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Category Archives: Benevolence

The Lord Helps Those That Help Themselves!

I hear people put that out there fairly often as if it’s actually written in the Bible. Well, it’s not! It’s not a flat-out untruth…in fact, there’s quite a bit of truth to it if you think about it. It does make sense that the Lord would help someone who is trying their best to be obedient and to be a good steward of the resources he might have. It’s even very Biblical to expect the Lord to bless you even more if that’s the position you’ve taken. “Whoever’s faithful in a little, the Lord will bless with more.”. 

So, it can very well be true that the Lord helps those that help themselves…..but His help is not limited to just the ones that do that. No, much to the contrary, His attention is never far from those in distress, those who have lost their way, those who are discouraged, depressed and downtrodden. And, many times it’s actually, ONLY, the help of the Lord that can get a person lifted up out of those kinds of dire straits. I’m speaking from personal experience here! I’m really grateful that His lovingkindness and His ability to rescue is not totally dependent on my utter devotion to Him! I’d have been in big trouble a bunch of times!

So, yes, the Lord will help those who’ll help themselves…..but He’s also very quick to help those who just can’t muster up the energy to get it done!

*He’s even been known to help some who are just determined to ‘not’ help themselves!

You might like these, too:

The Thing About Unconditional Love

“It’s Not Your Job to Fix Them!”

Virtual Reality

If You See God “Wrongly”…….You’ll Never See Yourself “Rightly”!

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What If It’s Not to ‘Break’ You,….but to ‘Make’ You?

It’s been about 7-8 years ago; I was riding my bike on a 15 mile jaunt. I like the bike for several reasons. For one, it doesn’t hurt my joints anywhere, and …..2, I like it because I can ride and, at the same time, do some serious thinking, praying, pondering, etc. On this particular day my mind was pretty much preoccupied with the dilemma that two people very close to me were having to go through.

As I prayed for both of them, intensely, the Lord reminded me of at least half a dozen people I’d been involved with over the years that were pitted up against, what at the time appeared to be, insurmountable circumstances. In each of those half dozen or so instances the Lord showed me how He came through for them when it didn’t look like there was any way possible. He also reminded me of how those circumstances somehow ‘catapulted’ them into His perfect will for their lives. In each of those instances the outcome was nothing short of miraculous.

As the Lord encouraged me with those examples I heard His ‘still, small voice’ say to my spirit, “Andy, this is not to ‘break’ them….it’s to ‘make’ them!” I knew at once that this was the voice of the Lord. He always knows just the right thing to say….at just the right time! *And just for the record…not once did I think that the Lord somehow arranged these people’s harsh circumstances so He could teach them a lesson! It’s sad to say but there’s plenty of people out there who think that God does just that. NO WAY!! That totally goes against the nature of a father….and He’s a better Father than any of us could be! 

What the Lord said to me totally, and immediately, put their problems into perfect perspective! ….which brings the conversation to you and me. What if these trials we go through in life are not meant to ‘break’ us….but to ‘make’ us?! The Bible often eludes to the fact that we’re being purified like gold. That all sounds great until you consider how gold is mined and then purified so it can actually be used or sold.

Most of the time that ‘rock’, that’s brought out of the mine, looks absolutely nothing like gold. I mean, you can’t see any gold in it at all. It’s only when that rock is ‘heated’ up to insanely, intense temperatures that the gold begins to emerge. When the heat causes the ore to melt….the impurities come to the surface. The ‘dross’ is scraped off the top and discarded….and the heating process starts again. Sound familiar?!! Well, it’s the exact process that the Father allows us to go through in our ‘being conformed into the image of Jesus’!

As we go through these unpleasant circumstances in life it’d serve us well if we’d consider that maybe, just maybe…..“they’re not to break us…..but to make us”!!

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Prayer Changes Things!

It was the message on a little plaster of paris wall hanging at my Grandmother’s house in Wheeler, Texas. (My Mom’s Mom) I never knew my Granddad, he was killed in a motorcycle accident earlier in the year that I was born. That left her to raise 3 kids who were still at home. (2 older ones already married) She was an incredible person, in my opinion, and I’ve grown to appreciate that more and more as I’ve gotten older and understanding more of what it takes to raise a family.

One of my favorite things to do was to stay overnight, or a few days, at her house. I still vividly remember bedtime at her house. There were two beds in her room…one for her and one for Herman, my uncle, her youngest son. (only 3 years older than me) There’d be a story or two before we all fell asleep and they were always good ones. *(Herman always tried to tell a scary one..so we’d sleep with a butcher knife under our pillow for safety! lol) One story she told me when I was 3 or 4 years old was of an ‘old, old Grandmother by the name of ‘Mamaw Teak’. Well, that name ‘stuck’ and I called her that for the rest of my life.

When you’re a single mother with 3 kids in a small town you just have to do what you have to do to make ends meet. I remember her working at cafes and cleaning houses for people and then coming home completely worn out…but then cooking one of the best meals that you could possibly imagine. One of my most memorable Christmases was when Herman, my brother Monty and I all got our “Rifleman” rifles. We maintained a high level of justice on that block and kept the bad guys at bay in Wheeler, Texas for a good long while!

I think, somehow, the importance of prayer was imparted to me back in those days. That’s one of the things we’d do every night that I was at her house. And looking back and assessing her situation….I think she lived by it! They lived a simple life, a good life….but a simple life. And they got by,…I believe, by the provision of the Lord.

There’s a lot more to say on the subject of prayer. But simply put, “Prayer Changes Things”! 

*When my Grandmother passed on, I asked for this little plaster of paris wall hanging. It means a lot to me!

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Mad at God?? ….happens all the time!

I hear it pretty often from people. Because of how their life is going, or because of something that they’re convinced that God mishandled on their behalf….people do find themselves mad at Him….sometimes very mad. And I’ve seen a few, what I’d call, extreme cases where the anger lasted a lifetime. It seems sad to me but at the same time I can kind of understand how someone could end up there.

I’ve never been mad at Him. Doesn’t make me any more mature, or any more spiritual, than anyone else….I just haven’t been mad at Him. Somehow, some way I’ve known, as long as I can remember, that God is good. Remember now, that’s coming from someone who didn’t grow up in church and didn’t have a whole lot of orientation about God at all. I’ve thought about it quite a bit and I guess it boils down to a couple of things for me. 1) It was imparted to me from my Mom & Dad. I’m certain that this is true, although I can’t tell you when, where or how….it just happened….and I’m eternally grateful to them for it. 2) It’s just, simply, a revelation from the Father Himself. Personally….I think it’s a good combination of both.

I’ve had a great life, but with just as many ups and downs as the next guy. And I guess if I’m being honest, here, I’d have to say that a lot of the downs were, either directly or indirectly, self-inflicted. But not everyone’s hardships are self-inflicted such as the loss of a child or a parent. And these things can leave us wondering if God has let us down.

Well, He didn’t let you down….no matter how convinced you are of that. It’s totally against His nature as a Father to do that. I remember vividly nearly 22 years ago when our family lost a little boy. It was devastating to put it mildly. But right in the middle of our grief He spoke clearly to my spirit, “Andy, if you could see the big picture, you’d know everything is OK.” It immediately brought peace. He always knows just the right thing to say at just the right time.

I had a friend tell me recently that upon the loss of his dad that he immediately blamed God and turned his back on Him for 4 or 5 years…only to find out after that time that God didn’t give up on him…He just loved him more. 

Maybe you’re reading and you have something that you’ve been mad at Him about. (it could be consciously or subconsciously) I can tell you that God can take you being mad at Him a lot longer than you can take it. He’d love to give you His perspective on your indictment against Him….but you’ll have to be open for it.

If you’ll run to Him,….He’ll help!

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That One “Nut Job”!

It’s been a ‘phenomenon’, I guess you could call it, that’s been going on my entire life. I remember even when I was a kid it was happening with me, and I just keep on finding myself in the same scenario over and over again.

I’ve made this statement, or a variation of it, at least a hundred times down through the years. It went something like this: “I could go to Dallas Cowboy Stadium where there’s a hundred thousand people….and if there’s one ‘nut job’ there, ……he’ll find me!”. It’s a true story and it’s happened with me more often than you’d believe.

It was a few years ago, and after it’d just happened again, (don’t remember when or where but it did happen) that I made that same statement again. But this time it was different….I mean, really different! Immediately on making that statement, that ‘still small voice’ of the Lord spoke ever so clearly to my spirit saying, “I know, Andy….that’s a ‘gift’ I’ve given you!” I’m telling you it was a ‘gut-check’ of epic proportions! And as that thing captured my entire attention He followed it with, “I don’t trust those kind of people with just anyone!”. 

I don’t know if you can grasp the complete gravity of what the Lord said to me. But, for me, it was one of those, “stop you dead in your tracks”, kinds of things. In fact I can’t remember any other time in my life that His word to me was any clearer and life-altering than this one thing. It totally changed my entire perspective on that ‘phenomenon’, literally, in a moment of time! All of a sudden I saw ‘those people’ like the Father sees them….and it changed everything!

My heart was broken…..in a very good way, by how I’d viewed all those people down through the years before. And since that day I can’t even tell this story without being brought to tears.

So, they’re still coming, maybe with a greater frequency than ever before,….but everything has changed for me…..and in turn….maybe them, too!

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It’s  ‘Atmospheric’, …..There’s No Question About It!

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God Is My Co-Pilot! ……and therein lies the problem!

I started seeing that bumper-sticker when I was a kid, and I still see it every now and then….and it still makes me laugh. Oh, I get what they were trying to say and at a distance it sounds like a totally sensible and wholesome thing to do. I can relate to the whole “Co-Pilot” thing a little bit. In fact there was probably a time in my own life that I thought, Him being my co-pilot would be a very legitimate, and smart thing to do. I mean, if you haven’t had Him along at all….putting Him in the passenger seat would definitely be better than nothing at all. But when you think about it, it really doesn’t make much sense at all. In fact,….and especially if you’re thinking long-term, if He’s your Co-Pilot….it might just explain why things aren’t going so well!

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say…..If you actually created the  Universe…by just ‘speaking it into being’, like He did, then you shouldn’t have to sit in the ‘second seat’ for anybody…..anytime! And seriously….right here’s where the problem exists. We think we can bring the Lord along with us, and into the situations and events in our lives and everything should be OK. But in all actuality….He should be the One piloting ‘this thing’ (your life!). You and I are really not qualified to run our own lives….and if we’re smart we’ve already figured that out. And, why would we?? He is the ‘Author and Finisher’ of our faith; He knows the beginning from the end; He’s the Alpha and Omega. And……..He knows so much more about us…and our lives than we do.

So, all I’m saying is, we need to change seats! Let’s let Him get in the Pilot seat where He belongs and let’s, you and I, just scoot on over and be content to ride ‘shotgun’!

If you liked this….you’ll like this one too!

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“Go to God First”

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It’s A Different Kind of Love!

Just as strong,…..just as pure, just as perfect…..it’s just different! I’m talking about the love I have for my three daughters-in-law, Kristy, Kelly….and Chelsea! I don’t know how to accurately explain it….I just know it’s different. After I came to the Lord in 1984, and after I learned the incredible value in prayer….I’ve prayed for my kids….even before they were born…..and especially after they were born. One of the things that I prayed specifically for them, even when they were just toddlers, is that the Lord would cause that “one”  special person on the planet that they were to be married to, and spend the rest of their lives with would gravitate toward them at precisely the right time in their lives. I prayed that they would love my boys, be Godly, genuine girls of integrity, beautiful on the inside and out, that they’d have a ‘heart for the Lord”, be great, loving, nurturing mothers….and women of prayer, and be the perfect partner/friends for my boys. (and Cameron too)

When these beautiful girls showed up on the radar screen, the Lord did more than just answer my prayers. He really ‘over-delivered’!  And as high as my expectations were as a dad…..they totally exceeded them. They are all such a fit in our family. In fact….I told the boys when they were dating them that if this didn’t work out….the girls stayed and they’d have to leave! lol

They’re raising some phenomenal kids, (all except Chelsea….who’ll have her first, a daughter, in January! *Can’t hardly wait!) handsome, pretty, smart….and teaching them all the right things as well as instilling in them, genuine character….something that you don’t find often in this day and time. I’d be fiercely protective of them if the need were to arise and I’d do for them anything that they’d ask of me.

They’re, all three, amazing ‘gifts’ from the Lord to our family.…and I love them with an incredible, almost indescribable love. It’s a different kind of love.

*Incidentally, Kelly….just two days ago (11/22/2015) had her third baby….our 8th Grandbaby!! A little boy, Knox River Taylor!

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These are “Our Girls”, Kelly (Cole), Chelsea (Clay), Cameron (Our Daughter), Kristy (Clint)

 

 

 

 

 

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Double Check Your “Invitation List”!!

You’ll be glad you did. Anytime you’re going to host an event, party or get together of any kind you first have to think about who you want to be there. I don’t do many things where I have to think about that but if I did…..I’d definitely double-check! I’m an ‘all-inclusive’ kind of guy and I’d be scared that I’d leave somebody out. That would be awkward and it’d make me feel really, really bad to leave somebody out….and it’d probably make them feel bad too. Yep….definitely double-check the invite list!

Years and years ago there was a wedding happening. There were a lot of people at this wedding; actually quite a few more than the wedding planner had bargained for. So, naturally the refreshments started to run low. The wine for the wedding was just about to the point of running completely out but luckily the hostess had invited her Son to the wedding. She instructed the other helpers at the wedding to do whatever her Son said. He told the helpers to fill up the water containers and take them to the wedding table. When the containers were poured out….miraculously wine was in them! Not the cheap stuff either….it was fine wine.

You’ve probably figured out by now that it was Jesus Who was invited to the wedding. It was the first miracle He performed….changing water into wine.

Have you invited Him? Have you invited Him to your life, to your problems and dilemmas? Have you invited Him to your relationship problems or your business decisions? Have you invited Him to your 401k or your family functions? There could be some miraculous things happen if we would actually invite Him into our little world.

…..PS-And, don’t worry about sending a self-addressed stamp envelope for the RSVP. You can be sure that if you invite Him, He will definitely come!

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“God, If You’re Out There, You Gotta Help Me!”

That’s the most profound prayer I ever prayed. It’s not very professional sounding but I hadn’t had much practice when I prayed it! It was exactly 31 years ago today when I sat on the edge of my bed out on the ranch in the Texas Panhandle. I came home from a trip to Oklahoma City with a close friend. I dropped him off an hour from my house and headed home. I don’t know any other way to describe the 60 miles from there to home except to say that I was weeping (I don’t even use that word) uncontrollably. My marriage was over and I had about every problem that you could imagine. I got to my house, out there in the middle of nowhere, went in the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror….and hated everything about me. I saw myself turning into something that I knew better than. And I went in my bedroom, sat on the end of my bed…..still weeping, with no hope….. and said, “God, if you’re out there….You’ve gotta help me!” 

I have a great family….always supportive. And, I’ve always had a lot of good friends, I mean really good friends, ones you could ‘count on’.…but I was in a place in my life where no one could really help me but the Lord. At the time I thought it was the worst time in my life….but looking back it turned out to be the best…..even though I didn’t know it at the time. 

I knew nothing about trusting God; I knew nothing about walking by faith but I was in such a messed up place in my life that, out of desperation, I, just kind of blindly, put my trust in the Lord. It was the right thing to do!

One of my problems was over with overnight; it was supernatural, miraculous, really!  ……the rest of my problems were not over with overnight! I’m grateful to the Lord for fixing that one thing….but I’m more grateful to Him for ‘not’ fixing all the others that way. I’m afraid if He would have….it would’ve been like it had been the previous ten years. I’d run to Him when I was in a jam in my life…and when that set of circumstances was over…I was back to ‘my own way’.…never having any kind of real relationship with the Lord.

He had no good reason to rescue me….but He did! It’s a longer story. I’ll tell the rest of it somewhere along the way but the most important thing is that…..whatever’s going on with you….He has the answer and He’ll help you now. 

Maybe all you can say is, “Help”! Turns out, that’s enough! He’ll hear….and He’ll help! That….I’m sure of!

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If you like this, you’ll surely like this one: 

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A “Disposable” Relationship

 

 

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“Opportunism” Is Not a Good Thing – But Have You Thought About It From This Perspective??

Opportunism is not a positive word; not a positive thing. Wikipedia’s definition: the conscious policy and practice of taking selfish advantage of circumstances – with little regard for principles, or with what the consequences are for others. Therefore, an opportunist is someone who takes advantage of someone else’s misfortune….and for their own gain. That’s not nice!

But I have another perspective to think about. In fact, we’ve been practicing it to some degree for 20+ years. An ‘opportunist’ sees someone going through a bad time and they lurk around to see how they can personally capitalize, benefit or profit from their calamity. But what if we were to take a more positive position?? What if, when we see someone going through a bad time, we were to reach out to those people and, rather than take advantage of them, do whatever we could do to help them in their dilemma?

At one time we actually had a person at Trinity on a part-time salary to do just that. He was very good at it too. His name was James Daniels, or JD as we all called him. He had an uncanny knack for noticing people who were going through trials in their lives. He could quickly discern what their actual needs were and did whatever he could, whenever he could, , with whatever resources we had, to help. (JD passed away a few years ago) Instead of just waiting around for people to come our way for help we were actually being aggressive in searching those people/families out. It seems like just something that the church should naturally do!

Of course, it was a huge ‘difference maker’ in the lives of the affected families.….but more than that it gave them a ‘good taste’ of church and even more important, the kingdom of God. Oh, and we’d supply the help that we could with absolutely no strings attached. We think that’s how Jesus would do it.

Imagine how different the world would look if we would all think that way!! And maybe, just maybe the world would change how they think about the church….and it’s people!

I say, “Let’s all be opportunists”.…..but from a kingdom perspective!

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