ARCHIVES  JULY - AUGUST

2020

 

 

Blog 178 for August 29, 2020

 

 

 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A NATION

FORGETS GOD

 

In 1776 the nation  America was born. Today it needs to be born again or it will perish. President Woodrow Wilson’s last words to the American people were “Our civilization cannot survive materially unless it is redeemed spiritually.” The nation of Israel was a national wonder. God had redeemed them from Egyptian bondage to lead them to the promised land. But when God blessed them so greatly and abundantly, they forgot God. When they turned their back on God His judgment fell on them. That is the occasion of Psalm 80. I see a very striking parallel between Israel of old and the America of today. America has been blessed by God like no other nation in modern time. Yet, America has forgotten God. America is Rolling in luxury, Reveling in excess, Rollicking in drunkenness, Revolting in morals, and Rocking in sin. The things happening to America are the judgment of an angry God upon our nation. We need to look at Psalm 80 and see what happened then and what might happen now. 

 

Click here for Psalms Chapter 80

 

We are in a time of National Dispare. The Psalmist says we are in spiritual sterility in verse 4. The people prayed but did not repent. It made God sick…”Angry.” America may pray but will not repent. The divorce rate is the highest in the world. People think nothing about cohabitation and gay lifestyles. Abortion is America’s greatest crime, while alcoholism is America’s greatest problem and pornography is America’s greatest stain. All of this brings personal sorrow with tears as in verse 5 along with national shame in verse 6.

 

Our Lord reminded Israel just as He is reminding America that there is a National Design. Both Israel and America are a vine planted by God in verse 8. We must not forget that we are protected by God as in verse 9 and should be productive for God as the Psalmist tells us in verses 10 and 11. He does not want us to forget that we face a National Danger in verses 12-16. We face external dangers with terrorism in our largest cities and internal dangers with morals all around us in the gutter. We are reminded in verse 16 that the eternal dangers bring the judgment of God. God is our only hope, but also our greatest threat. The wickedness of America is God’s judgment. 

 

The Psalmist does not leave us in a hopeless condition, He tells us there is a National Deliverance in verses 17-19. He begins by telling us we need the right man to lead us. Solomon reminds us in Proverbs 29:2, “When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.” Israeli history proves this fact over and over again. Wicked rulers are God’s reward for wicked people. Wicked people will make wicked laws; evil people will make evil laws. This fact is happening at the present time in America. That is why this upcoming election is the most important in our lifetime. The Democratic party is controlled by wicked people. This is illustrated again and again. The latest illustration of this fact was on Tuesday, July 28, when United States Attorney General Barr appeared before the National Judiciary Committee and faced their hatred and wicked philosophy. This was another proof we really do need to clean out the swamp on November 3, 2020!

 

The Psalmist closes out Psalm 80 with the Right Motive in verses 18 and 19. The Democrats will not obey this verse. Instead of letting God make them strong for God, they are trying to become strong for themselves. I really do believe that a Bible Christian cannot vote for a Democrat in the upcoming election. 

 

Bess and I are praying every morning for God to save our nation with a great voter turnout on November 3. We firmly believe that in spite of his faults, Donald Trump is the right man for America for the next four years. The alternative should convince us that this absolutely is the truth.

 

Dear Lord, may the truth of God’s Word prevail!

 

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 177 for August 22, 2020

 

 

SEEKER-FRIENDLY CHURCHES

 

Sunday, July 26, was the first time Bess and I have been able to worship in a live worship service since April. It was a tremendous experience! We chose to worship at First Baptist of Sevierville, Tennessee, and we are so glad we did. It was exciting and inspiring to see a large choir in their place to help lead the worship. Music pastor Scott led them in wonderful, dynamic music of praise to our Lord. It was thrilling to be a part of an excellent crowd that had come to worship. Pastor Scott has been on staff at First Baptist for over 30 years and always does a great job leading worship. He chose a variety of music including hymns, that was extra special. It really did make the congregation want to worship. 

 

Pastor Dan Spencer has been the senior pastor at First Baptist for several years. He is an excellent Bible preacher. We have always been inspired by his preaching and this Sunday was no different. He is not a seeker-friendly preacher and First Baptist is not a seeker-friendly church. As a matter of fact, if it was we would not go there. By now you may be asking what is a seeker-friendly church?

 

A pastor of a large church in California is the founder and leader of the seeker-friendly church movement. He has a huge following across America with over 400 pastors that preach his sermons every week. His philosophy is to never preach offensive sermons that might offend people that attend his services. He tells the seeker-friendly pastors to never preach on the judgment, hell, conviction. repentance, and other offensive subjects. He believes pastors should not make the congregation uncomfortable. As you can see he has a limited supply of preaching subjects or topics. It is a fact, the Bible is the most offensive book ever written. Seeker friendly TV preachers are easy to find. They should be avoided like the plague. 

 

It is a sad time in the average church today. Pulpits in America through the years have been used by God to bring revival and to bring people to Christ. Billy Graham brought millions to Christ through his pulpit ministry. Just think what could happen in our world and in America if pulpits would ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit, and anointed preaching of God’s holy Word. Another great awakening could change the course of history in America and the world! When Dr. D.I Vanderpool ordained me as a preacher of the gospel in Little Rock, Arkansas on September 18, 1963, he asked me if I would be faithful to preach the gospel of my Lord without fear or favor. I promised that I would. With God as my witness, I have been faithful since my first message in 1958. By the way, back then there were no seeker-friendly preachers or seeker-friendly churches. 

 

Dear Lord, please have mercy on us and save our nation!

 

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 176 for August 15, 2020

 

 

THE CHALLENGE OF THE MODERN DAY CHURCH

 

Here in the Smokies, you will find a variety of churches made up of all denominational backgrounds. Baptist churches are everywhere. The next most plentiful is the Church of God. Most all the churches are small in numbers. The two largest churches in the area are First Baptist Morristown and First Baptist Sevierville. There are a few large non-denominational churches. Bess and I have visited many of the churches, and have formed our opinions. Many of these are set in their ways and not very friendly. The First Baptist of Newport, once a large and thriving church, is only a shell of what it once was. About 125 in attendance in a worship center that would seat at least 1,000 was depressing to me the day we visited. The friendliest church we have encountered to date is the First Methodist of Newport. We were greeted at the entrance and with several people once we entered. The Nazarene Church in Newport has an attendance of 25 to 30 on a given Sunday. It is trying to live down a difficult time in the past. They have a nice and attractive building on a corner lot with a young pastor and wife around 40. Our favorite two churches are the two First Baptist. Both have excellent preachers and good music. Our favorite preacher is pastor Dean Haun in Morristown. He really is my kind of preacher...exposistional, right out of the Scripters. We feel like we have been to church when he preaches.

 

It is obvious the ongoing nation-wide fiscal challenge is taking a toll on churches. Attendance is way down in almost all the churches. People that have been irregular in attendance before the virus invaded our nation, now have an excuse to stay home. There will be a number of these churches that will not survive, especially those that have large financial debt. Most pastors with church debt live with financial pressure. A benefit of being a retired pastor is the release of this pressure after many years of ministry. It is easy for me to tell when a pastor is under this pressure. 

 

People are asking me questions about the Great Tribulation period. I tell them I am convinced that we are in the beginning stages of the world’s last great conflict and event. The Scriptures teach that those of us that are born again and Spirit-filled will not go through the seven-year tribulation period. At the present time, Satan is alive and well on planet earth. The Bible says Satan is the god of this world. With world conditions as they presently are, it appears Satan is in control. Christians worldwide are being persecuted as never before. The respect born again Christians once had does not exist at this time. It is obvious that the spirit of the Great Tribulation is trying to gain control. I really do believe the persecution that is happening at the present time is a spirit of the Tribulation that is yet to come. All of this is happening before our Lord raptures His church. The hate and strife presently in our national political world is a spirit of the coming tribulation that is ahead. The socialistic spirit that is gaining control in our nation is part of the tribulation phase. The upcoming American elections in November will reveal where we are headed as a nation. That is why this will be the most important election in American history. If the Democrats gain control of the White House and Congress it will set the stage for a tribulation spirit to dictate our future. Ladies and gentlemen, we are nearing the very end of the world we have known. Now is the time to make sure our sins are forgiven and we are on our way to heaven.

 

Jesus really is coming again. Are you ready?

 

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 175 for August 8, 2020

 

 


AMERICA...PAST THE

POINT OF NO RETURN

 

It is with pride and gratitude that I call myself an American. First and foremost, I rejoice that I am a Christian. I rejoice that I am an American and live in the United States. However, in this 244th year of our nation’s existence, it deeply pains my heart to say that not all is well with our beloved country. America is in serious trouble, unlike all other times of crises of our past history. The words of the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah chapter one remind me so much of the conditions of America at this present time. I am convinced that not very many preachers of our present-day will dare to be as bold as I am going to be in this writing. However, since this blog is the only pulpit I have at the present time, the Holy Spirit has compelled me to speak out without fear and favor. 

 

The book of Isaiah begins with a powerful description of God and a nation in controversy. The nation was Judah and the king at the time was Uzziah. The times were prosperous. The people lived in plenty at home and their army was powerful just like America under the leadership of President Trump just prior to the devastating pandemic/COVID-19. From a higher point of view, all was not well for the people of God. Isaiah, the prophet of God, looked with distress upon a nation in which physical luxury was combined with moral poverty. Does this not sound like our America today? We have lived so long in material prosperity, but there is a moral and spiritual decline being experienced in our country as at no other time in our history. 

 

Isaiah the prophet became a mouthpiece for God to witness against a people who had forsaken a path of godliness and morality. He writes in the 4th verse, “Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.” As we consider the Divine message that was delivered to the nation of Judah, it is a message that needs to be delivered to our beloved country in these times. The Holy Spirit is compelling me to try my best to deliver this message to all that will read this blog.  

 

Without a doubt, the most important national election in my lifetime and in American history will be on November 3. It will be the time for every born again evangelical Christian to vote for the president and congress of these United States. Even though I may not totally agree with everything President Trump has done and may do, I know he is the only choice we have to save this country.  The Democrat Party has become a socialistic party with a destructive socialistic agenda for this upcoming major election. Joe Biden has just announced his 43 point agenda for his platform. Every point of this agenda would totally transform this nation. He has just recently stated he wants to totally transform America.  Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot let this happen! As a matter of fact, if we stay silent, I believe our silence will be a voice of approval. The leadership of the party, led by Pelosi and Schumer has voiced their approval of this destructive platform.

 

Going back to Isaiah’s message, the word “consider” in verse three means more than to think. It means to think right. It speaks of arriving at true conclusions, accurate judgment. The people of Judah were not seeing things as they really were. Their conclusions about things were twisted and distorted. The same thing is happening today in our nation as we are getting ready for another election. Their history taught them that God had been their Rock and Refuge. It was God who brought them out of Egypt, but they had forgotten the God of their history! We are seeing history repeat itself right before our eyes! More than 100 years ago Abraham Lincoln said: 

 

“We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined that all things were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God who made us.”

 

"My dear Lord, have mercy on all of us and save our nation that we love!"

 

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 174 for August 1, 2020

 

 

THE MOUNTAINS ARE STILL BEAUTIFUL!

 

Fifteen years ago this September Bess and I purchased our two cabins along with almost two acres of woods at the end of Majestic View Way in Cosby, Tennessee. We discovered the cabins by celebrating our 45th anniversary staying in a rental cabin nearby for a week. We had just sold a cabin in Bryson City, North Carolina, and were open to the purchase of another cabin. The owner of the cabins was forced to sell and move out of state to take care of his ailing parents. We fell in love with the area and the beautiful location of the cabins. The owner made us an offer we could not refuse, so the rest is history.

 

The owner had the cabins established on the cabin rental market, so we bought the business along with the cabins. Since I was not retired, Bess has been heavily involved with the rental business. After retiring from the pastoral ministry, I have been helping her all I can. She does a great job with the business. All of the rental people really like her. She continues to establish good friendships with repeat customers. As you can understand, they had rather talk to Bess than to me. We are always praising and thanking our Lord for blessing our business. It is a wonderful benefit in retirement. 

 

God has blessed us with a wonderful Christian couple that lives nearby that does the cleaning and light maintenance. They have been with us these 15 years after working for the former owner. They know the business well and do a wonderful job.

 

Since we are now back at our cabins and staying in the Stargazer cabin, we are involved with updating and maintenance. There are always many things to do. At the present time, I have several projects I am working on. They will make a difference in upgrading. I have promised to stay out of trees to those that think I sometimes think I am a monkey. As a matter of fact, my chainsaw is not working at the present time, so I know some are happy with that news.

 

Bess and I enjoy having our devotionals together every morning. Our prayer list is long with so many requests. A major emphasis every morning is for God to save our nation, and to help President Trump to be re-elected. America cannot survive the Democrats gaining total control.

 

God is waiting on more of us to become earnest in prayer for a mighty revival!

 

Charles Kirby 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 173 for July 25, 2020

 


 

37 TREATMENTS BEHIND ME

 

Friday, July 17, ended 37 days of radiation treatments to wipe out the cancer cells in my prostate area. I can highly recommend Watson Clinic Cancer Center and Dr. Paryani who have guided me through the process. All the nurses did an outstanding job daily making sure the radiation was applied to the areas of concern. It absolutely was a painless process. All through the 37 days my energy level never wavered, and I never felt any experience of sickness through the journey. One of the keys through the challenge was a positive mental attitude I had from the beginning. I never allowed a negative feeling to invade my mind. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." "For God has not given you the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” [Philippians 2:5; 2 Timothy 1:17] It really is amazing how much power there is in the Word of God!

 

A major highlight of this challenge that caught me off guard, has been the formation of a tremendous prayer army that has been with me through the process. This wonderful body of praying people has been scattered across the country from Los Angeles to Virginia Beach and from Houston to Toronto. It has been very heartwarming to read their emails, texts, and cards. A host of these people became acquainted with me through the years of church services and concerts on the internet. I am very grateful to each one of you for every prayer you have prayed for me. I will not be able to thank many of you face to face until we all get home to heaven. That really is going to be a happy time! Until then, I will know that I am a very blessed man!

 

In grateful praise to all of my friends and to my dear Lord!

 

Charles Kirby 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 172 for July 18, 2020

 

Living in an Anti-Christian America

 

Celebrating the 244th birthday of our nation has awakened me to the reality that I am now living in an anti-Christian America. I never thought this day in American history would come to pass in my lifetime. The recent happenings of hate, strife, violence, and murder have caught many of our cities and states by surprise, transforming the culture of a once strong Judeo-Christian nation appearing to be defenseless. In Josh McDowell’s last book, “The Last Christian Generation,” he wrote, “Unless we have revival, we are headed for disaster.” He states “Eighty-five percent of Christian youth are in secular colleges and universities, representing 10 million by their 30th birthday." The Church of our day is continually failing to pass the baton to win this vast next generation to Christ and His Church.

 

DANIEL 1: 1-6

1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.

Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

 

Daniel 1:1-6 gives us a powerful lesson about King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon capturing a 13-year-old Daniel and three of his friends, taking them to Babylon intent on brainwashing them to the customs of the Babylonians. Verse 8 in this chapter says, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the King’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank.” Daniel was totally committed to his God. His heart and convictions were set ahead of time, before the battle, not in the heat of the battle. Ladies and gentlemen, we are in a battle today! Just think about what would happen in the church world if all of the young people would be like Daniel!

 

Francis Schaeffer, an Evangelical theologian said before he died in 1984, “If we don’t change we are going to wake up and find America gone.” I really hate to admit it, but we haven’t changed.   The great America of the past is continuing to leave us. Our children and young people are not being reached by the Church. Instead, unsaved educators and ungodly universities are turning them against God, the home, and the Church. Recently I was listening to the Rush Limbaugh radio show when a very conservative politician from a northern state called in. He told Rush he was in a major dilemma with his daughter who was a liberal university student. She had just informed her dad that she was telling everyone not to vote for him in the upcoming election because he was too conservative. The dad told Rush her liberal philosophy is the result of non-Christian professors that are against the U.S. Constitution. Her liberal conversion has caused a big division in the family, and the parents are broken-hearted. 

 

If there was ever a time to turn to God and His Word the time is now. A great awakening is the only thing that can transform individual lives, homes, family members, churches, and America. Christ is still the only answer! A sweeping prayer movement across the land is where it can begin. Remember, it starts with one! Here is the big question: are you willing to be the one?

 

Dear Lord, please send a mighty spiritual visitation to our nation!

 

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 171 for July 11, 2020

 

 

A POWERFUL GOD AND COUNTRY MESSAGE

 

It happened on Sunday, June 27. Bess and I live-streamed the 11:00 a.m. service at First Baptist Church of Morristown, Tennessee. It really was an incredible experience for both of us as we listened to a tremendous God and Country message by Pastor Dean Haun. It was heartwarming to discover there is a pastor that is challenged to preach about the importance of America honoring the Lord our God at the time of our nation’s birthday around the 4th of July. It became more meaningful during the throes of the virus challenge that continue to invade our lives. Through my 56 years of pastoral ministry, I always devoted at least one message to God and the country. It is very painful to admit that very few pastors today are faithful to preach about the challenge and need for congregations to recognize and honor the God of America. I really do believe those that do, are richly blessed by our Lord, and the church members are informed and inspired.

 

Dr. Haun’s message was from Nehemiah chapters 7 and 8. I have a series of messages from the book of Nehemiah that I have preached in a church building campaign, but never for a God and country challenge. Nehemiah was the King’s cupbearer when he heard about the captivity and destruction of Jerusalem. He said he sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven. He got permission from the King to go and rebuild Jerusalem. In 52 days Nehemiah led the rebuilding of the walls and miracle restoration of the city. 

 

In chapter 8 a major key to the miraculous rebuilding and restoration of the city was the anointed ministry of Ezra the scribe and priest. He was asked to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. Verse 5 says when Ezra opened the book of the law in the sight of the people, they all stood up. I always ask people to stand to honor God’s Word when I am reading to the congregation. “And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, amen, amen, with lifting up of their hands: And they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.” 

 

Think what could happen to our nation if President Trump would choose someone to read to the people of America through a satellite, the Word of God until all of us would weep when we heard the words of God. The restoration of Jerusalem and Israel could be repeated in America!  It could become the beginning of another great awakening! Dear Lord, have mercy on us and transform our world around us!

 

God is still on the throne!

 

Charles Kirby 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 170 for July 4, 2020

JULY 4TH...75 POUND CATFISH

 

July 4th at Clover Creek, near Toone, Tennessee, was a tradition for my family, my uncles, aunts, and my cousins. It was our yearly catfish feast day. July 4, 1950, was unlike all the other years. Without a doubt, it was the year to remember!

 

You could not pay me to do today what we did back then. Don’t forget, all of us were Tennessee country “hillbillies.” We did not fish with fishing poles and hooks, but with our hands. My dad and uncles would run the fish out of the creek banks to where my cousins and I would trap them in nets and throw them on the bank to a waiting uncle and a friend. They would prepare the fish to eat by dressing and frying them on an open fire. After they were cooked my mother and aunts would place them on a long table for “Cox’s” army to eat. Catfish have never tasted that good since those of my childhood. Back then Clover Creek was very clean with no pollution. I am sure that is not so today since that was 70 years ago at this time.

 

You are probably by now wondering about the 75-pound catfish. My dad discovered it in a big hole in the bank of the creek. When he put a long tree limb in the hole something attacked it. It turned out to be a huge catfish that had made a den in the hole created by an old bridge beam. My dad and two of my uncles pulled the huge fish out of the water, throwing it on the bank of the creek. All my cousins and I had surrounded the hole with a big net in case the fish tried to get away. If it had, I am sure it would have been a big challenge for us. When the fish hit the ground everyone watched it leap over bushes and small trees until it was totally worn out and had no energy to try to defend itself. When the men put the fish in the bed of a pick-up truck that was four feet wide, it was a perfect fit. At that point, we had no idea what it weighed until we got to our home that was not far away. By now we were beginning to get excited about the possibility of a giant fish fry.

 

When we arrived at our home my dad had a large scale with a pulley that we used to hang the fish for everyone to see. All we knew at this point was the fact that we really did have a giant catfish. Family members took a picture of one of my cousins and me, standing by the fish. Everyone was amazed when the scale reached 75 pounds. Now it was time to build a fire to prepare for a big feast. At that point, we had no idea what we were going to experience. We knew it would take a huge fire to cook such a large fish. We also knew it would take time.

 

I can’t remember how long it did take to prepare the fish to eat. The big disappointment came when the cooks felt it had cooked long enough and it was time to enjoy the feast. It only took one bite to discover that the old fish was as tough as leather. We never did figure out just how old that yellow catfish really was. There was only one thing to do and that was to have a burial. We dug a big deep hole at the back of our property and had a funeral for a big fish to end an amazing 4th of July celebration in 1950 as darkness began to appear to the west.

 

God bless America at this 4th of July season in 2020!

 

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

Blog 178 for August 29, 2020

 

 

JUDO MEMORIES

 

Cleaning out things can bring back lots of memories.  And, that was what happened to me.  I was looking through lots of old business cards when I ran across a card signifying that I was taking a beginning JUDO class.

 

It was Springtime in the Virginia Beach, VA, area.  The year was 1973.  And the classes were held at the Norfolk Central YMCA.  Not only did I take the class, but so did our son, Chuck.  Let me tell you the story.

 

Chuck was not yet 12 years old at the time. Those of you who know our son, know that he is short of stature.  Apparently he had been bullied by boys taller than he was; perhaps calling him names about his size and/or height. So we wanted to build his confidence. We decided to give him JUDO lessons. And I decided to take them also. I don’t remember our grades; but, I’m pretty sure Chuck made a better grade than I.  Can’t you just see me flipping someone over???

 

 

 

I loved that I found my official card.  Now, I have proof! So, remember, don’t tangle with me!!!  Just kidding.  You have no reason to fear.

 

So I decided to turn down Memory Lane as I saw other business cards that had my name on them.  Cards like the Indian River Health Spa, where I went years ago when we pastored the Tidewater Central Church of the Nazarene in Virginia Beach. My friend, Peggy Cress, went to the Health Spa also.  She’s one of those real friends; they stay connected for a lifetime. In fact, she and her husband, Howard, plan to see us in the mountains in October.  They have rented a cabin from us.  What fun we had working out at the Spa. And how glad we were for the weight we lost during that time.

 

Next down that Memory Lane, I ran across Music Business Cards.  This one is called STUDIO MUSIC INSTRUCTORS OF BREVARD COUNTY. You may ask, “Who were the instructors?” Well, there were three of us.  Jane Postin, Micki Luetkemeyer, & Bess Kirby.  This was about 20-25 years ago when we pastored Melbourne, FL, Nazarene Church. I still have good memories of many of my music students through all the years I taught private lessons. Kaitelyn was the student I had the longest time; Can’t remember exactly when she started, maybe 6th grade, but I taught her through her senior year at Kathleen High School.  She’s now in college and probably about to graduate.  What a nice young lady.

 

What a simple thing, business cards, to bring back great memories.  Looking through old pictures, seeing old “Videos,” looking at old (saved) greeting cards, and enjoying the notes they wrote, just walking through one’s home, can remind one of the great times and lifetime friends.

 

Memories are made of this! And when age creeps up on you, these sweet memories are bouquets of joy on your journey. Love to all. 

 

 

 Bess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 177 for August 22, 2020

 

 

ONE HOT FLORIDA SUMMER

in WINTER HAVEN

 

The month was August. The date was the 23rd. The year was 1986. The place was First Church of the Nazarene, located on the corner of Third Street SW and Ave. E. The occasion was a wedding ceremony. The colors were hot pink, royal blue, and white. And the honorees were Bob Luetkemeyer and Micki Cheri Kirby.

 

The Church was all decorated.  Everyone in the wedding party was clothed in their colors. The dress rehearsal the previous evening had gone well. The maid of honor and best man were ready.  The four bridesmaids and four groomsmen were in their places as well. The five small kindergarten age flower girls and five ring bearers were dressed in their finery. The relatives were there; and, it was time to start.

 

I, as the Bride’s mom, reflecting on the wedding, can tell you this. It was beautiful. It was the result of a lot of dear Winter Haven, FL friends who organized, cooked and served a bride’s maid’s luncheon, worked hard, took care of the reception, made corsages, made the bridal bouquet, decorated the areas, set up tables, let us borrow something, and served in some capacity.  Please accept my deep appreciation and thanks to all of you for what all you did back then. It truly was one of those gifts of a lifetime.

 

Our one and only daughter, Micki found her life partner, Bob, while she was attending Trevecca Nazarene College in Nashville, TN. So, Congratulations to Bob and Micki on their 34th Anniversary. They have given us two wonderful grandsons.  The Luetkemeyer Family are Christ Followers. May God bless them richly in the years yet to be. Enjoy their (and our) pictorial memories.  

 

Bess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 176 for August 15, 2020

 

 

 

HAPPY 60TH ANNIVERSARY COMING UP!

 

A PICTORIAL JOURNEY OF OUR LIFE TOGETHER!

 

I chose the right man; the man God had first chosen and saved for me.  With this man, we’ve been all across the United States and to many places beyond her borders. We’ve lived in Nashville, TN; Greenwood, MS; West Memphis, AR; Abernathy, TX; Mabelvale, AR; Virginia Beach, VA; Lubbock, TX; Pasadena, CA; Winter Haven, FL; Indianapolis, IN; Melbourne, FL; Lakeland, FL.

 

We’ve been to Puerto Rico; the Bahamas; other Islands of the sea; Alaska; Canada; Hawaii; Maui; the Big Island; Ireland; Paris, France; London, England; Corinth & Rome, Italy; Athens, Greece; Switzerland, Austria, and other European countries, Israel, Egypt, and probably more that I can’t think of now.

We’ve flown by air, sailed on big cruise ships, driven via car, been escorted by bus, and traveled by train. We’ve walked trails, seen sights, ridden a camel, been driven by van and Uber through the streets of New York City, been driven through the streets of Athens, Greece by taxi to see a Trevecca College friend.  We’ve canoed. We’ve gone places by bus. While we’ve had bicycles, we’ve not cycled any major distances. And we’ve not motorcycled. Had no interest.

 

We have family and friends across the U.S. and Canada and around the world, in Spain and Israel.

 

So, what can I say, but that we’ve had a charmed life, filled with love, laughter, good friends, great memories, dear kids, and super pastorates. We truly have been blessed. While we’ve had our share of heartaches, the blessings have far outweighed the hurts.  God is so good.

 

 

To my one of a kind, amazing husband, Happy 60th Anniversary come August 19, 2020. Let’s go for at least another 20 years! I couldn’t have asked for a better, more enjoyable journey. I love you so much.

 

Yes, the time has made a change in us.  But, we still have stars in our eyes; and we’re still singing in the rain! 

 

Bess

 

P. S. Please enjoy a compilation of photos of us through the years.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 175 for August 8, 2020

 

 

I AM IN THE LORD’S ARMY.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

 

In times like these, we need a prepared military.  I’m speaking specifically here of the Lord’s army!  I signed up, joined approximately 65 years ago!  Been in the Army for a long time.  I love our matchless Leader; continue to enjoy the journey; love the new recruits, and go to the Rulebook often.  In fact, on page 1808 of this Holy Handbook, the 6th division of the Ephesians section on the 11th through the 17th verses, it tells us to…

 

  1. Put on the Whole Armour of God...not just a half, but the whole…

  2. Stand; get your loins girt & your feet shod…

  3. Take the Shield of Faith to quench all the fiery darts...

  4. Put on the Helmet of Salvation...

  5. Take the Sword (Word of God) with you...

  6. Don’t forget to Pray…

  7. And Watch. Be on the look-out…

 

Where we go to church in the mountains, the Senior Pastor, Dr. Dean Haun, delivers powerful messages. We enjoy them so much.  In one message, a few Sundays ago, he spoke about admonitions Paul gives us, as soldiers of the cross. Here are 5 of them.

 

  1. Be alert to the times; forces are at work to destroy us and our families. Rom. 13:12; Matt. 24; I Chron. 12

  2. Standfast in the Faith of Jesus Christ. I Cor. 16:13,14; Gal. 5:1; Phil. 4:1; 2 Tim. 1:12,13; 2 Thes. 2:15; Eph. 6:10-18

  3. Be brave in the fight; courageous, unflinching. John 16:33; 1 Peter 5:8

  4. Be strong in Christ; Grow in Christ; Keep getting stronger.

  5. Let love rule your life, your heart. We fight not with clubs, etc., but with agape love. John 13:35

 

We are soldiers of the Cross.

“Sound the battle cry! See the foe is nigh. Raise the standard high for the Lord. Gird your armor on; stand firm, everyone. Rest your cause upon His Holy Word. Rouse, then, soldiers; rally round the banner. Ready, steady, pass the word along. Onward, forward, shout aloud, “Hosanna”! Christ is Captain of the mighty throng."

 

 These words of that great old song, “Sound the Battle Cry” were written in 1869 by William F. Sherwin.  Enjoy a group of full-time ministry men (Pastors, Church Planters, Missionaries, etc.) on YouTube video, singing this great call to arms! 

 

It’s time to STAND UP for JESUS. It’s time to lift high HIS royal banner. It must not suffer loss. Onward, Christian Soldier! See you in the battle.

 

   

 

 Bess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 174 for August 1, 2020

 

 

We’ve arrived at our Mountains!

 

Well, they are really God’s mountains. But how we love them.  Don’t you just love God’s Masterpiece creation; His mountains, valleys, meadows, sky, oceans, cities on a hill, America’s countryside, and the wide-open spaces? The mountains are majestic; so beautiful, so awe-inspiring!

 

Our daughter and her family have just been out to Colorado.  While there, they enjoyed those Rocky Mountains.

 

  STARGAZER 

 

SNUGGLED-IN

 

We are blessed to own two cabins in the Smoky Mountains.  And, since retirement, we have been going to the Tennessee mountains for about 5 or 6 months a year, staying in the STARGAZER cabin.  The cabins are named; the other one is called SNUGGLED-IN cabin.  They both have the same floor plan; 2 bedrooms, 1½ baths, family room, kitchen, and great deck.  Stargazer sleeps four comfortably; while Snuggled-In sleeps six comfortably, due to the type of furniture in the cabin.

 

 

 

 

 

We rent these cabins; mostly by four nights or weekly; though sometimes we rent for longer periods of time.  The rental of these cabins helps us financially in our retirement.  The pandemic has hurt us some since we have had many to cancel their reservations.  But God has brought us through. He walks our journey with us.

 

We have used several avenues for advertising such as newspaper ads, word of mouth, posters, mailouts. We are online with VRBO (vacation rentals by owner)/HOME AWAY.

 

To rent either cabin you have to call/contact us (1-800-516-3342) personally or go to VRBO’s website. To call us and book from us personally, you get the rental a little cheaper.  But either way is wonderful.

 

We have owned these cabins for 15 years. They have proved to be a blessing.  Enjoy some pictures of the cabins. Several of our church friends have rented the cabins. Those reading this, feel free to inquire and rent a week from us.

 

We realize that as the years pass so swiftly, there may come a time that we need to sell.  If so, God will provide the buyer.  The Rental Business does well.  The almost two-acre property and two cabins are in a lovely area.

 

We are in our Tennessee home, enjoying God’s creation. It was fun sharing with you about the cabins. God bless us one and all. 

 

Bess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 173 for July 25, 2020

 

Are we hearing their hoofbeats?

 

What do you know about prophecy? I certainly am not a prophet, but would willingly tell what I was certain that God told me to tell. But this is not a prophecy from Bess, it’s a delve into God’s Word, the Bible, a reading of Biblical writers of the end times, an ear to what today’s preachers are saying, and how I am feeling about my world. I think it’s time we woke up to the fact that Christ’s return to earth again is closer than we think! So, please Jesus, WAKE US UP!

Charles and I receive a great magazine, ZION’S FIRE.  The March/April issue was filled with information concerning prophecy, end times, disconcerting things taking place throughout the world, digital identity, and so on. One such article was written by David Rosenthal, “Flashpoint, GeoProphecy Report.” The picture of the Four Horses and the question, “Are We Hearing the Hoofbeats of the Four Horsemen?” is taken from that article, as are some thoughts on the soon return of Christ.

 

One thing for sure, we’ve got to get our “calling and election” sure. That is, we’ve gotta’ be saved and get our families into the fold. Every morning when I pray for our personal family including our grandsons and our extended family, I ask the Lord to take His Shepherd’s Crook and pull those family members who are drifting too far from the shore, back into the fold.  Are your lamps trimmed and burning brightly? Are you walking in the light? Do you know Jesus as your personal Savior? Have you been born again?

 

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse represent chronological events that introduce the Day of the Lord (Matt. 24:3).  In Rev. 6:1-8 when Jesus Christ takes the scroll and opens the first four seals, we encounter the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The apostles asked in Matt. 24:3, “And what is the sign of your coming and the end of the age?”

 

Let’s learn a little about the Four Horsemen.

 

Seal #1, The White Horse, Rev. 6:2 - a Victor to Conquer; a time of DOMINION. The Rider is power-hungry, bent on world domination, and ready to use force to get it. According to Jesus in Matt. 24:4-5, there will be a FALSE PEACE.  Some believe this will happen because of the Antichrist or “the man of sin” described by Paul, 2 Thess. 2:3-4. This helps explain why this evil individual (Antichrist) symbolically appears on a WHITE HORSE. At the end of time, the Rider on the White Horse will be Our Conquering 

King of Kings, Our Messiah, Our Savior, destroying the Beast and the False Prophet, bringing REAL PEACE. (Rev. 19)

 

Seal #2, The Fiery Red Horse, Rev. 6:4.  This rider brings slaughter.  Some believe this to be the Battle of Armageddon. He takes PEACE AWAY from the earth. It’s a time of DEPRESSION.  According to Jesus, He says that following a time of peace, there will be a WORLDWIDE WAR. (Matt. 24:6-7a)

 

Seal #3, The Black Horse Rider, Rev. 6:5-6, with SCALES in his hands, brings DROUGHT. (Matt. 24:7b) According to Jesus, a time of war will result in FAMINE; economic disaster, and famine caused by wars during the Tribulation period.

 

Seal #4, The Pale Horse Rider, Rev. 6:8, brings DEATH to one-fourth of the world’s peoples dying of disease and starvation. (Matt. 24:7c) According to Jesus, there will be earthquakes that cause many deaths. What about pandemics, nuclear holocaust, wild animals, plagues, famines, violence, etc?

 

The riders on the Four Horses of the Apocalypse carry out these judgments.  They are part of the tribulation and part of “the great day of His wrath.” (Rev. 6:17)

 

Signs of the times are everywhere. Are you ready? Don’t be left behind.  Please stop running away from God. Wash your garments in the blood of the Lamb.   The time is now to repent. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.  Enjoy the YouTube video with pictures, “Are You Ready for Jesus to Come?” sung by Sandra Entermann (10 years ago).  

 

 

 

 

Bess     

 

 

 

 

Blog 172 for July 18, 2020

 

 

ARE YOU READY?

 

The second coming of the Lord is closer than we think! A songwriter long ago, said it this way, “Signs of the Times are Everywhere."  I was singing that song with an ensemble in Virginia Beach during the years, 1970-1974.  Matthew, Chapter 24, gives us many of the signs of His coming. The rise of false prophets, false Christs in vs. 4-5 is one of the signs.  Many of us remember Charles Manson, Rev. Sun Myung, Jim Jones, and David Koresh. And no doubt, you could name some more.

 

Matthew 24:6 warns us of wars and rumors of wars.  Since World War II, the number of wars in our world has increased dramatically.  Today’s standing armies of the world comprise millions of soldiers.  The continuing arms-buildup among the superpowers and the lesser third world nations is even now setting the stage for the final Battle of Armageddon, a war that will drench the world in blood.

 

Another warning sign of Christ’s imminent return is the increasing devastating and widespread famine Jesus warned of and worldwide pestilence. Aren’t our eyes wide open to the problems of our whole world? In our generation, health officials have discovered more than twenty new infectious diseases for which there are no known cures or treatments. What about the coronavirus? No cure yet. Growing urbanization, poor sanitation, air travel, teens and young adults crowded at the beach on Memorial Day, even the large protest marches and rioting gangs, and no doubt, the autonomous places being claimed in our day, have helped to spread these deadly diseases.

 

Matthew 24:7 speaks of earthquakes. And I just heard on the news that June 24, 2020, Mexico had an earthquake.  But we hear about earthquakes all the time.

 

In Matthew 24:9, it speaks about increased hatred and alienation, hatred between families, individuals, and nations. Oh my, this really hits home.  What is happening to our country?  Why is there so much hate? And the persecution of Christians and churches is worldwide.

 

Other prophecies in the Bible herald Christ’s return and the beginning of the last days. Israel’s rebirth as a nation in 1948 is a prophecy fulfilled. Matthew 24:32 admonishes us to STAY ALERT!   I believe we can all say, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Revelations 22:20

 

 

 

Are you ready? If not, PLEASE get ready! Here are the Four Spiritual Laws to lead you to “Readiness for His Second Coming."

 

  • Law #1: God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. John 3:16; John 10:10

  • Law #2: Man is sinful and separated from God. Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23

  • Law #3: Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him, you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life. Romans 5:8

  • Law #4: We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; so that we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives. John 1:12; Ephesians 2:8,9; Revelation 3:20

 

These four laws were written by Campus Crusade for Christ in 1965.

 

Please enjoy Bill Gaither’s famous song, “The King is Coming,” sung by Bill and Gloria Gaither’s Homecoming Group. 

  

 

BESS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 171 for July 11, 2020

 

 

DO YOU FEEL HOPELESS

IN THIS PRESENT WORLD?

 

I have a few more questions to ask you. Are you scared? Do you have any “Why” questions? Are you worried about the future?

 

Billy Graham, in his devotional book, “Hope for Each Day”, copyrighted in 2004, speaks about a world in pain.  He said that in all his travels over the decades, he had found people to be the same the world over; and he summed up the condition of people as “hopeless.” Most of the news of that day was about trouble, problems, disasters, wars, and despair.  Does this 2004 analogy of hopelessness sound like the hopelessness of 2020?

 

Billy Graham listed voices from troubled hearts; for example, “Our home is a war zone.”  Let me list some questions from the voices of today’s troubled hearts.

 

  1. Why are they beating up the fallen policeman?

  2. Why are they throwing stones, breaking windows, destroying someone else’s property?

  3. Why are they shining a bright light in the eyes of the policemen?

  4. Why are they spewing their hateful speech?

  5. Why are they aligning themselves with the anarchists?

  6. Why are they tearing down the historical monuments and statues?

  7. Why are they trying to take over portions of cities all across America, making Autonomous Zones?

  8. Why are they burning property? Wendy’s? Etc.

  9. Why are they demanding to defund the police department? Even to get rid of the policemen?

  10. Why do they want NO laws? No law and order?

  11. Are we, the USA, too far gone?  Is there a solution?

  12. Are we, our country, on a collision course?

  13. When will this anarchy end?

  14. Why don’t those in leadership; the local Mayors, the State Governor and State Congressmen, the President, and all the National Congressmen, do something?

  15. How can we survive? What’s this world coming to? Is there any hope?

 

Billy Graham wrote about “Voices from troubled hearts” in 1965.  He said, “At that time few of us thought that the world could get much worse and survive.” He goes on to say, “I was wrong.” He said that the world has gotten worse, that we are a world in pain.  How true!

 

Those of us with aching, breaking hearts and troubled minds, why don’t we…

  1. Cry out to Jesus; PRAY. Ps. 55:17

  2. Read God’s Word; Is. 40:8

  3. Sing a great song; Ps. 104:33

  4. Hang on to those we love; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16

  5. Take a walk; Get outside; Ps. 1:1; Ps. 86:11

  6. Clear our mind; Phil.4:2;  Phil.2:5

  7. Talk to a friend; Prov. 17:17

  8. Put your faith in Jesus; John 3:16

  9. Hold on to Hope in this season of hopelessness. Ps.71:4 & 5

  10. Enjoy the YouTube video, “My Faith Still Holds,” First Baptist Church, Jackson, MS.

(Psalm 71 is a great read.)   

 

 

 

Bess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 170 for July 4, 2020

 

God and Country

 

Happy Birthday, America! Get out the fireworks! Blow the bugles! Hang the red, white, and blue! Put on the BBQ! And let’s celebrate!

 

Early in the 17th century, settlers from countries across the sea claimed land and formed colonies along the eastern coast of North America.  Control of this land continued for well over 100 years.  By the time the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, there were 13 American colonies with independent governments and constitutions.  Evidence indicates that the Bible was used as the rule of life in the colonies. It certainly had a profound effect on their lives.

 

Let me tell you about Mitchell Paige, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s most prestigious military honor, for his actions at the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.  On October 26, 1942, after all the other Marines in his platoon were killed or wounded, for hours Paige operated 4 machine guns, single-handedly, stopping an entire Japanese regiment.  Had that position fallen and the Japanese regained the airfield the Marines had taken, it is possible that the outcome of World War II may have been significantly changed.

 

In years to come, Paige was repeatedly asked why he would be willing to put his life on the line for his country.  His answer was basically two-fold; first, the three-room country school where he was taught the Pledge of Allegiance, memorized the great American documents such as the Gettysburg Address, and heard the Bible read each day; second, God’s Word. When Paige left home to walk the 200 miles to the nearest Marine recruiting station in 1936, his mother packed him a lunch and included a note ("Trust in the Lord, son, and He will guide you always.") Paige said these words remained forever in his mind.

 

Paige said, “I will never forget sitting in a foxhole, alone, bloody, burned, and injured on Guadalcanal, except for hundreds of dead bodies of the enemy surrounding me.  I emptied my pack looking for something to stop the bleeding from a bayonet wound and out fell my small Bible.  Picking it up, I could scarcely believe it opened to Proverbs 3, and there were Mother’s words. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to thine own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

 

Mitchell Paige was a true servant and patriot of America.  And, America is proud to have hundreds of thousands of valiant soldiers cut from the same mold.

 

So my prayer is,

“God bless America, Land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her, through the night with the light from above.  From the mountains to the prairies, to the oceans bright with foam. God bless America, my home, sweet home.”   

 

Please enjoy Lee Greenwood sing his song, “God Bless the USA,” on Huckabee’s show one year ago. 

 

P.S. Several of my family have July birthdays...so Happy Birthday to one and all.  To Chuck, our son, July 3; to Mildred, my sister in Heaven, July 4; to Angie, my niece, July 4; and to Fred, my brother, July 15.


 

 

Bess