Wicked Deep Roots


Growing up, I brushed my teeth a couple of times a day, but only casually, with speed on my mind, not a thorough scrubbing of each tooth.  Now in my forties, I’m starting to reap my decision to boycott floss.

Yesterday, I found myself in one of my least favorite places, the dentist office, an oral surgeon’s office to be exact.  One of my back teeth lost its filling and the remainder of the tooth could not be saved.  When a friendly dental hygienist called my name, she led me like a lamb to slaughter.  I slunk into the dentist chair, mentally quoting Scriptures on “Fearing Not.”

A few minutes later, the dentist numbed my gums around the rotted tooth and began the process of extracting the offending molar.  With a tool designed for television horror movies, he grabbed onto the tooth and began to pull, twist, and turn.  I heard loud crunching sounds.  I pressed the button on my mp3 player and tried to lose myself in the sounds of Pentatonix Christmas, but to no avail.  He switched to a type of mini-saw that shredded the tooth, sending shards of enamel and tooth around my mouth and onto my paper bib.  At one point he stopped for a moment, long enough for my jaw to briefly relax.  I asked,

“Are we almost done?”

The dentist responded,

“Almost man, but you have wicked long roots.”

He commented he couldn’t tell where my roots ended and the bone to protect my sinuses began.  He said,

“If I drill into that sinus bone, we’ll have a whole other set of issues…”

He continued to chip away bits and pieces of decayed tooth.  I really believe he thought he’d found a new access point to China.  Finally, he stopped and instructed the assistant to take an x-ray.  He strolled in a few moments later and said,

“I think I got it all, but I’m just not sure.  Like I said, you have wicked deep roots.”

Having “wicked deep roots” isn’t so great when facing a tooth extraction.   But “wicked deep roots” in the spiritual realm, now that’s a whole different story.

And Jeremiah 17:7-8 shares the following:

7“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. 8“For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.

These verses share that those who trust in the Lord resemble trees planted by the water, their roots digging deep into the soil.  Having deep roots in God, aids in facing the storms of life that certainly threaten.  The verses also teach that even when drought comes, the leaves of the trees will grow green, flourish, and the tree will bear fruit.   I believe this suggests when people see our deep rooted faith in God, their hearts will be fertile grounds, ready to hear our testimony and the Gospel message.

In other words, “wicked deep roots” aren’t always bad.  In fact, in the Christian walk, those roots are necessary for standing strong in the faith.

So, dig into the Word, and grow roots.

Oh, and also take care of your teeth.

 

 

 

Who the Heck is Israel Bissell?


Ever heard of Israel Bissell?  No?  Me neither, until yesterday.

Israel Bissell is one of the heroes of the American Revolution who never found his way into history books.  Bissell was a 23 year old dispatch rider who left home in April of 1775 to warn the Colonists about the British invasion.  In fact, Bissell began his obscure ride on the same night Paul Revere rode with the warning,
“The British are coming.  The British are coming.”
Israel Bissell galloped south with his news and according to local legend, he rode to Worcester – normally a day’s ride – in two hours.  Witnesses claim his horse died upon arrival.  He secured another horse and rode through the States of Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania, spreading the news that farmers were facing off against the Redcoats at Lexington.  He rode 350 miles in less than a week, an accomplishment unheard of in those days.
 
Paul Revere only traveled 20 miles. 
 
So why does Revere get all the accolades?
 
Maybe it’s because Longfellow found it easier to think of words rhyming with “Revere.”
 
Why do I mention Israel Bissell?  No, it’s not to condemn historians for omitting his name from history books.  I share this information to encourage those who at times feel like nobody’s.  God chooses the insignificant to bring about the significant.  Whether it be in the Kingdom of God or politics, it’s the “little” people behind the scenes who often bring about the greatest good.
 
In the Book of Acts, Peter and John found themselves arrested for their faith.  They shared the reason for their allegiance to Christ with the religious leaders, and the Pharisees scratched their heads, wondering how such “unschooled and ordinary men” could present their position so articulately.  Peter and John weren’t seminary graduates; they spent their lives on the Sea of Galilee dragging nets for fish.  After a little more thought, the religious leaders experienced a “light bulb” moment.  They realized these men had been with Jesus.
 
Being with Jesus makes a difference!
 
The hopes of our Country turning around hinges upon a few things:
 
1.  Christians returning to God.  “If My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, will forgive their sin, and heal their land.”  (II Chronicles 7:14)
 
2.  Being people of prayer.  James 5:16 says, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
 
3.  Get off the couch and enter the fray.  Don’t think your voice isn’t important.  Maybe you feel insignificant, but God uses the insignificant to accomplish great things.  
 
You may not be the next Billy Graham, but you might just be the person who leads the future Billy Graham to Christ.  You might not be the next Paul Revere, but
 you might be the next Israel Bissell.
And this world needs Israel Bissells’.
 

Not Even Hemorrhoids…..


Over the Christmas break, I read an interesting tidbit from early American History.  I discovered that William Blount, a North Carolina Representative and invitee to the Constitutional Convention, showed up almost 6 weeks late to the Convention because hemorrhoids and horseback riding don’t go well together.  It’s almost humorous that hemorrhoids almost prevented this man from missing the most important convention in American history.  Imagine the ribbing Blount endured from the Founders when he finally showed up.  Had Blount comprehended the gravity of the meeting, surely he would’ve hired a driver and reclined in the back of a buggy.  Participating in a meeting of this magnitude was literally history in the making.  Yet, itching and rectal pain hampered his travel plans.

I think I would’ve done whatever it took to get to the Convention.  Freedom matters that much.

I think back to the 2012 Presidential election. Under no circumstances should President Obama have won a second term.  All the warning signs pointed to a continued downward spiral into the abyss of hellish Liberalism, but instead of Evangelicals flooding the voting precincts, they chose to stay home instead of voting for a “Rhino” Mormon.  I’m still uncertain as to which designation hindered Mr. Romney more.

I unapologetically voted for Mitt Romney.  I didn’t agree with his every view, but I never questioned his desire for America to thrive and to resume its righful place as a “city on a hill.”  I hope those who chose not to vote feel ashamed.

Deeply ashamed.

In 2016, an election of great importance once again presents itself. Yes, America needs a Conservative restoration, but it won’t happen immediately. This means casting a ballot for a “Rhino” in 2016 might be necessary to counter the Democrat bid to elect Hillary Clinton or an even more leftist nomination of Elizabeth Warren. Conservatives, be willing to take baby steps. Band together to defeat Liberalism then form a cooperative alliance to vote in an even more Conservative individual in the next general election. Hold the Senate and House accountable and in a few short years, we might see a “Reaganesque” America once again.

I know this leaves a bad taste in the mouths of some, but unfortunately we must occasionally swallow our pride and vote for the lesser of two evils.  America’s teetering under the oppressive weight of an Administration hell-bent on destroying her.  Another 4 – 8 years of Clinton or Obama on steroids (Elizabeth Warren) might be the Country’s death knell.

In 2016, I’ll be voting against Liberalism, hopefully for a wonderful, Conservative candidate.  But no matter what, I will cast a ballot to thwart the Left’s efforts.  I’ll vote no matter what.

Not even hemorrhoids will keep me home.

 

Barry Did You Know?


Barry did you know that your policies would wreck a mighty nation?

Barry did you know that your policies would stymie job creation?

Did you know that your policies would strengthen the resolve,

Of the nations born to hate us, those who claim that Allah’s God.

 

Barry did you know that your policies would stir up racial tension?

Barry did you know that your policies serve as a Marxist vision?

Did you know that your policies would be championed from abroad?

By a Com-mu-nist dictator, who would give a friendly nod…

Oh, Barry did you know?

 

Some will vote illegally, the dead will vote again.

There will be Code Pink. the dumb will speak the praises of Iran.

 

Barry did you know that your policies would cause a mass migration?

Barry did you know that your policies are illegal immigration?

Did you know that your policies are conniving and a scam,

This sleeping Country’s waking, and it’s time for you to scram,

Oh, Barry did you know?

Houston Has a First Amendment Problem


Houston has a First Amendment Problem.

Lawyers  for the city of Houston have subpoenaed sermons of Conservative religious leaders.  Their intent?  To identify Pastors who might have spoken out against an equal rights ordinance approved by the Houston City Council in May of this year.  This ordinance, which bans racial and sexual discrimination in city employment, contracting, housing and public accommodations creates controversy because men and women can utilize public restrooms based upon their gender feelings, not their biological makeup.

Mayor Annise Parker says she only found out recently that the lawyers had requested sermon transcripts.  She claims the request to be overly broad.  However, her Tweet of October 14th hints otherwise:

If the 5 pastors used pulpits for politics, their sermons are fair game. Were instructions given on filling out anti-HERO petition?-A

Fair game Ms. Parker?  Hardly.

According to the IRS, all pastors and churches are banned from “directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”  But, this law doesn’t restrict every type of political speech.

Pastors can educate his parishioners about the issues and can even endorse ballot referenda.  The law only prohibits the pastor from endorsing any particular candidate, as this threatens the revocation of the Church’s tax exempt status.

Leftists cry foul when Churches address the political issues of the day through the lens of God’s Word, believing the men behind the pulpits have overstepped their bounds.  In reality, the issue at hand isn’t one of limiting a Pastor’s speech rights but of a concerted effort to silence those who believe the homosexual/transgender/gender neutral lifestyles an abomination in the sight of God.

The agenda pushed in Houston would allow men and women to use public restrooms of their choice.  Imagine for a moment a typical Sunday morning at Church and little Sarah slips away from Mom and Dad to use the bathroom.  While in the stall, someone else walks in, and when Sara steps up to the sink to wash her hands, she sees the reflection of a man standing behind her.  There’s great potential for the suggested scenario to play out in Churches across America.  “Pat” informs the Pastor he feels like a female, and strolls into the women’s restroom.  In reality, he doesn’t feel like a woman, but instead is a child predator.

It could happen, right?

Senator Ted Cruz delivered his thoughts concerning Houston’s attempt to infringe upon religious liberty:

“Yet as we’ve seen it across the country, our hearts are particularly broken that we are seeing it (religious liberty attacked) here in Houston, Texas. This week, the government of Houston, Texas sent a subpoena to silence prayers. The government of Houston, Texas demanded of the pastors, hand over your sermons to the government. The city of Houston has no power – no legal authority – to silence the church. Caesar has no jurisdiction over the pulpit, and when you subpoena one pastor, you subpoena every pastor.”

The month of October is designated as “Pastor Appreciation Month.”  Continue to pray for those pastors who boldly proclaim the Word of God.  It appears religious liberties continue to come under attack, and those men behind the pulpits are standing in the crosshairs of a Liberal agenda intent on silencing not only the voice of religious liberty but also the voice of truth.

 

 

Purple Penguins? Preposterous and Pathetic


News outlets broke the story that a school district in Nebraska has decided to discard words that identify specific genders.  No more “boys and girls” or “ladies and gentlemen.”  Instead, teachers are encouraged to use terms that are gender inclusive.  A training document developed by Gender Spectrum encourages teachers to say things like ‘calling all readers,’ or ‘hey campers’ or ‘could all of the athletes come here.’  Or, the training material encourages the class to adopt a mascot name like ‘Purple Penguins.’

This is political correctness run amok….

Genesis 1 begins,

In the beginning, God created….

God spoke the words and the universe and everything in it appeared.  Genesis 1:26 and 27 says the following:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

If one takes time to scour the Bible, not once does God concern Himself with gender inclusiveness.  God expects humanity to embrace the gender of his or her birth.  To choose otherwise implies God made a mistake when knitting together life in the mother’s womb.

But I want to address another concern, one strangely ignored by all of the talking heads discussing this new policy.

What about the penguins?

Has anyone considered the feelings of the penguin?  Primarily, penguins are black and white.  Some sport an additional patch of orange and yellow.  But purple?  Nada.  Where does PETA stand in this controversial move?  Surely calling penguins, purple, offends those birds whose heritage of black and white can be traced to the dawn of Creation.  I can imagine colonies of penguins, waddling downcast, demoralized over the purple designation.  Who will be their advocate?  Will Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton ride snowmobiles into the rookeries and deliver words of consolation?  Our Country bends over backwards to be politically correct, but what about penguin correct?

America has lost its mind.

Oh, and by the way, penguins come in males and females…..

 

Downfall to Grace


Downfall to Grace – By Bryan Ridenour

A light appears in formless void,
A masterpiece of God’s own breath.
Hope springs to life and all is good,
‘Til man rebels and enters death.

A garden spot pre-planned by God,
A place for mankind’s birth from dust.
Plenteous garden, bountiful delight,
One tree denied, to obey a must.

Harmonic peace, mankind and creature,
Evening walks with Holy God.
The Milky Way and constellations,
Pathways where the angels trod.

No weeds to pluck or thorns to prune,
No fear of dark or fevered brow.
A test put forth from God’s creation,
A choice to make is proffered now.

The serpent’s guile, man’s tempting snare,
The fruit enticing wanton eyes.
Taste forbidden, truth forgotten,
Paradise lost, a swallowed lie.

Homeless now, despairing couple,
The naked truth they now must face.
The garden’s glory bleak and faded,
All hope is lost…No! ‘Tis God’s grace.

A sacrificial skin to cover,
Faultless blood for mankind’s sin.
A picture of Christ’s blood atoning,
Paradise found now once again.

To Whom a Rose is Due


To Whom a Rose is Due

by Bryan Ridenour

B’side laughing brook, ‘neath yon willow tree,
There flourishes a rose quite exquisite
A glorious red, one’s breath doth take,
Its splendor, a couple did visit.

The boughs of the willow, guard blooming delight,
From those seeking nature’s repose.
But one day a man with his lady beside,
Took refuge, discov’ring the rose.

A beauty so rare, none else can compare,
Carnelian blush, aglowing.
Admiring the bloom, in the safe willow’s tomb,
A masterful gift unfolding.

Examining the petals, the stem, and the thorns,
Incomparable, flawless in form.
Slipping out from the tree, in the cool eve’ning breeze,
A commitment of love now is born.

The man dropped to his knee, and with one simple plea,
Begged her hand in a marriage endeavor,
With an affirmative kiss, oh the joy, oh the bliss,
They would now spend their whole life together.

Now the man knew in truth, that the most comely of flow’rs,
Strolled beside, and for her he did fall.
Sprinting back to the tree, he dropped down to one knee,
Picking the rose for the fairest of all.

Thank God for Krispy Kreme


Every year I select one of the schools our teens from church attend, and I participate in “See You at the Pole,” joining in solidarity as Christian teenagers pray for their school, teachers, state and Country. Yesterday, I attended a small town school as kids from this rural district have started coming to Church within the past year.

When I walked up to the gathering area, the FCA Sponsor greeted me with a friendly smile and we chatted about the Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s Chapter at both the Junior and Senior High’s and about the impact these groups are having on campus. To entice students to roll out of bed early on Friday mornings, the club offers donuts and juice.  The FCA Sponsor told me a humorous little story about a student’s recent visit to FCA.  This student commented to the Sponsor that he

“Didn’t come for any Jesus…I just came for the donuts.”

I love the honesty. However, God uses donuts.

The Apostle Paul said the following:

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.”  I Corinthians 9:19

What does it mean to “become all things to all people?” Simply put, Paul meant that he would use their own (Jews and Gentiles) beliefs and ways to show them the truth.  So, to a religious Jew he would use the law to speak to them, to a Gentile he would use his conscience and culture.  Paul met people where they were and pointed them to Christ, ministering without compromising his own faith and convictions.  If Paul felt it important to present a person with a donut to spark a conversation about Christ, so be it.

The young man visiting FCA for the doughnuts doesn’t realize:

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

Whenever he attends the Friday morning meeting with only a glazed Krispy Kreme in mind, he’s hearing the Word of God proclaimed by a fellow classmate or guest speaker. God promises,

“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

So, young man, keep coming for donuts and God just might grab your heart.

Thank God for Krispy Kreme…..

Walk Off the Wait


As I stood in line at a local discount store, I glanced at the magazine covers while waiting to checkout.  One title caught my eye, “Walk Off the Weight.”  I couldn’t help but smile.  I should’ve written the article.  Over the past 5 months, by way of diet and exercise, I’ve trimmed down 25 pounds.  My exercise of choice?  Walking.

Many people enjoy gym memberships; others enjoy running multiple k’s.  Walking briskly accomplishes the same goal without all the huffing and puffing.  A vigorous walk triggers a heart rate increase, and as mentioned earlier, coupled with a sensible diet, the weight melts away.

When reading the magazine cover, I also considered changing the word “weight” to “wait.”  That statement made much sense to me as well.

Psalm 27:14 reads,

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Many wrongly interpret the verse, thinking “wait upon the Lord” means to put life on hold, and “wait” for God to move.  On the contrary, the word “wait” means to continue serving in the manner of a waitress or waiter in a restaurant.  A good server keeps careful watch over her tables, ready to meet the needs of the patron as they arise.  The server faithfully works in this capacity unless the manager directs otherwise.

When encouraged to “wait upon the Lord,” continue serving Him faithfully until He changes the course of your life, opening and closing doors as He sees fit.  Therefore, keep walking while your waiting.

Now get out there, and “Walk off the Wait.”