“WELL DONE THY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT” by Narita Roady

On June 11, 2013, at 11:59 p.m. Jerry Glenn Roady left this life and met his Lord and Savior. The man who had lived through incredible health challenges, predictions of early death and according the doctors was to be confined to a wheel chair for life; died of a kidney stone. Many would look at it as ironic or a tragedy after all he had faced, but I know without a doubt, he died of no particular cause. His death resulted in the Lord saying, “Time to come home Jerry and be with Me.”
I was reminded of when he had his first bypass surgery at the age of 25 and showed faith and courage way beyond his years. I was left to share the doctor’s dire diagnosis of a much shortened life as they could not bear to give a young man such tragic news. I sat crying and he lay in the bed very calm. I asked him, “Aren’t you afraid?” He answered, “No, because if I am to live to 80 I will live inspite of heart disease, and if I am to die at 31, I will die whether or not I have heart disease. Don’t you see? It won’t be heart disease that takes me, it will be the Lord.” His words all those years ago proved true.
Many of you have faced this same journey and understand all I am facing. It is as if I have started on a trip in the blackness of night, in a car with no headlights and I have no idea where I am going. My heart is broken and I feel as if I have been cut in half. No words can express my pain.
Yet I know it is a part of life we must all face someday. I know without a doubt it was Jerry’s time to go to his heavenly home. God never says “oops”. I know having him 5, 10, 15 or 20 more years would not have been enough and I would have been right where I am at now. Not even knowing that it was my last day or week or month with him would have helped, for there is no way we can ever give enough hugs, kisses and words of love.
I praise God for everything as He is carrying me every step of the way from the last night in ICU to right now. I feel the prayers of others. At the same time I have experienced Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
In the midst of such paralyzing sorrow, there are things I find joy in and thank the Lord with a full and grateful heart. I would like to share these with you.
1. I was the ONE blessed to have Jerry as my husband, best friend, soul mate, and pastor. My daughters were blessed to have him as their father. I never met a man so Christ like. I don’t know how many times people would comment on how they could see Christ living in and through him.
2. I had almost 41 1/2 years with him. Nothing short of a miraculous testimony of God’s mercy and love, considering at the age 25 the doctors gave him 6-8 years to live. The doctor that actually saw his heart and held it in his hands said Jerry had the heart of a 75 year old man. In his unfailing sense of humor the first time he went to the pharmacy for a prescription he asked if he could get the “senior citizen’s discount”. I have thanked God for every year, every anniversary, every birthday and I will continue to even though there will be no more.
3. Although he had many medical challenges he lived his life as a well man. He lived life to the fullest for many years without many of the physical hindrances most would experience. Yes there were difficulties and pain but in his courage he made it look simple to those around. He lived life to the fullest and enjoyed doing the things he loved.
4. I was part of an amazing ministry and knew a giant among Christians intimately. I am saddened that I will never hear another sermon or lesson or hear him pray for me, but I have all that he taught me about God and His Word in my heart. I am forever changed by the person he helped me become through his example. He truly lived what he taught and professed.
5. Jerry was happy and active up to the day before he died. He worked in the yard, moved a huge potted plant around, arranged lawn timbers for a palm garden he had laid out in the front yard and moved heavy rocks with no difficulty. He had great joy and future plans for so many things for his family, his church, and his home.
6. This one may sound strange, but I thank the Lord in how He took him. I had prayed for many years, “Lord, when you take him do not let him suffer and linger. Take him during a surgery or in his sleep. Also Lord, I know it will be you that takes him as you are the Giver and Taker of life, but as a special sign for me, don’t let his defibrillator work or something like that.”
It may have been a silly prayer to some but a sincere heartfelt one on my part. The week before he was in the ER for bronchitis and a cough, and his EKG was so normal that the doctor other than looking at his information didn’t know he had a heart condition. I cannot tell you the last time he had a normal EKG.
A couple of weeks before he died his defibrillator were checked and it was fine. On his last day in the hospital, in all the times his heart had irregular beats and stopped it never worked once, which was very puzzling to the doctors. As soon as he died it began giving discharges. For many this might be disturbing but it gave me peace. It was his time to go be with the Lord. As our daughter Aimee said, it was his time to go receive his rewards of his Heavenly Father.
7. I know he was ready to go. The Sunday before he died I had nursery duty and missed the sermon. I found it on his computer. He had preached about grief and sorrow, and how God longs to comfort us. After reading it I realized, unbeknownst to him, he was preaching it for those he would leave behind. A few weeks after his death Ashley remembered in the sermon he said, “I can say this because Narita isn’t in her; it upsets her when I say it.” ( He had said this a few months earlier in a sermon and afterwards I had told him not to be saying that!) “I am ready to go to heaven right now. I am so excited about going and seeing my Savior. The only thing holding me here now is Narita and the girls”.
I know Jerry lives on in perfection and joy with the One that created and loves him more than I ever could. I know I will see him again and live for eternity with happiness we could never have experienced here. I rejoice at what he is gained but grieve in my loss.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is difficult to express my gratitude for the out pouring of prayers, love, cards, and calls. Thank you so much to the B.M.A of Oklahoma for your support and making the transition of all the financial information. Jerry loved serving as Mission’s Director. He loved the B.M.A. of Oklahoma and so enjoyed all opportunities he had to visit with all his brothers and sisters in Christ. Please continue to pray for me and our family. I am not strong but my Lord is.
I would like to share with you the scripture the Lord led our daughter, Amber to when we were searching for a scripture for the funeral programs. I truly believe this perfectly describes Jerry, his ministry and his life.
But thou hast fully known my doctrine,
manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
Persecutions, afflictions, . . .
what persecutions I endured:
but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
2 Timothy 3:10-11

Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, August 2013

Today would have been Jerry’s 61st birthday. I wanted to wish him Happy Birthday on his first birthday in Heaven. But then I realized it is only his “would be” birthday to us. He no longer has birthdays but eternity. I can picture his smile, his laughter, his jokes ( and seriousness) about being the “birthday boy” and all the privileges (many he made up along the way LOL) that went with it. His joy at celebrating another birthday. Today I celebrate that I had him as my husband and best friend, but I cry because I miss him so much. I thank God for his life and giving him to me all those years. My tears are selfish tears for me because I know his unimaginable joy and happiness surpasses any party or gift we could give him here. I love you Sweetheart and will forever.

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WHAT IF IT WAS YOUR CHURCH? PART 2 by Narita Roady

There is a story about a man that loved books and was quite knowledgeable about them.  He was visiting with a friend who told of throwing away a Bible that had been in His family for many generations.   He had found it in the attic of the old family home.  The friend explained, “I just couldn’t read it, somebody name Guten-something or another had printed it.” The lover of books gasped, “Not a Gutenberg!  Why a copy recently sold for over two million dollars!!!”

His friend just shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Nah, mine wouldn’t have sold for even a dollar.   Some guy name Martin Luther had scribbled all over it in German!”

At this point I am assuming the booklover passed out!   I do not know if this story is true but there are some similar ones from modern day that are.   In 1989, a man bought a picture frame for $4.00 at a yard sale.   Inside was a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence which he sold for over two million dollars!   In 2006, Rick Norsigian purchased two boxes of glass photograph negatives for $45.00 at a garage sale.  They were negatives of famed photographer Ansel Adams recognized as the father of modern American nature photography!  Mr. Norsigian’s checkbook will be $2,000,000 heavier!  Obviously the people that sold these items so cheaply are regretting it.   They didn’t realize their value and took them for granted!   Last month we were considering the question, “What would you do if your church closed its doors this year.”   Unconsconciouly, many take for granted their precious church homes.  Unlike these unknowing sellers, we can make sure we are not a part of our church’s demise.  Out of the  “8 major “Assasins” of the church we had looked at 3.  Here are the other 5.

4. Not supporting your pastor.   There is a very important fact many members overlook concerning their pastor and that is, “He is God’s man serving as God’s ‘under shepherd’ the office God created.”  This is not to be taken lightly.  I am not talking about a pastor that is preaching untruths or heresy. If that’s the case you need to be talking TO him, not ABOUT him.   Your pastor is a person just like you with faults and limitations, but he has been called to a huge responsibility.  98% of the time the problems someone has with their pastor has to do with personal preference rather that doctrine.  Did you know 50% of preachers starting out will quit the ministry within 5 years?  In 2011, 1,700 pastors left the ministry for good.   We should refuse to speak badly of our pastor or listen to negative gossip.  If we have a problem we need to go to him and encourage others to do the same.  Murmuring against God’s man will harm us, our family, spread discontent between others, and sow seeds of discord.  This destroys a church and certainly doesn’t entice others to come and join.

Our pastor deserves the same respect we show our doctor, lawyer or any dignitary.   In fact, a pastor’s role is more important than that of professionals because God has called him to spiritually lead and teach our families. His position carries a very heavy load of responsibility.  He will answer to God when he meets Him on how he cared for the Lord’s sheep. It isn’t about “who he is”, but “what he does.”   Remember to encourage him in word and deed.  I Thess. 5:12-13 speaks of our duty to God concerning this.  “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.”  Your pastor is God’s man, don’t hinder his work.

5. Discord with other members.   Last year in all the churches across our country, over 3,500 people left the church DAILY.  The majority of these departures were due to misunderstandings, disagreements, and contentiousness of fellow members.  Not all the time are these folks purposely being unkind.  Quite often it is simply their immaturity as people and Christians in getting along with others. Sometimes they are unhappy with themselves and their lives so they take it out on those around them.  Whatever the cause, the bottom line is that they have not let the Lord do a work in their life, either through salvation or spiritual growth.” Proverbs 6:16-19, covers it all“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

We must purpose to be peacemakers not troublemakers in our church family.  Pray and think before we speak or respond to something that we find offensive.  “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”  James 1:19
If we are offended the best thing to do is go to that person in love, but even better grow up and learn to forgive and let things go by truly learning to love each other. “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”  Proverbs 10:12   How sad it would be that a petty spirit or selfish outburst caused weaker or spiritually younger Christian to leave the church.  Many never return to any church. What about those outside the church?  People have enough fighting, arguing, and bickering in their jobs and homes.  They certainly don’t want to come to what is supposed to be a place of refuge from the world and have more. “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgaven you.”  Ephesians 4:32  Being a part of your family is to follow Christ, don’t act like one of the Devil’s kids.

6. Not witnessing or visiting or inviting.  Did you know that half of all churches last year did not add one new member through salvation?  80 percent of those who attend church believe it is a personal responsibility to share their Christ, but 61 percent confess they have not told another person about how to become a Christian in the past six months.  We just celebrated Christmas and I can guarantee you one of the main subjects being discussed is what gifts were received.  A new car, a new job, a new house, a raise, a new pet, you name it if we think it has benefited us and we are rejoicing over it we share the news with others!   After all, it is good news to us!  That is all fine and good but what about us sharing the “Good News” of Jesus Christ?  Does this mean it isn’t something that has benefited us or we rejoice over?   Once we are saved we are COMMANDED to share the Gospel with others! “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Matthew 28:19

We aren’t just to witness but also invite!   It isn’t just the pastor’s job!  Not proselyting, but inviting those that don’t have a church home.   A survey showed that 48 % of church members have not invited anyone to church in 6 months!  We invite people to games, dinner, parties, etc., so why don’t we invite them to church?  We live in a free country where inviting folks to church won’t cost us our life, our home, or our family, so what’s the hindrance?  Your church cannot grow without fulfilling its purpose, winning the lost and disciplining.  The only other option is for it to die.  This isn’t about increasing numbers but changing lives! Again, visiting and inviting is a command, not an option.  “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” Luke 14:23

We will be sharing the Greatest Message, to solve mankind’s Biggest Problem, so that everyone might have the opportunity to receive the Perfect Solution, so they can be a part of the Greatest Purpose that brings glory to the Greatest King.  Now isn’t that the Greatest Work ever?  To witness and visit is a command, don’t disobey it.

7. Indifference to the needs and struggles of your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Being loved and cared for by others is universal.  We live in frantically busy times where it is easy to become focused on the little pond of our life we live in.  Most of us are so overwhelmed with just the basics of life we fall into the trap of not seeing the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of those around us.  As with marriages and parents and children, when one feels neglected, the relationship is weakened.  It becomes hard for that couple or family to grow into all they can be.  The same thing applies to the church.  For most this is not intentional, but if we loved others as we love ourselves it wouldn’t happen. “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

We need to be sensitive to the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Pray the Lord will open your eyes to what they are facing.  He sees everything they face.   Next we must purpose to be empathetic, considerate, compassionate, supportive, and understanding.  Respond to them as we would want others to respond to us.  This requires stepping out of our comfort zone.  When you reach out God will provide you with the resources and time to make a difference.  “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2   Caring for others is vital, don’t take it lightly.

8. Not staying where God has planted you, looking for greener pastures.  I hope before each of you joined your church you prayed about where He would want you to serve.   Wherever He leads us this is where we need to stay.  Not church hopping when something doesn’t suit us; we get mad or offended; or we grow tired of being there and want a change.  Don’t go in search of “greener pastures”, and more or better programs.   Put down roots and bloom where you are planted.  Tumble weeds have no roots they just go wherever the wind blows, much like many church members.  We must reject the idea of attending church solely for what the church can do for us.  It isn’t about us, it’s about others and Christ!  The only time to leave your church home is if God leads you or they stop preaching and teaching scriptural truth.   Countless church “transfers” have less to do with God’s will and more to do with backsliding.  When one quits focusing on Christ and working for the Lord, they grow discontented and critical.  Serving where God has placed you is a calling, don’t reject it

The pathway to a new year stands before us, unknown and untraveled. I ask you again,   “What would you do if your church closed its doors this year.”   You hold the keys. What will you do?

WHAT IF IT WAS YOUR CHURCH? Part 1 by Narita Roady

The pathway to a new year stands before us, unknown and untraveled.   We will all experience adventure, joy, sadness, and loss.    Sometimes that loss will involve regrets concerning those things we have taken for granted.  Ingratitude fueled by busyness and the lack of correct priorities will allow precious things to slip away.  The saddest part is we will not realize their value nor how important they are to us until they are gone.  Then it will be too late.  Children grow up, loved ones and friends pass away.   Even sadder is in some cases, our neglect was a major part of their demise.  Disregard  for our health and use of the finances God gave us can play a major role in losing what we thought would always be there.   Along that line of thought, let me ask you, “What would you do if your church closed its doors this year.”   After all, isn’t a strong, truth preaching, loving, biblical church something most people take for granted.   Yes, your church may have been here for 20, 30, 50 years or more but if neglected by her members she cannot remain open.

Right now in America up to 7,000 churches close their doors each year.  Many of those shouldn’t have had to die.  That may not sound like a lot but what if it was YOUR church.  Some members would be sad, some wouldn’t care, some would just find a new church home,  and some would simply look at it as an inconvenience rather than a loss.  Others would just drop out of church completely.

We are undeniably in the last days, therefore God’s work is being attacked on every side.  Our religious freedoms are being challenged and attempts made to take them away.  Even our freedom to worship is gradually dwindling.   Not all these are in our control, but how grievous when Satan is enabled to destroy a church from within.  There are 8 major “ Assassins” of the church.

1. Sporadic Attendance. Being a Christian is not a hobby, it is a relationship with Christ.  Being a church member is not optional, it is a commitment to obey the Lord and also to His church that He died for “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”   Hebrews 10:25

Where do people ever get the idea that attending services is based on mood, convenience, or if there is something else they would rather do?  The church is a family and you are important and of value whether you recognize it or not.  As members of a local body of Christ (your church) scripture compares us to the physical body. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” Romans 12:5

Yes we might be able to function without certain body parts, but certainly not effectively.  Over a period of time this loss will cause the health and efficiency of the body to drastically decline.  This applies to churches also.  If a school is not supported by the faithful attendance of pupils, it will have to close. If a library does not have regular patrons to check books, it will have to close.  Do you get the picture?

When members decide to lay out of service I assume they are looking at themselves as only one member.  What happens when 2 or 5 or even 10 members decide to do the same?  In a large church this might not have an impact but in a medium to small church the effect can be devastating.  Churches lose an estimated 2,765,000 people each year to secularism. Members that begin skipping 1 or 2 services are in danger of eventually leaving the church and being absorbed back into the world.  The habit develops so gradually that you don’t realize how much or how long you have missed.  Church attendance dropped from 1,606,000 in 1968 to 881,000 in 2005. I am sure it is safe to say the numbers are even greater now.   If you want your church to exist,  support it by your presence to all services.  The blessing of having a church home and the freedom to attend is a gift.  Don’t take it lightly.

2. Not supporting the church financially.  Yes this is the one everyone hates, everyone shys away from, and many get angry about.  (Well at least the ones who aren’t doing it.)  Tithing.  The word “tithe” means 10 %.  Everything we have belongs to God.  Every chair, every alarm clock, every dust bunny and every penny we own belongs to God.   All of it is on loan to us. Unfortunately many Christians look at their money according  to one of the “Toddler’s Rules of  Possession”: “If it’s in my hand it’s MINE!”   All He ask for is 10% and that adds up to only 10 cents from every dollar we earn. You have to admit that is a  pretty fair trade!  You keep 90% and He gets 10% of what is all rightfully His!   No family, business or institution can remain open without financial support.  It’s just impossible. If every customer that frequents your local grocery store began only spending $5.00 to $25.00 a week or even a month, how long would the doors stay open?   How long could you provide for your family if your boss decided to pay you what he felt like each paycheck.  “Ralph, this week your paycheck will just be $20.  I know you’ll understand, me and the wife have had some unexpected expenses and Junior wants a new X-Box.”  How long could you support your family and keep a roof over their head this way?  Does your church have heat for the winter and air-conditioning for the summer?  Is there toilet paper, hand towels, soap and running water in the bathrooms?   Is lighting provided for night services?  Who then pays for all these comforts we enjoy?  This doesn’t include many other expenses, not to mention the pastor’s salary and his need to provide for his family.  Our giving is more than just putting money in the offering plate.  Giving is another way we show the Lord we love Him. It is also an act of  obedience to God.  This obedience opens the door for Him to bless us. 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.”   Luke 6:38   

No I don’t mean we will turn into Donald Trump or Bill Gates, but we will ensure the opportunity for God to provide for our needs in miraculous ways.  Countless Christians have not experienced such blessings because they are afraid to step out in faith and take God up on His offer.   Non-giving members are good, loving, moral, Bible believing born again believers who would never dream of doing something unlawful, especially agianst God.  But the Bible says they are thieves. “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.Malachi 3:8   Definitely a severe accusation, but it shows us how serious God views giving Him His part.    No, the Lord didn’t instigate giving to take from us or hinder us from meeting our financial obligations.  He began it to make us an intimate part of His work here on earth.  Giving is just one of His tools to help us grow in faith and learn to trust our Heavenly Father for all our needs. The opportunity to give to God is an honor, don’t neglect it.

3. Lack of involvement.   When there is little participation in any type of group, it becomes impossible for just a few to carry the responsibilities long term.  With no help the basic needs cannot be maintained, little alone the major purposes be fulfilled.  We have all experienced this at home and in the workplace.  The co-worker that doesn’t do his job so it falls on others to do his work and theirs.  What about child that refuses to do chores around the house, leaving it all to mom and dad?  Eventually everything falls apart.   The problem arises when members come and act as “guests” to be cared for rather than doing their part as a church family member.  Being involved in your church home can be accomplished in many ways.

Of course there are the ministries of the church such as teaching and serving in church offices, but we all can’t do that.   You might consider offering to be a last minute fill-in for watching nursery or teaching a class.  Volunteer nursery workers are needed all the time.   If your church does not pay someone to clean workers are always needed to help here.

It is important to be spiritually involved too.  Studying your Bible, praying for church ministries, fellow members, prayer requests and the pastor and his family.  Simply ask God to show you where He needs you to serve. I promise He will.  The chance to be involved in your church in anyway isn’t a burden, it is privilege.  Don’t waste it.

. . . . to be continued

Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, January 2013

WHAT IF IT WAS YOUR CHURCH PART 1

WHAT IF IT WAS YOUR CHURCH?

The pathway to a new year stands before us, unknown and untraveled.   We will all experience adventure, joy, sadness, and loss.    Sometimes that loss will involve regrets concerning those things we have taken for granted.  Ingratitude fueled by busyness and the lack of correct priorites will allow precious things to slip away.  The saddest part is we will not realize their value nor how important they are to us until they are gone.  Then it will be too late.  Children grow up, loved ones and friends pass away.   Even sadder is in some cases, our neglect was a major part of their demise.  Disregard  for our health and use of the finances God gave us can play a major role in losing what we thought would always be there.   Along that line of thought, let me ask you, “What would you do if your church closed its doors this year.”   After all, isn’t a strong, truth preaching, loving, biblical church something most people take for granted.   Yes, your church may have been here for 20, 30, 50 years or more but if neglected by her members she cannot remain open.

Right now in America up to 7,000 churches close their doors each year.  Many of those shouldn’t have had to die.  That may not sound like a lot but what if it was YOUR church.  Some members would be sad, some wouldn’t care, some would just find a new church home,  and some would simply look at it as an inconvenience rather than a loss.  Others would just drop out of church completely.

We are undeniably in the last days, therefore God’s work is being attacked on every side.  Our religious freedoms are being challenged and attempts made to take them away.  Even our freedom to worship is gradually dwindling.   Not all these are in our control, but how grievous when Satan is enabled to destroy a church from within.  There are 8 major “Assasins” of the church.

1. Sporadic Attendance. Being a Christian is not a hobby, it is a relationship with Christ.  Being a church member is not optional, it is a commitment to obey the Lord and also to His church that He died for “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”   Hebrews 10:25

Where do people ever get the idea that attending services is based on mood, convenience, or if there is something else they would rather do?  The church is a family and you are important and of value whether you recognize it or not.  As members of a local body of Christ (your church) scripture compares us to the physical body. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” Romans 12:5

Yes we might be able to function without certain body parts, but certainly not effectively.  Over a period of time this loss will cause the health and efficiency of the body to drastically decline.  This applies to churches also.  If a school is not supported by the faithful attendance of pupils, it will have to close. If a library does not have regular patrons to check books, it will have to close.  Do you get the picture?

When members decide to lay out of service I assume they are looking at themselves as only one member.  What happens when 2 or 5 or even 10 members decide to do the same?  In a large church this might not have an impact but in a medium to small church the effect can be devastating.  Churches lose an estimated 2,765,000 people each year to secularism. Members that begin skipping 1 or 2 services are in danger of eventually leaving the church and being absorbed back into the world.  The habit develops so gradually that you don’t realize how much or how long you have missed.  Church attendance dropped from 1,606,000 in 1968 to 881,000 in 2005. I am sure it is safe to say the numbers are even greater now.   If you want your church to exist,  support it by your presence to all services.  The blessing of having a church home and the freedom to attend is a gift.  Don’t take it lightly.

2. Not supporting the church financially.  Yes this is the one everyone hates, everyone shys away from, and many get angry about.  (Well at least the ones who aren’t doing it.)  Tithing.  The word “tithe” means 10 %.  Everything we have belongs to God.  Every chair, every alarm clock, every dust bunny and every penny we own belongs to God.   All of it is on loan to us. Unfortunately many Christians look at their money according  to one of the “Toddler’s Rules of  Possession”: “If it’s in my hand it’s MINE!”   All He ask for is 10% and that adds up to only 10 cents from every dollar we earn. You have to admit that is a  pretty fair trade!  You keep 90% and He gets 10% of what is all rightfully His!   No family, business or institution can remain open without financial support.  It’s just impossible. If every customer that frequents your local grocery store began only spending $5.00 to $25.00 a week or even a month, how long would the doors stay open?   How long could you provide for your family if your boss decided to pay you what he felt like each paycheck.  “Ralph, this week your paycheck will just be $20.  I know you’ll understand, me and the wife have had some unexpected expenses and Junior wants a new X-Box.”  How long could you support your family and keep a roof over their head this way?  Does your church have heat for the winter and air-conditioning for the summer?  Is there toilet paper, hand towels, soap and running water in the bathrooms?   Is lighting provided for night services?  Who then pays for all these comforts we enjoy?  This doesn’t include many other expenses, not to mention the pastor’s salary and his need to provide for his family.  Our giving is more than just putting money in the offering plate.  Giving is another way we show the Lord we love Him. It is also an act of  obedience to God.  This obedience opens the door for Him to bless us. 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.”   Luke 6:38   

No I don’t mean we will turn into Donald Trump or Bill Gates, but we will ensure the opportunity for God to provide for our needs in miraculous ways.  Countless Christians have not experienced such blessings because they are afraid to step out in faith and take God up on His offer.   Nongiving members are good, loving, moral, Bible believing born again believers who would never dream of doing something unlawful, especially agianst God.  But the Bible says they are thieves. “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.Malachi 3:8   Definitely a severe accusation, but it shows us how serious God views giving Him His part.    No, the Lord didn’t instigate giving to take from us or hinder us from meeting our financial obligations.  He began it to make us an intimate part of His work here on earth.  Giving is just one of His tools to help us grow in faith and learn to trust our Heavenly Father for all our needs. The opportunity to give to God is an honor, don’t neglect it.

3. Lack of involvement.   When there is little participation in any type of group, it becomes impossible for just a few to carry the responsibilities long term.  With no help the basic needs cannot be maintained, little alone the major purposes be fulfilled.  We have all experienced this at home and in the workplace.  The co-worker that doesn’t do his job so it falls on others to do his work and theirs.  What about child that refuses to do chores around the house, leaving it all to mom and dad?  Eventually everything falls apart.   The problem arises when members come and act as “guests” to be cared for rather than doing their part as a church family member.  Being involved in your church home can be accomplished in many ways.

Of course there are the ministries of the church such as teaching and serving in church offices, but we all can’t do that.   You might consider offering to be a last minute fill-in for watching nursery or teaching a class.  Volunteer nursery workers are needed all the time.   If your church does not pay someone to clean workers are always needed to help here.

It is important to be spiritually involved too.  Studying your Bible, praying for church ministries, fellow members, prayer requests and the pastor and his family.  Simply ask God to show you where He needs you to serve. I promise He will.  The chance to be involved in your church in anyway isn’t a burden, it is privilege.  Don’t waste it.

. . . . to be continued 

 Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, January 2013

 

IF CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT, WHAT’S IT GONNA DO TO YOU? by Narita Roady

The air was crisp with autumn scents and just a hint of coolness hung in the air. A rainbow of fall colors were scattered across the yard where leaves had fallen. It was the perfect afternoon for a cookout. Six couples had gathered to enjoyed hamburgers and hotdogs with all the trimmings. The coals on the barbecue had burned down and the party was preparing to fix an all-time favorite, toasted marshmallows. Long metal skewers had been passed out and everyone had their marshmallows ready to toast.

Suddenly the quite evening was pierced by the sounds of sirens. Two fire trucks sped past the house with lights flashing. To everyone’s surprise, they stopped at a home just a few houses away.

Curious about what was happening; everyone stopped their party and ran down the street. They were shocked to find a family standing in front of their burning home looking lost and helpless as everything they owned was demolished. The group stood in shock as firefighters fought to extinguish the fire. As the host couple turned to speak, they saw the bereft family glaring at them in disgust. They were completely caught off guard until they realized in the entire party stood by the blazing home, each holding their roasting stick with marshmallows on them!

I am sure the “siren chasers” never intended to offend those in trouble, but their curiosity did just that. The situation could have even been worse. Their uninvited interest could have hindered the rescue workers in their efforts and the marshmallow roasters could have been hurt or injured themselves. Either way, their unbridled inquisitiveness would have still ended with someone being hurt, emotionally or physically.

Curiosity by itself is not necessarily a bad thing but whatever we are curious about determines if it hurts us or benefits us. Curiosity is defined “as an intense desire learn or know about something and causes one to be drawn into or involved in the interest”. There is no doubt that it can lead one into dangerous situations, physically and spiritually.

I have no doubt God created us with a natural inquisitiveness because Eve possessed it before the fall. After all, her misuse of it is what got her and all of us in trouble! When God gives us an ability or characteristic, it is meant for us to use it within HIS guidelines and for His purpose. He states those rules in Romans 16:19, “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.”

Satan is cornering the curiosity market in the world today. Instead of it being an avenue to gain knowledge about the Lord or worthwhile wholesome information and wisdom to improve one’s life and those around them, it has become an insatiable preoccupation to fulfill the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh. Far too many Christians are more inquisitive about worldly sin than about God and His Word.  Modern media has made it far too easy to aid such inquiring minds. Movies, documentaries, televisions shows and the internet all beckon people to learn more about deviant lifestyles, sinful pastimes, satanic followers and more. These make temptation even greater because they can be viewed in the “privacy” of one’s home, car or office, with no accountability to others or shame of being exposed.  We have no such privacy! “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.Psalm 90:8

Christians follow in the footsteps their Garden of Eden relatives, Adam and Eve, and deceive themselves into thinking God does not know! “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” . Genesis 3:9-10

If He lives in us, how can He ever NOT see what we are doing?! “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”  Hebrews 4:13

Even the 6 o’clock news is guilty feeding ungodly curiosity, by graphically displaying and reporting painful, bloody, and violent happenings in the lives of others. By chance we are convicted, Satan provides the salve of “just keeping up with local and current events”

The consequences get even worse. The Devil is getting two for the price of one. He  has a head start on destroying our children through their natural child-like curiosity. These innocent little souls have access to all the same smut as their parents. Dad and Mom lack godly standards in their own curiosity appetites so they fail to see how and where their children are being defiled. They have become insensitive to evil through repeated exposure. Failing to see it taking root in the lives of their precious offspring until it is too late and the seeds of immorality begin to sprout. To compound the problem, in the name of being a “good parent”, they give their kids internet access and cell phones with little supervision, which translates to free rein into this unlimited realm of sin. It takes time, diligence, and commitment to protect your youth by knowing what they are watching, listening to, and texting.  Countless young lives in Christian homes are being ruined by exposure to porn and other wickedness they picked up on the “information highway”.

God commands us to train our children in the way they SHOULD go. Like it or not, the fact is a large number are training them in the way they SHOULD NOT go! “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Instead of parents teaching Scripture in their home throughout the day, as Deuteronomy 11:18-19, instructs, the Devil’s has his textbook out holding classes with their children. “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.

And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”   

Years later, these same parents will shake their heads and grieve wondering what happened to their children when they had them in church faithfully and had regular family devotionals.

All things considered, we should not be surprised that modern technology is such an instrument of influence in corruption of God’s people. Just look who is in control of the airwaves that all this information comes through. It is no coincidence that our modern day communications come to us this way. Just look at who is in control of those airwaves! “. . . according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Ephesians 2:2

Misusing God’s gift of curiosity never works. As already mentioned, it did not work for Eve. Lot’s wife did not benefit from it. Maybe she too thought, “I’ll just take a quick peek and no one will know!” “And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:17-26

No matter how “grown-up and adult” we think, we are, there are things we should not look at, listen to, think about, or read. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:11

Looking leads to thinking and thinking leads to doing. Ignoring God’s principles for our curiosity corrupts our spirit, harms our lives, and disrupts our fellowship with our Heavenly Father.  The old adage, “Curiosity killed the cat”, can apply to Christians too!

Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, November 2012

Mr. Christmas by Narita Roady

In Wilshire England there is an electrician named Andy Park who is known to many as Mr. Christmas. He claims that he loves Christmas more than anyone and has been true to his word by celebrating it every day for the last 19 years. In 1993 after suffering from bouts of depression, he decided it was up to him to choose to be happy and not let stress rule his life. Remembering how good he felt during the Christmas season, he decided he would celebrate Christmas every day. He unboxed all his decorations, adorned his house, and make it Christmas from that day forward.
Every morning he wakes up and eats 6 to 7 mince tarts. He opens presents he has purchased and wrapped for himself the night before, pretending he hasn’t a clue what is in them. One year he even bought himself a Mercedes! This is one way to make sure you always get the gifts you want! Next, he lovingly looks at the Christmas card he signed especially for him, from him (sometimes 2 or 3 cards)! Of course he hand delivers it to save on postage by walking out the door, putting it through his mail slot, going back inside and picking it up. What a substantial savings that is considering the last total in 2008 was 235,206 cards!
Then it is off to work for about three hours (after all someone has to pay for all of this!) and back home for a complete Christmas dinner. This includes watching the Queen’s Christmas Day address to the nation. (Recorded from the previous year of course!)
All this holiday cheer has cost him a whopping $500,000. He has consumed 6,622 turkeys, 34,276 roasted potatoes, 117,600 Brussels sprouts, over 6660 pints of gravy, over 30.660 stuffing balls, and 94,080 mince pies, in addition to numerous carrots and peas. He has also popped more than 204,400 Christmas cracker favors, worn out 37 electric ovens, and 23 video recorders.
After going over through over 30 Christmas trees, his present one of two years has proven to be his . . .uh. . . favorite. He has decided he wants to marry it! A beautiful ring has even been purchased but he is in a dilemma as to which branch to place it on. Do not wait for a nuptial announcement yet because he is having difficulties finding a minister to marry them! (In this day and age, I find that hard to believe) Oh, one more thing, the ONLY day Andy Park does not celebrate Christmas is . . . Christmas Day! Before we shake our heads too hard at Mr. Christmas, I think we need to take a good hard look at ourselves and make sure we do not share some of his misguided thinking. You have to admit in America today that Christ certainly is not the center of Christmas anymore, even among Christians. More important are we guilty of replacing Him too?
Did you find it ironic that the only day Mr. Park did not celebrate Christmas was Christmas Day? I did! Yet the more I thought about it the more I realized our offense is just the opposite. We claim to celebrate the birth of Jesus on JUST that day but we forget about Him the rest of the year! As born again believers God’s gift of His son is something to be thankful for everyday! Not only the gift of salvation and our deliverance from Hell, but His abiding presence in our lives 24 hours a day. To name just a few, He protects, guides, heals, comforts, nurtures, and gives joy to us non-stop. We also should be rejoicing for the beautiful home in Heaven we already have. The Babe in a manger should be our focus from January 1 to December 31 every year. “ Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
The most obvious flaw in Mr. Park’s daily festivities is that his focus is on the rituals and details of the holiday, not the One the holiday is supposed to honor. He’s all about the baubles, decorations, sparkle, and glitz. We too easily fall into this worldly trap ourselves. How many times do people get stressed out about getting the tree up and decorated, hanging lights on the house, putting the wreath on the door, making sure treasured family nativities, bowls and candles are in the perfect spot? That’s only beginning. Following fast on the heels of “decking the halls” is the food; the frenzy of baking cookies, breads, candies, and cakes. Frantic plans for the perfect Christmas meal are included with emphasis on old family recipes and traditional favorites. Now don’t get your lights all in a tangle, I am not in any way saying these activities are wrong. I am simply asking what is your spirit and motivation behind them. Is it glorifying and delighting in our precious Savior? Most of the time you would have to say it isn’t. Do you see how we really aren’t that different from Mr. Christmas?
We become as the seed that was sown among the thorns in Mark 4:18-19.
And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
Busyness preparing for December 25th consumes us and like the keeper at the in Inn that faithful night so many years ago, and we unknowingly turn Christ away. We tell Him by our actions that we have no room for Him in our hearts or homes during Christmas. Just like Mr. Parker we have missed the Reason of our celebration. Casting aside Jesus who is truly important, we pursue that which is pointless, meaningless, and worthless. Like Martha we are “careful and troubled about many things” and have failed to follow Mary’s example and chosen what is good cannot be taken away. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:41-42
Did you notice who Mr. Christmas’s daily celebration is about? Him! He is incredibly selfish. It is all about what he wants and how he feels, so there really isn’t any room for anyone else. You might be thinking, “Not me! I’m not selfish! Everything I do is for my family!” Is it now? If we are over 25 years old, it is true that we may not be concerned about what gifts we receive, but isn’t it still about us? Aren’t we trying to create emotional, sentimental feelings and attempting to fulfill our expectations of how our holiday should be? Yes, we want to give to your family, and make them happy, but are they not an extension of ourselves? We desire to give material gifts they want, but not the real Gift, the One they really need.
Can we do both, make Christ the center of our holiday and take part in traditional celebration? Yes, I believe we can, but it will take effort and focus on our part. Always the first step we should take in any matter is prayer. Ask the Lord to protect you from being ensnared society’s Christless Christmas. Seek His guidance in how He would have you honor Him. Make it a point to read your Bible daily, alone and with your family. There are many good devotional books and daily Bible readings for Christmas. You might even want to do a word study on “gifts” or “giving”. As you shop, cook and decorate, thank Him for the blessing to be able to do these things financially and physically. Consult Him before you purchase gifts and supplies that He would guide you in spending His money wisely. Make sure you don’t rob Him of His tithe to purchase expensive gifts your family doesn’t really need. That makes no sense to steal from Him to celebrate His birth does it? Listen to Christmas hymns that focus on Him and His glory, not carnal secular holiday tunes. When you find yourself becoming stressed and frazzled at all, you think you must do, be like Mary and take time to sit at His feet and listen to Him. If you let Him, He can help you weed out all those unnecessary things you feel you must do. Make sure you purpose to share Him with others. You can do this with a smile, an act of kindness, patience in stressful moments, a caring word or fulfilling a need. The most important way to share Him is by witnessing to others. Ask Him to send you those who are searching for Him. Is there someone He has laid on your heart to speak to this year and you have put it off? Go to them and share the gift of eternal life that He has given you. I can share a few ways, but don’t stop with mine, ask God how to show you how what would please Him.
After the last tissue paper and bow is thrown away and the tree is taken down, let’s all remember to celebrate Him in word and truth the next 364 days of the year too! Every day is Christ’s day!
Merry Christmas and God Bless Each of You!

Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, December 2012

TEAR DROPS ON THE ALTAR by Narita Roady

I remember the first time I saw them. I know they had been there all along but somehow I had never noticed them. I wondered how many times had I looked directly at them and not seen them? There had to have been dozens of times I polished right over them, never realizing they were right under my hand.
But on that day, they jumped out at me as I knelt before the Lord in prayer: the tear stains on the altar. No amount of wax or oil would remove their traces. They were etched into the wood. How strange. Tears don’t stain clothing, skin or other articles but they had stained the altar. I was shocked at how many there were. Every one of those dull, irregular splotches will remain forever a testimony of those who have kneeled before their Heavenly Father in brokenness and need. They were small silent memorials of grieving hearts coming to the foot of the cross. Every tear drop represents a burden laid before the Lord.
A burden is a heavy load to carry and it grows heavier with time. They just aren’t a physical heaviness but are also emotional, mental and spiritual. That’s why they weigh so much more on us than something that is weighed in pounds and ounces. While we might bear a heavy load bodily for a time, it is impossible to bear a burden of the soul and heart. “For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.” Psalm 38:4
The Lord made us that way, for if we could continue under their weight, we would never seek Him.
While many times, sin is the crushing weight behind our burdens that we cannot bear. It may be the sin of another, one that is persecuting us, or a loved one gone astray. While their sins may bring great pain to our hearts, nothing is as massively oppressing as our own sins against God. If left, they can literally squeeze the life out of us.
Other hardships we shoulder may have nothing to do with sin. Sickness and physical problems are a part of life. Facing the loss of a loved one is something everyone experiences at one time or another. Loss of material possessions due to fire, a tornado or floods are certainly not due to any wrong doing on our part. Whether they are a product of sin or simply a result of living, they all come under the same category – burdens. So what do we do with them?
As in all things pertaining to our lives, God has an answer, a solution, and a way to find relief. And as always it is very simple so everyone has the ability to succeed. Are you ready . . . I know you already know this. . . .you’ve heard it before . . . . JUST GIVE HIM THE BURDEN! Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22
Then why don’t we? We have various rationalizations for not doing so. A common one is the conscious or unconscious idea that certain problems are too small to bother God with. Nothing, I repeat nothing is too minor to be brought before Him. From the catastrophe to the seemingly insignificant, all are equally important to our Heavenly Father if it concerns one of His precious children. If He is keeping count of all the hairs on your head, there is no doubt your most trivial problems are of utmost concern to Him also.
On the other hand we might think the dilemma is so minor that we can manage on our own. Whether pride or just plain stupidity fuels this idea, God tells us such ventures are doomed from the beginning and we can’t do ANYTHING without Him! I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:5
Can we take a breath without Him? Can our heart beat without Him? No! Therefore we can be certain we can’t carry even a mustard seed of trouble alone.
Another reason we hang onto our burdens is because we stop trusting God. When pain and suffering are intense it is easy to make them our focus. This leads us along the lonely futile pathway of self-pity and anger. Weariness overtakes us under our cumbersome load and soon we begin to question God. How could He allow this? I thought He loved me! Where is God when I need Him?
We question the One Who made the ultimate sacrifice when we deserved nothing but punishment. We question the One Who has proven His care and provision for us over and over again. We question the One Whose promises never fail. And thus we being our Israelite experience, wandering in our self-made wilderness, sinking further and further beneath a load we are incapable of bearing. How heartbreaking it must be for Him Who only wants the very best for us, and yet we measure His love by our present circumstances! For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11
Of course we can’t forget the amazing burden race. Instead of turning it over to God we decide we can out run it! Drugs, alcohol, immorality, excessive spending, over work, religious activity are all ways people try to escape their massive load they continue to stagger under. David experienced this same desire in Psalm 55:6-7. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and reamin in the wilderness. Selah.
Much like a kitten with a can tied to its tail, where we go our burden follows, and we will only grow more frantic and exhausted. There is no relief or escape.
We go a full circle and come back to the same answer: we can only give our burdens to the Lord! Face it no one wants your problems but the Lord!!! Many might care and a few that really love you might be willing to take them, but none can, only God. The next question is HOW do we give our burdens to the Lord?
As strange as it may sound, the first step is to ACCEPT the burden. Don’t deny it, attempt to defeat it alone, out last it or flee it. After all, how can we get rid of something by refusing to acknowledge the affect it is having on our lives? Acceptance shows we are trusting God. Recognizing that He is in control and whatever comes our way is lovingly sent to benefit, not destroy us. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1 Peter 1:6-7
No matter what the situation, there are never any victims or sitting ducks among God’s children. Quite the contrary, His children are much loved and receive only the best. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
As strange as it may seem, after accepting the burden the Lord asks us to GIVE it to Him. So much so that He uses an even more compelling word and tells us to CAST it. That means to literally throw it on Him! This illustrates how strongly He feels about us hanging on to our problems. Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22. We do this by simply praying and surrendering it to Him.
Accepting the burden is a start and giving it to Him is good but to complete our transaction we must LEAVE it with Him. This is where we fail so often then turn to question why He is not relieving us of the load we strain under. Too often we give our problems to God then take them back with claw marks on them! He’s not the problem, we are!
What is weighing you down right now? What burdens are you bent under and stumbling? Admit it, you can’t carry them. God is waiting right now with strong arms to take them from you. Right now, take your spindly spiritual arms, lug them to the foot of the cross and literally throw them at Him. He’ll not only catch them, He’ll keep them.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, October 2012

BLOOMING LATE! by Narita Roady

With spring coming, our thoughts are toward the beauty of blooming flowers and budding plants.  Depending on the weather, some things may bloom late.  Sometimes people are late bloomers.  What does the phrase, “late bloomer” mean to you?  For some folks it refers to a new lease on health and vitality.  For others it could mean an heretofore unused, unknown skill or talent.  It might even refer to fulfilling a dream later in life such as an education or a new interest. Yes, something somewhere within, that was previously undiscovered or experienced, springs forth with renewed strength and life . .  . alas, not so for me. (*Sigh*) Yes, there was an area in my life where I was a late bloomer, but it wasn’t impressive, exciting, nor did it reek with accomplishment.  For me, being a late bloomer meant . . .  a wart.  (*Sigh*)Yes, at the mature (?) age of 37, I acquired my very first wart!
This is an experience most have put behind them in grade school!  At the age of 39 I still had my first wart!
My mother quit documenting outstanding accomplishments in by baby book when I was about 8 years old, so this earth shattering event was not recorded.  I spent close to $50 on liquids and pads to remove my little companion. (This was to save $25 in the doctor’s office.) Yet all was at loss. . .my little wart stayed with me.  I was amazed at the great persistence it had shown in remaining.
I began to think, what if I had shown the same persistence as my wart in my prayer life over a period of 2 years?  What many wonders would God have wrought in my life and the lives of those around me?      If I had applied the perseverance of my tiny pal to my Bible reading for an interval of 2 years, I would have gleaned such knowledge and wisdom that my life would have been transformed!
If two years of the same dogged determination as my little buddy had been applied to being a wife and mother pleasing to God, my marriage and family would have shown major fruit!  Two years of my small comrade’s diligence applied to any area of my Christian life, would have cultivated awesome changes!
Sad to say, one of the areas I lacked the persistence I needed was in applying the medication to remove the wart!  In the beginning not even Custard attacked the Indians with the zeal that I attacked this pesky little fiend!!  It would seem to weaken and wane, but it’s persistence was greater than mine.  Back and forth we fought, each, I’m sure, thinking from time to time to have won the victory.  However, due to my lack of consistency AND persistence, my first wart remained with me for 2 years!  It was bad enough to be a late bloomer, but to be outsmarted by a wart!  That was a low blow!  I finally surrendered and went to the doctor to end our “partnership”.     Not all was lost (except about $100), I did learn a valuable lesson – PERSISTENCE PAYS!  When you feel weak, defeated, and almost extinct, CONTINUE ON and you will win! Whether your battle is with bad habits, spiritual warfare, discouragement, whatever it is, NEVER GIVE UP!  Your diligence will keep you in the battle!  As long as you’re in the battle, you have a chance to win!  If a common wart with no brain can endure, can’t I?  Can’t you?  I decided, after all, a late bloomer like me doesn’t have to be a slow learner too!
“For which cause we faint not, but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
“For light our affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”  2 Corinthians 4:16-17
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galations 6;9
Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, April 1998

GIVE UNTO OTHERS by Narita Roady

Once a very rich merchant passed away and left his estate to a group of friends.  The instructions in his will, however, directed them to give to his only son that which they wished.  They took it to mean that the son should get only what they decided to give him.  The estate was worth $300,000.  They met and discussed the matter.  It was decided that they would give the son $10,000.  When their decision was made known, the lawyer in charge of the will replied, “Dear sirs, I am afraid that you have misunderstood.”  He went on to explain that they had obviously felt it was their decision to give the son whatever they decided.  In reality, the will stated that whatever they wished for, the son would get.  They wished for themselves, $290,000 and therefore, that is what the son got– what they wished for themselves!

Their selfishness had boomeranged on them!    How often do we act like the friends, in selfishness? It is a sad case that many Christians today have become a member of the, me first, generation.  They want the best for themselves, especially in the way others treat them, but they never think of how they treat others.  Churches, families, business’s and friendships are hurt by their greed to be treated the best and have the best.  Scripture tells us the solution to this problem:

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselvesPhilippians 2:3

Let us examine ourselves to see if we are desiring the best for ourselves, and giving the worst to others.  Do we want others to forgive us when we fail, but we hold grudges and grow bitter against even the lesser failures of others?

Do we expect others to be tolerant of us in spite of our faults and failures, but we are harsh and critical, quick to point out their weaknesses and shortcomings? . . .Thou shalt love  thy neighbor as thyselfGalations 5:14

Do we demand that others be kind in their words and actions to us, but we think nothing of being hateful and sarcastic to them?  How often do we expect others to help us in our time of need and care, but we are too busy to do the same for them when trials come in  their life?

Do we expect others to speak well of us at all times, yet we think nothing of criticizing and speaking ill of them?    When we feel others are not treating us as they should, maybe we have chosen this by giving others less than we should. When in reality, we are getting what we wished for them!

This is my commandment that ye love one another, as I have loved you.  John 15:12-13

Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, April 1997