Tuesday, May16, 2023                  

Did you know that they make a product that you can spray on yourself and it makes you smell like dirt?!!  Us hunters do.  You see, it is designed to make you blend in with “nature” so that animals you are hunting, in my case deer, don’t smell you.  Years ago, I would make my own out of denatured alcohol and pine needles.  Now we can buy different applications and different scents all aiming for the same effect.  You simply smell like everything else around you instead of being noticed.  In hunting that is an excellent idea.  In your Christian walk not so much.  Yet, there are people who want to serve Christ without too much attention from those around them.  While they believe and maybe even want to live God’s principles, they don’t want it being an issue or standing out in the norm of what is accepted by the world around them.  I don’t think Paul was a deer hunter, but he had seen enough Roman victory parades (triumphal processions) to draw a “smell” analogy for our walk with the Lord.  He understood that the incense that was being burned during the parade march was a smell of life to the victors and at the same time a smell of death to the defeated.  He uses that comparison to tell us that not only are we to “smell” like Christ we are to spread it around so that everybody else gets a whiff!  “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (ESV)”.  Oh, by the way, you are the victors in this march and the devil, and quiet frankly any that are “trailing” him in this world, are defeated.  I hope when Christ takes a deep breath, I smell good.  God bless, Pastor Dennis

Friday, December 16, 2022                  

A few years ago, Cissy and I took a trip to Flagstaff, AZ to visit with my sister and brother-in-law.  Our first night’s stay on the road was in a nice hotel in Vernon, TX.  Our room was on the ground floor.  When you came in from the parking lot and turned left at the hall our room was the second on the left (our vehicle was literally parked outside our window).  Back then when we traveled, we would take the small fan from our home nightstand and put on the nightstand near our bed.  We could turn this up and the “white” noise would drown out outside sounds so we would sleep well.   For some reason we left it in the vehicle that night.  Our bed was near the wall separating us from the corner room and about midnight we were awaken by the most awful snoring coming from that room.  It was loud and consistent.  As the old saying goes, that man was “sucking the paint off the walls”.  It didn’t take but a few minutes to realize I had to retrieve the fan.  I did. And it did the trick and we finished our night with a good rest.   But,,,,, while I was setting the fan up, I jokingly told Cissy, “What I started to do was bang on that door and give that man a piece of my mind if not a good whooping for making all that racket!”.  The next morning, we were walking up the hall from breakfast and just as we neared that room the door opened.  And out came a GIANT.  I do not exaggerate when I tell you he had to lean over to get out the door.  He was at least 7 feet tall.  His head was huge and his arms bigger than my thighs!  It hit Cissy and I about the same time and it was just a miracle that we made it inside our room before bursting out laughing.  “Don’t you just wish you had banged on that door last night?!!” was thrown out between fits of laughing. While that was funny I have found life to throw open unwanted doors that are not.  When you least expect it, whether you banged on the door or not, a giant walks out right into your world.  I have faced these in the form of a diagnosis that leaves you wondering how your health will ever be the same, an unexpected bill that takes a struggle if not a miracle to clear your finances, the death of a loved one, or a myriad of other issues that are just bigger than you can handle.  They are literally giants you have to face.  It is at this point you can take one of two approaches.  Each of these approaches become apparent in the story of the 12 spies returning from Canaan with their reports.  (Oh, by the way, they were actually leaders from each tribe sent to Canaan to see what God had given them and how to go get it.  I digress. Back to the two approaches). We can act like 10 of these men, “We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. Numbers 13:31-33 (KJV)”.  This was an outlook of defeat that kept an entire generation from receiving God’s plans for them.  Or, we can be the next Joshua and Caleb, “If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Numbers 14:8 (KJV)”.  These were the only two men to actually end up going into Canaan.  So then, looking at that Scripture, ask yourself – does the Lord delight in you?  Look at the words He inspired Jeremiah to leave you, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: Jeremiah 29:11-14 (KJV)”.   Wow.  Seems as if God already knows about your giant and His favor is in you!  And don’t forget David and Goliath.  The next time a giant comes through your life’s door, go to God for his help.  Oh, by the way, He might just want you to pick up a rock for your sling as well!  He can make a giant killer out of anyone!  God bless, Pastor Dennis

Thursday, July 14, 2022                  

I love to hunt.  When I was growing up the only hunting we did was squirrel hunting.  We might shoot a rabbit or a quail if we jumped it up, but our primary goal was squirrels.   And it was always a competition.  Whether it was my pawpaw (who taught me to hunt), my uncle, or my best friend, we were always trying to kill our limit… or at least one more than anyone else with us.  So, over the years I got pretty good at spotting one.  I mostly hunted without a dog so catching a glimpse of one and getting close enough for a shot was critical.  I got so that all it took was a little fur catching the sunlight, just the tip of an ear over a limb, a slight movement up a tree trunk, and I knew it was a squirrel.  On a cool, crisp, still morning the sure give away was the shake of a limb or a clump of leaves.  I didn’t even need to see the squirrel.  That clump of leaves shaking was a sure thing and I would begin inching towards it.  Except for one thing.  I have literally spent forever slipping up on that bunch of leaves shaking, sure it was a squirrel cutting acorns or beech mast, only to discover at the last minute it was a blue jay.  Yep, they really mimic a squirrel and have fooled me more than once.  And talk about make me mad!   All that time I was chasing something that was really not even what I was after.  All I had accomplished was wasting time when I could have been adding to my bag limit.  I hate to admit it but I’ve done that very same thing from time to time in my life.  Spend a bunch of time, effort, and maybe even resources chasing something that was of absolutely no benefit to me in the end.  Oh, it wasn’t necessary a bad thing.  Just like that blue jay, it was just there.  But I got my eyes on it and got distracted and at the time thought I was doing the right thing, only to wish later in life I had just not bothered.  That is why I am trying to learn to seek God’s wisdom about things I pursue in life.  Instead of what I hear and see, I want to trust God who has a whole lot better view of things.  I like how the Amplified Bible states it, “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.  6 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6”.  I’m not saying I’m never going to “chase a blue jay” again, but I’m working on it. .  God bless, Pastor Dennis

Monday, June 20, 2022                  

It has been almost two years at the time of this writing since Hurricane Laura ripped through our neck of the woods.  The devastation left behind was unimaginable.  Even now as I drive around, I see various degrees of recovery.  One thing I was noticing just the other day was the structures – homes, barns, buildings, businesses.  Some have been repaired and unless you were told or had seen the damage you would not know that there had been any at all.  Others are still being used or occupied even though little repair has been done and the infamous blue tarps, ragged as they are, are still turning the rain.  Others are completely untouched.  They are abandoned.  Roofs gone, trees crashed through them, elements slowly finishing what the hurricane started.  And, there are as many reasons as there are structures as to why each one is in the state it is in today.  The owner may have had the means, maybe even help, and finished his repairs.  Others simply could not; or would not. Some structures may have been deemed unrepairable. Reminded me of a couple things about our Christian walk.  Peter uses the analogy that we are a house, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house,… 1 Peter 2:5 (KJV)”.  And we all know.  The storms of this life sure have beat against our houses from time to time.  As I did the night of the hurricane, I have listened to the sounds of these spiritual storms in my life, wondering when the storm will blow over, wondering what the damage will look like when it does, or if this storm is even survivable.  I have felt as if my roof had been blown off or some obstacle of this life had crashed through it more than once.  Then I remember something Jesus said about my “house”.  “Ye are bought with a price; 1 Corinthians 7:23 (KJV)”.  My “house” belongs to God.  He will bring me through the storm and then He will help with all the repairs.  Just like all other Christian “houses” whether mine gets repaired of not depends on if I let Him.  He may have to start from the ground up. “When the whirlwind passes, …. the [uncompromisingly] righteous have an everlasting foundation. Proverbs 10:25 (AMP)”.  But I need to trust Him that it can be done.  Sure, it may take some work.  It may require sacrifice.  It may even take time.  But He is not short of supplies or means.  I’ve “contracted” my “house” out to Him.  Soon after the storm I’ll be good as new.  God bless, Pastor Dennis

Friday, May 13, 2022                  

Back some years ago we turned the dogs loose for a rabbit hunt down in the Sabine River bottom.  I was hunting with my best friend Dino and his dad who I always called the Ole Man.  This was out of pure respect because of the way he had always treated me as family.  He was always funny to be around and fairly tolerant of the crazy stuff we were always doing.  True to his nature his “necessary equipment” that morning included a quart size thermos filled with coffee for the hunt.  And, true to his nature, it wasn’t long before he was fussing about having to carry “that heavy thing” around all morning.  To make matters worse it wasn’t long before he added a rabbit to that weight.  Rule was, you kill it, you tote it.  And I will tell you that a big swamp rabbit is heavy in the bag even if it has been field dressed.  As you can imagine that only prompted more griping.  Like, “I ain’t never killing another one of these heavy things the rest of my life.”  And, true to nature, we were laughing and aggravating him about it every chance we got.  After a little while we stopped to let the dogs hunt and the Old Man sat down on an old log to take a break, fish out that thermos, and have a cup.  It was at that point that I noticed two things.  The first one was that his hunting pack with the rabbit’s weight had landed on the log, taking all the weight off his shoulders.  Secondly, right behind him were 4 or 5 rich lightered pine knots.  For those of you unfamiliar with this pine let me describe it.  These were pieces of pine, about 2 or 3 inches in girth and a foot or so long, so dense in sap they won’t rot, and when splintered make excellent fire starter.  They are called “knots” because most of them look like a tree knot.  Thing is, all that sap makes them very heavy.  I eased over there behind him and veeeery carefully loaded them into his hunting pack on top of that rabbit.  In a few minutes he returned the thermos and as he stood up muttered something along the line of that rabbit or that thermos gaining weight.  The more he walked, the longer he carried that pack, the more he fussed, the more we were trying not to fall out laughing.  Well, after a few hours we made our way back to the trucks and as usual began putting our rabbits on the tailgate.  I am here to tell you that when the Ole Man reached in and pulled out that first pine knot things got tense.  Throwing them all across the ditch he made the declaration that whoever retrieved them, labeling themselves guilty of having put them in his pack, would wear a load of #6 shot somewhere in the hind-end area!  I think of this story from time to time and always get a good laugh out of it.  But the other day, looking back on it, the whole thing reminded me of how life can sometimes be.  We all have burdens to tote.  Some life burdens are like the shotgun shells the Ole Man had in that pack, necessary for what is going on.  And some, like the thermos or even the rabbit, have to be toted for a while to accomplish what you are doing.  But sometimes life, or even others in our life, may come along and add burdens for us to carry.  If asked we may would even agree to carry some of that weight.  At other times we may not even be aware we are carrying these burdens until we stop and do a better inspection.  We may even find out that we are worn out, weary because we have carried them for a while.  It is then that we need to remember what Jesus had to say about the subject. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)”.  In other words, we can “unload” on Jesus.  When we give our lives over to Him, we find ourselves in a place where He willingly will take that heavy load we have accumulated. It is so much easier to walk through this life when we let Jesus have all that weight.  Oh, to finish my story.  Just as we were about to leave the Ole Man went over and began throwing the pine knots into the truck.  Looking directly at me, trying his best not to grin, he said that since I was the only one of the bunch with a fireplace that I had better enjoy burning those since he had toted them out for me.  I thought of him every time I started a fire that year…  and still do.  God bless, Pastor Dennis

Friday, February 25, 2022                  

I hate everything being blurry all the time.  Before I explain let me admit this.  I have been blessed.  I’m 65 and have never had to wear glasses on a regular basis (my hat off to those who have mastered that).  A few years ago, I started needing reading glasses.  I actually think I’m using the first pair I bought.  But recently I had to get a prescription pair to see off out yonder.  I usually only wear them when I drive.  So, most of the time things are just a little blurry.  In the last year and a half something else has added to that complication.  Yep, I’ve got cataracts.  Now if it’s dusk, dawn, cloudy, or shady guess what.  Things are not only blurry; they are dark and blurry.  Doctor said that they were at the point of surgery and he would do that as soon as I thought they were bothering me enough.  Me, “Doc, I’m mowing the same strip twice because I can’t see the line.”  Doc, “Well then.”  Me, “I can tell it is a deer standing down there but I can’t tell what the horns look like.”  Doc, “That is serious.  I think it’s time to do something.”  “Ok.”  I have the same problem with my spiritual “eyesight”.  We all do.  Paul said, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV)”.  I don’t care how smart you are.  I don’t care how much you study or how spiritual your walk is.  The truth is you are still human trying to understand spiritual things through a natural mind.  You may have more of an understanding because God reveals a truth to you but this side of heaven you just ain’t gonna see and understand all of it like it really is.  I often wonder.  When we get to eternity will we know it all like a switch has been turned on or will it still take a few thousand years to get most of it?  I have jokingly heard that the mentioned 30 minutes of silence in heaven is for everyone to correct notes on what they thought they already had figured out.  Either way, when we get there, we will be standing right there “facing” what we always wanted to see and know.  And nothing of this world blurring our vision!  Well, shortly I’m going to call the Eye Clinic and make an appointment to do something about these eyes.  Hopefully before next deer season.  I’ve already made reservations for getting my spiritual “eyes” straightened out.  I don’t know when the appointment is.  I’m waiting on God to call…   God bless, Pastor Dennis

Thursday, February 10, 2022                  

I have the worst time buying clothes to fit. I’m 6’3” tall with long arms and legs. It is hard to find 36” inseam jeans that fit slim enough to keep them from looking like, as the old saying goes, “a herd of monkeys moved out of the seat of them”. By the time I find a lon sleeve shirt off the regular rack with sleeves that fit the body is so big I could wrap it around me twice. My old boss used to say that if my knuckles didn’t drag the ground, I wouldn’t have that problem. Oh, and ever see the prices on those specialty fitted shirts! More than I want to pay. I’m sure glad that God supplies my spiritual clothing. You see, there are several references in His Word describing spiritual clothing but let me just show you this one: “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, Isaiah 61:10 (KJV)”. What is really cool is that they both fit me! Me and everyone else. The Hebrew word for garments describes a cover that not only completely covers a person but fits everyone, regardless of size or shape. The Hebrew word for robe describes an outer garment that would again fit every person regardless of size. The garment leaves nothing uncovered and the robe is a symbol of my right standing with Him. God’s salvation and righteousness are a “one size fits all”. And the best thing! Jesus paid for them! God bless, Pastor Dennis

Friday, January 21, 2022                  

Have you noticed that time can fly by or time can crawl slower than a snail’s pace?  I can be busy doing something I like and the first thing I know my wife is saying, “do you know what time it is”?  Hours can fly by and it felt like I was only busy for a few minutes.  Contrast that to “watching the clock”.  I wrote computer programs for almost forty years.  In the old mainframe days, the time between screen changes had to be sub second.   In the PC world they taught us to put in progress bars or change the mouse cursor to an hourglass just to show the user that the program was still doing something and encourage them not to give up.   Want an example?  Sit and stare at a timer for one full minute and notice how long it was.  Or count down the days / hours to an event you are really anxious to see.  Have a doctor tell you that you have to wait a week for important test results.  Get right in the middle of a rough spot in your life, or a trial that seems will never end, and it seems to us that God is never going to show up and relieve us.  Peter said this about waiting on the Lord’s promises, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:8 (KJV)”.  God’s timing is simply not ours, but it is always right and it is always the best timing.   I believe the key to helping ourselves deal with this “wait time” was mentioned at the beginning of this devotional – keep busy.  Keep busy and “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. Psalms 27:14 (KJV)”.    God bless, Pastor Dennis

Saturday, January 15, 2022                  

When I was a young boy, my PawPaw drove an old pickup truck.  My brother remembers it as a ’62 Ford.  All I remember is that it was a standard with the shifter on the column and I remember how my PawPaw shifted it most of the time.   For those of you not familiar with this type of shifter it was shaped like an H.  Upper left was reverse, lower left was 1st, upper right was 2nd, and lower right 3rd.  If you were practiced on the clutch and gas, and shifted through all 3 forward gears it was smooth going.  But, for whatever reason, my PawPaw would shift from 1st straight over and down to 3rd, skipping 2nd.  The old truck engine would lug, spit and sputter, and finally smooth out when enough speed was gained to actually be in 3rd gear.  We do God that way sometimes.  We skip things.  Things like a prayer time.  Or a Bible reading or a service.  Then we wonder why we feel “lugged” down or not up to speed going down life’s road.  Oh, we probably will make it down the road, PawPaw did.  But skipping essential things sure is hard on our engine.  Let’s do it God’s way, not ours.   “Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand. Proverbs 19:21 (AMP)”.   God bless, Pastor Dennis

Monday, December 20, 2021                  

I’m not a cowboy.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m country to the core and I share many of the same values and standards they do.  I just didn’t grow up around horses or cattle… or rodeos, although I did give it one try.  When I was about 13, I lived on a road with several boys around my age, give or take a year or two.  As long summer days often do, this one found us bored and wanting something to do.  A couple of the boys that had been around horses decided that what we needed was some bronc riding and after some talking convinced the rest of us to give it a try as well.  My uncle had a horse that had never been ridden so they caught it up in the pasture and the event began.  I don’t think anyone stayed on that horse but that didn’t keep me from straddling it when my turn came.  And, I didn’t stay on either.  But what’s, worse when I bucked off, I went off the back, and as I cleared the rump that horse kicked me solid, up high on my inner thigh.  For a week I limped around with a huge bruise and a solid outline of that horse’s hoof right where it had been planted.  Life’s just like that.  Not only does it buck you off it gives you a good solid kick to boot!  And sometimes you wear those life bruises for a while. Now, when I hit that ground, I remember rolling around in the dust for a while holding that leg and wondering if I was ever gonna walk again.  But eventually I got up, dusted off my jeans, and well….   some 50 years later I’m still walking.  That’s the same attitude we need to develop for those times when life throws us, “Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Micah 7:8 (NIV)”.  I don’t remember if any of those boys helped me up but I will tell you this, God has many times when I have fallen. “Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him. Psalms 37:24 (AMP)”.  I never did take up rodeoing.  You see, we can also learn from those type of falls.  God bless, Pastor Dennis

Monday, December 6, 2021                  

When I was a kid, we were limited to three television stations and about as many “superheroes”.  By far my favorite was Superman.  Just think about it!  He could run faster than a speeding bullet, jump the tallest building, stop a speeding train, and had x-ray vision.  But by far the coolest thing was he could fly.  I wanted to fly soooooo bad.   So, I put my 8-year-old scientific brain to working on how he could possibly do that.  And, I figured it out!   It was all in the cape!  You see, the cape was big.  Big enough to catch enough wind to overcome his body weight.  Yep, and when he stretched out with his hands in front of him it kept him flying in the air.  Wasn’t anything left to do but try it.  I can’t remember if I got a bed sheet or a small blanket but I succeeded in getting it tied securely around my neck.  It was huge.  It dragged the ground and was wider than my arms.  I was all set.  I didn’t ask anyone if this was going to work, I just jumped in.  Or should I say off.  I climbed a big sweet gum tree right up against the house and got on the roof.  I went to one end of the roof ridge, ran as fast as I could, and jumped off the other end. Perfect stance, flat out, face down, legs back, arms straight ahead.  I woke up some time later in the house not remembering what was going on, but they tell me that is exactly how I landed, belly flop, face down. You know what’s sad?  I’ve done God the same way.  Yep, had some real problem that needed a solution and never asked Him what I should do.  Figured it out with my own super-duper reasoning, only to jump right in and, yep, you guessed it, ended up falling flat on my face.  If I would have asked an adult about my roof adventure, I would never had been allowed up there.  If I would have gone to God, He would have had the answer or taken care of the problem and I could have been spared a lot of heartache.  It has taken me quite a few years but I finally understand that I don’t need a superhero, I need a Supernatural God!   For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6 God bless, Pastor Dennis

Sunday, September 5, 2021                  

Have you ever noticed that no matter how many sheds you build or how big, you never have enough storage space? Same way with closets and cabinets. I try not to accumulate clutter and many times get rid of things that have hung around just a little too long, or end up in my way, or needs to go because I need to put something else there. I try thinking ahead to make sure I’m not getting rid of something I will one day have a use for but once in a while I get it wrong. Yep, get to needing something and remember just the thing (even if that wasn’t what it was originally designed for), go to get it and realize I just got rid of it. You ever do that? Ever do God that way? Lay down something He supplied you with then find you needed it again? Don’t feel too bad, one of our heroes in the Bible did the same thing. Read Judges chapter 15. Samson had gotten himself in a bind (literally) by listening to some of the compromising men of God (that’s a whole other sermon) around him. When he had to square off with 1,000 enemy soldiers, he looked around for something he could use for a weapon. God’s anointing was on him so mightily that the ropes that bound his hands fell off so I have to assume God was helping him with the weapon search. I would have thought God would have supplied an anointed sword, or spear, something. What Samson got was a jawbone of a donkey that had just been killed. But with that jawbone he took down every one of them. Hey, you gotta admit, that would have been a pretty cool thing to see… make a good movie. When he finished, he threw down that jawbone just like we might quit doing something once we’ve gotten through the situation we were in (like stop fasting, or interceding, or digging in our Bible for answers). Getting back to Samson… as you might imagine he had worked up a decent thirst. So, with this new need he cried out to God again; actually, complained to God this time. God’s reply. Pick it back up. Samson had to pick up that discarded jawbone so God could break it open and when He did fresh clean water flowed out to completely satisfy Samson’s thirst. Seems like we’ve been in similar fixes this last year or so. When we wearily look back it seems we can count a thousand different situations, a thousand different obstacles, a thousand different battles. But you know what? We are still standing. We are still here. And we are still victorious because God supplied what we needed to get through. And if we are honest, we can say that the victory sometimes came in unexpected ways, similar to fighting off soldiers with a jawbone. And it is ok to admit that these battles, even though victorious, left us weary and in need of refreshing. If, like Samson, we go back to God, He will pour Himself out for us and we can then say what the Bible says of Samson, “when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: Judges 15:19 (KJV)”. Isaiah made a promise “For I will pour water upon him who is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground. I will pour My Spirit upon your offspring, and My blessing upon your descendants. Isaiah 44:3 (AMP)” that was fulfilled for us, “Jesus answered her, All who drink of this water will be thirsty again. 14 But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life. John 4:13-14 (AM)”. Gather up your spiritual arsenal, stand strong and fight the battles, then take a good long Drink! God bless, Pastor Dennis

Sunday, August 29, 2021                  

“You have no business down on that lease working by yourself.” That was my wife’s admonition when I told her I was going to go bush hog the lanes on my hunting lease a few years ago. I gave her my usual “I’m always careful” reply and off I went. All went well…. for a while. I was at the very back lane, as far from the house as I could be when it all fell apart. As I mowed with my tractor, on my left was a wide, cleanly mowed lane. On my right I was brushing up against the trees and bushes that had overgrown a fence row. As I mowed, I was using a machete to cut any branches that stuck dragging on me and the tractor. Then I came to a couple of limbs that hung straight down from about 15 feet high. I couldn’t mow under them so I decided they had to be cut. So, being “always careful” I stopped, turned off the tractor and the mower, so I could stand up to cut them. Problem was, standing on the floorboard I couldn’t cut them high enough, soooo, I climbed up on the tractor seat to stand. Now I am a good way off the ground but I could reach them just fine. And, I cut the first one without incident. I pulled the second one down with my left hand and cut it cleanly with the machete in my right. Only thing, the release of the tension threw me off balance. And I fell. I distinctly remember my first thought, “Why do I have to fall that direction!”. You remember that perfectly mowed lane on my left? Well, I fell the other way. I hit the steering wheel with my body, bent the toolbox with my leg, and fell through a thicket a bird could not have flown through. When I gained a little composure, I crawled out from under the thicket, under the tractor, across the lane, and propped up against a pine tree to take inventory of my injuries. I couldn’t feel my leg below the large hole in my jeans (and my leg) so I was sure it was broken. My shirt and a good bit of the hide on my chest, stomach, and arms had disintegrated. I was a mess. And as any man knows in a situation like this, you can’t call your wife for help after being told not to be there to begin with. After a while I finally accessed my leg was just bruised (along with my ego) not broken. I made it back on the tractor and home. (Maybe someday I will write a devotional about cleaning up with a water hose so you look less bloody when you go in where your wife can see you?!). Life is like that. There are going to be falls, or situations that feel like falls. Anybody else besides me feel like they have “fallen through some thickets” in the last year? Maybe we feel like we have been thrown in a few of them purposely by those who could have even intended it for harm? Keep getting up! “For a righteous man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked are overthrown by calamity. Proverbs 24:16 (AMP)”. Be encouraged! You may be down but you ain’t out! God says that if you keep falling, keep getting back up! And where I had to drag myself back up on my own tractor, God has promised help when we need to get back up. “The Lord upholds all those [of His own] who are falling and raises up all those who are bowed down. Psalms 145:14 (AMP)”. The Hebrew wording here says that He instinctively grabs for you when He sees you start to fall! May even keep you from going through that “thicket”. So again, I want this to encourage you! Look up, reach up, because He is surely reaching down for you. And, He can reach you too, “BEHOLD, THE Lord’s hand is not shortened at all, that it cannot save, nor His ear dull with deafness, that it cannot hear. Isaiah 59:1 (AMP)”! God bless, Pastor Dennis

Sunday, August 22, 2021                  

I love woodworking.  With the exception of my house, I have built all the other structures around here, a wood working shop, a 24’ x 42’ boat/tractor/work shop, firewood sheds, a deer/fish cleaning shed and my latest, a 20’ x 30’ tractor shed.  But my favorite thing is to build small projects in my wood working shop.  I’ve built shelves, trivets, bird houses, scroll saw pictures, Christmas gifts, a buffet, and an oak book shelf style headboard for my grandson’s bed, just to list a few.  Where other people can do this from imagination, I’m always looking for that perfect pattern or at the very least a picture to pattern by. People sometimes ask me why I don’t build things to sell.  My answer is because I’m too slow.  And, I’m too slow because I am so meticulous.  Yep, when it comes to a project, I’m a perfectionist.  I scrutinize each cut, each fit, each finished piece. If it ain’t right I redo it.  God builds.  Maybe not out of wood but He sure builds.  And, God works faster than me with His creations.  And He is a perfectionist too.  How do I know?  Well, in Genesis chapter one it says that He would scrutinize each of His finished works and then it says, “and God saw that it was good”.  He most probably used His “imagination” when He created the heaven and the earth, separated the light and darkness, gathered the waters to reveal dry land, brought forth the grass and trees all bearing fruit.  I wonder what He foresaw when he spoke lights into the night, created the stars, moon, and sun.  Sometimes when I look at all the animals of the land and sea, I can just feel His imagination at work, and maybe a little humor too.  But then God used a pattern.  Yep, says it right there in verse 27.  He wanted to create me and you.  So, He took a good, long look at Himself and built us after that Pattern.  YOU are the finished, scrutinized, final product made in the image of God!  He knew that that Pattern was perfect and He wants us through Him to keep it that way, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48 (KJV)”.  So, if you are feeling a little down, a little discouraged or maybe even a little inadequate, just remember the Pattern you were made from.  And another thing. I have a place in my heart for every project I do but I’m not always right there looking at them.  God is “And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8 (NKJV)”.  So, when we find ourselves going through another one of those unprecedented and tough times or it looks like things are failing all around us we need to encourage ourselves.  King David did, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalms 139:14 (NIV)”.  Let me assure you that God still sees us as His “perfect project” and He is still there to get us through these times. As the Scripture just said, I know that full well.  God bless, Pastor Dennis

Sunday, August 15, 2021                  

How do you know when you truly like to fish?  When you enjoy being out there in the boat throwing a bait whether you are catching anything right then or not.  For real.  My son and I have literally been on the lake for hours without so much as a nibble.  Then, all of a sudden, the fish “turn on” and then the whole wait was worth it.   Not to mention the weather.  We have fished when it was so hot you couldn’t bear it or so cold it was miserable.  We have waited out lightening storms, wind, even hail storms to get on the water.  We have fished when it rained so hard, we had to stop and bail out the boat to keep fishing.  We have had to stop and fix flats just to get there.  But there is absolutely nothing like setting the hook on a little nibble and it be the catch of the day.   Or see a bass just “blow up” on a bait on the top of the water.  Peter and Andrew had their fishing trip interrupted.  Fishing was their living and they were using nets so I don’t know if they were having as much fun as I do on the water but I have a feeling they enjoyed it.  Then, Jesus came along and made them an offer in terminology they could relate to, “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. Mark 1:17 (KJV)”.  They could relate because “catching” people for Jesus has its similarities to fishing from that boat.  You see, we can’t let any obstacle stop us from “fishing”.  Some of the things the enemy throws in our way far outweighs wind, rain, and hail storms.  But we keep fishing.  We continue to cast the bait of our relationship with Jesus out into the world and pray the Holy Spirit will make one more person “hungry” for what they see.  Sometimes that person takes a while, nibling at what we show them until they are finally ready.  Others might just grab onto it like an explosion.  Either way, the satisfaction of bringing another soul to Christ is even more satisfying than putting a good fish in the boat.  Never give up on it.  It may have been a while since you landed one, or even got that nibble, but you never know who’s watching your bait.  Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and when you can “reel them in”!  Jesus will even clean them for you. God bless, Pastor Dennis

Sunday, August 1, 2021                  

Two Garcia 5500C bait cast reels. Paid a whole $35 for them back somewhere around 1985. Several things about those reels: Took me a good bit of practice to be able to use them, which wasn’t easy to do since at that time we did most of our fishing down the Sabine River amid current and all the logs and limbs. I can’t even begin to estimate the fish that I’ve caught over the years with those reels, but they have produced results. And, I’m still using them, despite the fact that most people say they are too big, that they make smaller more comfortable ones now. Yep, my son and son-in-law came back from Bass Pro a while ago and much to their delight announced to me that those reels were now in the “historical” fishing showcase. That’s ok, I can still throw them as far and accurate and they still reel in my fish. All this reminds me of a book I once bought. I didn’t pay a huge price for it. Took me a while to learn to use it; in fact, I’m still learning to do that every day – every time I pick it up. There are people that tell me it is antiquated, hasn’t keep up with the times, and should be retired to a display shelf somewhere for more comfortable reading. By now I hope you have figured out I am talking about my Bible. Mine is the typical ole King James version. Wide margined so I can write notes in it so it too is sorta big and heavy too. Where one day those reels may wear out this book is eternal. Where newer reels may replace mine, nothing will ever replace God’s Word. And, believe it or not, it fishes! Or at least can make you a fisherman, “Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Mark 1:17 (NKJV)”. So, pick yours up, get good at using it, cast IT far, and real some in. May God bless. Pastor Dennis.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021                  

I had to remove an old winch from my side-by-side a few weeks ago.  It was held on by only four bolts.  Problem was, those four bolts were under the winch and had a skid plate beneath them.  My only access was a small space just in front of the bolts.  I could get a wrench and even a rachet with a socket on them but had no room to move to turn either.  After trying several different things, I remembered an air socket wrench that I had.  Sure enough, with a little maneuvering I could get the socket and the air wrench in the hole and on the bolts.  And, since the air operated it and I didn’t have to move it back and forth, I was able to get the bolts off with little effort.  Now the thing is, I haven’t used that air wrench more than a couple of times and the last time was months, maybe even years ago.  It was a classic case of “having the right tool for the right job”.  I have actually heard that phrase used about tools, shoes, clothes, equipment, baits, and the list goes on.  It is just good to have what you need when you need it.  God thinks so too.  Let’s see, what has He equipped us with?  A garment of salvation to cover our nakedness (Isaiah 61:10), a robe of righteousness so we can come in before Him (same verse), a garment of praise to replace any heaviness we are carrying (Isaiah 61:3), an apron of humility so that we may serve others (I Peter 5:5) and the armor of God for those times we go to battle (Ephesians 6).  Anytime I get something new, I like to go to the instruction manual or Google to find a video to show me what I should do.  God has that covered as well.  The Bible is the best Manual written, especially for these things He has supplied, and you will never find a YouTube video as helpful as tuning in to see what the Holy Spirit has to say about the issue.  One more thing.  With all the equipment I’ve ever received I still had to buy the materials for the project.  Not with God, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (KJV)”.  All we need to do is get dressed and get to work.  Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, May 19, 2021                  

I have already mentioned in one of the devotionals that I love to shoot rifles out at 100 yards or so. To do this I own several rifle scopes of different brands and powers. Funny thing, starting a couple of years ago I noticed that all of them were quite blurry when I looked through them. Trying to deduce the problem, I went through the list: There were multiple brands so surely all makes didn’t fail at the same time. There were different powers so it wasn’t the lens type. I hadn’t left them out so it wasn’t the weather. I cleaned them so it wasn’t dust. My final conclusion, it wasn’t the scopes, it was my eyes. The good thing is that the scopes have an adjustment for focus. I looked through each scope, turned that dial, and presto… everything came became clear again. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is found in II Kings chapter 6. The king of Syria was warring against Israel. God kept revealing his war plans to Elisha the prophet and Elisha would warn the king of Israel which saved him and his army. When the Syrian king found out he was so mad he sent enough soldiers to completely surround the city of Dothan where Elisha was. The first person to discover this danger was Elisha’s servant and believe me he was upset when he started telling Elisha about the number of chariots and horses and soldiers, “What shall we do?”! Elisha’s reaction was a prayer much different than one would suspect. He prayed that his servant’s eyes be opened. When God answered that prayer, the young man saw the mountain was full of angelic host, horses and chariots of fire all around them, protecting from the Syrian army! Another way of putting it: Elisha prayed, “God, this young man needs to see what you are doing rather than what the world has planned for him. Change his focus.” How often has my eyes been on the problem I’m facing at the time rather than on God’s deliverance. And let me tell you, the problem looked to me bigger that any Syrian army could have at that time! Yet, when I look back, I can plainly see how God was there to take care of everything. What I needed was a “change of focus” while I was in the situation. Like Elisha’s prayer, mine should have been for God to open my “spiritual” eyes to see His answer. Not only is He willing to help us with our focus, you can be assured that God’s eyes are always clearly focused. Fortunate for us much of that focus is on His people. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. 2 Chronicles 16:9 (KJV)”. My prayer, knowing God is watching you, is that you let Him adjust what you see. Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, May 12, 2021                  

Our son and daughter are two years apart in age.  Both participated in band during junior high and high school.  If you do the math, my wife and I travelled to band events for 9 years.  If I remember right, I only missed one event in those 9 years.  The number of band students required two busses for travel.  The band director traveled on one bus and most of the time I chaperoned the other.  There was a sign-in sheet for the bus and as each student boarded, I would check off their name.  To double check myself, as soon as the door was shut and the bus started rolling, I would walk down the aisle and count the students.  I would then verify the count of my checks on the sign in sheet.  The students thought this was overkill and loved to tease me about it.  Some (and I refuse to call any names here, B & H) tease me to this day, over 15 years later.  That’s ok, I never left even one student behind!  I want to go on record that God also counts.  It is not too difficult to go through the Old Testament and find examples where God gave instructions for the members of the nation of Israel (His people) to be numbered.  David refers to this counting, “The Lord shall count, when He registers the peoples… Psalms 87:6 (AMP)”.  In one of his letters to the church in Thessalonica Paul makes an interesting statement, “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: 2 Thessalonians 1:11 (KJV)”.  It goes on in the next verses to tell us that we can be added to that “count” only because God’s grace has provided us with a way back to Him through His Son.  Would you allow me to paraphrase?  “Paul’s prayer is that we have come to the place where we can be “counted” as one of Christ’s followers.  Then we will be able to see the abundance of God helping their faith work powerfully in their lives.   I am so glad that I am in that number.   And, I can tell you, God ain’t going to leave anybody in that list behind either.  Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, April 28, 2021                  

My wife, Cissy, and I were traveling down the highway a few days ago and passed what used to be our favorite Mexican restaurant. It is closed now and we made the remark that we had enjoyed many great meals there, but would not be able to ever do so again. Got me to thinking of other things. My son and I enjoyed a great deer lease until a couple of years ago when the owner sold the property. We will never be able to hunt there again. When I was young and would go stay with my Grandma, she would many times make a dish I really loved. I don’t have a name for it or a recipe; I just remember it had pork chops, potatoes, noodles, and red sauce and was delicious. The last time I had it was when she cooked it for me. She is gone to be with the Lord and I will never taste it again. Well, if I keep listing these “bygone” things I might easily come to the point of repeating a phrase I have heard many times in my life, “All good things must come to an end”. That’s not much to look forward to so I am here to tell you that it just is not so. Not if you know Christ. God defines Himself as the “Alpha and Omega” (Rev. 1:8), He has no beginning nor will He end. The Bible also explains to us that God’s forgiving us and drawing us into a relationship with Him was because of His “mercy”. This leads me back to one of my favorite chapters of the Bible where the first and last verses repeat the same thing, “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth forever. Psalms 118:1 and 29 (KJV)”. May I offer my own interpretation? “Stop and tell God how thankful you are. He is truly your greatest Good and a relationship with Him is extended to you through His mercy. That relationship will never come to an end…forever! You can count on it; it ain’t going away!” Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, April 21, 2021                  

Many years ago, I worked with two sisters who were much older than me and I had known them for most of my life. There was a kitchen and from time to time one of them would cook a breakfast or lunch for us. One morning, while retrieving a necessary cup of coffee from the kitchen, I remarked that whatever was cooking sure smelled good. When she told me that she was cooking cabbage and cornbread I turned up my nose and let her know that I didn’t eat cabbage. With a smile she said, “You will eat mine. All you have to do is taste it once.” Just about lunch time she showed up in my office with a bowl full and a hunk of cornbread piled on top. Skeptically I took a sample bite. She was right! It was delicious! To the point that I asked her to show me how she cooked it and we eat that same recipe to this day. All it took was one taste. That’s what we need to tell everyone around us. No, not to eat cabbage, although that was a great find. I mean this, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalms 34:8 (KJV)”. We should be telling everyone that will listen, “Hey, why don’t you just try God and see how good He really is!”. You see, they are already hungry and chances are, if they don’t know God, they are tasting everything else in the world looking for something that will satisfy. When they truly try God, He will change their appetite. And, they can build a habit of “dining” with Him until their relationship allows them to reap all the benefits of trusting Him! I’m so thankful I took that first bite of cabbage, and my first “bite” of what God offered. I’ve been enjoying both to this day! Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, April 14, 2021                  

When I was a boy, I lived to squirrel hunt.  It was my PawPaw who taught me to hunt and fish so this one particular morning we drove out to our favorite hunting spot.  We would park right beside the highway that went from DeRidder to Sugartown at a bridge crossing the Ouiska Chitto creek.  The highway and the creek divided the woods into four different hunting areas and we would each pick one.  We would meet back at the bridge at a designated time.  My PawPaw would tell me, “If you get turned around just stop and listen until you hear a car cross the bridge and come back that way.”   I had always made it back on time… but not this time.  I had hunted away from the road and chased a couple squirrels away from the creek.  That hardwood bottom all looked the same and soon I realized I didn’t know where creek or highway was.  So, I sat down and waited to hear a car on the bridge.  It took some time since cars traveling that highway could be hours apart back then.  But I heard it and headed that way as fast as I could, knowing I was going to be late getting back.  To my amazement, when I walked out and looked at the highway and bridge it was the wrong one!  I had hunted so deep into the bottom I was actually hearing traffic on another road.  By the time I got back to my bridge and my PawPaw it was really late in the morning and he was pacing that bridge looking for me.  Laughter replaced worry when I told him what I had done.  Then he looked at me and said, “Come with me, I got something for you.”  He took me to the center of the highway, reached into his hunting vest, and removed a compass that he had attached there.  Laying it on the center stripe of the road, he promptly aligned its east / west direction with the highway.  “This road runs due east and west straight through here.  Look, you hunted north.  All you have to do is look at this, come back south, and you will reach this road every time.”  He then handed that compass to me. “Here,” he said with a glint in his eye, “I don’t want to have to wait on you all day again.”  I have it to this day.  Life is similar to going into that bottom.  Sometimes everything we see looks confusing and the sounds we hear are misleading.  We need something that is always true to guide us where we are going or to guide us back, to help us find our way.  When I became a Christian, I received just that, a copy of God’s Word, my Bible.  That Book serves as the “Compass” for our walk through life.  This verse pretty well sums it up, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)”.  Truth is, the entire Book serves as our spiritual and moral compass, and affects every journey of our life.  Sometimes I feel like God takes me out to the center of the road of life, sets His Word right on the center line, and says, “Son, follow this.  It will take you where I have instructed and when needed will bring you back.  It will even lead you Home.”   Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, March 31, 2021                  

I bought myself a new carpenter level.  My old one still works but has been around over forty years and I thought it time to get one that might be more accurate.  Like many other tools a good level is critical for the building I do around here.  As my PawPaw used to say “I need to make sure everything is straight with the world”.  It is interesting that whether something is placed vertically or horizontally your eye can perceive it as being perfectly level when it is not.  Throw a level on it and you realize just how “off” it really is.  Many times, the ground or another structure close by will deceive your eye into thinking it is ok until you check it.  Life is like that.  Many times, the things going on in the world around us will distort how we see things that are affecting our lives.  What we need is something to measure or “level” things against.  Well, did you know God has a measuring tape and a level in His Toolbox?  God told Isaiah, “I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the “level”; Isaiah 28:17 (AMP)”.  There it is.  And, unlike me, God doesn’t mind you using His tools!  No matter what we have to deal with, no matter what may be said, no matter what the world accepts or not, no matter what answer we have to give, no matter what tries to get in the way to distort what we are seeing, we can use God’s tools to make sure everything in “on the level”.  Pull out God’s measuring tape and see if something goes beyond the limits of God’s justice.  Make sure it is “on the level” of His definition of right doing (righteousness).  Do this every time and what you build in life will always stand “true”.  Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, March 24, 2021                  

I am not going to fight fair.  There, I said it.  Now I guess I had better explain.  You see, I’m not going out and look for a fight.  In fact, I’m going to do everything I can to avoid one.  I’ll reason, talk, pray, even walk away.  But if it comes down to having to defend myself I just ain’t gonna play by the rules.  I’m going to kick, bite, scratch, poke, gouge… well you get the picture.   Don’t look at me that way.  I can back this up with Bible.  It tells us we are engaged in a spiritual battle and if you think the devil plays fair you better read again, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: John 10:10 (KJV)”.  In addition to that, what if I show you a true enough Biblical hero who didn’t play fair either.   Yep, lil’ David when he “whupped” Goliath.  Now you are saying that I have sure enough lost it.  David, a young shepherd boy, goes up against a giant almost three times his size.  He has a sling and five rocks and the giant has full armor so heavy that David couldn’t have even carried it?   And I am bold enough to say that it was David that isn’t fighting fair?!  Well, you see, David didn’t come off that hill shouting to Goliath that “I’ve got a slingshot and a rock!”.  His battle cry, “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 1 Samuel 17:45-46 (KJV)”.  See it yet?!!  David declared he was giving the battle to God!  Right there he stacked the odds!  Had Goliath’s spiritual eyes been opened at that moment I believe he would have seen the heavens filled with the warrior angels of God! Maybe one angel wound up the sling, another zeroed it in right between the giant’s eyes.  However it worked, David defeated Goliath and Israel defeated the Philistines. Knowing this is possible I challenge you to suit up with the Armor of God, fill up with the anointing of God, fix a battle cry on your lips, and charge the giant!   Oh, by the way, if I am going to fight this spiritual battle, I really like knowing that I have already won!  Don’t fight fair, fight the enemy with what God has given you.  Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, March 17, 2021                  

I have been “killing two birds with one stone”, as the old saying goes.  I have been cleaning up the tons of trees downed by the hurricane and filling my wood shed at the same time.  We burned quite a bit more wood this year during the ice storm so I am cutting my downed oak to refill my sheds.  My grandson has been helping and I have been showing him that if you watch carefully you can stack a good “tight” wood pile.  This leaves less empty space and creates a tight, sturdy stack that is less likely to tip.  I’ve been cutting wood for over 40 years but I caught myself once again enjoying how all the pieces fit together.  You see, most of my wood in any normal year comes from trim or break offs or trees needing to be removed for some purpose on the property.  If not put in the wood pile they would be good for nothing else, just discarded.  So, the pieces vary.  Some are skinny, some bigger, some smooth, some rough and knotty, some straight, and some more crooked.  Yet, if placed with a skillful eye and hand, they all fit tightly together to form a strong stack.  Some have to be turned around, some have to fill a certain gap, some even have to be placed so that their crook or knot will fill a spot. I have even had to trim up a piece now and again.  Christians are kinda like that.  “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:16 (KJV)”.  Not every member of the body of Christ is exactly the same.  We each have our “shape” or ability to fill a gap, and it takes Someone that sees us as we are and where we can fit the best to place us.  Verse 15 of the same chapter makes it clear that Christ is the one doing the fitting.  With His clear vision and steady hand each person can be placed exactly how they need to be fitted to create the Church just like it needs to be “stacked” and where it can be the strongest.  Where my firewood can only depend on the other pieces to hold it in place, this Word tells us we can be held into place with love.  I am so thankful that I am part of the “Stack”?    Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, March 10, 2021                       

This week I was walking across the yard to my shop with my grandson.  He had a tight grip on my finger and even a tighter one on my heart.  I am 6’2” with long legs and he is… well he’s two.  So, as you can imagine I had to take much smaller steps to get where I was going.  But he followed me with complete trust and without hesitation, no matter where I led him.  A picture began to form.  How BIG is God and how small am I!  And yet He has me by my hand, “For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isaiah 41:13 (KJV)”.  If only I could be as obedient, as content, as trusting with God as my grandson was with me.  Look at this: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. Psalms 37:23-24 (KJV)”.  The Hebrew word for “man” here is also translated “warrior”.   I am a grown man.  I am a warrior with all my armor on.  I am in this (spiritual) battle with my eyes wide open!  I will win!  But to do so, I have to know that it is God that has my right hand, it is He who will lead the way, and it is He who will pick me up if I stumble or fall!   My duty… well, I’m going to keep a tight grip on His finger!   Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, March 3, 2021                           

“You don’t sound like you are from around here.”  Some years ago, my work in developing computer software carried me to California and up to Idaho.  These times, along with the fact that the gal in my iPhone can never get my dictated texts right, are the best reminders that I just might have a southern accent.  I guess you could say that my speech betrays me.  Hey, that’s in the Bible!  This is what they said to Peter when he was in the middle of denying that he knew Jesus, ““Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” Matthew 26:73 (NKJV)”.  They were talking about his accent showing he was from Galilee, where Jesus had been.  They sure weren’t talking about his words right then because in his panic he let go a few words that would have been less pleasing as a “Jesus” example.  I have seen this happen.  I have known people who professed being a Christian, whose daily life showed it, until one day in a stressed situation they lost that witness with their words.  No, I’m not saying they backslid anymore that I would say Peter did, they just did something they would later have to talk to God about changing.  Peter’s manner of speech sure changed.  After being filled with the Holy Spirit he declared Christ with boldness, even while the officials were demanding that he stop!  In fact, godly words were pouring out of him in such a fashion that some marveled that this could not be since he was nothing but an “ignorant fisherman“.  Seeing that happen, and knowing there are verses that tell me that my words come from my heart and that this ole tongue of mine can be “bridled”, I want to be so full of God that it pours out in my conversation.  If my speech is going to “betray me” let it at least be by presenting evidence of my walk with Him! Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, February 24, 2021                      

In my early teenage years I loved to shoot a bow and arrow.  All I had was a cheap fiberglass bow, but I carried everywhere I went, especially in the woods.  One thing I loved to do was to stand at one end of our field, raise the arrow at an angle that would target somewhere down field, and let her fly.  If I had it angled enough the arrow would go completely out of site, then as I shifted my gaze down the field, it would reappear and stick in the ground.  I would shoot all my arrows down the field, walk down to them, turnaround, and shoot them back the other way.  One day I aimed my arrow at a slightly higher angle and let it rip hoping to get the maximum height.  Sure enough, the arrow went out of sight, but while I was watching for it to hit down the field, I heard a “thud” right next to me.  I guess the wind caught it and blew it back over; I never saw it coming; but there it was imbedded in the ground not six inches from me.  Had that arrow struck me I could have been seriously injured or killed.  Whether you have ever picked up a bow and arrow or not, there are arrows every Christian has to protect themselves from.  Here is the analogy that Paul uses, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts (arrows) of the wicked. Ephesians 6:16 (KJV)”.  Some of these arrows we may see coming, others, like the arrow that hit by me, seem to come “out of nowhere”.   Whichever, these arrows are certainly the attacks of the enemy in our Christian walk.  What does Paul say to do about this method of attack?  We are to put our faith out in front of us, using it as a shield.  The Greek word Paul uses here for shield is one the Romans used, a shield wide and tall, and one that would actually protect the soldier from head to toe.  Linked together with a soldier on each side it provided a “wall” that the enemy could not come through.   The long-distance attack of fiery arrows would be stopped short hitting their mark as they deflected off this shield.  I can understand why the apostles said to the Lord “Increase our faith.” (Luke 17:5).   Jesus’ reply was twofold:  even a small amount of faith will empower you:  it’s your duty to exercise it.  When we exercise our faith, God moves in to not only protect but to give us victory.  In this spiritual warfare I want to be pictured as a soldier, clad in the whole armor of God, my Sword in one hand, and holding up my Shield with the other, standing with determination that I am not afraid of what the enemy fires at me and I will not give up one inch of the Kingdom of God!    Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, February 17, 2021                       

If the devil played a character in a western movie…  I know, you’re thinking I have been watching too many Gunsmoke reruns, but just give me a minute.   If the devil played in a western, he would rob the bank, shoot the teller, then burn down the bank building.  His character would be painted as a “drygulching back shooting outlaw”.  How did I come to that analogy?  Well, Jesus said it, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:  John 10:10 (KJV)”.  Satan is out there, not so much with intent to rob a western bank, but with vengeance to steal all God has for you and me; he will destroy our relationship with God if we let him.  No, we are not in a movie like the western I mentioned, but we are in a fight against his “gang” of spiritual wickedness (Eph. 6:10-13).  And there are verses throughout God’s Word that tell us that we will win.   How?  Well, I quoted only the first part of that verse and the part I quoted did not end with a period.  The rest of the verse sums up everything.  Jesus said your enemy is all those things, BUT I am your Life and it is “with advantage”. (“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”).  Simply put, our victory over the enemy is in the advantage of the Life flowing through us that was provided through Jesus.  I’m going to do what Paul told Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12 (KJV)”.  Oh, and since we are the good guys in this fight, I just might have to buy a white hat after all.  Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, February 10, 2021                      

I have been clearing some property.  I am fortunate that my son has a big, powerful tractor to use on the job.  I have learned to catch trees just right with it, push them over, and tear them out of the ground.  My best yet, even with that big tractor, is to push over a 6-to-8-inch tree.  They are that tough.  That is why I was so amazed after the hurricane.  We listened to the roar and might of the wind that night then went out the next morning to find trees as large as 4 to 5 feet in diameter blown over, root systems 3 times that size exposed, and a hole 3 feet deep where it had been!  I’m not sure what wind speed was measured, but what I heard and then saw was hard to comprehend.  Oh, by the way, there is a record of another mighty wind, one more powerful than our hurricane.  Actually, more powerful than any hurricane, tornado, cyclone, or storm ever recorded.  No, it didn’t blow down walls, blow off roofs, or, to the best I can find, it didn’t even uproot a single tree.  What am I talking about?   It was the Spirit of God “rushing” to the men and women who had been instructed to wait its coming before launching the Church. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost…. Acts 2:2, 4 (KJV)”.  Yep, “quarantine yourself to Jerusalem” and wait because you will “receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you”.  There is no greater power than the Power that caused that wind or the Power that is in you when it fills you!  It is the Power of God!  See, the weatherman told us the wind was coming and we didn’t know exactly what to expect.  The Bible tells us this Wind is here and clearly sets our expectations that “we can do all things through Christ which strengthens us”.   I encourage you to embrace the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  You may not physically hear the “wind” but I can assure you that you will feel His power!   Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, February 3, 2021                        

When I was in my twenties (40 years ago) if you would have told me that one day we would have a device that would fit in your hand, have no wires attached, we could use it to communicate, to navigate on it with a map, take pictures on it, have hundreds of other apps (then explain apps) AND it would have a flashlight I know what my reaction would have been.  I would have taken you by the arm, eased you into a cool spot where you could sit, while I got my real phone attached to the wall with a wire and called for help!  But now, like everyone else, I find it difficult to be without my iPhone.  Now, what if I told you there has been something around for hundreds of years that can do all that and more?!  It is the Bible.  Yep, it fits in your hands.  If you study it fully it will help you communicate to other people AND God.  Let the Holy Spirit lead you with it and it will guide you down the many roads of life.  Spend time in it and it will paint wonderful pictures of God’s plan for you and your loved ones.  Oh, it is Jesus’ Word and He is the Light of the world.  All you have to do to turn it on is to open the cover.  Need a new app (application) just turn the pages and let the Lord download the verses into your heart.  And it comes with a bonus… you never have to plug it in or charge it; instead, if you will allow it, it will empower you.  Just maybe we should consider spending as much time on this Old Proven “device” as much as we do our new one?    Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

In the summer between my high school graduation and my first year of college my best friend and I decided a week of staying at his dad’s camp on the Sabine River was in order.  One day we walked down to a slough to try to catch some perch to bait our bank lines set in the river.  I found a shady spot under a little tree with a small bank of dirt there, cast out my line, then sat down, leaned back against the bank and put my right arm out to rest on.  In a minute or so I got the earie feeling something was just not right.  When I looked down, I saw that I had sat right next to a moccasin (poisonous snake) and I could see that mouth open and ready to strike.  I knew that if I moved body or arm, I was bit.  I always had my pistol and carried it on my left side, so veeeeeery slowly I eased it out with my left hand, took as careful aim across my body as I could, and shot.  Well, I missed but thank God the snake cut a trail getting in the water!  It scared me so bad I was sick to my stomach!  Bottom line is, I had sat down in a very dangerous spot!   The Book of Psalms starts off by warning us about sitting in dangerous spots; in fact, about everything that leads up to it.  “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. Psalms 1:1 (KJV)”.  It makes for excellent advice for us in this day and hour.  May I put this verse in my own vernacular?  “God can bless the person who keeps their eyes on Him instead of walking around looking at the things in this world.  Many are ungodly and will get your attention, maybe causing you to stand still to get a better look at the sinful thing it is.  Get too interested and you may find yourself sitting there participating, scorning the warnings that God gave you.”  I admonish you, both in the physical and the spiritual, be careful where you sit!    Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Several years ago, my family doctor decided to retire.  After having the same doctor for about 100 years Cissy and I found ourselves in need of a new one.  We searched for several weeks, getting reeeeaaal close to needing med refills, and finally decided to see a new doctor our daughter was working for that had just started a practice.  So, we sent him our medical records and started trying to convince ourselves that seeing a new, young doctor that had never seen us before was going to be ok.  After the introductions at our first visit this young man sat there and summarized my entire medical history.  He had taken time to do his homework!  He knew more about me than I did!  I was very excited, very pleased that he had taken such an interest in my wellbeing!   There are so many Scriptures in the Bible that tell us that God knows us even more intimately (yes I know about the hairs of my head being numbered), and unlike the doctor He didn’t even have to worry about homework, LOL.  I can’t share all of those verses but I can these, “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: Isaiah 43:1-3 (KJV)”.  There are, and will be, uncertain times.  But our God knows you, even call you by name, and will be with you to protect you like you belong to Him.  I pray you take as much comfort in that as I do…   Pastor Dennis

Wednesday, January 13, 2021         

I love to shoot pretty much anything that has a trigger on it.  One of my favorite things is to shoot rifles at a target out at a distance.   Lay that rife across a table, cheek up to it, fix those crosshairs on a spot on the target, and slowly squeeze the trigger.  If my aim was true a hole appears right where I wanted it.  What I did up at that table had an effect downrange.  Paul never held a Remington 700 in his hands but somehow he had a picture of hitting a target in his mind.  “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 (KJV)”.   To put it in perspective, Paul said “I have my sights set on a target.  The target is the award for living out the calling of God in my life.  What I do now, where I have my eyes set, how steady I am, everything I do now will all effect where I end up “downrange” in my life.  What is the best way to keep our “crosshairs” on target? Paul gives us this answer as well, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Hebrews 12:2 (KJV)”.  I pray your aim is True!   Pastor Dennis