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“Country”

13 Dec

A few years ago after my divorce, I bought a piece of property by a lake in Beech Grove, Tennessee. It was out there . . . almost what they call, “primitive.” It took almost an hour for me to get to work, but it was mine. The plan was to build a pile of money, we had a bunch of work coming, but somebody outbid my boss and we lost the account.

It was the middle of winter, and it was cold . . . in more ways than one. The peace and quiet was great, but I was alone out there, more alone than I’d ever been in my entire life. I learned a lot about myself during that time.

It was just an old shack I planned on fixing up. There wasn’t any power or running water and without income, I was in a constant state of desperation. I was trusting God but I remember countless times, crying out to Him, trying to understand why He’d put me there. It was a truly humbling experience.

Then one day an old dog showed up out of the blue, he had battle scars all over him. I shared my meal and he decided to stick around.

After a little while I had to put out the fire so he eventually followed me inside. You could tell he didn’t quite know how to function as a house dog, but he was grateful to come in out of the cold.

Work picked up a little but it was nothing to brag about. In between jobs I had to drive down the mountain just to get internet service, hoping maybe to land different employment or a day labor gig here and there. He had free reign but he’d always be there in the morning to send me off and be waiting for me when I got home.

I called him country.

The time came that I had to make a decision to tough it out or change plans; I was down to my last hundred and twenty-two dollars, and needed a throttle cable for my truck. I would have stayed but I had no choice, and I couldn’t take him with me.

I felt awful, we’d both already been abandoned, now I was doing it to him again. But he was familiar with grief so I figured he’d be alright.

Once I got situated I went back up there and stayed the weekend. I called out to him every once in a while hoping he’d come around, but I think he found his way into somebody else’s heart.

Thank God for dogs.

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Uncommon Goodness

12 Dec

A buddy of mine just shared this story with me. It definitely gave me pause.

As believers we’re supposed to, “love others” and I do . . . generally. Unfortunately I turn into sort of a holy humbug around Christmas time. It’s been like that ever since my divorce.

Yesterday I wrote about the struggle I’ve been having for the past couple of years, in terms of giving to people standing on the street corners holding out those cardboard signs. I shared how I’d been scammed a time or two and was concerned, because I’d been developing a sort of calloused disregard for them.

That’s not a good plan.

Proverbs 31:8-9 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

This time of year we’re reminded how important it is to be charitable. I want my heart to be soft towards the needy; pliable in the hands of God. You never know what’s going on behind the scenes.

Check this out..

‘Tis the Season of Charity

11 Dec

Christmas time is a reminder to all of us, how important it is to give to the needy; to help those in distress. But that should be a priority all year long. The trouble is most of us have been scammed a time or two, at least I have.

For me personally, it’s been a real struggle for the past couple of years. I’ve been scammed yes, however I’ve also hit a few low points myself, but I keep moving forward. I refuse to be a victim of circumstance, so when I see people begging on the street corner or outside of the supermarket, for the most part I’ve been ignoring them.

They’re everywhere . . . that’s the sticking point, who are, “they?”

The poor—

Psalm 40:1 Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; 2 the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies. 3 The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.

God help us.

To God Be the Glory

7 Dec

There’s an old hymn, written by Fanny Crosby:

To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life our redemption to win,
And opened the life-gate that all may go in

There’s something about these old hymns that we’re missing in the body nowadays, something that used to tie American culture together with the church.

When Christmas came around when I was a kid, sure we’d get excited about Santa and the Christmas tree but those old Holiday songs reminded us that it was all because of Jesus, a token of what America stood for; love, charity, family . . . God.

I understand we’re supposed to be distinct, peculiar but we’ve lost the capacity to impact society through art. Contemporary “Christian music,” has become bland and tasteless, except to church goers. It’s like we’ve got our own little genre clubs.

I don’t think that honors God. We’re supposed to be salt and light to the entire world.

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