A Broken and Contrite Heart

a broken spirit“Good grief, Charlie Brown.”  The irritation and frustration the Peanut characters routinely expressed toward pitiful Charlie Brown is the same grief many of us express toward our sin.  “I know I shouldn't have done it, but good grief, I never said I was perfect.”  Then, there is that colossal sin; the wound is still open and a relentless haunt remains.  Ponder, if you will, though painful as it may be, the sin that broke your heart.  King David knew of such a sin as this.  His anguish is chronicled in Psalm 51 following Nathan’s confrontation.  David’s abominable encounter with Bathsheba and those acts that followed indeed had their dire consequences but as David, we must realize that any sin is first and above all against God Almighty - "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.  Against You, You only I have sinned” (Vs 3&4).  With that admission can come cleansing - ”Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow” (Vs 7).  Our loving Lord delights to then deliver the repentant desire - “Create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Vs 10).  Restoration, the scripture teaches, cannot be produced with sacrifices or burnt offerings (Vs 16).  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart O God, You will not despise” (Vs 17).  This, dear reader, is “good grief.”

Speech Often Regretted - Silence Seldom

think before you speak“Liar, Liar, pants on fire - your nose is longer than a telephone wire”  Castaways - 1965

“Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.  Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down."  (Proverbs 26:17, 20)

Likely, few of you have committed these verses to memory or recall this quotation credited to Washington socialite Alice Roosevelt Longworth, “If you haven’t anything nice to say about
anybody, come sit by me”.  Sad but true, the tongue, too often, becomes an overworked and harmful muscle.  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  (Ephesians 4:29)

One is of the many valuable lessons my parents taught me was to keep unpleasant family matters private.  Shouldn’t this principle apply to the church family as well.  The number one attribute I expect from a friend is loyalty.  I know quite well those who have remained with me in the “good, bad and the ugly”.  Nothing less should be expected from me.  We are admonished in James chapter 1 to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  Ah, Proverbs 17:28 grabs my ears by this reminder, “even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”

Danny Byrum

If God Be for Us, Who Can Be Against Us?

JosephOne of the most comforting truths, yet perhaps mysterious, is God’s sovereign control over any harmful acts of others toward us.  He can and does restrain such acts; we do not always understand why such acts prevail at one time and are restrained at another.  However, we can be assured that through God’s infinite wisdom and love, our good is the ultimate intention.

A familiar classic illustration is found in the story of Joseph.  When Joseph’s brothers decided to sell him into slavery God did not restrain them.  Neither did He restrain Potiphar’s wife when she maliciously and unjustly accused him.  But in God’s time He turned those circumstances around.  God was orchestrating the wicked acts of people exactly as He planned in order to accomplish His purpose through Joseph.  In the end, Joseph could look back over all the difficult events and say to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  (Genesis 50:20)

God is never the author of sin, but sin can never thwart His plans.  Paul said, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”  (Romans 15:4)

Danny Byrum

Loving Our Creator

fearfully made"He is intimately aquainted with all my ways."  Psalm 139:3

Psalm 139 reflects David’s prayerful meditation of God’s omnipresence and omniscience.  This is, perhaps, my favorite Psalm; it causes me to feel safe and special.  Omnipresence means God is everywhere simultaneously.  Omniscience means that God is all-knowing; His knowledge is unlimited.

“For you created my utmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (vs. 13)  Nothing about us is accidental.  We are crafted personally and purposefully.  He knows our words before we let them exit out mouths (vs. 4).

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (vs. 14)  Every talent, gift, and occupation has a place in the kingdom of God.  He is the potter and we are the clay.  We each have a marked and distinguished plan and have been set aside for this commission.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all of the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (vs. 16)  He has numbered our days, and nothing can change His plan for our lives.  Whatever the Lord pleases, He does.  One of the biggest tricks and deceits of our enemy is to convince us that we are alone.  “You have enclosed me behind and before; such knowledge is too wonderful for me.” (vs. 5)  Psalm 139 creates gratitude and praise, especially in times of hardship, injustice, and pain.

Loving Our Creator,

Danny Byrum

Sticking Out All Over

Jesus and Heart

 

“Kids Say the Darndest Things” was an important segment of the Art Linkletter House Party on radio and television from 1945 until 1970.  Bill Cosby hosted a TV show by the same name from 1998 until 2000.  Both men exploited the innocence and lack of inhibition of 4 to 7 year old children to coax some really funny comments.  My wife taught preschool for several years.  She kept a journal of funny comments, although she never had to encourage any of them.  During the final program for parents at the end of the school year she would share some of those comments.  One I’ve never forgotten was when Lillie Ann invited A.J. to go to McDonald’s for lunch because her dad had “catched himself a new job.”  Another came from Erin, whose dad was a pathologist.  She told her teachers, “I’m going to Evansville after school, but first I’m going to watch an autopsy.”

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Springtime in Kentucky

Keenland“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.”  1 Peter 1:1-2 NIV

“What a wondrous time is spring, when all the trees are budding;
The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming.
That's how it is with God's love;
Once you've experienced it, you want to sing, “It's fresh like spring";
You want to pass it on.”  Kurt Kaiser, 1969

Don’t you love the beauty of the Kentucky springtime?  It’s almost as if God has taken the drab canvas of winter and splattered it with a million colors.  First the crocus, forsythia, and pear trees; then the redbuds, jonquils, and dogwoods; and now the azaleas, tulips, irises, roses, and hundreds of other flowers.

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40 Days and 20 Questions

4020buttonWe have records in all the synoptic Gospels of Jesus hanging out with his disciples after his resurrection and before his ascension.  Matthew 28 tells of the disciples meeting Jesus in Galilee where they were given the Great Commission.  Later manuscripts of Mark’s Gospel tell of Jesus walking with two followers on the road to Emmaus and later appearing to the eleven as they were eating.  Luke 24 also tells of Jesus walking with Cleopas and a friend on the road to Emmaus, but they did not recognize him until he broke bread with them.  They then found the eleven in Jerusalem and were reporting about their encounter with Jesus when he appeared to all of them.  He allowed them to touch him and they gave him a piece of fish to eat.  Jesus told them to stay in Jerusalem until they had “been clothed with power from on high.”  He then led them out to the Mount of Olives where he was “taken up into heaven.”

Read more: 40 Days and 20 Questions