Monday, June 22, 2015

God is the best matchmaker

In the fall of 1967 I went back to Ozark Bible College (Now Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Mo.) with marriage on my mind. I was very interested in finding a willing young lady to share my life with.

This was my third year at Bible College I was going to a little church in Duquesne Mo. while at school. I was the song leader (now I would be the worship leader) and Jeannie played the piano.

Now although I was in college, I was not real clever, so I didn’t even think of her as a viable candidate for marriage to me. I was more interested in glamor or unique interest. There were a couple of Hawaiian girls there that I thought might be special and a girl from Norway that I liked for the job. Happily they were much smarter than me and kindly buy firmly told me to keep looking.

This went on for some time and I was getting kind of frustrated. Mostly I thought of myself as a pretty desirable guy and I was getting some pretty cold shoulders.

In my frustration I thought of something intelligent to do. I prayed, and pretty much laid my problem out to God. While I was praying it came into my mind that I should make a list of characteristics that I should be looking for. This idea came while I was consciously praying so naturally I was aware that I should place this list in an order appropriate for a spiritual person. So practical things like domestic skills and music were high on the list and physical beauty was at the bottom. This says nothing about Jeannie but only about how I thought God would want my list to look. After I finished making the list I put it in a notebook and pretty much forgot about it then went on my way searching according to my ideas.

This went on for a while. During this time as I mentioned Jeannie was playing the piano and I was leading the singing at the little church where we went. I also was her ride to and from church and we hung out together from time to time, when I wasn’t looking for a future Mrs. Everingham.

After a few weeks and more frustration I resorted to prayer again. I might not have been stupid but I was pretty slow. This time as I was praying I distinctly was aware of Jeannie Foyil. I think I heard God tell me “what about Jeannie Foyil?” I didn’t like that idea and told Him so. She wasn’t my ideal. As I sat there arguing with God, He said, “Look at your list.” I hadn’t thought about it for a while but when I heard that I knew exactly where it was.

As I looked down that list I realized that it was a spot on description of Jeannie. I was blown away.

The next time we headed to church, on the way I told Jeannie I wanted to talk to her. She asked me about what. I said, “About us.” We were friends, we went to church together and did other stuff but there was really no ‘us’. We were just friends, pretty good friends but just friends. Mostly I talked to her about my frustration in my search.

So, after I had dropped everyone else who rode with me off we got out of the car by the trailer where Jeannie and 3 other girls stayed. I pretty much told her about the list and my little conversation with God. Then I explained that I didn’t love her and then I made some very tasteless comments and asked her if she would consider marrying me.

Believe it or not, she said she would consider it. 

That Thanksgiving I went home with her to meet her family in Tulsa Ok. and then at Christmas she went home with me to Ohio to meet my family. I flunked out of Bible college, got drafted and we were married May 25th at her youth sponsor’s house. The wedding happened after I got my draft notice and we drove from Joplin Missouri to Tulsa with a stop in Miami Oklahoma to get our blood test so we could get our marriage license before we went to her parent's house. The evening of the 24th we went to her brother’s high school graduation. Then on Saturday we were married, then Sunday morning we drove about 200 miles so I could preach at a little church in Sparta Missouri near Silver Dollar City in Branson where we had our 6 hour honeymoon.

She was not what I wanted or was looking for, but God showed me that she was the perfect match for me. She is my best friend and I am thankful from the deepest part of my heart for her. I thank God always for her.

Trust God with every area of your life. I heard a wise man say we should seek a wife just like Adam did. Go to sleep and let God bring her to you.

Be Faithful

Rick

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Why Should we fear God?

Why must we fear God?

This is a valid and a good question, especially when so many people are telling us that “God is good” and “God is love.” How can anyone reconcile these two concepts, especially to people who are somewhat hostile to Christianity, especially as they have seen it practiced round about?

For the moment let’s not talk about how Christianity is preached and practiced and simply try to address the question; why must we fear God? Obviously I can only answer from my own point of view which is the point of one who is a learning to be disciple of Jesus.

Every reasonable person has fears. People fear losing their job, losing a loved one, a child, a parent, a mate, losing their money, losing their health or mental ability. We may fear being injured on the job. It seems reasonable to fear dying.  Fear is usually presented as a negative thing, but is it truly? If an electrician working with high voltage does not fear the power and destructive force of that electricity, that caviler attitude can get him killed. As a truck driver I had a healthy fear of the physical laws that do not change just because I am such a smart guy, so I didn’t take an 80,000 lb. load down a 4 mile 6% grade in 8th gear.

So then when we come to God there are a couple of other things that we must consider. First of all does a person actually believe in God? If not then of course there is no reason to fear him. I have absolutely no fear of Sasquatch or yeti, because I do not believe they truly exist. The second question that should be asked if a person does believe in God is, what sort of god do they believe in?

Over time there have been many gods presented by various people and religious practitioners. Some of the gods were good, some not so good and some were downright scoundrels.

The book commonly called the Bible or The Holy Bible presents a God that is unique in many ways. The Bible itself is a very unique record. It was prepared over a period of over 1,000 years by over 50 separate authors, many of course never met one another. And yet it presents a unified record, much of which has been authenticated by science, archeology and secular history.

The God of the Bible is inexpressibly good, kind and loving, and yet he is also inexpressibly powerful and holy. The God of the Bible demands obedience of his children, and yet he provides a way of restoration for those who have been disobedient, if they will sincerely seek that restoration according to His conditions.

The foolish electrician will ignore the laws that govern the use of electricity and in the end will cause much damage and possibly injury or death. The foolish truck driver will ignore the laws of physics and will eventually destroy much and possibly injure or kill himself and possibly others. The wise electrician and the wise truck driver will have a healthy fear of the laws that govern their craft and so far as it concerns them will keep themselves and other safe.

A person who believes in the God of the Bible who is wise will have a healthy fear of the spiritual laws that govern all people and will, as far as they are able keep themselves and those around them safe.

In Matthew 10:28 Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body but cannot touch your soul. Fear only God who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” He goes on to say, “What is the price of two sparrows – one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” (NLT)

Some will say we need to respect the God of the Bible and some modern translations have said it that way, but if I only respect the God that I serve I am still free to respectfully disagree with what he says and not obey. If I fear that He is and will do what He says fear will compel me to obey whether I agree or disagree.

If you do believe in the God of the Bible who created everything and maintains all things, you definitely need to have a healthy fear of Him. If you do not believe in the God of the Bible I hope this has at least clarified the matter a little.

Proverbs says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” (1:7 & 9:10) It is the beginning but it is only the beginning.

Be Faithful to what you believe.