Friday, August 29, 2008


When we ask God for something and we get it, it may be that our getting what we want is not a sign of God's approval. God could answer our prayer affirmatively yet not be pleased with our request. His "yes" to us may end up being a learning experience, even a hardship, so that we will see what is really best. So, if we ask and receive our request that may or may not reflect God's approval.
In Deut. 17 God gave instruction about Israel asking for a king. In 1 Samuel 8 Israel asks for a king. The request is considered an evil thing by Samuel (1 Sam. 12:17). However, God still chooses a king for them. Their request is granted even though it was an "evil thing." So Saul becomes king, an impressive man, very tall. He is humble at first but then in the heat of battle and because he is afraid he is presumptuous and offers a sacrifice to God (offerings were to be BLESSED by priests). God had already taught Saul that lesson (9:13). So, Saul turns out to be a dud even though God chose him. BUT God chose him to give Israel what they wanted. But their desire was not God's will. Israel got Saul so God could teach them again about being obedient. Read Samuel's sermon to Israel 1 Samuel 12:20-25.
LESSON: Answered prayer, getting what we want, may not necessarily be proof of God's approval. God may be answering "yes" for some other reason than it being his will to do so....Trusting God is an interesting walk....Foree

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I only met him once but around the A&M church of Christ where the Stallings used to attend Johnny was well know. People talked about his SPIRIT and the blessings he brought to other's lives......The following lines were written by someone you read them think about the value of life and how life cannot be judged based upon "normalcy" and "thornlessness." To some Johnny should have been aborted, left to sit in a room somewhere without purpose or meaning.
Another important note is that God is not bound by things that bind humanity. There is value in every person no matter how "thorny" their life may be. Thorns are not fun but they do prompt growth and trust in God. So, read below and consider how important faith in God is no matter what thorn may come our way...When thorns come our way maybe we should consider what trusting God may accomplish ANYWAY...Foree

Johnny Stallings!!
All I ever really needed to know, I learned from Johnny Stallings.
You can go to the finest schools and get any advanced degree they offer.
Or you can read all of the business and self-improvement books you want.
But for a Ph.D in true wisdom, take a look at the life of Johnny Stallings.

You may have never heard of Johnny. He had Down Syndrome.
When he was born, 46 years ago in Alabama, the doctors said he
wouldn't live even a year or two because of a severe heart defect. Other
well-meaning doctors advised his parents to put him in an institution.

"In a year," they said, "you'll forget you ever had him."But fortunately for all of us, Gene and Ruth Ann Stallingsdidn't take their advice. They chose to treat Johnny as a vital part of
their family. And we are all the better for it.

As his father advanced his football coaching career - first at Alabama,
then to Texas A&M, the Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals and finally to
a national championship in 1992 at Alabama - Johnny was an integral part
of the team. To Johnny, the most important person was the trainer.Trainers take care of the players," he once said. "You can't win without trainers."

To the day he died, Johnny Stallings wore a massive, diamond-encrusted
National Championship ring on his frail fingers, which were tinged a
grayish blue from the lack of oxygen caused by his heart condition.

Johnny was front and center in that National Championship team photo. In
fact, he was a part of every team his father coached, including the
storied Dallas Cowboys. The players drew inspiration from him. When
Johnny turned 40 years old, for example, his birthday party was attended
by a Who's Who of former NFL stars.

Johnny had some accomplishments of his own. He was featured with his
father on a popular national United Way TV commercial, has a playground
named for him at the RISE center in Tuscaloosa, had the athletic
training facility at Alabama named for him, and won a "Change the World"
award from Abilene Christian University.

But perhaps the most important thing that Johnny Stallings accomplished
is this: he taught us that it doesn't matter what awards you win, or
what worldly accomplishments you achieve, it is how you live your life
that matters most


You might find CARDBOARD SERMON on U TUBE and take a look. It is a sermon without words (something for which everyone has hoped ). This sermon grows out of the lives and experiences people have had in their walk with the Lord. It is testimony about what God has done in their lives and the whole sermon prompts praise to God for his wonderful work in them through Christ. The people involved walk up with a piece of cardboard with a message on it. The first message describes an incident, a sin, a problem, a struggle the person is having or has had. Then the sign is flipped over and the solution from God or praise to God for relief is displayed. Some of the signs deal with sin, others with health issues, others with spiritual growth, all of them wonderful. Give it a look see and note how God helps with the "THORNS" in our lives. HE is worthy of praise!
Richland Hills Church in Fort Worth did a similar service. If youcannot find the one on U TUBE then go to the Richland Hills web cite and see theirs. Foree

Monday, August 25, 2008

God's Hand

While reading the Old Testament it is interesting to read and look for God's hand in the lives of those who followed him. When God called Abram out of UR it began a journey in his life which culminated at Moriah. God had given Abraham the promise of a nation from his loins. The problem was Abram was old and his wife was barren. Then, after Isaac's arrival, God sent Abraham to Moriah to sacrifice his son of promise. On the way up the hill with Isaac in tow Abraham reasoned that God would raise Isaac from the dead after he was sacrificed (Hebrews 11:17-19). That reasoning illustrates the depth of confidence (faith) that Abraham had in God.
That level of faith did not come over night. God made Abraham and Sarah wait many years before Isaac was born. God managed Abraham through his journeys and had patience with him in is failings (remember he lied about Sarah being his wife and at one time even asked if Ishmael could live under His blessing). God's hand was aways there even when Abraham was wondering or faltering or laughing at God's plan.
Often God's hand is not readily obvious. God is there all along in our journeys and in that process our faith grows. The growth comes with God being with us even when we are not completely with Him. When a test comes and faith becomes evident then we can look back and see how God has grown that faith in us through the other trials of our lives.
God is always there patiently helping and providing and even testing. At various moments as we walk with Him we might wonder what he is doing. That is his business, ours is to trust. Then some event comes along and faith surprises us. We know for sure He is there and finally assured we are there with him. Foree

Suffering When We Do Not Sin

The title suggests the topic for this blog. Where is God when people suffer, especially children?
This is a tough one. After Adam and Eve made the choice they did Genesis 3 tells us that there were consequences for the world. Women having pain in child birth and eyes for her husband...and the ground would produce thorns. Until then paradise was thorn less. The new reality, since paradise was lost, is that this world is no longer a paradise. Thorns, hardships, struggles, pain, difficulty all exist and come to us indiscriminately. If you read 2 Corinthians 11:22-33 there is a long list of some of Paul's difficulties. Some of his hardships were the result of other people (lashes), some were the result of nature (wind storm/ship wreck), one was within himself (inwardly burning) and some were some false brothers. Troubles may come due to paradise being lost, like a storm which causes a shipwreck. People cause suffering -their decisions which effect others. The truth is this thorny world may bring any kind of suffering for anyone, adult or child, and it is just part of living in a "groaning" (see Romans 8) world.
As you continue with 2 Cor. 12:7-10 you learn that what God wants from us is faith. Trusting him is not about how well we or our children are or how well we escape difficulty. We trust God not matter what and it is our weakness that turns us to him. It is always hard to see suffering. We need to let suffering remind us of our need for God. Easier said then done, I know and you may need to read this back to me some day when I suffer and do not know why or watch a loved one suffer.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Faith - Suffering and God

A person writes that he/she wonder what big sin Adam and Eve committed...and where was the "forgiving God" when they sinned? Adam and Eve's sin - led by Eve and Adam just was "there," had to do with faith, not the nature of the sin itself. Eating from a tree - maybe an apple?, does not seem all that big a deal. And why did God just not forgive them? the issue between God and the two created ones was faith. When God told them to stay away from the tree of knowledge he was trying to guide them into eternal life (eating from the tree of life would be their only other choice). According to scripture God just told them to leave it alone or they would die. The consequences of not trusting God would be dire.
When God gave them direction they had to trust him, that he was telling them the truth. The test for Adam and Eve was whether or not they would believe God or do what they wanted. They chose the later (Genesis 3). Instead of trusting God they listened to the tempter and to their own desires and appetites. God did not kill them immediately, but death did enter the human scene.
The issue of their lives and ours is believing and trusting God. If we do not do that all is lost.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Our Sonshine and Cornerstone schools have a playground which was recently gone over with a fine tooth comb by State Inspectors and it, the playground was found lacking. The requirements were a new professionally built border twelve inches high filled to the brim with a special mulch created especially for playgrounds. This mulch is about three grinds away from sawdust - very fine.
This required procedure was going to cost a bundle until yours truly along with a friend volunteered to do the manual labor - tractors, shovels, rakes etc...We finished today after beginning a week ago Monday. It seemed easy enough to do - then it rained and rained - then we realized 80 yards of mulch was not enough - ended up using 160 yards - in the middle of rain storms - asking for volunteers then cancelling due to rain - asking for volunteers and then canceling due to rain...
The little emergency took over for several days....I found myself mulching and fitting in the rest of the things I had to do between reminds me of how emergency issues can over take us and the really more foundational things can be fitted in...the experience made me grateful for more normal days without little emergencies...So mulching is over and I learned something...done for the day....Foree

Friday, August 8, 2008


So the question - Does God introduce hardship-difficulty-suffering etc...? Consider a perspective. Adam and Eve have just been put in the garden. They are standing there without history, no parents, no memory, no past, just there. One minute they were not and then they were. Two adults in a world previously unknown to them. God gives them each other (marriage), a job (work the garden), enjoyment (food and things "pleasing to the eye) and trial (hardship). Their trial (testing, not temptation) was the freedom "you are free to eat from any tree in the garden" except for the tree of knowledge. So, their suffering was their decision (God does not make it for them) to believe (have faith) in what God said (if you eat of it you will die) or ignore God and do their own thing (See Gen. 3). God built the dilemma into their world. He did not tempt them to eat (Satan did that) but he did present them with the choice. The choice was a dilemma and we only have part of Eve's decision making process in Genesis 3(I assume it is only part). The mental and spiritual struggle to obey was by God's design. He created them, informed them, warned them and let them go. They had the hardship, suffering, difficulty of deciding.
POINT: Hardship, suffering (excluding temptation) was part of God's created order. If we suffer it is natural..expected...normal...Foree

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Can I Do Enough

Confession time. I spent I do not know how many years dreading the idea of the coming Lord. Saying "Maranatha" - "come Lord Jesus" seemed crazy to me. The song There's A Great Day Coming always gave me more pause because of the verse "There's A Sad Day Coming." Seeing Jesus was never a comforting thought to me. My sister and I used to think that you could do anything in the day because Jesus did not arrive until night, like a thief. Only night time needed repentance. Sad...
God planned from before creation for Jesus to arrive in this world to take away our sins (Matt. 1:21). Jesus himself counted it an honor to sacrifice his relationship with the Father in order to come here and die for our sins (Philippians 2:3ff). Jesus obediently obeyed the Father and suffered so that we could live (Hebrews 5:8-10). Jesus offered himself up ONCE FOR ALL (check the phrase in the book of Hebrews) and made atonement for the whole world (1 John 2:2). Jesus DID IT ALL, there is no more to do. Can I do enough, never. Will I be good enough, never. Will I know enough, never. Will I love enough, not hardly. Jesus did it all for me...all he asked is my faith...I cannot wait to see Him. Come Lord Jesus!

Monday, August 4, 2008


It has been brought to my attention that my age is not 1958 (see profile)- I do not know how that got on there and I have tried but I cannot figure out how to change it - my age is 58.

I would like to hear from anyone who would like to write me a note at Even though I do not consider myself the answer man I would be open to questions or comments, of a religious nature, from any of you who might stumble on to this site. It would be a good format to have some discussions, and they do not even have to be about "thorns."

The "thorns" issue comes to my mind partly because of the number of things I face with myself and others along the way. I am sure that your experience is the same as mine and you know as well as I that life does not always give us the best circumstances. If there are other things about which you would like to write - feel free. Foree