Soaking up Scripture

More times than I can count I have fallen asleep with my Bible laid open on my chest.  If I’m honest, I’ll tell you it started as an accident, the result of going to bed exhausted from long days with little ones,  a job and late nights writing.  I would open the Bible, wanting to read before closing my eyes, but would quickly doze off.  At some point I would wake up in the night, lay the Bible on my bedside table and turn out my lamp.

But one night, while going through a difficult season, I dozed off reading scripture and when I woke up I didn’t move the Bible.  I remember closing it, starting to set it on the table beside me but then suddenly feeling the need to bring it back.  So I placed it back on my chest and turned out the lamp.

That night stirred something in me, something that maybe isn’t taught in Sunday school or Christian counseling sessions but for me it works, it draws me close to God.  You see when I have that Bible laid open on my chest it feels like every God breathed word is finding it’s way to my heart, to my soul.  Every word of encouragement and strength, every story of God’s absolute love for me, every promise of hope and provision, all of it from beginning to end just seems to settle in to where I need it the most.

At times when life was heavy and my mind couldn’t stay fixed on the words on the page, I would lay the Bible across my chest and just breath.  Nights when I wasn’t sure what the next day would bring, test results, looming surgeries, answers about the health of those I love, I would read scripture, talk to God then place the Bible under my pillow and just close my eyes.

Maybe this all sounds crazy, weird, out there.  Maybe it is.  But I’m one to take my Bible everywhere.  When I go to work, it’s right there with me.  When I make a trip, it’s in the seat beside me in the car.  That’s because there is comfort in God’s word, guidance in the scriptures, answers to everyday questions and it’s the first place I turn in the morning and the last place I turn at night.

In dealing with a troubling situation lately I have found myself trying to communicate with God and instead just sitting and staring in to space.  I was feeling bad about this and wondering why I was struggling, so I turned to a devotion written by Billy Graham for some insight.  In the devotion Graham talked about those seasons, that we all experience, where we just don’t have the words but we desperately need to talk to God.  He shared how in that time it’s ok to just sit and be in the presence of the Lord because in that moment your posture, your presence is the prayer.  You become the prayer!  Wow!

You see for me, holding that Bible on my chest while I sleep or tucking it safely under my pillow just makes me feel the presence of God in my life.  It’s almost like I’m clinging to his words, holding fast to his promises even when I’m asleep.  Keep in mind this is not a replacement for reading the scriptures and praying!  You can’t actually “soak” up God’s word, you’ve got to do the work, have a relationship with him!

As you fall asleep tonight, remember that God sees you and loves you, he delights in your ways!  Maybe if you can’t relax or life’s craziness is getting the best of you, you can open God’s word and read of his promises for you, be reminded that he holds you securely in his hands.  Talk to God, share your heart with him.  Then maybe, if you want to, lay his word beside you or across your chest and just fall asleep trusting him.

Sleep well friends!

 

Sleep Well

So often, when I come to the end of the day, I head to bed feeling like a failure.  If I’m not careful, I look too closely at those things I didn’t accomplish instead of focusing on the things I did.

I wonder though, how many things do we place on our to do lists that God doesn’t want there at all?  What heavenly assignments are we missing out on while rushing to accomplish earthly tasks?

When I examine my own life I find that often I get caught up in seeing how much I can get done in a day or how well I can multi task.  Don’t misunderstand, there is nothing wrong with being efficient and in fact I believe we should strive for efficiency, but not at the cost of being aware of those around us and available to the people God would bring across our paths.

What task remains on your list from today?  What line item is not checked off and is staring up at you…taunting you, almost mocking you?  Don’t feel guilty about the unfinished business of the day.  Unless God placed it on your heart to accomplish before the rooster crows then simply move it to tomorrow’s list and call it good.

Instead of looking at your to do list through your eyes, try looking at it through God’s.  Once you do that I believe that peace will come and you can finish your day trusting you did all that you could do.  Give that a try!  Sleep well friends!

 

 

Love Gets Better with Time

It was 1958 when Kenneth and Pauline McCarthick tied the knot.  Dwight D. Eisenhower was President, Elvis was in the Army and American Bandstand was wildly popular. Kenneth had just graduated from Tishomingo High School, Pauline from Madill and while the two had only dated for three months, they knew it was love and they were ready to start their lives together.

“When you know, you just know,” Kenneth told me recently.  “So, we went down to the Johnston County Courthouse and got married by the Justice of the Peace.”

Once married, the couple moved to Madill where Kenneth worked on a ranch and also spent some time doing concrete and carpentry work while Pauline worked at a factory.   Later they moved east of Tishomingo to the Bullard Chapel area and life began to move full speed ahead.

Kenneth spent a lot of time playing music and enjoyed entertaining in a rock and roll band and even a country band for a while.  But eventually he felt called to the ministry and began leading music at Bullard Chapel Baptist Church.  This led him to return to school to study music evangelism at Murray State and then on to seminary to become a pastor.

“We helped start Calvary Baptist here in Tishomingo and after that became heavily involved in evangelistic work throughout the country,” said Kenneth.  “We held revivals in places like Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Alabama.  I would do the music and preaching and Pauline would do the puppet ministry.”

As life moved on, the couple decided it was time to come off the road and settle back down in Johnston County.  Kenneth served for a while as Pastor at FBC Tushka and then spent 20 years as Pastor at First Baptist Mannsville.  After his retirement, he committed to serve as interim pastor whenever needed and has done so at FBC Tishomingo, Milburn, Wapanucka and currently fills the pulpit at Connerville Baptist.

Over the years the couple has worked side by side in missions and ministry.  From hospital visits to nursing home stops, the pair has made a life of taking care of those in the congregations they were serving and they’ve also made a life of taking care of each other.

When asked how they’ve managed to enjoy such a long and happy marriage while staying so busy, they both just laugh and then talk about respecting each other, keeping Christ in the middle, not taking each other for granted and being really good at conversation

“We talk a lot and have a lot of fun together,” said Pauline.  “When we go on trips we sometimes get to talking so much that we miss our turns or miss where we are going and have to turn around and go back.”

“A couple has got to be able to talk and if they can’t talk then they’d better learn how,” said Kenneth. “You can’t go in to marriage wanting to have everything your own way.  It’s a give and take and you’ve got to be able to work things out and talk about it.  You’ve got to be willing to stick in there and stick it out.”

This May, Kenneth and Pauline can say they’ve stuck in there and stuck it out for 60 years.  Through raising a son, serving in ministry, taking fun trips and enjoying their grandkids, they’ve done it all side by side and heart to heart. Kenneth’s voice still fills with happiness when he talks about Pauline and Pauline still giggles when Kenneth says something funny.

“I’ve preached quite a few weddings and a lot of funerals and one thing I’ve learned is love grows,” said Kenneth.  “When you first get married you think you just can’t love the other person more than you do right then but I’m telling you love gets stronger over the years it just does.  Love gets better with time.”