October 1, 2019 - I have almost completely stopped watching anything considered to be “news channels” today for all I see from them is turmoil, lies, hate and discontent by peoples all over the world.

I get so upset at these scenes of immorality and ungodliness that I choose just not to watch, not to subject myself to the witness of such evil works.

And so I look to the words of Isaiah for direction and explanation of what I see in todays world around me.

“Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.” (Isaiah 59:9)

I know that these are my feelings as I hope for a better relationship between all peoples around the world. As I seek for light but behold only gloom and darkness around me. I am sure that this is true of most Christian people as we are taught by God’s Holy Word that we are to love God first and our neighbor second, even as we love ourself. 

That we are to love others as much as we love our own selves, and yet, how can this be if we are surrounded by the turmoil that we all see every day in this evil crooked world that we all live in.

“Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.” (Isaiah 59:14-15)

So do we not see the truth; that justice has been turned away and righteousness has been removed from from the public squares of this world. 

The Bible says that the Lord Jesus Christ sees it and that he is displeased because there is no justice but only lies and deceit in the public squares.

Yes, the Lord sees all and he cannot like what he witnesses in the world of today for most of what he is seeing is in direct conflict to the teachings of his Word, for instance in the book of Micah we see this instruction for godly living.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

I ask you, where do you see these things, justice and kindness and people humbly walking with God.

And so, yes, God is displeased by what he is seeing in this world, but he is not hindered in any way except by our own iniquities.

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness. No one enters suit justly; no one goes to the law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity.” (Isaiah 59:1-4) 

Around the globe, in the halls of governments, everywhere, this is all I see when I watch the “news”, lies, hate, discontent and deception meant to deceive the masses and keep power in the hands of evil.

And then I remember the words of Job as he sat in torment, covered with sores, in pain with no knowledge of why he was being persecuted so,

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.” (Job 19:25) 

Yes, I know that my Redeemer lives and that one day he will once again stand upon this earth and all will bow to him and call him Lord of lords and King of kings and all who believe in him and wait upon him will be victorious over death with him.

Are you ready for his return, if he returns today will you run with joy to meet him or will you run and hide, hoping that he cannot see your iniquities?

Don’t let the iniquities of this world hold you in their trap, kick off the bonds of evil and wickedness and join the ranks of those who wait patiently for the coming of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and know the joy and peace that only comes through him and him alone.

“because, 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) 

October 1, 2019 - New Columbia Missionary Baptist Church will host the Smith Family in concert Saturday, October 5, at 6pm. A fellowship will follow. Anyone who loves to hear the Lord praised in song will enjoy the Smith Famiily.

New Columbia will be in revival October 6 through October 8 with services beginning at 7pm. Nathan Smith, of the Smith Family, will be the evangelist. Linda Ritter and Jim Slocumb will be in charge of music. We welcome everyone to join and encourage us in this revival effort.

New Columbia is located at 2018 FM 1970 South outside Timpson.

For more Iinformation call 936-254-2156.

September 30, 2019 - Grace and peace from our brother and savior, Jesus, Amen. Fall has come but you really can’t tell yet. I am so ready for some cooler weather, but summer just refuses to let go her grip.  Sue and I went to Monroe last Monday to visit Sue’s Uncle Eddie. We had a really good visit; Eddie seems to be doing quite well, although older like the rest of us. Sue’s car is in the shop, meaning we were down to just one vehicle—so I missed Sunday School this morning. We had a nice “crowd” for church (double digits).  We held a business meeting to approve all the reports and a new budget for 2020. Our Charge Conference with Dr. White is next Saturday at 2pm, which is also Tenaha’s homecoming. We have been collecting macaroni and cheese this month for Community Christian Services, and in October,  peanut butter and jelly.

Sue read the Gospel lesson for Sunday from Luke 16: 19-31 about Lazarus and the rich man. On earth, the rich man had everything while Lazarus suffered. But when the two men died and went to Shoal, the tables had turned. As our affirmation of faith, we recited the ecumenical version of the Apostles’ Creed. In this version, after Jesus’ death on the cross, he descended into hell. I remember as a youngster reading this with the congregation at Trinity Lutheran and giggling that we got to say a “bad word” during worship. When I was at Millsaps College, our professor had our class read this creed aloud and asked us why Jesus went to the land of the dead. After a few feeble attempts on our part at providing an answer, the professor said, “To proclaim the Good News, of course.” I guess that is what Paul means when he says that not even death can separate us from the love of Christ. 

In the Old Testament lesson, Jeremiah is instructed to buy some real estate in what had once been Judah.  That purchase for the future seemed to say that God had not given up on Judah and Israel, that hope was still alive even if it was on life support. Paul, in the first letter to Timothy, urges Timothy to take hold of the life that has been given and truly—really—live!   Larry McNeil gave me the March 16, 1959, edition of Time magazine that had the great theologian Paul Tillich on the cover. The article tried to explain some of Tillich’s very complicated theology. I am going to have to re-read the article again (and again) and then find my copy of The Courage To Be, but I did endeavor to explain some of Tillich’s ideas in my sermon.

Because of our Monroe trip, I didn’t write an article last week. But in both weeks, we had a nursing home program, with the help of our friends as usual.  For both Holiday and Lakeside, I emceed, with scripture and anecdotes, and Minnie played piano.  Nora sang “The Savior Was Waiting,” “Peace like a River,” and “To God Be the Glory.” Stellar accompanied herself on guitar with “One Day at a Time” and what she called a “parlor song” about the end of a perfect day. Gene sang “Blessed Assurance.” Pastor Sarah discussed loss, using her own misplaced ring and the parables of the lost coin and sheep. Sue read Amigos: Among Friends, “Stomach Ache Supreme,” and Cornfield Hide and Seek. We are so grateful for those who come to help bolster the singing and the friendly atmosphere: Hilda, Margie, Maggie, Jo, Peaches, and Stellar’s mom were all on hand.

Whoever you are, in whatever faith you were born, whatever creed you profess; if you come to this house to find God you are welcome here.” Paxton United Methodist Church is an inviting church that takes to heart the idea of “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds.” Sunday School starts at 9:30 and Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is paxtonumc@yahoo.com. If you would like the weekly email newsletter about Paxton Methodist you can send me your email address to the Paxton email address and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed.

September 30, 2019 - This is the Clever Creek Baptist Church located in South Central Shelby County. I preached the Homecoming Service there today. I preached my first Youth Revival there in 1952 and hadn't returned till today…67 years later!  

In the picture to my right and left are the two Enmon sisters (Mary Jo and Billie) that were converted to Christ during that revival. Dr. Jerry Hopkins has been Pastor of the church since 1994. He is in the dark suit at the right.

Click the image above for a larger version

September 27, 2019 - Latham Cemetery on FM 139 South of Shelbyville is in need of donations for upkeep. Donations may be mailed to Latham Cemetery, %Citizens Bank, P.O. Box 151, Center, Texas 75935 or to Latham Cemetery, %Jeri Dean, P.O. Box 1016, Timpson, Texas 75975. For more information call 936-254-4994.

Make checks payable to Latham Cemetery Fund. We thank you so much and God Bless!

September 26, 2019 - Why do we live in such a mad rush? Why have you been racing about all day, as though today is your last day on earth? Why do you sit and pat you foot impatiently when your telephone call is a little slow going through?

The answer, of course is always, “there is so much to be done, and so little time!” And it is true. However, have you ever heard the old saying, “Rome was not built in a day”?

Jesus had the burden of the sins of the world on His shoulders, and yet, He said to His disciples, “come ye apart into a desert place, to rest awhile.” Jesus knew they could not crowd every day and every moment to the brim without losing some of the peace and relaxation they needed for their real goal in life.

When Jesus and the disciples passed through Samaria, Jesus was weary, so He sat down by the well to rest, while His disciples went away into the city to buy bread. He took the time to take little children into His arms and bless them.

To a group of disciples with the most stupendous task before them any group of men ever had – evangelizing the whole world – Jesus said, “Consider the lilies”. Take time out to notice the beauties of nature and draw some conclusions about God from them. Take the time to meet God at His house for Bible Study and Worship on the Lord’s Day. Don’t live in too much of a hurry.

It’s something to think about…..tbp

Join us for worship this coming Lord’s day at the Center Church of Christ, 110 Hurst Street, Center, Texas or online at www.centerchurchofchrist.com

September 25, 2019 - Pastor Byron Coutee, Jr. and the Blount Chapel Missionary Baptist Church would like to invite everyone to their Mission Program on Sunday, September 29, 2019 at 11am.

The theme is 'Abiding Together: Women Connecting and Encouraging One Another in LOVE' John 15:1-27

Speakers include:

  • Sis. Alice Garrett of Center, Texas
  • Sis. Nathella Collins of Silsbee, Texas
  • Sis. Lorna Hill of Tenaha, Texas

Come join us for a glorious time in the Lord.

September 25, 2019 - Logansport Missionary Baptist Church will be having revival service Oct.7-11 at 7pm each evening. The evangelist will be Bro. Hayden Wilkes. Come join us in hearing God's word.

Specials are welcome. Church is located on Hwy 84 in Logansport,La. Pastor is Bro. Joe Walker.

July 1, 2019 - “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly…” Proverbs 18:24  

I met the late Fred Smith when I was a student at ETBU in Marshall, Texas. He was one of our best (and biggest) basketball players and his size earned him the name “Big Fred”. Our paths crossed again when I met him in his pickup on the hill at Geneva, Texas back in the 70s. “Hey, Fincher”, he hollered. “Hey, Fred,"…"Whatcha doing nowadays?”....  “Fox huntin’,” he laughed.

Fred and I often bragged about how poor we grew up and often sat on his “gallery” (a.k.a. “porch”) and compared our stories of poverty.

“Fred, were y'all rich enough to take ‘lightening bread’ in your school lunch?” “Not very often...but when we did, we didn’t hold it down low. We held it up high where everybody could see it!” “My school lunch was usually a hammer and two “hiccer nuts,” he laughed. “Hey, Fincher…. if you want to hunt doves in the back pasture, you’re as welcome as the flowers in May.”

When I asked Fred what he played in High School football, he laughed, “Mainly the bench. My coach never learned my name. He just called me ‘Boy’.” 

“When we played Center one year, they almost killed us. Finally the coach told me to go in. The next thing I remember I was being hauled off the field in a wheel barrow and they parked me on the sideline in a bunch of goat weeds”.

It’s no wonder I so enjoyed visiting Fred “on his gallery.” He was a fun man to be around and never failed to lift my spirits with his wit and sense of humor.

When he crossed the Jordan years ago, he left me (and his world of friends) many wonderful memories. And he was what many men never are.
He was a good man.

September 22, 2019 - “Thus it is written,” that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47) These words Jesus spoke to this disciples just before he ascended back to the Father in heaven. He opened their minds that they could understand the scriptures and he prepared them to be filled by the Holy Spirit, strengthened by him, that they could then go forth boldly preaching his gospel of grace and mercy. This same gospel of the love of Jesus Christ is to be taught today the same as it was in the first century AD. This gospel says that there is no other way to salvation but through our Lord Jesus Christ as he says himself.

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John14:6) This is that no man can buy his salvation nor can it be earned through good works toward others, no, it must be given by the great mercy of the Father as a gift for accepting his Son, Jesus Christ as one’s own Lord and Master.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-7)

The wonderful blessing, the reward for believing in and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord. The blessed hope of eternity spent in heaven in total harmony and unity with the Father and the Son and his Holy Spirit. But still, this is done only through faith in Jesus Christ and not by anything one can do for himself.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10) Some would now say, “but, this says we are created for good works” so can we work our way into heaven? 

NO, good works are actually the fruit of the Spirit given us by the Father for accepting his Son as Lord. These “good works” are to live our lives as examples of the goodness of Christ Jesus. Spreading the gospel of our Lord through our words and deeds each day of our lives on earth. These are works/deeds done as a result of our salvation and not to gain our salvation. Our works are our lives, which are to reflect the love of Christ to all people, to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbor as ourselves as we show the love of Christ to all that we meet each day.

It is by our words and deeds each day that Christ Jesus is known by the world. The responsibility of all Christians, to show the world the love of Christ through our lives of service to him.