“Me, Mom and the Mud”

CleanDirtyWaters

                      “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9

             Who likes to feel dirty, nasty, disgusting or gross? Alright, it is true that many times little boys love to go days without bathing if their moms will let them. However, for most adults we like the feeling of being refreshed by a nice shower after working hard, exercising, playing sports or the like.

             As a small boy we lived in a more rural area of Jonesboro Arkansas. I loved where we lived because we had a big area of land to roam, gravel roads, a creek to play in, and woods to have war in. In other words, it was a great place for me as a little boy to have a lot of fun, except for the fact that there was one thing lacking. Until I started school there were not any other little boys my age to play with out in the area where we lived.

             However, let me say there’s no reason to feel sorry for me about that situation. The reason is, I have the best mother a little boy could ever ask for. I can say that today as well. She is wonderful! My mom knew it was important for a little boy to be able to play and do boy things. I can remember my mom doing whatever she could to help me have fun since we lived where there were not many kids my age. During one summer I remember it being extremely hot and wanting to do something outside, but it was miserable to step outdoors in the heat we had at the time. My mom took large heavy duty trash bags out to the hill beside our house. She set the water hose up just right, and made a so-called pool at the bottom. My mother had made the best water slides in Craighead County that summer. Another time, my mom hosed down an area of dirt by the house. She proceeded to bring out these little aluminum pans and showed me how to make mud pies that we could throw at each other. It was GREAT! I also remember my mom getting out in the dirt, digging up little roads for us to play cars in. We made roads, mountains, ditches, valleys and even bridges. Those times are still cherished in my memories and heart as a little boy getting to spend time with his mom.

             All of these things that my mom did with me had one thing in common. We both got dirtier, nastier, and more disgusting that you can probably imagine. For me as a little boy, it was AWESOME. For my mom, once we were done there was no coming into the house until she had an opportunity to hose us both down. I remember her saying we could not go in the house with all that dirt and mud on us. We would have to CLEAN UP before going inside! The good news is that I never worried about getting cleaned up because my mom would always make sure I was clean before going into the house. She did the cleaning because she knew as a little boy that my attempt to clean myself would not be sufficient.

             Our verse today out of 1 John is a great truth and promise for the Christian. “If we confess our sins he is faithful, and just to forgive us our sins and to clense us from all unrighteousness.”. The Bible shows us that once we have trusted Christ and have become God’s child we are forgiven of every sin past, present and future. It is important; however, for the Christian to walk in daily fellowship with God. That is why it is important that when we do sin, we should confess it to God and repent immediately. We have already been forgiven, but we are simply agreeing with God that we have messed up. The word of God says in this verse that He ( God ) continues to clense us and forgive us as we confess our daily sins ( mess ups ) to Him.

             Our encouragement as God’s children is knowing that when ( not if ) we sin we can admit to God what we have done. We can be assured that He will forgive us, and that He will clense us from all unrighteousness within our life. There is no doubt that we can be assured of this because John here says, “he is faithful, and just…” The Christian does not have to attempt to hide what he or she has done. It will not do any good, because God can see the heart of man. We must be careful to realize that this promise does not give the Christian permission to go and willfully commit sin, but since we have not been made perfect in our bodies yet the Lord tells us what to do. Confess, repent, and trust God for what He has done, and is doing, and will do in our lives as we follow Him.

             In conclusion, I want to give you a few things to keep in mind today. My mom could see the dirt on me, but only God can see what’s on the inside of your heart. Don’t try to hide sin from God, because it cannot be done. Admit to Him, and let Him restore you today. Also, my mom had to wash me clean enough to be able to go inside the house. I could not do it on my own. We cannot clense ourselves from sin. We cannot forgive ourselves of our sin. Only Jesus can clense us, forgive us, and restore us. Lastly, my mom loved me enough to do for me what I could not do for myself as a little boy. She did not leave me outside of the house and tell me I could come in when I cleaned myself up enough. She did for me what I could not do for self. Jesus has paid the ultimate price so we can be ultimately and totally forgiven, and made clean. Let Jesus make you clean!

Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan

 

Advertisements

“Listen Up!”

 

Arguing

          ” Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”  James 1:19-20

   Have you ever thought about the unique way God made us ( humans ). It is a pretty neat thing to observe. He could have made us any way he wanted, but He chose to make us the way He did. Sometime, take the time to just look in the mirror. Look at your face, and all of it’s features that were given by God. Ok, for some it may be pretty, and for some of us there may be varying opinons J. Let me encourage you in the fact that God did make you special, unique, and just the way He wanted you. God does not make mistakes!

             One thing that you will notice in the mirror is that God gave you two ears and one mouth. He did that for a reason. I believe He shares a little bit about that in our verses today. Here in James 1 the Bible says, “let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.” Look at the progression of this verse. Hearing has to come first. Next, he cautions us to be slow to speak. In other words he is giving us caution about what we will say once we have heard something from someone’s mouth. After that, James shows us that there will be a slowing of ourselves to wrath. In other words, if we will listen very carefully, and then chose our words wisely, we are less likely to burst out with the flames of wrath from the tounge within our mouth.

             Each week I spend a great deal of time in counseling with couples. These couples come from all sorts of backgrounds, races and ethnicities. In many of these cases we are dealing with conflicts between these couples. One of the biggest reasons for conflicts in relationships has to do with breakdown somewhere in their communication. Most of the time this occurs because either one, or both of the individuals will spend more time talking than he/she will listening. The lack or absence of listening causes that individual to talk too swiftly which in turn brings about wrath within their conversation.

             It’s important to point out here that James is speaking to those who are Christian’s when he says, “Wherefore my beloved bretheren”. This is important because self control is one of the, “fruits of the Spirit” that the believer should be living out in his or her life. Without Christ, we are void of the ability to have this type of self control that James is addressing here in verse 19.

             Most Christians put such a high priority on being able to speak eloquently, but James here puts the higher priority on listening when he says, “be swift to hear”. Maybe this is why God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we would, “Listen twice as much as we speak.” (author unknown ). There are two big things we should take away from this listening more than speaking principle. The first is the  advantage that this will help your relationships in a great way. It shows respect for your spouse, or the other person, and it also shows that you care about what the other person has to say. Practicing this will also keep you from projecting what you may think others are going to say when it was not even in their thoughts.

             The greatest advantage to this verse is applying it to the study and application of God’s word in your life. “Be swfit to hear” instructs us to be ready to listen to what we read in the Scriptures. Take it in, and ingest the word of God into your spirit that you may fully understand it. Knowing God’s word is as important to the Christian as water is to a fish. It is the well-spring of life. We should not be so eager to speak our interpretation of the word of God, but rather understand what God meant in the context of His word. ( be swift to hear, slow to speak…)

             Keep in mind that the Christian who is growing in their faith has a desire to be more like Christ. Remember the last part of that verse says this. “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” When wrath and anger prevails from our mouths we are not being Christlike. We should work at being still and listening. We should work harder at being slow to speak, and slow to wrath. In doing so, we become more like Christ which is His desire for us anyway.

             In closing, as I reflect on my life as a son of my mother and father, a brother to my sister, a husband to my wife, a daddy to my children, a minister of the Gospel, and most of all a child of the One Living God, I can save myself a lot of stress by applying this Scripture into my life and the relationships I have. You too!

Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan

Refuge in the Camp – Psalm 46:1-3

camping in storm

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

             The message given in Psalm 46:1 is a wonderful truth and counselor to the child of God, even in today’s world.

             This verse reminds me of a camping trip our family went on last year. We have a dear friend who lets us camp on his property next to the Tumbling Creek which flows into the Duck River in Middle Tennessee. We usually get to make it up there for a family weekend three to four times a year.

             We left our house and arrived early Saturday morning before Labor Day in 2012. The day was beautiful with sunshine and blue skies. Our day was filled with fishing, swimming, kayaking, and the rarity of being lazy J . In short, it was an amazing day with my family, some in-laws and friends. As the evening approached we got ready for our usual routine of preparing a meal to cook on the grill. Dinner was done. The only thing left was to get the smores ready as we sat around the campfire enjoying stories, laughter and some pretty silly singing too. As the night went on, everything seemed fine, but the wind started blowing out of the west. Time ticked on, and the wind blew a little harder every hour. We decided around 11:00pm it would probably be good for everyone to go ahead and get bedded down in the tents for the night in case it started to rain.

             Around midnight the wind had gotten so strong our tent was swaying from side to side. The rain started falling and got stronger by the minute, or at least it seemed that way. Within the hour the thunder was rolling, lightening was filling the dark sky, and rain was coming into the tent. At some point, Rachel and Bailey woke up and noticed everything was completely wet, including all of us. Hunter was still asleep from having to take allergy medicine earlier in the evening. At some point, conditions began to grow more dangerous with the threat of a tornado, and the fact that our tent was about to float away with all of us in it. We made a decision to abandon the tent and head for the nearby cabin that was rarely used for sleeping. Normally the tent is a lot of fun, but this night we needed a more substantial shelter that would keep our family safe and dry. We made it through the night!

             Our verse says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”. The Psalm shows us how God is for the Christian like the cabin was for our family that night. Of course, we know God is far better than any cabin, but metaphorically speaking He does for us every day what that cabin did for our family that night. Psalm 46 is a great encouragement for the child of God. The word of God here encourages us to hope and trust in the gracious provision and protection of our Mighty God. The psalmist here applies this message to God’s church in all times, and even the worst of times. When enemies are coming against the church, God is the church’s refuge, strength, and very present help. This is wonderful news to those who are in Chirst because it shows us that through Christ we are conquerors over the enemy. When the enemy comes, when the enemy attacks God is our help, our refuge, and our strength. In all reality God is our ONLY delightful place of retreat and peace.

             Psalm 46:2-3 say this. “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” The Psalmist uses figurative language to describe times in our lives of worry, unrest, anxiety, confusion, troublesome, burdened down and uneasy. He ends with the word, “Selah.” Which means to pause, take time, and ponder the previous words written. I think when it’s all said and done the Lord is showing us that no matter what your are experiencing today ( joy or unrest ) Jehovah God is the ONLY place you can find peace because He is our strength, our help, and our refuge from this world. The question I have for you is this, “Will you abandon your tent and run to the real refuge in Jesus Christ?”.

 Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan

Report Card Time

Image

        School started back for many children this week. For some it is an exciting time. For others, it is dreadful. Whichever the case may be, both categories of children will have one thing in the back of their mind as they settle into school life again. Yes, that’s right, report card time. For most, it’s just six weeks away.

         For Paul here in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 there was a reflection on his life because he knew that day would surely come. It would be report card time for the christian. Paul was coming to the end of his ministry and says in verse 7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”. He is using metaphor language here to give a picture of something far greater. Paul is not simply concerned with fighting a fight, or finishing a race course, or having kept the faith. He is not even concerned with how succesful he has been. Paul’s main concern in this passage is that he has been faithful to God!

         One day, for the christian, He will either take you home to be with Him, or you will be raptured at the appointed time. That time will be report card time. The big question is not how you score in certain categories, but was your life pleasing to God. Did you finish your life, “fighting the good fight”? Did you finish your life, “finishing the course”? Did you finish your life, “Keeping the faith”? Did you live a life pleasing to God, a life of gratitude for what Jesus Christ did on the cross approximately 2000 years ago?

         In verse 8, we see the blessing that comes for those who finish well in this race that we run in life. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” Paul was saying that God Himself was rewarding to those who finish well at the end of life on earth. Many children find a reward from mom and dad each six weeks when they have brought home a report card with grades showing that they have done well. The good grade shows dilligence, steadfastness, faithfulness and much more about the student. These things are great, but they still pail in comparison to the reward that the christian will receive for living a life that pleases God. Remember, because of Jesus, living a life that pleases God WILL be worth it ALL!

 

Bro Bryan Morris

The Morris Family – a few tid bits

IMG_2200

             We are the Morris’s, Bryan, Rachel, Hunter, Bailey, and soon-to-come Kendall. We live in Moscow, TN which is a small town in West TN, just bordering the MS state line. We are members of Morris Memorial Baptist Church right in the heart of Moscow, TN where I have served as Youth and Children’s Pastor for the last four and one-half years. We love fayette county, TN., and we love living in the small community of Moscow. Over the past five years we have grown to love the community and have had the opportunity to gain some wonderful friendships with the people here. 

             We have many hobbies. Our family loves to spend time outdoors. Camping is one of our favorite things to do as a family. Hunter and I love to deer hunt. Bailey will be starting this year, and she is very excited. Rachel loves to sew and read every chance she gets.  All of us love to fish. Long walks, and riding bikes are among our other hobbies that we love too.

             Most of all, we strive to make sure that Jesus Christ is the Lord of our home. Without Him life would be a wreck. Jesus brings joy to our lives and to our home. We are just like any normal family. Life has it’s struggles and trials, and we know that is why Jesus must be first in each of our lives and in our home. My prayer is that what you read in this blog will be a weekly help towards moving you closer to Jesus Christ.

Sincerely,

The Morris Family

Ephesians 2:8-10