyle I recommend highly to my readers. Jesus Christ, in the terrestrial sense, was the only man on historical record who lived without sin in His life for 33 years. Living without sinning is a goal I have. I plan to reach that goal in Paradise, after my death. I am not one of those Christians who believes it is possible, for us seeds of Adam and Eve, to live on earth without at least occasionally disobeying some small part of God’s Word – that is His instruction manual known as the Christian Bible. But that belief does not stop me from choosing to try and do the best I can at the challenge of being an overcomer.
The Word says Jehovah God is a friend to the overcomer. It says seek you first the Kingdom of God and all of its Righteousness and all things will be added unto you. I am a seeker. I enjoy my seeking. It makes me feel alive. I am afraid I have been a fish out of water in the natural since 2012, when I started taking business loans and accepting credit card offers. But for me, that is over now. Now is my time to regroup and come back alive.
Coming back alive for me is to live simple. I will make a little money, pay my basic bills and buy tools as I can afford them. Or at least that is the plan. The Word of God warns us in Proverbs 27 not to boast of tomorrow because those plans can be changed with the events of a single day. I plan now, with caution. I used to plan with a false certainty. I am pleased God has shown me Proverbs 27. It has helped me come back alive.
The Bible said living in debt is living as a slave. I now know that to be true from personal experience. It makes a free spirit feel as though life is hopeless. I now have a renewed hope for the future in the pragmatic. Traditional workers may not have to go through what I must do to have such hope. I believe my wife has her own kind of hope that leads to faith in Jesus Christ and love in her heart. Our paths are different, but I believe we are working for the same end – personal freedom and an enjoyable Christian life.
If all goes well, I will owe no man except for those that I have security with. That is, folks who could take something I have to regroup their money. Living like that, in my Native American way of thinking, is not the debt the Lord spoke of. The insecure debts, that is debts that some bank or high interest rate credit card or loan can provide, are the enslavement debts in my mind.
If a car loan dude wants to make it even, he can come get my car. After all, it is his car until I get the sucker paid off. A house lender can do the same. They can kick my butt out of their house if said house is not paid for. Therefore my payments are not true enslavement debts when it comes to a car or house. Said debts just take part of my monthly cash to maintain as long as my cash flow lasts.
So enough of what I have learned these past few years about finance. What is important is how so many people think enslavement debt is a necessary part of life. They want fancy clothes now. So they get a credit card and buy them, knowing those clothes will never stand for the debt in repayment. They want fancy vacations, like the one I took with my first credit card, knowing that $3,000 vacation would not be a means of repayment.
But let’s get back to the Christian Bible. It says to be a lender always but never a borrower. I am still scratching my head about that. For you see, being a guy who only makes about $2,000 a month as a writer and advertising salesman, the pragmatic wisdom we are told to grasp and hold onto by the Word of God tells us without borrowing on a house or a car, it is hard to function in the society around us.
So you will have to make your financial decisions based on the income you have and the wisdom you develop, just as I have been painfully learning these past few years. Mike chose to live simple. He only spent what was coming in, as he felt owning a house was a money pit. His body no longer could get any enjoyment from driving a car, as he was crippled too harshly in his accident 15 years ago. But he did love his Veteran’s Administration scooter. We worked hard to get him the right one and I am glad I did what I could to help him gain the pleasure of owning and using one he liked.
For you see, Mike was a free spirit, like me in many ways. His scooter, like my 1987 Ford, gave him the freedom to get around and enjoy that spirit a bit. Mike had a very dark side as a black sheep. I still have his mother’s sheep blanket with the one black sheep in a herd of many white sheep.
Mike worked for the U.S. government nearly 30 years, doing jobs most would shy away from out of cowardice. But Mike was also an overcomer. He spent his last day on earth giving candy from his cash flow to needy children in Gurdon, Arkansas.
He told me he had made his peace with God. I expect to meet him in a place called Paradise someday since he said such a thing. For to guys like Mike and me, making peace with God means accepting the eternal sacrifice of Jesus Christ as a personal Savior act. In the old days, when those Christian testimonies were popular, you would hear from Christian ministers that Jesus would have made His perfect blood sacrifice – even if it were for one sinner to go to heaven instead of hell. I believe that assertion to be true.
I went on a long financial journey over the past four years. I do not regret it, but I pray to Jesus Christ that I never go down the unsecured debt road again. It is the wrong road for a guy like me.
I need to the be one of those guys who has extra money in my monthly cash flow to give candy to underprivileged kids in Gurdon, Arkansas…
How about you? How will come alive to your own free spirit that Jehovah God has so graciously given you? After you accept Jesus as your Savior, one good first step you would do well to continue your entire Christian walk – all the way until you carnal body leaves this earth – is the habit of living with a thankful and forgiving heart.
If you are thankful for all of the blessings Jehovah God has given you that will help keep you smiling. If you are thankful for all of the challenges and roadblocks in your life, that is priceless. Indeed, once you master that second part, you will indeed discover your own version of coming back alive.
SCRIPTURES
1) JESUS VISITED MANY PLACES – Romans 10:10-21 King James Version (KJV) 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.
19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. 20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. 21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
2) THE GOLDEN RULE IS FOR US ALL – Matthew 7:12-16 King James Version (KJV) 12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
3) THE PATH OF AN OVERCOMING CHRISTIAN – Revelation 2:1-13 King James Version (KJV) 2 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

God respects your
desire to do right,
keep seeking mercy
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I can not count the times Jehovah God has bailed me out. His mercy has abounded in my 57 years and I am very thankful for each and every time He has remembered me.
Sometimes in life we face some things that look like there is really no good solution. Jesus Christ, a good friend of mine since I accepted his salvation at age 15, has never failed to find me a merciful solution to my woes. He will do the same for you. The Christian Bible says Jesus Christ is no respecter of persons (1). The big deal is to ask Him. Most people do not…
I was raised on a farm in Indiana. My first church experience was with the First United Methodist Church in Hagerstown, Indiana. I attended there for 10 years. Growing up an only child, I had occasion to talk with God quite a bit before I was at the age of accountability. Even before I was saved, I believe God had His hand of mercy upon me.
As a boy, I had nine cats on the farm. I could not have been more than 4 years old when I started following them across barn beams. Had I fallen, I would have been injured or killed upon landing on an old combine. I will always believe God protected me. He had mercy and winked at my ignorance.
I would say the same thing happened in another childhood experience. At age 9 or so, I liked to go up in the barn after supper and lay in wait of sparrows coming in a broken window to roost for the night. I would shoot them with my BB gun and feed them to my feline friends. This met I was up there with the critters of the night, which included some pretty wicked looking spiders.
One day in Mr. Whitman’s science class, the teacher was showing us photos of different kinds of the eight-legged creatures.
It turns out my hay loft friends were brown recluses and I could have been bitten and killed. Needless to say, I was more careful with my sparrow hunting after that. But my point is, Jehovah God had mercy on me.
When I got saved as a teenager, I considered Jesus Christ as the forgiver of my sins and a wonderful counselor and friend. The Lord of my life part came later. In some respects, I am still working on that. I personally believe we will all be working on overcoming our sins for the rest of our lives.
As a young man, I occasionally found myself drinking at parties and driving home. One such night, after being the most sober one in the crowd and taking a girl home, I was riding through the country in Mississippi County, Arkansas. I was news editor for the Blytheville Village News at the time and had a really cool Charger.
I got to thinking about getting home too much and hit the gas down a stretch of road called Highway 180.
Then I began to realize how close I was to the main road coming up called Highway 18 and started realizing I could not slow the car down in time to avoid going across it. Visions of semi-trucks started coming into my mind. I apologized to God for my situation and thanked Him for my Name in His Lamb’s Book of Life. I also prayed for His mercy.
The car cleared the road as I tried to slow it down and landed on a gravel road across it that I did not even know was there. I came to a stop and was one grateful young man. The mercy of God felt good and my caution level increased a lot after that.
Perhaps you too have done some things in your life where the hand of God could be attributed to you getting loose from a tragedy. My message is to never give up. Do your best to obey God’s Word, that is to obey the instructions for life located in His Old and New Testament Bible. But when you fail Him, and being human you will, ask for His mercy.
In my case, I then try my best not to make the same mistake twice. The Bible says there will come a time when God will no longer wink at ignorance (2). This tells me mercy may only go so far and Jehovah God expects us to learn from our experiences. I try not to abuse the Lord’s good nature.
Praise the Lord. I just found a realistic way to significantly reduce my debt and a chance at a much better retirement. Love you Jesus. Thanks for your mercy.
It abounds, this thing called mercy. I am a writer. As I have always told my children, writers write. I never pretended to be a financial wizard. You might say I managed to get myself in quite a bind experimenting with credit cards and loans from 2012-2016. But believe me, I have learned my lesson.
Again, I firmly believe that God’s mercy is always there but he does expect a fellow to learn something from his blunders. The Biblical backing for this assertion is that the Word of God says there will come a time when God turns a person over to a reprobate mind (3).
This may very well be talking about the salvation of the soul, but I believe it also applies to learning lessons. If Jehovah God gives you grace and mercy, and gives you another chance to do right, do it. Don’t just keep fitting the definition of insanity, which is to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
But now let’s look at the mercy involved with the salvation of a soul. The Christian Bible says there is no sin in heaven, yet heaven was made for those who have their name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. If we are all sinners, being disobedient in nature as human beings, how, you might ask, is anybody going to go to heaven?
God had a plan. He sent His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to earth, to accomplish that plan. Through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, there is a key to going to heaven. Jesus lived 33 years without sin, being an extension of the Spirit of our Creator. His blood shed on the cross for you and me was sinless blood.
The Christian New Testament Bible tells us if we want to be saved and have our names in that Lamb’s Book of Life, we must confess that we are sinners, ask Jesus Christ to forgive us of all of our sins, past, present and future, and accept His free gift of salvation. We must also believe that He died on the cross and rose from the dead on the third day.
There is historical evidence, mentioned in the Bible, that around 500 people saw Him after He was poked with a stick and fluid fell from his body by the Roman soldiers, was buried in a tomb for three days and then simply folded his death robe and walked out.
Still, to believe the story of the cross, you must have hope that it is true, faith that if Jesus can save himself from death and be seated at the right hand of God the Father, He can cut you a trail to first paradise and then to heaven. In Christianity a few years back, there was a phrase that said we Christians are not perfect, just forgiven. You can be too. If you have never asked Jesus Christ into your heart, stop right now, ask Him to forgive you of all of your sins and begin a friendship that will last forever.
He will guide you as you learn to trust Him. He will make a way for you to get through your troubles when you see no way out, but He will never take away your free will.
I have a son named Jacob, actually my step-son, but I think of him as my son. Jacob is 27, has a good job at a body shop and a wonderful long-time girlfriend, but for some reason is not ready to have his own place, much less to get married.
This used to upset me. Then I thought about what Jesus would do. I do not want to kick my son out, or force him to take steps in life he is not ready to take.
I do want him to want those changes, make them his own ideas and enjoy the benefits. Some day, perhaps he will. And I will be there to help him all I can if he takes a few leaps of faith. I believe Jesus Christ operates the same way.
When we accept His gift of salvation, and choose to believe our future will be in an eternal heaven instead of a hell, we take our first leap of hope and faith. After awhile, we begin to realize what Jesus had to go through here on earth to offer us that opportunity.
Father God knew without a path to heaven we would never any of us get there. So He sent Jesus to give us that path. Once on it, the benefits in this life are wonderful.
And once you begin to replace your sinful habits with acts of kindness, love and giving, Jesus Christ, living on the inside of you, proves His good will for you again and again. All He asks is for your thanks. One day, in my case, I realized I wanted Him as Lord of my life, not just as a ticket to avoid hell.
I have a long way to go, but as television evangelist Joyce Meyers said, “I may not be where I ought to be in my Christian walk, but I thank God I am no longer where I was.” I have a bad habit of smoking my pipe and cigars while I write to you. A friend told me the smell of nicotine on me is a negative when I am selling ads.
I have been praying about this and asking Jehovah God to help me keep my smoking at home. As part of God’s mercy and financial restructuring, I am having to trade a fairly expensive work vehicle for a less glamorous model that really serves the purpose of me getting around to sell advertising just as well. And the new car is a stick shift. I can chew gum and navigate the car just fine, but smoking a cigar and doing it is just not practical.
So Jehovah God not only had mercy on my financial blunders, He also fixed it so I could beat my habit of taking my smokes with me on the job. God forgave me of both. If you need to forgive someone, do it. Have mercy on them and Jesus will show even more mercy to you.
But first of all, have mercy on your own soul. Hope the story of Jesus Christ is true, have faith that He truly was, and is, the only Begotten Son of Jehovah God and then ask a lot of questions on how to show the love to others that He has shown to you. You will find that His mercy indeed runs deep.
SCRIPTURES
1) JEHOVAH GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS – Acts 10:32-36 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:)
2) THERE WILL COME A TIME WHEN GOD NO LONGER WINKS AT IGNORANCE – Acts 17:28-32 King James Version (KJV) 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.
3) GOD WILL TURN YOU OVER TO A REPROBATE MIND – Romans 1:27-32 King James Version (KJV) 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
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, covenant breakers, 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.
Editor’s Note: It is one thing to do these things out of ignorance of Jehovah God and the mechanics of love he presents in the Bible. But being turned over to a reprobate mind and actually taking pleasure in others doing things so disheartening to God is dangerous ground.
It implies to me that the one turned over to this feeling of pleasure in hurting God with open and proud defiance of His Word could be the definition of the unforgiven. Strive to do right and beg for mercy from our God of Love when you know you have done wrong.

Joy Follows the Challenges in the Christian Life
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Bible speaks of joy coming in the morning after the darkness of night. When we have the light of Christ in us, that light will outshine any problem you can face.
Come let us reason together. That is what Christ says in the Christian Bible. He can make our sins whiter than snow (1). Jesus Christ is our hope for a better future, in this life and in the next. Right now things don’t exactly look too sporty in the life of yours truly. I am very grateful that Jesus Christ is there for me to talk with.
My thoughts drift back to what my father the doctor used to tell me. Dad said life is a roller coaster. It will get worse. Then it will get better and the trend will continue until the end. Our job, he said, is to enjoy the ride.
The apostle Paul had something similar to say in the Christian Bible. Paul said, up, down or all around, he had learned to count it all joy (2). Many scriptures tell us this situation we are in came to pass (3). I go back to these scriptures at times like this.
I have also always heard it is darkest before the dawn. Perhaps so. I go back to the scripture that says Jehovah God wants us to be thankful in all things. I am about to quit a bad habit. I have smoked since I was 17 but something inside me tells me its time to leave smoking small cigars and cigarettes in the past. That still small voice of warning comes from the God of Light, that is Jesus Christ.
I pray I have the strength to listen to it, especially about smoking anything with paper around it. The glues, so my father the doctor told me, make the tars and nicotine stick to our lungs and cause the cancer. As for my pipe smoking, I may allow that for awhile until I feel a conviction in that matter too. I wish smoking were my biggest problem, but it is not even close.
You too may be facing some dark spots in life. I think of a movie I love called the Ultimate Gift. Actor James Garner makes the statement that the best place to start over in life is when you lose it all. Perhaps so. I know it makes you appreciate the little things in life.
This Christian joy I write about is a mystery to the non-Christian. God can make a way for you to function and actually feel happy in the midst of a storm. Writing this column to you is giving me some hope that I would have otherwise never have had. Whoever you are, where ever you are, know this, you are a person of worth in the eyes of our Savior Jesus Christ.
And God does take care of us. As His Word says, consider that lilies and the sparrows. He makes a way for them so how much more is he concerned with our days on this earth? Nature is a great pick-me-upper when times get tough. I consider how my cat and dog seem happy to just be in the room with me. I go fishing and consider how nature goes right on with its day, geese flying, fish jumping in a lake, the sun coming up over the trees in our Southern Arkansas area. The carnal man is the only beast that destroys the nature around him for “the fun of it.” The rest of the animal kingdom respects the food chain and leaves the playing field alone.
A friend of mine from Illinois, Jerome Gholson, used to say to me, “Life is good and its good to live.” Indeed it is. I also remember a line from the serenity prayer that tells me to accept the things I can not change, change for the things I can and leave the rest.
I am a task oriented person. I make my plan, I work it the best I can and than I make another plan. Here lately, I have been asking Jehovah God to grant me some direction in these plans. That seems to save me from experiencing a lot of failure and wasted time.
One important point in having joy in the Lord is to know that you know you are doing all you can to accomplish what Jesus Christ is leading your spirit to do. In my case, I feel with everything in me, despite my desire to run like a jack rabbit from time to time, that God wants me to continue writing these sermons to you and continue running my little magazine out of Gurdon, Arkansas. It is my nest so to speak. And the Word says if a man deserts his place in life, he is like a bird without a nest.
In other words, the guidance of the Lord can not bring you the peace and joy you seek if you do not do your level best to stand. Stand on the promises of God and what you know to be right. Otherwise, you will flounder.
Of course all of this logic is contingent upon you realizing that you can not make it on your own and asking for the free gift of Salvation that Jesus Christ died to give you on the cross at Calvary. The Word says you must believe it in your heart, and believe that upon the third day Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven to be at the right hand of Jehovah God the Father until such time God tells His only begotten son to return to earth for His people.
The devil will make you a lot of offers. They all end with your soul going to hell. If you accept the pure blood sacrifice of the sinless living man in Jesus Christ, Christ promises your name will be in the Lamb’s Book of Life, covered by His pure blood and that He will never leave you or forsake you – dark hour or mountain top in your remaining days.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ and asked for the forgiveness of your sins; past, present and future, do that and begin your relationship with the spirit of the Man who calms the waters. The love of Christ you feel upon accepting salvation will give you joy unspeakable.
And Christ advises in His teachings that when things go south in your life, return to that first love. Bask in it. Feel the power and the joy and wait upon the Lord to give you direction that is best in your particular circumstances.
The warning is the Lord’s direction may be very different, and often is very different, from what you thought it should be. But keep praying and stay on the path. As one friend of mine once said, “Try following the teachings of Jesus Christ – choose to have hope, faith and love in your soul. Give and it will be given unto you. Try Jesus and win joy in this life and the next.”
Joy definitely comes from giving. Even in a financial crisis, where you honestly believe Jehovah God will forgive your premeditated plan to jack him up on tithes and offerings, you will probably never fully forgive yourself – at least not for a long time.
And the reason is simple. God loves a giver. You know that. You want the joy you feel from giving all you have to give to help another soul have an easier time of it.
Closing up your bowels, as the Christian Bible puts it, is no way to have joy. That statement can be understood if you think about the physical ailment referred to. If you are experiencing constipation, you are miserable. If you are experiencing holding back on your giving, it is the same thing. It is voluntary constipation. Pardon the gross example, but it is Biblical. And it sure brings the point home.
Give. Christianese says you can not out give God. And when you give, the windows of heaven will be opened unto you. God, so the scriptures also say, loves a cheerful giver. Give with a smile. Give with enthusiasm. Unclasp the handcuffs on Jehovah God and let your actions bring blessings instead of cursings into your life.
And maybe even more importantly, jump on the food chain of man. Those without need a leg up and they need a gift. It is up to us to put them in position, if possible, for them to help themselves. They need food, shelter, water and a good copy of the Bible to read. That is my story and I am sticking to it.
Joy unspeakable also comes from being thankful in all things. At this point in time, I live in the house I want to live in, I have lights, gas and water, I have food to eat and clothes to wear. I own a small business that I enjoy running. I have a wife that I still love kissing on after 18 years of marriage. I am really one very blessed and lucky man.
I give thanks, as I write this, for all of these many blessings. And I know they come from Jehovah God and His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. I choose to believe they do. I have hope they do. I have faith they do and the love I feel from the Light of the World, Jesus, makes me believe all of this in love.
Another way to receive the seemingly impossible joy that Jesus Christ can provide in times of trouble as well as the good times, is to resist the temptation to be selfish in all ways. If you have no money to give, give your time, your smile, a ride or whatever you do have to help someone else who needs a little boost.
It is easy to be thankful when you are on the receiving end of a bag of groceries, but the key to Christian love is to be thankful you were able to give a bag of groceries – and to do so with the spirit of love and sharing – as our friend Jesus Christ did during His 33 years on earth and the Holy Ghost still nudges us to do, in the Name of Jesus Christ – even today…
SCRIPTURES
1) SINS WHITER THAN SNOW – Isaiah 1:16-20 King James Version (KJV) 16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 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.19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
2) COUNT IT ALL JOY – James 1:2-6 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.
3) IT CAME TO PASS – Luke 2:1-7King 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 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Esther 5:1-5King James Version (KJV) 5 Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house. 2 And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.
3 Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom. 4 And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him. 5 Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste, that he may do as Esther hath said. So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.
Editor’s Note: Many passages in our Christian Bible refer to something that comes to pass. I have yet to find one that refers to it came to stay. To give you a bit of reporter wisdom, nothing comes to stay short of Jesus Christ Himself…

Don’t let your hope
turn into boast…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I ran across the first paragraph of Proverbs 27 this week, which says do not boast of tomorrow, as you do not know what today will bring (1).
It was a comfort given to me by Jehovah God, as my fishing buddy, best friend and a wonderful old Indian named Mike passed away at 65 this past week. He apparently died of a heart attack.
Mike and I had been best friends for 22 years so his passing took me by surprise – and I am taking it very hard. The good part is Henry Michael Reddick told me he had made his peace with God and was satisfied with his life. That means a lot to me.
The bad part is we had numerous fishing trips planned for this spring, now of which, if I go, I will probably be going alone. But there again, the Christian Bible does say not to count so hard on what you will be doing tomorrow, or next week, as what happens today can change everything in the twinkling of an eye.
Mike was ran over by a double-cab pick-up 15 years ago, underwent 28 operations and ended up mostly in a wheelchair. But even though his arthritis was severe from his accident, he could drive a scooter to the grocery store and back and he could hunt for a few years until walking became nearly impossible. The last couple of years, Mike was pretty much wheelchair bound.
But he always told the nurses at Baptist Health Center here in Gurdon he was healthy and he would be just fine. He told me the same thing. I really was taken by surprise at his death. I knew he was exposed to Agent Orange plant killing spray during his two tours in Vietnam as an Airborne Ranger. But I guess I just did not see him dying for another decade or so. God had other plans.
Again, I look at Proverbs 27 and ponder. I realize my dreams will only come true if my life continues and God can take that life as easily as He gave it to me. And, according to the Christian Bible, the End Times are just around the corner. It says God will shorten the days of even His Elect (those He has picked to preach the Great Commission of salvation unto Jesus Christ) so that they are not deceived.
My head sees all this stuff. But my old human heart misses my best friend and wants him to suddenly rematerialize in a healthy body, with a healthy mind, so we can once again go fishing. Alas, reality is a hard thing. As the rock band The Rolling Stones used to say, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try real hard, you just might find you get what you need.”
Biblically, that lyric probably needs to be altered to if you turn your troubles over to God, He will make sure you get what you need. One thing I found out through Mike is that we all need someone to listen to us. He always had time to listen to my troubles, my dreams and even my wildest desires. I did the same for him. We had an honesty between us that nurtured the friendship over the years. And we were both raised to make the best of our circumstances.
That last part is also Biblical. I believe it was Paul who said in his writings that he had learned, through turning his worries over to Jesus Christ, that he could be happy in all circumstances. He sang in jail and praised Jehovah God, just like he did when he preached out in public. It takes faith to do that. We have to move our hope to faith in Jesus and His love and we have to move our faith to a peace that can not be understood.
Jesus promises us inner peace that defies human understanding (2). I am hurting inside right now, although I believe my best friend is in a better place. Heaven, so television preacher Happy Caldwell said recently, is a real place. Once we have our celestial body, we can enjoy the fresh air and the ability to never grow old, never be tempted by sin again and get on with the business of being eternally happy.
If there are deer to hunt and fish to catch, my buddy is already hard at it. Oh sure, I have read where there is nobody in heaven yet except the Father and the Son and two-thirds of the angels, but I have also read that our time spent in paradise is wonderful as well. These are speculations that we all have, if we believe in the after life, and we will only know the truth of the sequence of events after we hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” This is to come to us only if our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
And that will only happen if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, asking Him to forgive your sins. You also must believe that Christ died on that cross, rose three days later from the dead and cut a path to heaven for the rest of us believers (sheep). Indeed, His sheep know His voice.
A minister said on Christian radio today that when we turn our problems over to the Lord Jesus, He goes to work to solve them within the obedient guidelines of Jehovah God. This always works out for the best, one way or the other.
If we persist in trying to solve our own problems, the minister went on to say this is when Jesus Christ sits back and rests. He lets us come to the end of ourselves, cry out to Him in humbleness and begging for mercy and then He goes back to work to put our lives on a happier and more Jehovah God oriented path.
The secret is obedience. If God gives you a path to take, keep taking it until He tells you to change horses. This, in my own life, can be very difficult. But I have learned that waiting on the Lord is much more productive than going my own way.
I don’t always accomplish this, but I will try and do better at this goal for as long as I live. I would give up, but my friendship with Jesus Christ keeps me on track most of the time. He is patient and kind.
He encourages me to get up, dust myself off and get back on the Christian horse. Without his kind words to my soul, I would be discouraged a whole lot more than I am. I would boast of tomorrow because of my human hope that good things happen to those with good intentions. Unless God is in the picture, that philosophy is just not necessarily so.
Mike told me a few weeks before he died that he had made his peace with God and that he was satisfied with what he had accomplished in his life. I was glad to hear it on the one hand. On the other hand, the old saying that dreams die first crossed my mind.
I still have many dreams. While I am thankful for each and every day on earth, I have high hopes of seeing each of my grandchildren graduate high school and college if they want to, high hopes of getting a series of my books published and high hopes of living a long and healthy life as an advocate for the Christian faith. But if God calls my number quickly, I am OK with that too. I did my best, given what I knew at any given point in life, and I claimed salvation at age 15 by way of the precious pure blood of Jesus Christ.
So I will not let my hopes for tomorrow go to boasting, but rather I will leave the timeline and accomplishments up to Jehovah God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. When the burden gets too heavy, let the Lord have your load. God’s love will not condemn you for doing your best, that is if you accept Jesus Christ and Lord and Savior. Once you realize that Jehovah God is ultimately in control of everything, and you turn your worries over to Him, one day you may believe as Paul did, that you can be happy in the valleys of life or on the mountain tops.
An old Christian song comes to mind. It is called “I know the Master of the Wind.” It illustrates the old Christian belief that sometimes there are only one set of footprints in the sand. In other words, when the times are the worst, and your dreams seem all in shambles, Jesus Christ carries you for a while.
I an relate to that this past couple of weeks. I am in a financially challenging mess. It is not an impossible mess. It is just a mess that needs fixing. The Lord is carrying me through it.
But as with most messes, to solve it will take some sacrifice. I am also grief stricken about Mike dying. Indeed, when someone says they are sorry for my loss, I smile and thank them. Perhaps they know the loss of a parent or a brother, or a best friend or perhaps they are just mouthing kind words.
A good friend of mine lost her son to death last year. She said the only way she has coped is to stay as close to God as she possibly can. Indeed, sometimes we are not tempted to boast of tomorrow but rather we dread it because of loneliness, depression brought on by a death or because of some other cross we must bear. Jesus said to take His yoke, as it is easy. The Word of God tells us to occupy until He comes and to not get caught up in the cares of this world.
And it says to be thankful for all things. Mike lived within his means, especially the last few months since we found him a more affordable and appropriate apartment. His inexpensive lifestyle allowed him a few hundred dollars to spend as he pleased during his last few months on earth.
One thing that pleased him was passing out candy to kids. He loved to see them smile. Growing up without much materialism gave him a great appreciation for the simple pleasures in life. We could learn much from a man in a wheelchair who still felt thankful for the small blessings God had given him.
It is my sincere belief that being thankful for all things (3) is the key to being happy in this life and probably goes a long way toward all of us “resting in peace” once we head on home to heaven. And the more we tell Jesus Christ we love Him and are thankful for his presence in our lives, the closer we come to being able to utter the words of my best friend – “I have made my peace with God. I am happy with the life I have been given and what I have done with that life.”
SCRIPTURES
1) DO NOT BOAST OF TOMORROW AS YOU KNOW NOT WHAT TODAY WILL BRING –
Proverbs 27:1-9 King James Version (KJV) 27 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. 2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
3 A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both. 4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy? 5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. 7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. 8 As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.
9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.
2) DIVINE PEACE THAT DEFIES HUMAN UNDERSTANDING – Philippians 4:5-9 King James Version (KJV)
5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
3) BE THANKFUL IN ALL THINGS – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-21 King James Version (KJV) 16 Rejoice evermore. 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. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Colossians 3:14-17King James Version (KJV) 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Editor’s Note: Mike Reddick was a man with the same heart as me. He was a loner, yet he was an extravert. He would help anyone he met, but he always carried a gun.
Mike’s time on earth may have ended this past Wednesday, but in this editor’s opinion, my Native American friend is in his happy hunting ground.
Our first experience together was picking up cans to sell to buy fishing licenses. He was the best man at one of my weddings. Peace out Mike. Love, John

God sees all
of our sins,
He is no April fool!
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
How many times have all of us thought to ourselves, I am going to do this sin and keep it to myself?
God, or man, will never find out about this sin. I just know it will be a secret I will keep to myself until it is time for my burial.
And the craziest part is we actually believe this for at least a few moments… Then it usually dawns on us that we can not fool, or keep secrets, from the All Mighty Jehovah God.
In fact, He has promised to go with us in our folly, “even if we make our bed in hell (1).” I suppose the most common sin we are sure we will get away with is that “little white lie.” A lie, folks, is a lie.
So the next time you realize a store keeper gave you a $1 extra in change and you smile as you walk away, remember the good Lord is not smiling.
Let me begin this sermon by letting you know that I realize we are all human. We all try to protect ourselves from any repercussions occurring from our favorite sins. When you steal that apple from a friend’s orchard, looking around to be sure he was not watching, realize God sees you. Put it on your overcoming list and give God the freedom to help you find a solution to your problem.
Likewise, when your old girlfriend comes up on you at Walmart, and the two of you look around to make sure her husband or your wife are not close by before you hug like crazy, realize Jehovah God is watching as you hold each other tight and wonder what might have been…
The scripture says Paul realized he did not seem to be able to do what he knew was right and did the things he knew were wrong (2). This sort of lets us know that even a strong Christian like Paul, who wrote a lot of the New Testament, was indeed human and had overcoming issues. The main thing for a Christian is to not give up on him or herself.
Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and ask Jehovah God to give you the strength to do better next time. Once a sin has been recorded in your book of life, it is there. The other day I was broke. Satan tempted me to take a $20 bill out of my tithes and offering pile. It is my habit to give about 15 percent of my income to my church. I make an exception now and then and donate some of that money to others in extreme need.
But to give it to myself is embarrassing. I do it occasionally, as a sales person must have gasoline to continue and my billing structure is rugged at best. But each and every time I dip into the pile of money meant for those who can not work, and/or those in dire need, as is to be determined by the Sycamore Church in most cases, I feel very guilty… The other day was no exception. I felt terrible, but I took the money. I told myself I would replace it. I knew better. I was lying to God and to myself, again…
Indeed, I knew my sin, and/or embarrassing “necessity,” was done and over with and could not be undone by me.
The blood shed by God’s only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, covers that sin, and all sin, so it is not there to haunt me on judgment day, but in this life there is always a price we must pay for disobeying our Christian values.
I went to church today for an Easter service at Sycamore Church in Beirne. A friend of mine took exception to the premise that the only true way to make and keep any change in our behavior is through the strength of the Holy Ghost of Jehovah God. The friend believes he can beat his own addictions and keep them away – all on his own. I am not saying that would be impossible for him, as I do not know his particular determination level.
For me, I can quit anything. But to keep a sin off of me, or some addiction that may or may not be a sin but is a pest to my life, I need the consciousness of that Holy Spirit that has been dwelling in me since I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior when I was 15.
Without the power of the Lord, my desired control, of say drinking too many beers, is null and void. The Bible says the wicked will prosper for a season (3). If you apply this to kicking an addiction, be it physical or psychological, it sounds like you better have Jehovah God on your side if you want lasting improvement in your life.
I also point to the scripture that says a dog will return to its vomit. And friends, before we accept salvation, as my Cherokee heritage has taught me, we are all dog.
We respond either with the good dog or bad dog side of us, sure enough, but as to a higher consciousness, like one experiences when the Holy Ghost of Jehovah God comes to live with you after you accept the salvation of Jesus Christ, you have no particular spirit guide – other than Satan and his fallen angels (demons). And believe me, Satan loves it when you fail.
When Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) started, one of the 12 steps to recovery was something to the effect that we realized our lives were unmanageable so we turned the management duties over to our higher power. The hope was that even non-believers could do such a thing.
As a former member of AA, I wonder if anyone who had not accepted Jesus as Savior could really kick the habit of overindulging in booze in the long haul? They might could. I do not believe I could have done so.
I later joined a group called Celebrate Recovery and have only been drunk one time since 2009. This is a miracle for someone who loves drinking beer and listening to music, as I do. Confession, they say, is good for the soul. The commandment says never be out of control, as we are all soldiers of the cross who believe in Jesus Christ. Having fun is no sin. Sin is disobedience to the commandments of God and disrespect for His guidance and direction in your life.
If you are unsaved, you don’t even know what that guidance and direction is, or would be, as Jehovah God, according to the Christian Bible, is not obligated to hear any sinner’s prayer except the one that accepts Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Don’t be an April fool and think more highly of your own abilities than you should. Pride, so the Word of God says, goes before a fall. According to the Christian Bible, God hates the type of pride known to us as arrogance.
In this half-breed Indian’s viewpoint, there is nothing wrong with being proud of your family, friends or career. We need the love of family and the feeling of accomplishment that goes with doing a good job. But arrogance is a different story. Arrogance is the type of pride that got Lucifer (Satan) thrown out of the kingdom of heaven.
I went out on the advertising sales field today looking too much at the big picture for this month’s bills. Oh, I lined out some stuff that I really believe I can do for tomorrow, but today was a collection wash. My pastor, Brother James McCain, sends me scriptures every day. The one for today was on how God loves a humble person. After the beating I took on the sales field, I am feeling mighty humble tonight.
Still yet, I am able to thank God for the many blessings in my life. After getting over the zero sales day, which thankfully I have very few of, I began to realize that Jehovah God has always looked after me and I am confident He will continue to do so. But as I told my wife, the scripture says God’s ways are higher than our ways. What makes perfect sense to us is sometimes just plain wrong in the eyes of God.
This is because He sees the big picture and unlike us can handle looking at all angles at once. I personally do not believe Jesus Christ expects us to be robots. His guidance and direction has some boundaries, but we still have choices in how we go about the Lord’s business. In other words, God changes us a little at a time, at least in most cases. And the more we trust Him, the easier our human disappointments are to get over.
I may not do great tomorrow. But I believe I will do OK. I have promised myself to inch my way along and try harder to be a good listener when God makes a suggestion as to what to do next. I think sometimes we go off on our own tangents and don’t even realize it until the punishment of our actions grabs us by the seat of our pants. I know that has happened to me.
Let’s look at you. Are you married? Ever thought about a girl friend or a boy friend on the side? Sure, you probably have. But don’t worry, I won’t tell on you. Your secret is safe with me. Still, once in awhile Satan gets the go ahead to put some real temptation in front of you. I had this happen to me a few months back. I am happy to report to you that I did not take the young lady up on what I believe was an offer. It did stroke an old man’s ego, but I have a Christian marriage that is going pretty well and my wife is my life partner.
She does not deserve any more pain than she has already endured being my partner in life for 18 years. So in my case, adultery just plain did not happen. I told her about the incident and how the girl acted as though she would trade some sex for a sale. We both got a laugh out of the incident.
If it had been 20 years ago, I might not been telling anyone about such a temptation. I might have done the deed and figured nobody would ever find out. Of course, even though my defense would have been that she was so pretty, God would have seen the situation as adultery and that sin would have been on my record – the same record that makes me blessed or cursed in this life and would damn me to hell if not for the salvation of Jesus Christ. Was my consideration to take her up on her offer a sin? Frankly, I have no idea on that one. All I know is I resisted the temptation and surely that counts for something – at least here on earth.
Perhaps you can relate to that one. Perhaps instead of extra-marital sex, your temptation is over eating. Did you cheat on your diet today and then try to hide the evidence? God saw that too. I write a lot of sports stories. A coach friend of mine put what I am trying to say in a pretty clear way. Coach John Pace, a retired football coach from my new hometown of Gurdon, Arkansas, said real character is defined as the way we behave when nobody is watching.
Thinking about that, I realize I have a long way to go with this good character thing. But as the television preacher Joyce Meyers says, “I am not where I need to be, but I thank God I am not where I was.”
Being a Christian is all about growth. I expect to be growing in obedience to God for however long the good Lord leaves me in this life. It all boils down to a personal relationship. The reason I did not go out with the sales girl was because I kept seeing the smiling face of my decent wife Michelle and all of a sudden lust was just not that important. So despite her beauty, and very tempting kind attitude, that affair ended with flattery.
It is the little victories in life, like that one, that make us realize doing the right thing by our loved ones and by God is the best way to live. I am a man who had many wild and exciting times in my younger days. A few of them should have ended in disaster or death, but the hand of God was somehow on me. And that somehow was because I had accepted the salvation through Jesus Christ and I have a personal relationship with Jesus that has developed now for more than 40 years.
It has definitely been worth that trip I took to the altar at the First United Methodist Church of Hagerstown, Indiana way back when.
So if you are a young Christian, don’t worry about falling down and skinning your knees. As the Cherokees say, “A man who has fallen down and gotten up again is stronger than a man who has never fallen.” I believe my Native American brothers and sisters are right about that. My biological doctor daddy once told me if you play, you pay. That seems to be the case with hidden sins.
So in my case, when I sin, I try and ask forgiveness from God about it as soon as possible. I ask for forgiveness and the guidance and direction to do better next time. I recommend you do too. But if you are unsaved, I first recommend you find an altar, even if it is at your bed at home, and ask Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins, past, present and future, and to come into your heart with His Holy Ghost to live with you until the end.
And remember, Jesus Christ, the only man to ever live without sinning, said in the Christian Bible, “I will be with you always, from now until the end of time.”
SCRIPTURES
1) JESUS WILL BE WITH US ALWAYS – Matthew 28:20King James Version (KJV) 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.
John 14:16-18King James Version (KJV) 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.
Psalm 139:8King James Version (KJV) 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
2) I DO NOT DO WHAT I KNOW IS RIGHT AND DO INSTEAD WHAT I KNOW IS WRONG – Romans 7:15-20 King James Version (KJV) 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
3) THE WICKED WILL PROSPER FOR A SEASON – Psalm 73:12-24 King James Version (KJV) 12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. 13 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.
14 For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. 15 If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. 16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.
19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
21 Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. 22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. 24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
Galatians 6:5-10King James Version (KJV) 5 For every man shall bear his own burden. 6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Sit back and enjoy
the miracles of
Jehovah God!
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The greatest miracle was Easter Sunday (Resurrection Day) more than 2,000 years ago. Christians understand this, as do those who may not have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ but know in their hearts it is true.
Before I begin getting into this week’s sermon, let me advertise Celebrate Recovery for a moment. It happens every Wednesday, from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., at Faith Mission in Gurdon. John Nelson and Douglas Benson, who both graduated the Celebrate program years ago, are the counselors and the folks who provide the free coffee.
I joined Celebrate Recovery in October of 2004 and stopped going in 2008. It was a four year course for me. It is normally only designed to last a year. The miracle I took away from Celebrate was to be able to control my alcoholism and to realize that no matter how old you get you are never too old to make more genuine friends.
Some of those folks are in heaven now, at least in my humble opinion. I will miss Marie, Rex and Bob until I kick. They were right there with me, listening to Mr. Potter and watching Mrs. Potter as she led our little band of 15 or so folks in Christian music. My favorite part was small group. We split up into all men and all women with a “spirit stick.” The guy talking got to tell the group how his week went and where he had success or failure. I always came away feeling much less alone in the world.
Tommy and Stephanie have moved on since then, with other fish to fry. I never got it out of my head that Tommy asked me to help him with Celebrate after I graduated. So now, finally, I am doing so. We deal with grief, addictions and in general everything Satan can think of to depress a human being.
You are all invited. We have about 20 chairs for the congregation down there and probably 20 more around the tables. We could get this thing called Celebrate Recovery started up again – if you believe in miracles.
Again, the greatest miracle of all will be celebrated by millions of Christians on Sunday, March 27. Jesus Christ was dead in the grave for three days and rose up again. He ate with 500 witnesses, in what appeared to be in a carnal body, three days after Roman officials declared Him dead and gone. Christ did this for all of us sinners. His pure blood sacrifice cut a trail to heaven for those of us who accept His gift of salvation to substitute for the punishment we all deserve for sin, that is disobedience to Jehovah God.
This miracle made the devil very angry. Satan has never gotten over it, losing all those souls he had pegged for hell that is. I think that is funny personally. But then again, I never had a lot of respect for a loser. I know Satan on a personal basis. See there, you knew I was crazy but you are still reading this sermon. Satan has been the chief tempter in my life forever, as he has been in yours…
I remember one time being so angry with God and so scared to death. I went to church that Sunday with my mother-in-law, Thelma Arthur. She is now in heaven. Thelma took me by the hand and led me to an altar for prayer and Brother Snow’s church in Paragould, Arkansas. I was about to split, that is move to Minnesota for a year, to retire a large debt I owed on my oldest daughter’s college.
I was not angry about helping Erin. I was angry at the way my ex-wife Renee created the circumstances for getting her $23,000. It is all good. Erin is a computer programmer and successful in Fort Wayne, Indiana and the debt has been paid many years now. But back then, on that Sunday, before I took my trip, I was frightened out of my mind. Renee had asked me for back child support and college abatement money that I simply did not have.
After pondering the situation, I went to church with Ms. Thelma. You have to understand that Thelma and I jointly raised three of her grand kids, along with my wife Michelle of course. And Thelma and I had different ideas of raising kids. But a miracle occurred and we ended up developing a family love for each other and becoming friends.
Miracles come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it is the miracle of Jesus Christ rising from the dead and becoming the Savior of this world, or a simple friendship developing between a person and a former adversary, they do occur.
MODERN DAY MIRACLES
Miracles happen every day. One is example is waking up in the morning and finding yourself fully functional. At 57, this is a miracle to me. So many friends have backs that have gone out, knees that must be replaced or lives living solo that they justify as their best choices… Wow, it sure does seem like a miracle that none of this, at least at this moment in time, is not me.
I think about a dead cat and smile. Now there is a statement most would call insane. But as my daddy the doctor used to tell me, if you admit being nuts you are probably right as rain. But anyway, I think about that little kitten. The little thing belonged to my daughter Kelley and she was probably 8 years old.
We were living in Bryant, well actually in a trailer park at Alexander. My then wife Doris Ann was getting Kelley ready for school. I was headed to my newspaper office and in a hurry. Then, out of nowhere, came this cat who started climbing my pants and digging in her claws unmercifully. I freaked out, grabbed the animal and threw her up into the air.
I realized my serious mistake when the thing was airborne. I realized this was our kitten, and more importantly, I was in the process of killing it. This broke my heart as I knew my daughter Kelley would be devastated. Then I thought of my then co-pilot. Back then I did not ask Jesus Christ for much unless I was in serious trouble. This was a while back. Kelley will be 32 in June and has three kids of her own.
But back to the cat. I knew the Bible said Jehovah God was a God of mercy. I knew that his only Begotten Son had forgiven me of my sins when I was 15. I suddenly felt ashamed for not paying more attention to all of the Christian values that I knew to be true. But with all of that in my mind, I prayed anyway. I said, “Jesus, if you will only make this little kitten come to life again, I will one day do your bidding and quit disobeying your call to preach the gospel. I don’t know when, or how, but I really will.”
I said the prayer that way because the kitten was already on the ground by then and had that broken neck look that dead animals get. Having grown up on a farm, I knew just what dead looked like in a cat or dog. And that little kitten looked dead as a door nail. I prayed that prayer in the Name of Jesus Christ. I remembered that anything I would ask in His name was supposed to happen if the prayer was one of unselfish love.
The cat started to move. Then it started to purr. The little kitten shook herself and I did the petting thing. I have no idea if Doris and Kelley were watching from a window. I shook myself too and smiled at the kitten. Then I got in my car and went to work with a new miracle to think about.
Perhaps this cat just got lucky in her fall. But I really doubt that. No, to me, that was an answered prayer. You see, all I wanted was for my daughter not to hurt and my merciful friend Jesus Christ honored that want.
Perhaps you need a more complicated miracle than reviving a pesky cat for your daughter. I can understand that. Like most writers, I am not rich. I could use a $1 million in unmarked bills, all of my debts paid and a new fishing boat, complete with a Ford 150 to pull it around. I figure a small Johnson motor would do, as I love fishing little ponds anyway.
Oh yes, I could use a new dose of that stuff called unconditional love between a man and a woman so Michelle and I could dance the night away – never wanting to take our eyes off of each other in pure lovers’ exticy.. Once again, I admitted to you I am crazy as a bed bug. These last few paragraphs should be good evidence for my case.
The reason I don’t have the fantasy wishes, and you probably don’t either, is that we need to remain thankful. It adds up to me that if I had my wishes, I might get to the point where I was not thankful to Jehovah God for each ad customer who uses my little agency. I also might not be thankful for the fact that Michelle and I are physically and mentally compatible enough to live as man and wife with little difficulty compared to what I have experienced in the past.
She has stayed married to me 18 years. I truly am very thankful to her for that. Is it perfect exticy? Nope. But I am no Romeo so why should I expect her to be the perfect Juliet? She is a Christian. Our shared faith helps us a lot in our day to day lives.
We have five kids and seven grand kids between us. All but my oldest daughter keep in touch and the grand kids come to visit fairly regularly. At 57, I am still doing the thing job-wise that I started doing at 8 years old. I write. And writers write, as I tell my kids.
I am also a fairly good advertising salesman and production man. Well, good enough to keep the wolf away from the door most of the time. I have a best friend named Mike who I can tell my troubles to anytime I need to do so. I have clients that are wonderful to me. Most of them are now friends as well.
So you see, I really live a miraculous life. And I forgot to tell you in 2006 I was offered a full disability check for a nervous condition. I did some tall praying and got well within a week. Sure, I take a minimum dose of a mineral my body needs, but it is no big deal. Otherwise, I am fully functional and have continued my publishing career. That, friends, constitutes a medical miracle by definition of my doctor, Dr. Shawn Purifoy of Malvern. God bless him. He has stuck by me through thick and thin.
So let’s get off my personal stuff and look at the title of this sermon. I believe it had something to do with sitting back and enjoying the miracles of Jehovah God. There is a lot of truth to the idea that no matter what your situation you can find something to thank God for in your life. I will name a few in my current life. I thank God for hugs from grand children, other family members and friends. I am just that way. I love hugs.
I suppose I am grateful for Facebook. It helps me keep in contact with old high school buddies and current sources and friends for the Tailgate News. I am thankful for my work car and for my wife having a decent job and car to get there too. I am thankful I am not really a slave to any of my habits. Oh sure, I have a few. But at this point the tail is not wagging the dog.
I have a very loyal dog named Gidget and a very loyal cat named Charlie. I am thankful for their company, as I spend many hours alone writing. The list goes on and on. But what God did when He sent Jesus to earth tops them all. I am thankful for the bridge He made for me and you so that we never have to be without the friendship of our Creator, Jehovah God.
So let’s look more at you. What are you thankful for in your life? The Christian Bible says we should be thankful for everything (1). I can see that. It certainly does not always happen in my life, but I can see why it should.
The Word of God also tells us Jehovah God is a God of mercy (2). I could name a lot more times when He has been in my life than saving a doomed cat. And the Lord is a miracle working God (3). These scripture are the basis for the whole sermon. I really wonder about people who believe everything is based on luck or chance. They have obviously never had a scale that was supposed to be surgically removed just all of a sudden drop off of their eye after a sincere prayer… I did about three years back.
Yes, miracles do happen in my life. I choose to believe that. What you choose to believe is your business. But as a preacher friend of mine in the Assembly of God church, Brother Jessie in McLeansboro, Illiniois, once said to me, “The miracle of Jesus Christ being a bridge between us and hell is real to me. I believe it with my whole heart. If I am right, I get to live a decent life, following the Bible, and die an old and happy man on the way to heaven.
“If I am wrong, I will still live that happy life. Those who choose to go their own way and refuse to put faith in Jesus Christ, may or may not live much of a life or they may have a great time on earth. But if I am right about Jesus Christ and the acceptance of His salvation being the only way to avoid hell and be heaven bound, those non-believers, decent people or not, will split hell wide open. To me, the choice is easy.”
Amen Brother Jessie. Amen. Here is hoping you have a great Easter weekend and think about the miracles of God. If you have a wife and kids, or husband and kids, watch them playing together this weekend. Listen to their laughter. Watch their games. Maybe they will be hunting Easter eggs. Do you believe in miracles?
SCRIPTURES
1) BEING THANKFUL FOR EVERYTHING – Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
IActs 24:3 We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.
Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
2) JEHOVAH GOD HAS MERCY – Matthew 5:5-8 King James Version (KJV) 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. Luke 6:35-38 King James Version (KJV) 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
Genesis 39:21 But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
Exodus 15:12-15 King James Version (KJV) 12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. 13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.
14 The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. 15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.
3) A MIRACLE WORKING GOD – 1. “The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name.” (Luke 24:46-47)
2. “He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (Romans 4:25)
3. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)
4. “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)
5. “For as by a man came death, by a man has come the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)
6. “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:5)
13. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.
John 3:2 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. John 6:2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
HE HAS RISEN!
Matthew 28 King James Version (KJV)
28 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 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.
10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. 11 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.
12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, 13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14 And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.
15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. 16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
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.

Living for today
with Jesus Christ
as your guide
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I am a man with a colorful past. I also look forward to a future that I believe Jehovah God has in store for me. The point is this. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not promised and every breath we take is a gift from Jesus Christ and His Father, Jehovah God, the Creator of us and this whole universe.
So we look at worry. God is against it(1). He tells us He is in control and we need to let Him drive every day we live. Most of us make an attempt not to worry and then we fall back to running our own life. You know, your wife threatens to file for divorce. Your business seems like it is going south.
The last girlfriend you had, maybe many years ago, is seemingly happily married, raising a family and probably no longer knows you are even alive. It does not matter what your heart ache is, when that ache becomes painful the normal reaction is to live in the past, hope for the future and ignore the present troubles. Not worrying does not mean we can now stand still.
Sometimes I love movie lines. As I recall, from my Star Wars fan days, Yoda said of Luke, “This one sees the future but not what is now. He must learn to live in the present to even have a future.”
That has been me most of my life. I have spent too much time dreaming of tomorrow, never wanting to face that tomorrow is not promised to me. Sure, I should plan things to help others and to stabilize my life. To me, this is only reasonable. But the now is what Jesus and Yoda were talking about. In that worry scripture already referred to, Jesus Christ tells us sufficient for this day are the worries of this day.
Sometimes it takes me half a day to come to grips with what I should do that day. Other times, I am up and Adam, ready and raring to go. You may have a similar testimony.
Living for today means looking at it in detail. If you need to ponder, do so. But do not let time slip away without any accomplishments. You owe it to yourself not to take for granted the freedom of choice you have been given. I am speaking mostly here to baby Christians in the United States. We have choices the rest of the world would love to have. Yet so many times we play games with no thought of the time we are wasting.
We are human beings. Do not beat yourself up if you take a bank day. A business trainer I once had in journalism taught me that us seven-day-a-week writers need to realize that sometimes the best course of action is to go make a bank deposit, drive away and end up on the bank of a pond with your fishing pole in hand and a box of worms by your side.
Then, at the end of that day, you clean fish or you don’t. But it really does not matter. What you have done is recharged your batteries. I just had my three biological grandchildren as house guests for the weekend. They are 9, 4 and 3. I love them very much and thank God for them nearly every day. Once a month, my daughter trusts my wife and I with their care. My point is they are a diversion from my magazine work and my mind then has to go through a refocusing process to get back to work.
I see this as a good thing. Entering their young worlds gives me a much needed break from my own. And it does make me think in the now even better than a sales or editorial tracking list for my day. You see, they must be attended to. My lists, well they vary and many times the guidance and direction from God the Father that I pray for changes them up a lot. They say if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.
As a younger man, I am sure I was Jehovah God’s court jester while I was growing up on the farm in middle Indiana as an only child. I was a regular church attendee from ages 8 to 18 and went to the altar in the First United Methodist Church at Hagerstown, Indiana for salvation at age 15. Once I accepted Jesus Christ and his blood sacrifice for my sins, I really started yapping to God about plans.
I wanted to achieve Mark Twain’s fame. For my younger readers, Samuel Clemens was a riverboat captain in history that used to look for trouble on the bow of the barge on the mighty Mississippi River and when he saw something the ship (barge is a flat river ship) might run into, he said “Mark Twain.” At least that is how I understand the origin of that name. Clemens, a famous writer who penned such things as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, claimed Mark Twain as his pen name.
I have written two books, The Path I Took and Dillinger Days. Both are on my web site, but neither one has been advertised much so fame is still not in my grasp – regardless of whether either book has the potential for fame… Personally, I believe Dillinger Days just might achieve some fame some day. But again, time will tell. And if I worry about it, I am living in a mystical future that may or may not happen and I am not following the Godly guidance to live in the now.
So therefore, we will table that futuristic hope and simply work, as we can, to get Dillinger Days in front of the right eyes. My grandfather, John Hans Nelson, revealed to me when I was very young that he was a body double for John Herbert Dillinger and he admitted having much to do with at least 18 bank robberies in the 1930’s. I heard the stories over and over, each time asking questions and each time taking more and more notes about what I had been told. Then I did an historical study of John Herbert Dillinger and began to write 15 chapters that lined up with my grandfather’s stories and the historical accounts I discovered. Again, the future of this book, and whether I ever get royalty one from it, is up to Jehovah God.
It is my job to live in the now and not to worry about it. I counted up the bills I must pay in the next three weeks and, as always when you work on commission, fear gripped my very soul. Then I remembered that God still has a 100 percent pay-day record. It may not come as I want it to, but Jehovah God will keep His word to take care of this sparrow.
Does it worry me to count on Jesus Christ and Jehovah God His Father? Nope. I have been begging for mercy from my God most of my life. I am a man who takes a lot of chances. I believe I have learned better than to take the same chances I did in my younger days… And I am probably a fool for making that last statement, and probably a liar…
Pressure causes carnal reaction. If you push me far enough, my panic reaction will pop. Sure, I am half Cherokee and the Native Americans have a saying that he who panics last wins. But I am also have Swede and English. I guess that European influence of panic mode takes over from time to time. My money is funny because of panic. Because of panic, loans and credit cards have to be paid off and negotiated for me to own this old house and have a decent life when I retire. My friend, Jesus Christ, and I have this worked out…
OK, so you see the dilemma through my personal example? We are spirit and we must worship our God in spirit and in truth, so the Christian Bible teaches us (2). But we are flesh and blood and this business of living in the now makes me think in my carnal format more than usual. I am still working on this one.
So how about you? Have you ever received guidance and direction that you just know came from the Spirit of the only Begotten Son of Jehovah God, that is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and yet you see some problems in carrying out such guidance and direction? Well, I bet you have. I know I have.
Of course, in your “now,” that question may not be relevant in your life. Perhaps you have never accepted the salvation offered by Jesus through his sacrifice of the his sinless body on the cross some 2,000 plus years ago. If that is the case, I advise you to read John 3:16 and the entire eighth chapter of Romans in the Christian Bible. Then, once you understand what I am talking about, find an old fashioned altar and get yourself saved from the fires of hell you deserve for your sins.
Now that is strong preaching and I know it. It is also harsh and I know it. But the devil and his kingdom have no heart for you. There is no mercy in the character of Satan. I know. I have gone down more roads with Satan than most people I know. I even went and visited him once at a physical lake of fire in Plain Dealing, Louisiana. I have had friends and family who want to go there with me since I revealed this adventure to them. I refused. Yes, I had accepted Jesus in my soul at the time. No, I did not go for power or coaching on witchcraft.
I went over human curiosity and Satan did his best to get me to reject Jesus Christ and join him on his quest to destroy humanity. It was my own worst temptation to date. In the Christian Bible, even Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil. One scripture says he told the devil that man does not live by bread alone (3) and also told Mr. Satan that the power he had been given by Jehovah God would be taken away by a blood sacrifice of a perfect, sinless man (Him). This made the devil depart for a time.
So this sermon about living in the now is mostly for professing Christians. But if you are not a Christian, it is still not bad advice. Living “in the now” has advantages, especially if you have a tendency to remember just the good times of the past and not the earthly penalties of past sins. It is also useful if you tend to count on “a future” that may or may not come to pass – even if you have had visions of such a future.
Again, I am a half-breed Cherokee Indian. Indians, for centuries, have talked of visions. The Bible backs this up as a reality. It states that old men will dream dreams and young men will have visions. It is not my intention here to put down the visions you may have had for your own future. I believe in goals, spiritual and carnal.
But there has come a time in my life when living on my visions of the future has become a detriment to me. Oh, I still believe in them and have hope and faith that they will come to pass. But I have come to the conclusion that I must turn them over to God for them to do so. My part now is to live in the now. I have bills to pay, like most home owners. I have a wife who has a birthday coming up and must figure out how to pay for the present she has asked for.
I have clients to see today in my advertising business that could relieve a little bill pressure. I will let Jesus drive, as is my habit. I will pray for safe travel and I will go where He tells me and attempt to say what He wants me to say. I say I will do all of this, yet I know that the bell toles for all of us. I may not make it out the door. Still, if my vision of the future is true, I will see many more full moons as this body continues to breath. What will my future really bring? Time, again, will tell.
You and I have much in common. We are both human. We both have feelings. We both have needs for love, food, drink and some sort of clothing to avoid arrest for indecent exposure if we are to live in a society. God knows all this stuff. Most of Christianity is built on love and trust, in my humble opinion. We humans have two options in life. We can believe in Jesus Christ as a Savior and Lord, or we can believe in ourselves and that is all.
Choosing the latter means Satan controls our soul by default. For you see, a man or a woman roaming this earth without salvation from Christ is led around by the nose by his or her own desires. Those desires, more times than not, involve committing some sort of disobedience to the Christian Bible and are therefore defined as sinful.
The Word of God, that is the Christian Bible, states that unforgiven sin will have a reward of death and an eternal destination of hell and the spiritual lake of fire. In short, those in this shape will keep Satan, the master of tempting them to accomplish their own selfish desires, company in his living room forever…
The choice is yours. Now is the time to make it. See you in church. And remember, that old fashioned altar where you must go to have Jesus Christ come into your heart, forgive your sins, past, present and future and to begin your walk with the God defined as Love, can be in your own living room right here on earth…
SCRIPTURES
1) WORRY DOES NOT GAIN ANYTHING – 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) WE MUST WORSHIP GOD IN SPIRIT, HIM ONLY AND LOVE HIM – John 4:24 King James Version (KJV) 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Luke 4:8 King James Version (KJV) 8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Mark 12:29-31King James Version (KJV) 29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 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.
3) MAN CAN NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE – Matthew 4:4 King James Version (KJV) 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Deuteronomy 8:3 King James Version (KJV) 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.
Luke 4:4 King James Version (KJV) 4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

When you have done all you know, STAND!
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
My life has evolved here lately, what with all of the surprises and trying to give Jesus Christ the charge of my worries. I have done all I know to do in many respects. I still have a long way to go mind you, as I am still a human being and therefore imperfect in my obedience to Jehovah God.
But I have done what I could to overcome a lot. And on that, I will stand. I believe it was Paul in the Bible who said if we have done all we know to do to please the Lord, we should stand on what we have done and wait patiently for improvement in our lives (1). God promises blessings for those who obey Him.
There is an old Methodist Church song I grew up singing as a boy entitled, “Standing on the Promises,” that comes to mind. One of the lyrical phrases says something to the effect of, “Standing on the promises of Christ my king. With my blessed Savior, I have everything. Standing on the promises, I can not fail. Standing on the promises of God.”
Being a Christian is a choice. We may accept the fact that we need forgiveness and we may even go so far as to be grateful for Jesus Christ going to the cross in order for our names to be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. But it takes some real soul searching to redefine what is in our heart as the only right being what the Christian Bible calls right and the rest of the world’s views on right from wrong really only apply for the short time we spend on earth.
I do not believe in “force it down your throat” Christianity. To me, salvation is an offer. I feel that way in my Celebrate Recovery chapter about the folks wanting grief therapy, therapy for alcoholism or for any sort of addiction that has gotten out of hand. The first thing is for the person in question to be searching for a positive change in his or her lifestyle.
If someone does not want to hear you out on religion or lifestyle, the best way to stand on what you believe is to do your best to live it in front of them. If you say you are a Christian who stands on the Word of God in regard to treating others as you would like to be treated, then don’t dump your garbage over the fence into your neighbor’s yard.
Let your neighbor see you as the guy or girl who cleans up trash on both sides of the fence and puts it in the trash barrel. This sort of Golden Rule therapy works wonders on a lot of folks. It shows them that love and decency are still alive.
I am a Perry Mason fan. I can not tell you how courtroom procedures are done now. But in the 1940’s, according to the television characters Perry Mason and Hamilton Burger in the show, if one attorney opens the door with a question about a certain subject, the other person is allowed to ask or comment as well. This is what I believe standing on our convictions should mean. If someone asks you why you believe in Jesus Christ, then answer them. Stand on what you believe. But if they don’t ask you about what you belief, show them through your actions and your love.
I have an opinion that is probably not popular about the woman clerk in Kentucky who refused to sign the same sex marriage licenses. I realize homosexuality is a sin, according to the Christian Bible (2).
But I also realize that lady took an oath to obey the law. If her Christian convictions made it impossible for her to do so, she should have resigned her job. After said resignation, she should have started a petition against said executive order law, if that is her battle ground against sin.
I personally do not dislike someone just because they have a homosexual orientation. I fall back on my own conviction that the job of a minister is to preach the Great Commission. If someone of a homosexual nature accepts Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, it is up to the Lord to awaken that person to the fact that his or her sin is against the Christian Bible and that person’s actions are driving the nails in His body on the cross, just like my personal favorite sin of taking the name of God in vain does.
I am not proud of my personal favorite sin. I know it is wrong and I pray to God daily to take it from my character. I pray He ignites the strength that He provides by His Holy Ghost living on the inside of me in this matter so that control over my carnal tongue results in me not taking the Name of the Lord in vain ever again.
It is getting better, but this is simply my besetting sin and nobody else besides me and Jesus Christ should try and force me to quit.
To me, the same principle applies to the lady in Kentucky. I don’t blame her for not having the stomach to put her name as a stamp of approval to known sin. I am not sure I could do that either. But to go to jail for it as an attempt to force the law to change sounds ludicrous to me.
Take note that her actions did not change the law. However, if she would get enough Christians to sign a petition, the law eagles just might listen to that; at least by way of appeal, as a Supreme Court is not a legislative body and a president of the United States is not met to be a dictator of morality – especially when he signs an executive order to bypass Congress.
Homosexual marriage needs solid legal footing, by way of our Congress and our lawmakers. Obama had no right, in my mind, to shove it down America’s throat anymore than I have the right to hold a gun to some girl’s head and demand sexual intercourse! Forcing someone to do something against their will is simply wrong. It is my understanding that states are to govern such laws. If so, perhaps our Kentucky clerk could have started with a petition against said “law” to the governor.
I am an American. I obey the laws of this land to the best of my ability. Homosexuals have had the right to practice their sin for years. As to making it a legal marriage, that goes against the United States definition of marriage as it stands, or at least I believe it does. If our House and Senate ratify the Supreme Court decision, then it is truly law.
Smarter men and women than me must fight this out. If homosexuals are to have the right to marry legally, so be it. That piece of paper does not negate the fact that their actions still constitute sin, according to the Christian Bible. Remember sin is defined as committing any action that goes against the wishes of Jehovah God in the Old Testament or the New Testament of the Christian Bible.
If I were the clerk in Kentucky, I would be worrying more about my own soul than the behavior of other people. I have argued for years that behavior is not what sends a man or woman to hell. Not accepting Jesus Christ, according to the Bible, is the only thing that will do that. That is unless you commit the unforgivable sin, which is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Since the Christian Bible does say that, I am very careful not to bad mouth my Holy Ghost and I would advice anyone else concerned about their eternal destination to use equal caution.
The Word plainly states that we are to judge not or Jesus Christ will judge us likewise. Christ goes on to say that those who worry about a splinter in the eye of their fellow man or woman should first worry about the log in their own eye. Still, I defend my right to call sin as sin. If my country’s legalists see that as bullying or slander, I do wish they would take it up with God.
Stopping homosexuality would not get a homosexual to heaven. Accepting Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior does change your eternal destination to heaven and according to the Christian Bible is the only thing that will.
But let me warn you. Once you have asked Jesus to forgive your disobedience, past present and future, you will have this weird desire to do better. You may fight it for awhile, but one by one, or sometimes all at once, your sin behavior will become unappealing.
Once you know that you know that you know your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, the love inside of you will begin to bring you closer to Jehovah God and you will realize his “rules” are just there to give you a more abundant life than you would otherwise have. I stand on this conviction, and I will say it until my end.
There is no other way to the Father but by the Son. Accept the sacrifice and gift of eternal life in heaven and you will be saved from the hell fire we all deserve for our sins of disobedience to God. That is my story and I am sticking to it.
This is a written sermon to glorify what Jesus Christ believes, according to the Christian Bible as I have understood it. If you don’t want to accept it, then don’t. If you do, that is great! I encourage you to read it and read the scriptures that back it up.
In other words, if you are reading a sermon, expect a sermon based on Biblical principles. And I am sure most all of you want to read this or you would be reading a comic book or something else.
One of the things I stand on is the right of a preacher of the Word of Jesus Christ to be able to preach and teach it.
The Bible says we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (3). Once you are comfortable with the idea that obeying the Lord on a certain commandment, stand on what you have learned.
God may chip away at it for you to improve your perspective later, but the main thing is to continue searching for new ways to be more obedient to the teachings of Jesus Christ and therefore becoming a better witness for why folks need the Lord in their lives.
One minister I heard on television put it this way. “Our job is to go out and show the world the character of Jesus Christ to give them hope, which should ignite their faith and make them want to be loving people when they see our loving ways. If you have to, you can talk to them as well.”
The Bible promises that when we sin, that is disobey the commandments of the Christian Bible, there will be repercussions. Thus the scripture, “The wages of sin is death.” But Jesus pays your price for going your own way (giving you a pass from a trip to hell according to the Word of God).
If you accept His gift of salvation, your sins are then covered in His pure blood and your name is entered in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Our job as Christians is to lead folks to Jesus through showing his unconditional love, not to list a 100 sins of discouragement to a person who has not yet had a salvation experience or even one who has accepted Christ but is still a wobbly-kneed baby Christian.
As the old timers used to say, “Bring those fish to Jesus and let Him do the cleaning.”
If you have accepted Christ, you have to base what you stand on as right through hope, faith and love. How you do that, and when, is up to you and your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I personally ask for His guidance and direction daily. I no longer trust my own guidance… The more you stand on God’s promises, that is live by them, the more blessings in your life you will receive.
Even more importantly, a miracle will occur and more people will start asking you what makes you so loving and so different? The first thing I stand on is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ and Father Jehovah God. I tell folks that the love Jehovah God has shown me is worth more than all of the silver and gold in the world.
Remember, unsaved and the saved are all looking for answers to what life is really all about. But the saved have a Counselor to go to and a Christian Bible to study. In regard to love, all the unsaved have is to look at the way others live and try and determine who is happy and why.
If a person asks you something like why Jesus Christ would condemn the love he shows for his girlfriend, let him know that Christ is all about love but also about honor. Commitment is a big deal in the Bible. Thou shalt not lie is one of the 10 commandments and it is my personal opinion that the most damaging lies I have ever told have been to myself.
When I used to say that the love I felt for a girlfriend did not change with a marriage certificate, I was lying to myself. I realized that it takes a greater love to live with someone’s quirks and commit to being legally and morally their partner than it does to just shack up for physical comfort and someone pleasant to talk to now and again.
But I was scared of commitment. Jehovah God changed me by showing me some happy marriages and getting me to thinking about what that Golden Rule really means.
I am from the Baby Boomer generation. We were taught to experiment with “love” and then finally get married if the “right person” came along. I am not sure that free love stuff is all of what it is cracked up to be. Admittedly, having more than 40 relationships with the opposite sex before my currently 18-year-old marriage was fun. As my pastor, Brother James McCain, of Sycamore Church in Beirne, Arkansas, says, if sin was not fun, most of us would not do it. But when I think of all of the girls who may have gotten their feelings hurt by dating a boy that was just joy riding, I get a little ashamed…
Somewhere along the line, I realized that the commandments in the Christian Bible were not put there to hurt me, but rather to show me what real love is all about. I stand on the fact that the Lord, and all of His thousands of years of wisdom, has to be a much better authority on relationship love than a 57-year-old writer like me.
Jesus Christ was asked what the most important of the commandments would be, in His opinion. As most of you know He told them, “Love your neighbor as your self and love God with all of your heart, mind and soul.”
This presents us with a real cornerstone to stand on. Show others the love in your heart. Tell them you are a Christian if you must. But show them so they will really know it. The biggest complement any of us can have in the Christian faith is to not tell someone we are a Christian and for them to ask us if we are of the Christian faith. Then we know the Light of the Lord is truly shining through in our actions. And folks, we all do stand on our actions, whether we like to admit it or not.
SCRIPTURES
1) DO ALL YOU KNOW TO DO AND THEN STAND – Ephesians 6:11-17 King James Version (KJV) 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.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
2) HOMOSEXUALITY A SIN, THAT IS A CONTRADICTION TO BIBLICAL INSTRUCTION – Leviticus 18:22-23 King James Version (KJV) 22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. 23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
Leviticus 20:13King James Version (KJV) 13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Editor’s Note: I once knew a Christian music minister who had a homosexual orientation.
He sacrified his homosexual lifestyle in order to please God and wrote praise music instead. God blessed him abundantly. When we overcome any sin, the blessings we were missing because of that sin begin to flow through us.
3) WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING – Philippians 2:10-13 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.

Giving our worries
to God helps us do
our Christian work
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I have been a professional, practicing, writer, since 1980. I have loved my journalism career and even painfully converted it to the Internet, via your weekly digital magazine at: www.southarktailgatenews.com called the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News Weekly Magazine.
Journalism, at best, is a financially struggling way to make a living. While my college graduate peers make $80,000 plus a year in the “other” business world, I have struggled to make $25,000…
I am not complaining. I had a good opportunity to make $80,000 plus a year working for the late Darrel Teeter at Teeter Motors in Malvern.
After about six months in the car business, I went back into journalism full-time. Mr. Teeter seemed to understand my passion for writing and continued to support my publication as my biggest advertiser for several years. That old guy was probably my biggest fan. He always reassured me that someone besides the good Lord believed in me and my worry that nobody shared my dream was unfounded.
Since my income seems to be $30,000 a year at best, I struggle with such things as house and car payments. Upon occasion, this financial struggle gets old to say the least. But I pray to Jesus Christ for guidance and direction each work day and He has been faithful for financial miracles to always happen when I need them the most.
Being a professional writer causes me to worry that I am not contributing enough to the income of my wife Michelle and I. John gets embarrassed on those $200 collection weeks when I realize we need to collect $700 a week minimum for me to make my share of the bills.
Let’s look at worry from a Biblical perspective. God says it is quite useless. Jesus of Nazareth is quoted in his red letter writings (or I think this was in red in my old Bible) as saying worry will not gain you a thing.
He pointed out that Jehovah God takes care of the sparrows (fouls of the air), so we should know He will take care of us (1).
This is easy to gain as head knowledge, but when the chips are down and you realize you are about to lose your car this can get to be one hard thing to believe. I went through that this month, but a tax refund check saved the day right on time. There is an old saying, “God, I believe you. Please help my unbelief.” And He will, if a person will just pay attention.
The saying applies to worry in my opinion. We want to believe every word of that Christian Bible. We want to ask God to explain the hard stuff to us and He will if we have patience. Let’s look at another example where I worry. The Bible, in the Old Testament, says if you are having trouble raising your child because of disobedience to parents, you are supposed to bring the child to the mayor and City Council and if they rule your child is indeed guilty of disrespecting you and the wife, then the punishment is death of the child by stoning…
Hold your horses God! I realize my word says you are a God of mercy, but if that legalistic ruling is merciful, I have a solution. Never bring your kid, or grand kid, before a legal body. Solve your problems at home to the tune of a good butt whipping.
Obviously, if Old Testament law is followed in some form or fashion, and you bring your child to human services, all hell is going to break loose! Hold on Jessie. This just seems way, way backwards when we consider we worship a God of Love.
Could it be that the whole scripture passage on stoning a disobedient child (2) is a warning from Jehovah God that it is the parents who are responsible for raising their own young ones and that shifting that responsibility to others is going to have dire consequences? You tell me. I worry about stuff like this.
Lord, I believe in your word, both Old and New Testament. So Lord, please help my unbelief. And help me give this worry, and all worry, to Jesus Christ for sorting out. I have figured out, after years of worrying, that the Lord Jesus Christ is right, worrying just does not pay. So I turn it over, most of the time in recent instances anyway, to Jesus. It is not only an act of obedience, it is just plain sensible.
Looking for another example of where mercy and love dominate the harshness of black and white laws in the Bible, we can come back to one of my favorite stories about the young lady who was caught participating in sex with a man who had a wedding ring on one hand and was holding his lover’s hand with the other.
In that case, whereas you or I would probably agree it was that old boy who should be the one to be stoned to death, the Israelite, Old Testament based, law falls on the female. They accurately tell Jesus Christ that their law says a woman caught in adultery is to be put to death by stoning!
Jesus looks at the small, and apparently very vicious, crowd and tells them OK boys the one of you who has never sinned can cast the first stone on this missy (3).
The Jewish men lower the heads one by one, drop their rocks, and split the scene. Old gal is left alone with the only Begotten Son of the Living God, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. In truth, He has never sinned and had every right to stone her under Old Testament law… Instead, Jesus said, “Woman, where are you accusers?”
She looked at the Lord and said, “They have all withdrawn their accusations sir.” I believe Jesus had a smile on His face when He told her, “Then I too drop my accusation and request that you leave this place and sin no more!”
I would be willing to bet her worries had left her and been put on the Lord’s shoulders about then. Whatever love she felt for the married man probably made very little difference to her for the rest of her days on this earth. My guess is she took off at a rapid pace and found herself a single man to marry and honor. That, of course, is just my opinion.
Worry in the modern world can take on many forms. Sure, we do worry about our finances. If we struggle, we worry about the bills. If we are too disabled, or simply too old and weak to work, we worry about obtaining and living on a fixed income – usually smaller than what we lived on in the work-a-day world.
In addition to money, if we ever cheat on our spouses, we worry about the ramifications of divorce or being kept out of our children’s lives. If we love our family, but simply have too strong of desires to take comfort from a certain attractive member of the opposite sex, we usually commit adultery and then worry about the consequences afterward. We do this because of our need for love.
Even the possibility of acquiring love through a motel room with the baby sitter is better in most men’s minds than living in a house with a woman who wants a pay check and sex when she feels the urge – regardless of the man’s needs… Whether it is the male spouse or the female, using sex as a blackmail tool will backfire and surely makes the devil smile.
Sure, some men and women step out for variety, leaving a loving spouse at the house to suffer for some crime he or she never committed. But those men or women who step out for lust are usually sons or daughters of a different father. I believe his name is Satan… One thing is for sure. If you commit adultery on a spouse who is giving you everything he or she has, you are under the influence of Satanic temptation.
We worry about road rage, temper tantrums in general and the colorful language that many times comes out of our mouths when the carnal man takes over the tongue. But prayer helps. Being a Christian, that is someone who has accepted the free gift of salvation from Jesus Christ, gives us a guide book of rules, the Christian Bible. We can read and learn what God considers right and wrong in regard to living on this earth. The more we sin, the more we feel guilty and the more we receive punishment here on earth. If we are Christian, the normal procedure is to pray to God for self control of our impulses, thus sinning less and less as we approach our own coffin.
I am 57 and I can tell you that is the case with me. To once more quote television evangelist Joyce Meyers, “I may not be where I am supposed to be in my quest to become more and more obedient and Christ-like, but I thank Jehovah God I am not where I once was.”
Baby Christians are brought to obedience at different paces. I am a stubborn man, and I have sinned a lot in this old life. I believe that is one of the reasons God has me writing these sermons. I must do a lot, in my view, to attempt to pay the Lord back for His many blessings! The Word says who so ever will is welcome to come to Christ, even you or me.
This involves sincerely asking forgiveness for past, present and future sins and beginning a friendship relationship with the eternal Spirit of the only Man to ever live on earth without sinning. The pure blood that Jesus Christ shed for you and me is the key. It provides a substitute for our own tainted blood and allows Jehovah God to see the good in us, without becoming judgmental about our pasts after we die.
It is also very common for those of us who are attempting to seek the Kingdom of God and all of its righteousness to worry we may not be squaring up with Jesus Christ soon enough, or deep enough, or with enough zeal and persistence. But this worry, like all worries, is truly unjustified. God knows when you are ready to take another step toward being more obedient to His Bible. He is a gentleman and does not rush you. Salvation, as the Apostle Paul said if I remember correctly, is not a license to sin. It is, however, a powerful tool to overcoming sin, which is defined as disobeying Jehovah God’s commandments and other principles as found in the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible.
I love to look at pretty, young adult women. My old fashioned, farm boy sex drive is considered normal in the society where I live. Watching their movements and smiles makes me feel young and vital for a few moments. As is the case with many men who love to make love to a new woman now and then just for the rush of lust and the feeling of vitality it gives, there was a time many years ago when I would do more than look. One of my worries, and perhaps yours, is that even as an older guy I might fall off the adultery wagon again. If I can learn to obey the Good Lord’s rules on this, it will be more and more less likely that I will do so.
And I realize looking upon the obvious pleasure giving potential of young and beautiful women with lustful eyes is wrong, especially when you dwell on the fantasy. It is wrong for the Christian because our Bible tells us if you have pictured yourself carrying out your lustful desires, you have committed adultery in your heart. Not wanting any more sin in my life than possible, I strive to not look upon such targets of lust any longer than my animal desires dictate. I have given this worry to God and I do find myself looking and thanking God He has provided a wonderful specimen of a female human being that will probably make a great mother in a marriage someday. I strive to leave it at that, which I am sure frustrates the devil.
This transfer of sin energy to thanking God for part of His creation, and her potential, keeps my lust in check. And again, everyone has their favorite worries. If you let Him, Jehovah God will not only take a worry from your mind, He will reduce your fears of this and that as time goes by. Soon fear, which is another term for worry, will be minimized in your life.
Death itself is a common worry among Christians and non-Christians a like. Before accepting Christian salvation, getting old and eventually shedding this carnal body, worried me a lot more than it does now. I do give it to God, most of the time, this worry and fear about my own mortality. I realize He has this covered, as He wrote my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life when I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior at 15 years old.
I worried and feared the salvation process. I wanted to do it at an even younger age than I did. But it took a while before going before my Methodist Church to ask Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of the Living God, to forgive me, realizing I must forgive all others who had or would wrong me in return. For the Word says you not only must believe Jesus Christ is the truly pure blood sacrifice, provided by Father God, to reconcile the sinner and his or her Creator, you must also believe the miracle that Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again from physical death on the third day in order to cut you a path to a heavenly home.
And it does not stop there, the more you know your Savior, the more you realize that trusting Him as your Lord and Master will gain you a much brighter future while here on earth. I had a terrible day on the advertising field today. The numbers were just not adding up because of back bills. I got worried. I got scared. I even thought about implementing a desperate solution that I came up with, as the devil was more than willing to help me figure things out. That solution would not have worked very well, although I did find one way I could have tried it. I may still buy that spare car, but I have come to believe it would just be something for fun, not a downgrade in my business tools as I had worried and feared. Again, God came through right on time, as He always does.
When the day was over, the Holy Ghost inside of me brought to my memory that I serve a mighty and merciful God, who indeed makes a way when there seems no way to man. Thank you Lord for that reminder.
So do as I am attempting to do, trust Jesus Christ and His Love for you enough to give Him your worries so your performance and joy in life can remain in tact – even when Satan whispers in your ear, “This time, I just know God will not meet your needs.” Because, for my entire life so far, yes, God does meet my needs. And each time He does, my thankful heart grows just a little bit bigger.
SCRIPTURES
1) JEHOVAH GOD TAKES CARE OF THE FOULS OF THE AIR – 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) STONING A DISOBEDIENT CHILD – Deuteronomy 21:18-21 King James Version (KJV) 18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
Editor’s Note: With the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made, the judgment of God’s people was taken from the minds of men and placed in the Mind of Christ only. Again, we must strive to trust and obey the Lord Jesus Christ. I personally believe doing so sets us free from worry and fear, as well as wondering whether our judgment is sound. It does not matter if it is or not, as long as you leave the judging to Jesus Christ, who is always full of love and mercy for His children – even when their own ignorance causes them to disobey. Christianity is indeed a process of growth. Becoming a child of God through Christian salvation comes with the assurance that God will be patient with those who love Him and allow them time to grow up.
3) LET THE ONE AMONG YOU WHO HAS NEVER SINNED CAST THE FIRST STONE – John 8:3-12 King James Version (KJV) 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.

The Element
of Surprise
In Christianity
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
If you think accepting the gift of salvation from the only begotten Son of the Living Jehovah God, Jesus Christ, means you will never get any more surprises in life, let me assure you, at least in my case, this is just not so!
I went to the altar to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior in the First United Methodist Church of Hagerstown, Indiana when I was 15 years old. Overcoming sin has come hard for me, as I have always been an independent thinker and a dreamer. Neither characteristic blends well with obeying anything or anyone.
I remained in church from age 8 until 18, then dropped out until age 26. I rejoined a Christian congregation and have been a fairly regular church goer ever since. Slowly but surely, all my Bible reading came back to me. You see, I grew up on a farm in Indiana as an only child. At night I read the Bible over and over. Oh, for sure I did not read every chapter. I read most of them, but got lost in the so and so begot so and so section.
But I did talk with God and His Son Jesus in the spirit while taking long walks back in the woods on that farm. I developed a relationship that has helped me make out on earth, through thick and thin, and that has given me comfort in the good times and the bad. Most of the bad, admittedly, I brought on myself.
I was a kid with a nervous system disability, easily corrected with one pill a day containing a mineral that my body lacked, but who denied said disability for years.
I am now 57 and have taken that pill a day religiously since 2006. By the grace of God, I have had no further symptoms of the disease. I still have to watch my stress level, but for the most part, if I did not publicize it, nobody would know that I really do have a disability. But surprise, when I got serious about overcoming my sins and being a better Christian example, the nervous condition went into remission. I give Jesus Christ and his Father Jehovah God the credit and the glory!
I am sure, if you are professing Christian or not, you no doubt understand what surprises are and have more than likely experienced your fair share of them. Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of my Creator, have surprised me many times. A few weeks back, in my advertising agency business, I had two great financial collection weeks in a row. Wow, what a pleasant surprise. Then these last two weeks have shifted me back to owning that old saying about being “so poor I can not pay attention.”
Those last two weeks were a surprise of a different nature. But out of the blue, last week, Jehovah God granted me a prayer request from a prayer I have prayed most every day for nearly five years. My salesman left me back then over family problems. He had to move off to come to the aid of his grandchildren. Last week, Tammy took Jay’s job and made a $100 ad sale and collection!
Most people starting in sales have to wait a few weeks before either succeeding in an actual sale or giving up to look for a steady paycheck. Tammy took the bull by the horns, so to speak. Her dad Tommy is a bull rider so I guess that was an ironic statement. So even through our collections were down, the surprise of Tammy joining me in selling advertising for Tailgate News and getting a sale was worth the financial fiasco of finding a way to pay my bills on time.
So to me, the statement my father the doctor made to me many years ago rings true until this day. Dr. John Woolard Nelson, neurologist, who sired me and then turned me over to his parents, John Hans and Marvel Nelson, at age 7 for some country raising, told me this when I was a complaining teenager. I don’t remember if I had already accepted Jesus or not.
But Dr. Nelson used to visit our farm every three or four months with my step-mother, Nancy Elam Nelson, all the while I was growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I love him and am not questioning his decision to honor my 7-year-old request to grow up on the farm. I used to get bothered by it, but the decision was made in love and understanding. So be it. I turned out OK, or at least I think so.
What the good doctor said was, “Cheer up son, life will get worse…. And then it will get better. That is what life is all about Johnny. Life is a roller coaster. It is not our job to try and stop it from moving on but only to learn to enjoy the ride.”
That response to my complaining was a surprise to me. That was long before I understood the Christian principle that “if you complain, you remain.” God is a God of forgiveness for those who ask and He wants us to always be thankful for what we have – not to gripe about what we lack! I wish I had understood that at an earlier age, but you might say I am a late bloomer in understanding and practicing at least some of the ways of Jesus Christ.
Sure, I read his Word early and I was so very amazed at the letters in red in my Christian Bible. They were quotes from Jesus Christ, the most powerful and wonderful mind I had ever come across. But the full meaning of His words are still being revealed to me. Sure, I am still just a sinner saved by grace.
That statement makes some of the deep thinkers of my religion cringe. But it is true for all Christians. We ask forgiveness of all of our sins upon accepting the great gift of salvation from Jesus Christ, sins in the past, the present and yes even sins in our futures. If Jesus was not capable of forgiving them all, it would be a very pointless life in my humble opinion.
So here is one more surprise about me, before I get to our usual sermon so to speak, I write to you each week because I firmly believe Jehovah God gives me the topics and the Spirit of His Son Jesus Christ edits this copy before we publish. Sure, I am insane.
That is another thing my doctor daddy taught me many years ago, “If a man admits he is crazy, it is a good possibility he is right as rain. It is those fools who claim to be sane that usually end up in a rubber room somewhere.”
If Dr. Nelson was right, maybe you should keep reading. Let’s look at a Biblical surprise that comes to mind. Do you remember the story of Jonah, a preacher who refused to go to Nineveh to warn the blatant sinners there that the wrath of God was about to cook their gooses if they did not start obeying the laws of Jehovah God – or at least giving it their best shot to do so? Jonah thought those people were too far gone into sin to listen to his preaching so he booked a boat to Tarshish instead. Well, after the sea went crazy and wild, he admitted to the crew that God was angry with him.
They threw him over board to save themselves (1) and he was consumed by a “big fish,” which most folks believe was a whale. Whatever it was, it must have been mighty big, as old Jonah lived in the bottom of the stomach of that sucker for what I recall to have been about three days. All I can say is better him than me.
While God had Jonah in his think tank, so to speak, the preacher had a change of heart. The surprise of being eaten by a fish (or fish type mammal, whichever was the case) got old Jonah to reconsidering God’s offer to get him safely to Nineveh. He promised God, upon his release from the big fish, that he would preach repentance to those folks in Nineveh after all. The fish swam to Nineveh’s shores, as I recall, and then upchucked old Jonah right onto a Nineveh’s shore line.
Jonah, by this time in a more obedient mood no doubt, started in preaching to those folks and brought them to what we Christians call a spiritual revelation. They stopped their sexual mischief, their gambling, their idle worship and such and started trying to obey what Jehovah God wanted. In fact, if memory serves, this was the start of the Biblical church at Nineveh. Surprise! God had turned lemons into lemonade for a group of people who preacher Jonah had already punched tickets for to an eternity in hell fire. Wow, now that is something to give Jehovah God the glory for, is it not?
Now lets move to the Christian Bible, New Testament style, and check out a fellow known as preacher Paul. Paul, or Saul as he was known before converting to Christianity, was a tent maker and also a Roman assassin of folks who followed the Christian faith. The religious leaders of the time had convinced Saul he was doing Jehovah God a favor by killing these misguided souls…
Jesus Christ, in Spirit form, met Saul on the road to Damascus. He asked Saul, “So you do not find it hard to kick against the pricks?” Christ wanted to know why a self-righteous man like Saul would do such a thing? Before Saul could respond, Jesus took him by surprise, revealing the Light of the Everlasting God (2). Saul was blinded by the Light.
Saul’s frightened friends took him to town. Jesus Christ told Paul a certain Christian nearby would show up to help him see again, removing the burned scales from his eyes.
The other Christian was scared to come near the man he knew as Saul because it was widely known that Saul killed any professing Christians he could. But that fellow obeyed the Lord and prayed for the soon to be Apostle Paul’s eyes. The scales of damage from the light fell off, giving Paul the vision to write a good bit of the New Testament. Paul began to see men as trees, or at least as I remember the story, but with further prayer regained good vision. After Paul could see, he did not harm the man who had helped him. Instead he obeyed the Spirit of Jesus Christ, was baptized and spent time with Christians further along the path.
Paul may have kept making his tents for a living. I am not really sure, but I do know Paul started preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul found Jesus on that road to Damascus and he never ceased spreading the Good News of the Salvation and Gospel of Jesus Christ until his dying day.
Let’s look at yet another surprise. Paul was jailed a lot by the Roman government for preaching Christianity. Finally, at Jehovah God’s bequest in my opinion, Paul revealed himself to his fellow Romans as indeed a Roman citizen. This gave him a few rights and got him out of a few jams. But the old boy still managed to go to jail a lot. Much of his Bible writings were done while he was in prison.
On one such occasion, as was his habit, he started preaching to fellow prisoners and to the jailor. He praised God in song that night. But the surprise came one night when an earthquake unlocked the prison doors and removed the shackles from all of those held there (3). Surprise, the jail cell doors opened by themselves and the captives lost their chains!
So in your Christian walk, expect miracles and surprises. As the old song says, “When I am weak, you are strong. Praise you Jesus is my song,” or some such a lyric. The point is when we humble ourselves before Jesus Christ, and admit without Him we just can not make it through a situation, we unlock a jail door of our own making. All of a sudden our faith in the Lord releases the cell door and Jesus comes to our rescue. If we thank Him and tell Jesus Christ how much we love Him at this point, good things always seem to happen.
Try this sometime. It has been a big step in my quest to overcome my disobedient nature. Perhaps it will help you as you put your favorite sin, disobedient act to the commandments of Jehovah God, on that old potter’s wheel.
As you know, we all have problems. But we have a big God. If we are doing what we believe at the time to be God’s assignment in our lives, the best thing we can do is thank God for what we have, give God the glory for our lives and all of our blessings, hand the keys over to Jesus Christ and enjoy the ride.
SCRIPTURES
1) JONAH’S CREW THROWS HIM INTO THE SEA – Jonah 1:4-17 King James Version (KJV) 4 But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. 6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. 8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?
9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. 10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.
11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. 12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. 14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee.
15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
2) PAUL (SAUL) SEES BLINDING LIGHT – Acts 9:2-19 King James Version (KJV) 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
3) PRISON CELL AND SHACKLES RELEASED BY EARTHQUAKE – Acts 16:16-40 King James Version (KJV) 16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 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 serjeants, saying, Let those men go. 36 And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace. 37 But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.
38 And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. 39 And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city. 40 And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.

A Christian view
on handling regrets
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
In the past month, I have lost two dear friends to death. One probably died of old age, while the other in a tragic traffic accident.
Once upon a time I was a man who proclaimed loudly that I had lived my life, loved, fought, laughed in joy, cried, etc. in such a manner that I had no regrets. Sure, as a Christian I was sorry for the sins I had committed and for the ones to come. But as far as directions and actions that I did not know to be blatant sin, I had no regrets.
Then I got on this path of seeking to be of some use to Jehovah God and Jesus Christ in spreading the Great Commission – the salvation message if you will. And when a friend dies, or even an acquaintance, you can not help but wonder if you could have said this or that to encourage them to walk a little closer to God. In the case of the two men who passed away recently, it is my hope and belief that both were of the Christian faith.
So it is not the eternal destination of their souls that particularly concerns me as I write to you. But rather if I was a very good friend or not. For you see, I wanted to be. Was there something I could have said or done to have made their days a little brighter? One was 83. The other was only 29.
And then there is the regrets I feel about my career. Should I have picked another one, or at least picked a state where I could have had a better chance of financing my basic needs and modest wants? I think on the serenity prayer on this regret, as there are indeed some things at 57, or any age for that matter, that simply seem too engrained in a person’s habits to do anything about at this stage of the game of life. I have been a newspaper man since 1980. I hope to do it until my eyes and fingers are worn out, in spite of its usually up and down income.
And of course there is love. Did I marry the right person for me? Is she satisfied that she is my wife, I mean really satisfied? Perhaps I could have been a much more enthusiastic and attentive husband. Then again, my current wife and I have been together 18 years. For my part, it is a good fit. Only she can answer the other half of that question.
So how should a Christian, in general, handle regrets. I suppose a regret is a type of worry. The Christian Bible says not to worry (1), as to do so will not gain you one day on earth or improve your situation at all. Even from a pragmatic (earthly wisdom) standpoint, in my life at least, Jesus Christ was right on the money on this one. Every time I worry, it just clouds my thinking, makes me ponder something useless and pretty well ruins my day. Even when the chips are down, having hope, faith and a love for God and His mercy seem to be the only real comforts.
And I do also feel comfort each time I think of a blessing Jehovah God has added to my life and how very grateful I am for my blessings.
So if regret is a worry, perhaps we should not engage in it, if we want the peace of the Lord upon us. Working for the Lord, so the Bible indicates, is like being the beast Ox in a farming operation of old. To work in the field of souls, along with Jesus Christ, means hitching yourself to his plow. Of it, Jesus is quoted as saying, “Take my yoke, for it is easy. My burden is light. (2)”
It sounds to me like if the Christian man or woman has any regrets (worries about bad decisions in his or her past), he or she should give that burden to Jesus. This, as anyone who has ever tried to turn over a worry to the Lord can attest, is a lot easier said than done. But once it is done, the relief one feels is amazing. This is how it works for me.
If, for example, I regret spending too much money and then one of my basic bills comes due, and I have successfully given that worry to God, it frees my senses up to listen for the guidance and direction from Jehovah God to render the situation – instead of bending to the stupid ideas I keep coming up with that got me in my mess in the first place!
This takes some doing in my case. For example, I had a mortgage due by the next night. This is ridiculous, I thought. I mean I just don’t know how I could have been so irresponsible with the stewardship of money! But I was that irresponsible and so it was time to pray for God’s guidance and get out of the mess. In order to do so, I had to shut my worrisome complainer record off, shut up and listen to the escape route. Otherwise, I would have been yelping with more complaints as I fell off of a financial cliff!
This example had a good ending. The mortgage was paid on time. But the truth is I have to learn to turn all of my bill worries over to the Lord if I want to achieve my goal of being out of debt by the time I am 65 and have a little money saved to at least enjoy a semi-retirement vacation before I continue what work I can do.
If you want an example of some Biblical worriers, check out the Israelites following Moses, trying to get to the Promised Land (3), complaining about the food and never taking the time to seek out what Jehovah God had to say about successfully completing their task.
Moses was a worrier too. He was also a person given to a few temper tantrums. I recall him killing a man in anger. I also recall him hitting a rock when God said touch it… He paid the price for his worry and anger. Moses was never allowed to enter the Promised Land and neither were many of the Israelites whom he attempted to lead to such land of milk and honey.
When God levied the just punishment to Moses, I would be willing to bet Moses regretted some of those bad decisions…
Jehovah God has been called unfair by many, but he has never accurately been called unjust or of having no mercy. As to the unfair part, the Christian Bible tells us Jehovah God’s ways are higher than our ways. His ways are fair, just quite often above our understanding at the time. If we pray for his ways (will) to be done, then when our Creator implements His will and it does not add up to our expectations, we need to remember the old saying, be careful what you wish for or you shall surely get it.
Evangelist Joyce Meyers said in a sermon on television that we must come to the point in our worries where we not only turn them over to God but pray that our solutions be bypassed for the coming to pass of the solutions God would have for us if we want to gain God’s trust and advance in the assignments He gives us toward spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is a thought pattern prone to produce regrets. If I want an orange and God sees fit to give me an apple, I just might regret asking for the orange in the first place! This, of course, is human logic. But if we learn to trust God, we can also learn to accept the apple, look at that sucker and realize it is what we needed after all.
In my case, it boils down to faith. If the Lord sees fit to give me an apple instead of an orange, I need to muster up my faith and love and agree with Jesus Christ that it is not my will, but the will of the Father in Heaven, that needs to take place on earth because His will has a loving goal that my will does not always have. The will of Jehovah God is that all should accept the free gift of salvation and that not one of those who have accepted it should ever be plucked by Satan’s temptations from God’s Holy hand.
In matters of money, as my grandfather, John Hans Nelson, taught me growing up, money is a tool to an end. Money should not be the goal, but rather seen as a means to an end. In God’s Kingdom, as I understand it, the man or woman will prosper as his or her soul prospers. In other words, the more we serve others in love, and the more we spread the value of accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and then as Lord, the more God’s hands are untied and He can bless our lives with abundance. The Word (writings in the New and Old Testaments in the Christian Bible) clearly says that Jesus Christ came so that we could have life and have it more abundantly.
It also says that the proof is in the sparrows. Indeed, does the Lord not make sure that each sparrow has enough feathers to fly and food to eat. I heard on another television sermon the other day that success for the Christian can be boiled down to enough food to eat and enough clothes to wear.
That does not sound very prosperous to me upon first inspection. But if you think about it, it does give a person a bit of comfort. If we can believe for the basics, which most of us have, than logic would suggest that a God that could make sure we have the basics is surely capable of keeping His Word about abundance.
One of my major regrets of my life is my anger. When things don’t go my way, well at least until the very recent past, I have tended to get angry and do what most folks would describe as a colorful expletive fit. This could be compared to a toddler fit to get his or her own way. If you are honest, you just might admit doing the same now and again as an adult. I am sure Jehovah God does the normal parental shaking of the head when we have our fits, just as we do when our small children need a nap.
So Moses was not the only one to do something stupid in anger. I used to hit walls. Then, if I knocked a hole in one, I would have to repair said wall. I regret not having very much trust and faith in God’s guidance and direction at those points in my life. Such trust and faith could have saved me a lot of trouble patching up walls…
So to sum up, your regrets can be redefined as worries that you made bad decisions to achieve in the past. Where as we should learn from our mistakes, it does not pay to dwell on our past wrong decisions anymore than it does to worry if the bills will get paid. Pray for God’s guidance and direction each day of your life, check your refrigerator and your clothes closet and smile.
You live in America. So chances are you have something to eat and something to wear. Be grateful for the givens and have faith that the same Jesus Christ whose Spirit of Love provided you with those basics is fully capable of getting you through your day.
Overcoming sin might just begin when we move our minds from regret to decision. We must decide that we can not change the past, but if we put our faith in Jehovah God and His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, as the plaque says, there is nothing we can not handle that the devil, or our own ignorance, can dish out.
Remember the immoral lady in the Bible that Jesus was brought by the men who had caught her in the very act of adultery? Jesus Christ was told by her accusers that the Old Testament said she deserved stoning for her sin. Regardless of how much fun the lady may have had in her adultery, her human side surely regretted the act at that point in time. But the Son of God had promised He did not come to this world to condemn the world but so that the world of people, through Him, might be saved.
Jesus looked at the crowd and said, “This is true, what the Old Testament says about stoning an adulterer, but I say unto you the one who has never sinned needs to cast the first stone.”
The accusing Israelite men dropped their heads, one at a time, and then they left. Jesus asked the woman, “Woman, where are your accusers?” She confirmed that she realized they had all left and waited for the Son of God to commence stoning her, as she had no doubt heard He was a man with no sin in His life.
The mercy of Jehovah God shown through and Jesus Christ said to the woman, “Go your way and sin no more.”
This was a very harsh form of reinforcing the importance to the girl of overcoming her desires to make love to another woman’s husband, but in my opinion probably a very effective one. Jesus took her worries and regrets, that were no doubt both emotions that she felt at the time, and had mercy on her. Of course, he gave her a condition. His condition was that she learned from her experience and control her lusts in the future for a man that was already bound to another woman.
The lesson here is that we can turn our regrets into a learning tool. If you fear that you were not as good a friend to someone as you could have been, then do better next time. Being human, like me, you will think of these regrets, that is worries about your past, from time to time.
But remember another old saying and turn those lemons into lemonade and glorify God the next go around. Thank Him for your learning experiences and plow on Mr. or Ms. Christian. For if you are reading this, your road still goes on.
SCRIPTURES
1) DO NOT WORRY – 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) MY BURDON IS LIGHT – Matthew 11:29-30 King 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) DISOBENDIENCE TO GOD KEEPS YOU FROM YOUR PROMISED LAND – Numbers 11:21-35King James Version (KJV) 21 And Moses said, The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen; and thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month.
22 Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them? 23 And the Lord said unto Moses, Is the Lord’S hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.
24 And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. 25 And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
26 But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. 27 And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.
28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. 29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!
30 And Moses gat him into the camp, he and the elders of Israel. 31 And there went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth.
32 And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp.
33 And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague. 34 And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted. 35 And the people journeyed from Kibrothhattaavah unto Hazeroth; and abode at Hazeroth.
Editor’s Note: Since Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world, those who have accepted the gift of salvation are under Jehovah God’s grace and their names are in the Lamb’s Book of Life. This seals an enternal destination to heaven.
However, if we disobey what God has told us to do on this earth, even Christians will suffer penalties yet in this life. At least that is what this editor is gleaning from the scriptures. Good day.

Overcoming sin in Christianity
can be slow go…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Bible is a big book. When a person accepts the gift of Jesus Christ is many times the first time they will open that book.
The Christian Bible says God will wink at ignorance for a time (1), but there will come a time when He no longer winks but pressures the baby Christian to grow up. While accepting salvation requires a person to realize they can never beat the sin in their life on their own, and then to ask Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of Jehovah God to forgive all of those sins so he will place one more name in the Lamb’s Book of Life, I can find no where that God demands we grow in Christ after that. But I can tell you, the Spirit of Jesus Christ inside of you will encourage you to understand and obey the Christian Bible.
Part of accepting Jesus Christ into our hearts, and His salvation from being on an eternal destination to hell, is repentance and forgiveness. He forgives our sins, past, present and future, but we have to be truly sorry for our disobedience (sins) – past, present and future. We must exchange our love for this world and all that is in it to pursue the love we feel for God to create an unconditional love within us for our Savior.
When we accept the miracle of Jehovah God’s Son dying on the cross for our sins, and the covering of all of our sins with His pure blood, we also take in the Spirit of Jesus deep down into our being. That Spirit leads you down a Christian, Christ-like, path – just as soon as you admit your own way is getting you nowhere but in mess after mess. For the true Christian, his or her promise to repent begins to weigh on the conscious with every disobedience to God’s Word because his spirit man now loves God more than the world.
In my case, I tried a lot of things on my own after accepting salvation and then decided to look in to what the Bible calls being an overcomer. I knew in my mind that Jesus had a way to live better than anything I could come up with, but I had to move that knowledge to my heart.
I came across a passage in the New Testament that says God is a friend to the overcomer (2) and began to wonder just what in the world is an overcomer?
I read on and concluded that an overcomer is someone who accepts the guidance and direction of Jesus Christ in his or her daily Christian walk and learns how to obey a little at a time because of a growing curiosity as to what really is right in the eyes of God.
Overcoming, however, has to begin with a want to. If you want to overcome all sin, and you have the fortitude to tell Jesus that, you just might change over night. I am not that strong. I have come far, but I have a long way to go. The point here is that most of us humans can not expect to obey anything in God’s guidance and direction until we lay our own wills down.
An overcomer lays down his or her will about say, adultery, then lying, then fornication, then taking the name of the Lord in vain etc. He or she lays them down, one at a time, not because he or she does not want to stop them all at once but because doing so just seems too hard to grasp.
For the independent thinking man or woman, even learning to obey one Godly order at a time is not easy. A person like myself, who has been taught to think for himself, is a bit resentful of someone else trying to think for me – even Jehovah God. But trusting in God and obeying His direction in life is the only way to please the Creator and the only way to use your talents to their maximum potential in spreading the gospel.
Just as we could not conquer sin without the covering of the pure blood of Jesus, we can not form the habit of being more and more obedient to God’s will without the guidance and direction of that same Jesus Christ. I do not know it to be fact, but I would be willing to bet that many newly saved Christians back away from the faith because they expect all of their habits to change instantaneously.
I am not saying there may not be people who have such a love and faith in Christ at that first meeting of salvation that their love allows them to overcome all disobedience to God at the onset. With Jehovah God, all things are possible (3), but it is not the norm in my life’s experience that a man or a woman loves anyone or anything without first shedding a few pains taking doubts – even when it comes to loving and therefore choosing to obey the Lord Jesus…
The reason? It takes time to build faith in our Lord and the fact that He came so that we could have life and have it more abundantly. It is tempting for most of us independent thinkers to believe the devil’s lie that only we know what is best for our own lives – even after the initial salvation experience when our love for Jesus Christ of Nazareth is fresh and new. Also, there is the maturity factor. It usually takes a long time to realize the bad dog (side of us that listens to the devil) is a worthless leader.
But somewhere in all of my experimenting, I figured out I wanted to feed the good dog more than listen to Old Scratch (Satan). I started to see that every time I turned to the ways of Jesus to solve a problem, things worked out for the best. With each hoop that I put my Jesus through, I began to love Him more and more for remembering me. I learned what being thankful met. I wanted to obey but did not know how to accomplish it. So I left it up to Jesus to teach me. He is still doing so. In other words, “He is still working on me,” as the song says.
Christianity teaches us that when we get saved the old man dies and we are born again. I do not dispute that. I just never could find where the Bible tells us when this old man dies. The Word also says a Christian can make the choice to sin. If the old man (bad dog) were dead, why would the new, Christ-like creature (good dog) choose to sin? The fact that most Christians sin every day shows me that bad dog must be alive and well in them. And our strength to resist temptation needs divine intervention.
I believe that bad dog dies when we die in this carnal body. Until then, our own thoughts of what we perceive as right, wrong, tempting or not tempting, continue to flourish in our brains. The Bible says the ways of Jehovah God are higher than our ways. To me, that tells me there is a better way to live than the way of my own judgment. I want that better way.
I am happy to have it a little at a time so that information overload does not destroy my hope that someday God will tune me up to where I can be the most useful for him while breath still goes in and out of my lungs. Therefore, I choose to be an overcomer. I love Jesus enough to let Him mold my life into the obedient servant that He wants me to be, even though I still do not see from my natural eye how that complete transformation can occur until I am completely away from the devil’s temptations.
Perhaps you have come to the same conclusion? The Word of God says Jesus Christ walked this earth without sin or He could not have saved us from the eternal consequences of ours. Jesus is our example and He was totally obedient to Father God’s will. But He was also the only sinless man ever to walk the earth. Why? Because He was a part of Jehovah God. His Father is the Holy Spirit. Our earthly fathers sinned (disobeyed God) so the sins of the father got past on to the child (you or I). Let’s get down to the day to day shall we?
Suppose a Christian has the habit of judging others. The Bible says do not judge the other fellow or you will be judged likewise. But you walk into a restaurant and someone asks you to go have sex with her. You say no, as you are married and trying to follow the Biblical principle of not committing adultery. Perhaps the Spirit of Jesus Christ inside of you plays you a movie of the consequences to your loved ones.
You see that girl a couple of hours later running from her hotel room to the restroom in a robe with a man by her side wearing a wedding ring, also dressed in nothing but a bath robe. Do you conclude she is an adulterous woman or do you give her the benefit of the doubt?
Going with your own wisdom, you would probably conclude that girl commits adultery and either has not accepted Christ in her life or has yet to learn her actions are disobedient to the Christian Bible because those actions will bring pain to her and also to others. But going by the directive to not judge her, you would simply conclude that her example is not very impressive if she claims to be a Christian. Either way, her actions have given you a bad impression of her and her witness for Jesus Christ has been damaged in your eyes.
This is what overcoming is all about; giving a good impression of Jesus Christ through me or you. I am sure I have done things that also left a bad impression on others. For that I am sorry. I have come to the point in my life where I believe that the more I overcome sin in my life, the better chance I have of convincing you to come to the Lord Jesus for the free gift of salvation.
Jesus told the legalists of his time to do their first works over. The first work of accepting salvation and feeling his ever-loving presence is what He was talking about. If you have fallen in love with Jesus, thus obeying the most important commandment to love Jehovah God with all of your heart and soul, your desire to obey Jehovah God’s commandments will grow out of love instead of out of fear. If you know in your heart that this is the case with you, that you love God and thus want to obey Him, rather than just fearing God and being willing to make any deal necessary to survive, I believe you will never give up on your salvation.
I believe it to be a humbling experience to realize that without God’s input your actions will most certainly bring less desirable results. Humbleness and gratitude are two major character points to have if you are going to successfully overcome anything. Sometimes love comes quick in life. Sometimes it takes time. But when it comes, your motives change. You begin to ask what you can give the one you love rather than what you can get out of a deal.
Many times the adjustment from your ways to God’s ways may produce less dramatic results than simply “quitting something for the sake of quitting.” You must attempt to stop your bad behavior to fit the definition of obeying the words of God in the Christian Bible, but if you are going to stay stopped you must be given the truth of the matter from Jehovah God and solidly believe you do not want those consequences of that certain disobedient behavior in your life anymore. Even when you realize the consequences, it takes a concentrated effort to quit any habit because of human weakness. Your love and faith in Jesus Christ must be stronger than your fear of failure. In short, you must step out on faith.
Bringing “the flesh” in line with “the Word” is indeed a painful “potter’s wheel experience.” But with the strength of Jehovah God in your veins by way of praying for that strength to be engaged, you can overcome a sin habit and end up a better witness to the unsaved – which is the real reason for overcoming sinful habits while on earth in the first place!
The unsaved, if they attempt to obey a commandment by Jehovah God, do so because they are afraid of God and figure if they do what He says they can escape hell fire. The Bible says there is but one way to the Father and that is through the Son.
The acceptance of the gift of salvation must come first or all of the overcoming of sinful habits you can muster will gain you little more than it did Cain in the story of Cain and Able in the Bible where God told Able to bring a blood sacrifice and he did, while Cain figured God would be happy if he gave Jehovah God part of his crop. One obeyed God’s commandment. The other changed God’s commandment and offered a “reasonable substitute.”
Cain had good intentions but he had an unsaved man’s perceptions of God’s law. He supposed in error that his own interpretations of what God wanted would be good enough. So remember, we can not please God without Jesus living on the inside of us. In fact, the Bible says Jehovah God does not have to even hear a sinner’s prayer.
So the first step toward overcoming any sin habit with a seriously positive effect in your life is to accept the gift of salvation. Then, when your love for Jehovah God has grown enough for you to do so, tell God you want to help Him spread his gospel and ask the Lord to show you what must be changed in your character next? I have found that pondering for a time what the Lord has told me must change in my character helps me to gain the courage to ask for His strength to do it. I play a movie in my mind of what my sin is causing to happen to me and to others in my life.
Once I am convinced that I must change directions on that particular sin, I ask Jesus for the strength I will need to do so. Then I ask Him for His guidance and direction on the how, putting aside my own ideas on the matter. I do so out of love for my Savior. Without a relationship of love with Jesus Christ, the strength I ask for would never be mine.
The results are usually not what I expect. For example, I used to battle with the overindulgence of alcohol. It took losing three marriages and nearly losing my fourth before I woke up to the fact that my ways were doing just what God had promised sin would do. I realized that getting drunk was a sin, as per defined Biblically. But I reasoned that getting drunk was not really hurting me since I did not do it all of the time. Then I decided I wanted a life beyond the consequences of the sin of being drunk.
I prayed to Jesus with honest love for Him in my heart. I gained his divine strength. It is 2016. I have not been drunk since 2009. I tried to quit in 2006 and made it three years and fell off the wagon once. I can not say I will never fall off again, but as the years go by the habit of only having a couple of drinks and then switching to water is easier and easier to keep.
Jesus said take a little wine for your health. My father the doctor says medical science has proven those who take a couple of drinks to relax will live an average of 10 years longer than the condemning, abstaining legalist crowd. I choose to follow Jesus. He took a little wine for his health and no more…
God has brought me a long way when it comes to being a former problem drinker and in many other overcoming issues. I have been married this time 18 years. We are both professing Christians and choose to help each other, not to condemn one another for our unconquered sins. Still, overcoming anything is not easy, even when you know that you know that you do love God with all your strength and all of your heart. But I have learned a few things. Other than the 10 commandments, life is not always about quitting something.
Life is about a balancing act. Remember, perfect means complete in God’s way of thinking. And we can only be complete when the tempter leaves. Our Christian Bible tells us the devil will be there to tempt the Christian or the non-Christian until our dying day. But the non-Christian relies on his or her own strength and is easy prey to a manipulative devil. As Christ said, they have their reward.
To me, pursuing the overcoming of my sins and reducing the negative impressions I make on others is worth it. For one thing, when I feel the strength of Jesus surge through me and realize, through Him and His ultimate love, that I have the power to beat anything, it brings me closer to Jesus Christ as a friend. And that is priceless.
SCRIPTURES
1) GOD ONLY WINKS AT IGNORANCE SO LONG – Acts 17:28-32 King James Version (KJV) 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.
2) GOD IS A FRIEND TO THE OVERCOMER – 1 John 5:3-6 King James Version (KJV) 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? 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.
3) WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE – Matthew 19:22-26 King James Version (KJV) 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.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Occasional Embarrassment
is part of my
Christian walk…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I am not perfect. Yes, I a am a sinner saved by grace, and I have a long way to go to get it right as far as my overcoming in this Christian walk.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you trust the Lord has forgiven your sins, then you probably feel embarrassed and undone every now and then when you fail to live up to the Christian 10 commandments – or in some other aspect you disobey Jehovah God.
I know I do. I used to say I was a critter that could hardly ever be embarrassed. I was wrong. Stuff happens in my life, when I lose my temper, or feel “jacked up” about some matter or another, that tends to make my face turn red with embarrassment after some of my reactions.
Television evangelist Joyce Meyers said the other day that her feelings used to get her in trouble until God revealed to her that a person does not have to live by their feelings. A person can live to obey God and take pleasure in succeeding at that rather than complaining about or criticizing other people.
Not everything the Good Lord puts on our heart to do is easy. Sometimes we don’t feel like being kind to someone who is being mean. When someone smarts off at us, puts us down or even threatens us, turning the other cheek (1) is sometimes the last thing on our minds. I can not speak for others really, but I can tell you I have walked some pretty dark roads in life but I have never gotten used to having my life threatened. But I should, according to Christianity, turn the other cheek and offer my would be assassin an invitation to church!
In reality, in my past, I have retaliated with a counter threat with one couple of bullies and told a certain girl that only God could take me out and so she might as well forget that idea! Neither reaction was particularly Christian. In a way, my child-like responses were an example of Christian embarrassment, but I will bet you I can think of even better examples.
I sell advertising for a living to those who want to have an ad in this publication. I meet all sorts of potential customers. Some have a positive reaction to our community good news, high school sports and Christian testimony format. Others not so good.
While I subscribe to the old theory that every no leads to a yes in sales, sometimes, when you know in your heart of hearts that somebody is lying to you like a dog lies on the carpet, frustration can boil over in the conversation. Usually it does not, but sometimes I can get a little testy. I think they call that being human. But the embarrassment comes when I realize my farm-boy vulgarity has come to the surface.
This usually happens when the customer has opened the door and let a few fly. When I hear four-letter words, my reaction for years has been to out-cuss the curser.
In Christian overcoming folks, this is not good. And yes, it is embarrassing to me. I don’t do it nearly as often as I used to, as Jesus Christ and his Spirit have been convicting me in my mind as to how awfully embarrassing it should be coming from a man of the Christian faith.
Thankfully, God helps us grow up in this sort of thing. For years, I was prone to rationalize that my cussing sin was not that bad compared to a liar, or compared to a killer. But it is! The Lord’s Word plainly says the wages of sin is death (2) and it does not give us a break for what humans think are the bad sins verses the little bitty ones…
Another thing my flesh likes to fall down on is self-pity. You know the feeling that comes on you when the devil tells you your entire world is going to crash and no angelic spirit is going to bail you out this time? Yes, most of us do know this feeling. When we do, we have two choices. We can thank God for all that He has done in our past to block this, and that sucker punch from the devil, and assure Him that we trust Him enough to think He will continue to do so.
Or, we can start complaining and wailing, allowing our flesh to show off. If we choose the latter, you guessed it – if others see you, then especially this equals embarrassment. It can also be said, as I have noted in previous sermons, that the old saying if you complain you remain is still a pretty strong truth. In time, I have learned to cut way back on the complaints and look for the silver lining that is always there.
Today I had a really hard time with accounting and cutting back on my bills. I saved my family more than $100 a month on outgo, which means my advertising sales won’t have to be under quite so much pressure this next month. More importantly, I made a concentrated effort to work with no complaining. I did not completely succeed, but again, to quote Joyce Meyers, television evangelist, “I may not be where I should be but I thank God I am not where I used to be.”
I also get embarrassed when I feel jealous that someone else seems to get all of the financial breaks and here I am, giving my tithes and offerings, and still just puttering a long week to week. I know one writer who does his advertising sales work by the telephone and seems to enjoy all of his alone time. I am more of an in-person sales guy, but his method is more financially stable. I am not jealous of that.
Sure, I would love the extra money. But me, I would prefer a couple of hard working staff members to join me in marketing my product so I could enjoy the comradery and still enjoy visiting my clients. The part I am jealous of is the stability of his product. Then the Good Lord points out that man has been at it 20 years and you are just going into year 9. Patience is not only a virtue, it is very necessary in most business and/or personal situations.
When I realize my jealousy, my good dog comes alive and I thank God that my friend has a successful business he enjoys and say a little prayer that his success continues. And the good side of a man or a woman does start to come alive more and more as you walk down the road with the goal of living more Christ-like. At least it has for me.
I was a member of several weeklies in my past as editor and you want to talk about close friendships. We had very close friendships and it was loads of fun to be a journalist back then. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, every weekly I knew about had a small crew. You had to have an editor, an advertising director, a sales person and an office manager to be a “real” weekly. Times change. I have decided to quit blaming my Creator for that. Change is indeed one of the only constants in the universe.
A good friend of mine died this week. This man was a preacher and also a successful car dealer, but he never forgot about the little guy like me. He also had a heart of gold and used his many dollars to help children in Arkansas, the rest of the United States and even feed thousands in India. And, you guessed it, the more he gave, the more he prospered.
I am learning to give. I find the more I do it the more embarrassed I am when I let an opportunity go by. I have made a promise to myself, and to Jesus Christ, that when I prosper more I will give an even bigger percentage of it away to folks who are hurting. Like my friend who just passed away, I have rural roots. We both were raised to believe if a neighbor’s barn burned down it was our Christian duty to help that person rebuild it.
When I start thinking the other man has so much to give and I have so little, I remember what Peter said in the Christian Bible when asked to perform a healing prayer, “Silver and gold, have I not, but what I have I will give to you (3).”
We all have something we could give to those less fortunate. Oh sure, some will appreciate it and some will take our help when they don’t need it, calling us fools behind our backs. But I would rather do like our Gurdon, Arkansas food bank and give to all in my territory that come to get than to get so hard with some sort of rules to receive that a baby goes hungry that night.
So we have looked at embarrassment from several angles. But we have not given a clear direction on what the Bible says to do about it. Obey Jehovah God. Read His Word and never stop trying to obey it. The more you do a thing, the more it becomes your habit. If you get in the habit of obeying God, then you will soon lose that embarrassment feeling as it will be replaced by you counting more and more blessings to the point where you will not have time to feel embarrassed when you fail.
When I followed my own rules, I was hardly ever embarrassed. I liked me and did not much care if some people liked my values or not. But when I began realizing that I was not so important after all and began to try and follow God’s version of right from wrong, I realized how far from the mark my earlier actions were. I am thankful for this realization because the scripture says God will not always wink at our ignorance. Someday, somehow, us Christians need to grow up.
Some see that. Some are just saved and satisfied. Which type of Christian are you? If you have a history of being just saved and satisfied, read the New Testament and take note of what Jesus got accomplished while on earth? Then look up the definition of disciple. Yes I know, that might be embarrassing. But as I heard in a sermon by Adrian Rogers on the radio tonight, “When I walked with pleasure it was fun and pleasure could not wait to tell me more about little of nothing for the good of me or mankind, but when I walked with sorrow, I walked mostly in silence but I could not believe what I learned about humbleness, self-control and the joy of doing God’s will. Sorrow taught me. Pleasure mocked me.”
That is an indirect quote, but pretty much what I got out of what was being preached there. Life is never easy. Tragedy strikes everyone and death comes to us all – unless we are alive when Jesus comes back, but that is another sermon. Make the most of your life in Christ. And if you know you need the free gift of salvation, walk away from selfish pleasure just a bit. Let the good in your soul rise and find yourself an altar to begin your Christian walk. Put that going to the altar embarrassment an unsaved sinner feels aside.
Who knows, maybe you too will be given the privilege of helping thousands of people like my preacher/car dealer friend did in his 84 years of life. Or you might just get the privilege of saying something to your spouse or child that gives them the want-to to become a Christian and get their own name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Either way, if you have obeyed God and even one soul in this world joins the Christian kingdom from your words or actions, you are a success. And you are a winner, not a loser.
The Bible says there is rejoicing in heaven every time a sinner comes to accept the gift of salvation. I will never be able to pay Jehovah God back for all He has given me, especially for the gift of salvation from Jesus going to the cross, but I intend to give my widow’s mite and let God take it from there…
SCRIPTURES
1) TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK – Matthew 5:38-42 King James Version (KJV) 38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
2) THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH – Romans 6:20-23 King James Version (KJV) 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 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.
3) SILVER AND GOLD HAVE I NOT – Acts 3:3-6 King James Version (KJV) 3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.
6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Editor’s Note: When you are embarrassed for lack, look at the blessings the Lord Jesus Christ has given you – salvation and a guide to how to live with purpose and integrity. Give that. It costs you nothing but decency and the rewards are indescribable…

There is no gain
in defending sin
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I had an experience in my new Celebrate Recovery meeting effort a couple of weeks ago that got me to thinking I should do a sermon on the hazards of defending sin.
For those of you who sincerely believe that your salvation experience alone means you no longer sin, or have a sin problem, you might want to stop reading about now. But if you are like me, a fellow who accepted salvation years ago but works every day to overcome sin in his life because this dissection process is bound to please Jesus Christ, read on.
A couple of friends and I were discussing ground rules for Celebrate Recovery and we came to the part about where foul language has no place in a recovery group. If I am going to sin, which I do make an effort not to, swearing seems to be one of the easiest areas for me to slip up and do so. I told the couple at Celebrate that if a man or a woman wanted to pour their heart out to me on intake, and began cussing a blue streak, I would caution them that Celebrate Recovery is a Christian based help program but I would not call them down for their swearing.
I have since decided to remind a person of the rule in Celebrate that says there is no place for foul language in a recovery meeting and pray they control their language out of respect. I personally have said and heard thousands of versions of swearing and probably have a callas a mile thick around my conscious when it comes to being offended by colorful expletives. But one lady in my Celebrate Recovery group gets all bent out of shape when she hears the Lord’s Name taken in vain.
I understand this, as it is a violation of one of the 10 commandments and guilt normally sears through the saved person’s mind upon hearing it uttered. But I had a hard time relating to her disdain because of vulgarity being my first language.
I still do not believe somebody should be persecuted if they let a few choice words fly out of pain in a recovery group. But I do believe we need to tell them about the rule, as we need to tell the unsaved, or even the troubled Christian, what any sin is – that is if they are asking for help.
And I have thought about my original reaction and since decided I will do my best never to curse in a Celebrate Recovery setting out of respect for the Lord and out of respect for my friend who it offends.
The truth is the reward for sin is death (1). This means all sins, whether they offend us personally or not. The death of your very soul is in jeopardy if that soul is not covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. We should not defend any sin, or use it as some tool to help someone with the intention of achieving a “greater good” because sin is disobedience and that is the opposite of what Jehovah God plainly states in the Bible that He wants from His children.
Remember the old lyric, “To be happy in Jesus, you must trust and obey.”
Your favorite sin of disobedience may be, using another example, lying. Maybe you have done it so much it is hard for you to get a handle around the fact that in God’s eyes it is wrong or He would have never given us a commandment that says, “Thou shalt not lie (bear false witness) (2).”
It is hard to say what your favorite sin is, but we all have one. Many “legalists” are offended when Christians, like myself, call ourselves sinners saved by grace. Again, if you are one who believes you have never sinned, not even once, since your salvation experience, this sermon may not be for you.
I believe when I asked to be forgiven of my sins that included my sins of the past, present and future. But I also believe that the closer we get to dying, the less sins most of us Christians interested in overcoming will repeat.
The key here is to ask for God’s guidance, direction and strength to accomplish the overcoming. The Holy Spirit of Jesus, living on the inside of us, creates a conscious of right and wrong that will gently nudge our own value system if we accept the Lord as Savior.
When we disobey one of the 10 commandments, or any commandment of God noted in the Christian Bible, that Christian consciousness will alert us that we have disobeyed, that we need to ask forgiveness and learn from the indiscretion so we can resist that particular temptation when it rolls around again.
Sure, you got forgiveness at salvation and your name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. But when we become more aware of what offends our Creator, I believe asking Him to forgive our disobedience (sin) lets Jehovah God realize we might be growing up a bit.
And we can resist sin, if we ask with expectation for the strength of God available to any saved person to overcome it.
Christianity, to my understanding, means a growth pattern should be happening toward greater and greater obedience to the way the Lord wants us to live. I heard one minister say that Jehovah God gave us the 10 commandments to protect us from the damage that is done to our lives by disobeying these uniform truths of life. In other words, God was not trying to destroy our fun. He was simply trying to help his children to avoid being hurt.
Most parents can relate. I sure hope my daughter has learned by now not to run out in traffic without looking both ways like she did once when she was very young. I know she has, as she is 31 and a parent herself now. If she had not, she would probably have had to pay for her disobedience with a long stay in the hospital or worse. You get the parallel. A loving father wants to help his child avoid pain or disaster. And Jehovah God is our loving Father.
Let’s look at another example where physical evidence exists from disobeying God’s Word. If you are a glutton when you eat, your weight will eventually show it. When Jesus Christ was listing a group of unsaved folk who can not go to heaven, he named gluttons, that is those who eat way more than they need to survive and be healthy.
I used to over eat a lot. I seem to have had some success in overcoming this particular sin. Losing 30 pounds so far has made me feel better, have more energy and not feel nearly as greedy at the dinner table. I also look more along the lines of the shape known to be a healthy man. I am glad and I am continuing to try and keep the habit of eating smaller portions.
In other words, I am glad God’s Holy Book, that is the Christian Bible, told me gluttony is a sin(3). And I am glad that, with the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I have had some obvious success in this area. Areas like cussing are not as easy to prove in the natural because a man or a woman can cuss when they are alone and only the individual and God know about it. The scales prove gluttony may not be that big of a deal in my life anymore. Certainly, some folk who do not over eat are fat anyway from some disease, but for the most of us food lust is the root of our obesity.
But easy to prove or not, we know when we are having success overcoming something that God has revealed to us is sin in our lives. As we become more obedient to what we know is right by God for us, we open the door for more blessings from God and to a much more positive self image.
While it may be true that having an overcoming heart is not a requirement to ask Jesus for salvation and for Him to cover your sins with His pure blood and enter your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life, but when the Holy Spirit comes in to your heart to live He will prick you each and every time you commit sin, that is disobey Jehovah God’s rules for a happy and productive Christian life.
This will continue your entire life – unless you renounce your salvation and ask that Holy Spirit to leave. And, if you are sane, you will realize that is not an intelligent move. The intelligent move is to study out what seems to be the sin problem in the Word and then do what you must to break the habit of doing it, using your desire and the strength available to you as a follower of Jesus Christ.
IT’S NOT THAT BAD
I started this sermon with the intention of giving you a plain warning that any sin will hurt your life. Defending sin will make you look foolish to the unsaved person looking to you for evidence that your life has really changed for the better.
So if you are tempted to say that your favorite sin is not that bad, think again. Sin, so the Good Book says, is sin. And disobedience to Jehovah God on any level still has serious consequences in this life and for the unsaved in the next.
So then comes the question of how do we stop, and/or at least reduce the day to day sins in our lives? The first thing is to have a desire to obey God. Then pray for strength to do so with sincerity and let the chipping away of your sinful ways begin. Once again, if you combine your desire to conquer a particular sin habit and the strength of Jehovah God, you can get positive results.
You can start by reading the 10 commandments. Instead of denying that you ever broke even one of them, pray to Jesus for the strength to not have any repeat violations in the future. If you fall down and violate a commandment, dust yourself off and keep trying to be obedient. Jesus Christ promises not to give up on us.
But it is up to the individual not to give up on him or her self. Perfect means completion. Your overcoming will result in perfection when you trade your carnal body for an eternal celestial body in heaven – most likely not before. To my understanding, only Jesus Christ ever walked this earth in a carnal body sin free – that is in total obedience to the Father.
However, at least part of the reason to try and quit, or sharply reduce, what you know in your heart to be sin and disobedience to God, is because when you have success you gain in happiness and prosperity. The Word says a man or a woman prospers as his or her soul prospers and a more obedient soul to Jehovah God is a more prosperous soul.
Prosperity could be in money or any other similar blessing. If you are thankful for each success at your overcoming and thank God when things begin to go better, you are wise. As we have said in many of these sermons, God wants us to thank him for his many blessings.
Complaining, in my opinion, is a sin. I base this on the fact that God has told us, commanded us if you well, to be thankful for all we have. Complaining is just the opposite of being thankful so to me that means to complain is to be disobedient to the Word of God.
Therefore complaining stops blessings, just as sure as it stopped many of the Israelites form entering the Promised Land when they told God they were unhappy with the manna he provided to feed them in the desert after they left Egypt.
If those Israelites had not complained about the food, Jehovah God would have allowed more of them to go the Promised Land. This, of course, is an assumption and quite possibly not the case. You will have to be the judge of that one. It is my understanding that Moses also never made it to the Promised Land and that God’s reason was that Moses lost his temper and struck a rock instead of producing a miracle with humble gentleness in obedience to Jehovah God’s instructions to him. Jesus, of course, also lost His temper, when He threw the merchants out of the temple many centuries later.
I think it has to do with the why. Moses lost his temper out of frustration with God’s people. Jesus lost His temper because those merchants were bringing the sin of greed (the love of money) into a place of worship. Only an interview with Jehovah God could truly explain the actions of the All Mighty in both instances.
But for us modern-day Christians, the message is clear. We must get on the team of promoting Jesus Christ and the examples of how to live that He gave us while on earth. If we get angry, it does not need to be self-centered frustration. Anger needs to be fuel for promoting the Christian walk, not defending any sin – even the sin of demanding respect. For you see the demanding part is a type of pride and we have learned that pride, any type of pride, means some sort of fall will follow.
Sure, we are to do our best at our jobs and careers. And we are to do our best to make our dreams come true as long as they do not include countering the Christian Bible.
But doing one’s best and giving God the glory when success comes is what God wants. He does not want us to pray for his mercy and then turn around and declare our own abilities caused the tide to turn when He grants that mercy!
SCRIPTURES
1) THE RESULT OF SIN IS DEATH – Romans 6:21-23 King 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.
2) THOU SHALT NOT LIE – Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Matthew 19:18 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,
Romans 13:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
3) GLUTTONY (OVER EATING) – Proverbs 23:1-4 King James Version (KJV) 23 When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: 2 And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.
3 Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat. 4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
Philippians 3:17-21 King James Version (KJV) 17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample (example).
18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Editor’s Note: One of the Bible notes I discovered about over eating said a person does not have to have evidence of obesity to be considered a glutton.
A glutton is anyone, so it said, who lusts after food instead of concentrating on obeying Jehovah God.

When there is
nowhere to turn,
pray the Lord’s
prayer for comfort
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I usually give a short sermon to my three grand kids when I get them for the weekend once a month, before taking them home on Sunday afternoon. This time it was simply reading to them “The Lord’s Prayer” from the New Testament of the Christian Bible.
It made me realize that the guide-line prayer, provided by our Lord Jesus Christ more than 2,000 years ago, gives a person comfort no matter what he or she may be facing in life.
Before discussing the prayer further, let’s take a look at the King James version of it right here: Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV) 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.
I have heard that we can pray anything that is on our mind to the Lord Jesus Christ and Father Jehovah God and I believe that is OK with all of my heart. However, I also believe that the Lord’s Prayer actually does cover all of the bases. I pray it when I feel like there are simply no answers in my mind to whatever problem or ailment is bothering me. So far, Jehovah God is batting 100 percent in my life in regard to solving said problems or curing said ailments, probably because I have a lot of faith in the power of that prayer.
This should make my fellow Christians smile, as they know it is always true. Faith in Jehovah God and his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, always puts things as they should be. For example, when what we pray, in regard to an ailment, if it is not solved by the healing prayer, it is our faith and trust in our Heavenly Father that is lacking – not God’s ability.
My daughter Kelley told me recently that she is praying to Jehovah God for His will to be done in her life, as she no longer trusts the judgment of her own heart. I have come to the same conclusion.
In my own relationship with Jehovah God, I have seen something in my future that as the years go by seems more and more unlikely. Deep in my soul, I believe it is a futuristic vision from the Spirit of Jesus Christ and so I try and have faith that it will come to pass. But I do not understand the how of it. All human circumstances in my present do not reflect that such a thing is possible in my future. Still yet, I do trust my Creator more than I do myself.
I recently heard a sermon on healing on VTN, a Little Rock television station aired every morning where I live. If I understood the preacher right, he said it is the faith of the minister and Jesus Christ that does the healing in things like arthritis, cancer, AIDS or whatever your ailment. I believe this is certainly part of healing success.
Healing goes on at the Beirne Sycamore Full Gospel Christian Church where I attend. If the preacher had no faith in the power of Jesus Christ to heal, it would not occur at all. I believe it is a meeting of faith, that is the preacher must have faith that the Spirit of Jesus Christ will heal the sick and the person with the ailment must also have faith. Jesus did tell us that greater things we would do than He “if WE believe.” A non-believing subject might just as well stay seated. A non-believing pastor might just as well not lay on the hands.
Many of our church members who go up for healing are healed. For this miracle of Jesus Christ, I give the Spirit of Jesus Christ the full glory. Remember, our Lord’s Prayer says “thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” If the preacher and the sick person pray this, and believe in their hearts and souls that this is indeed possible, it is hard for this writer to see how a person with a problem or ailment could not be healed – unless it is his or her time to go to heaven. The Bible says what God will do for one, he will do for all. Again, I personally think it is a combination of faith from the preacher and the sick person that brings on divine healing.
This writer admittedly needs more training in such matters. When something new goes wrong with my spirit, or my body, so far praying to Jesus Christ has always solved such problems. But I live with a controlled disability that may still be there and may not be. It has been 10 years since that disability has ruled my life for a time.
I have tried very hard to stay prayed up since April of 2006 and the control has remained. Part of that control is chemical, as I do take one pill a day for it. My doctor seems amazed at the fact that I have had no further symptoms of the disability in this past decade.. God bless Dr. Shawn Purifoy of Malvern, Arkansas for always being there for me.
I am not a rich man, and my health insurance is not too good. I have some, but it still remains to be seen how much this new policy will help financially with medical tests. Dr. Purifoy wants to run a couple of new tests on me, but so far the payment for such things are in question.
So I turn to my ultimate doctor, Dr. Jesus Christ, and so far that has done the job. I take no credit for my decent health. I give full credit to Jesus of Nazareth, who developed my faith in Him strong enough to release many such blessings in my life.
Perhaps you live with a common ailment to our current society; something like depression or addiction. Jesus Christ can heal those things too. But as I alluded to before, Jesus said something when on earth, as is quoted in the New Testament to the effect of, “Greater things than I have done, you will do also if you only believe(1).” To that, most of us Christians respond, “Lord I believe. But please help my unbelief.”
We think this in our hearts because of our training in humbleness and the fact that God has told us our own good works(self-righteousness, well meaning deeds) are as filthy rags (2). But what we must realize is that it is His good works we are talking about, not ours.
Jesus is the reason for our available power, not some self-generated human power. Arrogance, the worst part of pride, has indeed been the fall of many a good man or woman (3) who comes to believe the power they witness through Jesus is of their own making.
And it has nearly been the fall of me. Pray for me if you will. I sure need it. As I tell my grand children, “Of course I think you should go hear a Christian sermon at a solid, Bible based, Christian church. Look at me. Don’t you think old Grandpa could use some churchin’?”
And indeed I can use it. I am a sinner saved by grace with his name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Of this, I do have trust in Jehovah God and sufficient faith to believe. But I am not very good at overcoming the sins still in my life. Until I draw my last breath, I will continue to work on that – not so much for personal gain, but for the glory of God’s Kingdom.
I want to be a better servant to our Lord Jesus Christ – someone who prays and desires his will “on earth as it is in heaven.”
I prayed the Lord’s Prayer before heading out to sell advertising on Tuesday. Let me tell you about a small miracle that happened. I got a lot of bites but only one catch. It’s OK I thought. I still had Wednesday and part of Thursday to finish the ad sales end of my business for this issue and I was still hopeful all would be just fine.
Let me tell you about the ad sale I made on Tuesday. I was at a friend and customer’s shop who hardly ever turns me down for an ad sale. He is what us marketers call a regular. Well, he was not there. Instead, I walked in on a conversation between one of the body shop workers and a 90-year-old Christian woman who preached me a sermon on how people should get married legally to please God and how folks who choose to just live together, without the benefits of a marriage certificate, would hurt the children they had.
I listened and smiled, throwing in my 2 cents worth from time to time. Then the conversation switched to the real reason Mrs. Cook had come to the Gurdon body shop. She had accidentally backed into something while driving her car and she needed an estimate on fixing a dent.
Johnny Vancamp, who works for Jim Vance, called his boss and Jim came back from his volunteer duties at the food bank in town to grant Mrs. Cook her estimate. He also wrote me my only advertising check for the day! This was definitely a miracle as far as I was concerned.
When a fellow is on ground zero financially, even a small amount of funding is a miracle and an answer to a prayer. It gave me gas and food money, plus I got to pay my tithes and offering bag and still put $30 into my business account to go on monthly bills.
And all of those needs were met because a little old Christian lady backed her car into something. She is fine. And the car is still drivable so she was not put in any danger from the accident. In my mind, these chain of events were an act of mercy directed toward me from my friend, Jehovah God.
I was a very happy camper after meeting Mrs. Cook. I got to discuss Jesus and his New Testament rules of right and wrong, and I got my advertising account to renew. I left with a big smile on my face, thanking the Lord Jesus Christ for his mercy.
Wednesday saw me succeed some more at marketing, but not nearly enough to make the bills. I came away remembering the words “in earth as it is in heaven,” referring to God’s will being done. I came away feeling very humble and grateful for the day as it was. This is the rub of saying that Lord’s Prayer. It opens doors for Jesus Christ to tone you down a bit on that old potter’s wheel. It is all good. I needed to be prompted to be both thankful and humble to the Lord.
So there are many results that come to us struggling sinners saved by grace when we say that Lord’s Prayer. Some may fit our own desires. Others will not. God’s ways are higher than our ways, so the Good Book says. And indeed they are. But there is a pattern here worth noting. No matter what happens after you pray that Lord’s Prayer in an attempt to get God to help you, the results end up being help – even if our human desires are not met in the short run.
I learned something else this week that should make a good topic for another sermon. When we complain about anything, whether its the results of God’s will being done and something unexpected happening or simply that we are stuck in traffic and find it irritating, there is a consequence. Complaining blocks a blessing. A certain group of folks from Israel who wandered around complaining in the desert for 40 years backs my point. So if you are brave enough to pray the Lord’s Prayer before going about your day, remember to be thankful and uncomplaining about what you get so that God can use your experience for the good of His kingdom.
In short, God’s will may not always be what we expect, but it is always God’s will. And that is good enough for me to want His will in my life.
SCRIPTURES
1) WE WILL DO GREATER THINGS THAN CHRIST IF WE ONLY BELIEVE – John 14:12-16 King James Version (KJV)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;
2) OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS ARE FILTHY RAGS – Isaiah 64:6 King James Version (KJV) 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.
3) PRIDE GOETH BEFORE (DESTRUCTION) AND PRIDE’S SPIRIT BEFORE A FALL – Proverbs 16:18Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Editor’s Note: Our final scripture is worth commenting on. Pride, so the writer says, goes before destruction and then the haughty spirit goes before the fall of a man or woman. This makes a lot of sense through my life’s experiences. I once owned a quite successful newspaper called the Marmaduke Chronicle in Eastern Arkansas. I told someone once that it was so well established it could never be stopped.
I was very proud of what me and a handful of friends had created over a period of four years. The newspaper never made it to a fifth year. 911(A major United States disaster) happened and most of the advertising customers jumped ship, leaving me no choice but to find another job.
God makes good on what He says is and is not in His Word. The Marmaduke Chronicle was destroyed by my pride and my haughty attitude about “my” newspaper fell, as I watched the publication sink…
It is quite possible, me being in the habit of praying the Lord’s Prayer, that God’s will in action brought to life his equation about pride in my life. It is food for thought. If you too are proud of something, turn that pride into gratitude. Thank the Good Lord for your ability to have done so well at a job or a career, and for the results.
Because indeed, all we have done just might be gone in an instant. We serve a jealous God. Our actions and accomplishments are made possible by Jehovah God and He will not share the glory with us for His accomplishments.
Be grateful when God gets the glory in something you have done. Because if He does get the glory, He just might trust you with a bigger assignment next time – also designed to glorify the Kingdom of God – not of John or Suzy.
So go back to our New Testament Lord’s Prayer and study it before you pray it. Be sure you are ready for the person God wants you to be.
Don’t take the words lightly, as I did for so many years. Yes they will bring you joy when they come alive in your life, but they may also bring you tears.
Change is often painful. The will of God can be hard. But onward Christian soldier, Be brave and let Jesus Christ take charge!

The Power
of Encouragement
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Sometimes talents, dreams and even love lives go away because someone drops the ball and does not encourage another human being who needs just a little smile.
It is the same in Christianity. If a person wants to explore living the Christian life, especially beyond just the basic acceptance of salvation, that man or woman, boy or girl needs encouragement. I was a lucky young man. It would not have mattered what I did, for the first 30 years of life my grandfather and grandmother gave me encouragement.
I was told from an early age I could be anything I wanted to be. I learned the hard way that the truth was I could be anything I wanted to if my patience and intelligence allowed it. Oh, I was told I was pretty smart. And I could take a joke.
I once went home and told my grandmother I was supposed to be smarter than 90 percent of the kids who took a national intelligence test. I was so proud. Too proud and she knew it.
She put her glasses down, as she had been working one of her crossword puzzles, and responded, “If you are smarter than 90 percent of America, God pity the rest of them.” I was so hurt until she smiled and told me she was just kidding.
She and Grandpa never let me down. I changed majors and wives four times. They did not ever know the last two girls. I picked the right career, as a journalist, and apparently I made out all right with this last girl. Michelle has been my gal for 18 years. We have sort of grown up together.
We have five kids between us and seven grandchildren. I think we do pretty good encouraging them, most of the time. Like any family, we have problems but it works. And Michelle is a dedicated Christian. Her love of the Lord helps me to love her. I figure we are talking to the same God, Jehovah God to be precise.
But sometimes a person just needs to feel real. They say we should dish out what we hope to catch. As my grandfather used to ask, who are “they?” I always figured “they” must be pretty wise since “they” say so much.
This writer is attempting to get out of his shell this year. I am attempting to start a Celebrate Recovery program that will meet in my hometown of Gurdon every Wednesday from 6 until 8 p.m. at the Faith Mission.
A couple of good friends seem to be interested in helping. I hope it works out so that we can help someone in worse shape then us. We are all three over 50 years old so maybe we can offer some encouragement to others from the ups and downs of our lives. Time will tell.
It mostly depends on how much our community encourages us. If they do, I know we can run with the ball. If not, nothing ventured, nothing gained. My ability to step out and take chances, encouraged by my folks and my God, has served me well in this life.
The Bible says Jesus Christ is a fantastic friend and counselor (1). I have been fortunate to have known the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior since I have been 15. I have grown to know Him as a friend and counselor over the years, in spite of all of the mistakes I have made. And this dreamer has made plenty. I am 57. When I was 30 and younger, my grandfather backed my every play, even ones that probably made no sense to him. Since then, the only love I have felt 100 percent is from Jesus.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a few good friends. And I do have a great wife who does her best to offer me encouragement in her own way. But when I get down and out, I go to Jesus in my little office in the back of the house. And He always cheers me up. Only another Christian can really understand this. But as I told my son Jacob, the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord gives a man or a woman a conscious they would have never had otherwise. And it makes loneliness and disappointments bearable. That, so I have learned over the years, is pretty much all there is in this life. So is encouragement really that important? You bet it is!
Let’s look at Moses in the Bible. Jehovah God needed a fellow that loved his Israel folk as much as He did. That is why he hired a guy who killed for them (2). Now you may figure that is pretty strange since one of the Commandments would say thou shalt not kill. But I guess God figured he needed a soldier. So he hired Moses. When Jehovah God gave wisdom to Solomon, He told him to write, “There is a time to kill.” Perhaps this is where the old saying about all being fair in love and war comes from…
And Moses got very discouraged during those 40 years with the Jews in the wilderness, as they kept complaining about the food and such instead of thanking God for getting them out of bandage and directing them toward the promised land.
But God took Moses down a road that most men never experience. It was not a perfect road but can you imagine having the confidence of Jehovah God to the point where you were the one chosen to give His chosen people (the Jews) the 10 commandments?
So let’s go up a few chapters to the New Testament to a fellow named Paul. He persecuted Christians because he was convinced they were mockers of Jehovah God. He was a soldier and it sounds like he was also a killer when it came to standing up for what he believed to be right. But God decided to prove to Paul that Jesus Christ really was the Messiah on the road to Damascus. Jesus made Paul blind and then restored his sight (3). Now that is quite a dramatic move to get a guy’s attention. But He must have seen Paul’s love of what he believed to be right and when Paul converted to Christianity it became obvious that God’s faith was not ill placed.
The tent maker Paul, who was a Roman citizen, wrote the majority of the New Testament. He even wrote a lot of it in jail. But Paul kept the faith and finished his course, no doubt hearing those words, “Well done, my good and faithful service.” For those who don’t know, those are the words promised to all Christians who accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and get their name in that Lamb’s Book of Life.
So despite a lot of people saying a lot of things to the contrary, that is the requirement. Believe in Jesus, Him being the only Begotten Son of the living Jehovah God, the fact that Jesus was the pure blood sacrifice to negate the punishment due all of us for our sins and the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day and lives in the Christian hearts of all of His believers to this day.
But make no mistake, having the Spirit of Jesus Christ with you will mean you will change your ways. He will not force you to change, like so many preachers try to change their congregations. Jesus will show you by example what must be changed in you along life’s path. In short, you will not have the wisdom of a person in the faith 40 years the first day out of the gate. In my opinion, our Guide enjoys watching us grow up. And Jesus is always there to catch you when you fall.
I am a stubborn man. To be an encourager for me is no doubt a difficult thing. My ex-wife tells my wife she must be an angel. This may be true. I am dreamer and so far at least, I never give up on what I believe in. God has given me this forum to write to you. I pray something you read in one of these sermons encourages you to find an altar and pray through to become a Christian.
Let me go back to my teaching by example analogy for just a few lines. My best friend is a native American called Mike. Mike knew I was over my head in loans and credit cards but he also knew I would never listen to anyone about it until I hit an economic wall. I hit that wall and am now involved with an organization that I believe will help me retire my debts in time. I am also working with a man who is teaching me about national advertising and how some companies who appeal to all Americans are interested in putting their products in front of our 5,000 a week plus readers.
In short, I am trying both shrink my debt and increase my income by taking action in both economic arenas. Mike was over his head in debt, on a much smaller scale, last year. He was living in a very inefficient trailer, on a fixed income from both Social Security and the Veteran’s Administration.
Mike is a disabled veteran in a wheelchair who gets around on a medical scooter for a “car.” I am in charge of trying to help him keep his money straight.
An opportunity came up to get Mike in an apartment that was not only better suited for his disabilities but also allowed him approximately $400 a month of spendable income. In his trailer, we had to seek assistance just to make the bills. I went from feeling pity for my friend, as to his economic situation, to admiring him for his courage to find the right opportunity to make his money work for him and to live without fear of devastation.
He bought a new gun. He bought new clothes. He has money in the bank that lasts him all month long. Mike has achieved economic success in my mind, considering his situation. And my friend has given me encouragement by example that perhaps, by following the same general path, I just might be able to solvencize my financial world as well!
So you get my drift I hope. Mike never told me a thing as far as what to do with my financial situation. He simply showed me what to do. It was up to me to figure out that if Bubba could dance, I could too. It is the same in successful Christian teaching. I can not successfully tell you to change from your ways to obeying the commandments and lifestyles given by Jehovah God because they are there and expect you to do it.
I must tell you instead what those commandments are, if you are willing to read my sermons or you ask me, but then it is up to Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost that lives inside of you as a Christian to prick your conscious with answers to your questions about why you need to follow the example of Jesus if you want to be happy here on this earth.
And when the light bulb finally comes on that the ways of our Lord are not met to brow beat us but to show a way where the yoke is easy and the burden is light, we can begin to grow. And grow with enthusiasm, not with resentment.
To me, this is the ultimate form of teaching and becoming a cheerleader, or encourager, for your disciples in Christ. Show them what little you have learned, and show them how that little bit has really improved your life.
Give the non-Christian, who is considering eternity and its possibilities, why choosing to confess our sins to the Spirit of Jesus Christ and his father, Jehovah God, is a path to forgiveness that will bring inner happiness in this life and the next.
SCRIPTURES
1) JESUS CHRIST IS OUR FRIEND AND COUNSELOR – John 16:13 King James Version (KJV) 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Isaiah 9:6 King James Version (KJV) 6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Proverbs 18:24 A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.
John 15:15 “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
2) MOSES KILLS AN EGYPTIAN – Exodus 2:10-14 King James Version (KJV) 10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.
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.
3) JESUS MAKES PAUL (SAUL) BLIND AND THEN RESTORES HIS SIGHT – Acts 9 King James Version (KJV) 9 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

The Price We Pay

for Serving
Jesus Christ
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
It is said that everything worth having in life is worth paying a price to keep. Salvation is no different. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior from a devil’s hell, Jesus offers to teach us how to live the Christian life.
When I was youngster in the Methodist Church, I accepted the gift of salvation at the age of 15. I attended church nearly every Sunday from ages 8 until 18. Then I decided to know my enemy, and spent several years using Jesus as my co-pilot instead of finally learning I had better let Him drive!
My going it alone, and turning to Jesus for advice, lasted until I was about 26 and started attending church again with my then wife Doris.
Without going into further detail for now, the bottom line is as the years went past I began to realize the power of being thankful. I had read in the Bible that Jehovah God wants us to be thankful for all things (1). I tried sometimes to count my blessings. But I still did a lot of complaining that was definitely not beneficial to a professing Christian.
I learned first hand the destructive nature of being ungrateful for food, shelter, companionship and the like. I suppose the lack of funds in my life was one of the hardest things to ever be thankful for, but being broke taught me some good lessons.
I am not nearly that broke anymore and I firmly believe the Bible’s scripture that states, “you will prosper as your soul prospers (2).” Indeed, prosperity is for the thankful, both in voice and in action.
But no matter where you are in your walk with Jesus Christ, you begin paying a price in this old world for your salvation the moment you accept it. The Masonic Lodge has a saying that no good deed will go unpunished. It is a worldly saying, but Satan does seem to take joy in attacking a Christian if that person determines there is more to being a Christian than warming a pew feeling saved and satisfied.
I am definitely not the best Christian example you can find. I have a lot of overcoming to accomplish on that potter’s wheel and I am the first to admit it.
But as preacher Joyce Meyers says on television, I am not where I need to be, but I thank God I am no longer where I used to be! We grow. And if we do not grow in our understanding of the life of Jesus Christ and therefore how we should be acting, we don’t know what we are missing.
For example, leading someone to Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins, and that means all of yours sins, past, present and future, is the most exhilarating thing that has ever happened to me.
I have had that experience three times in person, and I always hope something I might write in this weekly sermon has also helped someone accept the salvation offered by our Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. If it has, and you are reading this, let a body know. You can call me and tell me at: (870) 353-8201. It would make my day.
But back on topic, anything we do for Jesus Christ comes back at us from the unbeliever’s corner. There is plenty of evidence of this from our latest Satanic enemy here in the United States, a group called the Islamic State, or ISIS. I am not down on all Muslims, as most are admittedly peaceful people just wanting to live out their lives, as I am. To blame all of them for taking their legalistic teaching to extremes would be like blaming all Christians for the actions of the Klu Klux Klan, who use Old Testament instruction to kill and destroy the lives of innocent people. The KKK, while they tell you of inferior races etc., claim a Christian base for their logic. I will not judge them, but I definitely disagree with their ways.
They are power crazy of course, but so are the folks in ISIS. Satan blinds folks sometimes and makes them really believe that controlling the lives and views of others is a good thing. Still, Satan has no new tricks. Solomon’s wisdom, that he sought and received from Jehovah God, tells us “there is nothing new under the sun (3).”
As Christians, that is students of the God of Love, we must simply recognize the devil’s evil tactics and learn to stand up against them.
The ISIS crew are a bunch of folks with inferiority complexes or they would have the live and let live attitude of the mentally healthy. That is my view and I am sticking to it. So what should we do if an ISIS member offers to chop off our heads? My view is we should preach the gospel to them while going to retrieve a gun to offer self defense. But that is just me. You will have to decide for yourself what your conscious will allow you to do and if your life and freedom of choice in life is worth defending.
We in the United States have been very lucky over the years. Our freedoms, brought on by the US Constitution have protected our religious choices. It appears we are now on our own to protect our religious freedoms. I hope I am wrong, but it seems to me that our commander in chief is afraid of not being politically correct with the Islamic nations and therefore ISIS keeps on growing.
The Christian deserves this fight for the faith. That is what Jesus Christ said about it. He tells us if we are persecuted for spreading the value of hope, faith and love, expect flack, as He was persecuted to the point of being nailed to a cross for his faith and the truths that He stood up for. Maybe we don’t deserve to fight ISIS hand to hand combat in the United States, but it is happening that way as I write this sermon.
I am praying that the 2016 election will gain us some freedom fighters in government that are apparently not there at present. However, this is not a political slam sermon, but just an article telling you to get ready for a fight if you are going to maintain your claim to Jesus Christ, who has placed your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life – if you have accepted the gift of salvation through Jesus.
If you have any doubts that we are at war with ISIS, I challenge you to read the national and international daily news on Yahoo like I do. But before you do, you had better sit down. You will not like what you read. Christianity is on the secular hit list. Yes, I understand what a hit list is. My past is very colorful and I am a former dear friend of this Satan I now scorn.
Still, in all of my folly, I never denied Jesus Christ and I never will. Sure, that is a strong statement. And I am a man who hates making promises because I believe once made we should keep them. Still you read it here. NEVER is my attitude about giving up the faith. And when Satan reads this, which I am confident he and his followers will, they will respond. So it goes. We get what we deserve. I am a sinner saved by grace. Can you claim and mean the same? I am here to tell you the fight to promote Jesus Christ is worth it.
You will have other Christians condemn you. There are modern day Pharisees out there who will tell you your salvation is not real because you still fail and sin. The world will hate you for what you are. But just remember, the end of the New Testament tells us who will win and take a trip to glory. Keep your faith strong as you lock and load against ISIS, our modern day Satanic representatives. And remember, anything worth having is worth fighting for. I hope to see you on the battlefield.
Remember, you and I may never face an ISIS member with a huge knife telling us to renounce Jesus Christ or lose our head. Then again we might. But it is more likely that what we will face is the mockers of salvation. They come in many forms. Jehovah God tells us He will not be mocked. This tells me that mocking is a seriously bad idea for the professing Christian. I choose to accept the warning.
There are many other warnings in our Old and New Testament about what makes our God out of sorts. But remember dear friends, we are to hate the sin but love the sinner. Even so, it is our obligation to tell them when they are sinning – if asked. I am not so sure we are to walk up to a sinner and just blurt it out when that person has never asked us for our opinion.
This is where I probably differ from several of my Christian brothers and sisters in Christ. I believe our job with the sinner man or sinner woman, who tells us they will not give up their front seat in hell, as they hoist glass of whiskey after glass, is to simply smile and encourage them to come talk to us about Jesus Christ should they ever change their minds about that.
You don’t tell an active drunk that no drunkard shall enter the kingdom of heaven. He knows this, or most of them do. You also don’t tell an active homosexual that the Christian Bible tells us that homosexuality is an abomination and a stink in God’s nostrils. If the Spirit of Jesus Christ is communicating with them, they know this. And they sure don’t need salt rubbed in their wounds!
Think about it. If somebody is drowning and you are the guy who has the opportunity to throw that fellow or lady a life preserver, would you stop and tell them they are a fool for falling in the lake before helping them? No. That is my answer to that question. I would give them the preserver that they asked for and then talk to them and help them come to their own conclusions about how not to get in that position again.
I graduated from a program years ago that I now hope to begin teaching, at least in principle. That program is called Celebrate Recovery. I went into that program because my party first life style had isolated me from family and friends. It helped me rethink my life and gave me a better prospective on life’s priorities. My teacher had me instruct the class on one of the lessons called “denial.” He joked that many who let addictions get the best of them loved to swim in the river of “denial.” Indeed, I believe his insinuation was true – at least in my own life.
Did I ever quit smoking and drinking? No. So pray right along with my grandson Josh that Grandpa does find a reason to do so someday – if indeed it would help me. But what I did do was minimize both habits and I took them out of the way of my family, friends and law enforcement associates. As for getting drunk, yes, I got drunk once after the program with an old friend who came to visit me.
But for a fellow who partied heavily nearly every night for years, once in nine years is not too bad. As Willie Nelson said in a song, “We all fall down.” And yes, the Spirit of Jesus Christ inside of me made me feel plenty guilty for my over indulgence that night back in 2009 – enough so that there have been no repeat performances.
Some in my group stopped consuming alcohol all together. God bless them. Me, being the son of two doctors, was taught at an early age that those who drink about two drinks a night before bedtime will live an average of 10 years longer than their non-drinking counterparts. It cleans the platelet pipes and lessens the chances of a heart attack.
So far, a couple of beers does not seem to cause me any feelings of guilt or present a problem in my life. If two ever leads to the habit of 20 or more beers per session again, I may have to rethink this thing and quit all together. So legalists, now is your time to jump! Tell me I am wrong for using medical know-how and using the brain God gave me for wanting to live healthy in this life as long as possible.
But let’s return to what Jesus Christ says. The Lord said take a little wine for your health. It could be He was the one who taught our American doctors what they so reluctantly share with others. For you see, there are plenty of alcoholics who can not stop at two drinks. Those folks need to quit all together, as over indulgence in anything, booze or otherwise, will destroy the body and finally the soul – if it leads a person to renouncing salvation.
The Bible does not address smoking. It does, however, address over indulgence. The term is called gluttony. It applies to food, smoking, exercise, work or any number of other items that people tend to become addicted to and abuse. Aristotle, a Greek philosopher of many years ago, had a saying that applies. It is called Aristotle’s rule of the Golden Mean and it states, “Everything in moderation and nothing to excess produces a happy and healthy life.” I believe it was Jehovah God inspired.
Even tobacco, despite American propaganda to the contrary, has a use if not abused. The active drug in it, nicotine, causes the memory to become sharper and increases the ability to concentrate, so medical research has discovered. But the abuse of tobacco causes cancer and early death.
Food is a necessary thing. We all must eat to survive. Over indulgence to food, however, causes obesity, the deadliest and quickest killer of all. My father the doctor, Dr. John Woolard Nelson, neurologist, once showed me the alcoholic ward for the old and sick and also the smoking ward for the same at an Oklahoma hospital. Then he said, now son let’s go to the fat people’s ward and talk to those folks over 75 with their set of unique problems.
He took me to a ward in the hospital that was empty… He then commented, when he saw my surprise, “Fat people die early son. There are no fat old people.” He could see my disbelief so he elaborated a bit. Dr. Nelson told me that obesity was defined in medicine as being at least 100 pounds over your recommended body weight. Those carrying a lesser amount of weight could live fairly old, but those 100 pounds or more over their recommended body weight would be very lucky to see the other side of 50!
This stuck in my mind. The ages may be approximations of his actual lecture, but you get my point. Don’t kid yourself if you are a legalist about smoking, drinking or even a condemner of those who would experiment with illegal drugs. Over eating will put you in your grave quicker. And according to our Christian Bible, gluttony is a sin. So you decide, was Jesus Christ telling the truth when He warned us to not condemn a man or a woman for having a splinter in his or her eye while there exists an entire log in your own?
This brings me to an entirely new point about walking the Christian walk and not simply talking the talk. We are agents of the only Begotten Son of the Living Jehovah God. We are agents who choose to share our salvation with a world of sinners looking for answers. We are not assigned to fuel the fire to those sinners with condemnation. If a person does not accept salvation before dying a carnal death, Jehovah God, in the Christian Bible, has promised to condemn him or her to an eternal hell of torment. God says hell was made for the devil and his angels, but expanded for people who choose to go there. Denying Jesus Christ, His purpose and the reality of His pure blood sacrifice so that mankind could escape paying for sin is dangerous for any human soul.
It is plain in the Christian Bible that to get one’s name in the Lamb’s Book of Life only comes from asking Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins (and that means all of them, past present and future) and accepting Jesus Christ’s gift of salvation in your heart. It further stipulates that by accepting the gift that Jesus Christ has offered, your name will be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. The Bible says no one will enter heaven without his or her name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. It is the only way a person appears sinless and white as snow to Jehovah God on judgment day. For you see, Jehovah God will not allow sin into heaven.
Further more, there seems to be much truth in the old Christian saying, “We are to bring them to Christ and let Him clean them up.” Trying, as Christians, to “clean” someone up who professes they have accepted Jesus Christ in their heart is especially dangerous. Because suppose our attempts to “clean” makes them renounce their own salvation?
Does that not put his or her blood on our hands? Do you really want to be responsible for talking someone out of their salvation and eternal escape from a Lake of Fire where Satan will make his final home?
So yes, being a Christian is a battle. And the battle goes on until we draw our last breath. As you consider this new year, 2016, and you decide you are going to help the Christian cause, do not condemn those following ISIS, the KKK or other hate groups. Pray for them. If they attack you personally and attempt to take your life, keep your Christian faith and make your decision as to what to do next the very best you can. I certainly will not advise you as to what that decision should be.
I personally am a survivor. If attacked, I have always responded as a survivor and will continue to do so until if and when Jehovah God tells me my earthly journey is over. I encourage you to accept the free gift of salvation offered by Jesus Christ and then pray to Jesus what you should do next. Here is hoping you will find the answers you are looking for in 2016 and beyond.
SCRIPTURES
1) BE THANKFUL FOR ALL THINGS – Ephesians 5:20 – Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
Acts 24:3 We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.
Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
2) YOU WILL PROSPER AS YOUR SOUL PROSPERS – 3 John 1-4 King James Version (KJV) 1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
3) THERE IS NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN – Ecclesiastes 1:8-9 King James Version (KJV) 8 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

What will you
give to others
in 2016 to glorify
the example
of Jesus Christ?
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
We are nearing the end of the publication year, as the Christmas Friday and New Year’s Eve Friday are always a wash for me. I take the time to regroup, sell a few annual account ads over the telephone and mostly spend time with family and friends.
The thought occurred to me lately that perhaps I need to find some folks worse off then me and help them in some way more than only writing articles about them. I am not even sure what I mean myself, but we will explore this idea here anyway. Looking at the character of Jesus Christ, it is easy to notice that the Lord was concerned with helping others in love, not so much with helping Himself.
I have experienced a whirlwind these last three years in the digital magazine business. Although it has been altruistically enjoyable, and I believe I have fulfilled my intention of serving the public with a weekly digital magazine of encouragement, the small amount of money earned has caused a struggle at best. I believe my lack of stewardship of earned money is what the problem is and I am working to correct that.
Business loans and credit cards were a great high, but soon their addictive qualities began to show their true colors to me and mine. I will try and not complain about that, or go into any more detail, but this life of a writer is not always easy. Admittedly, none of us have an easy life when we decide to use our own judgment instead of the examples of Jesus Christ.
I learned a long time ago that helping others takes my mind off of me. I now hope to use more of what I know to believe is true instead of trying to take further shortcuts to success. It has also occurred to me that I must redefine success.
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, helped others in love every chance He got. He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk and the blind to see. He even raised folks from the dead. I am now involved with a church, Sycamore Church in Beirne, Arkansas, where healing is taking place on a regular basis. It amazes me. Yes, it is hard to believe, but I have gone to church with these folks for years and know of no reason why they should fake this sort of thing.
God, through the faith and understanding of scriptures of our associate pastor Dennis, seems to be displaying some apparently impossible healings that are impossible unless you believe in the power of the All Mighty and accept what is happening at face value. I have only seen divine healing a couple of times before this all started, but I do believe these healings to be real.
We serve a God, Jehovah God, the Creator of the world, who is more than able to heal a pain in a hand or a headache, pain in a leg or whatever He chooses to do. It is apparent Brother Dennis has the faith to command what needs to be done, in the Name of Jesus Christ, in regard to healing. It happens because Jesus told us it would, through the power that Father God shared with Him on earth and He took at face value. Christ said we could do the same. We simply must decide to do so.
This miraculous behavior scares most of us who see it. But then you think about it. If we really believe Jesus Christ can save us from an eternal destination to hell, where our sinful lives would take us, then surely healing is real too.
Television preacher Andrew Womack said this morning that it amounts to utilizing the power of the Holy Ghost inside of a Christian, believing what Jesus said about commanding sickness to leave through that power. If a Christian has the faith in what Jesus said to give an order for a pain to leave, by then combining our will and faith with the existing power of the Holy Ghost inside of us, that pain must leave because of divine authority.
But this won’t work in just our own will. We can stop pain or infirmities only with this sort of commanding faith in the Holy Ghost of God that lives within the Christian. To heal, we must not doubt the power of All Mighty God that Jesus Christ used on this earth. Christ says in the Word, “You, as my disciples, will do these things, as I have done them now (1).” Secular doctors do the best they can and Jesus Christ often works through them. Luke was a doctor. But it takes more than skill to be sure of something. To be sure, you must be sure in your trust of Jesus Christ and His divine honesty.
To survive the upcoming attacks of ISIS (obviously children of Satan to this Christian), we must know the power given to us here on earth by Jesus Christ to command things in the name of love and expect them to happen. The Word of God plainly says anything we attempt to command, using Holy Ghost power, that is designed to glorify selfish desire instead of love, such as trying to put a curse on someone else, is not of God, but rather of Satan, the lord of hate.
So be warned, do not assume you can wish away one of Jehovah God’s 10 commandments for personal pleasure to the flesh, gain (glory of our flesh and earthly body) and expect it to come to pass through the power given to Christians through accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives.
We all have the power to hate within ourselves, being born with a sinful nature. To use it is practicing witchcraft for your own gain and there is nothing loving about that. The sinful “gain” you accomplish will have a high price during your earthly life, whether you are a Christian or not.
Look at the results of stealing. Look at the results of adultery. If you have tried either, as I have done, you understand how selfish desires put into action can bring on lonliness and pain to yourself and others. Acting on selfish desires destroys integrity and respect, two of the biggest assets the Christian has.
Getting back to giving, most of us think about money and how we might could use more of it. The Bible says this tool called money is something Jesus Christ wants us to have. It states the love of money is the root of all evil. Praying to prosper so that those less fortunate can prosper through our charity is not wrong in my opinion. However, God seems to call for wings to that prayer. The Word says give and it will be given unto you (2). But maybe even more importantly than praying for provision “and waiting on God” is the principle of giving because we have love in our hearts that tells us to give what we can to help others when the need arises. We can not wait to start giving until we can afford it.
A true giver gives when it hurts, like the widow and her two mites of flour. Or like the Lord Jesus Christ gave when He went to the cross to reunite sinners with the God of Love, Jehovah God. Our Bible tells us Jehohvah God can not accept a sinner into heaven who has not accepted the pure blood covering that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ has provided and thus had his or her name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Aren’t you glad Jesus made the sacrifice to create this bridge for you and me?
Understanding giving is also tied to the principle of giving tithes and offerings in church or giving your time to those who might benefit from your understanding of the love connected to Christianity.The New Testament teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ says it is the will of the Father for a man to prosper as his soul prospers (3). Again, first we must redefine success by realizing our goals are not the most important things in our Christian path of life. Helping others in any way that we can first, whether it is connected to reaching our goals or not, is a step toward a prosperous and happy soul.
In short, the more love that swells within the Christian, and the more that Christian has faith in Jesus Christ and what He said was true, the more financial prosperity shows up to help you teach this unconditional love by example.This tells me Jesus Christ has already given me authority over poverty that causes me pain and suffering. Therefore, I have use of His authority, through that same power of the Holy Ghost that dwells in me, when my motives are based in unconditional, Christian love. Our motives are the key.
So there you have it. Your editor is discouraged on one hand after a particularly rugged business year, but encouraged that God seems to be waving at me through the healings going on in our church. I will continue this magazine as long as I believe the good Lord wants me to. I believe God has a plan for the future of the Tailgate News and I am excited to find out what it is! So far, it is still a business at least. And so far, I am still able to afford to publish my 12 to 16 pages a week. And I stand on the scripture that “if God be with you, who can be against you?”
The answer, of course, is Satan can be and is against us. And Satan is a loud mouth and the ultimate master manipulator. But his ways are far inferior to the ways of Jehovah God. He is destined for a lake of fire and eternal torture and was the ultimate fool to seriously believe his ways to be superior to the Entity who created him. Do you and I really want to follow him in his folly?
The only way I know to beat Satan’s suggestions down in my life is to keep busy with putting into action motives of love. Being kind costs nothing. Being mean can cost you your hopes and dreams. Now then, we get to our sermon topic, just how will you and I keep busy performing the love shown to us through the recorded life of Jesus Christ in the coming year, this year called 2016?
God willing, and so far He has been, I will keep writing sermons, community progress news for Gurdon, Malvern, Arkadelphia, Fountain Lake and more places upon occasion, but this year I want to do more. I want to go back to helping with Celebrate Recovery and see if maybe my experiences can be shared with people in less fortunate situations than myself. I want to contribute to feeding the poor, maybe even get involved with some TV ministries like the James Roberson effort to help the starving kids in Africa or start funding a homeless center at Little Rock…
I want to see if maybe I can volunteer at the Gurdon Community Food Bank, in the town where I live, to help distribute the food to those folks who can not work. In short, I want to take my focus off of being so accomplished as a publisher and concentrate on being a much better example of my understanding of the ways of Jesus Christ.
I also want to be a better father, grandfather and friend to my wife Michelle. My God has blessed me with a wonderful family. Sure, there are a couple of them that have distanced themselves from me, but for the most part Michelle and I get along with the rest of the family well enough to maintain several healthy relationships.
I will continue to pray for my two family members who have rejected me and plan to leave my heart open to their return to our lives. Will my efforts to give all I can to others help me overcome my sins, as defined in the Bible? All I can tell you is Jehovah God has never let me down in this old life, although I have seen my share of hard times. At this point, I have a good home and good car to drive. I am grateful. I have enough to eat and I am able to practice my career to make a living.
This is a major improvement from my younger days as a writer. Everything in life is relative. My treasures are my memories of moments of love in my life, especially when I first believed that Jesus Christ died for my sins and came to this earth so that I would be saved from the eternal ramifications of my bad decisions. I intend to make more love memories in 2016. To me, sharing what I have to those I see in need makes those memories come alive.
My Christian Bible tells me Jehovah God is Love. I mean love in all of its glory. The life He avails to us beats our own versions of the good life hands down, so I have been told. In 2016, I want to make a better effort to find out for myself. I want to do a better job of living the advice of singer Kris Kristopherson, “When it is scary, don’t look down.”
What will next year be like for you? Most new year’s resolutions last only a few days. This sermon has given you a few of mine that, if I do not let Satan’s logic overcome my desire to practice more Christians values, will enhance the rest of my life. What about you? Will you join me in spreading Christianity with an honest motive of love instead of using it as a hammer to torture those souls who are already suffering from their own non-Christian decisions?
Ladies and gentlemen, the United States of America is under threat to being taken over by a group of people bathing in hate called ISIS. They want to physically kill all who would point this out. Our only hope of maintaining our freedom to grow in Christ, or of at least make our own decisions concerning our own futures, is to recognize Satan’s army, whether it currently is called Nazism, ISIS or simply black magic selfishness.
If God directs us to survive to serve Him one more day, we must do whatever it takes to do that. As a Christian based nation, we need to vote for Christian oriented leaders who will honor those who fight to give us the freedoms we have come to enjoy. This presents another opportunity to give. Give something in return to a soldier who has served our great United States this year. He or she did not have to do that. They put their lives on the line for us and the United States version of freedom of choice in our lives.
We face nothing new in 2016. God’s wisdom, through what was given to Solomon years ago, tells us there is nothing new under the sun. It is our choice to live as givers of love, or as my police marshal, Don Childres, in Gurdon said the other day, we can decide to join the haters “and that is what they do, haters hate.”
SCRIPTURES
1) JESUS SAYS WE WILL DO THE MIRACLES HE DID – John 14:11-18 King James Version (KJV) 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.
2) GIVE AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN UNTO YOU – Luke 6:33-40 King James Version (KJV 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
3) A MAN WILL PROSPER AS HIS SOUL PROSPERS – 3 John King James Version (KJV) 1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
2 Corinthians 9:6-11King James Version (KJV) 6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 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.

God’s Ways are
Higher than Our Ways…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I recently went through what in the marketing world is known as a blue funk. My sales ability was down at least 50 percent because I was brain storming how to double my profits over some financial woes.
I prayed and prayed about my financial problems. It just seemed like Jehovah God was on vacation in my life and I did not believe I was receiving any answer. Then one night, while coming back from a Malvern City Council agenda meeting on a Monday, God laid something on me that I hope I will never forget.
He brought to my mind all of the good times I have had in this business over the past eight years. He noted that finances were best when I stuck to a plan that I believe was both God inspired and John talent oriented. I hung my head in shame, realizing I had strayed from said plan these past few months.
The devil, some call him Satan, had been assuring me that United States President Barack Obama’s lack of luster to help small business people in this country was why I was faltering financially. In short, the whole thing was not my fault, it was our current lack of leadership in in the White House. While that theory may contain a bit of truth, it is not wholly true. Too much pondering on a short cut to wealth, laziness and too much stubborness are also factors.
I need only six pages of ads per week to make a 12-page paper sold out and to make my budget work. This is not a whole lot of money and it is not something I can not do – if I stick to the plan that God and I worked out way back in 2007. In other words, I had taken my eye off of the ball. This is an old golfer’s saying, but it is very true in my case.
Perhaps you too have taken your eye off the ball in your life. I am not a rich man. I used to undergo yearly torture because invariably December would get here and I would not have the $500 to $1,000 I like to spend on my family for Christmas gifts.
This would cause me a lot of pain because I would end up further and further behind on my regular bills to do what I could to make my loved ones smile in appreciation for the fact that I love them and want them to know it in the typically American way of materialistic showering them with a few decent gifts.
Oh sure, as a Christian, I firmly believe it is what is in the heart that counts. And with Jesus Christ, and his subsequent birth celebration every December, at least among the Christian population, the big deal is that baby Jesus came to our world in a manger some 2,000 plus years ago to reconcile man’s (or woman’s) sin nature with God by presenting a pure-blood, sinless man to sacrifice his very life so that our sin debts would be paid in full and we could enter Heaven’s gates upon leaving our beloved planet earth – if we have enough sense to accept the gift of salvation.
But in my United States, there are also Christmas traditions. Presenting gifts to loved ones is one of those traditions. I think now that it is fine and dandy tradition. That is because I have found a company with an acceptable wish book and payment structure that I can use in December and pay off by say March. The amount is not that bad, so now then I do not have to be embarrassed at family gatherings during the Christmas season.
Does the whole gift thing encompass me as far as happiness? No. But I like to see them smile, those loved ones of mine, and it makes me feel more capable somehow, and much less ashamed, to be able to at least give them a “plastic” Christmas. I hope one year soon to be able to do the whole thing with profits from my business. Again, that is going to depend on how much I remember of this sermon, which is on how “God’s Ways are Higher Than Our Ways (1).”
I first heard this scripture in the First United Methodist Church in Hagerstown, Indiana, when I was very young. I attended said church from ages 8 until I was 18. The founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley, believed in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, or as I like to refer to Him, The Holy Ghost. As I got older, after a break from church all together, I found out full Gospel Church, with Assembly of God type values, typically believed in those gifts and so fit my worship needs better.
I knew that someday I would preach God’s Word, as I was saved at 15, in that First United Methodist Church, and God kept pestering me until I gave in and started writing these sermons at age 55, some 40 years after my initial salvation experience.
During those 40 years, I learned the lesson over and over that God’s ways are indeed higher than my ways. I read it. I did not believe it, as my actions showed and I floundered around a pretty unhappy camper from town to town and newspaper job to newspaper job trying to find out what I was doing wrong. For you see, I was not gaining the finances I just knew I would need in order to go to my very rich doctor father someday and invite him to a nice dinner.
I am not even sure if Dr. John W. Nelson is alive today. If he is, my latest research indicates he has moved from Edmond, Oklahoma to Rochester, Minnesota, probably now working as a researcher at the Mayo Clinic. I hope, since he would now be 87, that I get to take him to that nice dinner in the very near future. Time, as they say will tell.
But doing life “my way” has gotten in the way of my prosperity.
The Christian Bible tells me that Jehovah God wants me to prosper “as it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the keys to the kingdom (2),” if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. But in order to get such prosperity, we must first learn to obey God and stay on the path that He has communicated to us, through the Bible and through the remembrance of that Bible and its principles, in our very souls.
If we go down our own road, the Word of God tells us “there is a way that seems right to a man, but will lead to utter destruction.”
Obedience to Jehovah God is the key to success in finance, in your love life, in your relationship with friends and in looking at the man (or woman) in the mirror each morning and coming up with a smile instead of a frown. And the best way I have found to obey God is to look at the way Jesus Christ, His only Begotten Son, lived during His 33 years on earth. This can be learned by reading the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Jesus was a humble man, tempted to do wrong like all of us by our old buddy Satan, but able to resist said temptation every time. This is something none of the rest of us can do and that is why God sent Jesus in the first place, to save us from ourselves and from the results of living life “our way.”
During this Christmas season, when nobody else is around, instead of toying with ideas on how you can make your life more complete, dwell for a spell on how you can make your life more Christ-like. Jesus was 100 percent obedient to the will of Jehovah God. It is my Christian belief that He still is, although my Bible tells me that Jesus Christ, in His celestial form, is now seated at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven (3).
It also tells me that Jesus Christ is coming back for his bride, that is for a church that loves Him, serves Him and obeys the direction of Jehovah God, also said to be Love itself in the Christian Bible.
So if God is Love, that is the real unconditional kind of Love that most people would love to have in their lives, then why not study the ways of God in order to improve your Christian walk and overcome your sins, one sin at a time so you can be a more effective Christian soldier against the enemy of your soul, that is Satan?
We humans have a lot of excuses for not obeying this or that scripture that we read out of the Christian Bible. And as far as Old Testament law, I sure understand that. If my child disobeys me, the old time Jews would take such a child to be stoned in the public square. If anyone ever tried to stone one of my daughters, or the three children I have adopted in my heart as my own, I am afraid I might be guilty of giving in to a violation of the 10 commandments. You know, the one that says thou shalt not kill…
I would use as my excuse that Solomon wrote in the Bible that there is a time to kill. In short, we all sin and we are all tempted to continue to sin. Now are you beginning to see why this preacher needs some serious churchin’? Perhaps you do as well. Jesus Christ came as our example. A good church is a great place to learn what that means.
As you go through the holidays, known to American psychologists as the prime-time to get depressed, don’t let yourself do so. Thank God for all you have been blessed with, especially for sending Jesus to save your soul from a devil’s hell for eternity. If you think you need more fight in you, watch the news or read it on the Internet.
These are hard times. The ISIS folk want to kill us Christians. And they mean business. Their god tells them we are infidels and need to be converted or killed. Sound familiar?
Read the history of the Roman empire and the history of Mohammed the prophet. Plain and simple, as I understand it, obedience to the teachings of Mohammed means killing those who will not accept the Islamic faith (Muslim).
Now admittedly, not all Muslims follow what is stated in their Carom, just as not all Christians follow the Bible. But logic would suggest that our country needs a more effective way of telling the difference before the ISIS extremists get in with larger numbers of “infidel killers.”
A good example of how this faith differs from Christianity in another way is that women are considered sub-human dogs, or slaves, to their men masters. I don’t know too many American women who will study sharee law and find it appealing…
These folks are not seeking the God of Love. The Bible says there is but one way to the Father (the God of Love) and that is by Me (Jesus). That is a Jesus Christ quote you can look up in your leisure time. So indeed, God’s ways are higher than our ways, mine and yours.
He has the ability to let us know when we might fall into sin if we are not careful. If you ask Him, He will give you warnings. As to predicting the future for each of us, He is our best bet.
There is no Christian way to know the future, only predictions. This has to be true because God promises not to stop us from exercising our free will. But that free will can also include voluntarily praying that His will be done in our lives, not our own…
Sound familiar? It should. A certain Jesus Christ, in a prayer before He was crucified, pleaded with God All Mighty to “take this cup from me, but never the less Your will not Mine be done.” The life of Jesus is not an easy one for us to follow. And all we humans can do is realize that the perfection spoken of in the Christians Bible refers to completion, that is we get closer to acting in a Christian way the more we seek to do so.
When Jesus said “be perfect as I am perfect,” it made me personally look over my shoulder to see what perfect Christian He must be talking to. This is a non-salvation issue for a reason folks.
The gift of salvation is free for the receiving for a reason. Man (or woman) is always going to mess up as long as he or she walks and talks in an earthly body of clay. Our only hope of minimizing our mistakes is to realize “God’s ways are higher that our ways” and always will be.
SCRIPTURES
1) GOD’S WAYS ARE HIGHER THAN MAN’S WAYS – Isaiah 55:6-12 King James Version (KJV) 6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 2) IT IS THE FATHER’S GOOD PLEASURE TO GIVE YOU THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM – Luke 12:30-34 King James Version (KJV) 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. 3) JESUS CHRIST IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER IN HEAVEN – Mark 16:12-20 King James Version (KJV) 12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Deal with life
as it is, not what you wish it was,
or was not…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
There is a lot to be said in my mind about what I wish for, what I accept as unchangeable and what is actually happening in my life. I have noticed nothing changes the past and only hope, faith and love moves mountains.
I am a master manipulator. I believe the layman’s term for that is I am a salesman. I am also a writer of facts and fiction. I am not a god and I am not able to pull rabbits out of a hat. As one of my kids says, what is in life simply is.
I do believe in the power of prayer to change things. But I also believe the Word (Christian Bible) is pretty clear on the idea that you have to be thankful for what you have, ready for a change and capable of handling a change before Jehovah God, the Creator of the universe and Father of Jesus Christ, His only Begotten Son, gives you such a change.
I look at the story of Rachel in the Bible. Her suitor loved her and wanted her with everything he had and she apparently wanted him. I say apparently because in the Old Testament law women really had no say so as to whom they married. It was an agreed upon contract between the suitor and the woman’s father. Woman, as in modern day Sheree law in the Muslim nations, were considered property, not as fellow human beings.
But God stepped in through a first born rule in the mind of Rachel’s father and allowed a deception to take place where this fellow Jacob married Rachel’s sister Leah first. He was told by the father that if he would promise to complete seven honest to goodness fair and just years of marriage to Rachel’s sister and work on his farm, he could then take Rachel also as his bride in one week (1).
Keep in mind that back in the day it was customary for a man to have more than one wife, as long as he could support said women and treat them with the integrity he would a church. This, of course, goes against the American law in effect most of my life where a man could only be married to one woman at a time, and the decision to marry has customarily been between the couple in question.
But my example is plain I hope. The man in question, Jacob, worked seven years to get Rachel, the love of his life. The father insisted he take Leah first. There is a lot more to this story. For those interested in some Godly justice, read Genesis, the first chapter of the Old Testament Christian Bible, and many rights and wrongs, as defined by Jehovah God, will be revealed to you. This will probably help you in your overcoming of sin problem, that all of us Christians with a conscious share in common.
But the point of this sermon is not the Biblical example. The point is that in life God does not always give us what we want at the moment we really believe we want it, have earned it and even somehow deserve it. Many times we are left waiting. The old time Christians called it “waiting on the Lord.” In short, His ways are higher than our ways (2) and if He gave us what he had promised, or what we believe we wanted, in our time instead of His, then our lives would get worse rather than better.
I write this sermon in Thanksgiving season. I have done my best to get my bills out of the “upside down” category this year, but it would seem I have broken even at best. This is discouraging to say the least. I believe my little company is the will of Jehovah God for me, in regard to what I am to do in regard to making a living for my family and to serve my God.
And I read where it is God’s will for the Christian to prosper. I am believing to get out of debt by the time I retire and to be a little money ahead so Michelle and I can take a retirement celebration vacation before coming home to live a simple life…
I also read where if you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, believe that He is the Son of the Living God Jehovah, died and rose from the dead and ascended into heaven to prepare a place for me, that I am saved from an eternity in hell and all of its attributes. That is to say, my soul is saved from the eternity in hell it deserves for my sins, past, present and future, by the sacrificial Lamb of God, who is Jesus Christ and his pure, sinless, blood – the only blood that such a sacrifice would be workable with in the eyes of a perfect Jehovah God.
So I ask God why I am so broke? I ask God why I am so in debt? I ask God why, even through I give tithes and offerings every time I possibly can on my income, that my business volume is only about half of what it needs to be to work my way out of debt?
Perhaps you have had similar financial problems in your life. I realize the answer is simple; things will improve and come out just fine – in God’s time, not in John’s time.
I am a firm believer that the Christian Bible already gives us the answers to any questions we have on this path we call life.
Is it hard to have hope, faith and love when your finances are shaky? You bet it is. But then I look at the fact that God has never let me down. With a perfect record like that, why would I worry that now that I have given my life to Jesus, now is the time when He will cut me off and leave me out in the cold?
I have an answer to that as well; Satan. Satan’s job, as the chief tempter of mankind, is to make us look down to a worst case scenario when it gets frightening. And he does a great job, at least he does in my life. There is no easy answer. As long as we live and breath, Satan will come against us in hopes we will turn to his suggestions and abandon our desire to be more Christ like in our actions.
But the big answer is to keep on hoping in our Lord Jesus Christ. A friend of mine once asked me what non-Christians do when everything goes black and they face big valleys in their lives? Unfortunately, as the media reports, many throw in the towel, become homeless, take their own lives or simply find a way to exist a few years in a hide-out as they wait around to die a physical death. None of this sounds very inspiring to me.
I just came back from a funeral for a friend last Saturday. Thelma lived 85 years and she loved Jesus Christ, Jehovah God and the Holy Ghost with all she knew. She also loved her family and was very deserving of the title homemaker. Thelma was my mother-in-law for 17 years. She was active for about 14 years of that role and lived with a lot of ailments in a nursing home for the past three years. Now, she is out of pain and in the arms of the Lord.
The Bible says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord for those who have reconcilled with the Lord Jesus Christ and accepted His sacrifice to unite a man or a woman with Jehovah God for all eternity (3).
Indeed, I believe with everything in me that her name is in that Lamb’s Book of Life and she is now at peace awaiting a heavenly mansion in the sky.
Television preacher Happy Caldwell recently comment that heaven is a real place. When they asked Jesus in the Christian Bible if we would be married in heaven, His reply was that marriage was for down here on earth but the children of God would know their spouses up there in heaven.
Thelma and Paul, Michelle’s parents, were married around 35 years. Mr. Arthur passed away back in the 1980’s. Mrs. Arthur never remarried. It sounds like a wonderful reunion is in order up in heaven. This is one of my big things I call “is.”
It is my belief that love is what it is indeed, both here and in the here after.
That is my story and I am sticking to it. Have a great Christmas season and a Happy New Year. We will have two more issues in 2015 after this and then skip two for Christmas and New Year’s, coming back in digital print on Friday, Jan. 8, 2015.
If you have yet to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, now is the time to do so. Read Romans 8, the whole chapter and John 3:16. Pray your sinners prayer and enjoy your free gift. It is a club it costs you nothing to join, but everything to ignore.
Go ahead, accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and experience the greatest “what is” of all, an eternity with your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life and all of its eternal rewards.
SCRIPTURES
1) JACOB WAITS ON RACHEL – Genesis 29:6-32 King James Version (KJV) 6 And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.
7 And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them. 8 And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep. 9 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep; for she kept them.
10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father. 13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.
14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month. 15 And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be? 16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. 18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. 19 And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. 20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.
21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. 22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.
25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? 26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. 29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.
30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years. 31 And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
2) GOD’S WAYS ARE HIGHER THAN MAN’S WAYS – Isaiah 55:6-12 King James Version (KJV) 6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
3) TO BE ABSENT FROM THE BODY IS TO BE PRESENT WITH THE LORD – 2 Corinthians 5:5-21 King James Version (KJV) 5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. 12 For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. 13 For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.
14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
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.

Count It All Joy,
Celebrate Life
in Christ!
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
A friend of mine sent me a poem explaining the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us undeserving humans, using birds being tortured in a cage for his example.
It would seem a little boy was torturing some birds he captured and a preacher felt sorry for those shabby sparrows in the bird cage. The boy was saying he would torture them awhile and then planned to feed them to his cat.
The preacher offered him $10 for the birds and the boy took it. The minister set those birds free. The parallel to this is what Jesus Christ did for us sinners on planet earth. Even in our lost and undone condition, Jesus saw value in saving us from the flames of hell which we deserved according to the law of sin and death.
Since Jesus thinks we are worth saving, maybe we should count this thing called life as more valuable than many of us do. I write this sermon the day after Muslim extremists killed 129 innocent French civilians and France began heavy air strikes against ISIS the very next day, answering the act of war. You never know what is going to happen in this uncertain world so is it not time to thank God for what you have and celebrate the fact that we are still breathing?
I get tired of hearing myself complain. I get tired of hearing others complain. I get tired of complaints in general. How about you? So let’s think of ways to celebrate the fact that we are the ones in that Lamb’s Book of Life and Jesus came so that we might have life and life more abundantly (1).
I find no evidence in the Bible that the Son of God was, or is, a sour puss. In fact, all indications are he loved drinking a little wine, having a meal with his friends and answering the profound questions about life that they asked Him. That sounds like my college days with my friends to me. It could be that it is us that have put the personality of Jesus Christ into the dulls-ville category unfairly. I like to think the Savior, in His human form some 2,000 years ago, had a belly laugh that just would not quit. He probably uses it when I make some of my “Dumbo the Elephant” moves in life as He watches over this writer in 2015.
The holidays are upon us. Soon it will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas. Modern people eat a big meal of turkey on Thanksgiving and then watch a ball game. In the old days, they sat around the table and told each other what they were thankful for in the previous year.
On Christmas, people used to go to Christmas Eve church and then go home to a house of good food, warm friends, pretty lights and thoughts of how much God must love us to have sent Jesus to save us from our own mistakes. Now, many of us skip the church service, we compete to buy bigger and bigger presents and the credit card companies clean up by charging huge interest rates on our outlandish purchases come January. Still, a person might as well smile about it instead of frown.
David danced (2). The Bible says King David, who was called a man after Jehovah God’s own heart in the Old Testament, danced and made merry before the Lord. In fact, he danced with such zeal one of his wives got embarrassed about the whole thing. But David was dancing before God and so he remained happy and in a celebrative mood despite his wife’s disdain.
Now let’s look at the life of the tent maker Paul, who is quoted in James to have said of his Christian walk, “I count it all joy.” Paul was beaten, stoned, put in prison for his beliefs and would have probably been put to death early on had he not been a Roman citizen. All in all, this writer of much of the New Testament in the Christian Bible had a lot he could have complained about, but again, he told us to “count it all joy (3).”
I think of my own life. I get testy when my advertising agency quota is missed. I get down right mad when the computer slows down and I have work that needs to be done. I need to count both as part of the joy of life. I need to remember that if one door opens, my Savior will open a better one. Perhaps you do as well.
Our assistant pastor at Sycamore Church in Beirne, Arkansas gave the sermon today on how those who seem to gain their life’s energy from creating strife many times end up alone because people really do get tired of hearing about how their lives are hopeless and the sky is getting ready to fall. Those strifers push folks away with their negative, gloom and doom, outlook on life. As the preacher says, if they do not change many spend their old age with a telephone that never rings…
I have been a bit of a dreamer most of my life. Therefore I have had the misfortune of hearing a snoot full of negativism from a rather large collection of strifers over the years.
My mother-in-law, Thelma Arthur, was one such lady in my life. But she was not all about being a strifer. She did have a very hopeful and good side about her, as long as you agreed to reach her priorities in her way. Needless to say, we sparked on and on with our disagreements while we attempted a joint effort to raise three of her grandchildren, but we finally ended up loving one another like family should.
My preacher on Sunday, Brother Dennis that is, was pointing out that this mutual forgiveness and acceptance was usually the exception to the rule, rather than the norm, for those who love to fight, bicker and create strife among family and friends. He may be right, but here is the deal.
Thelma and I agreed to call a truce, even though we still occasionally have a discussion involving strife. You see there is a peace between us – and a love between us – that was brought on by she and I both accepting salvation from Jesus Christ, the ultimate forgiver and promoter of forgiveness. We accepted Jesus because we both wanted Him as our personal Savior from the just rewards from our sins, and we desired for Him to be our best friend and guide to an exceptional life.
This acceptance of Christ in our lives gives Thelma, me and any other true lover of the Savior that element of forgiveness and thus ultimately the secret of joy. I can count all of those arguments joy and be glad my step-kids, which are also her grandchildren, turned out to be three productive and decent citizens in this good old United States of America.
So my subject for today is to be thankful for all that God has given you and to count it all joy. If all goes as planned, you can read elsewhere in this publication some stories of young second graders explaining to you how to cook a turkey. Some of their logic is flawed, some not too bad. But the idea is they will hopefully be part of a Thanksgiving celebration next week and hopefully those who come to the family gatherings will indeed count it all joy.
Here is hoping you have a very thankful and joyful Thanksgiving season, and that if you are a deer hunter, that you have great luck in the woods, share your food with family and friends, and count that sharing as a joyful experience as well!
SCRIPTURES
1) LIFE AND LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY – John 10:7-12King James Version (KJV) 7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
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. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
2) DAVID DANCED – 2 Samuel 6:12-16 King James Version (KJV) 12 And it was told king David, saying, The Lord hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness.
13 And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings. 14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.16 And as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.
3) I COUNT IT ALL JOY – 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.
Editor’s Note: Are you double minded? Do you think you are saved but are not sure? Or are you convinced of your own salvation because you have hope that our Lord Jesus Christ is real, enough faith to believe it more than you doubt it ever since you went to that salvation altar and enough love for your Savior never to say He is anything less than the Son of the Jehovah God who has given to you and others like you and me a path to a mansion in the sky when we die?
You can doubt riches, you can doubt your spouse, you can doubt if you are the man or the woman that you should be and feel very weak to change it, but can you doubt that Jesus Christ, who made it through life with pure, sinless blood truly went to that cross of sacrifice to bridge the love of man and God forever?
Hold onto to Jesus until the end. He promises never to let you go so there is no reason to turn your back on Him and an eternity of joy.
Happy Thanksgiving; especially if you are truly thankful for what Jesus did for us all like I am.
Indeed, count it all joy and praise God for every breath He has ever given you. And praise God that He loved you enough to make a way for you to go home to Him when your carnal body falls down. And as singer Willie Nelson said in a song, “We all fall down.”

Only Jesus accepts
you as you
REALLY are…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
When I was a young person there was a movie called the “Three Faces of Eve.” I don’t recall seeing the production, but many of my friends in psychology told me about it.
At Ball State University, where I graduated college up in Indiana before the stone age, I majored in magazine journalism and minored in psychology. Multiple personalities was one of the subjects I studied and that is when I heard about the Three Faces of Eve movie.
It seems that some of us, according to human research, have many personalities going on in our head and we show the one we want to show to the world whenever it is convenient to do so. Actually, the psychologists were saying that everyone does this, to one degree or another. Some just carry it to extreme and therefore quality to be considered sick, demented, scary or just plain strange.
Naturally I thought I had all of the stuff in psychology that I studied. It is tradition in most universities that psychology students diagnose themselves as insane in at least 10 different ways. But more than likely, once you pass the classes, your defenses come back and you try and convince the world that you are “normal,” or as the old timers used to say, “right as the rain.”
My father, Dr. John W. Nelson, used to tell me that people who told him they were crazy were usually just fine. It was the folks who kept trying to tell him there was nothing wrong with them who ran through the streets naked, jumped off of bridges or tried to blow up trash dumps. In other words, Dr. Nelson seemed to think those who were in denial were the most likely candidates for the booby hatch.
Meandering through life these past 56 years, I would have to agree with my doctor daddy on that one. When I hear someone bragging about their credentials, be that mental stability, academic achievement, work force achievement or just plain IQ test superiority, I have to wonder if their insecurity speeches mean they are actually guilty of whatever it is they are bragging that they are not guilty of being, doing or the like?
But I say all of this to lead up to one opening statement for this sermon, people are strange. You are strange. I am strange. And most of us would be better off if nobody ever finds out exactly how weird we really are. Still yet, there is something inside of us that makes us want to reveal our true selves to somebody and to be accepted by that certain somebody.
I suppose my wife Michelle, after hanging out with me going on 18 years, probably knows me better than most anyone else. My best friend Mike, who entered my life going on 22 years ago, knows the real me pretty well too. And of course my daughter Kelley, now 31, has seen even more of me than anyone else still living on this planet. All three are in my life and have not offered to cut me out of their wills just yet.
But even Kelley Marie does not know everything about me that I can still recall in my more or less still lucid state of mind. My grandfather used to tell me a secret was no longer a secret when ever you told someone else about it. I can see that when we are talking about other human beings. But there is one exception to that rule.
Jesus Christ knows all of our secrets and even says in the Bible that one day they will all be shouted from the roof tops (1). So since Jesus knows me and you, it is only logical to talk about those secrets with your best friend, Jesus, at least in the case of those of us who have accepted the Savior into our lives and accepted His gift of placing our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
And I don’t know about you, but I have some secrets I am not all that proud of. I balance my nerves in very old fashioned ways. I do a lot of things, and think a lot of things, that I am not prepared to testify to in a sermon. Perhaps you do as well.
If I realize a thing is a sin, I work to overcome that thing out of respect for Jesus Christ and His Bible. As the old time Christians used to say when I was a child, if we can lead a man or a woman to accepting Christ as their personal Savior, Jesus Christ will clean them up.
That may happen quickly or slowly. It all depends on what the person wants and understands at the point of salvation. But Jesus Christ is faithful to lead all of His children down a path to spread the joy they received at salvation and to learn the advantages of acquiring behavior approved of in the New Testament of the Christian Bible – in other words how to effectively live under grace.
In short, the baby Christian will learn to understand what our Bible calls sin. Any time there is disobedience to Jehovah God’s formula for life, sin is in the picture and Satan has been the tempter in most case.
Some things are not particularly marked as sins. They may be legal in the eyes of the most pios person, yet they may not be expedient in a Christian witness. These are the secrets, between me and Jesus Christ, that are the hardest to deal with.
By the way, I do not believe the scripture about our secrets being shouted from the roof tops to mean God is going to fink on us for confiding in Him about the stuff He already knows about us anyway. I believe that scripture is trying to let us know that sooner or later, our many faces will all melt away and the real us will come through.
This happens in my life when I get totally pushed to my breaking point. My kids and grand kids know how to do that. Sometimes they do it just for the fun of it. Then my beast blurts out some four letter words or something that I am usually pretty ashamed of, but I do realize that is just me. I work on it. I pray about it, but I think the way I think and that comes out when I get mad.
You may not want to confess such a thing about yourself. It may not even be true. I know people who enjoy my blunt honesty when they push me. I also know people that when I push come up with some of the most creative lies I have ever heard. Then later they tell me they were just kidding. Hmmm. Now I do kid with folk, but if you can not tell when I am joshing you, you have to be not paying a whole lot of attention.
I have even gone so far as to tell a kid he or she better behave or I just might throw them into the local pond! The older ones smile and shake their heads. My 3-year-old still needs a lot of reassuring. But kidding around is not something that I consider one of my secrets. Wholesome fun, in my opinion, is not a sin. I am also not convinced it damages my witness for my Savior.
So what is our point in this sermon? The point is Jesus Christ says in the Bible that He is the mighty counselor and friend to all who accept Him into their lives (2).
Jesus gives us someone to talk to about the real us, and the real issues that bother us, when nobody else can do anything but smile. If you have a problem, as the old gospel song says, “Have a little talk Jesus, tell Him all about your troubles.”
Indeed, that has saved me from having at least 20 nervous breakdowns, saved me from quitting my business at least a dozen times in the past eight years, and given me some solid guidance and direction that kept me keeping on when my own natural reaction would have been to run off to the nearest tavern and drown my sorrows…
Whether your problem is your love life, your friends and family relations, your work or career or health problems, to name a few examples, Jesus will not only listen, He will give you some solid advice on how to change lemons into lemonades – if – if – you listen to that still small voice of God (3). For you see Jehovah God, and the Spirit of His Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, communicate with people in a gentle, but sometimes firm voice. I suppose the most common way they communicate to me is the scriptures.
I will be having some sort of trouble and get the urge to open my Bible to a certain passage. More times than I can count, the result is some scripture tells me just what I need to know at the time to solve my particular woe.
You may be fighting mad and cussing like a storm over something your “bad dog” feels jilted about. But if you bring your problems to Jesus Christ, He will wait until you have had your fit and then He will offer His views on your situation.
If you brought it on yourself, He will let you know that. But there is never anything too big in life that you and Jesus can not solve. Now that may sound like a line to you, but so far in these 56 years of my life on earth it has been true. And sure, I am “right as rain.” Take that how you will, but I still love God.
I talk to God about time management. I talk to God about how my actions in my business and in my personal life effect other people. I talk to God about what charities I should give to and which ones I should pass on. I talk to God about when I should take an occasional day off. When I get rude with someone, which is not nearly as often as when I was young thank goodness, I ask God to forgive me and then I go try and make it right with the other person.
I suppose the best Biblical examples, that come to my mind, of folks spending excessive time communicating with God, and then and helping the rest of us by doing so would have to be Moses in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible and John the Beloved in the New Testament.
Moses brought us the 10 commandments and John brought us the book of Revelations. Studying both have definitely improved my understanding of what my Lord wants in regard to my personal behavior. Oh, if I only had the strength to always do what I have learned.
I have heard the legalistic preachers talking about how the 10 commandments were not 10 suggestions and that those who do not live by them will go to hell.
I do not know what they do with the scripture that says for the Christian anything is lawful, but some things are not expedient to the Christian walk. In other words, sure, we all know we should be strong enough to keep all 10 commandments at all times, but since we are not that strong it sure is a good thing God sent Jesus! Jesus Christ was the only man to ever breath that made it through a lifetime without sinning. That is what gives His blood the unique power to save you and me from an eternity in hell, paying for our sins committed while in these earthly bodies.
Again, as I have said many times before, don’t let a legalistic, judgmental “man or woman of God” try and talk you out of your salvation experience. Take it to Jesus if you want to overcome sin, or you simply want to learn how to stop being a grouch, in your life. He has got this. He wants to be your best friend and your guiding light and He will do it without making you feel like one slip up means you are on your way to a devil’s hell.
Thank you Jesus for that! And don’t let the spirit of the devil convince you that you have bought the farm when it comes to your salvation because this time God could never forgive you… Jesus Christ has promised to stick with his children, even when they make their bed in hell.
I am living proof that our Lord keeps that promise. As I have also admitted in other sermons, if I have not committed every sin I have ever heard of at least once, it was not for lack of trying!
As for John the Beloved and His book of Revelations, it tells me and you what to expect as a result of our socity committing mass disobedience resulting from a mass departure from Christianity and salvation itself. You see Christians go only so far in sin, then the Spirit of Jesus Christ convicts us in our conscious and we try and do a better job of following Biblical rules, and the rules of common decency, in the future.
But a “rank” sinner, that is someone who has not accepted Christ, is a good person when it is convenient sometimes, but rarely sorry when they cheat, lie, curse or even kill because that was the easiest way to get out of some undesired result at the time. In short, they buy United States President Barack Obama’s alleged statement that “lying is the new truth.”
And sin, as my best friend Jesus tells me, gets worse and worse if it is unchecked. The Word of God says the wicked will only succeed in their folly for a season. The Christian may have a hard life for a time but as he or she learns to obey the prescription for living that our Christian Bible lays out, it gets easier to cope. And God can bless a thankful heart. The Word says be thankful in all things.
I am thankful that Jesus Christ and I have become better friends over the years. His Word says if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. The legalists seem to try and stress that they can do this in perfection the rest of their “saintly” lives in every instance.
The Word of God also says pride comes before a fall. And we all fall from time to time, but we don’t have to condemn the other man for his failures. If he or she is a Christian, Jesus will help that person repent and do better next time. There are so many times in this life that people step into God’s shoes and seem to want to imply they know what is best for me or you. And yet, we know us. They do not.
Thus the old Christian advice, “I would rather not state my opinion. Pray about it. That one is between you and your God.”
And indeed, many things are. If you are saved, yes, this sermon will probably make perfect sense to you . You might even increase your praying and alone time with God as a result.
And that never hurts. God desires your time and friendship. Giving time to communicating with Jehovah God is one of the most rewarding things I have ever had the privilege of doing. But if you are not saved, this sermon, like Jesus dying on the cross to save us from the just consequences of our sins, will seem impossible and foolish to you.
So, read Romans 8, the whole chapter. Read John 3:16 and think it over. Would you not rather face eternity with the best friend you ever had by your side than facing it with a bunch of claims and excuses that even Satan, with all his manipulation skills, could not convince you amount to a hill of beans? Yep, it is up to you. But God bless you for reading this.
Now I have thought a of few more secrets to discuss with the Lord and a few more questions to ask Him to show me answers to. So me, I am on my way. I am headed to my office to “have a little talk with Jesus, and tell him all about my troubles.”
Have a great week. And by the way, I read John the Beloved’s Revelations. In the end, we Christians win the argument and win an eternity worth having!
Keep the faith that your name will never be blotted out from the Lamb’s Book of Life by anyone but you and that someday, and we don’t know when, Jesus will wash us white as snow in our own eyes and relieve us from feeling so guilty about sins that are under the blood and forgotten by Jehovah God.
Take the hand of Jesus Christ and never let go. As the Bible says, there is only one way to the Father and that is by way of Jesus Christ. Believing this costs you nothing, but tossing it aside as rubbish will cost you everything in the end…
SCRIPTURES
1) OUR SECRETS WILL BE SHOUTED FROM THE ROOF TOPS – Luke 12:2-7 King James Version (KJV) 2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.
4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
2) JESUS IS YOUR FRIEND AND COUNSELOR – Isaiah 9:3-8 King James Version (KJV)
3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.
5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. 6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. 8 The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.
3) THE STILL SMALL VOICE OF GOD – 1 Kings 19:11-16 King James Version (KJV)
11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks 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 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
15 And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.
Editor’s Note: So does God answer us back? Remember, when we get saved our sins are forgiven, past, present and future, as long as we never let go of the hand of Jesus Christ – that is as long as we never forsake Him. If Jehovah God spoke to one man, and God is no respector of persons, is it insane to believe He can speak to us? Again, “Have a little talk with Jesus and tell Him all about your troubles.”

The silent guest
in our conversations
is Jesus Christ
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Something happens when we get saved that it may take years to realize. We accumulate another Spirit inside of us, that is the living Spirit of the only Begotten Son of the Living God – Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
That Jesus Spirit is a gentleman and waits for your prayers to come. And they will come as you try and fail to put your life together on your own. For example, when you search for love in all of the wrong places, that Spirit will gently say to you; no, he or she is not here. You can ignore it, but it will either say that or if you are talking to the partner the Lord has for you, it may say this is the one.
In our less than perfect human conditions, even a positive response from our silent partner is hard to believe sometimes. It is easier to believe His voice is just a passing thought. But then a follower of Christ finally realizes that Jesus has a voice, a still small voice, that all of His sheep can hear.
A preacher mentioned this on VTN (Victory Television Network, Little Rock, Arkansas) over the weekend. Jesus Christ said, “My sheep hear and know my voice (1).” Many people give up on finding love in their lives. Other more fortunate souls find it in the human form with a spouse or a friend, but still have a hard time believing for the super natural, eternal type of love.
The Christian, when you search your soul, knows that real love is forever, unconditional and both that way in your true love’s eyes and in the eyes of your friends. And more importantly in the long run, there is a top of the charts love that develops between you and Jesus Christ – sparkling now and forever. The song “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” comes to mind.
Jesus is sometimes the only friend who understands just what you are facing. There are many times when if it were not for Jesus, I would feel so totally alone on this planet it would be like living on Mars. But in recent years, I have let Jesus come in and wash my troubles away on a more regular basis than I used to do.
I recently felt let down in a business deal. I told the Lord just what I thought of being let down and it was not very pleasant. Unfortunately, I also told the business person what I felt. This is unusual for the modern-day me. Normally, I just tell my Lord and let it go. Oh, my wife may hear my problems, but usually that is as far as I take it. In business, it seems better to take the disappointments in stride and stay away from the blame game.
And in looking back, all the other person really did was refuse to give me the attention I needed in crisis. That is really no big deal. It is the way of modern folk. When I was young, the name of the game in business was a personal touch. Those days, unfortunately in my mind, are gone forever. I still try and do what I can for my customers.
I realize I have no right to expect this personal attention from the age of texters and uniformly non-communication experts. Anonymousness is the rule of the age in 2015. And unlike a few years back, loyalty in today’s world is a rare commodity. As I once asked a friend of mine, I wonder how folks who think so impersonal and so unfriendly ever mate up? This musing was before my children told me what “hook up” means. It is premarital sex without the talking or dating involved that was common to us sinners 40 years back. This does not sound very romantic to this old guy.
Jesus Christ has been there as I vented all this to you. His silent, and loving self, was even there when I defined modern day adultery and fornication habits just now. And Jesus probably wishes I would have just told Him and let Him hold me in the privacy of my office or home instead of venting my personal concerns and disappointments to the world. Alas, as my family used to say, sometimes we just have to get things off of our chest.
When I told Jesus all about how I felt jilted in a business deal, Jesus Christ took it in stride, waited until I calmed down and then we talked it over. I cussed and fussed a little. My fit was nothing compared to the way I used to do when I felt wronged in my younger days, but I still felt like I had to try and make it right. I tried, although another mark of modern business is I seem to be one of the few who has ever heard of the word forgiveness…
I feel much better now. I used to have human friends that served me, and me them, in this function of venting and healing. Not so much any more. It would seem the silent person in all of my conversations may very well be the only one there most of the time and that is OK. I work alone a lot and do not have that strong a social network anymore. This is probably my fault.
Some of what I feel is cultural. I am a Midwestern farm kid and we spoke our minds up in Indiana. When somebody wronged us, they probably would get an ear full. When I got in the South, back in 1982, I learned that most folks down here do not agree with such confrontation. They simply want to get along and smile when things go wrong. I can buy that after I vent, but unfortunately for me and my Christian walk, I have yet to overcome my occasional temper flair up. When someone steps on my toes, I cry out before I get a harness on that bad dog lurking inside of me.
My example got less troublesome this morning. I actually ran into a better business deal than the one I lost. As the old timers used to say, God is good all of the time! And if something you think is important to your life flies away, God has something better in mind if you will just listen to His guidance and direction.
But let’s look at the Bible on the silent partner in conversations. Paul once wrote, in Corinthians, the things I would have myself to do, I can not do, and the things I would not want to do, those things are the very things I do (2). This is true in me as well. And believe me, it means a lot of praying for overcoming from time to time when I feel let down like a 100-pound bag of rabbit feed that has been thrown from a barn loft and busted on the ground.
Really and truly, other folks’s actions, or our perception of them, do stir most of us from time to time. I heard once that parents in this part of the country demand obedience from children with the hard line philosophy of “because I told you saw.” I am again, not from here. Up in Indiana, my grandfather and grandmother wanted my respect and I gave it to them most of the time. My obedience, at least in the vast majority of cases, happened because I knew they loved me and were a lot wiser than me. But if they were about to do something completely stupid, paddle me for something I did not do for example, they wanted me to let them know about it before the act was done. And if I asked to speak in my defense, they heard me out.
I feel the same. My grand daughter Rayne, age 4, spilled a bunch of cereal and milk by accident during a recent weekend at my house, and it appeared she had done it on purpose just to be mean. Before I spanked her, she asked me if she could explain. I listened. My wife backed my grand daughter’s assertion that the entire thing was an accident and she got out of the spanking. I also apologized to Rayne. My point, a true person of love is going to hear someone else out, and they are going to put up with a bit of temper rising too. This line of thought all boils down to how you define respect. I use truth as my defense.
And I do not truck with blind obedience. I even ask God to explain Himself to me from time to time and remarkably He does just that. I do not ever recall a time when the All Mighty laid it in my spirit to go do something “because I told you to.” That answer, to me is cheap, unfeeling and unfair. We all deserve more respect than that, child or adult. But enough of my personal opinions.
Jesus Christ, the man and Spirit of unconditional love, is there in all of our conversations. His conscious, that He puts in our spirits upon salvation, soon rises to the top when we blow our tempers or speak out of turn. He may not say anything, but his opinion clearly makes itself known to our spirits if we are believers. Then we feel sheepish and many times back off from our harsh position of discussion. But frankly, most of us stick to our principles and go on with life. When we learn that someone else’s definition of integrity is opposite of ours, we pray for them – and we generally avoid them if we can. It is human nature.
Sometimes, however, we must admit we are wrong. This last person that I doubted is not so bad. She just has different priorities than me. But she seems to want to meet me in the middle, so I will still do business with her. Sometimes, we mistaken different priorities for an uncaring soul. Satan is good about trying to help us throw our friends away. Everyone deserves another chance in life. How do I know this? I heard that silent listener tell me that just the other day.
If you don’t know Jesus, this sermon probably will not make much sense. But once you realize you can not pay for your own sins and mistakes, and that you need Jesus Christ and his ultimate pure blood sacrifice to pay for those sins for you and to place your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life, you will begin to see the sense in a sermon like this. Jesus works on His children daily. Some of us grow slowly. Others seem to change into “Christian acting Christians” nearly over night after getting saved.
If you are a slow learner in this regard (like I have been), do not be afraid. Our Father Jehovah God has much patience with His children and He would have never sent His Son Jesus to the cross to reconcile our sins if He did not want us to spend eternity in a mansion in heaven He has prepared just for us.
So accept salvation as the free gift it was intended to be. You are human. You will NEVER earn it. Read Romans 8, and it will explain to you in detail how to accept the atonement for sin that Jehovah God has offered you. But realize, once you have asked for salvation with a sincere heart, Jesus will be there to lead you to the life you were designed to live. He says in one scripture, “Take my yoke, for it is easy (3).”
And obeying Him really is easy once you get used to the idea that when you do obey Him you always come out smelling like a rose, and when you don’t obey Jesus Christ, you usually end up with mud in your eye and egg on your face. The mud and the egg gets old. So if you find yourself in a conversation with temptation (the tool of the devil), remember to turn the situation over to that Spirit of Jesus living on the inside of you (if you have accepted salvation) and that Spirit will always turn your lemons into lemonade. It may hurt some while He does the squeezing, but trust me. it is worth every ounce of pain you will ever experience on the Potter’s Wheel of overcoming if you can look in the mirror and say to yourself, “See there, I knew you could do the right thing and put others first, if you would just listen to the Master’s still small voice as a habit instead of a fluke.”
SCRIPTURES
1) MY SHEEP HEAR AND KNOW MY VOICE – John 10:25-30 King James Version (KJV) 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.
26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.
2) THE THINGS I WOULD DO, I DO NOT AND THE THINGS I DON’T WANT TO DO, I DO – Romans 7:10-24 King James Version (KJV) 10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
3) TAKE MY YOKE, IT IS EASY – Matthew 11:26-30 King 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Be silent, Let God Be God…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I am one of those people who asks God if that is what He really means when he tells me to do something. For example, I asked Him if I heard Him right when He first told me to preach a sermon, in print, in the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News, about two years back.
In all honesty, God told me to start writing sermons a few years before then, but I refused to let God be God. I refused to simply be silent and accept a divine assignment that I knew in my heart of hearts was mine. Finally, faced with nearly losing my business, I relented.
I believe I have written more than 100 sermons to date. If I had not been so stubborn, there might have been twice that many already in print. But I am not alone. I am in very good company. Many Christians, when they know God has given them a task, come up with excuses, simply put something off or pretend God must have been talking to someone else…
Once all of that rationalizing is over, a person who will do the job generally becomes silent, listens to God repeat the orders and then lets Jehovah God be Jehovah God and guide him or her through the task. We, as humans, Christians or not, usually learn we are not smarter than God and our excuses not to do something God wants eventually seem lame…
So my example was writing sermons. It is my belief that I will stand behind a pulpit and deliver sermons some day. Today is not that day. I honestly do not believe God wants me to do the traditional preaching thing just yet, but I do believe it is somewhere in my future. Frankly, I am looking forward to it. Now that I have gotten used to writing sermons, delivering one in person does not sound hard at all.
But I do not intend to give God or Jesus Christ the bum’s rush. I don’t want to get ahead of them. I just want to learn to be silent in the presence of the All Mighty and let Jehovah God be my captain, that is let God be God and let His wisdom lead me on.
So hopefully, through my sermon writing reluctance example, you have gotten the jest of my point for this week’s sermon. In short, sometimes, especially if you are a Christian, God lays it on your heart to do something and you don’t take any action. Instead, you let your tongue do some excuse flapping. That is called being human, but it really does not get you anywhere but to the next stage of things. The next stage after the flim-flam excuses is the decision stage.
A) Is it really a God thing that I am considering doing ? B) Did God honestly ask me to do this? And C) Am I going to stay silent of excuses and begin to act on what I have been instructed to do, or am I going to continue flapping my jaws and run the other direction like a scalded dog?
THE SCALDED DOG
REACTION
Before you laugh too loudly about this reaction, first of all you need to admit that sometime in your life, maybe even more than once, you have looked at responsibility, shrieked in objection and ran like a dog scalded with hot water! In fact, especially for a baby Christian, this may be the most common reaction of all. But then we grow a little. Then we grow a little more.
To use a Biblical example, let’s look at the story of Jonah. Jonah was told to go preach to the people of Nineveh so that they would hit their knees, repent and make their lives right with Jehovah God, their Creator. Jonah flat refused to do so (1). Instead, he got on a ship sailing for Tarshish. Most of us know the rest of the story.
The winds blew high and the ship staff decided this Jonah was cursed so they threw him overboard. A whale just happened to be present and it swallowed old Jonah whole. Once inside the whale, Jonah started reconsidering his decision to buck God.
It took him three days but he told Jehovah God if He would release him from the beast, he, Jonah, would go preach in Nineveh. The whale threw Jonah up on dry land and before you knew it the preacher was preaching where he was supposed to be. This speaks to another point in this sermon. The sooner we learn to obey what God is telling us, go silent from giving our excuses, and commence doing what we are told, the easier life is likely to be.
Sooner or later, we have to either flat tell God no, or we have to be silent, let God be God, and do all we know to do to obey Him and begin doing whatever He has asked of us.
I will offer one more personal example. I am a business man. Sure, I am a writer, but I also sell advertising in this magazine to help clients and to put food on my table.
I need to advance my magazine from 12 to 16 pages a week in order to make my bills and a small profit. For nearly a decade, I have known that I should do more telemarketing, in order to double my lead contacts, but I kept thinking I would hire a sales person. Or, perhaps a miracle would happen and my client base on the road would somehow jump up to meet the challenge.
In short, a good Christian friend showed me what to do several years back, but I ignored what he said. I did things my way and my way only went so far. You can only hit so many leads in person in a day, no matter where your territory happens to be.
I love my current territory – that is predominately Gurdon and Malvern. But there are dozens of Malvern businesses, and several more in Arkadelphia, that I have never contacted and probably never will in person unless I get wise and telephone them first.
I have plans to start doing so. I have had those plans before. But I have never wanted to do it before. Always before, I would set it up, look at my work and simply walk away. I did not want to do it so therefore I did not do it… This is very human and understandable, but it is not a God thing.
The God thing is to do the hard thing if you honestly believe the hard thing to be God’s will for your life at that point in time.
Let’s look at another example out of the Bible. The Bible is full of the impossible becoming possible when people follow God’s instructions. When Jesus Christ fed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two small fish that somehow miraculously multiplied before the eyes of His disciples and the crowd, that was a miracle set in motion by the obedience (and kind heart) of a little boy (2). You see, one young man had brought his lunch to the revival gathering and when Jesus saw this He asked his disciples to go get the lunch and bring it to Him.
The boy could have refused, but he gave the Savior what He asked for instead. Because the young fellow obeyed a divine order, 5,000 men, plus women and children, all got fed that day. If the boy had refused, I bet God would have gotten His way using some other means – either by pressuring the boy or simply creating the food from thin air. But plan B was unnecessary since the boy wanted to help others.
How many times do you and I pretend we have not heard God and just gone along our merry way like nothing was dropped in our spirit to do?
In my case, more times than I care to remember. I was raised to make my own decisions. This is good except when it is a God plan in front of me that was not necessarily what I would have decided to do.
I am sure if I had listened to the Lord’s instructions, and silently let God be God in my life more often, I would be more effective in the delivering of salvation messages and more than likely I would have been a servant of Jesus Christ in many more respects than I have been these past 56 years. I plan to do better.
Sometimes, things just do not seem possible and the devil convinces us that being stubborn and sitting back on our haunches is the way to go. We set out for Tarshish because the voyage to Nineveh looks like a disaster in the making to us and then we end up in a whale of our own making.
As a personal example, if I would have listened to God about increasing the number of sales leads contacted per day instead of stubbornly choosing my easy going method of sales, I would probably not be faced with clearing half of the debt that I now have. I am a slow learner when it comes to obeying anything other than my own desires. But if you hit me in the head long enough, I will change paths. How about you? Have you been slow to take to what Jehovah God has told you to do?
If so, pray right along with me, “Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread. 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 kingdom, and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
That is a Methodist Church version of the Lord’s Prayer (3). It has pretty much the same meaning as the one I will present in the scripture section from the King James Bible. I bring it up here to point out that it says “thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Who are we to think our own will is superior to our Creator’s will? Yet God gives us the freedom to choose and many of us have to learn this the hard way.
I find in life there are too many times I have said, “Well God, I can get that done. Let me do it this way over here.” Sarah said the same thing about having a baby. She allowed her husband Abraham to sire a child with their hand maiden and the entire Islamic population was the result. If she had just waited on a child in her own body, even though she thought that was impossible, oh how different our world would be today.
So be silent and let God be God. If you are yet to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and yet to have your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life for eternal peace and salvation, your silence when it comes to excuses is ultimately important. Sermons about steps in the Christian walk, like this one, are important to those of us who want to accomplish more for the good of the Kingdom of God, but the ultimate thing that is important for all of us is to accept God’s free gift of salvation through the pure blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
If you do that, the rest of this stuff can, and will, be all worked out between you and the Spirit of Jesus Christ, which will come to live on the inside of you. Then, when Jehovah God tells you to help that fellow who needs a leg up, you will respond in a positive way. You will discover that the only real way to thank Jesus for what He has done for you is to pass His love on to the next guy – by obeying the voice of God inside of you and serving others when the opportunity presents itself.
For us thinking folks, who just know we have all the answers as to how to get something done, this may require some biting of that old tongue of ours and simply obeying what we know in our heart of hearts is the right thing to do…
SCRIPTURES
1) JONAH REFUSES TO GO TO NINEVEH – Jonah 1:1-12 King James Version (KJV) 1 Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. 4 But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.
6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. 7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? 9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. 10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.
11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. 12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
2) JESUS FEEDS 5,000 – John 6:1-15 King James Version (KJV) 6 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. 2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. 5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him,
9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. 15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
3) THE LORD’S PRAYER – Matthew 6:9-13King James Version (KJV) 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.
Editor’s Note: Jesus, you see, through the Lord’s prayer, instructs us to ask God for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. There in lies wisdom. Our own wills deceive us, but God’s will is always the choice of love… Because, as the Bible notes, Jehovah God is truly and completely love with compassion proven on the cross “as far as the east is from the west.”

Trusting the path
God has shown you
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Many people believe Jehovah God has pointed the way to a life the All Mighty would be the most pleased with if we took it to heart to lead said life. But the question is, what happens if the path God reveals looks like something we might just be willing to be swallowed by a whale to avoid?
I had a good friend, who has gone to be with her Jesus now, who told me God called her to preach behind a pulpit, but cultural traditions stopped her because of her gender. Her branch of Christianity, and her mother in particular, believed women were not to be allowed to preach. She knew what God had told her to do, but she did not have the heart to break her mother’s heart. She loved Jesus Christ and accepted his gift of salvation at an early age. She also preached through her music and her poetry. But she refused to stand and preach behind a pulpit. She lost her ability to stand at all… Is there a correlation there? Perhaps.
Some say there are no consequences to doing our own will, as long as we throw in the Great Commission and serving others as we have time. They make a distinction between the perfect will of God and the permissive will of God. Most Christians fall into the latter. We, after all, have our lives to live right?
But there in lies the danger of discovering God’s perfect will for our lives. If you don’t know it, you are not responsible for doing it. If you do seek it, find it and know it in your heart of hearts, then the Biblical truth of “to he who much is given, much is required (1)” kicks in. Don’t get me wrong. I personally do not know God’s perfect will in my life. And I am an over comer, which means there is much that I do know to be wrong in my life that I must put, one thing at a time, on the Potter’s Wheel so God can do his magic and replace my actions that are not expedient to being a Christian with actions that are expedient to the cause of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Having inhaled deeply of this world and its pleasures, this is no small matter for someone like me. Yet I seek God’s perfect will in my life because I love Jehovah God and that is my story. That story may very well mean when I find said perfect will I may not have the strength to do it. If not, I too may lose the use of my legs or some other result of disobeying my God. Then again, I may find that perfect will, put love into force, and live it. I am counting on the latter. Time will tell if I am right or wrong.
So what about you? Many are called but few are chosen (2) so our Christian Bible tells us. The first calling, of course, is to accept the sacrifice and gift of our Lord Jesus Christ to give yourself an entry in the Lamb’s Book of Life and bypass the tortures of eternal fire and damnation when you die. Although none of us are worthy to be in the presence of the King, that is Jehovah God, once we are covered in the sacrificial blood of Jesus, we are fit to go to our wedding up in heaven. As the old time preachers used to say, “Hell is hot, but we have heaven to gain through Jesus, the perfect sacrificial lamb.” But suppose you get saved and you do get to know this Jesus Christ, His personality and His ways.
Suppose, as the years go by, you realize there is more you could be doing to help others find the Lord and escape the clutches of the devil? But then suppose you look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Now there is a guy (or girl) that has not conquered the leading of his or her own flesh.”
This is where trusting our God Jehovah kicks in. If we really do trust Him, we will seek the path He has in mind for us and trudge on, changed so it were, into the true strength of the new man. But most of us realize this major change will not happen without a miracle from God. Take heart, Jehovah God is in the miracle business.
In my case, I would wake up with no desire for tobacco. For while smoking may very well be lawful for the Christian, it is certainly not a good impression maker and I realize it is not expedient to my quest to serve Jesus Christ as a preacher of the Great Commission. I can sit here safely in my journalism office, smoking a cigar, and writing a sermon. But I realize I could not continue that habit if and when I were to ever be called out by Jehovah God to preach behind a pulpit.
In the non-Christian world, anything that remotely looks like the world’s attire, such as smoking, might turn away a soul from coming down to an altar. And that would certainly not fall under the heading of God’s perfect will. Oh, I have other habits in this life of mine that I could go into here, but suffice to say, I know seeking God’s perfect will in my life will come with the price of giving up anything anti-social, such as smoking or over eating, before I could be in that perfect will.
Gluttony is even named as having your belly as your god in the Bible (3), while smoking is not even mentioned. You get my drift. Whether the Bible condemns a thing or not, if the unsaved sees an action as evidence that Christ does not dwell in you, you are not presenting your perfect (best) you to those whom you might could influence to find the Savior.
This perfect will thing may very well be hard to swallow for us Christians who came into this salvation thing with every intention of loving Jesus, but without the confidence in our own wills to overcome things we simply like to do. If we are to attempt to be in His perfect will, we will have to grab the Spirit inside of us and not let go until that Spirit of Jesus stands in control of our human will – all of it. This will not mean we lose ourselves, but rather we gain the more efficient version of our self that God can use to glorify His kingdom with our brightest light shining.
But before you and I give up on ourselves being acceptable examples of Christians to the unsaved, consider the song “Just as I am.” That is what Jesus promises us.
He will take us just as we are. So if you seek your perfect path, and you know in your heart of hearts you have found it, before you simply shelve it in your mind and “do what you can,” think again.
If you trust Jehovah God to know what is best for you, and you accept His version of your future, an undecided soul or souls just might come to salvation who would otherwise laugh inside at your attempts to preach the Gospel to him or her.
In other words, to preach the ways of a perfect man, that is Jesus Christ, we must ask ourselves would Jesus do in private what we do?
If the answer is no, that is where trust comes in. You can not break the chains of bad habits in your own strength. Or at least I can not. But prayer changes things.
By opening the door for Jesus to change you into an acceptable messenger of the Gospel in the eyes of Jehovah God, you have to have faith that He will break your non-expedient habits – in His time of course, not your own.
God, it has been my experience, will not be rushed or bullied. But when He says it is time you took on His whole Armor and begin to do His perfect will, then it is your turn to decide, will I believe Him and get on with it, or will I simply “do my best with what I know to do” and forget His instructions to become most expedient so He can choose me to preach behind a pulpit, enter the mission field or simply live by faith and refuse to go back to anything that might hinder the possibility of someone accepting salvation in a world that loves excuses?
As I have said many times in these sermons, true Christianity is about serving the needs of others and living to give instead of living to get. The choice is up to you and me. It is our souls that must stand before our Lord in the end and explain to Him why so and so never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ because parts of our flesh simply had to continue being satisfied…
Or we can simply turn, using His strength, to a life where others are first and our old selves are the ones on that shelf – not the perfect will of God for our lives…
The fact that Jehovah God has revealed to my spirit that there is a perfect will for my life, as far as what He has planned, petrifies me. It does so because I somehow believe I will miss my rag-tag self if I embrace the will of Jehovah God. But it scares me even more to reject God’s perfect will, when I finally know what it is for me…
SCRIPTURES
1) TO HIM WHO MUCH IS GIVEN, MUCH IS REQUIRED – Luke 12:46-49 King James Version (KJV) 46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
2) MANY ARE CALLED BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN – Matthew 22:10-14 King James Version (KJV) 10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
3) GLUTTONY, THE RESULTS OF OVER EATING – Proverbs 23:21 [Full Chapter] For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. Deuteronomy 21:20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
Matthew 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
Philippians 3:17-21 King James Version (KJV) 17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Asking God what His
entire plan is for
your life could be
an eye opener!
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I have been a Christian for more than 40 years, but I did not really get it until recently that the Savior just might have an entirely different plan for my life than the one He has been blessing with moderate success.
In the business world, they call it seeing the big picture. I am a print media writer. My plan was to find a way to put my work on the Internet web with a circulation large enough to sell advertising and keep going in what I love to do. In short, writers write….
That plan has been moderately successful financially and extremely successful altruistically. The only rub is I dreamed of having someone to share it with that shared my love for writing and did not mind the advertising agency business – plus they would need to be at least moderately talented in marketing the ads.
That person, so far, has never really showed up. I have learned to reluctantly accept that fact and just keep going as a one man show for as long as the good Lord will allow. When I went digital in 2013, I agreed to write a sermon a week – not as a some sort of order from God, but because I realized that sharing my Christian thoughts might hit home with someone in that Internet highway audience and end up prompting at least one more soul to ask and receive salvation from Jesus Christ so that person’s name would appear in the Lamb’s Book of Life instead of the devil’s book of death and torture.
But unfortunately, in my own imagination I do not seem to be able to see much beyond this magazine of my own creation. The Tailgate News has just a little bit of sharing of the gospel included – mostly to serve God in a small way and sooth my own conscious. Dreamers, like myself, have asked for years, “What is it all about, this life of mine?”
Within our own human condition, we dreamers decide life is about being close to the opposite sex, finding a career that satisfies our creative needs while providing us with a living so we can eat, or some such conclusion.
That stuff makes us happy for awhile – or at least it has me. The other day, for some strange reason, I concluded that I am missing the boat in regard to knowing the real personality of Jesus Christ, all He stood for as an earth-bound man and all He stands for as a celestial being in eternity. It is my belief that there is more to this life than I have discovered thus far and that the Spirit of the human side of Jehovah God, Jesus Christ, can tell me what that more is…
But within myself, it is apparently impossible to make it from point A to point B and find out God’s entire plan for my life. Oh, it may not be the same plan as it could have been before my sins possibly eliminated some really grand possibilities, but I would be willing to bet it involves more love, more money and more career satisfaction than I ever thought possible.
Let’s look at the Christian Bible to find other examples of those who have turned their lives over to what Jesus had in mind for them and walked away from their own perceptions of what was their thing. I will pick on Peter again. He was a fisherman. He even went back to it after the crucifixion of His master, Jesus Christ. But Jesus provided the miracle load of fish and said, “Follow me. I will make you fishers of men (1).”
Peter did that. The Bible does not record any more instances where Peter went fishing after the Lord gave him that multitude of fish as a display of God’s way being so superior to man’s way it was not even funny. Peter took the words of Jesus Christ seriously. So should we as modern day followers. Sometimes we all think pleasing Jesus is a drag, but in reality it is a path to greater accomplishments and a much more rewarding life here on earth than we could possibly anticipate.
Peter took off on a wild ride of preaching the gospel and went fishing for souls. The Word does not clearly say he deserted his wife or mother-in-law. Who knows, he may have had kids too. The principal of it only being right for a Christian to serve others would tell us Peter probably took his family with him on his preaching trips, or at least made provisions for them and journeyed home regularly to make sure his family love stayed strong, but we may never know the truth of that matter.
In most cases, God does not reveal everything about our lives to us all at once. At least He never has to me. We grow a little and then He gives us another piece of the puzzle. He told me in my spirit I would deliver sermons for years, even decades, and then He gave me this weekly space. Jehovah God, in a dream, vision or what have you, has also shown me a church where I am to preach to a few dozen people in a secluded area of society. I do not see this as a bad thing. Most of the time I have the faith that if God wants me to preach to a congregation sometime in my life on this planet that I will rise to the challenge when the time comes.
Other times, the devil convinces me for a little while that I could never do anything like that. But it all amounts to hope, faith and love and the fruits there of. It is impossible to serve Jehovah God if you listen to the devil’s put downs and take them to heart. But if you are open to unexpected change, the Lord is faithful to show you a bit more of His righteousness (right ways) and to guide and direct you as to what to do with that information.
Consider Moses in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. God told Moses, a murderer, that he would lead the Israelites out of slavery to the Egyptians and through the desert to the Promised Land. I am pretty sure Moses probably thought this information might be used by a court of law to count him crazy as a bed bug. But God’s reality caught up with Moses and he did lead God’s people past a parted Red Sea (2) and through the desert toward the Promised Land.
Complaining and doubt put those people out there in that desert for 40 years, wandering around complaining about God’s method to acquire their freedom through the awesome power of Jehovah God. They complained about the manna (bread) from the sky to eat and got so negative that they could not seem to get an understanding of the good life God wanted for His children.
Then there is the New Testament book of Revelations. John wrote down what God showed him about the future while being exiled to the Island of Patinas. John probably figured his preaching days were over and his purpose to serve Jesus Christ was gone. He most likely thought this exile was better than being crucified and probably resolved to make the best of being alone. But somehow God convinced John, the disciple Jesus “loved,” to write about a future that seemed impossible but yet in modern society seems like a pretty accurate news channel report.
John wrote a book about the earth being destroyed by fire, earthquakes, and much more. It is about how this world will end and the peace those with their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life will have once they leave their earthly bodies (3). It is both a scary thing and a beautiful thing, the book he wrote that is. It is the ultimate witness of what Jehovah God thinks of men who reject the sacrifice His son Jesus Christ made at the cross, that is what those who choose a life of arrogance, self-centeredness and uncontrolled sin can expect when God All Mighty decides those that can be saved have accepted salvation.
I have had visions of the end-times of my personal life. Perhaps you have also had musings of the end. With me, I am living in a cabin in the woods, specifically in the Arkansas Ozarks, but I have some sort of Internet connection in my solitude to continue to write sermons until my days run out. Time, once again, will reveal to me if this is a God thing or a John thing that I tell you about.
In the case of John in the Bible, his visions were a God thing. Or at least that is the opinion, apparently, of those who put the Book together and chose to include the Book of “revealing,” that is Revelations, at the conclusion of the New Testament.
Those of us living in the United States today are exposed to a lot of people who are trying to say they know more than God. They want to rule us, take away our guns and stop us from owning property or seeking a comfortable life of making our own decisions about our own lives. The majority elected a socialist president twice, Barack Obama, and so this train of thought just might still be the predominate one in American society today. I hope not, but a person has to face the possibility that those who love a freedom of choice life, such as myself, are a dying breed.
I can not think of a single policy that our socialist/would-be dictator president has presented these past six years that I like. Most of those claiming to be Christians seem to agree with me. but apparently many are just giving lip service to that agreement, as the votes do not reflect impeachment or any particular relief in sight from the make-up-the-rules-as-you-go path my country seems to be on.
Oh, we have Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and a few others that would make good economic and foreign policy presidents, in my opinion, but Obama stating that lying is the new truth just might once again be the dominate force in the voting booth – thus electing Hillary Clinton despite the disruption in our free society that her colleague Mr. Obama has caused with his executive, non-U.S. Constitutional, orders.
Before I get away completely from current United States politics, let me make a prediction. I believe another eight years of a socialist oriented president, like I think Hillary Clinton would be, just might accomplish what Obama said he wanted, “to turn the United States away from its competitive productivity and reduce it to a third world economy to be dictated to by those who know better what people need.”
That is an indirect Obama quote that the president said was his father’s philosophy, but I defy any of you to prove Mr. Obama’s actions, such as signing a treaty with Iran, do not prove that his sympathies are with communism, not capitalism. I have no doubts our current president has a state of the U.S. government in vision and in mind that involves a new communist oriented constitution and Islamic based lifestyle; in short a hell on earth for those of us who still believe that the American free enterprise system is superior and makes exceptionally productive people instead of pawns like the public is in Russia.
Time, once again, will tell, if his executive orders and incomplete thoughts of allegedly helping us will be rejected in the future or built upon. I will be preaching, at least in this weekly sermon, Christ and Christ crucified as a ticket to having your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life whether my country becomes a communist nation (the next step after so much socialism historically) or whether it remains the land of the free and the home of the brave as our fore fathers envisioned a couple of hundred years back.
So what is your plan, in your life, that God has given you? If you are not sure, you are not alone. It is my contention that the only way most of us are going to know that we know where God is taking us on this ride called life is to first off develop a sincere desire to know and then to pray for Jesus to reveal a definite course of action to us on a daily basis.
This could take years, as it continues to do for me, after the initial salvation experience. And then for some people, that plan might land on their psyches nearly instantaneously. My challenge to you is to muster that desire to find out, get that clear Christian vision of your long-term purpose for your remaining years on earth and then realize Jesus has promised you something for your trouble. The Word says, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all its righteousness and all things will be added unto you.”
To me, He would have never said that if He did not mean it. The Christian Bible makes it clear that Jehovah God is not a man and therefore can not lie. Pure Godly purposes might be simple or they might be complicated. One thing is for sure, your purpose revelation will not come from me, or any one trying to give you the right words to walk closer with Jesus Christ and His kingdom of helping others first and our selves second.
Your purpose will only come to you once you reach a certain closeness with Jesus Christ. My advice. Develop your friendship with the Lord Jesus.
Read in the Bible, especially those letters in red, about how He lived His life while down here on earth and then decide to hang on to your Christianity whether your country’s population as a whole does or not.
Remember the story of the fellow in the Bible that would not let go of the angel Gabriel until the angel blessed him with whatever it was he was after at the time? The angel did bless that guy.
And Jesus Christ will bless you with the understanding, and the means to accomplish your true purpose in life, but you have to ask Him and then keep bugging Him until the Savior reveals to you what your destiny is in His eyes. I believe if you ask Jesus to do so your true Christian walk, which Jehovah God probably established before your birth, will be revealed to you. Then you will no longer have to guess as to whether the answer is behind door number one or door number two…
SCRIPTURES
1) I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV.
Matthew 4:17-21 King James Version (KJV) 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. 21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
2) THE PARTING OF THE RED SEA – Joshua 4:20-24 King James Version (KJV) 20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. 21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? 22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.
23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: 24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.
3) GOD REWARDS CHRISTIANS IN THE END – Revelation 6:8-17 King James Version (KJV) 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 5 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Keep Your Eye
on the ball when
serving Jesus…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
If memory serves, I used a similar title a few months back. So you can consider this an update if you like. But distractions are a major Satanic weapon in the Christian walk.
And just as in the game of golf, we have to move toward the goal of doing or saying something that promotes Jesus Christ and the Gospel if we are going to be a good Christian soldier. This is not always easy, as we think of all sorts of things as we go through life.
For those of you who have never played golf, golf teachers will usually tell you to keep your eye on the golf ball when you take a swing at it. It just seems to make the results of your stroke so much more positive. The object of golf is to get the ball in the cup on the green in as few strokes as possible.
This takes some doing, if you do it right. I am not sure where I heard that phrase so I guess I will claim that one. But it really does. If you want to get a 36 instead of a 53 in nine holes of golf, you need to avoid the rough and the golf course pond whenever possible.
In Christianity, you really need to pray for guidance and direction if you expect to win souls. And when the Lord puts an answer in your spirit, pay attention. To use an example from the Christian Bible, let’s pick on Peter the fisherman.
Peter and his crew had fished all night and caught nothing. They were stacking their tools so to speak and putting away their nets. Jesus Christ came on the scene and everything changed. Jesus told them to get those nets out and try again. I am sure Peter’s men looked at the Lord as if His cheese had drifted off of his cracker. But Peter knew the power of God and he also knew that Jesus Christ was the only Begotten Son of God.
Peter had seen the miracles Jesus could perform. He said, “We fished all night with no luck, but for you Lord, we will try again. (1)”
Here is where my point comes in. Simon Peter had hope in Jesus and he had faith when Peter’s faith in himself was long gone in regard to catching any fish in the next little while. They put down their nets and caught so many they had to get another boat to help haul them to shore!
As I have said in many of these sermons, God becomes the strongest when we are at our weakest points. By way of a personal example, I just spent two weeks trying to organize a newspaper for another town, only to find out the group that had approached me wants to compete with me instead of help me!
But the business loan I got to start the paper is well needed to expand Tailgate News, which I knew in the first place was what God wanted me to do. I have a tremendous amount more of writing freedom in Tailgate and it is a full time endeavor.
Whether this business makes a steady profit or not one day, I will do my best to keep my eye on the ball of what I know God wants me to do and continue to listen to his guidance and direction along the way. I will let you know if my nets get full. But if you keep seeing this thing out every Friday, you will know I have been faithful to do what God said do and He has been faithful, as always, to provide for me.
I am sure you can think of examples in your own life as to where you tried and you tried to get up a hill and simply ran out of strength. In the past eight years of publishing the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News, I have felt that way twice. Once was when we went from print media to digital in April of 2012 and the other time was last month when revenue was so low I was really afraid I might have to become a homeless person… It was not quite that bad, but it was not a good situation.
But now that I am back on track, with my eye on the ball of making a reasonable profit on the Tailgate News at 50 percent ads and paying my bills with a bit left over, I am expecting good things. Not on my own initiative mind you, but with a determination to follow the guidance and direction of the real publisher, Jesus Christ.
So you see, if you thought this preacher was beyond making mistakes, perhaps my confession will help you to realize we are all human. I might perhaps know more Bible than some who read this, but my human pride gets in the way of me accomplishing things just like Peter’s did that night he fished all night for nothing, but had not sought God’s advice until after the fact.
Look at Jonah. He was not going to Nineveh, even though he knew God told him to go there and preach repentance to a lost and dying public. God let a whale swallow him and it gave him time to think. He agreed to do it God’s way and the whale threw him up. He went to Nineveh, there was a repentance revival involving thousands of people and God forgave them of their sins.
Even though the story says Jonah was aggravated and told God, “I knew you would forgive them and they deserved to pay for what they had done,” God had His way. If you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, ask Him to forgive your sins, past, present and future, and keep your eye on the ball by never forsaking your pledge to love Jesus and Father Jehovah God, He will be faithful to place, and keep, your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life and welcome you to heaven one day.
It is OK to make mistakes. We all do. The Bible says everything is lawful for the Christian but not all things are expedient (2). In other words, if we sin, we will be very ashamed after accepting Christ and soon find out that shame is not worth it. That is where overcoming comes in and the Potter’s Wheel of victory I have written about. Sometimes, especially with salty old guys like me, it is like peeling one layer of bad behavior off at a time. But I keep my eye on the ball.
I may give up and bet on a bad horse from time to time, but if I pray to Jesus for help, He shows me a good horse to bet on and gives me the strength to try again. He does it for me. He did it for Peter and Jonah and He will do it for you – if you keep your eye on the ball and never give up on holding the gospel of Jesus Christ in your heart.
Let’s pick on Peter just a little more. He was also the disciple to cut off the ear of the Roman soldier when Jesus was being taken into custody, or at least that is the popular theory. Jesus rebuked him, saying, “If you live by the sword, you die by the sword (3).” Peter had gone off on his own impulse again and Jesus gently reminded him this was not a war to keep the flesh alive, but a war to save the lost from a dying world. Frankly, I might have taken my eye off of the ball on that one too. If I saw my best friend and mentor being arrested, it would be very tempting to do what I could to stop it from happening.
It just goes to show that our natural impulses do not always line up with God’s plans. And bragging about our own abilities, even to ourselves, does nothing but hinder God’s guidance and direction with a fall brought on by pride.
Again we turn to Peter for the example. He told Christ he would never deny him, no matter what. Jesus told him he would deny him three times before morning, when the cock crowed. He did so, out of fear for his life. And when that cock did crow at day break, Peter realized what he had done and wept bitterly. Still, Peter went on to have a great ministry for the gospel of Jesus Christ and even died for the cause of his Savior, being crucified himself – upside down…
It is said in the Christian Bible that when Peter was caught and sentenced for not ever shutting up about the Gospel and gift of salvation Jesus Christ offered the world, Peter told his accusers, “Crucify me upside down because I am not worthy to be crucified like my Lord.”
Peter learned to be humble and to keep his eye on the ball of spreading the Great Commission of Jesus Christ, but he had to overcome self to do it. He had to overcome doing life his way and bragging about his successes and exchange that thinking for the humbleness of a man who simply said, “Lead on Lord. What You will me to do, that is what I will do.” And he meant it, as our Bible reflects. Or at the very least, it reflects that Simon Peter died with his eye on the ball.
In reward of his steadfast faith, while on earth, Peter learned to heal the sick in the Name of Jesus Christ and he learned how to pray in tongues through the Holy Ghost Spirit Jesus had left him as Comforter. A natural and wise leader learned how to follow a much wiser leader for a far greater reward than he could have ever mustered on his own. He learned what was really valuable and how to keep his eye on the ball to get it…
SCRIPTURES
1) CAST YOUR NETS ONCE MORE – John 21:6 King James Version (KJV) 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.
Luke 5:3-6 King James Version (KJV) 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
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 enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
Editor’s Note: No wonder the Bible says, “If God be for you, who can be against you?”
2) ALL IS LAWFUL IN CHRIST, BUT NOT ALL IS EXPEDIENT – 1 Corinthians 10:23 King James Version (KJV)23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.1 Corinthians 6:12 King James Version (KJV) 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.
Editor’s Note: This sounds strangely like the origin of the old saying, “Everything in moderation, but nothing to excess. But there are things not expedient to touch at all for the Christian soldier. Lord, give us strength.”
3) LIVE BY THE SWORD, DIE BY THE SWORD – Matthew 26:50-58 King James Version (KJV) 50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him. 51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.
52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? 55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.
56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. 57 And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.
Editor’s Note: I was always taught the character of Peter would make him the most likely candidate to have cut off that ear. A soldier, as they say is a soldier. But sometimes even the roughest of us soldiers must learn to understand Divine orders – and to keep an obedient eye on the ball…

God is God in
the Valley too…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The Lord Jesus Christ is God of our souls in the hard times too. In fact, that is when many baby Christians finally get around to praying to Him!
I know that was the case with me for many years. I could tell you many examples but I will just give you one good one. I am sure you have a bunch of your own in your memory – that is if you have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior but put most of the relationship off with Him for future days.
When I came to Gurdon, Arkansas, where I am writing you from, the year was 2004. I remember having a 47th birthday the next year so I must have been 46 at the time. I’ve been here about 10 years, bought an old house and extra lot, two pretty decent cars and a bunch of stuff.
Tailgate News has been good to me and my wife has received two promotions. But somewhere along the line, the last couple of months, things have been not so hot financially. I mean the accounts in my business are growing a little, but time has been a problem for me and a lot of distractions have kept me off the sales field. That folks, spells a bit of journalistic hard times.
I realize it may seem minor to some, but I have been very blessed in that I have made all of my payments on time for quite a while. That record is definitely under threat this month. Satan threw me a curve ball and I tried to help another town start a small paper. I spent quite a bit of time getting its mast head ready and even made a rate sheet out. There is a girl willing to help sell the ads and she has a lot of talent.
But the would-be financiers delayed making me a solid offer so I took the liberty of calling my old printer and setting something up independently. I still would not mind trying to see if I could put them out a digital paper, with the idea of turning it into print if we could ever afford it. And I may try that yet. But I am not going to spend a lot of time there if I can not get some decent advertising support.
I have a feeling the digital publication they have is already covering that town adequately. To make a long story short, I wasted about a week on this venture. That put me further behind on my bills than I already was.
You may notice this week’s paper is back to 12 pages. I had to do something to try and compensate the situation. Oh, I will make it. And yes, in my younger days as a drifter journalist, I saw a lot harder time than this. But hard times are hard times. It is all very relative.
So what does a fellow do in hard times, when there seems to be no answer to problems, whether they are financial, domestic or health related? Me, I hit my knees and start praying to Jesus Christ. I ask Him for his guidance and direction and realize I am not going to like it. When we mess up, we pay the penalty, but if you ask Father God, Jesus or the Holy Ghost for help, the help will come.
It is sort of like asking your earthly father to get you out of the mud. He may have to get a huge scoop shovel out and lift you into the horse troth to get you cleaned up, but hey, he is not the one who got in that mud, you did.
So we take our licks in the hard times. And we try and learn from our mistakes. Let’s look at some folks who went through some mess in the Christian Bible. I think I will pick on a guy that got tricked into marrying the wrong sister and then was told if he could put up with that gal for seven years he could have Rachael. Although I have never been in that situation, I believe it would have bothered me quite a bit. If memory serves, he finally did get to settle in with the one he was in love with, Rachel… The fellow sucked it up and went by the rules the father had laid down and things finally improved.
And then there is the story of Job. Job had everything; a wealthy farming operation with plenty of cattle etc., a wife who bore him many children and he had a pretty good relationship with God, as Jehovah God brought up Job to Satan, telling the devil how good of a job the guy was doing in regard to living a life of obedience to the Creator and doing the right thing. This was back in the Old Testament.
Satan argued that God had a hedge around Job and if he removed it Job would turn away from his work for Jehovah God and fold all of his cards (1).
God told Satan he could do anything he wanted to Job except kill him, and Job would still love and obey his God. Oh boy, Satan had a field day. He killed all of Job’s kids, he took all of his cattle and left his land in desolation. And he gave old Job boils so he could not get out to do more work to get things straight if he wanted to… Job sat in his house. His friends came by and told him he should just give up.
His wife told him to curse God and die… What a sweet woman she must have been.
But Job’s faith in his God remained. He did say at one point, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. (2)” I think that was a pretty factual statement myself, but I know many preachers argue it was a negative comment. Most trouble, as with my personal example earlier, is our own fault. We get greedy. We start chasing a pie in the sky. We forget what God told us to do. We heard it but added to it. Job was not particularly guilty of any of this. He was simply a victim of hard times brought on by apparently spiritual forces.
Because Job kept praising God anyway, God gave him more children, more cattle and his life back. That is the biggest point of this hard times sermon. Praise God anyway. Be obedient to His order to be thankful in all things. If you keep praising God and you keep being thankful that He loves you and will direct you out of the mess you created, I believe you will find that things improve. They have in my life when I hit the bottom with a bounce. And so far, the bounce has been just fine. God has always come through for me so I thank Him for that and tell Him I have faith that this time will be no different.
Note that Job, in his early suffering, cursed the day of his birth and apologized to God for being such a bad man. He never cursed God though, even though his complaining was quite extensive.
When my recent financial disaster seemed to keep growing, I complained significantly too. And my dark side kept telling me it would never get better. Is it easy to put my bad dog down when his thoughts ring true to the circumstances? No, but I must ignore that side of me if I am ever going to reach peace with Jehovah God. This is very difficult for me and I would imagine it was for Job and it is for you, the reader of this sermon.
Count it all joy (3). As I have said many times before, this advice from the Christian Bible is sound and rings true. For indeed, when our lives are on the mountain top, it is easy to praise Jehovah God and shout for joy.
But when your bills are behind and you are so tired of fighting, and you tried to do something that looked so shiny and good and it flopped, it is hard to praise Jehovah God in that valley. I remember what my grandfather and father used to say, “A slim chance is better than none.” And if you realize you have no chance to prosper, in whatever you are attempting, it is better to take that slim chance and listen and obey Jesus Christ and His lifetime examples than to continue to sink in quick sand.
In high school, I played golf. They told me to keep my eye on the ball. When I did that, I hit that thing pretty well. When I disregarded that wise advice, I usually hit that little golf ball into the rough – or into a nearby pond.
So we all make mistakes and end up somewhere we had hoped we would never be. Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled water, as the old song says, and that man from Galilee (Jesus) will lead you to shore to where you can once again get on the path of helping others and enjoying the blessings of doing so.
Wow. That sure sounds right. But of course my bad dog is saying, “Your world is going to hell on a shuttle.” I hear that voice in my head, but the more I drown it out with, “Thank you Jesus for all you have done for me,” the less vocal that negative voice is. My hope begins to blossom. My faith in Jesus begins to get stronger and my love for my Lord stays steadfast, just like Job’s did.
I pray when you face your own white elephant, or whatever you want to call a seemingly cursed and down trodden time, you remember Job too. He stuck it out and loved God anyway. And love always comes out on top. How do I know? I read the book of Revelations. We win folks. Hang in there.
I love you Jehovah God and I publicly thank you for the strength to write this sermon, as you know that stack of bills over there sure looks like a giant to me. Then I remember Lord about David and Goliath. All poor David had was a slingshot, but that old giant fell. As the Good Book says, “If God be for you, who can be against you?”
Well, we know who. Satan and his demons can be against us, but we have to look beyond them and get back on the path, scars, tattered clothes and all. And when Jesus Christ points the way to that path, even though it may include a few demotions from your mistakes, thank him and keep on keeping on.
SCRIPTURES
1) JOB LOST HIS BLESSINGS AND STILL LOVED JEHOVAH GOD – Job 9:1-10King James Version (KJV) 9 Then Job answered and said 2 I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God? 3 If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.
4 He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered? 5 Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger. 6 Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. 7 Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.
8 Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea. 9 Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. 10 Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.
2 ) THE LORD GIVETH AND THE LORD TAKETH AWAY – Job 1:21-22 King James Version (KJV) 21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
3) COUNT IT ALL JOY – James 1:2-12King 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. 9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: 10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. 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.

Gratitude for
the Attitude…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
We live in a world filled with hopelessness and, even after accepting Christ, many of us feel that attitude down deep in our beings.
There is a cure for this depression if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and nobody has successful talked you out of that move. It is called gratitude. Gratitude can positively change your attitude. You can be more productive and your Christianity can shine to the point where somebody might just wonder what happened to you and take another look at salvation…
This solves two problems. It makes you an easier person for your self to live with and it puts a feather in the cap of the Great Commission. The Word of God (Christian Bible) tells us to be thankful in all things (1). I have considered Mr. God and His ways for many years. Trust me on this one, when the All Mighty says “all,” He means all!
Don’t feel alone if you are going to try and walk the path outlined in this week’s sermon. I will be joining you in your quest. Some people believe more push ups will make them a happier soul. I believe more “thank yous” to the Creator will bring on a feeling of confidence that just might encourage exercising the body, the brain and your whole being.
When I get down in the mouth, I smoke too much. I have had a cigar habit for more than 20 years that normally does not amount to much. But when I get to feeling hopeless, especially on those days I dwell on my own troubles, I practically smoke them like I did cigarettes years ago.
I bring this up to let you know that we are all human, and we all have to cope with life’s circumstances. Sometimes, when a person seeks to find God’s will, and considers how Jesus Christ would have reacted to a certain brand of persecution one is going through, we do what we know works until the Holy Ghost guides us to a better style of life. In my case, much prayer is required to break a bad habit.
When I get down and dirty, and really truthful about myself, I admit my worst habit is worry. I worry about the finances in my company, my marriage, my limited group of close friends and just what it may take to remain fully functional for another 40 years or however much time God gives me on this earth.
I say all of this to let you know I can understand if you get down. I don’t get “bumbed out” often, and I usually don’t stay that way long. God has blessed me in this regard and I want to say here publicly I am very thankful He has!
So let’s begin our “all” list. When we get up tomorrow, should God allow such a miracle, we need to look in the mirror and say, “Well, I may not be a perfect Christian but thank you God for saving me and allowing me one more day among the living. Please God, let me lead someone to Jesus so their name will be in the Lamb’s Book of Life tonight instead of on the devil’s register.”
Then we need to get ready for our work. In my case, that is advertising sales, writing, magazine lay-out, photography and in short – journalism of a print media nature on an Internet digital format. It is complicated sometimes. My work used to be much simpler, but my dream in life was to have a weekly publication that would last a life time and serve God in the process. The dream was to have a small group of people to work with me and make this possible within say a 50 to 60 hour personal work week.
After eight years of being the editor of the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News, those working hours are probably closer to 70 a week. That is not so bad except I do it alone, well alone except with God’s help, about 90 percent of the time.
The loneliness factor, rather that the career, is what gets me down. So my next order of thankfulness has to be somewhere along the lines of, “Thank you Jesus for the foundation of my dream and to be able to write a sermon on your behalf, with your guidance and direction, every week now since January of 2013.”
When the magazine went out of print and went Internet/digital back in 2012, a lot of things changed. The automation of it, the bigger audience and the fact that this old dog had to learn a lot of new tricks, has been challenging at best. Friday night I had software problems this past week due to an over abundance of photos and I had to reprogram a lot of stuff to make it all work. I finished at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning and was very tempted to “throw in the towel.” But I finished and I am still in business.
I give God the credit and the praise for it. What would I, as a human being, need credit or praise for anyway? If it were not for God blessing this publication, and my physical and mental health, it would have all ended for me back in 2006 when a personal tragedy nearly caused me to quit my journalism career all together.
That has been nine years ago and they have been the best writing years of my life. Again, I thank my Creator and give Jehovah God all of the credit!
But suppose your career is less rewarding mentally than mine? Suppose you wait tables and go to college? Suppose you work as a logger and love your time with your family? This lesson applies to you too. All of our lives are valuable and all of our actions of love and obedience to God, family and friends deserve respect.
I heard a preacher on the radio say today that we all have a self-image of a time when we considered ourselves the very best of us. That is, we all can think of our own glory days of the past, of the present or dream of those glory days in the future. I count it all joy (2), just like that murderer known as Paul in the Bible did in scripture. He was taken out of the Christian extermination program by our Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus and his life was changed forever. Paul wrote a good bit of our New Testament in the Christian Bible and yet at one time he was simply a hired assassin by the Roman government.
So tell me your life is too bad to be of any use to Jesus Christ, His Great Commission and the promotion of the enlargement of His kingdom and I will point you to the life of Paul. This tent-maker/killer was a horrible person, by most anyone’s standards, until he accepted Jesus Christ as the Savior of His soul and the Lord’s Great Commission to write to those who would choose to follow him down the road that leads to being in the Lamb’s Book of Life rather than fighting for a front seat in hell.
Most of us indeed have breath, walking around ability, something to smile about every day, our families, our careers, our hobbies, our homes, our cars and our personal possessions – all of which we should be thankful to have. We, of course, could lose all of this stuff tomorrow. And sometimes I worry about losing all that I have gained. Then I realize, like Job did, that loving the Lord with all of my heart is so much more important that worrying about sliding down the ladder I have so painfully climbed.
A good client and friend told me today that she has given up worrying about her bills. She said God has always provided for her when the need got hot and so she has confidence He will continue to do so. I try to feel that way and thank God every day for what I have in life. And I also let Jesus Christ know in my prayers that I thank Him for all that is in my charge.
But then there are the valleys. An old Christian song says Jesus Christ is Lord in the valleys as well as on the Mountain tops. I worry about the younger generation, as so many of our churches no longer play the old music. My wife Michelle and I talked about hymns this Sunday. We both agreed that there is usually a sermon in each of those old songs. Consider the message of “How Great Thou Art,” or “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Indeed, these are wonderful messages.
There is a lot of talk lately about these being the last days. There is a Christian timeline talked of in the Bible that explains that phrase “last days (3)” and I invite you to read about it. My purpose here is to show you that a good attitude can be acquired by much gratitude so I will not dwell on the last days scriptures that say at some point our money will be thrown in the streets as worthless, and that one day Jesus Christ will return to earth and claim his bride (both the living and the dead) who are to rise up in the air to meet the Savior and disappear from this planet. If you want such knowledge, please read the book of Revelations about what God gave the disciple John in regard to visions of our future.
Again, visions revealed by Jehovah God will all happen in God’s time. We, as humans, are to occupy. That is we are to have purpose and keep on keeping on in what God has told us to do in regard to serving the needs of others until our last breaths. That is the order all Christians have. The easiest way to complete that order, that I have found in my 56 years, is to be grateful for the little things and pass on that gratitude.
I could tell you about my frustrating day on the advertising field. I could tell you about bills that are due that my mind worries over. I could tell you about my loneliness in my career and my personal life. All of this would probably make you think I am human just like you. And you would be right. But let me tell you about Lori instead. I don’t have a clue where she came from, and I may never see her again, but this beautiful girl, not too awfully much younger than me, was walking into Atwood’s this afternoon when I was and she turned to smile at me. I smiled back and was courteous to her.
I remarked that this sure was a beautiful day and she totally agreed. We agreed that if God gave us days as beautiful as this on a regular basis, we would be two very spoiled human beings. All of a sudden making only a fourth of my collection quota did not matter as much. The mutual gratitude that I shared with this stranger had changed my countenance somehow. I felt light as a feather. I believe she probably did too.
In this world of Internet and Facebook friends etc., personal contact is much more limited than it used to be. The people don’t go to clubs, or even to church, nearly as much as they did when I was a young man. So personal contact, while rare now, is also very special to me. Thank you God for the five minutes I shared with Lori. I gave her a business card and invited her to read this publication. I hope she reads this sermon and it makes her smile.
We need more encounters, us folks who feel so lonesome. Sure, maybe solitude makes us walk a bit closer to Jesus and seek the comfort of his aura around us more, but it sure is hard on the human soul to be so lonesome for like-minded people. If I were a betting man, I would bet most of you reading this would agree with me on that one.
So be thankful in all things. If it is a sunny day, be thankful. If you were able to get out of bed and get on with your tasks at hand, be grateful. God responds to gratitude. He loves to be praised and appreciated.
We human parents do too. When my daughter Kelley tells me she loves me it makes my day. Her words are usually, “I love you daddy.” Wow, how can a father hear that and not melt inside?
I feel very similar when any of my kids say it. This includes grand kids now, and there are seven of them. So why does an old fool like me still smoke cigars? Who knows. I am grateful God has protected me from horrible diseases so far. Keep me in your prayers that one day I will have enough thankfulness in my soul for this life on earth to lay them down for good. I plan to do so, but like most who are addicted to something, I plan to do so tomorrow.
But today, I plan to be thankful and do all I know to do for God. That same preacher who talked about all of us having an image of ourselves where we were at our best also said we could achieve that state of mind and body again through thankfulness and praying to God to give it to us. I sure hope the guy was right. And it has given me much to think about. And, yes, I am very thankful for that.
SCRIPTURES
1) BE THANKFUL IN ALL THINGS – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 King James Version (KJV) 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
2) COUNT IT ALL JOY – James 1:2-8 [Full Chapter] My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing…
3) THE LAST DAYS – 2 Timothy 3 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, …
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 Peter 3:3-10 King James Version (KJV) 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 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.

The God Of ‘Straight-Up Deals…’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Hearing from God is something we humans seem to have in common. No matter what your background, the Spiritual World of the Creator of the Universe, Jehovah God, is going to sooner or later make you believe you have heard from Him.
You may not accept it as from Him when that car of yours stops 5-feet short of going over a cliff, or for some reason your child stops short of running out in the road after his ball, but it is. God is merciful and He makes entrances in all of our lives.
As a Christian, one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn is about “straight-up deals.” In business, that is a term that simply means everyone is treated fairly and there are no hidden get-rich quick schemes. If you are supposed to get 40 percent commission, that is what you got. It was promised to you and you got it – straight-up. No funny business.
Every now and then God tells me something in my spirit about my future. So far, I can not say His original message ever steered me wrong. In science, they call this having premonitions. I personally do not give my own mind enough credit to be able to see a vision several years down the road. But God has shown me some stuff that is pretty interesting.
If I just take it at face value, again, so far, it has been useful information and no harm done by knowing it. It is when I do not leave it as it is that I get in trouble. If the Lord tells you that this is your year for a bit of a break financially, don’t sit there, as I do sometimes, and try to put dates to that information – or try and say He said you were gonna get rich!
When you do that addition to his visions and premonitions stuff, it usually makes you feel foolish when you realize you have put your own will in the picture. Just take what He tells you as a straight-up direction your life will take in the future.
God once took me on a little trip in one of my night-time dreams to a woods where me and about 60 others were living. We had built a church out in the middle of nowhere and I was their preacher. In the dream, I was delivering a sermon and happened to look up and see a woman I know who was standing next to two little boys. Her own daughter was there as well. She was smiling at me as I delivered the sermon.
Now that was it. Straight-up. That is what I was shown. By golly I have added to it, subtracted from it and begged God to tell me when this was going to happen etc. etc. None of that stuff mattered. It was all just so much human garbage. But the vision and the church, and perhaps even the people I saw in the congregation when I was delivering the sermon, will probably matter sometime in my future.
I don’t know how or when, and it is really none of my business. God gave me what information He wanted me to know and that has to be good enough. We shook on it, so to speak. The information is complete within itself, and that is a straight-up deal.
Using a more traditionally Biblical example, God told Abraham he would have a child with his wife Sarah when both were too old to conceive or give birth. He actually told them this when they were young, but no child came forth. Then He told them again when they were old and they laughed at Him. But still yet, Isaac was born (1). It was a straight-up deal. God told the couple it would happen. And in His time, it did.
Sarah tried to help it along in their younger days and had her husband breed the hand maiden. This resulted in Islam and is the reason for an entire multitude of folk that now claim they want to destroy the Jews… It has been a nearly 3,000 year conflict, all hinging on disobedience.
God never told Abraham to have relations with Hagar and produce Islam, but it happened because a couple decided they needed to help God along with His plan. Does that sound familiar? Have you ever wanted something to come to pass so bad that God has showed you that you took it upon yourself to try and help it along?
I have done this in the business world on several occasions. I have felt like things were going to get better if I would just expand my territory. That is probably a God feeling. The problem is I did not ask Him how I should go about that until this past year. The first seven years of the business, I just knew I could get it right by experimentation. I am expanding now, slowly, by taking His instructions a little at a time. I have given up trying to figure out how the business will grow and now simply pray, “Jehovah God, you have placed it on my heart that this business will grow eventually. I ask you to please guide my steps toward that growth because I want it to come to pass in your time – not in mine.”
This was hard for me, having bills that really need to be double paid and paid off, but it is the only way I can be straight-up with my God and the only way to feel OK about that man in the mirror. Perhaps you wanted that perfect girl, and she wanted that perfect boy. Perhaps you both thought you found that right person and somehow lost them and found each other.
You settled into a life that is not your choice, but for some reason it seemed to be working out. You noticed she reads that Bible every day. You hear her profess that she is a Christian and for some reason, even though she may threaten to leave every now and then, year after year she stays… You get word on what your dream girl has become… Your wife hears things about her dream guy. Both of you realize by golly you just might be right for each other.
God had other plans than for you two to spend your lifes with the ones you had eyes for. Only God knows the why on that one. But time always proves old Jehovah God right somehow. He told you years before you would have a decent looking gal to marry and she would be a good person to have around for a lot of years. After years of searching, she just sort of dropped into your life when you had given up. That is how God works. When our will takes a breather, His will takes charge – if you invite it to do so.
I have said many times. Do not look to me, or any other human, to know how to live. Look at the life of Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of Jehovah God who died on the cross at Calvary to take the punishment for your sins and mine – if we but believe in Him and ask for the gift of having our name put in His Lamb’s Book of Life.
To me, that Lamb’s Book is a sinner’s reprieve. God even comes out and says in His Word (the Christian Bible), come let us reason together, I will make your sins as white as snow…
I heard a preacher say tonight on Christian Radio (American Family Radio here in Arkansas) that God loves Christians (His adopted Children whose names are in the Lamb’s Book of Life), whether they ever take the time to get to know their Savior or not, but he cries over those who choose to live a life of intentional disobedience to the Christ example because a Christian presenting a bad example can prompt an unsaved sinner to reject our Savior as meaningless and to conclude that the gift of salvation is nothing more than symbolic. This is the ultimate disservice to others.
Besides, just as in the natural, it is much easier on a Father’s heart if his son or daughter is obedient and willing to learn from him rather than disobedient and rebellious. Still, youth will be youth. I rebelled and listened to my own selfish will for years before I realized the Spirit if Jesus Christ, that had always been my loving companion since I accepted salvation at 15, would love to guide my life to a higher calling and a much higher form of happiness than I could ever find on my own. I still rebel sometimes, and my earlier life has left me with habits that I now have to curb or break to be more Christ like.
But now, when Jehovah God, or any part of the God Head, be it Jehovah, Jesus or the Holy Ghost, puts a task in my soul to do for the Great Commission, I have more of a tendency to follow the instructions of my God. If it sounds fishy, I look up scriptures to see if it feels right.
I have learned that my God is all about helping others and acting in love. And I have learned that a selfish task is of the devil or my own human spirit. God is a giver. He wants us to be the same. Selfishness is a symptom of pride and the Bible plainly says pride goeth before a fall.
If I knee jerk, and cuss like a sailor when I get hurt or stopped in something I really want to accomplish, almost immediately God gives me scripture in my soul to correct me. He does this, at my request.
I am not perfect, and like any other human being, never will be. But I can live more and more like Jesus did, the only sinless and perfect man to ever walk the earth, if I will ask God to guide me as to how to do so.
God told us not to judge others or we would be judged likewise (2). Jesus was quoted saying that in the Bible. But if you ask a saved man or woman if they are saved, they will tell you the time in their life when they accepted Jesus Chirst into their heart. Some will say I hope it took.
Others will tell you about when they went down to an old fashioned altar but they are not really sure if it mattered. Those usually need to be gently educated about Romans 8 and other such salvation chapters in the Book. But if a man or a woman answers no to your question, you are not judging them unsaved. They are. Then it is your job to share the gospel.
In my Bible, the letters of Jesus Christ’s words, are written in red. I especially appreciate this in such readings as the Sermon on the Mount, where my Lord explains God’s commandments and laws. I believe those laws are what they are. Nobody can go by them all the time, if that someone is a human being. Thus frustration occurs, the devil throws us a curve ball and sin usually occurs as a result.
But we can learn to live more like Jesus did, when overcoming sins and other disobediences, are taken seriously. As one passage said, all things are lawful through the grace of Jesus Christ, but some are not expedient.
Those red letters will tell us just what is not expedient. Our own heart strings, if we let the love of Jesus lead them, will also pluck us with a sour note when we knee jerk and react like we did when obedience to God was not necessarily a big priority for us.
God will play it straight with you every time. If you are praying for wisdom, the life of Jesus that will play over and over in your head will show you how to follow the path to greater servitude to mankind and to a happier and healthier life.
But we have to be straight up in our desires that we tell God we have. You can not bluff the Creator.
The key to wanting to become more Christ like in your behavior, and to somehow wanting to help the cause of the Great Commission, that is spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and His sacrifice made so that you and me don’t have to pay for our own sins in a devil’s hell for eternity, is gratitude. Before we come back to our natural father, if we find ourselves separated from him, we have to start believing inside that he did all he could for us. We have to be grateful. We have to want to thank him, not rub his nose in his mistakes…
With God, it is different. We have to realize it was us who made the mistakes in our early life, and in the case of people like me, in their early Christian walk. I made a lot of those mistakes; lust of wild women, cursing the wind when things did not go my way, petty theft of a few quarters a few times.
You name the sinful mistake, I probably made it. God never left. And He never took Christ out of me. He simply waited for me to grow up a little and get tired of the results of my head-strong ways. He will do the same for you. But you have to accept Jesus before you really can understand what a straight-up deal with God means.
Jesus Christ says in the New Testament, “Take my yoke. It is easy. I will give you rest (3)” I used to think a yoke was a term that meant adopt my ways. I looked it up. It was what the old timers put on oxen to get them to march forward. When we want to go the path that Jesus has for us in our lives, those straight-up deals will appear, after we let the Master put his yoke on our actions and our lives. And those straight-up deals that Jehovah God has for us will push us forward to be much better servants and friends to others – and to ourselves.
SCRIPTURES
1) THE BIRTH OF ISAAC – Genesis 17:19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
2) JUDGING OTHERS – Matthew 7:1-4King 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?
Luke 6:37-40 King James Version (KJV) 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
3) TAKE MY YOKE, IT IS EASY – Matthew 11:29-30 King 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.

Want more gifts
from God? Ask
and you will get!
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Some people say God is not a genie in a box. That is true. But if you are saved, and you are putting your sins on the Potter’s Wheel, that is trying to improve your walk with Jesus Christ, there is a note in the Bible you might find interesting.
It basically says you can ask God for what you need and want with expectation. I suppose you could compare it to asking your earthly Dad for the keys to the car. You never know, he just might go for it. I have been pondering the gifts of the Spirit of Jehovah God this week and this morning’s church service at Sycamore Church in Beirne, Arkansas made me do so with even more enthusiasm.
If you have a request that will help you do your calling in life, or simply improve your ability to give to others, I have found God’s scripture, “Many of you do not have because you have not asked(1)” to be particularly relevant.
In the case of the three ladies at church who asked for healing and got it; one had pain in her hand, one pain in her shoulder and one pain in her back, I began to ponder this situation. I said a silent prayer for some healing of my own. I wait with eager anticipation on getting it. Time, as they say, will tell.
But let’s look at God and gifts. Jehovah God gave His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as the ultimate pure-blood sacrifice for your sins and mine so that our names might appear in the Lamb’s Book of Life and we might spend eternity with our Savior forever when we leave this planet. If you want that gift, read the Lord’s stipulations in Romans, Chapter 8, and maybe John 3:16 and then go to praying.
But as the preacher said this morning, there is more to our relationship with Jesus than fire insurance. Sure, no sane person wants to go to hell. But once you are a Christian, it is natural to be curious as to what this Christ fellow is all about and to develop a relationship with Him – chipping away your desire for old sins one at a time.
I got a new tobacco pipe today. I realize some of you will say that is terrible and that I do not need to smoke. But I have been praying about a cigar habit that has gotten out of hand and I intend to quit. It seems like my God likes this idea. I told him in my thoughts I would like to switch to pipes exclusively for now and perhaps decide to quit all together later.
On the way home from church, something kept telling me to go by my hometown tobacco store and pick up my new pipe. It is about a $30 item and I got it for $11! Sure, it was just a small gift from God, in my opinion. But hey, I appreciate the thing. It works great and has a maintenance free filter system so I will save a bit more money using it.
More relevantly, I am a writer of a weekly magazine, as I am sure you realize since you are probably reading this sermon in one of my issues. About a year ago I had a growth on one of my eye lids that was interfering with my vision. If I lose the vision, or the dexterity in my fingers, I am done. Oh, I could use my voice to write with a Dragon, but I really do not want to convert to modern technology to do something I take so much pleasure in doing the old way.
I prayed about that growth. It hung on for months. I even tried lancing it myself a few times and my doctor offered to remove it surgically.
Then I prayed, “Lord, you said you do not want your children sick or hindered and healing is possible. I claim the healing for this growth on my eye in the Name of Jesus Christ.”
I was very sincere that time. And, although it will be hard to believe for skeptics, the growth fell off within a few days and has never returned. I give the Lord the praise for it and thank Jehovah God for his gift – enhanced vision to do what I am called to do – write.
To answer my own question I asked in the title of this sermon, I want the gifts that will enhance my life, in the opinion of Jehovah God. I will ask for them as I see a need. And yes, I disagree with some of these modern day preachers who say God does not respond to need. I have been a struggling journalist financially since 1980 and am still struggling to a point. In all of that time, God has kept me out of major harm’s way and taken care of me and mine. When we needed a bill paid, He has always made a way and I thank Him for it.
Am I rich by the standards of being rich in the United States? Nope. I would love to be because of all of the charities I could help, the funds for higher education and/or travel I could create for family members and because I would love to be out of debt completely. I am one of those who tries to pay his bills, and somehow that usually gets done, but I sure wish there were not so many of them. I have put this on God’s altar, told Him what I want and why, and then turned it over to Him by saying, “Whatever you think,” and meaning it.
I would rather have His solution than mine in this matter any day. Selfishness, something that I can say I have had plenty of experience at in my younger days, never has panned out for me. I want however much money He knows I can be trusted with for the good of others and the good of His kingdom, and enough money that poverty does not get in the way of the work He has planned for me to do for Him.
But God gave me the gift of writing. And I am so glad He did. I thank Him everyday for my ability to express myself in words on a page. He allowed me to experience falling in love on more than one occasion with the opposite sex and to have a marriage partner now that has stuck with me 17 years. I am the type that I am much happier living with a partner, especially when a certain love for that woman seems to grow with every passing day.
Some folks are afraid of being hurt again or simply want to live alone. I do not have such a fear or such a desire. So God gave me the gift of love. It extends to my kids and grand kids. Sure, I have certain ones that I get along with better than others, but I love them all and wish them all the best. As a friend of mine used to say, I would give them anything I could, be it money, blood or counsel.
Now lets take a look at your life. You may be reading this thinking, well God never gave me much. I am 40 and single, no kids, my parents kicked me out of the house for drugs and I have no education because I chose staying high and drunk over studying and carving myself out a decent life. If that is you, it is still not too late. And if you search yourself, God has given you some gift. Some people are just late bloomers.
My recommendation is to seek the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ first and then talk to Jesus about what your gifts are. Trying to figure it out on your own is difficult at best. You may be surprised. You may be one who is gifted in working with children, or somebody who has the gift of gab needed for a marketing job to bring a breath of fresh air and honesty to a company in need of help. When Jesus gets a hold of you, you might be surprised at how much He will tell you that you are worth.
I started writing these sermons in 2013 and have been doing it ever since on a weekly basis. Before that, I used my writing talents strictly in the secular realm of community news, sports, editorials etc. But it took from when I got saved in 1973 until 2013 (40 years) before God’s wisdom led me to working for Him and trying to reach an audience of 3,000 to 6,000 readers per week in regard to the Great Commission.
The Great Commission is the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the promotion of accepting Jesus Christ as a personal Savior in a lost and dying world bound by the rewards of unbridled sin here on earth and in eternity. While on earth, the lost person’s unforgiven sins will lead to such things as sickness, poverty and finally to an eternity in hell, as the Bible says the wicked (he or she whose name is not in the Lamb’s Book of Life) will prosper only for a short season.
So the next gifts I will be praying for is a dose of God’s wisdom and patience with my circumstances and surroundings. I disagree with an interpretation of a scripture I heard this morning. The minister, Happy Caldwell on a Little Rock Christian television station (VTN), said God did not mean we could live as long as we are pleased to live, with 120 years being the intended life for the purpose driven man.
Instead, Caldwell said we will live as long as God is pleased for us to in order to finish our assignment. Sure, God pulls the plug, but I do believe God will honor your request for a long life if you are pleased to do your assignment with zeal until the end. In short, be sure to omit the quit switch in your character. Learn to celebrate each day God gives you and your thankfulness will go a long way to sticking around awhile – if that is your pleasure down deep in your heart.
Another place in the Bible says many will live three score and ten and then die. That is 70 years. Most of us beat that in America by 15 to 25 years if we listen to the Father’s instructions on how to take care of our bodies. In reality, I believe a lot of it has to do with your desire to serve others being bigger than your desire to go to heaven in the next little while.
My own father is a doctor. He said this being pleased to live attitude (2) is real and the results of it are witnessed in his profession in the surgery room nearly every day. Dr. John W. Nelson, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has repeatedly told me that surviving surgery depends, at least in part, on the patient’s will to survive.
But again, in this matter of long life that I have requested, I have laid it on God’s table with a “Whatever you think Lord” and meant it with everything that is me. I will leave this world when God is ready for me to go, just like everyone else. And I hope to leave it with a peaceful heart and to write my last sermon with the same love I wrote the first one.
So besides salvation, love, healing and wisdom, I choose the gift of a long and prosperous life. That prosperity may not be in silver and gold, but that is OK. God will provide if I do not hide. In other words, God respects our honesty with Him and will help anyone who helps themselves by following His guidance and direction instead of some whim.
I have done both in life. I will take His guidance and direction over any whim at my current age, 56. Sadly, this business of taking God’s advice, that is being obedient to Jehovah God, was not always something I considered important. Now I do, but I still go off on my own whims from time to time and, of course, suffer the consequences.
Our preacher talked this morning about how we grow in God from just seeking a way out of hell to developing a lasting friendship with God. He said God will bless anyone once they have given all of the keys to a situation over to Him. Jehovah God hears from me once in awhile, saying, “This does not look so good, what is happening to me now, but Father God, whatever you think. Your will be done in my life on earth as Your will is done in heaven.” Then I thank Him for whatever is coming next.
James wrote in the Christian Bible, “Count it all joy (3).” And we should do that. We only live once. We need to learn to laugh at bad circumstances and turn them over to God. He is much more capable of solving our problems in this world than we are. See there, I am using that gift of wisdom just a little bit after all.
Whatever gifts God has placed in your life, be thankful. He did not have to give us anything but a hard way to go. But God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and their Holy Ghost Comforter will communicate with you through one of those spiritual channels if you will open your heart to it. Let’s get back to the gift of love. I have loved spouses, friends, children and my elders in this life. But none of that love compares to the love I feel for God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity (Jehovah God, the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ). I usually just call the one I talk with Jehovah God, as that is what He said His name was in the ancient Bible days.
If I say Mr. God, my childhood reference to Him, I am sure He knows who I mean. So if one of the gifts you are asking to be put on your table is love, fall in love with Jesus Christ and how He lived. His life is our example toward true happiness and richness of the soul. And fall in love with talking to Jehovah God on a daily basis. If you fall in love with your Creator, loving others will become a whole lot easier.
So pick your choice of gifts, as I have done in this sermon. Then ask God to bless you with them. And then wait. God does things in His time, not yours. While you are waiting, serve others. That is the main message of Christianity for our lives on earth anyway – being of service to others.
Some of you know I love music. It is my way of waiting on God. Singing a variety of songs is my entertainment and my passion, and has been all of my life as far back as I can remember. In the modern world, I get on Youtube and travel down memory lane through songs when my work is done. I thank God He lets me do this. It is a big stress reliever for me.
Sometimes I share songs with my friends on Facebook. Once in a rare moment, I get a response. I love that. It makes me think I am not the only music fan around with my tastes. But mostly, I write. I write stories, poetry, even books. It is my way of being of service to mankind. Pray about it and God will give you your way.
This morning in church left me speechless. When those three ladies lost their pains, it made me get a fresh burst of faith. God does still heal and He does still do miracles. Now and then, we all need to be reminded that it is us who have the earthly restrictions. Jehovah God has no such restrictions. Pray daily for what you need and want and thank God for “whatever He thinks,” as His ways are higher than our ways. If you don’t get something right away, go listen to a song or two – or karaoke a few. Take a long walk. Go fishing. Do something you can be happy at while you wait. He will meet your needs and some of your wants, if He deems your requests as stepping stones to good testimonies for Christianity especially.
The trouble with folks today is they lack hope, faith and love. You can learn about all three by having a little talk with Jesus, as the old song says – or by reading the love chapter in Corinthians. Have you ever heard of a guy or a gal getting a prayer answered that they did not offer up to Jehovah God?
Remember, many do not have because they have not asked. Ask for your gifts, use your gifts and never give up the hope and the faith that they are real and they do work. If God does not give you something you really believe would help you grow in Christianity or just plain old happiness, health or fun, it may be a matter of timing or it may be He has something much better in mind for you. You will never know if you don’t ask Him.
If you have the hope of Jesus in your heart, and you have the faith that He will guide your soul and spirit to a heavenly home after you die, you have already conquered the main thing in hope and faith. If God can get you to heaven, he can surely get you a decent car to work out of (he did me after many years of struggling with clunkers). And so there is another gift on my stack, happiness. I want to be happy the rest of my days. Who does not right? But I am asking God to grant that gift and that request because if I can have that one I believe I can conquer worry, stress and depression.
Those things linger when we don’t know how to be happy in the good times, the sad times and the bad times. Again, count it all joy. This is something us humans have a hard time with. I am putting it on the Potter’s Wheel right now. How about you? Will you join me in seeking the Godly wisdom on how to be happy come what may?
First we can hope it happens. Next we need just a little faith that it will happen. And thirdly we need to thank our God out of love when it, or something even better, comes true. But the real first is to ask God for it. Ask Him for the guidance and direction it takes to be happy serving others, spending time with others and to just be happy when you are entertaining yourself and waiting on God to guide you and direct you one more time down the next pathway on your road home.
SCRIPTURES
1) ASK IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE – Matthew 7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Luke 11:10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
2) BEING PLEASED TO LIVE – 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 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.
Proverbs 9:10-12King James Version (KJV) 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. 11 For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.
12 If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it. Deuteronomy 5:33King James Version (KJV) 33 Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.
Editor’s Note: My take on all of this is if you be pleased to live more days you will pray to Jehovah God to guide you and direct you to a path serving Him where He needs an obedient and faithful servant to complete a long assignment and then do everything in your power to obey His directions on that path.
Obey Jehovah God and love Him for sacrificing His only Son so your name can be in the Lamb’s Book of Life when you accept the ultimate gift and see what happens. Consider this evidence as to the time reward possible to an obedient servant of Jehovah God…
Isaiah 38:3-5 King James Version (KJV) 3 And said, Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.
4 Then came the word of the Lord to Isaiah, saying, 5 Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.
3) COUNT IT ALL JOY – James 1:2-6 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.

Jehovah God is
merciful to those
who cry out to Him…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Have you ever gotten yourself into one of those pickles that you know you don’t deserve mercy from God but still yet He comes through and bails you out?
If so, don’t feel alone. Jesus Christ has shown mercy to me for my dumb moves in life on more than one occasion. I have been in one of those blue funks today that us salesman/writer types get from time to time, but I remember the cure. Jesus says to be thankful in all things. I say if you do that, the smile on your face will return and you will be perking up some happy thoughts again!
That thank you stuff really seems to work for me. Jesus definitely showed mercy to me when he brought the thank you secret to my attention. And it is not so much a secret if you read the Bible. The Word of God (Christian Bible) says be thankful in all things (1).
It also says Jehovah God is a God of mercy (2). Let’s look at the life of one of my favorite Bible characters, King David. This guy was the one who killed the giant with rock on a rope as a boy. He is also the youngest son of a fellow who was asked to get one of his children ready to be king and in being asked forgot to even mention his little shepherd boy, David…
But God had mercy on the kid who he had a friendship with. In my imagination at least, Jehovah God had long talks with little David as he tended the sheep alone. Mercy is tied to that kind of friendship, at least in my opinion. God’s friendship continued with King David. It was a pre-Jesus friendship that was apparently rare in his day and time. But still yet, King David had his faults. God would tell him when to go to war and who to war against as the king of Israel. King David obeyed his friend Jehovah God on many occasions. Friends do that. They help each other. But the thing I want to discuss is the mercy of God on all of us.
Even without the salvation of grace through Jesus Christ, King David was said to have had the heart of God. And yet he was human and not perfect.
He loved the looks of beautiful women. He stayed home from a war one time, telling God he was tired and his soldiers could handle the battle for awhile. Then he saw the most attractive woman he had ever seen and she was bathing naked on an adjoining roof top to his kingdom. Lust came over him. Apparently love of his prize was not far behind. King David ordered one of his servants to bring Besheba to him.
I do not remember whether he knew the girl was married before they consummated their relationship, but love came over him and he not only wanted her body but he wanted her to be his wife. He also got her pregnant. So, since Uriah was already her husband, King David thought this out and put Uriah on the front lines of the war so he would be killed and Besheba would be free to marry him.
Before that order, David had tried to get Uriah home to sleep with his wife so Besheba’s unborn child could be counted as her husband’s seed. Uriah would not cooperate. He said his fellow soldiers were risking their lives and he did not feel good about enjoying his home and wife under those circumstances. So the man slept in his war uniform, on his own porch, asking to go back into battle. David admired his loyalty to the crown but he still felt he must solve the problem of Uriah’s wife conceiving a child with him, the king of Israel.
So then was when David sent Uriah back to battle, on the front lines to be killed. He made up his mind when Uriah died in battle, he, King David, would marry Besheba and legitimatize his son or daughter.
David married Besheba but their first baby died. God told David it was just. David thought about what he had done. God sent a prophet to visit David and asked the king a question. “Sire, what would you do to a man who lusted after a woman, got her pregnant, took possession of her and then had her husband killed so he could claim her as his own?”
David said he would punish such a man severely. The prophet told David, “Sire, that man is you.”
Instead of having the prophet killed, David let him go his way and the king began to pray to God. Lord, have mercy, he said. I got carried away and the way I acquired this female was awful. Please God, forgive me for what I have done.
God took that first child, but then David’s prayer for mercy was answered with no more acts of justice from God to his friend. David got to keep the woman he wanted, impregnated her again and had Solomon with her. Solomon, in the Old Testament of the Bible, is known as the wisest man to have ever lived. When God asked King Solomon what gift he wanted, Solomon said wisdom.
And yet even with all of that wisdom, Solomon also needed God’s mercy to make it off this planet and rejoin the Father. One man, one woman and a family was not the way in the Old Testament way of life. Solomon, so they say, had about 500 wives and about that many concubines (common law wives).
But I believe, even with all of his deep living, Solomon found favor with the Lord God. God had mercy, or so it would seem to me. You can read Solomon’s contributions to the Bible in Eclesiastics and the Song of Solomon, but the best was yet to come as to the mercy of God on a widespread scale – not just in a king’s lineage.
The Old Testament, in several sections, reveals the plan of Jesus Christ coming to earth and being the ultimate sacrifice, allowing those who ask for forgiveness and who believe in Him to have their names put in the Savior’s Lamb’s Book of Life.
Jesus Christ is the Messiah the Jews looked for way back when and many of them come to Christ after they realize this fact.
Does God reject anyone who comes to Him and says, and means it in his or her heart, I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and ask for His pure blood sacrifice to cover my sins?
Nope. The Bible says who so ever will accept the gift of salvation may have it (3). That, to me, is the ultimate act of mercy from Jehovah God to his creations.
SCRIPTURES
1) BE THANKFUL IN ALL THINGS – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Acts 24:3 We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.
2) GOD HAS MERCY – Psalm 116:2-7 King James Version (KJV) 2 Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. 3 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.
4 Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. 5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
6 The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. 7 Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.
3) SALVATION IS AVAILABLE TO ALL – Titus 2:9-14 King James Version (KJV) 9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Forgiveness…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
When the Lord dropped in my spirit this week to write a sermon on forgiveness, I nearly pulled a Jonah and then I remembered the whale!
For you see, like most Christians there is a lot in my life that needs forgiving. And forgiving others when they treat me like dirt is not so easy either. But I took a ragged breath and said yes Lord, I will write Your sermon on the topic You gave me.
God sent Jesus Christ because God did not want us to go to hell. Hell was made for Satan and his demons, yet the Christian Bible tells us it enlarges every day to accommodate unforgiven sinners(1).
I believe God also sent Jesus Christ so that those who accept Him as Savior will have life and have it more abundantly (2). Christ says take my yoke for it is easy. This does not mean your life from then on will be a bowl of cherries. Many people will come against you and you will more than likely have to forgive yourself over and over for a less than Christian attitude if you are reading this and renting this weird thing called a human body to walk around in.
You might get the idea that I am not buying the idea that those who profess salvation are somehow perfect in our own righteousness. If that is what you think, you are right on the mark about this half-breed Cherokee.
What I do believe is Jesus Christ inside of us gives us the option of accepting His righteousness into our integrity. And part of the character of Christ is to forgive. It was in His human experience on earth and the Bible says He does not change. While Jesus Christ, the only sinless man to ever walk and the only Begotten Son of Jehovah God, the Creator of all things, was on the cross being sacrificed and horribly crucified in body, He looked up at His Father God and said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do(3).”
Forgiveness of others is vital to our own happiness. And, to me, if we are asking Jesus Christ to come into our hearts and forgive us of our past sins, the sins we are in process of committing and those sins we will probably commit if God gives us the time to do so, it is only logical to forgive others who have wronged us.
Jesus gave a parable about that once. He talked of a man in debt whom a king forgave and then that man turned around and beat up another man who owed him money. The king found out about this and confronted the man who would not forgive the guy who owed him after the king was nice enough to forgive him. The king called the man who harbored unforgiveness a wicked servant. This sounds like a warning to me. I would say forgiveness is an essential part of the salvation package of the Christian religion.
No man is righteous on his own. Many would argue with me on that one, but that is my view and I will stick to it. I used to go to a lot of bars. And I went to a lot of churches as well. I saw the bad men and I saw the decent family guys just trying to do the best they could for their loved ones.
Both groups sinned upon occasion. Some, on more than a few occasions. But people are people. God realized that even mostly moral folks needed Jesus and his pure blood sacrifice. That is why He sent us Jesus Christ. Or at least that is one of the reasons. I said in one of my other sermons recently that developing a personal friendship with Jesus has been important to me.
And it still is. I enjoy putting things I do on the Potter’s Wheel of Christian change because I am one of those souls who wants to know what my particular sin of discussion has done to myself and others. That makes it easier for me to want to give up said sin and to sincerely attempt to keep it out of my life.
Oh sure, there may be mistakes where I slip up. But if I do not understand the why, the chances of this dog “going back to his vomit” are a lot stronger than if Jehovah God, through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, explains to me the ramification of continuing to sin in that particular sin matter. My wife says I have a spirit of rebellion. Maybe so. But I usually do not rebel once “I have had a little talk with Jesus.” Those are words from a Christian song I learned when I was growing up.
Also, if I understand the reason why something is wrong, I am a lot more likely to utter a sincere request to Jesus to forgive me than if I do not understand. I will give you an example. I can see plainly why the sin of taking the name of God in vain is wrong and that it harms me as well as those who hear me utter the words. Therefore, being an Indiana farm boy full of colorful expletives in my thoughts from hearing them repeatedly, when I mess up and take the Lord’s name in vain, I ask God to forgive me quickly and to give me the strength to resist that sin the next time I am tempted with it.
Now let’s look at vulgar speech. I am not sure that is swearing and I am not sure its a sin. Sometimes I am not swearing by some four letter word but just trying to add emphasis to a thought by a vulgar adverb… If it is a sin, I am sure God will confirm it to me through His still small voice in my mind (conscious) and I will understand it by examination on that Potter’s Wheel of overcoming change. However, I do realize talking vulgar is not expedient to being a Christian so I am working on avoiding the practice.
As I told my wife at dinner, the hardest forgiveness I personally face is to forgive myself for all that I have done wrong and ended up hurting others that I love. I am a firm believer that God wants His Christian children to put others on a top priority list. Although I will try and avoid people when I am stressed out, if someone calls and needs my help when I am in the middle of a melt down I try my best to go ahead and help the other fellow. In such a case, I have found praying for peace in my mind works pretty good when I am faced with an unwanted task that my conscious tells me is the Christian thing to do.
I don’t always run to the aid of others, but I believe helping others with a kind heart in my chest is the way Jesus Christ would want me to live. Cold heartedness and Christianity do not mix. Many times we know we should help and put it off. Then the Spirit of the Lord goes to work and we have to go to the aid of whoever needs us because we just know that we know it is the right thing to do.
If we cold heartedly refuse to help a man or a woman in need, the guilt the Spirit of Jesus will put on a Christian is nearly impossible not to feel. I thank God I can feel it. Again, I question if there really are any cold hearted Christians, but that is between each individual and their Maker.
Let’s look at forgiveness again. If you can not forgive your brother or sister for taking the last ice cream sandwich in the refrigerator, and then you go asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins and save your soul, does that picture look right to you? When it comes to asking for salvation, I can not find it in the Christian Bible where it says I have to have forgiven everyone that has wronged me to ask Jesus to come into my heart.
But I personally believe forgiveness of others comes to most of us just after Christ forgives you. Once you feel the relief of Jesus Christ forgiving your sins, and thereby entering your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life, it just comes natural to forgive others of how they have wronged you and to forgive yourself for your imperfections.
The Bible does say if you want to ask God to forgive you for wronging someone else, you are to go and make peace with the one you wronged first. I advise you to study this in the Bible, as I don’t want to lead you down the wrong path here. But it would seem to me, in my Nelson understanding, that “Just As I Am” means just that in the matter of salvation.
However, once you belong to Jesus, He will give you a different mind set and asking others to forgive you of what you did to hurt them will just make sense. This goes back to my firm belief that the key to showing Christian morals is to consider the ramifications of your actions on others before you selfishly look at what those actions might do for you.
The Christian thing to do in our example about the ice cream sandwich is to thank God for your brother who ripped off your ice cream sandwich and hope to goodness he enjoys it. Of course, you might want to tell that brother that the Christian Bible calls stealing a sin. Wow. Forgiving someone can be hard work for most of us!
But if you mess up and take out a little vengeance instead of showing a little kindness, don’t be one of those Christians who thinks if I sin I have to reactivate my salvation. Just ask Jesus to forgive you when you are aware of your sinful action and go back to praising Him and thanking Him for including you in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
The Word of God, in the Christian Bible, tells us it is not God’s will for any of His children to be plucked from His hand by any scheme of the devil or anything else that might make us believe we are not worthy of salvation. But you have power. You have the power to buy the devil’s argument of legalism (which claims sinning one time after salvation will send you to hell) and to give up on your Christian faith, and you have the power to walk away from divine grace if Satan convinces you the Christian life is “just too hard to live.”
If you abandon your hope in the saving power of Jesus, the Word says God will eventually turn you over to a reprobate mind. This, speaking in old school Christianity for a moment, means you will split hell wide open just like you never knew Jesus Christ if you choose not to turn around and renew your commitment to our Savior! But take heart, if you give up on Jesus and your conscious leads you to believe you made a mistake, your mind is not in a reprobate state yet and you can come back to Christ from your “back slidden state.”
So no, I do not buy once saved always saved. But I do buy that once you are saved Jesus is going to teach you, not throw you out for your sinful mistakes. If anyone leaves the covenant you have made with Jesus Christ, it will be you – not Him. If sin could take away Christianity, heaven sure would be a lonesome place in my opinion. So hold onto the Savior’s hand. He is still there after your sin and willing to help you overcome it on the next temptation.
When you sin, and you know you did, ask Jesus to forgive you quickly and ask Him for the strength to drop that sin from your arsenal. If you are the inquisitive type like me, ask Him to show you the damage your sin did to you and others. Then release your tears of disappointment in yourself, if you have a heart for others, because you know you want to be a better example of Jesus Christ than your actions indicated.
Don’t forget to forgive yourself. If you start hating on you because you let your understanding of Jesus Christ and His righteousness down, it may be very difficult to care if you are a Christian or not. Love yourself. Love others. If you can help them, do so. For those of us with road rage tendencies, or rage tendencies over other machinery or gadgets breaking down etc., sometimes it is best to stay alone until the anger passes. Pray for the calmness needed to deal with the other person with a more positive attitude.
Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Notice the Word says God will forget our sins once we are saved. The Bible says it is as though Jesus has washed your sin slate as white as snow. I believe that means Jehovah God will no longer get mad about your sins after you are saved. Still, you will just know how much your sinful actions hurt Him. This awareness will prompt you to practice a deeper love than you ever realized was possible.
There is a scripture I found last week that says for the Christian all things are legal, but some are not expedient. For those who may not believe this, read: 1 Corinthians: 6:12 “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.”
This was a quote from Paul, during a sermon to the Corinthians. So legalists take heed, every time you tell so and so he or she is going to hell, in spite of their salvation experience, because they eat too much, smoke or take a drink of beer, remember what we just read from the Bible. And remember the Word of God says judge not or you will be judged likewise. If you know that you are sincerely doing all you know to become more Christ like, the Spirit of Jesus will bless you for it and eventually many of those who doubt your sincere love for Jesus will be forced to admit to themselves they were wrong.
Now there is a time and place for everything. To commit any known sin, or any suspected sin, in front of someone not saved, or someone who still believes the Old Testament law is more powerful than the grace of Jesus Christ and the cross, is probably a terrible idea. If a sinner, who has had any exposure to the 10 commandments for example, witnesses you breaking one of them, you are guilty not just of a sin but of pushing said individual further from the cross.
Note the ending of that scripture in Corinthians, “but I will not be brought under the power of any.” This is the difference. A Christian may sin out of habit or mistake, but with the Spirit of Jesus Christ inside of us we do not have to live as slaves to any sin. The devil’s cage that traps the unforgiven is open when one begins to follow Jesus Christ.
Thus we can walk away from a sin and not let it rule us – and we need to do so in order to grow in the faith and in order to be more effective in preaching the Great Commission. The unforgiven can not walk away from a sin lifestyle. In most cases, it gets more vile as they wallow in the pig pen known as worldly life. That is why there are so many drug addicts for example.
If you find yourself feeling trapped by an addiction anyway, walk away from it with a prayer to Jesus Christ. Remember He said, “Those who have been set free by the salvation gift of Jesus Christ are free indeed.” Are you a Christian? Good. Then walk away when the Spirit of Jesus inside of you tells you it is time to go. He will give you the power to do so, as Jesus Christ does not tell us to do anything that is impossible for us to do through our faith in Him.
Let’s look at the word expedient. It means beneficial. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, so I have heard. I see some common sense there. If everyone else is wearing a suit, you might want to as well for a formal gathering. Blue jeans and a T-Shirt are not a sin to wear, but perhaps you should save them for less formal situation. However, if all you have is a pair of blue jeans and a T-shirt to go to church, go. Being in the house of God, if it is a true Christian church, is much more important than appearances.
Now if someone asks me if I still sin, I say yes. I do not find it expedient to do so in the next breath in front of them. It is called using wisdom. We all need Jesus. We all need salvation. And after we have it, we need to listen to the righteous Spirit of Jesus and His integrity that lives on the inside of us. If you do so, we can be a much better Christian friend to the unsaved and to other Christians who need to know someone else is also giving it all they have got to keep the faith.
So do what Jesus said do. Forgive quickly, whether it be yourself or others. Point to how Jesus lived when the Christian or non-Christian asks you the right way and let them know you are in their same boat as them when it comes to not being perfect. Tell them you realize your name is only in the Lamb’s Book of Life by grace – not by keeping an Old Testament law or some human definitions of right from wrong.
I thank you Lord for your continued forgiveness because as I tell my grandchildren, Grandpa still needs the love of Jesus and always will. Actually, when talking to the kids, I usually simply ask, “Now don’t you think Grandpa could use some churchin’?” After the predicted laughter, I assure them Jesus Christ even loves Grandpa.
SCRIPTURES
1) HELL ENLARGES FOR THOSE WHO REFUSE THE SALVATION – Isaiah 5:12-16 King James Version (KJV) 12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands.
13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.15 And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:
16 But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.
2) JESUS CAME SO WE COULD HAVE LIFE AND LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY –
John 10:8-11 King James Version (KJV) 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 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. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
3) FORGIVE THEM FATHER FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO – Luke 23:33-43 King James Version (KJV) 33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. 35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.
36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, 37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. 38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This Is The King Of The Jews. 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.

Getting on that
Potter’s Wheel
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
It is one thing to want to change. It is quite another to give God specific instructions to change you into the kind of Christian person He wants you to be.
I have many vices. I think God made me that way so I would not judge you. Judging is God’s business. Us humans need to back off of it. Here lately the Good Lord has been dropping in my spirit that I need to get ready for some grinding on the Potter’s Wheel. Sure, that is scary, but then again, I knew it was coming if I am going to continue to have my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
And so, in my soul, I welcome the grinding. In my flesh, not so much. Some folks, when they accept salvation, talk of the old man dying right then and a new man coming up out of the water of their Holy Ghost Baptism. I was not so lucky. Coming to the Lord at 15, I was immediately hit with sin temptations that my hormones agreed with. Joni and I nearly lived together five years, even though most of it was under the roofs of our parents.
And cussing was something I felt natural about. I also loved to study books in the upstairs of our farm house that were anything but Christian. So for me, it has been a long time coming, this business of being willing to get on the Potter’s Wheel for some of my junk. Notice I did not say all of it. Yep, it is still a one sin at a time deal for me. Perhaps it is the same for you. I want to understand why some of God’s rules were put there. A few, I believe I understand at this point. Many, I do not.
I thank Jehovah God, whether it be directly, with Bible verses, through the Spirit of Jesus Christ or by Holy Ghost intervention, for those Godly rules I do understand. Understanding the why of something helps me not to do if that law happens to be one of those “Thou shalt nots.”
But nothing on the Potter’s road to improvement is harder than beginning. I suppose I got serious about improving while living in Minnesota from November of 2003 until June of 2004. I had a lot of time to be totally alone and think. What the Potter got rid of before I came home was the desire to put my vices ahead of my family and my career. This time period was what Jehovah God dropped in my spirit would be the hardest times I would know. I sure hope He was the one I heard from, as I don’t desire to see more grief than that. But, it is up to the Potter.
Now, what about you? Are you saved? You are the only one who knows if you firmly believe Jesus Christ died for your sins and went to the cross to prove it. You are the only one who knows if you believe and accept that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day and that His pure and sinless blood cut you a path to getting you name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
If you are reading this, and believe with everything in you that you are saved by the grace of Jesus Christ, this sermon just might really help you grow in your Christianity. For you see, it is not the desire of our Lord Jesus to just save you. He wants to be your friend and He wants to you to learn what the Great Commission is and develop a desire to fight for it!
To develop such a desire, I believe you must develop a true love for Jehovah God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost Comforter put on this earth to guide and direct your steps in this life. And the best thing to do after you get cozy with Jehovah God, or His other two faces, is to voluntarily put your sins on the Potter’s wheel.
Perhaps you have never seen anything wrong with adultery, as long as your spouse does not find out. I felt that way once upon a time. I put this sin on the Potter’s wheel and he offered me an explanation about trust in a marriage that made sense to me. Do I still get tempted? Yes, I am still a man with a sex drive so I still get tempted.
But it is a lot easier to resist that temptation than it was 20 years ago when the temptation was to taste more and more of the flavors of women whom I thought were cute. Now the temptation is more carnally rational. They simply have to have a brain, along with a certain beauty, and there has to be a strong spark of love that I see in their eyes when I first lay eyes on them.
I have been married for 17 years. About 13 years ago, I met such a girl. I did not commit physical adultery with her because I was afraid I would then be tempted to continue the relationship and run off to start another family. I did not want this at the time. So I resisted it. This was not particularly a Godly reason to resist. It was just that I was satisfied with my wife and did not want to take the chance of ruining our trust and then being rejected by someone I barely knew.
Today, after putting adultery on the Potter’s wheel, my reasoning for not committing adultery is quite different.
God showed me that any lie in a relationship was like a sip of arsenic. You might get a way with taking a few sips. But sooner or later it would kill the relationship. And for what? After all, if a man is a Christian, lying is a known sin that he or she probably wants to stay away from all together.
There is a country song that came out a few years back about how a fellow who started fooling around with his girlfriend lost his wife over trust and then realized he could not trust his girl friend and respectable women could no longer trust him. The devil had convinced him to become a player and players are avoided by respectable women looking for a long-term love relationship. Frankly, I do not blame them one bit.
Old Scratch, the devil, Satan, or whatever name you want to give the tempter, has trapped many a good soul, who simply got lonely and starved for attention, with a stepping out sin – that is adultery or fornication. If this is you, pray for wisdom. God will put you on that Potter’s wheel and your life, past, present and future, should you give in to a particular sin, will be revealed to you in some Godly manner that you know is for real.
The Bible says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery (1).” God is not trying to be mean. He simply knows where lies and mistrust lead and He does not want that for His children.
Sin is sin. The legalistic Christians say it can take a Christian to hell, even after salvation. I can not find support for this in scripture. What my Bible tells me is that sin is displeasing to God, but the lack of acceptance of Jesus Christ and his grace from what He did on the cross is what provides you with a ticket to hell and the Lake of Fire forever.
Still, sin makes the Christian feel awful. That is because Jesus Christ is living inside of you in Spirit and that Spirit will prick your mind (soul) when you do God wrong. Sooner or later, if you feed the good dog instead of the bad, you will become very sensitive to those pricks. You will realize that displeasing the God of Love (Jehovah God) is a terrible idea and just makes you want to crawl under a rock.
Then you will become curious. You see, once you want to stop a sin, you will realize that you were right as a child – stopping something because mommy or daddy said not to do it is simply is not enough to not do some pleasurable act for very long. To stop an action in the long haul, you need to know why it is wrong.
That is where the Potter’s wheel of wisdom comes through. I recently put my swearing on the Potter’s wheel. I am not done with this one yet. I am learning some wisdom about cussing and having such a self-righteous fit, and what it does to my relationship with Jesus Christ as well as with others around me.
When that wisdom sinks into my soul, I would be willing to bet I will stop the action. That is the way it works for me. I have to understand why the Christian Bible said, “Thou shall not take the Name of the Lord God in vain, nor swear by the moon or the stars, or anything God has created (2).” Once the why not part of cussing sinks in, it will become more and more horrible for me when I cuss. This I believe with everything in me.
Whatever your favorite sin, be it stealing virtue out of wedlock from the opposite sex, having a road rage fit when you are stuck in traffic or perhaps your sin is overindulging in food, drink or some mind altering substance, sin for the unsaved leads to an eternity of separation from God. For the saved, it leads to being miserable because you know in your heart you have made the good Lord cry… While there may be some truth in the old Masonic Lodge saying that it is not the use of something that will kill you, it is the abuse, the gray line between the two is sometimes hard to distinguish – especially in times of stress.
I do not believe God is against someone trying to become stable and happy with their current knowledge base. For those of us who are human, this may mean using some substances to do so. We all have to eat. But we don’t have to act in a gluttony manner and become unhealthy with added pounds. However, we all do not have to drink alcohol, smoke tobacco or take pills to feel normal. Many of us do have to do these things until we get the strength from Jesus Christ and His wisdom down deep in our souls. Then those needs go away because we simply don’t need the alterations any longer – or so I have been told.
I am sure I will put the substances of my personal balancing act on the Potter’s wheel soon. I need to know what Jesus Christ considers the whys about such things and what He believes my alternatives are to have a happier, and perhaps healthier life.
For example, I read in the Bible that Jesus says take a little wine (alcohol) for your health. Medical science tells me two glasses of wine per night will make me live on the average 10 years longer than a non-drinker. But the Bible also says do not be out of control, and always be ready for a confrontation. This, I am sure, is one big reason it says, “No drunkard shall enter the kingdom of heaven (3).”
So you see, it is a balancing act, this business of walking around in a living and breathing human body. Your own Potter’s wheel journey is certainly your own business. I do not pretend to be able to walk your path for you.
And your path is right for you. Remember, God made you. He did not make some false person you choose to present to the world. That was your doing. Being who and what God made you is apparently what the good Lord wanted or He would not have put a nervous condition in you, made you barren, depleted your sex drive with age etc.. Still, when the natural path of things seems cruel, a thinking man or woman will do what they can to alter it so they can survive in this old world.
My advice, of course, is take all of your actions to the Potter, to be put on His wheel so you learn the whys that prick your curiosity and become Godly wise rather than living to the end in your human wisdom…
SCRIPTURES
1) THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY – Matthew 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matthew 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
Editor’s Note: My interpretation of these scriptures by Jesus Christ is that loyalty is a necessary part of marriage, if hardening of the heart is not to occur. I personally do not see anything wrong in the eyes of God if a person who has divorced over adultery in his or her spouse then finds someone else, previously married or not, if that second person has a loyal heart and never committed adultery on his or her spouse.
Not wanting to be judgmental, if two who have lost a marriage over mutual adultery, be it physical or mental, decide to marry, and then convert to Christianity, having their sins washed as clean as snow, they should have a mutually blessed and loyal marriage – or at the very least both possess the strength in their souls to have one. As with any scripture describing sin, the primary purpose of pointing out said sin is to let people know down deep that they can never live up to living a sinless life without the grace of Jesus and their names being put in the Lamb’s book of Life.
I offer this scripture to back my view: Romans 8:10 King James Version (KJV)
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
2) THOU SHALT NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD IN VAIN – 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. Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Ephesians 5:4 – Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. James 3:8-10 – But the tongue can no man tame; [it is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Colossians 3:8 – But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
James 1:26 – If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion [is] vain. Colossians 4:6 – Let your speech [be] alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Editor’s Note: As preacher Andrew Womack says on television, the laws God has put before us are not to be ignored, but any sin is not the salvation issue. The sin in all men, except for our Lord Jesus Christ who was pure and sinless, is why we need the grace of the Lord Jesus so badly. Tell me readers, can you keep the commandment of never swearing? So far I can not, but I am willing to work on it on the Potter’s wheel.
3) NO DRUNKARD SHALL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN – 1 Corinthians 6:6-12 King James Version (KJV) 6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. 7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. 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.

Hear the Word
You Long to Hear;
‘Well Done, My Good
and Faithful Servant’
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The saddest words of mice and men are none other than it could have been. I did not invent that phrase, but it fits perfectly with this sermon.
When a person gets saved by Jesus Christ and then puts Him on a shelf, that is probably normal. I did that. Many Christians I have known did that. Sure, we talked to Jesus even then, but we did very little listening as to what He was saying to our hearts.
But then there is another kind of Christian, one that rejects Christ after accepting salvation and turns back to the world of Satan with open arms of embracement. This is the type of person I am speaking about in this sermon.
Me, I could never see rejecting the Son of God, once I accepted Him in my heart. I am the fellow who may be growing slowly in the faith, but the faith means a whole lot to me. If I were to venture a guess, the guy or gal who flat turns their back on Jesus and makes a mockery of Christianity must not have ever fallen in love with Jehovah God in the first place. This is not to say it is too late for that individual.
My Bible tells me the only unforgivable sin is blasphemy of the Holy Ghost of God (1). Nobody that I have ever met seems to really understand what that means, but is sure sounds hopeless. What I mean is there may be more than one form. Scriptures tell us taking the mark of the beast, for those who live until the end of time, is blasphemy and will be rewarded by being cast alive into the Lake of Fire.
I do know that Jehovah God says He only gives it so long when a person runs from Him. Then that individual is given his or her will, that is turned over to a reprobate mind. I do know what that means. A reprobate is someone that embraces sin like it was correct or something, someone with no shame when they kill, steal or destroy. You know, someone who copies the value system attributed to Lucifer, Satan, the devil or whatever you want to call Old Scratch.
The Christian Bible refers to God’s children, those that have accepted Salvation, as the lambs of Jesus Christ. There is even mention of the “Lambs Book of Life” as a book that all who have been saved have their names in. Some say that name of yours is in there no matter what you do if you ever accepted the free gift of Salvation from Jesus Christ, the only sinless man and ultimate sacrifice of Jehovah God, and asked Jesus into your heart to live forever.
I say if you blasphemy the Holy Ghost, or repeatedly denounce, mock or make fun of Christianity and its Salvation purpose, you might ought to rethink that.
Jehovah God is a God of love, but also a God of vengeance. Whereas He clearly says in the Bible that vengeance belongs to Him (2), it is obvious He understands that emotion and action very well. Besides, God promises us free will. If we want to bail from our scheduled trip to heaven, I sincerely believe He will not force us to keep our reservation!
Let’s look at current politics just a minute. The Islamic religion, so we are told, tries three times to convert you to worshipping Allah and if you decline three times it is my understanding you are to be killed as an infidel – apparently beheaded. That is the way of ISIS, a terrorist organization that now controls Syria, or so the news has led me to believe.
You may be reading this sermon about giving up on Christianity and saying to yourself I would never do that. But when is the last time you had someone threaten to cut your head off, and they had the ways and means to do so? Yep, never. I thank God I can say the same.
What would you do if one of Satan’s representatives told you to renounce your belief and profession of Jesus Christ, or be killed? If you and I live long enough to see the Anti-Christ come to power in our United States, this scenario just might come true for you and me… I would attempt to escape the situation first. If that were impossible, I would attempt to attack physically my would-be murderer with my knuckles going for the side of his head and my other hand smashing the under side of his nose in one fell sweep.
In short, I would attempt hand to hand combat, like in Vietnam, if I had the chance. If I had a gun at the time, I would shoot my would-be murderer right between the eyes.
But not everyone is a trained survivalist like my grandfather trained me. Many would just hold up their hands and say take my head I am going home to Jesus! I see nothing wrong with that response.
The response I am preaching against in this sermon is the one where the guy or gal says OK I will convert to being Islamic, or more accurately a Satan worshipper – regardless of what kind. You win. I am no longer a Christian. In the passages of the Bible on the last days, it says such a person will then be asked to take the mark of the beast – some sort of tattoo or computer chip, that identifies you with Satan’s kingdom (3). You may have read it. It says something to the effect that the beast has a number and his number is 666.
You have heard the term from years ago, “Keep the faith brother.” It used to be said a lot in this country. Now, not so much. But it is said among soldiers a lot to this day. Many soldiers read that Bible daily, if they are Christians, because they are in life or death situations on a regular basis. Sure, President Barack Obama seems to discourage United States soldiers from doing this with his policy of nobody has the right to offend another living soul, but people keep the faith anyway.
For you see, God’s love, and the relationship you have with Jehovah God, takes precedence over a dictator like Obama and what he wants any day of the week.
I am from a different time than many who are young and reading this. In my day, we said on the playground, sticks and stones can break your bones but names will never hurt you. Psychologists dispute this in the modern world. Frankly, I still believe it.
Sure, words have hurt me. And words out of my mouth have hurt others. But if the hurter does not get physical with me, I can opt to leave that person alone and avoid the verbal abuse. So can anyone else, if they just use the head God gave them for something more than a hat rack. In short, wearing your feelings on your sleeve does not pay in this old world we live in. Let them talk, as my grandfather used to say to me. It gives some other poor would-be persecuted soul a rest.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not advocating any of you verbally abuse someone on purpose. I think that is rude and disrespectful, if not down right a sin. But if someone becomes offended because of your Christian religion belief system, I hate it for them. That sort of person does not need to come around me anymore unless they like being offended. That is my story on that and I am sticking to it.
The theme of today’s sermon is sticking with your belief in Jesus Christ until the very end of your life. This means fueling the fire inside of you to learn more about Jesus and allowing Jehovah God the freedom to put you on that potter’s wheel to mold you into the type of Christian you need to be – even when it hurts. Jesus Christ heard his followers complaining about persecution one day and told them, “They persecuted me, so they will persecute you.”
I get tired of living lower middle class. I still have faith that one day my small business will grow to the point where I can be debt free and actually have a savings that is not simply going to cover a few bills from time to time.
I also get tired of not being able to take a month off in the summer instead of a week. As it is, I can not afford even the week I take. But I take it and the Christmas holidays off anyway for the sake of stress relief and to be with my family. I love to travel and would only enjoy that month to its fullest extent if I could go exploring. My wife and I have talked of going to a bed and breakfast in Maine for a month and enjoying the seagulls and culture of the Eastern Sea Board of the United States.
But it is all OK. I love doing what I do and I particularly love writing this little sermon for the Kingdom of God each week in Tailgate News. If my money remains funny, that is OK too. I have a good wife, a good career, a good home and cars and lots of reliable bills. In reality, what more could a journalist who refuses to give up his Christian beliefs ask for? I think you get my meaning.
A preacher (Charles Stanley) on VTN Christian television said today, “All you will need when you die is Jesus Christ and your salvation through Him. This other stuff will no longer matter.” You should give his statements some thought the next time Satan tempts you with a job that would bring you more money but would stop you from being a functional Christian.
But the temptation to jump ship on Jesus does not always come in the form of money. Sometimes the temptation to turn your back on Jesus Christ comes in the form of a relationship. If you are a Christian, it is very important to marry someone with Christian beliefs. The Bible says do not marry someone to whom you are unequally yoked. It also says asks the question, “What common ground can light and darkness have together?”
Don’t get me wrong. We all have non-Christian friends, or at least I know I do. I cherish them and love them. I pray that someday they will come to Christ. I believe what the Word of God is referring to is a Christian who marries a non-Christian is in for a very hard life.
Marriage goes through rough spots. Most Christians will at least attempt to resist the temptation to commit adultery. Most non-Christians will have an extra marital affair and then lie about it. It may not be discovered for years, but it will come out. The Bible promises our secrets will be shouted from the roof tops.
Jealousy is a big gun for Satan. I have a saying that I have told my kids. I do not mind being blamed for what I have done, and I know if it was a wrong thing I will pay for it – one way or another. But it does bother me when someone accuses and convicts me of something I did not do. Many marriages die on the vine from unproven jealousy. I had one to do that. And it was a real shame.
My point of all of this is some people lose their Christian faith over a relationship gone bad. Don’t buy into that. No man or woman in your life is worth going to hell over – on this planet or literally after you die. Forgive your partner quickly. Then forgive yourself for whatever you did that he or she used as an excuse to jump the fence.
Adultery does not have to end a marriage. The Bible says the only grounds for a divorce is a hard heart brought on by adultery. In other words, someone has been hurt so many times they find the other person’s excuses unbelievable and would rather take the Biblical advise to live alone in a small room instead of in a big house with “a brawling woman” or brawling man for that matter.
Yes it does say adultery, especially on a repeated basis, will harden a heart. Some folks already have a hard heart from being incompatible so one instance of adultery means calling a lawyer. A wise person will call on Jesus Christ instead and do a lot of tall praying before ending a union that was supposed to last a life time.
I have been married four times. Technically I have been married five times, as my second wife and I divorced a year and then tried it six more years for a total of 12. So I know things can go wrong. But my current wife and I have been married 17 years. I give God the credit and the glory. We are both of the Christian faith, and we both cut each other slack for being human.
Michelle and I work at our marriage. Whereas it could blow up tomorrow, we have discussed the idea that if we turn it over to God, He will guide us to success in our relationship. Being able to pray together really helps.
Again, my reason for getting a little personal is to let you know you are not alone. We all have business and/or relationship challenges from time to time, but remember Jesus Christ is your ace in the hole. Never let someone else talk you out of that fact. Because in the end, everyone who professes Christianity and has his or her name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life deserves to hear those sought after words on judgment day, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Also, from a human standpoint, remember the words of cartoon character Andy Capp, “The only difference between a winner and a loser is the winner refused to give up.”
SCRIPTURES
1) BLASPHEMY OF THE HOLY GHOST – Matthew 12:29-33 King James Version (KJV) 29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. 30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. 33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
2) VENGEANCE IS MINE, SAYETH THE LORD – Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Isaiah 63:4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. Ezekiel 25:14 And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord God.
3) THE MARK OF THE BEAST – 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. 8 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.
Editor’s Note: One form of blasphemy that I do understand is taking the mark of the beast. No matter how far we go in the prophecies Bible in our life times, don’t ever take that mark. It is a trap from Satan that will gain you a place next to him in the eternal Lake of Fire. Remember one thing this week, if nothing else from my sermon, keep your faith in Jesus Christ. And the easiest way to do that is to talk with Him daily and become dear friends.

God’s Promises
Will Come to Pass…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I realize many folks have claimed that they “missed God” or that something must have just gone wrong because some promise you felt in your spirit took too long to suit you.
I have had those moments as well. But God, so the Christian Bible says, is not a man and therefore He can not lie (1). His version of keeping a promise may be to grant it in an unexpected form, or years after you had given up expecting it, but He does keep those promises.
I go back to my favorite story in the Bible on promises; Sarah and Abraham. They were a baron couple and yet God promised them they would have a son and Abraham would be the father of the Jewish nation. Isaac came along in their lives when they were both past 90 years old – dried up so to speak.
The Bible records both of them laughing when God came to them in their old age and reaffirmed His promise to them. Then He asked Abraham to kill his own son as a sacrifice, or at least to be willing to do so. Abraham obeyed and God provided a goat in a thicket to substitute for Isaac as a sacrifice. You probably know the rest of the story.
But let’s look at something more personal. I must say God has kept all of His promises to me – so far. And it has been 56 years so He just might continue to do so. Right now my business is in a hard spot, but football season is upon us so I believe things will get better.
I have felt in my spirit for sometime that God has blessed this magazine. I believe He is teaching me how to manage money and that solvensizing (making a consistent profit with) the Tailgate News will happen – in His time.
But the first thing God wants is your friendship. I figured that out at an early age. This seems to be automatic before the age of accountability. At least it did in my young life as a farm boy in Indiana. I grew up an only child so Mr. God was my main play mate. After the age of accountability, He wants us to accept Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, and the gift He provided by sacrificing His perfect blood on the cross.
He says this gift is available to all of us (2). But you have to realize your own human weakness could never measure up to God’s perfect standards. You have to believe Jesus died and rose on the third day after His natural death, and you have to ask Him to forgive you of your past, present and future sins. In other words, you have to be humble enough to go before God and ask for His help by way of accepting the perfect sacrifice of Jesus and the placing of your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
If your read Romans 10 and John 3:16 in the Christian Bible, you will understand the why behind what He wants. Once you have accepted Christ, your name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life forever, unless you give up on Jesus somewhere along the way. Once you have taken this first step, you can begin your relationship with God as a “baby Christian,” with ground to stand on when it comes to promises.
I felt in my spirit God promised me I would graduate college. He did and I did. I was even an honor graduate. My thoughts were I would complete college in four years. I worked in Florida on and off two years in the middle of it, but with summer school I graduated with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in psychology. It took me five years, but both major and minor have served me well. And I give Jehovah God the glory and the credit for my credentials.
No marriage is perfect. But I prayed I would end up with a gal that was easy on the eyes, smart enough to be interesting for me to talk to and understanding enough to ride with me as I grew up in Christ and as a person. I have been married to Michelle 17 years this coming Sept. 19. God kept His promise.
I could go on, but let’s look at you. Have you ever believed in your heart of hearts that God was promising you something? Salvation, of course, is the ultimate promise. And it is there for the asking to all of us. To Billy Sunday you a bit, have you taken God’s Ultimate Gift? I hope so for the sake of you and those who know you.
It is a horrible world out there right now. Satan, an old friend of mine (but I am jealous as he does not send me a birthday card like I understand some think he does Barack Obama), is scared. The devil knows his time is running out and the sin in this world has created so many repercussions that Christianity is more and more tempting to Satan’s people. The unsaved want love too. They just don’t know where to find it. It is our job to simply point the way to the cross.
It took me 15 years to come to salvation. When I was dancing with the devil, I wanted love. But I wanted it on my terms and nobody else’s. Satan promised me lots of stuff. Most of it never came to pass, as Satan is a liar by nature. I even visited him once in Plain Dealing, Louisiana. That was after my Christian salvation but before I realized I should not have done such a risky thing. It was about 1984. When I got down there in the swamp where his presence was supposed to be so strong, I could swear I felt a pure evil spirit and even smelled it. The devil has a distinct odor, sort of like a burning bush or burning rubbish.
Once you have smelled his presence, you will never forget it. I had family and friends that wanted me to take them to Fire Lake in Plain Dealing after I came home and told them of my weird experience. I refused to escort them to the Lake of Fire (weird gases actually made it look like flames were rising) and I refused to “call the corners” to invoke the presence of Satan for them. I realized after my visit to that horrible scene, it is no place for man nor beast.
But I learned something by being so fascinated with the devil. He is a desperate cuss. And I don’t think he could keep a bargain if God threatened to put him in the Biblical Lake of Fire tomorrow. Satan is weak but he gains strength from us humans who are crazy enough to hang out with him.
I speak all of these things in the spirit, and with the military belief that it is good to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I take a look at the world around me and shudder. I know the end is near. Oh, Armageddon may not happen for several hundred years. But in God’s time, that is but a blink of an eye. Our easy living time is running out – at least in my opinion.
The founder of my first church, where I came to believe enough to seek salvation, had more of a Free Methodist doctrine than a First United Methodist belief system. Even though I actually attended the First United Methodist Church of Hagerstown, Indiana, I studied the life and beliefs of founder John Wesley. He preached the book of Acts and the gifts of Jesus Christ (healing, talking in Holy Ghost tongues etc.), claiming they were all still valid. The Catholic Church threw him out over his validation of the Gifts of the Spirit and also because he believed every man should read the Bible for himself to “work out his own salvation with fear and trembling (3).”
It is said Wesley was awakened from a sound sleep one night to find Satan perched on the foot of the bed he shared with his wife. Preacher Wesley reacted like this to my old buddy the devil. He said, “Oh, it is just you. I have no time to talk now Satan. I must rest up for Sunday service.”
If the incident indeed happened, some may say his reaction took guts. I just think his evaluation of the devil was common sense. Wesley had the Ultimate Gift of the salvation of Jesus Christ and the cross he died on in his life and when you have that Spirit living on the inside of you Satan is just plain dull.
For another example, I used to pray that God would allow me to help in the effort to stop human trafficking, especially in the realm of girls who wanted nothing to do with prostitution yet were forced to sell their bodies daily – being loaded up with heroin for more tricks (paid encounters with men).
I fought this sort of white slavery (abuse of prostitutes) in Florida back in 1979 and 1980. And as a spinner (fellow who tricks pimps into confessions for the police), I experienced some success in getting young and/or captured women back to their parents for rehabilitation. But the problem has grown worse. I just read a report on Yahoo News that says our president is covering it up to get Asian trade going well. Wow. The world is full of cruelty and our leader of the free world seems to be adding to the pain. The only promise I believe God has given me about Obama is term limits. Time will tell if this self appointed dictator of the US will step away from his position without a fight.
Promises can range from the afore mentioned world wide problem to simple things, like a good sales day on the advertising field. Whatever promise you believe God has given you, hold on to it. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it. If it is from Jehovah God, it will come to pass.
The big thing is don’t give up on the promise made by our Lord Jesus Christ to see you through this life, no matter what happens. Remember, those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be given a mansion in heaven and the company of Jehovah God forever. Don’t blot your name out by walking away and accepting the devil’s lie that believing in Jesus is all for nothing.
Jesus promises He will never turn His back on those who have accepted salvation, but He does say if you walk away from your beliefs and absolutely refuse to return to grace, you have the power, even as a once saved person, to send yourself to hell with a reprobate mind… Such a person’s name will be removed from the Lamb’s Book of Life, our only means of entering heaven without being accountable for the sins we committed in this world.
So keep the faith, no matter what problems this life may bring you. Being a Christian may bring you persecution from those who love their particular sinful lifestyle and in extreme cases they may try and behead you (like the ISIS Muslims do), but take heart, I read the end of the book. We Christians win. And that is a promise.
SCRIPTURES
1) GOD CAN NOT LIE – Titus 1:1-5 King James Version (KJV) 1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; 3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. 5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.
Hebrews 6:17-18 King James Version (KJV) 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
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.
2) SALVATION IS AVAILABLE TO WHOMEVER ACCEPTS JESUS CHRIST AS SAVIOR – Titus 2:8-12 King James Version (KJV) 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. 9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;
10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. 11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
3) WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING – Philippians 2:10-14 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.

God answers prayer
in His time, but…
He will answer you!
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Just about the time you are ready to give up on God giving you an answer to a prayer you consider very reasonable, not arrogant or selfish, but reasonable, God will answer that prayer in a way that you never expected.
That answer could be yes, or it could be no. It is rarely, if ever, a maybe. God is not wishy washy, or at least the Jehovah God I believe I have known a lifetime is not wishy washy.
There is even a place in the Christian Bible where Jesus says let your answers be yes or no (1), not endangering yourself with negative remarks and complaining.
My preacher, Pastor James McCain of the Sycamore Church in Beirne, Arkansas, said this Sunday that God is not wanting His children to feel sorry for themselves, whining and pitying their own situation. But rather, God wants obedient children who look at the good things in life, trying to improve on the bad things in an orderly and diligent fashion – not by griping and offering no solution…
In my life, prayer works this way. I ask Jesus Christ, the only sinless and Begotten Son of the Living God Jehovah, for guidance and direction in my daily life. Then I make my plan for the day. Then I ask God to bless it or direct me away from it. Then I look at the first item on my priority list and ask, “So do we do it Lord?”
Sometimes I feel a check in my Spirit, that old familiar spiritual “no” down deep inside that we Christians get when something just does not smell quite right. That still small voice of God, that need not be audible, will guide a man or a woman to inward happiness if we will but listen to this humble and serious answer to prayer.
Our world is crazy. Of course, if you are not an American who loves freedom of speech, freedom to work at what you please and freedom to carry a gun, maybe it does not seem so crazy to you. Also if you don’t mind if someone puts down your Christian beliefs, or calls you a hate monger for telling them what our Bible calls sin, maybe you think I am crazy, not the world! I can see that. I am crazy. But consider this, you are reading the advice of a crazy man who loves Jesus Christ, the epitome of love.
Jesus stood, and stands in the Spirit, for unconditional love. Let me explain. Even if you have not accepted Jesus Christ, your ticket out of eternity in hell and potentially your best friend while you walk this earth, Jesus is there for you.
The Bible says if we ask Jesus to forgive our sins, past, present and future, and believe that He is the only Begotten Son of God Jehovah, plus believe he died for our sins and rose from the dead three days later to cut us a path to a heavenly home, then Jesus will become your Savior too. His love is not just offered to some, but to all who come to Him and admit they just can not meet the Biblically legal standards of a perfect and sinless God on their own…
And if you ever get to the point in your life where you realize you can not make it on your own, and you are truly sorry for your mistakes that hurt your Creator, yourself and your fellow human being travelers on this earth, and then you go and ask Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins, and ask Him to save you from the devil’s hell you deserve for committing even one disobedience (sin) against Jehovah God, you will feel a huge burden lifted from your shoulders.
I love to play over and over the video on Youtube of a salvation experience testified to by a famous singer and actor in my United States. His name is Mr. Kris Kristopherson and “Why Me Lord?” came from him getting saved by Jesus Christ from the devil’s hell he deserved. It is an inspiring song to me, and a very inspiring testimony as well.
His friends had obviously been praying that Kris would find Jesus, and continued to take the good-hearted music man to church now and again.
But salvation is not the end of it. By the way, let me Billy Sunday you a bit. Read Romans 10, the whole chapter, and John 3:16 if you want to know how much Jesus Christ, when He was yet flesh, really loved you.
Admittedly, there is more to praying than asking Jesus into your heart. But that is a great start to a successful prayer life. The Bible says God does not have to hear an unsaved sinner’s prayer (2), unless it is a plea for salvation. No, He may not have to, but I am so glad He heard mine! I prayed a lot before I reached the age of accountability. Faith in the God of Love makes the difference. I can not imagine what I would do without Jesus Christ to guide my ship of life. People talk of the old testament law being so strict and mean that nobody could follow it. I agree. A lot of it is.
But when Jesus Christ came to earth, lived and died as the pure blood sacrifice on that cross, grace came with Him and the covenant man had with God changed – changed that is from sin equally death and hell to forgiveness of sin being there for the asking and the possibility that a person could have his or her name in the Lamb’s Book of Life now and forever.
And the New Testament is not cold, legal and mean. It is full of love, compassion and forgiveness. And the closer we walk with Jesus, learning His ways of putting others first and ourselves as their humble and willing servants, the happier we get and the more answered prayers we have to testify about.
Remember, acquiring Christian humbleness also means forgiving others of any wrongs they have committed against you. Jesus will teach you that. Your first job is to muster up the faith to ask Him for your free gift of salvation. Jesus Christ will take it from there. I believe my life has spun around to where I can write you these sermons because I took that first step and asked for Jesus Christ to save me when I was 15.
THE RESSURECTED CAT
I remember doing something really thoughtless when my little girl Kelley was six or seven instead of 31. She had a kitten that refused to get out from under my feet and I was in the front yard on the way to work. The kitty scratched me and I went into a rage. I threw the animal into the air! Then I realized my daughter would be out there soon, getting ready to get on her school bus in Alexander, Arkansas – heading to first or second grade.
I prayed, “Jesus, I know I just did a terrible thing and that cat looks dead to me. If you would be willing to help me and make it alive and healthy again, I would be most grateful. Amen.”
Apparently the loving Spirit of Jesus Christ decided to have mercy on father and daughter that morning. The evidently comatose cat got up, shook itself and went back to being ultra friendly to me. When Kelley came out of the house, she did not have to face tragedy, but rather she experienced the mercy brought on by earnest prayer instead. It was time for answered prayer and my Jehovah God answered.
I recall another instance where God answered my prayer in an even more bleak situation. I was probably 30 years old and the editor of the then Blytheville Village News weekly newspaper in Eastern Arkansas. My wife Doris and I were separated and Kelley was staying with me every other weekend. My daughter was about 5 or 6 at the time.
I had a girlfriend named Teresa during the separation. Actually, it was a legal divorce, but it only lasted a year or so and then Doris and I tried married life again for another six years. But during this time, in 1989, I was recovering from losing both of my grandparents to death and living in a trailer at Gosnell that I had purchased with some inheritance money.
Teresa and I were supposed to go to a Jaycee function that night and enjoy some rock and roll music. She had to work as a nurse and when I got to her house in Victoria I was told her cousin and teenage friend would be riding back and forth with me to the Jaycee function. I was not too happy about the broken date, but I realized Teresa could not help it so I played along.
After the concert, I took Karen and her young friend home and then pointed my Charger toward Gosnell and my mobile home to go to bed. The combination of too much beer and a car with too much pep nearly got me killed. I looked down and realized I was going about 100 mph on highway 181 and about to cross highway 18, a main through fare where semi trucks came barreling through to save time in getting to Interstate 55.
Suddenly the thought hit me that I might be killed. I prayed, “Jesus, I have had too much to drink and I am out of sorts and in danger of losing this body you gave me. I beg for your mercy, as I do not want to meet you face to face tonight. I have much I would like to accomplish yet on this earth.”
I slowed the vehicle down the best I could and braced for whatever was going to happen when I crossed highway 18. I went airborne over the road and landed on a gravel road that I did not know was there on the other side. I slowly came to a complete stop and shut off the engine to weep in thanksgiving. I was fine, yet my actions could have creamed me. Some might call it luck. I call it another answered prayer.
I restarted the Charger and went home, very slowly. Looking back, it would have indeed been a shame to have missed all that has happened in the past 26 years. Yet my sinful and selfish actions of wanting to see how fast my car would go almost lost me my life – almost but not for the grace of God and the mercy of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
And then there are times when God’s answer to your earnest prayer is no. I tried my best to show my ex-wife Doris that I really did love her and wanted to make our lives together work. I prayed and prayed that she would see past my youthful playfulness and give me a chance to grow up – without hardening to me and asking for our home to be no more. God did not grant that one.
We divorced again, by her request, but through grace and a kid and three grand kids in common, we have developed a decent friendship. Still, God has been merciful. I have been married to Michelle 17 years, as of Sept. 19, and she has been very merciful toward my personal growing process. Even if she got fed up tomorrow, I must say these have been good and productive years with her. God knew I belonged with her. So again, although I could not see it when Doris and I were splitting up, Jehovah God was merciful on me once again.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
A VTN Christian minister, Joyce Meyers, talks of enjoying every day life and getting away from a self-absorbed, complaining type life. She says her robotic answer to most controversies with her husband in their early marriage years was, “What about me?” Then Jesus got into her spirit and told her Christianity is about being happy through serving others, and deriving personal satisfaction from that sort of humble and charitable life.
Still yet, many of your prayers may very well have not been selfish in your mind. The three examples I gave were not selfish to me. They were just pray examples that happened to me at very weak points in my life. I later learned that praying to God in the good times, and thanking Him for my many blessings, was a wise thing to do and also sparked that inner happiness we all seek as people on this earth.
Joyce Meyers does a good job in showing people how to be happy in their Christian walks. She also advocates praying daily, both in the good and bad times. So what about you? Have you ever prayed for something in earnest and received God’s mercy and got it? Have you ever prayed in earnest and found His answer to be no? Most likely you have experienced both scenarios if you are believer in Jehovah God, that is the God of Love, and his only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
But none of us like for our Dad to tell us no. It is the same thing when we develop a personal relationship with God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in one God of Love, but I also believe His Spirit is very real in the Jehovah God Father part, the Jesus Christ Son part and the Holy Ghost Comforter part. I see it like this. We humans are flesh, soul (mind) and spirit. So since we are made in God’s image, it is not so hard for me to believe He is also made up of three parts.
But the big deal of this sermon is prayer. What about you? Do you pray? Most believers do, especially in times of trouble. When we come to Jesus, we unload our cares on Him. He invites this in the scripture, “Take my Yoke, it is easy (3).”
There was a stage in my Christian development, perhaps credited to the Methodist Church I started out in, when I saw the God of Love as my co-pilot. I would envision God sitting next to me in my car, there for questioning, begging to and to have a few laughs with when my mood was right.
Then one day I read in the Bible where God wants to be our guide, our Lord so to speak, of our lives. He wants us to get to the point of humbleness where we still make our own decisions but we have the good sense to ask His opinion before we put our feet in some water. I grew to know God as my Master, that is Jesus is my Lord, my friend, my counselor and the human side of God All Mighty that I go to when I want one more cigar but don’t want to press my habit to coughing, and I go to when I want to know what I might do to show my spouse just how much I love and appreciate her.
In other words, I consult my Lord on the small stuff and the big things in my life. I pray for strength to do the right thing, the thing He drops in my spirit as right, not the thing I just think looks good for me at the time. I have grown to realize that I need to pray a lot more than I used to because my judgment is never going to be as good as God’s and I want the best things that can happen in my life to happen – not stuff that I can claim as my ideas necessarily, like in my younger days.
The power of prayer, according to the Christian Bible, rests in the Name of Jesus Christ. So I pray in the Name of Jesus to get his will in my life. Again, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I want something for me so bad I just plain ask for His mercy so that I might have it. That does not always work. And when it does, it does not always turn out for the best. For you see, all of us are flawed; damaged goods so to speak. Pray for God’s will in your life, not your own.
Try that out if you like and let me know how it goes. I know in my life, when I have the courage to do it, that form of prayer has never failed to improve things. If you are praying for the health of a loved one, or even a stranger, don’t be discouraged. It just might be the will of the Father for that person to get strong and well again. And do pray because the Bible says many times we do not have because we do not ask.
The existence of the Tailgate News is an answer to my prayer to God to create some way that I might continue writing for the public – even though being independent in the traditional newspaper business, hybrid shopper style, seemed to have ran its course. That print version of this publication lasted as a monthly magazine from May of 2007 to April of 2012 and then simply became too skimpy on the profits for me to continue and make a living.
A good friend found me a web master and the fellow created this web site. After building an audience of 3,000 site hits, I took a chance and started selling advertisements to the digital Tailgate News full time in January of 2013. So far so good. And I pray daily for one day to make a consistent profit so that I might sell my publication when I am around 73 and my wife is ready to retire from her traditional job.
God has taken care of me professionally and personally, and I believe He always will. In the case of Tailgate News, he took up the torch when my best was no longer good enough through two kind hearted men who made it possible for me to continue my work in a way that I never would have imagined as possible. But even if there comes a time when Jesus Christ says no to my dream of finishing my career out as a full-time weekly magazine writer, that is OK. Because I believe in the old Christian saying that if God closes one door, He will open a door that is even better for his child to walk through.
Pray with hope. Pray with faith, and most importantly, pray to the God of Love with Love in your heart. He will be glad to form a relationship with you, and that relationship starts with prayer and the faith in Jehovah God to pray to Him for salvation through Jesus Christ so He has authority to answer other types of prayer you have on your mind.
SCRIPTURES
1) LET YOUR ANSWERS BE YES OR NO – Matthew 5:33-42 King James Version (KJV) 33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
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. 38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
2) A SINNER’S PRAYER – John 9:28-32 King James Version (KJV) 28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.
30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. 31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. 32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
Ephesians 2:8 King James Version (KJV) 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Romans 10:6-12 King James Version (KJV) 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 (all means all) that call upon him.
Editor’s Note: The Bible plainly says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. As to a sinner’s prayer not being heard, I believe this refers to those who would mock God as they glory in their wickedness, and that any man or woman who seeks Jehovah God through a confession of sin and acceptance of the power and definition of who and what Jesus Christ was and is will be saved. Our Bible may be a tool that we humans can not completely ever understand. Paul mentioned this in his passages about now seeing through a smoky glass and yet one day, in the heavenly presence of Jesus Christ, with one’s name in the Lamb’s Book of Life, all questions will be answered unto the faithful saint.
We humans have a bad dog and a good dog. How we develop our character depends on which dog we feed the most. But if inside of you there is something that craves a relationship with your Creator, believe and repeat Romans 10: 9-12 and then ask Jesus Christ to come into your spirit and dwell with you forever. I believe that your faith in doing so will bring you your salvation and your hope, faith and love will come alive – that is you will see the LIGHT OF JESUS CHRIST. Come to Jesus. You certainly have nothing to lose and heaven to gain – both on earth and in the great here after. It takes faith to believe in Jesus and His power to place your name in that Lamb’s Book of Life. Do it and then keep the faith no matter what comes your way.
3) TAKE MY YOKE, IT IS EASY – Matthew 11:25-30 King James Version (KJV)
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Sin is what
the Christian
Bible says it is
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
When I was a Florida resident, back in 1979 and 1980, I learned a fighting technique known as drawing fire. Since I am assigned by a higher authority to write you a sermon a week, I have decided to try it out here.
Being a Christian is not an evil thing. We do not behead those who refuse the faith. We love the sinner man or woman and hate the sin. We hate our own sins as well. But you see, our Good Book tells us what sin is, according to Jehovah God.
I don’t care if it is something as socially accepted as taking the name of the Lord in vain in multiple forms of swearing (road rage is a good example), or as complex as homosexuality, sin is sin. I am not saying I condemn those who do either.
I am saying that once a person comes to Jesus Christ as his or her Savior that individual is no longer under the law of sin and death, nor is he or she any longer on the way to a devil’s hell. The Christian Bible is plain that no matter how good the individual behaves, without accepting the pure blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of God, you will go to hell upon leaving this world.
I would love it if everyone in the readership of this sermon were to ask Jesus into their hearts and start a new life – one where the dispersion of grace is possible. And one where love abounds forever as we walk through this life on the way to heaven.
But many people will not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. Those folks names will not appear in the Lamb’s Book of Life after they die and they will make hell their home for eternity (1). This just plain does not sound like a very good time to me. Better to accept Christ and grow into a man or woman of abundant integrity, both on this planet and in heaven.
Evangelical Christians, which I respect and admire, have all of the gifts of the Spirit of God in operation. They have grown a lot more than me. They hate sin but love the sinner. If they are non-judgmental, as Jesus told us to be, then they will befriend the sinner, feed him or her, house them and let them know how much love is in their hearts.
Now I want to be evangelical. But so far, I have not healed anyone that I know of by the laying on of hands, I have not raised anyone from the dead through faith in the power of Jesus Christ and I have not had the faith to run the pews at an old fashioned revival. I am a Christian who is working on mustering the faith to be evangelical one day.
But let’s look at this sin thing. It is not my job to tell you about your sins. If you want to know what they are, search your heart and then read the Bible. I had a long talk with a homosexual girl the other day named Cat. I really liked her a lot and hope to do business with her family a long time.
But she wanted to see if I would condemn her for her sin. I did not, nor do I believe that would be my right. She admitted her actions are sinful, according to the Christian Bible and said if she were ever to marry in a homosexual manner, she would seek out agreeable clergy or a justice of the peace. Contrary to political rhetoric, Cat does not want to force a preacher to go against his or her beliefs – especially in a ceremony ordained by Jehovah God as to being only valid between a man and a woman.
She told me she was a Christian preacher’s daughter and that she did not choose her lot in life – nor does she deny her desires and feelings. I respect that lady. She was, in my opinion, honest with me, and I believe the love of Christ is in her heart. I also believe Jesus will help her overcome her sinful actions in the future concerning this matter because it seems to me that is the way she wants it to go. God does answer prayer – but He does it in His time…
I swear too much. I also believe God will help me overcome that because that is the way I want it to go. I pray for cleansing of my own soul in this matter. Some say homosexuality is something we are born with. Others believe it is a spirit that once it takes possession of the soul is very hard to shake. Either way, the practice is sin according to the Christian Bible.
I have often pondered why some are so engrossed in their own selfish desires that they try and convince others that known sin is no longer sin in our modern liberal society? In my day, if a man lied he did not try and justify it. If he murdered, he knew it was wrong. And if he committed a homosexual act, said to be an abomination unto Jehovah God and a stink in His nostrils, plainly written in the Christian Bible, that man, or woman, freely admitted it was sin they were involved with – just like my new friend Cat did last week.
But in today’s world, calling something a sin is taken by some to be an announcement of condemnation and hate. The Christian truth is about as far away from that assumption as it could be. I will pray for Cat to control herself and for one day God to change her sexual orientation, if that is what she wants, as I believe the lady would make a fine wife and mother.
Again, if she wants to change, I believe our Jehovah God of mercy will give her the cleansing from her brand of sin that she seeks. But I will not hold up her sin, or mine, as some sort of liberated right. I have done so in the past with my personal sin of swearing. Oh, I knew it said in the Christian Bible not to swear by the sun or the moon, or anything the Lord has created, but cussing was too much fun. Cussing just had to be OK… Well, it ain’t. If I had not accepted Jesus, cussing, along with many other sins in my life, would have ushered me into a devil’s hell.
We Christians have been persecuted, or even killed, for not stopping the preaching of what we consider the good news gospel of Jesus Christ, our Messiah, our Savior and our best friend – both in these temporary bodies and in a celestial body once we leave this world with our last breath behind us.
But I have not heard of a modern day, American Christian, going off on soldiers and killing them because of differences in religious believes or rounding up folks from another religion for slaughter because they are not Muslim. Even though I do not agree with everything on a Christian radio station I listen to, I do agree that it is obvious Muslims are not a peaceful, live and let live, bunch.
I got upset at the political forum on Yahoo the other day when some ignorant soul was trying to say evangelical Christians would just as easily slaughter you for your different believes as those who take a literal translation of the Muslim Coram. True evangelical Christians are closer to what God wants them to be than any other brand.
Murder is a sin. We Christians strive not to commit sin. I do believe in self defense and would personally back a president who went to war with the Muslims for the purpose of containing the extremists and de-clawing groups like ISIS. And yes, at 56, if asked to, I would pick up a gun and fight them myself. I consider our current administration policy of not even admitting that ISIS has already been responsible for the deaths of several soldiers by bushwhacking to be very cowardly.
I could be wrong, but I would be willing to bet good money if I surprised Obama and said “boo” he would jump three feet in the air! This should not be. Making our country look like a bunch of communist sympathizers and followers of the late Adolph Hitler when it comes to taking a stand against the Muslim world makes me sick.
I am not sure it is sin for President Barack Obama to currently not have to plan to stop ISIS from becoming a world power, but it sure does put the freedom you and I have enjoyed in jeopardy. But let’s get back to known sin.
We Christians know it is a sin to commit adultery. God set it up that way because some folks are so jealous that one indiscretion can ruin their marriage. Others already feel hard toward a spouse and encourage an indiscretion to create a way out… If you never commit adultery on your spouse, you never have to take the risk that one such incident might be enough to drive her away – or him if you happen to be a lady.
Sin, by Biblical definition, is anything not pleasing to Father Jehovah God.
He wants obedient children, but through the perfect and sinless blood of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice for all of us that Jesus made on the cross, God will make peace with those in the Lamb’s Book of Life. As the old song says, “I want to be in that number.”
To Billy Sunday you a moment, sin does not send you to hell.
Not accepting the free gift of Jesus Christ as your Savior by asking Him to forgive your sins, past, present and future, and believing in your heart that Jesus rose from the dead after three days in the grave to cut a path to heaven for all Christians will send you to hell. I gave up my front seat in hell at age 15. The devil has been upset with me ever since. So if this sermon draws fire from those who hate Christianity, so be it.
Jesus Christ was a man of pure love, and still is. His Holy Ghost can guide you and direct you to make your life full of more and more love for others – and even learn to love yourself with your own imperfections – if you only but ask Jesus into your heart with sincerity.
If you want a better path to do so than the indirect Biblical quotes of this journalist, read Romans 8 and Romans 10, the entire chapters and then read John 3:16 (2).
You will be fine if you accept the Lord. No, it is not a license to sin. But it is a license to feel free, to love and to promote all of the good things God can bring out in you. His Spirit living inside of you will cinch the deal.
The Christian Bible says the wages of sin are death (3), and indeed they are. But if you have Jesus as your Savior, it will mean that your sins will catch up to you here on earth but you will leave them, and their punishments, behind when you leave this place.
If you do not choose to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you are under the devil’s law of sin and death. And death will be your eventual ticket to a lake of fire with your master below.
SCRIPTURES
1) THE LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE – Revelation 21:24-27 King James Version (KJV)
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.
2) FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD – John 3:14-17 King James Version (KJV) 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 WAGES OF SIN ARE DEATH – Romans 6:23 [Full Chapter] For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Miracles
of Life Are
All Around Us
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
Jesus Christ talked about how Jehovah God takes care of the sparrows, and how somehow seed springs up from just being planted in the ground.
The Bible says our God is love so it would seem to me His many gifts of food, shelter, talents and friends, family or business associates come to us from His love, His mercy and His desire to see His people happy.
I just got back from a week of camping at Lake Catherine near Malvern, Arkansas with friends. My wife Michelle and I lived in an RV with Connie and Don, a couple from Southern Indiana, for a week. Connie caught one of the biggest minnow chubs I have ever seen, probably a 3-pounder. I caught a half of a dozen brim but had numerous other bites on my night crawlers to keep me entertained.
We went motor boat riding, the girls went horse trail riding and we did a lot of relaxing with nature. The first couple of days were hard as the stress of our day to day jobs came out in other ways. Setting up camp, for four people pretty new at it, is not so easy, but we did it.
The trip gave me time to think about everything God has blessed me with and to enjoy the nature and quiet time around me. While it seemed to me like we four ambitious folks were trying to cram more into each of our five days than was necessary, I was glad to see all of us learning to get along and finally conquering the stress factor by sorting through our very different lives and then taking a real break.
I had my oldest grandson Josh with me one day and enjoyed looking for minnows, frogs and turtles, followed by a bit of swimming. Josh got a new pet turtle out of the deal.
But what I want this sermon to be about is what I learned about my relationship to God and his world through my quiet time out there by the lake. While I sat at the camp, enjoying my morning coffee, I watched the squirrels playing and listened to the songs of nature as they bubbled around my finally relaxed brain. While I enjoyed talking with my camp mates, I also enjoyed just being there with Mr. God, my lifelong friend.
I saw His handiwork as birds, a racoon and those squirrels came very close to our food scraps, with no apparent fear at all. I believe animals can tell when you are in a relaxed state of mind and just enjoying the philosophy of “don’t worry, be happy.” My wife and I will try for an April or May vacation next year, either right before or right after graduation season. Connie and I hope to get site 54, as the fishing was great there and you could get on with it anytime you were ready because it is right on the lake.
By going earlier in the year, maybe things won’t be quite so hot and maybe the fishing will be even better. I believe all of God’s children need a vacation from their duties. I am a guy who loves his career and I spend a minimum of 60 hours a week getting each issue ready.
Even so, sometimes I just want to listen to what the crickets have to say instead of chasing my dreams of being a better help to folk than I have been in the past and continuing writing my slice of life articles about young sports stars and improvements in Gurdon or Malvern. Life, so they say, is a question of balance. I believe communing with nature helps make that balance a reality.
The Bible speaks about joy coming in the morning, after a person struggles on into the evening of the hard times of his or her life (1). When I was out there in nature for a week, joy came to me one morning as I was fishing with my friend Connie. We have known each other since 1980 and recently renewed our friendship. But the big deal that morning was nobody was bothering us and we were at peace with an environment friendly to many of God’s creatures.
I have talked in these sermons about the juggling act it sometimes is to keep the wolf away from the door in the advertising agency that runs side by side with the news in the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News. The money end of the business, like any business, can be stressful and challenging.
Usually, I enjoy the challenge part, but during my vacation week I was enjoying a different challenge called living up to the advice given by Jesus Christ not to worry (2).
I almost entitled this sermon, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” but that phrase is probably copyrighted somewhere. I write to you over the weekend and will be entering my work full-time again on Monday. But sitting here thinking about the very different week I had at Lake Catherine, I am both glad to be home and glad to be writing you these words.
I think the miracles of God are something I will dwell on in my thoughts for a long time since I spent my week of shore leave with God’s creatures. If you think about it, God had Adam name all of the creatures. He wanted to show the first man mentioned in the Bible his handiwork and for him to take care of them. My grandfather who raised me loved the land, loved animals of all sorts and loved farming. I can sure see why.
The Word (Christian Bible) says we were created to praise God and to have a personal relationship with our Creator. It talks about a thankful man being the one to reap the rewards of God’s Kingdom (3). The key here is to slow down, kick selfishness out of the picture at least momentarily and just love God and God’s creatures. Take every breath that God gives you and enjoy it to the max. Tell folks about your salvation experience when you asked the good Lord to forgive you of your sins, past, present and future, and about establishing a deeper walk with the Spirit of God’s only begotten, perfect blood sacrifice, Son, Jesus Christ.
The Bible speaks of men who walked with God, talking to Him in a closer manner than one might do with a brother. When I walk through the woods, sit and watch a racoon eat left overs or check out the beauty of a bird that has landed just a couple of feet away, it is easy to appreciate the gifts God has given me and you. These vivid images will wonder through my mind for weeks, as I enter my busy fall season of covering football and festivals.
As to more of God’s miracles, I am 56 and able to do just about everything physically and mentally I could at 35. This to me is a big miracle. One of my camp site mates, Don, is a veteran who suffers from many physical ailments. But he has not given up on his dreams and he seems at peace in some ways. If a fellow with all of those problems can get along without worrying too much, I have no excuse.
Now lets look at your life. You may be young, old, healthy or sick, but you apparently have the eyes and desire to read an old farm kid’s attempt at a sermon in a good news oriented Southern Arkansas magazine. That means you too can begin, or enhance, your relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ.
We Christians, despite some apparently egotistical comments from some to the contrary, are no better or worse than the rest of humanity. We simply have our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life and we hear a still small voice of God that offers to be friends for now and for eternity. That friendship leads to a path of reduced sin and an overcoming life when it comes to such things as greed, revenge or jealousy.
The peace this change brings to the individual is hard to describe in words. To quote another saying from my generation, “Try it, you will like it.”
Considering what an unsaved human being goes through, Christian salvation, in itself, is God’s biggest favor to humanity and the most outstanding miracle of God that I can think of off hand. Contrary to popular belief, accepting the fact that we as human beings can never live up to God’s rules on our own, and accepting Jesus and his sacrifice as our salvation gift to bridge the difference of opinion gap between us and the Creator, does not mean you are supposed to walk around paranoid of living. If you get saved, and you let Him, Jesus will set you free of worry and the legal burdens that being under the law of sin and death imposes on your life.
Remember Jesus said He is the way to the Father and no man or woman will get to the Father but by Him. You can be the guy or gal who is respected, has pretty good integrity and many friends, but without Jesus you still have a hole in your soul that craves more out of life that only a love walk with Jesus Christ can fill.
I used to think the term born again sounded pretty weird and I really did not understand it. Although I am still certainly no expert on what it means, I believe Jehovah God has given me a little wisdom here. Being born of the spirit means the shell of the law, and the burden of worrying about crossing your T’s and doting your I’s slowly leaves your mind. You feel a sense of relief and the hard shell your personal sins have put around you begins to melt as the Spirit of Jesus Christ grows and develops in and around your character.
And I love it that He allows me to write a sermon once a week, even though I don’t feel qualified to do so. I feel like, after I pray for God’s guidance and direction, He takes the pen and fills in the parts people need to know that my knowledge of the scriptures and the Christian life are too shallow to furnish.
He worked on me to do this for years before I obeyed. Now that I have done it for sometime, looking back, it is hard to believe I did not take the opportunity to try and please Father God earlier in life with the talent to write and communicate He has given me – such as it is…
We live and learn. And when I look into the faces of the animal kingdom, like I did on my vacation at Lake Catherine, it helps me realize that taking time to absorb the simple joy and peace seen in the countenance of God’s animal kingdom creatures can give you peace that just might be another step to feeling truly born again and free from the guilt of imperfectly following the laws of sin and death while you are still on this problematic planet called earth.
SCRIPTURES
1) JOY COMES IN THE MORNING – Psalm 30:2-6 King James Version (KJV) 2 O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. 3 O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
4 Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. 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. 6 And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.
2) JESUS SAYS DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE FUTURE – 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.
3) PRAISE GOD OUT OF THANKFULNESS FOR ALL THINGS – Psalm 34:1-5 King James Version (KJV) 34 I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-20 King James Version (KJV) 12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 16 Rejoice evermore. 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. 20 Despise not prophesyings.
Editor’s Note: I can honestly say that God has always seen me through and I believe He always will when it comes to hard spots in my life. It is easy to be thankful for the beauty of nature and for the dedication to love of sincere Christians. It is not so easy to be thankful if you lose your family, your friends, your business, or for the unexpected crossroads of life when you do not seem to have a jar of milk or a window to throw it out of if that milk is spoiled.
But if any of those things happen to you, literally, or figuratively, I know the Master of the Wind. And that Master is Jehovah God, complete with His Son Jesus Christ, who came into this world to save us from the ramifications of our sins.
Trust Jesus. No matter what happens or does not happen, trusting our Lord and Savior, asking Him for guidance and direction and then doing all you know to follow said guidance and direction is all any man or woman can do.
When times get rough, realize you have a friend who can carry you. Thank you Jesus for remembering me. And thank you Jesus for being willing to remember all who confess their sins, ask forgiveness and believe in your pure blood sacrifice on the cross – made so that whosoever will ask may have a mansion in heaven someday and enjoy eternal communion with the God of Love.

Communicate to God
through showing
love and gratitude
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
We humans are very good at playing the blame game. The worst way you can do that is to blame God for your troubles.
In the Christian religion, Jesus Christ tells us to be thankful for all things. This can be a tall order, but the more you do it the further you get in your mission to assist the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and Jehovah God. That mission, of course, is between you and our Heavenly Father.
I started thinking about communication with God this week. I am so thankful to be able to pray and to witness acts of love around me. It is summer time and there is generally a look of less than usual stress in the faces I see in my daily walk. Many of us are looking forward to a vacation.
Our family is hoping to go camping for a week. Time will tell if we get to do so. I will be thankful for every day God gives me, vacation or not. Lately, when I get my 56-year-old self out of bed in the morning, I have been thanking God for my health. So many I know, who are my age or younger, already have the bodies of cripples. Thank you Jesus that I do not.
So prayer is one of the ways we communicate with God. I pray every day and I know God answers me. I have a great wife, a great business, great kids and fantastic grand kids – and apparently my doctor daddy is still alive. I am grateful for all of that.
I also thank God for my preacher. Brother James McCain, of Sycamore Church, told us in his sermon this morning that he will always welcome gays, or any other folk, to our church, but even if Uncle Sam insists, he will not perform a gay marriage ceremony. Promoting sin is not his business. Our preacher tries to promote accepting Jesus Christ into your life to avoid the punishments of sin. To encourage sin is anti-Christian.
We are to hate the sin and love the sinner. I am in total agreement with Brother James and thankful to be able to stand with him in support of Jesus Christ and Jehovah God. How do I know what they think? I read the Bible, the King James Christian Bible to be precise. That proves it for me.
So to complete your opinion that I am certifiably insane, yes I talk to Jehovah God and I talk to the Spirit of Jesus Christ. I do both through the Holy Ghost who has comforted me for many years. This form of insanity is very rewarding. I ask you to join me.
You may do so by going to Romans, Chapter 10, and following its instructions to get saved (1). You may also turn to John 3:16 to help you understand why Jesus Christ came to the earth in the form of a man with pure, sinless, blood in His veins (2).
Romans 10 King James Version (KJV) 10 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 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. 19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. 21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
I just had to give you those scriptures right away. This Billy Sunday salvation prompting is just that important to me. I am sure you can look up John 3:16 on your own, but here it is anyway: John 3:16 King James Version (KJV) 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.
BEING THANKFUL
When we communicate with Jesus Christ, we must first pray our list of things we are thankful for in our lives if we want to get His attention. That is just my opinion, but I believe that because the scripture says to do all things without grumbling and complaining that God tells us to do (3). This, to me, refers to our instructions as understood by reading the Christian Bible.
The next thing I have learned is that we should pray for the needs of others before we pray for our own needs and/or wants. God, like most fathers on earth, is not a genie that you can just rub his head and out pops, health, wealth, fame or a bass boat. That, again, is my humble opinion.
I am steadily looking for other secrets to effective prayer. God showed me in scripture the other day that He is displeased with Christians who are not totally dedicated to finding and accomplishing His will in their lives. I do not want to be guilty of that, but I know I am. I will ask the Potter (Jesus Christ) to put me on that overcoming wheel of His and see if I can not do better.
As it stands in my journalism career, I realistically work about 10 hours a day, five days a week, and about 8 hours total during a weekend. This may seem like a lot to some. To me, it is a huge cutback to my dedication to publishing 10 or 20 years ago. I have slowed down a bit, but my heart is still in it.
Journalism, like a lot of careers, can burn you out. If I had stayed on the “fast track” of advancing with a chain newspaper, I would probably be general manager somewhere by now. Those guys burn out with all of the cognitive dissonance they have to deal with. Cognitive dissonance is a psychology term that simply means it is hard to enforce what you consider to be a lie.
A modern day general manager has to deal with that a lot. He or she must convince writers that they should do all sorts of stupid stuff that detracts from good writing and sales people that they should spend hours on paper work, or computer work, that has nothing to do with selling. I would not like to be in charge of either lie. So I am independent and stress out a lot less just running my own business as I see fit.
I am thankful God has given me this option. Again, being thankful to God is a big deal. Consider this. If you, for example, are a logger, and you break your right leg, you may be upset because you will lose work and probably not get paid for missing it. Many Christian loggers just might still blame God for the mishap. This is not a good idea. Satan throws the curve balls. God just helps us deal with them. The Bible says Jehovah God will not tempt you to do anything. So if you were careless, and you blame God for getting hurt, look in the mirror. It is either that person looking back or the devil or one of his demons that kicked you and shut you down temporarily. Spend your recovery time thanking God your leg is healing correctly and perhaps God will protect you from ever breaking it again.
BEING THANKFUL WHEN IT IS INSANE
Sanity is over rated. This, of course, comes from someone who, as Waylen Jennings used to say, has always been crazy to keep me from going insane. My point is this. Sometimes being thankful seems crazy.
I could use myself as an example and probably will. At this point, it is true enough that I have much to be thankful for, but let’s go back to November of 2003… I had a pretty good business going called the Magnet Cove Community News and lived in Lono with a wife, three step-kids and a mother-in-law. My daughter Kelley and I were getting along OK, but Kelley had moved off to Minneapolis, Minnesota with her mom, Doris, who was my wife for 12 years somewhere in the archives of time.
But in 2003, I was on my way from my house to my office one night and got this strange feeling. I was supposed to go to church that March evening and did so. I was the song leader at Victory Assembly of God and mostly sang, and led, traditional gospel music, such as “Amazing Grace.”
I had been seeking the Holy Ghost of God, with evidence of speaking in tongues, since the middle 1980s when I first experienced churches that believed in all of the gifts of the Spirit. That night, out there in Lono, I got the Holy Ghost. When we sang “Praise God, Praise God,” the Spirit came on me and I spoke in tongues.
When I am alone, I sometimes experience it again in a prayer language, but that was my first and only public performance to date. Correction, God did the performing. I just let Him use my body.
I was very thankful and should have been. The Holy Ghost of God is not referred to in scripture as the Great Comforter for nothing. He has comforted me in many times of sorrow.
Well, I said all of that to say this. The very next day I got a telephone call from a lawyer up north who demanded $20,000 in cash toward my oldest daughter Erin’s college education or I could go to jail for 8 years… It was a college abatement lawsuit that killed my newspaper business, separated me from my wife and kids, and put me alone in an apartment up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minnesota did not extradite daddies who were facing child support, and/or college abatement problems.
In time, I would pay Indiana $23,000 for Erin’s college. In time, I would get my wife and kids back, move back to Arkansas and be in life where I am today – more or less happy and blessed.
But back then, as God assured me in a message he laid in my soul a few nights later in my car, “I was about to go through my darkest hour.”
Those months in Minneapolis, from December of 2003 until June of 2004, were awful. I worked at what I could and did a lot of shivering in the cold. I was very lonesome for family and friends and I missed my journalism career.
I was also scared most of the time because even though I was making payments on Erin’s lawsuit, my lawyer in Indiana kept warning me bounty hunters could find me, bring me across Indiana state lines and I would do a year in jail before being allowed to attempt to find local work around Indianapolis or Fort Wayne…
This was also not something I was particularly thankful for. But looking back, I was thankful God volunteered to stay by my side and I was very thankful for the head’s up. At least I had a warning shot before all hell broke loose.
But that is enough of all of that. My point about bringing up my college abatement problems of the past is that I should have been more thankful in the first place for all that God had done for me.
We need to remember that God is a Creator of half full cups. Satan is the king of half empty ones. You, like me, must choose to see things half full if you are to experience the blessings of God – even when Satan is determined to destroy you.
A friend of mine, who does not claim to be a Christian, asked me if God was so good why did he allow people to be murdered in the Bible and rape victims to have to marry their assailants? Why, she asked, did God document and apparently approve of all these horrible things?
My answer is God did not do those things. People, led by the nose by Satan an inch at a time, became so corrupt that they eventually did those horrible actions and thought nothing of it. But Jesus Christ came to set us all free from that.
He came to give us a choice. We can now live under His grace and obey His greatest Commandment; Love God with all of your strength and love your neighbor as yourself, or we can continue to live under the law of sin and death, not accept the eternal sacrifice of Jesus Chirst, and pay eternally for even the smallest of sins by going to a devil’s hell and then a lake of fire.
She, of course, is not buying my argument. She believes, as do many, that God will overlook her shortcomings and realize she is basically a good and kind hearted person.
I just smile and walk away. I did what God told me to do. I told her if she wanted to be in the presence of a God of Love forever, she would have to accept the pure-blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross and be thankful for what He did.
Jehovah God will have to do the rest of the work on that lady. I am a willing vessel if I can do anything to help to encourage her to find Jesus as Savior. And I will be thankful if Jesus Christ allows me to witness to this young lady one more time so the tears of repentance will flow.
But as with any of you, the act of repentance and accepting Jesus Christ and his sacrifice to live under grace instead of living under the law is up to the individual. Nobody can force you or should. All we Christian believers can do is attempt to share the good news.
SCRIPTURES
3) DO ALL THINGS FOR GOD WITHOUT COMPLAINING – 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.

Is your motivation the welfare of others when you pray to Jesus?
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
I sometimes just pray and ask for scriptures to put in the Gate Briefs header of this Tailgate News Weekly Magazine. I did that last week and here is what I got.
James 4:1-3 King James Version (KJV) 4 From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Wow. If you sort of skipped over these Christian Bible verses, read them again. And then, read them again. And now then we have something to talk about. To me, Christ, or His representative James, was trying to tell us what Christ had taught him about gain.
My business, the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News, was 8 years old in May. It is really not doing too bad, considering the anti-capitalism sentiments of our current presidential administration. No, Obama is not saying that. But actions speak louder than words. Consider all the cut backs in the past 6 years as far as people having a job. Hey man, I sell advertising.
That is a thermometer of the business world. If they can not pay their light bills, they sure don’t want to invest in possible expansion. And if they can not pay their light bill, they probably have no money to hire someone new.
So all things considered, I really have no reason to complain. Sure, my ad collection money is about half of what it was back in 2003 when I owned the Magnet Cove Community News, but it is slowly getting better. I give God the credit for the improvements I see.
I found the combination of Gurdon and Malvern news, as far as direct coverage, through trial and error – and it works for me. I should have seen it before, but I see now that this combination should get the business running at a consistent profit within a year or so. And that is a good thing. Even so, due to house, car and miscellaneous other expenses, I am yet to start climbing out of the debt it took to set up my “stable” life in Gurdon. I’m getting several new accounts at Malvern though so I still have faith that I will be debt free by retirement age.
I read James 4:1-3 and boy did those words ever make me soul search. Perhaps they did you too. I began to realize that maybe my desire to solvencize what I had bitten off was not an altruistic goal. In short, perhaps wanting to get out of the debt I had created, with the help of some kind hearted individuals and banks, was at least in part done out of being motivated by personal lust.
I am a giver. When I can give to others, I love it. Sure, Christianity and the principles Jesus Christ lives by are part of my motivation for this attribute, but basically I just enjoy making other people happy by giving them an unexpected break.
However, I also enjoy driving my 2012 Nissan Versa work car. I like knowing my wife has a reliable 2012 Nissan Rogue to drive and I enjoy being married to a girl I consider pretty, intelligent and gentle most of the time. I also enjoy visiting with my kids and grand kids, as well as communicating with my friends.
If God takes my business away from me tomorrow, I will continue to write these sermons for the web site and/or Facebook until I kick – once a week as promised. And I believe God will always give me the means to do so.
Now for a surprising statement. I believe with everything in me that God has dropped it in my spirit that 2015 will be the year when I begin getting out of debt, not going further in for the business to survive – in short I believe Jehovah God will financially give me the ability to double pay one debt at a time and balloon it off the records. Some legalistic Christians have a question that goes something like this. What if you missed God?
My answer is bull feathers. I know what I heard. And feeling that way, I am expecting good things before Dec. 31. But then I look again at James 4:1-3. Do I want these good things for me or to help others? In all honesty, the true answer is I want them for a little of both.
If I did not believe in Jesus Christ and His Lamb’s Book of Life, I would know that creating a profit in the Tailgate News would never last anyway and I probably would not care nearly as much whether or not it ever happens. But I do believe in what is said in those red letters of my King James Bible and I do believe that God has said it is His will that His children prosper – and I mean real prosperity that lasts (1).
Even so, if you are a Christian reading this, you are on that Potter’s wheel just like I am.
We are constantly confronted in our spirits with this sin or that sin that needs to be widdled out of our lives. God dealt with me last week about coveting something another man I know has as his own. So far, it would seem I am overcoming that one. Time will tell if I can. I believe Jesus can help me do so. And I believe each sin we can successfully overcome will be a testimony to the non-believer down the road. They are watching and they will see the change!
CONSUMING TO
OUR OWN LUST
But whatever the sin, let’s look today at consuming something on ourselves as lust to our own desires. Whether that is business, an appealing new sexual partner or a good used pick-up truck, self-centered quests are all over our lives. If you say they are not in yours, let me remind you that lying is a sin. If we were on Facebook social media, I would now give you the laughing out loud acronym (LOL).
In short, we all want something just for us. And I believe God, in His mercy, gives us some of that stuff. But the Word says He gives it to us after we put seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first in our lives.
Television minister Andrew Womack said today that God’s righteousness enters us and is in us right after we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior (2). But putting others first, that is listening to that priority the presence of Jesus Christ in our soul creates, does not always come over night.
When our first priority does start being the needs of others instead of our own, we will begin to experience real prosperity. I believe that is the underlying message in James 4:1-3.
Now then, you say, what is the solution to really changing our priorities away from “me” first? Prayer is a good start. But before you pray, you have to mean it. God knows when we are faking. And that does not do us or our Christian walk any good at all. “Fake it till you make it” might work in sales when dealing with other people, but it does not carry any weight with an all-seeing, all-knowing Jehovah God.
Still yet, as with anything else, recognizing there is a problem helps. Most of us do not want to sin that have accepted Jesus. We would rather our actions please our Lord and Savior instead of make Him cry in disappointment. So now that you and I are thinking about selfishness in regard to success in business, sex (in Christianity this means from your marriage partner of the opposite sex), food, drink or whatever it is you think would bring you the most happiness at the time, let’s consider the logic of Jesus Christ.
We have not because we either don’t ask Jesus for what we want or we ask with the motivation of self gain – that is we ask amiss…
So it would seem to this journalist, the way to prosper, at least in part, is like many things in Christianity, we need to concentrate on serving others and be happy with the fall-out God gives us to keep us going. When we start thinking of, in my case, the “John” stuff, the deal gets funny and so does the money. I would imagine it is the same for you, as God says He is no respecter of persons (3). In other words, what He will do for one, He will do for all.
So some would conclude that true prosperity must be impossible because any human with common sense knows he or she is going to desire something just because it sounds like it would be fun. For example, I want the money ahead of my bills enough to buy a good set of golf clubs, join a country club and start playing golf a couple of Saturday mornings a month. To me, this would be good, clean fun and I have a couple of friends in mind that I would love to play golf with… someday.
When I had my grandfather’s money at my disposal, before I was 30 years old, I used to love to play golf and was not too bad at the game. I think it would be fun to try that again, at least a couple of times a month.
I am no expert on this, as I like to have good, clean fun and I find nothing in the Bible that would indicate Jesus Christ did not enjoy things on this world as well. He ate with his disciples and enjoyed a good glass of wine and good conversation afterwards. I think being at one of those suppers would be awesome. When I get to heaven, I want to do that.
I think the true prosperity mentioned in the Bible comes when greed, as a lifestyle, leaves. God knows our needs and our true needs are not lusts of the flesh. In current United States society, we need clothes, something to eat, a vehicle to get back and forth to work, a telephone, a computer and a chair to sit in at night – as well as a bed to lay down in… We do not particularly need a good set of golf clubs, but God is a God of mercy. Who knows, He might just provide your version of golf clubs – or whatever your whim happens to be.
There are other needs we human beings have like enjoying friends, having family around us and pursuing what we perceive as a worthwhile purpose in life. These things are not a sin to crave in my opinion.
I believe when Jesus talks about praying for things that we might consume them on our flesh he is referring to overindulgence – praying for a Corvette when a Versa would do fine, praying for the legalization of polygamy so you can have four legal wives when all you need is one wife. And so forth an so on. You know it when you are praying to consume on your own lusts, that is when greed is getting the best of you.
When you pray for others, God may give you even more than you need – not to for fill your lusts but to give you things you can pass on to those with even more need. Trust is like that. If you go to work for the Tailgate News, I will trust you with phone calls for appointments. If you can do that, I will then trust you on asking for small sales. If you can do that successfully, I will teach you how to ask for annually renewed business card sales…
In other words, as a human being, I believe trust is not necessarily earned but I do want someone to show me in action what the other person and I already see as a trust factor in our relationship. We are made like God. The Word says King David was a man after the heart of Jehovah God. Is it too much to consider that perhaps we are all a bit like King Davis who have started a Christian walk? I don’t think so.
I really get worried about people who tell me they will never commit a certain sin. By saying “never” they are opening a door for the devil to go to work. It has been true in my life and I will bet you it has been just as true in yours.
But to “Billy Sunday” you for just a moment, those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior many times use lies to gain a bit of ground financially or in some other way – such as sexual gratification etc. They may not even believe it is wrong. And for them, being non-Christian, perhaps in their own minds it is not wrong to lie, deceive and the like. In short, the perception that the ends justify the means is wide spread.
After all, to use a modern example, and not saying the fellow is not a Christian as he claims, President Barack Obama admitted using lies and deceit to the Congress and American public in passing his signature health package, that is Obamacare. And because it was born of lies, it sure does not seem to be working very well. The news said recently we can expect premiums to double this next year for people who use Obamacare…
This is no big surprise to a Christian. Time after time in our own lives, there is proof that lies lead to destruction. King David and Besheba got married, had other children and apparently felt a deep human love for one another. But it started out as lies. And God made them pay. Their baby conceived while King David was Okaying things like the murder of her husband Uriah, died. The death of a child, so I believe, is probably one of the most horrible punishments God could have done to this couple – or any couple.
This all happened while all of humanity was under the law, rather than grace. But still, it had to have hurt, eye for an eye or not. I am sure God still had mercy though. He let the couple’s love grow and they gave birth to Solomon, a man who picked God’s wisdom over everything else he was offered by the All Mighty – and as a result of his integrity was also given more riches in life than any other recorded human being.
But getting back to a short salvation message, we do have the option, since Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, to accept Jesus as our personal Savior and His righteousness as our righteousness as seen from then on by a perfect Jehovah God. We can do this, get our name in the Lamb’s Book of Life and go to heaven when our bodies die and make the trials of this old life on earth a lot more bearable because His indescribable love will envelop our souls.
Want an example? Look at that church, I believe it was in South Carolina, where the mentally ill 21-year-old killed eight church members telling folk he just had a short time to prove someone would stand up and retaliate against an alleged reduction in opportunity that the black race was causing in our society.
I say mentally ill because I believe with everything in me that prejudice is a demonic spirit, known in the secular world as schizophrenia gone amuck, that needs whatever treatment our society can give it. This murderer may never gain the trust of the public to be set free again, but he needs help in a nut house, not storage in a prison warehouse where he might very easily dilute his own thinking into believing murder on his cell block would be a wonderful follow-up to the murders he committed that day at the church. Time will tell if the courts agree with me.
My suggestion, or “Billy Sunday” salvation suggestion if you will, is get saved and get the Spirit of Jesus on the inside of you so the glorious love of God makes you tend to think before you act, and so that the merciful hand of God is on you when you get greedy in the areas of perceived social reform, business expansion after that business is paying the bills or when it is tempting to run around on your spouse… Salvation will make a difference in all of these areas, and many more – giving you peace you have never known and joy unspeakable.
SCRIPTURES
1) GOD WANTS HIS CHILDREN TO PROSPER – 3 John 1-4 King James Version (KJV) 1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
2) JESUS IN US MEANS HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS IS IN US – Matthew 6:30-34King James Version (KJV) 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 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) GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS – Acts 10:32-36King 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:)
Romans 2:10-12 King James Version (KJV) 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.

Our Heavenly Father
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
It is said that the way we picture Jehovah God in Heaven is similar to the way we relate to our earthly father, whether that gentleman was your biological daddy or not.
In my case, my dad’s dad raised me and my biological dad was more like an older brother. Even so, I respected and loved both men. Grandpa died in 1989 when I was 30 years old. I have not heard from my dad in many years. If he is still alive, he would be 87.
For the record, I would love to rekindle a relationship with my father. But for years, he has made sure I was on my own. I am a journalist and have a few bills I would say are hard to pay. Sure, the fact that my earthly father is, or was, a millionaire, crosses my mind when I am looking at a shut-off notice. But in all honesty, I want the man to recontact me for friendship. I have done all I know to do in order to initiate contact on my end – many times.
The last time I saw Dr. John W. Nelson was at his father’s funeral in late Janary of 1989. Michelle and I will have been married 17 years come this September and she has never met him. I can find no record on the Interent of his obituary so I assume the fellow is alive somewhere. The last thing he said to me at the funeral was he would be there for me if I ever needed him. I have needed him a lot, but since his dad, farmer John Hans Nelson, died back in 1989 at the age of 96, the only Father I have known has been Jehovah God in Heaven.
I tell you this bit of background to not make you feel sorry for me. Indeed, I had a wonderful earthly father. Grandpa taught me how to work hard and do it right, how to fish, how to hunt rabbits, how to raise a garden and flowers, how to mow grass and how to dream. He taught me a lot more than all of these things, but those are listed to name a few.
If I had the cash on hand, I would fill up my little Versa and haul myself to Hagerstown, Indiana on Father’s Day to put flowers on Grandpa’s grave. He was the only father I knew as far as in the traditional sense, but he was a great daddy – known to me simply as Grandpa.
I am half Cherokee. I like to call it the braver half. The rest of my genetics are a fourth Scandinavian and a fourth English. I am sure those are wonderful people to be a part of as well. But I bring up the Cherokee in me to say this. Cherokees are Christian in nature and their national theme song is “Amazing Grace.” I have attended many Cherokee pow-wows in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. I am a member of the Western Cherokee Nation of Arkansas and Missouri and have been for years. For a year or so, I was even the editor of their tribal newspaper, the Cherokee Chronicle.
I bring my Native American side up to say this. They speak of a Grandfather Spirit when they speak of the Spirit of Jehovah God and they talk about a pure white buffalo sacrifice when they are referring to Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son and ultimate sacrifice for your sins and mine. The Bible even talks of the pure blood of Jesus being able to wash your sins away, leaving you white as snow.
That Grandfather Spirit part intrigues me. Again, we view Jehovah God in much the same manner we viewed our natural or surregate Daddy. Mine was Grandpa. Grandpa was merciful to me, tolerant of my mistakes but a great teacher and he showed me you are supposed to have respect for your wife, your children and your type of work. Honesty was big with Grandpa. He said a fellow might have use for a murderer in life, when it got rough beyond belief, but a fellow would never have any decent use for a liar.
Some of what he taught me agrees with Biblical teaching. Some does not. He was not a perfect man, but I do believe he knew Jesus and accepted Christ as his Savior. I believe I will see my surregate daddy, that is my Grandpa, in Heaven when I die. Time, as a wise man once said, will tell that tale.
So getting back to Jehovah God and Him being our Heavenly Father, what does that mean to the Christian who has accepted the Lord and His sacrificial blood but is satisfied to do very little more than just that basic requirement to maintain his or her name in the Lamb’s Book of Life?
I hope Jehovah God means a lot more to you than fire insurance. I call him Mr. God sometimes, as that is what I have been calling Him since I was a small child. The Mr. God I know is full of mercy, kindness, long suffering and abundance. Some say if you come to God and give him your whole heart, with a spirit of giving everything else, God will give you the riches of the ages and you will be able to help those in need financially for the rest of your life. This happens to some of us. And some of us, like me, wish it would happen, as there are so many people besides me and my family that I would love to help. Again, time will tell the tale as to whether it will happen to me. In the meantime, I will use the tools on my table and try to be happy with them.
The hardest thing the Heavenly Father is famous for in my life, and perhaps in yours, is teaching us patience. I pray and get this Holy Ghost bump type answer coming back from Mr. God saying, “In my time.”
No kid wants to hear about delayed gratification. But in getting to know God, I have come to the conclusion that he is right. You don’t give your son a motorcycle if he has yet to learn to ride a bicycle properly. And God is the only one who knows what we are ready for in life. We can guess, but without the guidance and direction of the Spirit and life of Jesus Christ we will probably guess wrong. So in my prayers for my life, I pray He shoulders me with what He has promised in His time, not mine.
Sure, sometimes it reminds me of waiting for Grandpa to finish plowing a field to go fishing, but sometimes in life we just have to wait for the time to be right. Let’s look at marriage. You don’t want to ask a girl to take your name when you first meet her. I realize there is a ladies television show on the air these days called “Marriage at First Sight,” but I still say it is a bad idea – computer match or not. You gotta smell the girl, feel the touch of her hand, look into her eyes when she is telling you a story or making you a promise. You can not just blindly jump into marriage, unless, as Grandpa used to say, you lack the gene for common sense. And most of us won’t because we know that would yield a poor percentage toward a successful union.
It is the same way with God. He wants us to get to know a situation before giving us the keys to running it right. If you want to know what God wants, read the Lord’s Prayer (1). Jesus taught us to pray to God in a manner that reflects asking the Father to lead us out of temptation and asking Him to forgive us our trespasses (sins). Then the pray goes on to give all of the glory of our lives, good, bad or otherwise, to God, in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
By the way, I used to be bothered over the distinction between those Christians hung up on everything having to be prayed in the Name of Jesus Christ and other preachers who were always praying in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Both are in the Bible. The reason, so I discovered, that this is not a conflict, is because the family name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is the Name of Jesus Christ. That is just a tidbit I have become convinced of in my Bible research. If you choose to dispute it, that is up to you. I try not to bicker over non-salvation issues.
And the big thing Jehovah God wants us to do is seek first the Kingdom of God and all things will be added unto you (2). The Kingdom is Jesus Christ, in my humble opinion, is the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Love. If you can see you can not make it on your own, as far as forgiveness of sins, and that Jehovah God runs a pure Heaven, and you can see in the Bible that your name must be in the Lamb’s Book of Life for the blood of Jesus to hide your sins and then wash them away, then you have come a long way to always being in the presence of Jehovah God.
And accepting Jesus Christ and his miracle of salvation is the only way to get your name in that Lamb’s Book of Life. To keep it there, you must hold on to Jesus until your last breath, no matter who tells you that you are not worthy of it for some sinful mistake you have made. Jesus said, “I am the truth and the Light. No one gets to the Father except by me (3).”
This includes anyone who thinks they are basically a good person, follows most of those 10 commandments and believes in treating folks with truth and honesty – most of the time. In short, we can not make it without Jesus Christ and that is the bottom line. If you get to know your Heavenly Father here on earth, this Jesus key will become more and more important to you. The deal is when Mr. God becomes your friend, you just won’t ever want to be separated from Him.
The Bible also promises that those who refuse the gift of salvation from Jesus Christ, that is the pure covering created by His death, resurrection and blood sacrifice on the cross, will be apart from Father God forever when their bodies die. Those worldly folks who refuse Jesus Christ are under the law of sin and death and the Word of God promises that their sins will lead them to an eternity in hell – separated for all time from Jehovah God.
Just from a human standpoint, even through Dr. Nelson, my biological daddy, was not Grandpa and did not raise me as his son, it still hurts that Dr. Nelson lied to me at his father’s funeral and apparently never intended to be there for me as a friend again. I have forgiven him and still love him very much, but the truth of the matter is still the truth of the matter. I bring it up to tell you, being separated from a father hurts like no other pain you have ever experienced.
I am not saying other things don’t hurt just as bad or worse, but abandonment is horrible. Jehovah God, through Jesus Christ, says to the Christian, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” The Bible also says God is not a man so he can not lie. When God makes you a promise, it is a done deal. This is also unique to the diety. People have great intentions but circumstances sometimes make them out to be liars, even when they never intended it that way.
I have debts I have yet to pay because of circumstances that got out of hand. I hope and pray that someday my business will be big enough that there will come a time when I can report to you that I owe no man – or woman. The Bible says be a lender always but a borrower never. But if a man is a lender, there is somebody borrowing. My Grandpa taught me not to lend but to flat out give. He said if they paid it back that was a great thing, but when you give never expect it in return. That way you don’t lose friends from hard feelings.
I would imagine you could tell me a lot of stories about the man who stood in as your father, be that a biological daddy or another person. And then again, there are those who had no daddy in their background. I suppose those folks have to relate to Jehovah God by imagining what it would have been like to relate to an earthly father had they had one.
FATHER’S DAY
Father’s Day weekend is upon us and may already be here as you are reading this sermon. You can pray to Jehovah God anytime and thank Him for your life and many blessings anytime. But in this busy old world, not only does thanking God for our meals, and the many other blessings in our lives, get forgotten, thanking our earthly father for what he did to help us get started also gets forgotten. Sometimes it takes a lot of working hours to support a family, so don’t be too hard on him if you had a working man father.
Oh sure, there are guys who ran out. Or maybe they had more than one family and could not be two places at one time. But if your father helped raise you, and you know he loved you and wanted the best for you during your growing years, go see him this Father’s Day, June 21. It is the decent human thing to do and a Christian thing to do. And if he was a skunk to you, forgive him and go tell him happy Father’s Day anyway. Maybe the surprise you register in his brain for your act of Christian kindness will help turn him toward Jesus, if he has not already made a trip to the altar.
One of the most powerful tools a Christian can use in trying to “Billy Sunday” somebody to an altar to ask forgiveness and accept Jesus Christ as a personal Savior is to show that person an act of kindness first.
They used to say in the Mission District where I once volunteered to serve meals to the homeless and play Santa Claus for Christmas for the mission kids, “Give them a hot meal first and then a sermon. No body is in the mood to hear what Jesus Christ can do for them if you are holding back the beans.”
Our lady who ran the Paragould, Arkansas Mission, Rita England, back in the late 1980’s, hit the nail on the head. Once the folks had a good meal in their belly, then, if they ever were going to listen to the love of Jesus, that was the time.
So if your father is dead, like my Grandpa is, think of him Sunday. If not, go see that living father before he too becomes a stiff in a photograph. If you have the opportunity to mend a bridge, do so. That is the advice of this writer, and as the country song says, “I’m sticking to it.”
SCRIPTURES
1) THE LORD’S PRAYER – Matthew 6:9-13King James Version (KJV) 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) SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD – Matthew 6:30-34 King James Version (KJV)
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.
3) NO ONE GETS TO THE FATHER EXCEPT BY ME – John 6:42-46 King James Version (KJV) 42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
John 14:2-6King James Version (KJV) 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.

Lord Forgive Them,
For They Know Not
What They Do…
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ, so history tells us, happened more than 2,000 years ago, yet 77 percent of the current American population claims to be Christian – at least according to Internet statistics.
I suppose Christian could be defined as the way someone was raised. If we took a poll and asked who was saved from a devil’s hell by the free gift of salvation of Jesus Christ, the percentage of people who give a yes might not be that high.
But despite the socialist view point to the contrary, this United States was founded on Christian values, majority rules in our country and this is a Christian nation. It would seem there is a good chance the pendulum of politics will swing back to the right in the 2016 USA election. Some of that is good, some not so good. But any way you look at it, it is time for a change back to basic American values that have been with us for the entire time the country has been independent from England.
Resisting the temptation to go into any more modern day politics, let me get to today’s sermon subject. I want to talk about the quote that Jesus Christ gave us when he went through the crucifixion all those long years ago; “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do(1).” This Jesus, who is quoted as having said that, is still talked about in 2015 in depth – by both His friends and his enemies.
As for his enemies, the men and women who put little gods as their top priority are deceived into believing today we live, tomorrow we die, so what does it matter how we live? The devil tempts the unsaved with false promises of limitless lust and riches. Those little gods Satan tries to get us to worship could be power, money, unlimited sexual gratification, the gods of other “religions,” or really anything you deem as a higher priority than worshipping Jehovah God who created you.
If you worship one of these little gods, then it is your nature to be a creature of hate, unforgiveness, vengeance and total selfishness – without any regard for what that selfishness does to the next fellow. Oh, you may not start out with all of these hateful attributes, but loose canon sin leads you down that path like a lamb being led to the slaughter.
I say this from experience, as I toyed with worshipping eternal youth, unlimited power and unlimited money by which to enjoy it all before I accepted Jesus. While I have never particularly been a person of hate, I did have the mind set that I was going to get mine no matter who I had to jump over. After all, I knew what was best for everyone else right?
Sure, the “white witches” of the world think their powers can be used to “bless” others, but we humans lack the divine decision making power to carry out anything close to a blessing without the salvation of Jesus Christ and the relationship with Jehovah God it solidifies.
Jesus knew what His pure blood sacrifice met, and He knew the escape plan from a devil’s hell, both on earth and after death, hinged on an individual accepting the idea that Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of the Living Jehovah God, was crucified, rose from the dead on the third day and ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of Jehovah God the Father.
Oh, there is more to the salvation plan and the life of Jesus, but understanding Jehovah God requires a pure-blood sacrifice to cover all sin is sure a good start to a better life. I could go into such topics as the fact Jesus Christ was born of a virgin and conceived by the Holy Ghost of Jehovah God, and the fact that the Holy Ghost holds within it every thought and reaction Jesus the man had while on earth – and can therefore answer all of our questions pertaining to our Savior if we just ask Him to do so.
Those mysteries of a miracle working Jehovah God and his tool to do it, Jesus Christ, are revealed in the New Testament. But it sometimes takes folks like me a little nudge before I read the Bible and discover even more happy truths in those red letters from the mouth of the Savior. That nudge comes from the Comforter, that is the Holy Spirit of God.
Believing and accepting the miracle of the crucifixion of a pure-blooded human sacrifice, done to pay for your sins and mine, plus saying it out loud to proclaim it to Satan and all of his demons, will get a man or a woman his or her cup of saving grace. And to complete the initial process, you must believe he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven to cut a path for his followers.
After that, it is up to each of us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (2).” And that is a big deal. Forgiveness is also a big deal.
Jesus knew there would be one Roman soldier at His crucifixion, doing his job, that would somehow grasp the fact that Jesus Christ was indeed the only begotten Son of Jehovah God, as no man had ever reacted to being crucified as this man with no sin had just done. And no crucifixion had ever resulted in an eclipse of the sun or an earthquake before. No other man’s death had caused nearby graves to open.
In believing what he saw with his own eyes, with the apparent amazement that the Centurion had, it is my opinion that the Centurion Roman soldier got saved from the law of sin and death – which states an unforgiven sinner will die and pay for his sins in a devil’s hell for eternity.
That soldier said, “Surely this man was the Son of God (3).” But he did not say that until he saw other followers of Jesus, who were laying dead in a nearby graveyard, get up from their opened graves. Still, the soldier said it, and those who were with him at the graveyard were also witnesses to those graves open because Jesus was indeed, and still is, the only begotten Son of Jehovah God.
By way of Jesus asking Jehovah God to forgive even those who put His body to death, it is a testimony of how we should behave toward those who mess with us. Jesus forgave his assassination squad.
You and I probably share in common that we have a hard time forgiving some unknown book keeper from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that might have overcharged us a few bucks… Yes, we are weak. Yes He is strong. As I have said repeatedly, our best bet, yours and mine, is to pray not only for the guidance and direction of Jesus Christ in our every day walk but also for His strength to carry out said guidance and direction.
So when you go the cross, that is your own personal altar to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins – past, present and future – find a quiet place first and forgive your brother or sister for whatever is still in your heart against them. To be forgiven, we must first forgive.
If little Johnny hit you over the head with a golf club in the seventh grade, give little Johnny a break. If a spouse or significant other broke your heart, wish them well. The Word says those that Jesus Christ sets free are free indeed. The only thing unforgiveness does in hurt the man or woman who is holding the grudge. When you let go of the grudge and ask Jesus to come into your heart, you are free to love even the unlovable.
In most cases, those we hold a grudge about do not even know we are upset – let alone why their actions upset us. God has been dealing with me this week on others and how my life effects their lives. In my spirit, I have been making a list of the things known as sin to me, from reading my King James Bible, and pondering what sins like gluttony, adultery, taking the name of the Lord God in vain and coveting my neighbors goods do to someone else.
In my case, Lord forgive me, I am guilty of having committed physically, or of having a fantasy to commit sin, of just about everything in the Bible that is mentioned as sin. On my own, I fully realize I do not have a leg to stand on as far as getting into heaven.
But through the miracle of Jesus Christ, a salvation experience, and the Lord’s promise to keep my name in his Lamb’s Book of Life as long as I never renounce my hope, faith and love that it takes to believe in Jesus and his sacrifice at the cross, I am as saved as any Christian that walks.
The Word of God says He will do the same for you. Find an altar and ask.
In short, I know the Master of the Wind and I invite you to know Him too. Forgive yourself of your sins, forgive others that have committed injustices toward you and then ask Jesus to forgive you too. When He does, it will be like a huge burden has been lifted from your shoulders.
Forgive me if I sound like an old fashioned, Billy Sunday type, Christian preacher in today’s sermon even more than usual. But without Jesus in my life, I would be making a lot of mistakes that I have decided are of no value to me or my witness to you. I still make blunders, but something inside of me seems to be encouraging me to make better decisions – decisions that will help those other folks I am in contact with instead of hurting them.
Moreover, I can think of two men who jacked me up in my journalism career. I forgave both of them and started a dialog with them. From my standpoint, they are now my friends. I would try to help either one of them to succeed in whatever non-lethal dream they were pursuing. Is forgiveness easy? No. Is it possible. You bet it is.
Peter asked Jesus, in no doubt a moment of exasperation, “Lord, should we really forgive our adversaries seven times?” This number was from something he read in the Old Testament.
Jesus replied, “No Peter, forgive them seven times seventy.” I take that to mean turning the other check is an act of love that bears repeating over and over again. This promotion of repeated forgiveness seems to be unique to the Christian life.
Bringing this lesson up to a modern perspective, let’s check out what we know about ISIS and the Islamic take on this. It is my understanding if a Muslim wants to convert you, and He is following the strict letter of the Koran, he will try and lead you to Allah and that form of worship three times before dutifully cutting off your head! No forgiveness is evident there.
My Bible, in the Old Testament, tells me there is a time to kill. I realize the Old Testament is not full of the forgiving words that Jesus spoke in the New Testament, and that killing is against one of the 10 commandments. In times of war, it is my personal belief we have the duty to defend ourselves from an early grave if all else fails. God forgive me if I am telling you wrong.
I have a strong suspicion that America troops will be doing just that against ISIS, with boots on the ground, before ISIS folk realize the same thing the Nazis did in World War II.
A praying man or woman, that is a person who is praying to Jesus, always wins out over someone so full of themselves they are no earthly good to anyone – including themselves. Hitler had all the answers in his own mind…
The only way to defeat Hitler and the Nazis was to cut their eye teeth out with gunpowder. After the threat was over, sure, we had to forgive the German soldiers. They were just following orders and did not believe as their leaders did right? Wrong probably. But still, when the threat of world domination was over, it was back to forgiveness for Christians. As the Christian preachers have said for centuries, hate the sin but love the sinner.
You want to know how I know the United States will defeat ISIS? It is because I have hope that we will, faith that we will and a loving enough of a heart not to believe Satan and his hate brigade can defeat a strong Army of Christian soldiers – at least not yet.
Now we need to get on with it before those haters are the majority. Someday, when the end times go on far enough, Satan’s anti-Christ will rule for a season. I pray this is not then. My hope for a reprieve from a pure evil pack of world leaders is why I believe in impeachment for insubordination, but there I go getting political again. Forgive me.
I just happen to love America and what it stands for and I do not see our current leadership’s actions as sharing my sentiment. Time, as they say, heals a lot of things. Barack Obama may have the best of intentions. But remember what we said at the beginning of this sermon, a man may think he can bless without seeking the will of Jehovah God but that sort of fellow is only fooling himself.
Still I forgive Obama for his lack of effective response to ISIS. I just think it is time our Congressmen got some courage about them and gave a few ultimatums to our president before his techniques destroy our way of life.
But even if they don’t see it my way, I do forgive them. Now I have to forgive myself for bringing up the mess us freedom oriented folks are in because our leader of the free world does not believe as we do. Or at least his actions are yet to show it.
So see there. If you have strong political feelings like I do, take it to Jesus in your prayers. Ask for forgiveness and pray that somehow God opens our president’s eyes before we as individuals have to face some ISIS member trying to behead us for being Christians.
If you do find yourself defenseless in your own home against an ISIS loyalist, before the blade comes down remember what Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
SCRIPTURES
1) FATHER FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO – Luke 23:32-41King James Version (KJV) 32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. 33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. 36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,
37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. 38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This Is The King Of The Jews. 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.
2) WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING – Philippians 2:10-16 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;16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
3) SURELY THIS MAN WAS THE SON OF GOD – Matthew 27:52-54King James Version (KJV) 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
Editor’s Verses – Coming this close to the resurrection of Jesus, in order to have personal forgiveness for the people who crucified Jesus Christ, the editor needs to report on what happened next.
Matthew 28:1-10 King James Version (KJV) 28 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 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. 10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
Editor’s final note: I have had scientists tell me Jesus never died on the cross, but somehow took some sort of drug that made Him appear dead. Yet when they studied out historical accounts, these same men of science realized Jesus had really been dead, in the traditional sense! Many have done this and now join us on our Great Commission to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
Let us all forgive our scientific community for their doubts, for as in the case where Jesus Christ asked doubting Thomas to put his finger in his nail scared body, these scientists seek proof. And as we know from the Bible, God says seek and ye shall find.

Trust and Obey
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
My preacher Sunday spoke the words “Trust and Obey.” There is an old Christian song that says, “Trust and Obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”
I like that bit of wisdom. Being a musician and writer type person, I know how passing along wisdom in music goes. Those old Christian song writers had it right more often than not.
Again, I do not pretend to always do the right thing when it comes to trusting Jesus. I trust me and Jehovah God the Father. I also trust Jesus, as part of the Creator I worship and my Savior, but my human side gets in the way sometimes and I trust my own judgment as a first reaction.
Many times this leads to a mistake and I get to experience some humble pie. I learned of the death of one of my former spouses yesterday. I married three other ladies before Michelle. So Tania and I were married for a little less than two years about 20 years ago. Apparently about five years after we broke up, she was in a car wreck where she was driving and hit by a drunk driver at 27.
I got a similar story over the weekend and then found the obit on this Internet. Wow. That threw me for a loop. I got to wondering if I had been a better husband way back when if I could have changed her young death… Probably not. As one friend told me, it was her time to go home.
Still, Tania being gone all of these years and me never knowing makes me feel like maybe acting on more God decisions could have changed it. The older I get, the more I trust Jesus Christ and His wisdom. As to the obeying part, I do better than years ago, but still have a long way to go.
So maybe this sermon will help both me, the writer, and you, the reader. When Brother James McCain starts preaching to us about how we need to be more Christ like and create a life with Jesus that will make Him proud, I always feel guilty. Yes, I write these sermons for my magazine every week. Yes I hope people read the scriptures attached more than they pay attention to me. And yes, I feel guilty because of another old song.
The one I am thinking of this time is, “Put your Hand in the Hand.” The lines, from the early 70’s folk ballad go something like this. “Put your hand in the hand of the man who stills the water. Put your hand in the hand of the man who calms the sea. Take a look at yourself and you can look at others differently. By putting your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee.
“Every time I look into the Holy book, I want to tremble. When I read about the part where the carpenter cleared the temple. And it causes me shame to know that those other fellows were no different than what I profess to be. And it causes me shame to know I’m not the man that I should be.”
Changing to “the new man” is a process in my case. Some folks concentrate on telling others what they do wrong. Jesus said to take the log out of your own eye before telling the other person to get that splinter out of their eye. Again, God’s business of correction is better left up to God.
I guess it is just my path. I have to go back to that Potter’s wheel for more adjustments on a regular basis. The preacher said non-overcomers just may not make heaven. This is not the way I read the Bible. As I have said many times, it seems to me that accepting the salvation and pure blood of Jesus Christ into my life, my spirit and my soul, is the key to going up instead of down when I leave this body.
The Word of God says if a man sweeps out himself, and does not wait for God to replace the clean room with new furniture, then seven demons will make themselves at home and the resulting man will be worse than the first one. In short, we have no right to get into God’s business. We pray for transformation of life style to be a better example of Christ and God does the work – in His time.
I do know that I woke up this morning wanting to be more Christ like than I was yesterday, and to me, overcoming my sinful ways is very important. I also know that to me, overcoming means a lot of praying about a character flaw and trusting God to get rid of it in due season.
Since Jesus Christ gave all He had so I might have life and life more abundantly, I feel it is only right for me to figure out just what that means for me and to pursue it with everything I have. But it would be disobedient of me to jump the gun on change, just as it would be disobedient for me not to change when the Lord drops in my spirit on a certain issue that it is time to do so.
I read a thing on the Internet today from a girl who seems to think being a good person will get her to heaven, even if she rejects the free gift of salvation from Jesus Christ. I 100 percent disagree. The older I get the more thankful I am for the pure blood of Jesus Christ, and the more I realize if there had been another way to save sinners, He would never have had to die on that cross.
Still, all I can do is pray for those who do not agree. I pray that God will move in their lives and they will find that first step to inner peace, that is accepting Jesus in their heart. Ultimately, accepting or rejecting salvation is an individual decision. And I have no desire to preach to you about how you should define good and live by it. My calling is to point you to the cross in these sermons. The rest is up to you and Jesus Christ.
One point I recall in the Word of God goes something like this, “Believe in me. I work to give you the bread of life(1).”
That is a Jesus quote and a good one. You can also look at the miracles of the Savior and find that “the bread” He gave His people was unique. That bread leads to a path that nobody else had the power to create for the rest of us. Christ raised people from the dead and then got up from the dead himself to walk this earth in front of 500 plus people. Time after time, He is recorded as healing the sick with a touch. His integrity and character even awed the Roman soldier who crucified him. When it was done, that soldier said, “This man surely was the true son of God.”
My bet is on Jesus Christ for salvation and peace in my soul. His integrity, and faithfulness to forgive show me that He was one of a kind. There has never been another man in history to walk this earth in purity, without sin and without blemish, except the only begotten Son of God, that is Jesus the Christ. Who better to trust and obey?
I have seen things in my own life change for the better by calling on the Name of Jesus Christ, which is where my Bible tells me real power is (2). I don’t get very far calling on Satan, or on myself, except embarrassed afterwards.
Other gods and Satan have always let me down. Jesus never has. This tells me He is real. But let’s get back to trusting Him and obeying Him. The trust part is easier for me than the obeying part. I suppose this is a reflection of my animal survival instincts. But when I do turn over a situation to Christ, it is like a light coming on. It just might be that way for you. Try it and see.
Monday I spent three-fourths of the day serving my disabled friend Mike. He has been wheelchair bound for nearly 15 years and needed a ride to the Veteran’s Administration and help paying his light bill. He won’t admit it, but his confusion gets him in financial trouble nearly every month. I do my best to straighten it out.
I was torn Monday morning, as I have a lot of leads to run this week in my advertising business. But I obeyed what I believe Jesus wanted me to do. I served Mike, not John. I believe my Christ like actions pleased Johovah God a lot more than choosing to be “responsible to my business” would have done. As the Pentecostals say, “You can not out give God.” Sales time is precious to a one-man show who seems to stay in a financial grind. But serving others first is always a good way to obey Jesus. Whatever the reward from Jehovah God, it is enough. Pleasing my Savior is enough to serve others over myself again and again.
I have faith I will report to you very soon that Tailgate News is solvent, that is the bills are not only paid but a bit of money for savings and enjoyment exists at the end of the month. I have hope for it, I have faith for it and now I have added love and service toward it. But this goal will only materialize if it is God’s will in my life. God has always taken care of me, but learning to obey him through trust and desire will lead to an even greater accomplishment – peace of mind on a daily basis.
You may be a mule like me. You may be hard headed and figure you know your business better than anyone else. But consider this. God gave us our very breath. Is it not only logical to trust Him and obey His example to serve others before ourselves?
One thing about having shortcomings is it tends to make me judge the other fellow less. For example, I get upset by orders from God in the Bible that I do not seem to be able to do on my own. The Word says, “If you love me, keep my commandments (3).” I mess this up from time to time. Instead of renouncing my faith in Jesus, I embrace it. He has the strength and knows how to show me the path to obeying all 10 commandments and more. And I have faith that He will – in His time. Meanwhile, I do my best to follow His New Testament commandments that say we are to love others as we love our selves and we are to love Jehovah God with all of our strength, heart and mind.
The minute I tell the Lord I will buck up, show my own strength and never covet, never get jealous or never swear in self-righteous anger, I will do all three – probably on that very day. I am not alone in my weakness. Peter in the Bible said he would never deny knowing Jesus Christ, yet when those who persecuted Christ threatened his life, Peter said he never heard of the guy – not once, but three times – before the next morning when the cock crowed (4).
Peter tried to live up to Peter and missed the mark. Christ had to show him only the strength prayed for and received from Jehovah God could result in the keeping of a promise. Even the strongest among us can not hope to obey God’s Old Testament laws on our own. God uses those laws to show us how much we need to put that burden on Jesus.
The biggest stumbling block I have to total obedience to what Jesus Christ brings to my spirit as guidance and direction through prayer and pondering the Bible is my self reliant nature. I have tried to pray it off and sometimes succeed.
But you put me in front of a fellow with an ISIS blade that tells me he will kill me if I do not renounce my Christianity and if I have a gun I will probably shoot that dude right between the eyes – making what my grandfather used to call a final cave… I am not proud of that, but I really don’t want to die young. And anything short of 90 is young in my estimation.
You may have similar survival instincts, which amount to knee-jerk reactions. My only suggestion is to study the love acts of our Savior Jesus Christ, as listed in the Bible and do a lot of praying that obedience to a Christ-like love and forgiveness comes upon your soul. I will be praying the same thing.
We will both strive to trust God’s judgment of sacrifice and obey His commandment not to kill. Of course, Satan will remind us that the Old Testament states in the law that there is a time to kill. Still it is hard to imagine killing in love…
So am I in danger of hell fire over my sinful survival thoughts? My Bible says no. My Bible tells me I am only in danger of a devil’s hell if my pride keeps me from accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, or if Satan convinces me to renounce that salvation.
SCRIPTURES
1) BELIEVING IN JESUS ON FAITH OR BY HIS WORKS – John 6:27-32 King James Version (KJV) 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
2) POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS – Acts 4:12 – Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Philippians 2:9-11 – Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. John 14:13 – And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 1 Corinthians 6:11 – 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.
Luke 10:17 – And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. Matthew 1:21 – And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Acts 4:30 – By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. Jeremiah 10:6 – Forasmuch as [there is] none like unto thee, O LORD; thou [art] great, and thy name [is] great in might.
3) IF YOU LOVE ME, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS – John 14:13-17King James Version (KJV) 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.
4) PETER DENIES CHRIST THREE TIMES – Matthew 26:69-75King James Version (KJV) 69 Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.
70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. 71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.
72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. 73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. 74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.
Editor’s Note: Peter went on to preach the gospel all of the days of his life. He was eventually crucified for his preaching. But Peter told them to crucify him upside down because he was not worthy to be crucified like the Lord. Jesus knows the true heart of all men and women. Peter was a man who did the very best he could to please God on his own, but it would seem Jesus Christ was already full of mercy for Peter despite his failures. The Word says Jesus is no respecter of persons. What He does for one, He will do for us all. Try and trust that as you do your best to obey the teachings of Christ. He is already pleased at your efforts. I know this by faith.
If you go by the integrity of Jesus, you will not put down your fellow man, but rather lead him or her by example to what Jesus has to offer them.
Peter failed in his own strength, but Peter never gave up on trying to please Jesus. Lord give us the tenacity of Peter and the heart that Christ can use – the one without a quit switch… We trust you will and we will do our best to obey what you would have us to do. Indeed Jesus, keep the bread of life coming. And we thank you for showing us a better way to live.
That is my prayer. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, study His life style. Let Jesus show His people through the Bible what is sin and what is not. If you believe your brother or sister is sinning, find them some related Bible verses to study. Jehovah God will educate them from there. Concentrate on telling other people who Jesus was and is. In his last breath on earth, while being crucified, He asked Jehovah God to forgive the Romans who killed Him “because they know not what they do.”
I have learned to trust this much; Jesus is faithful to forgive and when I do likewise I am a lot happier man. Jesus said to be thankful for what you have without coveting what you do not have. When I obey that, my day goes so much better. It is great to have goals, but never forget trusting Jehovah God knows what is best for you brings a good night’s sleep.
My best advice about trusting and obeying God is don’t act in any given situation until you pray. When Jesus Christ drops a solution in your soul, listen. Listen to that still small voice of the Savior before you act on what you had already decided to do. You will find, without fail, that the guidance of our Savior is full of kindness, mercy, thankfulness and forgiveness. If you act on those elements, you are bound to be a good witness for the unsaved who are watching you. And that, in my humble opinion, is what Christianity is all about.

Just as I am,
without one plea
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
When I was a young guy going to the Methodist Church, there was an altar call song that was quite popular. It was, “Just As I Am.”
I would not be surprised if our organ player was pumping it out when I went to the altar to ask for salvation at the ripe old age of 15. In fact, I would be willing to bet Martha Giggy was playing her heart out and the choir was singing.
As for me, I was terrified. I had been having dreams of staying young and living on earth with my high school sweetheart, who in the dream also never aged. I remember telling Satan “no” to his urgency for me to become some sort of modern day vampire with Joni.
I have mentioned before that it was storming while I slept and thunder crashed so loud from my farmhouse bedroom window that my grandfather came in there to see if I was OK. I smiled and told him I had never been better.
But then God kept urging me to make a public proclamation of my choice to accept his free gift of salvation and a week or so later, one Sunday morning, I did so. I always sat with other teenagers and I remember them looking around during the prayer and some of them getting a bit wide eyed when I got up from my seat.
But I was a determined young cuss, so up I rose and headed for that altar to be prayed through in good old fashioned Christian tradition. It was the best decision of my life, and I am now 56. But let’s look at this thing. I went up there, told them yes to the idea that I believed Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God and that my sins would surely send me to hell if I did not repent and accept the pure sacrificial blood of Jesus as my saving grace.
I told them I believed Jesus was the only sinless man to ever walk the earth and that he was crucified, dead and buried. And then on the third day, Jesus Christ cut a trail for me. He rose from the dead, walked among about 500 witnesses for a time and then ascended into heaven in his celestial body to be at the right hand of Jehovah God the Father in a place called heaven.
The Word says, “I go so I may prepare a place for you. If it were not so, I would have told you. In my Father’s House (heaven), there are many mansions (rooms) and I go to prepare a place for you (1).”
There is a lot more to the Jesus story, but this pretty well sums up what I had come to believe. And because I believe Jesus Christ has the power to forgive my sins, past, present and future, I decided I had better take my chance to ask Him to do so for me.
I had read the new testament several times, growing up on a farm enjoying to read in the quiet of the evening, morning or afternoon. I read others stuff from school, but the Bible fascinated me. I had been going to church with Martha Giggy’s family since I was 8 years old, and it took me 7 years to figure out I needed Jesus as my Savior. I have since come to realize I need the guidance of Jesus Christ every day if I am to continue liking the man in the mirror.
Don’t get me wrong. I still sin from time to time. But before salvation I had very little guilt about that. As the years go by, the Potter continues to work on me and whereas I get a lot of temptations, my decision to commit a sin known to me as a sin becomes less and less. I seem to be developing what some call integrity. My biggest problem is the Biblical command to get angry and not sin. I get angry and the four letter words fly from time to time.
But here lately, I have been realizing just how much damage that does to other people and I am praying for the strength from Jesus to resist the temptation to “let um fly.” I remember my grandfather cut back on his, and my dad cut back on his. Perhaps as we get older, many of us realize our expressions of self-righteous anger are indeed in vain.
And if something no longer serves a good purpose in your life, like an old fishing reel that is busted, that something might just as well be thrown away. A friend of mine compared the overcoming process in Christianity to peeling an onion. It keeps an onion fresh, as it does the Christian life. Only God knows when we have really moved up a notch. We may think we have conquered a certain sin and there we go again. But there does come a day when a Christian goal is reached – if a sincere heart beats in that chest.
When I was a child studying the Bible, in my pre-salvation days, I was astounded at the wonderful character of this man called Jesus Christ. If there was ever a fellow I wished I could be like, it was this guy.
The Word spoke of His heart of gold. Peter, a disciple with a rather rough, professional fisherman’s personality, got a bit tired of forgiving folks over and over for the same old mistakes. He asked Christ how many times he should forgive them? Jesus said seven times seventy (2). That is a lot of times. But how do we, as humans, develop mercy even close to that?
I am of the belief that all any person can do to reach any given goal is the best he or she can do. After that, it is up to Jesus to carry us through to said goal. This is very hard for me, to admit it when I have given my all and there is nothing left to give inside of me. But as I have said in several sermons, when your strength runs out, ask Jesus to give you the use of His because He always has plenty of strength to give.
I write this part of the sermon to you at the close of a three-day Memorial Day weekend. For the most part, it has been a peaceful time for me. When I was finishing last week’s magazine, the song “Just As I Am” popped into my head for the first time in ages. Then it came to me. Share my experience with salvation and maybe someone out there somewhere will take the nudge and go to an old fashioned altar.
Be prepared, if you do ask for salvation. Jesus Christ will hear you and it will take. Don’t listen to the jealous demons who will tell you afterwards that it is just not good enough and if you sin one time it is as though your salvation never happened. Unfortunately, many believe this lie and perish when they turn their backs on Christ. Remember, Jesus promised never to forsake us (3). If anyone walks away, it is you.
But you don’t have to walk away. Jesus is there with open arms and is ready and willing to help you turn your life into something much better than what you started with.
My mini-vacation ended and I am writing the rest of this sermon during my magazine work week. I had a hard sales day, but it turned out OK. I made a few dollars and covered a few bills. I am realizing that my business day woes need to pretty much be between me and Jesus. He understands and only tries to make it better. People, well people who are not dreamers simply do not understand a dreamer.
I have learned this the hard way. But I do my business deals to have the privilege of writing things like this sermon, community news and encouraging sports stories because I love people and I love to write about their hopes and dreams. Many a poet has used the line that dreams die first. I disagree. Sometimes our dreams change, but they don’t die. At least in my life, there is always a bit of reality that I can see my dream coming through in – if I just look for it. But it all takes time and it takes love.
The Bible says Jesus is a wonderful counselor. If you decide to accept the free gift of salvation, do not be afraid to tell the Spirit of Jesus Christ all of your hopes, dreams and fears. He never tires of dealing with them, and the Savior has plenty of love to share with us all.
We live in a world where it is very hard to find a friend like that. Sometimes all of us feel about as valuable as the change knocked out of a nickel. But we are valuable to the Lord. He can wipe away your tears, not matter how bad it is.
That song, “Just As I Am,” has a few lines in it I want to share here. It says, “Just As I Am without one plea. I come to you on bended knee. Just as I am, its only me, oh Lamb of God, I come, I come.”
Those may not be the exact words, but you get my drift. Jesus will take us where we are. Many pretend to take us where we are, but they merely want something from us. Sometimes it is sex, power, money or some other something or other that seems important at the time in this cruel old world. Jesus is not a user. He wants you and your love, plain and simple.
Anytime I am preaching about salvation, I like to refer to an argument presented to me by Brother Jesse, an Assembly of God preacher in McLeansboro, Illinois, back in the 1980’s. Brother Jesse was on up in years, but he had one of the kindest hearts I have ever known. My daughter Kelley was sick and this guy was going to the hospital with me to pray for her. Somehow I ended up asking him what was going through his mind when he accepted Jesus as his Savior.
The older gentleman thought about it a minute and began to speak. “I wanted to live a life that my Creator could be prould of. I had read the Bible and believed the story of Jesus Christ was real, and I saw the logic behind why it had to be that way – what with all of us here on earth being sinners and sin being unacceptable to Jehovah God.
“I decided to accept Jesus as my Savior. If I am wrong about His eternal love and truth, I have lost nothing by following the example of one of the finest men who ever lived. If I am right I go to heaven and already get to experience some of that heaven right here on earth by serving others.
“If a man decides Christ is a hoax and refuses his gift of salvation through His pure blood sacrifice on the cross, that man goes to hell, both before and after death.”
Brother Jesse made a lot of sense to me. Life is a series of choices. But the choice to accept Jesus is one where the good far outweighs the bad. Will things always go right for you after salvation? No. But Jesus will always take care of you. My current business is a perfect example. The Southern Arkansas Tailgate News has been a going enterprise for eight years. I was told by one fellow when I started it the thing could not last a year in today’s economy. He said bad news sells and to write stories of encouragement would simply never make me a living.
I have continued my original story format of: Community News, High School Sports and Christian Testimonies. Despite my not so good judgment with money, the doors are still open. Despite all my worries, none of my bills have ever gone unpaid. And with the advent of digital publishing, I can now put Tailgate News magazine out once a week instead of once a month. It has been a weekly since January of 2013. I give God the glory for that and Jesus Christ His Son the praise!
Oh sure, finances have been hard, and my balance sheet remains unbalanced at this writing. But somehow, there is always a way to keep going and not go under. This is nothing short of a miracle in an economy that thrives on high taxes, low respect for entreprenuers and a socialist twist. Socialists, in my opinion, are takers. Christians are givers. It would be only logical that if enough people take from you that you would have nothing left to give.
I compare it to the old Bible story about the time Jesus fed the masses with just one fish lunch. They say 5,000 men ate, not counting the women and children who belonged to these men. It comes down to hope, faith and love. We have to hope for our goals and dreams. We have to have faith that Jesus will see us through and we have to declare our love for our Lord, even when we don’t understand what is happening.
The Bible also said the wicked will only prosper for a season. Thus the old saying, “Every dog has his day.”
But prosperity with God is endless. The key, as they used to say in golf, is to keep your eye on the ball. But again, the first step is the two step. First things first. Invite Jesus Christ into your heart to be your Savior and your Friend forever. And then hold on to the Word of God which says Jehovah God never lies, as He is not a man. He told us Jesus Christ was the way to the Father and that no one comes to the Father except by Him. God said it, through Jesus on earth, and so therefore it is true.
SATAN’S ARGUMENT
In war, there is an old saying that to win the game we must keep our friends close and our enemies closer. In our personal spiritual battle, the enemy is Satan. Satan, Lucifer, the devil, no matter what you want to call the Prince Of Darkness, he is the enemy of your soul. He is not concerned with your well being at all, but he is always ready to make a deal if only you will discredit Jesus Christ and His eternal love and forgiveness.
I have been in churches where it was preached that if a person committed a sin, that person was judged as obviously not saved and on his or her way to a devil’s hell. This sure does not say much for the free Gift of Salvation that the Christian has accepted in his or her heart. I believe Satan, who I know all too well, loves this speech. For, as I said before, the way for a Christian to go to hell is for that person to give up on him or her self, renounce the Christian faith and adopt some wishy washy god who allegedly embraces sin as simply OK with no sacrifice needed to reach heaven.
If a person believes this, it is quite OK to sin repeatedly and to never ask forgiveness from the Lord, as long as that person feels like they are basically a good person. As Buddy, another Christian friend used to say in the Assembly of God Church at Gurdon, Arkansas, “Many will enter the gates of hell, respectfully…”
The key here, or the lie if you will, is that Jesus is somehow just kidding about always forgiving the Lambs in His Book of Life. Jesus is faithful to forgive, brush you off and allow you to try and walk on in your Christian faith. Satan is a liar. Once you are saved, the only one free to send you to hell is you. You are always free to renounce your faith in Christ and once again be under the law of sin and death – leading only to your deserved punishment in hell for your sins.
But if you sin now and again, like I do and like every Christian I know does, your job is not to renounce your Savior but to hit your knees and ask forgivness. Remember, this is the guy who told Peter to forgive them seven times seventy. I submit, again from my Bible readings, that the multiplication number is much bigger than that for someone who keeps their faith in Jesus down deep in their heart.
TRUE SALVATION
The Word of God says there will be some Christians who simply are air-headed folk who just do not seem to ever get it right. They meander through life messing up first this thing and then another. They are sheep, being led to the slaughter by Satan and his lies. But yet they keep their faith in Jesus Christ until the end, thinking Jesus will guide them somehow to right living. Those folks enter the kingdom of heaven and every work they have tried and failed at burns up at the gate… Their soul, however, is covered with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, who knows they did the best they could to live a better life after salvation, even though not much got accomplished. Those souls remain in the Master’s Lamb’s Book of Life, or so my interpretation of the Word of God tells me.
I would say most Christians do not fall into this category, as the Spirit of Christ inside of a man or a woman prods that person to become more Christlike and of more use to humanity and themselves in the work of the Great Commission and why it is such an eternally good idea. Christ prods us to put others first and ourselves second, a quality rarely present on a consistent basis in a non-Christian.
As always, I could go on and on with this sermon on salvation. Instead, I will simply quote the Bible recollection of John 3:16; John 3:16 King James Version (KJV) 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.
SCRIPTURES
1) IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE, THERE ARE MANY MANSIONS – John 14:1-4King 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.
2) FORGIVE THEM SEVEN TIMES SEVENTY – Matthew 18:20-33 King James Version (KJV) 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. 23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
3) JESUS CHRIST WILL NEVER FORSAKE YOU OR LEAVE YOU – Hebrews 13:3-8 King James Version (KJV) 3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. 5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. 7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. 8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
John 14:15-20 King James Version (KJV) 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.

 

Get Better, Not Bitter
By JOHN NELSON
Tailgate News Editor
This will probably be my most difficult sermon yet. All my life, that I can remember, I have been the type of person to forgive and forget.
Even before I became a Christian, I can not recall ever trying to hurt anyone out of a “get back at you” motive. So you see, I am a great subscriber to the theory that we all need to get better, not bitter. But I can tell you as of late that bitterness has been proposed to me by Satan himself in regard to the way people have given me love of convenience, rather than love of sincerity. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Some of the folks I think might have done so probably have not.
But the proposition of having been used by a number of folks certainly does not please me. Folks I try to help do not always consider my plight, and I, as a Christian, am hesitant to fill them in on it. I am very aware of the Biblical instruction to a Christian, “Do not grow weary of your well doing.(1)” And that scripture haunts me when I occasionally run into a help request I do not think I can do. Then I remember that God told us we are our brother’s keeper.
Because of my knowledge base of the Bible, and a big old heart, I still try and help people who are apparently using me. But when they push too far, it is oh so tempting to say not this time and simply walk away. Then I remember the good Samaritan, and how that “heathen” was the only one to help the man who had injured himself falling in a ditch. The working man stopped what he was doing and simply made sure that man got the help he needed. Religious Jews walked away. They were just too busy to help a common man in need.
My prayer is Lord, don’t let my heart wax cold like those busy Jews. Let my heart be one of continued kindness, in the true Spirit of Jesus Christ, willing to give what help I can with a smile on my face – no matter what marker is due in my personal stack that logically I should cover before helping the other fellow.
I don’t want bitterness to become a habit in my life, nor do I want it to do so in yours. The Word says, “No greater love has a man (or a woman), than he (or she) who will lay down his (or her) life for a friend. (2)” Once in awhile, more often than I would like to admit, I make a John decision to put a career need ahead of a family or friend need. I must say I do not do that nearly as often as I did 25 years ago.
Time has made me a little wiser as the years go by. As another of my sermons of recent said, it is always wiser to make a decision you believe Jesus would have made rather than to go off on a decision made due to your own feelings or whims.
My mother-in-law, Thelma Arthur, now age 85 I believe, and an invalid in a nursing home, was pretty strong up until when her heart got weak about 5 years ago. She helped me and Michelle raise my three step-kids, Charity, Danielle and Jacob. Once, when I was trying to get a deadline finished, and one of our kids was sick, Thelma lost patience with my maturity growth and simply said, “John, you are not the only log in the toilet bowl.”
I cleaned up what she said a bit, as she is a Christian and would have wanted me to if she were still to herself, but I think you get the meaning. I understood her point and dropped my job duties so that I could do my part in helping the sick child. Thelma made me realize that my goal to change the world for the better through my writing talents was important, but not important enough for me to ignore my duties as a step-father.
The examples of selfishness in my life, as well as in yours, or so I suspect, are too numerous to write about here. But it is not perfection that I am suggesting. We will continue to mess up as long as we have a carnal body to deal with and live on planet earth – especially with the spirit of Satan present.
I recently attended a Lincoln Dinner in Arkadelphia, Arkansas and was privileged to hear Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speak to a crowd. He is a new governor in Arkansas, a Republican and a job seeker for the public. With our present economy, logic would suggest his intentions to help Arkansans find work will be an uphill battle.
I live in a state that has incurred very few day to day changes over the past six years, as our socialist oriented president has had more effect on large cities in already liberal states. In 2016, it would appear there is very little chance that another socialistic-type “Democrat” will be elected. Even if the liberal candidate Hillary Clinton gets it, she may have the “Clinton Machine,” but she is a Methodist girl from Chicago, not a Muslim/Communist educated guy from Kenya. I am betting there is a world of difference between Clinton’s ideas for a good American future and the ideas of Barack Obama.
To hit one more political point, getting gainful employment for more people in Arkansas, and setting the stage for an improved economy nationwide, will make it easier for a Christian to give because most of the now unemployed will be saddled with day to day work like the rest of us. Being employed, and making one’s own money, gives you self respect. Statistics say drug and alcohol addictions will go down, and hope amongst the common folk will go up.
Producing more jobs should reduce the amount of mooching that goes on. I am not tempted to be bitter when it comes to giving to folks truly in need. My temptation to fold my arms and ignore someone is when I consider what they are asking of me and in many ways they have more than me… I have seen many a day when hot dogs and beans were all I could afford. If you ever want to tickle your jealousy bone, check out a refrigerator of someone getting $600 a month or more in food stamps. Again, more accountability of the recipients is called for if justice is to enter the equation like it did in the “old America.”
Socialism, that is hand-outs from the government, makes people dependent on the tax base and the able bodied but unemployed soon feel everyone owes them. Politically, socialism is simply the beginning stages of totalitarian communism, where a ruler “who knows what is good for the people” rules with an iron fist like Hitler or Mussolini did back in history.
This is pretty easily accomplished if the majority of the populous would just as soon hold their mouth open to be fed a government meal instead of being grateful for what their labor brings them.
While Obama has failed to convert the United States to his version of communism, as is witnessed by our president getting less and less of his way on things, he has done damage that will take years to fix. When a guy thinks about the extremist versions of his Islamic allies wanting to behead folks for not accepting their version of god, it is easy to become bitter. The right thing to do is to hold our heads up and let our votes fix the anti-freedom of choice direction our country seems to have taken under our current president – that is if our freedoms are to be protected by such documents as the United States Constitution.
Of course “fix” is a relative word. For example, Obamacare may not be necessary to do away with, but how it gets paid for would seem to be something that needs to be revised. Time will tell if the powers that be agree with me. I am not so irritated about the socialized medicine attempt Obama has made, as a lot of folks with low or no means are being helped, even though many of us working people are paying a high price for it.
I am upset with our administration because of Obama’s lies in setting up Obamacare and his disregard for our political system of checks and balances. He seems to have no respect for truth or for going with what the majority of elected officials want. Vetoing the Keystone Pipeline is a good example. Right or wrong, Congress voted it in. He defied them and did not even give his reasons, or at least I never read anything but about his stubborn denial of what the majority wanted.
I was raised to stay away from liars, as my grandfather felt it would tempt me to kill someone! Admittedly, Grandpa Nelson had extremist feelings about liars. Frankly, so do I.
Obama refuses a background check, so we don’t really know who we are dealing with. He tells us the US is the biggest Muslim based country in the world and yet statistics off of Google say 77 percent of Americans are professing Christians!
Even so, if illegal aliens are admitted with no conditions or background checks in the future, as they seem to be during our present administration’s term of office, Obama’s assertion just might come true. Christians are going to have to stand up for integrity and truth in government unless we are prepared to shame all of the American soldiers who have died for that cause.
I could go on and on about how Obama has disappointed me over the past six years, but enough of that. It won’t be long now until this president is history and America can resume a free nation way of thinking, that is if free thinkers vote the way they did in mid-term election for a return to free will through a government that adheres to our Constitution.
I would like to say I am sorry if my political views have stepped on your toes, but I am not. If you want to live under Muslim Sharee law, like Mr. Obama seems to be promoting – at least in my opinion – I suggest you move to Kenya or Iran, someplace where others agree with you. In Arkansas, where I live, I do not know a single soul who wants to give up the freedom of believing in Jesus Christ even if an ISIS member shows up claiming we must reject the faith or be be-headed! However, I do know many people who just might shoot that beheader between the eyes if they get the chance. And that is self defense, not bitterness.
I am not bitter about being an American. I am proud of the fact that I live in a country where hard work and integrity still count – at least for the most part. And I sure hope you are not bitter and ready to throw up your hands so the socialism that has become so obvious over the past six years continues to grow.
As for me, I am an optimist. I believe the wisdom of the voting public shown in mid-term elections will prevail in the fall of 2016 and healing will begin in America. Please forgive me for this political section of the sermon, but if we Christians do not vote in droves in November of 2016, the suffering in America just might get so bad that there will be a lot more to worry about than bitterness.
Getting back on subject, the world at present is what it is and we have to live with the results of it. On a personal note, even those deserving help can push the envelop sometimes to where giving even to them becomes a hardship to the working man. Hardship or not, we still need to take a ragged breath and give – so we may continue to be better examples of Christ instead of bitter examples of humanity. Remember, someone is always watching to see what makes you different as a Christian.
I have one fellow in my life who sometimes challenges my desire to always give what I can. He is very deserving, as he sacrificed much to serve this country, but sometimes I just don’t think he realizes that my bill structure is so tight. My bankers tell me too much of my percentage goes for my bills and they advise me to pay off my debts, one at a time with a single double pay on a targeted bill. I am trying to do that, but it is not easy.
Still, I feel sorry for the guy who has a bigger need than me and I want to help him more than my means will allow. Even so, I am wise enough to realize that if I allow his needs to take me out financially then I will be no better off than him and I will be the one in financial choas.
My needy friend does the best he can. Many times he tries to do for himself. It is just hard, that’s all. This guy would work if he could. I am working on my occasional hard feelings.
My daughter has this problem with a lady in similar circumstances. Her taker is a bit more bolder than mine. That lady manipulates Kelley, who is supporting three kids and a house by working two jobs. My daughter also pays out more of a percentage on her bills than the bank would like to see, although I believe her credit is a bit better than mine. Satan is good at making people uneasy about their giving in this manner. The temptation is to stop giving all together and wax cold to the needs of others. To do so goes against every Christian principle in the Bible.
There may very well be examples in your own life of people trying to push you farther than you can go. My advice, seek God’s direction. The Word says if our brother or sister offends us, forgive them seven times seventy. If you want to like the guy or girl in the mirror, I say give it your best shot to forgive a user or manipulator and do what you can to help without sinking your own ship. There is also nothing wrong with trying to help a needy person find a giver in better circumstances.
All we can do is pray we continue to, at least most of the time, make the Christian decision and keep on giving. The Word says, “If a man asks you for your shirt, offer him your coat. If he suggests you go a mile with him, go two. (3)”
But there are many other kinds of bitterness besides getting disgusted with other folks trying to manipulate you. Let’s look at love. I know a woman who lost her husband to divorce because she thought he was sleeping around, and yet all he was really doing during their marriage was toying with the idea as a means of coping with his animalistic desires. She acknowledged his explanation might be true, but quoted the scripture that if you look at a girl with lust in your heart you have already known her Biblically in your heart and have therefore sinned.
I am not saying that is not true, but a man or a woman is going to sin, Christian or not, upon occasion. And a younger man, or a woman, with a normal sex drive, will see someone of the opposite sex occasionally that excites them physically. The former husband’s argument was well, I was tempted to sin with another woman, but out of respect for my marriage I did not proceed. Any sin Satan can think of that will be a temptation to the individual will be what he throws in your mind. To me, it takes integrity to resist acting on temptation.
Looking at the results, the former wife’s heart apparently became hard and bitter over her husband’s thoughts. She asked the love of her life for a divorce and he gave it to her. To me this is a shame. My wife disappoints me sometimes, and I am sure I do her. But we both took a vow to see the other through for better or worse. Sure, it is an old fashioned concept, but love of a true friend, be it a spouse or not, has a way of coming back to the surface if a couple just does not panic.
Again, making that Jesus decision, even when the devil has a “good argument” is always the way to go. I have said many times in these sermons that flesh can not fix flesh. If a person has a spiritual problem, that person needs to communicate with the Spirit of the Living Jehovah God in order to get a spiritually healthy change in character or action.
This brings up another form of bitterness. People get tired of trying to fix themselves unsuccessfully. But once you turn the problem over to Jesus Christ and continue to pray about a Spiritual solution, Jesus is faithful to create a solution that will bring honesty and integrity back into your self-image and the impression you make on others. You begin to care about the greater good of spreading love and joy once you realize life is not always black and white.
Lack of patience also brings on bitterness. We have a tendency to want things to change faster than God apparently sees as best. When this happens, such as yours truly wanting the finances of the Southern Arkansas Tailgate News to be solvent, it is discouraging to say the least. When you look at a situation and start putting a reasonable time limit on a goal, watch out! That opens the door for Satan to throw anything he can think of in your way to delay matters.
Some day I believe my goal of financial success will be reached – if I can manage to submit enough of my will to the guidance and direction of Jesus Christ.
Now deceased actor Andy Griffith one said, “My mother told me nothing is easy.” As far as this writer is concerned, Andy is right and so was his mother. Nothing is easy, but with God’s guidance and direction all things are possible.
In some of the Assembly of God churches I attended a few years back, the saying was if something seemed impossible, it was still “Him possible.” Him, being Jesus, His mercy and love… Bitterness is deadly, no matter which form it takes. Parents can get bitter at children who never come around. Husbands can get bitter at wives who never approach them in a romantic way anymore. Friends can get bitter because they feel abandoned and left alone too long.
Much bitterness hits our hearts because we realize deep inside we are to blame for many of our unpleasant circumstances.
If bitterness takes hold, it can even lead to suicidal thoughts – or suicide itself… The Methodists taught me suicide was a from of blasphemy of the Holy Ghost of God, as it spits in the face of the All Mighty by destroying his greatest gift to us – our body and life to do with what we can and will. Is it really unforgivable? I have no idea, but I am sure not wanting to find out.
I was in AA for awhile because I had turned to too many beers when life became too stressful. I remember one speaker saying that when a drunk becomes bitter it usually leads to depression and relapse into excessive drinking.
That same speaker said the cure for bitterness and depression was to find a “wet drunk” who needs help more than you do and help him or her find their version of moderation or sobriety.
Being part of an improvement, in regard to others, takes our minds off of our own problems. I have seen this theory work many times.
Another effective way to deal with bitterness is to concentrate on what you have to be thankful for. The Bible says be thankful in all things. Sometimes I have to start by being thankful for my wife, my kids, my grand kids, my career, my cat, my dog or even my reliable car. I have seen the day when all of those things were hurting. God has given me much and I am very grateful.
Above it all, I am thankful Jehovah God sent His only Begotten Son to die on a cross for my sins so that I would not have to pay the price of my soul being sent to an eternal hell of punishment for my sins. Instead his pure blood covers those sins and He promises me, and you if you have accepted the free gift of salvation, that our names will remain in the Lamb’s Book of Life. And there is certainly nothing to get bitter about when it comes to that.
SCRIPTURES
1)DO NOT GROW WEARY OF YOUR 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 Corinthians 4:1-4King James Version (KJV) 4 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walkin