Beat down

A ‘beat down’ is a real part of the thug life. I work in a state prison. It not uncommon to hear of a beat down. It is hard to survive in a prison if you are not affiliated with a group. A man, especially a young man, can come into prison as a loner but it is near to impossible to ‘do your time’ without help. Because of that it is not uncommon to see a new inmate who has been beat down into a group or because he wouldn’t join a group.

Incarcerated inside razor wire and tall fences is a life most want no part of. I’ve noticed how fences are constructed with material so those incarcerated can see out but near impossible to get out. It adds to the mental side of a beat down. Beat downs happen all too frequent in prison. 

I’ve also learned in my life there are ‘beat downs’ for those who are not incarcerated in prison. Many feel incarcerated or imprisoned within the world we live. Those outside prison walls and fences can feel confined. 

Daily we are beat down with the pressures of life, the stress of meeting obligations, the torment of physical ailments, the unrealistic demands others place on you. There are the anxious expectations of deliverance, even divine deliverance. You wait for God to intervene and bless you with all that you hope for. 

Because God’s timing is different from ours, we sink into a mode where we feel like we have been beat down. Where are you at God? Why I am still dealing with all these stressors? Why haven’t you acted? Am I not doing what I’m supposed to do? Surely I fail but it is because I am trying. 

I try to depend on the Holy Spirit! I try to follow Your truth! Yet where is the light at the end of the tunnel. Certainly I am to honor and glorify You through the trials and beat downs of being incarcerated in this life. It is my intention to honor You. But where are You? What are you doing? How long must I wait? 

In the meanwhile life continues it’s gradual decline. Happiness is manufactured by me rather than experienced from You. If I believed You were not then I could go a different route. But I believe You are! I believe You love. I believe You hurt when we hurt. I believe You want to help. Love is not what You do. It is who you are! 

How many more times will a beat down be experienced before I am “maxed out” of this prison?

Until next time,

Hoss

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In Honor of Buddy

I think we got along good for the most part. Buddy could be annoying in his later days. Knowing of his condition and age helped me to deal with some of his unusual behavior. He was a good friend to me. I saw him every day unless I was away overnight. 

I guess you could say I married into his family. He seemed to accept me without reservation. Very seldom did he bark at me. Yes, Buddy was a dog, more specifically a dachshund. 

Buddy passed away last Friday, January 15, 2016. He was almost fifth-teen (15) years old. He enjoyed his cheese puffs and potato chips we would give to him, in moderation of course. Open the refrigerator door to pull out some picnic ham to make yourself a sandwich and before you could get the seal open, Buddy was at your feet. He’d look up at you with those eyes as if to say you’re not going to ignore me are ya? Throw him some Bologna and you have a friend for life. 

There was a special reason and perhaps a divine purpose for Buddy to enter into the family. Andrew, the youngest, had a horrific medical emergency when he was young. Without going into details, Andrew improved and was able to go home. That is when he received a black dachshund puppy. He was like a comfort dog but became Andrew’s close friend. That’s how Buddy got his name. Andrew would call out to his puppy saying, ‘here little buddy’ or ‘here my buddy.’ Thus Buddy! 

The house has an emptiness now. No eyes peering up at you as you eat. No clattering of his feet walking across our hardwood floor. And yes, no barking during the night to be asked to let him out to handle his business. 

I miss Buddy. He won’t be replaced. I’ll not even try. At some point we may get another pet. Whatever pet it is, he or she will have a tough time filling our hearts like Buddy did. 

  
Until next time,

Hoss

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Lucifer Repents!

Extra, Extra, read all about it! Lucifer admits to sin; confesses his wickedness and asked Jesus Christ the Son of God to be his Savior. 

Let that bit of news sink in for a moment. (Pause) Can you imagine the impact? The world would be turned upside down! It would make not only the news of the year, the century, but of all time except perhaps the news of Jesus Christ coming in the first place. 

Man, what would it mean for your life if Lucifer, the devil repented of his sins? What would church-goers think and do? How bout those atheists? Would they switch or just not care since they say there is no God? 

Who’s going to be the one to break the news? The major television networks, USA Today, foreign news agencies maybe? The Catholic Church? Problems arise. Who is going to do the interview? How are they going to get to Lucifer for an interview? What of Hell? Shucks, what about all those souls in Hell? What’s to come of them? The fallen angels (demons), will have to find a new leader or maybe follow his lead and repent too? 

There will be chaos in the church. The Christian assembly would not exist like it has for centuries before. Satanic churches would be in a quandary. What are they to do? 

Well, my friend, do not alarm yourself? There is no point in wondering about the changes, challenges, etc. that would come for one biblical, therefore truthful, reason. To get there you must acknowledge certain other biblical truths.

  1. The only method (way) of salvation is through Jesus Christ. This is the “Who” of salvation. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. ‭‭John‬ ‭14:6‬ ‭NASB‬‬ “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”” Acts‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭NASB‬‬ 
  2. The only means (avenue) of salvation is through forgiveness of sin. This is the “How” of salvation. “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans‬ ‭10:9-10‬ ‭NASB‬‬; “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NASB‬. We admit, believe, and confess our sins.
  3. The motive (intention) of salvation is eternal fellowship with Jesus Christ. This is the “Reach” of salvation. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” ‭‭John‬ ‭10:10‬ ‭NASB‬‬; “”Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” John‬ ‭14:1-3‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Here’s the bottom line. Lucifer cannot repent because Jesus Christ did not come to die for him nor his followers, the fallen angels (demons). There is not a means of salvation for Lucifer. He cannot be saved from his damnation. Therefore there is no repentance for him. Now stop here for a moment and consider what the following truth really means. 

“”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Lucifer, as stated in scripture is the god of this world but he is not the “world” that God so loved He gave His only begotten Son” to die for. You Are Loved Beyond Any Other Creation. This includes Lucifer, the fallen angels, the heavenly angels, animals and all others creatures great and small. 

Just as you likely thought at the beginning of this read; ‘there will never be a time when the devil repents or news like this is truly announced.’ 

Jesus did not die for Lucifer. Jesus died for YOU!

“Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭95:6-8‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Until Next Time,

Hoss

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The Power of Passion

It is a power to be harnessed in an effort to control the end result. If harnessed correctly passion can be a righteous action. However, if not harnessed and controlled correctly the end result is unrighteousness. It will lead to rape, loss of virginity, crimes against morality I.e. Fornication and adultery. 

 “But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭7:8-9‬ ‭NASB‬‬ 

Passion can result in an honorable character of devotion to complete righteous endeavors. Harness the power.

Until next time,

Hoss

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Peyton Manning’s Dilemma: A Common Experience

The accusation has been made. All sides of the story will be played out. People will be left to decide. Did Peyton Manning take HGH drugs? His dilemma, how does he respond? What are his options? They are the same as ours whenever accusations are made against us! Here are the options.

One is to say nothing. He could keep his mouth shut. No denial. No acknowledgment of truthfulness to the accusation. If he were to remind quiet, he would be subject to the same results you and I receive if we were to remain silent against accusations made toward us. Our silence would be accepted as admittance to false allegations. No matter how guiltless we are, people who know the good integrity of our character will think us guilty. 

Therefore, the second option. Peyton Manning could cry from the highest mountain his innocence. Peyton may be guilty or not. His integrity to this point speaks towards a belief in his innocence. Like, Peyton, we could be extremely angry at false and unbelievable allegations. We can deny virgoriously mean, hurtful and untruth whenever they are launched against us. 

The reaction of others? Peyton, you, and me are all guilty. Why else would we be screaming and vehemently denying false allegations. There you have it. The dilemma. Whatever the response, however untrue the allegations, the vast majority of those unknown to us will think us guilty even in the midst of false allegations. 

So what’s the answer? Say nothing or maintain your defense? A combination of both? The Holy Bible states our actions are known to God. Ultimately He is to be regarded as the most important factor in the equation. He knows the truth. Based on that revelation, we act proportionately. 

The Holy Bible also teaches our sins will find us out (numbers 32:23). We can run from allegations but if they are true it will come to light. Honesty is an integrity found most valuable and elusive in our society today. 

We respond by showing ourselves quiet when lead and calmly answering false accusations knowing our truth rests in God’s knowledge when lead otherwise. It is not an all or nothing proposition. 

People have a tendency to believe lies over truth. They seem to gravitate to lies more than truth. It’s been said a lie will find its way around the world before truth ever puts on its shoes! 

Part one of this dilemma is how to respond to allegations. Part two is trying to figure why people would believe false allegations when they know you better than to believe such false statements. That’s for another day.

Until next time,

Hoss

Posted in God's Favor, Leadership, Life's Lessons | Leave a comment

Had Jesus Never Come Down (subtitles: The man and the birds)

One of my favorite stories that explains a big part of the reason Jesus came to earth to live among us is the one commentator Paul Harvey Sr. used to tell every Christmas. It is titled: The Man and The Birds
Christmas Classics: The Man And The Birds By Paul Harvey
In the book of Job, we are told we can learn from the most unlikely of sources–the animals of earth. Paul Harvey’s heartwarming message “The Man and the Birds” certainly does that. It is a rich story with eternal implications. 
Listen and learn about how the birds of the sky teach us, in this Christmas classic video below of “The Man and the Birds” by Paul Harvey.
“…. Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you.” – Job 12:7b 
The Man and the Birds 

by Paul Harvey
The man to whom I’m going to introduce you was not a scrooge, he was a kind decent, mostly good man. Generous to his family, upright in his dealings with other men. But he just didn’t believe all that incarnation stuff which the churches proclaim at Christmas Time. It just didn’t make sense and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just couldn’t swallow the Jesus Story, about God coming to Earth as a man.
“I’m truly sorry to distress you,” he told his wife, “but I’m not going with you to church this Christmas Eve.” He said he’d feel like a hypocrite. That he’d much rather just stay at home, but that he would wait up for them. And so he stayed and they went to the midnight service.
Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier and then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound…Then another, and then another. Sort of a thump or a thud…At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window. But when he went to the front door to investigate he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They’d been caught in the storm and, in a desperate search for shelter, had tried to fly through his large landscape window.
Well, he couldn’t let the poor creatures lie there and freeze, so he remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would provide a warm shelter, if he could direct the birds to it.
Quickly he put on a coat, galoshes, tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on a light, but the birds did not come in. He figured food would entice them in. So he hurried back to the house, fetched bread crumbs, sprinkled them on the snow, making a trail to the yellow-lighted wide open doorway of the stable. But to his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs, and continued to flap around helplessly in the snow. He tried catching them…He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms…Instead, they scattered in every direction, except into the warm, lighted barn.
And then, he realized that they were afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature. If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me…That I am not trying to hurt them, but to help them. But how? Because any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them. They just would not follow. They would not be led or shooed because they feared him.
“If only I could be a bird,” he thought to himself, “and mingle with them and speak their language. Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I could show them the way to safe, warm…to the safe warm barn. But I would have to be one of them so they could see, and hear and understand.”
At that moment the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears above the sounds of the wind. And he stood there listening to the bells – Adeste Fidelis – listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas.
And he sank to his knees in the snow.

_______________________________
How often do you realize had Jesus never come down, we could never go up?
Until next time,
Hoss

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Fake Flowers

My wife operates a flower shop which we own. I sometimes will make deliveries for her. I often hear her take orders. On occasion I hear her ask customers if they are interested in artificial, silk or live flowers? She’ll ask what price range they are looking to spend and will do all she can to accommodate. 

It is easy to draw parallels between these kinds of flowers available to the kind of religious people in society. Take the live flowers she offers as one example. If they are really live, it is only for a short while. Once cut from their food source, they are dying flowers yet while they live. They are Alive yet Dying. So are the born again believers in Jesus Christ. Though they are truly alive, they are yet dying. Luke 9:23 tells us you must die to self daily…. 
Those living without Jesus Christ as their personal Savior aren’t actually living. They are merely existing. Squandering away Gods glorious specific purpose for life.

Second are the silk flowers. The bottom line is these flowers are fake. These are the flowers that look so real yet are just as fake as any plastic artificial arrangement. I was a student at seminary where I watched a woman water a plant that looked so real but was totally fake. She was completely fooled.

According to scripture, there are some religious people who are just as fake. They look beautiful and talk sweet. They have people enamored with their personality to the point people do not or will not recognize them for what they really are. They are fake. According to the scriptures the Holy Spirit will testify to the Christian of this truth. Consider the following passage from Romans eight. 

“So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh- for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:12-17 NASB

It is not a stretch to see where the Holy Spirit confirms our relationship with God to also confirm our relationship with the rest of God’s family. 

These ‘silk flowers’ are usually covered in adornments which mask what they really are. These are the hardest to reach when trying to get people to be real. Their sins are not very hidden though not broadcasted. However the local church will put them in leadership roles and wonder why God doesn’t bless their ministries. 
Yes, sad but true, the Holy Spirit has convicted me of some fake silk flowers in the church. What do you do? Pray for them. Pray for self. I cannot get past the truth that while I may notice sin in the life of others, it is my sin which I must confess, repent of and seek forgiveness for. I’m not a fake flower and I do not want to come across as one either.
The third flowers are the artificial ones. These are clearly obvious and while they have their place in the floral market, they are fake just the same. These flowers are good for outside displays where longevity is desired and can be quite beautiful. I have seen some terrific arrangements. Their value is exceptional. However, they are fake. 

The artificial flowers in the religious population are obvious. They are the ones who never attended church, never made a public profession of faith, never was financially supportive of a church or church ministries and reach the end of their life only to have “of the Baptist faith” printed in their obituary. 

Ms Georgia was a friend of mine when I first started into the ministry. She was a “Live” flower. She was an elderly adult on a fixed income yet every month she would send $1 to me while I was attending bible college to buy the baby some milk. The baby was 6-8 years old. I still used the dollar on the ‘baby.’ She was a precious Saint. 
It is my conviction the Holy Spirit has revealed a “Silk” flower among the religious people I know. She is a most beautiful girl by most folks definition. Her personality is sweet. She is faithful to church attendance. She is active in church. However, there are some serious and obvious concerns with her lifestyle away from church. Fellow church members are aware yet chose to cast a winking eye. 
Those “Artificial” flowers are not so hard to find. They use the church and church people. They are like ticks sucking the life’s blood out of people. Instead of doing for themselves, they look to the church. Now I’m not referring to the occasional need which arises but the ones that are frequent and expected. You have those who need a “helping hand” while others are just looking for a “hand out.”
In the ministry of God we are to be His and be alive. Therefore, wherever you are in your walk, take the steps to be alive. Bloom where you are planted and as I will sometimes say of myself…just don’t be a blooming idiot.
Until next time

Hoss

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