Anywhere with you is home to me

By Tommy Meekins

Today I am remembering the autumn of 1974 when Barbara and I married and moved to California in hot pursuit of my music career.  

I often say, “If you want to get married call upon God, but if you want to get hitched call U-Haul!”  Barbara and I truly desired to be married with the blessing of God but still had a need to call U-Haul to rent a little 4 x 6 ft. trailer and move our little family to Palm Springs.  

Our new home was not hard to locate.  We simply got on Interstate 10 and drove west 1,500 miles.  We did not know where we were going to live when we left Texas; all we knew was that we wanted to be together.   

As we drove out of Texas into New Mexico we went through some light rain showers.  Then we experienced seeing the biggest and brightest rainbow that we had ever seen.  As we drove through the rainbow, Barbara looked at me and said the sweetest words I have ever heard.  She smiled and said, “Tommy, anywhere with you is home to me.”  These words have stuck in my mind now for almost 44 years.  

Through the years Barbara and I have lived in many different homes; some small, some big, some old and some new.  I can honestly say that no matter where we lived we were always content and happy.  Before we moved into our present home, “Oakland On Burnet Bay” we lived in a cozy, borrowed condo near Kemah and loved it.   The bedroom had a round bed.  God knows Elvis would be proud!  

In October of 2002 Barbara and I moved into our new dream home, that we had been planning, preparing and praying about for 25 years.  Even though the home is a large estate on beautiful waterfront acreage, it was not something we had to build to be happy or build to try to keep up with the neighbors.  

God simply gave me a vision and I tenaciously built it.  I only live to pursue God and his will for my life.  I would rather live in a tent where love dwells than live in a castle without love.  Love truly makes a house a home.

By the will of God, I sincerely plan to live my golden years in our home on Burnet Bay with the wife of my youth, Barbara.  It would take me hearing from the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost and ten thousand Angels before I would ever move again.  

This Valentine season I am so grateful to God for sending me a forever friend and a forever companion that has given me 5 children and a family heritage of 18 grandchildren that call me PaPa.  Life does not get better than this!

I feel so blessed to have a divine marriage and to know that God has blessed Barbara and I so we can be a blessing to others. 

Remember, our life, marriage, family and ministry began with 7 precious words, “Anywhere with you is home to me.”

Faith Lift: ‘Hypocrites in Recovery’

By Jim Gill

Human beings are naturally self-centered. In fact so are other animals. No one gives a hot dog to one dog among three and expects him to share. This trait manifests itself early in life. Infants and toddlers expect, even demand, to be the center of attention.  

As the world seems more complex and threatening, we are tempted to turn our focus inward. Fear causes us to focus on ourselves. Self-centeredness also stems from a lack of love. 

Social commentators tell us that more and more Americans are judging laws, social policies, careers and the like by this one question: What’s in it for me? 

Whatever the reason, no one can argue that much of our society chooses to “look out for number one.” And this attitude eventually spills over into our worship of God. We want some return on our investment here!  If we are going to pray, we want others to praise our eloquent speech. If we give money, we want a mention in the newspaper or a nice plaque in the entryway.  If we fast, we want folks to point to us as a good example. 

But Jesus says, “Don’t look for go tooting your own horn when you give to help others.”  Don’t make a show of your prayer life by trying to outdo each other with heaps of words and flowery phrases, and when you fast don’t put on the “poor, poor pitiful me” look and call attention to yourself.  When it comes to treasures on earth, don’t keep on renting storage spaces to hold everything you ever gotten.  

Jesus had a word for people like that.  He called them “hypocrites.” The word hypocrisy means, simply, “putting on a mask.” One scholar suggests that Jesus himself coined the word, borrowing it from the Greek actors, or hypocrites, who entertained crowds at an outdoor theater near his home. Back then, a hypocrite was a person who put on a mask to play someone he was not. Is that why revelers don Mardi Gras masks? 

Jesus doesn’t want us to make a show of our faith. Jesus wants us to be authentic in our commitment to him. That’s what Ash Wednesday is all about. That’s what Lent is all about. It’s about dropping the pretense. It’s about living the Christian life to the best of our ability and not worrying about what the rest of the world thinks. It’s about dropping the masks. It’s about becoming “recovering hypocrites.”   

Over these next 40 days I hope you will find something that you will GIVE UP that will help you LIVE UP to your calling and bring you closer to the One who has called your name. 

I hope you will Give up and Look up and Rise up and Raise up your hopes, your joys, your dreams, your vision of who God is calling you to be, and who God is calling us to BECOME as his people who welcome people of all kinds into God’s family, even at the risk of welcoming and helping a few “hypocrites in recovery.”

Don’s Daily Parable - I did it my way

By Don Cunningham

For those of you who are not too old, you probably remember Frank Sinatra and that was one of his famous hit songs. I never really cared for it, but a lot of people did. This is even before I became a Christian. Well, Don, what difference does that make? Well, let me just tell you what difference it makes.

If you have ever seen the words to that song, the writer (not Frank Sinatra) says that this life is just about over and the end is near. 

Through it all, he’s done it his way. Then the writer asks, “What is man? What has he got? If not himself, then he has naught”! In other words, if you have only yourself, that’s it. You have no one else to help you in time of trouble…no one to depend upon. Now, isn’t that sad?

How would life be if you had no one to help you with the problems in your life? Well, that’s reality in a lot of people’s lives. 

They are their own help. They are the one they call upon in time of trouble. Of course many, many people live just like that every day of their lives when they don’t know Jesus as their Savior. 

He has no control over their lives at all. They don’t know what it means to have God’s Holy Spirit in control of their lives and the joy that He gives. 

The truly amazing thing about their theory that they are in control of their own lives is that they truly have not been. The Bible says in Jeremiah 1:5 that God knew us before we were ever formed in the womb. Jeremiah 29:11 states that God has a plan for you, not to harm you, but to prosper you.

So you see, all those things that we like to take credit for, “I got that job I was wanting today”, “I got that promotion that I have been working for”, “I was really lucky and the bank gave me that loan that I had applied for”, do come from some effort on our part, such as hard work, dependability, and character. 

However, God cares very much about the people that He has created and wants the best for them. He knows what we will become and who we will worship. He gives us every opportunity and paves the way for us to be blessed in life. It’s not luck. It’s God’s plan and blessing for you.

Thankfully, there is a life available for every human being who accepts Him as their Savior and Lord today. All He wants is for us to acknowledge that He is Lord and Savior and that He died for our sins, and that He rose again on the third day. Isn’t it time to do it God’s way? God bless you.

Emotional angst and biased human judgment

By Rick Crotts

The feelings of guilt, anxiety, and inadequacy which are so prevalent in our society are attributed by some to our general Christian theology which emphasizes that we are tremendous malefactors, that God is upset with us, and we are powerless to overcome our inadequacies. However, I believe there is a more basic root cause. It is the knowledge of good and evil which we have been taught is essential to being a good person, even though that knowledge was forbidden to man in the biblical account.

 The unfortunate reality is that we relish the knowledge of good and evil as a weapon against each other, a convenient tool to justify or even sanctify whatever we choose to do in opposition to or in competition with others. Unwittingly though, when we use our limited knowledge to condemn and oppress others, we generate all these negative emotions in relationship to our own self image. Subconsciously, we realize that the accusations we bring against others generally apply equally to ourselves. Jesus warned us about this. Judge not that ye be not judged. He wasn’t alluding to God’s displeasure and resulting condemnation. He was simply pointing out that as we judge others, we apply the same judgment to ourselves.

Human judgments are always biased because they derive from personal conditioning and very limited knowledge. Railing against this inevitable bias is meaningless, being just one more way we find to condemn one another. 

The Tree of Knowledge did not impart omniscience, but it absolutely did ensure biased judgments in every one of us.

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