My view of west Texas from behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler

I spent the last half of the past three weeks delivering windows from Ft. Worth to Wichita Falls to Amarillo to Lubbock to Odessa to San Angelo to Abilene back to Ft. Worth. That’s a loop of over 1,000 miles without leaving our great state. I noticed a few details along the way I thought I’d share with y’all.

There’s a good reason some of the towns are named Plainview, Brownfield and Levelland. It’s because that’s pretty much what west Texas is made of.

The arena the Odessa Jackalopes play ice hockey in is referred to as the Colosseum by the locals. I wasn’t sure if I should be looking for a rodeo grounds, a high school football field or what. Ice hockey rink wasn’t even on my list. Now I know.

You’ll be happy to hear the water levels in the fields are decreasing. Some of the wheat is being harvested. Peanuts are being planted, finally.

Swatting flies away from your drinking glass and food is just a part of the ambiance in the restaurants out there. The extra calories you burn are replaced by the food you’re eating. You can listen to both types of music while you eat: Country, and Western.

God is fixin to have a locust plague soon and it’ll begin just northwest of San Angelo. There were quite a few of those buggers on the pavement one evening. They apparently liked the heat coming off it. That and the ability to see each other out of the grass that’s growing very well this year. Those critters are bigger than a man’s thumb. When ya stack one atop the other it makes for something you feel like swerving to keep from runnin’ it over. I was definitely glad I was in such a big rig. Anything smaller and I wouldn’t have felt safe.

Speaking of runnin’ things over–I ran over a tumble weed at one point. I can now cross that off my bucket list. It tried crossing the road in front of me. I couldn’t avoid it even if I wanted to. If there’s a tumbleweed heaven it’s there.

There was something along I-27 between Amarillo and Lubbock I was pretty sure was there the first two times I used that road, but I missed it for some strange reason. I must have been distracted by the solitude of the plain-ness of the scenery. A white cross about 20 feet tall stood there reminding drivers of who is really important to remember.

The way it jumped out at me that time through made me wonder how I ever missed it the first two times. Then I realized that’s how folks treat Jesus all the time. Distractions from everyday life keep our eyes from the important things all the time.

God uses nature to attract our attention, but our minds are on the argument we had earlier.

The deep red sunset in the mirror is too often missed when we stare at the road before us.

The lightning show in the evening clouds is blotted out by the desire to make it to the motel for that night.

So, what about you? Have you seen Jesus, today?

He’s there in your child’s cry for love and attention.

He’s in your pet’s unconditional love even after you take out your frustrations on it.

He’s even in that food you’re preparing to eat. His provision is incredible.

God is reaching out to you all the time. Seeing Him is everything.

Don’t miss Him for the world.

Keep smiling.   Wade

ISRAEL’S KING

David paced the roof of his home. His thoughts were of his nation’s future. A prayer came to his lips.

“LORD, I need You now. My heart is heavy for Your people. We’ve been at war with ourselves. I know that must break Your heart. Shall I remain king of just Judah, or has the time come for unification?”

His scan of the northern horizon showed a vast army coming closer. The hairs on the back of David’s neck stood up. “LORD, I need You now more than ever.”

Abishai and Joab got David’s attention from the street. “The elders of Israel have come to talk with you. Their men are coming to serve you, too.”

David stared at the approaching army. They were close enough now he recognized the flags of some of the tribes. He let out a breath and looked down. “Tell them I’ll be right down.”

The group of mostly gray-haired men was assembled in the town square. They all faced David as he approached.

“We are all of the same flesh. All of us have descended from Jacob.”

“Even when Saul was the king you were the man who really led the army.”

“The LORD even said, ‘David will shepherd My people.'”

An elder stepped forward. “What we’re trying to say is: David, you are destined to lead God’s people. We are ready for your guidance. Will you rule us at this time?”

David looked at each of the men, then at the army assembled around the outskirts of Hebron. He sent up a silent prayer before he spoke.

“I will conscript your best sons for my army. We must rid the land of Gentile influences. They may not all survive.”

The elders nodded.

“I will take your daughters as my own for duties at the capital of God’s nation. Some may be my concubines.”

They nodded again.

“I will take the best from your flocks to feed the troops and priests.”

The head elder placed his hand on David’s shoulder. “We are ready for a great king to lead us. You are that man.”

David stared deep into his eyes. “The LORD must lead His people. No man can take that role as his own.”

The elder nodded. “That is why you are the only man for the job. Lead us today.”

David stuck out his right hand. The elder took his hand and they shook them together.

David smiled. “The LORD has been preparing me for this day. I’ll do the best I can.”

********

The day finally came. The day Samuel pointed toward when he summoned Jesse’s youngest son to come in from the sheepfold. The day Saul tried his best to make sure never happened. The day Jonathan wanted to share with David but couldn’t.

A united nation of Israel’s descendants led by one man.

This giant slayer had a monumental task ahead of him. The land God led His people to still had inhabitants that needed to be gotten rid of. A pure nation with no influence from foreign gods was the ultimate goal.

Egypt was still weakened from loosing all those slaves at one time. Assyria and Babylon were growing into the nemesis they would become. The time was ripe for Israel to be a great power.

God would ultimately be the force behind that greatness. David was merely God’s human face and voice to carry that mission out.

God is still in need of people to be His voice and hands and feet.

Are you willing to be such for Him?

“But, I’m not anointed like David was.”

I hear your objection. I refute that response. David was set apart by having God’s Spirit alive within him. That was rare in his day.

Since Jesus returned to heaven the Holy Spirit has been active in all of God’s spiritual children. You have the same power available to you that David had.

You have something at your disposal that David didn’t have: other believers who have the same Holy Spirit indwelling them to come alongside you to help build God’s kingdom.

The end goal is still the same: set God’s people apart with a limited influence from outside forces.

The means for accomplishing that end is what has changed. Annihilating people is not the objective. Inviting them into the flock is.

With God’s grace as our guide we’re to love people into fellowship with the Creator of every person alive today, even those who insist all Christians must be annihilated.

Many of God’s children will loose their earthly lives in this current battle. The casualty count will only increase.

Matthew 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

That was part of the instructions Jesus gave His closest followers before He sent them out for the first time without Him. Do you think any of them swallowed hard when they heard that sentence?

Keep that in the forefront of your mind when you decide to serve Jesus today. We’re closer to that being a reality in our lives than I ever thought I’d witness in my lifetime.

Jesus’ ultimate kingdom is much closer today than it was in David’s lifetime.

The battle for souls is only intensifying.

The time is now for courageous men and women who are willing to die to their own selfish desires.

According to 2 Chronicles 16:9 God’s eyes are searching the whole earth so He can strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.

We’re destined to rule with Jesus in His kingdom.

Our mettle is being tested in this life.

How we rule will be determined by how sold-out to Jesus we are now.

Are you willing to give away what you cannot keep to gain what you cannot lose?

David went through some tough tests to prepare him for his kingship.

Don’t let these tests you’re going through be wasted.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

When is depression not a depression?

There’s a strange attitude in Texas this year. You heard that right, the state known for its attitude is a bit unsettled. It’s based solely on the weather we’re enduring.

Being a native Michigander I’m used to extended periods of rainy days with clouds hiding the sun. This year has held an unusual amount of rain for any part of the country, let alone Texas. Apparently we’re making up for the extended drought we’ve had.

The middle of last week brought about what I hope is a climax of this new emotion we’re experiencing.

It’s more than a mild melancholy or mere malaise. No, the experts labeled it a full blown depression. I don’t know what’s worse than depression, but they actually downgraded this to a depression by the time it reached us in north Texas.

They even named this depression for us to keep track of it. They called it Bill.

I think Bill threw a temper tantrum before he came north because he started out as a tropical storm before he spread depression in his wake.

This Bill character made my life more challenging than it had to be last week, too.

I took a route delivering windows to west Texas for three days beginning Wednesday. That was the day Bill sat over us dumping rain in some areas all day.

I kept checking the little radar I have connected to my phone before I left in the afternoon. The sky was red and yellow from Ft. Worth to Wichita Falls the entire time. Guess where the first leg of my journey was.

Yeah, I was getting down just thinking of the added challenge of driving on rain soaked roads for hours on end. Okay, for about two hours anyway.

The good news was there was a machinery malfunction at the window factory where I began. I hoped Bill would pull away by the time we left. He didn’t.

Instead he kept crying and blowing my rig all over the place. Yeah, it’s as much of a challenge as it sounds like when you’re driving a billboard down an open road with a cross wind.

To make matters worse Bill pulled a prank on us when we stopped for dinner. The first two truck stops we tried to get food at had their lights turned off courtesy of my not so good friend Bill.

The next truck stop a few miles down the road must have been going through a management change because their restaurant was closed. I ended up getting a free biscuit thingy to eat. It had the three letters B E C stenciled on top with a red marker.

I was hoping the letters stood for bacon egg and cheese. I think it became ‘best eaten crunchy’ by the time I got to it. I got it free at the check out when the guy with ear rings admitted they were just trying to get rid of it by then. Thanks Bill.

Actually the plastic wrap kept it in fairy decent condition for consumption. Except for the yellow part of what used to be the egg. Somebody should patent it and sell it to a tire company for an alternative for rubber. I hope it passed through my system by now.

I don’t know if you noticed but I’ve been referring to we on this trip. The regular driver for this route was in a car accident. I’m filling in until he recuperates enough to wrestle windows again. One of the regular employees rides along to make sure the paperwork isn’t messed up and to help unload the windows.

People like to think angels sing beautifully. The Bible never states angels sing, so I don’t think they do. All I know for sure is that Gabriel snores quite loudly at times. I told him it sounds like angry snoring when he hits decibels that should be declared illegal. Hey, don’t take it out on me. Blame it on Bill.

I saved something from some of our church’s men’s retreats that came in handy. I’m pretty sure the Breathe Right nasal strips will save Gabriel’s marriage. They sure quieted his snorts for air. That should be added to the Bible.

I could continue about the other things that went wrong during last week’s trip, but I’ve used up my allocation of curmudgeon for this blog post.

Bill dropped rain on the just and the unjust. Lights went out for Christians and heathens alike. Mine wasn’t the only rig blown around. I just had guardian angels guiding it between the lines for me. No, Gabriel wasn’t one of them. He fell asleep from the sounds of it.

I didn’t let outside circumstances keep me from my appointed rounds last week. I barely made to one of the stops before they closed, but I got all of the windows delivered intact.

I don’t plan on taking this route over from the regular driver. I’m merely doing my best to live out Colosians 3:23 where the Bible tells me to live as though Jesus Himself tells me to do my job.

Look it up, that’s the rendition I heard as a teenager that keeps me grounded in my work ethic. Try it on for yourself.

I think Bill did his best to live by it, too.

Even the winds and waves still obey God. Shouldn’t we?

Keep smiling.   Wade

CIVIL WAR

“Is the time now for my kingdom to start?” David stared at the ephod Abiathar wore.

“Yes.”

“What city shall I go to?”

“Hebron.”

David stood and faced his men. “We’re going to Hebron.”

The cheer was deafening.

****

After David and his men settled into Hebron and its surrounding towns the elders of Judah came for his anointing to become their king.

An elder approached. “The men of Jabesh Gilead were the ones who buried Saul after the battle.”

David pointed at one of is young men. “Take two men with you. Go to them. Give them this message: ‘As the new king over Judah I add my blessing to the LORD’s for your showing this kindness to Saul by burying him with dignity. Be strengthened and blessed.'”

David spent the next two years in Hebron enjoying the women he married as his right became as the king. Six sons were born to him there.

****

One morning Joab came in from a battle with Abner and Israel’s army. His clothes were torn. His head was dust covered.

David placed his hands on Joab’s shoulders. How bad was the fighting?”

Joab glanced into David’s eyes. “Asahel is dead.” He let out a few sobs, then looked back at David. “We lost nineteen other men, too. They lost 360.”

****

One day some messengers arrived from Israel. “Abner would like to meet with you to discuss turning the entire country over to your control as king.”

David smiled. “Tell him he will not see my face unless my wife is with him. I earned Michal with one hundred Philistine foreskins.”

****

A feast was held a few days later when Abner showed up with twenty of his men. A covenant was established to make David the king over all Israel. Abner was sent home satisfied and in peace.

****

“You did what? How could you even think of talking with Abner. He’s was here checking out your defenses so he can overpower you and set himself up as king. He can’t be trusted.” Joab had just returned with his men from a raid.

David gripped the arms of the throne and leaned forward. “Abner is an honest man. His allegiance is to be expected for Saul. Things have changed for him. He is being used by the LORD to set me up as king over the entire nation. You shall leave him alone.”

****

When the news of Joab’s murder of Abner reached David he stood and tore his clothes. “I and my kingdom shall be guiltless of this deed. May there always be a cursed individual in Joab’s line from this day forward.”

He stared at Joab and his men. “You will wear sack cloth and morn this death.”

David refused to eat anything that entire day, even when others tried to convince him to.

When the people saw that response they fell in love with him all the more.

****

A few days later two men brought the head of Ishbosheth to David. “Here is the head of your enemy, my lord. You have nobody in your way to be king of all Israel.”

David stood and tore his clothes. “How do you expect me to honor you for committing such a treacherous act?”

He pointed at his men nearby. “Take them out and execute them now.”

********

Such was the two year stand-off between David and the last vestiges of Saul’s claim to the throne. A civil war that David seemed to steer clear of the entire time.

That was an extremely unusual response for a king in those days. Power was the way kings set themselves up back then. The typical first act of a new king was to wipe out the entire line of the old king’s heirs.

David was the Holy Spirit indwelt exception to that rule of a ruler. His response at this point in his life was to trust God in making him the king over the entire nation in God’s timing.

He waited for Saul’s son’s rule to implode for lack of God’s anointing. It took two years for a united Israel to know David’s strong rule.

While he waited David enjoyed time making his own heirs to the throne while he ruled in Hebron. The Bible records six sons by six different women. That precedent was not within God’s laws, even for a king. The results would come back to haunt David in his later life as king.

This imperfect man who was anointed as a teenager for this post was now on the throne. The lessons he learned in ruling were lost to him as a father. His legacy would prove to be marred.

How well have you established your legacy?

What you put your efforts into most will become what you’re remembered for. Many men regret investing so much time in the company they worked for on their deathbed.

Your children are your most enduring legacy. God has anointed you as their dad for a reason. Invest in them with your whole heart so the regrets aren’t taken to your grave.

Fathers are a vital part of a family unit. Studies show how less likely kids are to get in real trouble who have a dad who spends real time with them.

Make the time to let them know you care. Take the time to let them know you really love them.

Society will thank you for making the wise choice of personal attention as a dad.

David would spend the next couple of decades ridding the land of the inhabitants Joshua began to clear out. When he took a break from fighting he slipped back to his propensity for lust, even at the expense of one of his best men.

Guard your hearts, men.

Keep your priorities pure.

Keep your eyes fixed on God’s calling.

Stay true to His Word by investing serious time in the Bible.

Set your goal to please God in all you do.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

How to become a curmudgeon

Two roads diverged in my life and I must decide which one to take. There’s the bright sunny happy lane filled with green meadows and fair lakes and trees with shade to rest under, and there’s the dark path through the forest that blocks out the sun with gloom.

Let’s take the gloomy road and see what happens.

This post is coming out later than usual because my life is a mess now, has been for quite some time. Following God’s leading can be unsettling at best. I rather doubt things will ever smooth out while I walk on this planet. Such is my lot.

The cross I bear can be heavier than it needs to be. My attitude can bring it crushing down more than necessary.

I could easily choose to become a curmudgeon and see everything as being against me.

The red traffic lights always switch on as I approach each intersection, especially when I’m running late, or so it seems.

When someone sneezes in a room I’m in I will catch whatever they’ve got, even if they’re always on the other side of the room from me.

My credit cards will always be maxed out no matter how well I plan on paying them down, I do deserve that next trinket.

My paycheck will never be enough to meet all my expenses, unexpected bill always show up unexpectedly.

New friendships will never last because the next person always finds some flaw in me they can’t stand, I don’t understand why.

Both people in the grocery line in front of me insist on a price check for an item, and this was the shortest line to get in.

When I need the receipt for my gas purchase the pump won’t print it out, when I don’t want it it spits it right out.

The item I order at the restaurant is always the one that takes the longest to prepare. Is the salmon always kept frozen?

Jesus warned me I’d become a curmudgeon when He said I shouldn’t worry about what tomorrow would bring because each day had enough trouble of its own. So, you see, problems are inevitable. I can’t stop them, so why fight them?

Jesus never let problems pull Him down. He even slept in a boat that seasoned fishermen thought was about to sink.

What was His secret? He knew God the Father has everything under control.

I think I’ll choose to step back out of the gloomy wood and into the Sonshine of Jesus’ attitude to stay above my surroundings’ imaginings.

God does have me on a path that’s as individual as I am. He has you on a similar individual trail.

Embrace the trials of your trail today. Each roadblock can become the stepping stone you need to advance into the kingdom God has been preparing since before the world began.

Hardships are God’s best lesson plans to mold you into the best image you can be of Jesus Christ.

That’s what this life is all about.

If I’m content and satisfied now then Satan doesn’t see me as a threat to his kingdom. His attacks are a sure sign I’m on the right path.

Keep smiling.   Wade

FATAL NEWS

David stepped out of his house and into the morning light. Men were fixing houses destroyed by the raiding Amalekites a few days earlier.

Abishai approached. “Shalom David. Ziklag is nearly rebuilt. Today should about have it done.”

David smiled. “Very nice, I’m grateful so many men put my roof on first. I didn’t expect that after the stones they held against me recently.”

Abishai grabbed his shoulder and shook it. “There’s talk of building you a palace after our victory to get our families back. How did you sleep last night?”

David shook his head. “Not well, I’m concerned for Israel. The battle should be over by now. I wonder how Saul fared.”

Abishai’s eyes widened. “You may not wonder much longer.”

David spun around to see a man carrying a sack running toward him. His dusty head and torn clothes didn’t bode well.

The man fell at David’s feet. Abishai picked up the sack.

David knelt down. “Where are you from?”

The man lifted his head. “From the battle with the Philistines.”

Abishai looked in the sack. “Umm…David…”

David grabbed the man’s shoulders and lifted him to his feet. “Tell me how it went. I want to hear all the details.”

The man looked at David’s hair. “People ran everywhere. Many are dead, including Saul and Jonathan.”

David shook the man. “How do you know Saul is dead?”

“I was near when Jonathon fell. His brothers did, too. I ran back to Saul to tell him. An arrow flew over my head and struck my lord through his armor. The chariots were closing in on us. He told me to kill him so the Gentiles wouldn’t sport him about. I did as I was told and brought the crown and king’s bracelet to you, my lord.”

David looked over at Abishai. He was pulling Saul’s crown out of the sack.

David grabbed his clothes and tore them open as he released a roar of anguish that came from his soul.

Work stopped for the day as the news spread. Everyone fasted in sorrow for the fallen.

****

David stood with his men around a fire as a meal was being prepared that evening. The man who brought news of the battle approached.

David looked in his eyes. “Where are you from?”

The man smiled. “I’m an Amalekite. I came to fight with Israel.”

David stared. “Why were you so quick to kill the LORD’s anointed?”

The man’s mouth dropped open.

David pointed at a young man wearing a sword. “Execute him.”

The young man ran his sword through the rib cage of the Amalekite and pulled it back.

David continued to stare at the Amalekite. “Your own words have condemned you.”

The Amalekite dropped to his knees, then fell face down.

********

John 8:32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

We know from reading the account of the battle this Amalekite wasn’t the person who killed Saul, but David didn’t know Saul fell on his own sword.

Had the Amalekite told the truth he would have lived to see another day. He didn’t follow David’s line of thinking because it was a totally foreign concept to him.

David held to God’s standard of truth and sovereignty in establishing leaders. Protecting Saul was his top priority.

The Amalekite came from a background of the strongest rule. He knew he’d be rewarded for removing this obstacle to the throne for David.

This lesson from an Amalekite should echo in our ears today. He thought he was going to be promoted in David’s service for ending the life of his predecessor. Instead, he was executed for supposedly assassinating a king.

How often have you stretched the facts to make yourself look good, or someone else look bad?

When was the last time you rationalized an action away so you could get away with something you know shouldn’t be done?

Where have you been that you know a child of God has no good reason to be seen in?

Don’t worry, I have fingers pointing back at me as I ask those questions. None of us is perfect. If we were then Jesus wouldn’t have had to come to earth to die for us.

Have you danced around the edge of truth so long you aren’t exactly sure what truth is anymore?

That scenario isn’t as far fetched as it first appears in today’s culture. Truth is such a vague topic these days. Everybody has there own version of what is right. Wrong is hardly ever determined now.

We’re so concerned about the truth hurting someone we don’t even keep score at our children’s games. Everybody gets a trophy at the end of the season. They’re all winners by today’s standard.

Billboards tell us we deserve luxury, either in the car we drive or the place we live. Budgetary constraints shouldn’t play a role in our decisions, apparently.

About now some of you are wondering if there is a standard of credible truth available today.

I give you a resounding, YES!

If you want a product you bought repaired your best bet of getting it fixed right is to take it back to the manufacturer. After all they’re the ones who made it, they should know all the ins and outs of how it works. Right?

This same principal holds true for discovering real truth. God is the Being who made all we see.

He designed everything to work together to sustain life. So, the best place to find answers on how best to live is to find His way of design.

Truth is found in the Bible. I can’t spell it out any plainer than that.

The most serious Bible scholars rely on the versions of the Bible that stay the closest to the original language it was written in so they find the least polluted reading of God’s preserved truth for us to live by.

God’s truth is the ultimate standard to live by.

Live by His truth today.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

When is Dairy not really Dairy?

Coming from a farming background I always remember June is National Dairy Month. I guess that’s when the cows are most content, or is it contented? How many of y’all remember that ad?

For those or you who either forgot, or don’t remember, there was a company that claimed their milk came from contented cows. I’m not sure how they backed up that claim, but that was their ad and they stuck to it.

Anyway, when I was a kid, many moons ago, milk only came from animals, as far as I knew. Now milk seems to come from so many sources I’m not sure anything is off limits to not claiming to be content, or is it contented?

What got me thinking about this is that I’ve been tweaking my diet lately in an attempt to become more content, or is it contented? Healthier, that’s it, in an attempt to become healthierer.

Anyway, I used to use butter instead of margarine on my sandwiches even when they (yes, the infamous, they) claimed margarine was better for us mere mortals than butter.

I knew the truth would come out and butter would win this battle eventually. Now they say margarine is only one molecule away from being plastic. Go ahead and choke on that fact for a while.

Know I learn coconut oil is far superior than butter in numerous ways. So I switched to using that on my sandwiches for a spread. I figured that since coconuts grow away from places that have winter they must be extremely content, or is it contented?

Anyway, back to the theme of dairy products. When I discovered they (no, I think this is a different they) make milk from coconuts I decided to try it for potential health benefits, and possible contentedness.

For my first foray into coconut milkiness I chose the non-sweetened straight coconut milk. No vanilla flavoring neither to dilute the contentability. What I got tasted like white water with a hint of coconut flavor.

So, the next time I go all out with the full sugar vanilla flavored variety. As Goldilocks would say, “that’s too sweet and vanilla-ee.”

So, I now buy one container of each and mix them together for that just right contentment.

Then, one day when I was feeling bold, I decided to try almond milk. I bet you didn’t know almonds could be milked. Did you? Well, truth be told neither did I. But they found somebody with the tools to get the job done.

It’s not that I’m the least bit intolerant of lactose that got me seeking contentment from untold sources. I still buy good old-fashioned cows milk when the budget yells at me to get old-fashioned, whether the cows are content or not, or is it contented?

I’m merely seeking contentment and nourishment from possible healthier places, even if I don’t know how they milk things without mammary glands. I guess I’m boldly going where I never thought I’d go before.

Peter wrote about getting milk from an even more unusual derivative: the Bible. 1 Peter 2:2 talks about craving spiritual milk like babies need milk to survive and be content. He adds a note about tasting that the Lord is good. Take that Goldilocks.

Paul warned the Corinthians about getting past that milk stage of spiritual growth in his first letter to them. He seemed quite disgusted that he had to feed them first-steps spiritual milk instead of meatier matters.

The writer of the book of Hebrews uses this same illustration with his readers. He leaves no doubt about their lack of spiritual growth when he tells them they should be past the milk stage of spiritual maturity.

So, don’t be content with staying on a spiritual milk diet in your walk with Jesus Christ and don’t go trying to come up with unusual sources for your spiritual milk neither.

The Bible is the only source of truth you’ll find. Every other means of sustenance will leave you far from content and contented.

Dig deep on your own by studying apart from the Sunday morning sermon subject. Small group discussion can help if you’re all searching God’s truth and not just everybody’s idea of what the passage says to them.

Find a good Bible study lesson plan to guide you. You’ll get past the milk stage of your walk with God before you know it.

The only way you’ll find true contentment is by developing a deeper walk with your heavenly Father. The best way to do that is by reading His love letter to you.

Keep smiling.   Wade

MERCY, JUSTICE AND GRACE

David led his men to the banks of the Brook Besor at a jog. The water was high from the spring rains.

A few of the men dropped to their knees. One man passed out.

A young man grabbed David’s arm. “I can’t go on. We need to rest here and eat.”

Joab grabbed David’s other arm. “We need to get our families back.”

David placed his hand on Joab’s shoulder. “I fully intend on getting our families back.” He turned and faced the crowd. “The LORD has guaranteed success in battle. He whittled Gideon’s troops down at a river. He’s doing the same now. For those of you who can’t cross the water stay here and guard the supplies. Everyone else follow me.”

Four hundred men crossed with David. Two hundred stayed behind.

****

An hour later some men carried a young man to David. David gave him the remainder of his fig cake and some water.

The young man looked at David a minute later, then at the men around him.

David crouched down. “Where are you from?”

“I’m a slave from Egypt. I was left here three days ago when I got too sick to travel. We raided some villages and burned Ziklag.”

David lifted the young man by his shoulders to his feet. “Can you take us to these marauders?”

The young man swallowed. “Promise me you won’t kill me or turn me back over to my master and I will.”

David smiled. “I don’t expect you master to survive the day. You’ll be free to go then.”

****

A southern breeze carried the smoke to David and his men. They spread out and crested the hill to find their families huddled in the midst of a party scene.

The sound of Goliath’s old sword being removed from it’s sheath broke the silence. Other men followed suit. David held his sword in front of him and gave a loud yell. The massacre continued through the next day. A few men escaped on camels.

****

David took longer to lead his family and flocks back to the Brook Besor than when they left the men there. He praised God nobody from their families was killed.

When he crossed the brook an argument was taking place.

One of the men who fought valiantly stood toe-to-toe with one of the men who couldn’t go on earlier. “You shall have no part of the spoils of war. You can have your wife and children, but that’s it.”

David grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him around. “NO. Those who stayed with the supplies served a vital function here. The spoils will be distributed evenly. As a matter of fact I plan on repaying some of the villagers we begged food from before.”

********

Once David got his bearings back by leaning on God’s guidance he emulated Christ in marvelous ways here. I see three major themes in play.

1. He showed mercy to the Egyptian slave. When they came across a cast off from the raiding party revenge wasn’t taken on him, even though he was likely an accomplice. David displayed mercy by feeding him and letting him live.

2. He exacted justice on the Amalekites. We don’t often think of Jesus’ justice being played out because it hasn’t taken place, yet. But when it does there will be no mistaking it. It will be fatal and final.

3. He extended grace to those who couldn’t fight. For the men too tired to cross the river David shared the spoils of war. Perhaps he realized if he had left some men behind when they left for the first war their families may have been left alone.

Have you been holding back on showing mercy to someone? Is there someone at work, or church, or a family member who wronged you in some way who you need to forgive. No, they may not have it coming to them, and they may have injured you greatly, but haven’t you let that weight hold you down long enough?

That poison of bitterness isn’t affecting them as much as it’s working against you and your relationship with God.

Release it now. Lay it at the foot of the cross and tell that person you forgive them. Your walk will be sweeter.

Is there a blatant law that’s been broken that you haven’t had the fortitude to enforce? There are times to make someone pay for a crime they’ve committed. If you let them go they’ll continue to do it to someone else. Consequences are necessary for wrongs done. Seek guidance and assistance. Then do the right thing.

God will comfort you in remarkable ways when you come out the other side. Then you can comfort others going through the same ordeal.

Take that step now. Notify the proper authorities and stop the actions of a selfish person. Your spine will be stronger.

Can you think of someone who needs total grace from you today? What they did may have been malicious on their part. They may have ruined your reputation by spreading a rumor. Maybe they took something from you that can never be restored. Can the grace of God shown you at the cross be mirrored to them at this time?

The relationship that will be made strongest will be between you and God.

That person may have never been accepted by anyone before. Your act of grace can show them the love of God like nothing ever will.

I know what you’re thinking now: “How do I know when to do each of these attributes of God for each circumstance?”

If we had an ephod, like David did, we could more easily have an answer. But, since we don’t, I have a few suggestions.

Get familiar with your Bible. God shows us examples of each one laid out.

Get godly advice from godly people. Your pastor or trusted Christian friend should be able to help.

Get advice from the source of wisdom. Pray for God’s guidance.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Jesus Christ did have a sense of humor.

For those of you unsure if Jesus Christ had a sense of humor I give you two quick examples. Humor was definitely in His bag of illustrations for His listeners. Watch this video to see if you change your mind about Jesus’ sense of humor.

Keep smiling.   Wade