God Can Rescue You from the Deepest Pit... if You will let Him!

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

I waited patiently for the LORD; He inclined to me and heard my cry.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog,

and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.

Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust...

Psalms 40:1-4, ESV


This is fast becoming one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture. The last four years have been particularly trying for Carolyn and I, having lost all four of our parents and then going through one of the most confusing periods of our times.


I think a lot of people can relate as they also have been through times that many thought they would never see. We have watched as a disease ravaged the entire world, only to be followed by the often incompetence of world leaders whose solution to the problem was often harsher than the disease itself. We have seen people willingly give up their freedoms in an effort to save their physical lives. Each person can judge for themselves whether their efforts have been worth the sacrifices, but one thing is for sure:


We have all been in a pit!


Some still find themselves in that pit - we all do from time to time, so what do we do? This is where David's Psalm provides so much comfort. David said that he waited patiently for the LORD, and that the Lord actually inclined towards him and heard his cry. God not only proceeded to remove David from that pit of destruction, but then he set his feet on solid ground so that he wouldn't slip back into the pit.


It's no wonder that David said God put a new song of praise in his mouth, and that those who witnessed all that God had done for David not only feared God, but they put their trust in Him. And whenever men put their trust in God, they are blessed.


Do you find yourself in a pit? Would the help that God gave David help you as well? Isn't at least worth a try... or would you rather continue on as you have been going, digging deeper and deeper into your personal pit of destruction while relying on often godless men to come to your rescue?


God is great! All we have to do is wait patiently for Him, cry out to Him, trust in Him and Christ, and then wait for them to help us out of even the darkest pit.

The Passing of a Watchman

And at the end of seven days, the word of the LORD came to me: If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand.

But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”


Ezekiel 3:16-21, ESV


Happy, Texas, the place that I have called home for the past 26 years, just lost one of her greatest watchman. His name was Joe Bill, and he was the epitome of what a police officer should be. I was greatly blessed to have Joe Bill as my friend. 


Joe Bill was 6'3" tall, had a bass voice that could nearly split concrete, and served in just about every type of law enforcement that you could imagine. From a city police officer (patrol and motor cycle), to Sheriff's deputy, to University Campus Police, to Child Protective Services and, finally, to a volunteer Chief of Police for Happy, where he refused to take any pay, Joe Bill did it all.


And he did it well.


I heard story after story from first hand accounts how Joe Bill served with compassion. When he caught someone who should not have had alcohol with alcohol, he would make them pour it out. Then he would give them a talk about safety, and then he would tell them something along the lines that there better not be a second time. And there rarely was. I heard people talk about how Joe Bill had pulled them over with just a warning. To my knowledge, in all the years he served in Happy, he never gave a ticket. It's not that they didn't deserve one, and it's not that Happy couldn't have used the revenue. It was simply that he did not want to ruin somebody's day, or raise their insurance unnecessarily.


Most of all, he just wanted people to be safe.


I remember visiting with him about his work with Child Protective Services. Knowing how he felt about those who would abuse children, combined with his size and strength, and the fact that no one would have blamed him had he broken every bone in the body of the one who had abused the child, I wondered how he could show the restraint that he did. Make no mistake, this was one area where he did not feel that someone deserved a second chance to repeat the crime that brought Joe Bill into their life. It was just that he did not want to risk the health of that child by doing anything that would allow a criminal of that magnitude of evil to go free.


As in everything he did, Joe Bill just wanted everyone to be kept safe, especially children.


His oldest grand daughter graduated from police academy recently. Joe Bill pinned the badge on her at her induction ceremony. He told her that she needed to conduct her public service by the book... and then he gave her the book that she was to go by and to serve by... the Bible! And he told her the verse in the Bible that meant so much to him. It is found in Matthew 5:9. In it, Jesus simply states, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."


Joe Bill Dempsey recently had two occasions where the people of our town were able to express in a small way the appreciation they had for he and his wife Glinda As every law enforcement person knows, they could not do half of what they do without the support of their families, and especially their spouses. Joe Bill had the best in that category (family and wife). After being so honored - first at the school and then at the church -, against his will I should add, he wrote a thank you note to the church and to the community. He ended it by saying that he hoped someday to be a watchman over those streets of gold.


Joe Bill, lived his life as a watchman. He lived to warn the righteous and the wicked in hopes that they might repent and thereby be kept safe. In the end, Joe Bill did his job as well as any man I have ever known. I wonder who will now step up and take over the work that he devoted his life to so beautifully...



It's Time to Start Living Again

And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

Matthew 8:24-26, ESV


It seems that the whole world has been in a storm over the past two years. We have had a very real problem that has had very real consequences - there is no denying that.


There is also no denying that many people, as a result of this storm, have become very, very afraid. In fact, it seems that many people have become so afraid of dying that they have stopped living. The simple message of this article is that we cannot become so afraid of dying that we stop living for the Lord.


I like the Bible. Most things that we struggle with are addressed within the Word of God. And every time we see such problems addressed, we see that God has the solution to the problems. Take the apostles in the passage above. Even though they were experienced fishermen with countless storms behind them, the storm they were going through was particularly violent. So violent, in fact, that these seasoned veterans of the sea were in fear for their lives. So they turned to Jesus.


And He calmed the storm.


Would such power help you today? Maybe, instead of being so afraid of dying we should start becoming bold enough to live for God. I think that we will find that such a change will make all the difference. Perhaps all we really need... is a little faith. I think that you will agree that it is time to start living again.

What Will We Do, If the Constitution is Destroyed?

Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed. Psalms 119:136, NIV

Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed. Lamentations 3:48

My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6(a), NIV


I truly believe that most Americans feel that something is wrong. For some it is just because of the challenges we are going through that have taken such a heavy toll. I'm not talking about that.


Instead, I am talking about the destruction of our Constitution. Our rights have been steadily chipped away, and with this shrinking of our rights, our freedom is rapidly being destroyed. While most people certainly are aware of these occurrences, they haven't a clue as to why it is happening or what they can do about it. They don't understand that what is happening, is a result of an entire generation being removed from the principles that their nation was founded on.


Those who have studied history, however, know. And that knowledge makes them sad and angry and frustrated - all at the same time. They ask themselves how an entire nation would willingly sell itself into slavery? The answer, of course, is that their ignorance of who they are and where they came from has destroyed them. And we are bearing witness to a nation that is on life support because its people no longer know enough about duty and honor to even care that they are losing their rights and their freedom.


Maybe now we know in a small measure what God is feeling when He views the sad state that His creation is in because we have ignored His laws. We are a people that in large part are being destroyed by our lack of knowledge. It should be noted that this type of destruction did not happen over night. Like America and her abandonment of the Constitution, the people of God have slowly drifted away from the very truth that could save them... and we need to wake up before it is too late to do anything about it!


Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard,  Hebrews 2:1-3, ESV


The readings for the next two weeks are from Hebrews. A chapter a day of reading and thinking about the truths they contain will help us to understand Who is in charge and what we need to be doing to serve Him best. These readings will also go a long way in curing this terrible disease of ignorance of God's Word that has been lending to the destruction of His people.


Stop Attacking One Another

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

Galatians 5:14-15, ESV


There is a lot going on right now in our world. A disease continues to wreak havoc, coming and going in varying degrees for well over a year now, and people's nerves and reactions are beginning to fray a bit. As a result, many are taking sides, planting themselves in one opinion camp or the other and looking with suspicion and anger at anyone who believes differently. The flames of this division is being very skillfully fanned by politicians, the media, and even those in the business world. This should not surprise us because those who are hungry for power often seek to divide the people they would control in order to distract them from their true motives.


In speaking of this problem, Dr. Chris Martenson referred to an experiment that was conducted a number of years ago that involved rats, a metal cage, and electricity. Those who conducted the experiment placed a single rat in a metal cage and proceeded to shock the rat. At first, the rat would go crazy at each shock, but eventually got used to it. Then a second rat was placed in the same cage and the shocks began again.


Not surprisingly, the rats began to respond to the shocks by violently attacking one another, even to the point of killing the other rat if they could. Even though the other rat had nothing to do with the shocks being implemented, they attacked the only thing available, that only thing being the other rat. Stupid rats...


Do you see the point? Families, communities and sometimes even churches are being split apart now by a stupid disease and by smart people who are taking advantage of it. As a result, we have ceased to love our neighbors and are starting to bite and devour one another, even though they are not responsible for the shocks that are occurring. They simply have a different opinion as to how to address those shocks. Sadly though, the ones in the same cage as us (our neighbors) are receiving the brunt of our displeasure - even though they are not the ones who are responsible for the shocks.


I think we can all agree that it is a mess, but what can we do? Well, for a start, we can love our neighbor as ourselves. Then, maybe, we will stop consuming one another and can get on with the important task of serving our Lord and our Savior.


This week's readings come from II Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. Among many other important lessons, they teach us how God wants us to treat one another.