The Bargain Hunter

bargainhunterWhen our coffee group, ‘the Sanhedrin’, gather in Fitch’s IGA each morning, the topics are wide and varied. We deal with problems of international and national interest as well as local situations.  Because many of us are retired and live on fixed incomes, we are more price-conscious now than we ever were before. Mr. Jack, an esteemed member of our group, is the bargain hunter. He pours over newspapers and circulars looking for the best prices on items of interest to the group. Do you need to know where the best prices are to be found on tools, building supplies, clothing, house wares, etc.? Ask Mr. Jack!  Restaurants and food prices are also fair game for his price-wise eyes. We take Jack’s information seriously. You know, “A penny saved is a penny earned”.

On a recent shopping trip to another town to look for some items I couldn’t find at Fitch’s, I rediscovered a basic truth. Not everything that appears at first to be a bargain really is! For example, a large economy-size can of a product contained 24 ounces for $1.29. On the shelf below were regular size cans, 15 ounces for $.52 each. Now, I’m not a mathematician, but the ‘economy’ size was .25 cents more than two small cans and contained 6 ounces less. You also need to be aware that some stores may mark prices higher and then lower the price to regular prices and call it a ‘Sale’. Mr. Jack says, “Shop wisely – don’t get stuck with a bad deal”.

We are interested in the cost of most everything this world has to offer. This should be true in every area of our lives, especially the spiritual. The adage ‘Let the Buyer Beware’ is doubly true in the spiritual realm. Don’t accept a bad deal when it comes to your soul! Satan, the prince of this world, continues to promise the world and all of its glamour to those who will follow him. He promises much, but gives little. In the pursuit of wealth and happiness in the here and now, people often fail to count the cost of neglecting their souls.

If you could take the coin of your soul and with this currency purchase the whole world, you would be making a bad deal. Why? Allow me to share three, of many, compelling reasons:

  • The world is passing away. “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever(1 John 2:17, ESV). Who would want to buy a bottle of very expensive perfume if they knew there was a crack in the bottle and the perfume would certainly evaporate?
  • You can’t take the things of this world with you when you die. Someone has said, “I’ve never seen a u-haul trailer on the back of a hearse.” How true that is! Jesus said,“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21, ESV) .
  • The world does not satisfy. Deep within the heart of man is a hunger for God, our creator. Without God, life at its best will always be incomplete. “And he (Jesus) said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possession” (Luke 12:15). Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” (Isaiah 55:2). 

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36)

~ Brother Roy

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Jehova Nissi

jehovah nissiIn a devotional post sometime back, I referenced my utter dependence on my CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. Without it, I experience chronic breathing problems that lead to other complications. I need my faithful CPAP.

In mid-May, Miss Sue and I led an NHIM mission team to South Africa. Our daughter lives in Johannesburg and had developed an ambitious schedule to maximize the team’s ministry opportunities. We stuffed six packers full of food and materials for the mission project in addition to our individual luggage. I admit I am absent minded, but when things get hectic such as checking to be sure everyone has passports, health insurance forms, needed prescription, emergency phone numbers, content lists for the packers, etc, my absentmindedness is at its worst.

When we checked in at the airport, everyone was on time. Tickets, passports, and all essentials seemed to be in order. Actually, it was a better start than usual. After the 24-hour flight time, we were tired and ready for bed. I unpacked my CPAP and the necessary paraphernalia. To my horror, I had left the power pack and cords to my machine at home. I can survive fairly well for a couple of days by sleeping upright in a chair. The next day I contacted my son-in-law’s father who lives a few blocks from my house in Wilmore. He graciously retrieved the power pack with chords and headed for UPS. The shipping charges were incredibly high at $212. They promised two day delivery. Problem solved. Well, not so much!

The package did arrive in three days and that began a saga that a month later remains unresolved. Customs officials refused to release the package suspecting it was a ‘bomb’. The days stretched on. My son-in-law is a very persuasive businessman and he spent hours on the phone trying to gain the release of the package. With no machine, I began experiencing real problems. My daughter shared our problem with a prayer chain of people in her Bible study group. Within minutes, she received a response. A group member had a CPAP machine sitting unused in his home just a short distance away. One of his friends, who couldn’t use the machine, had left it there. We retrieved the machine, which is remarkably similar to mine. What a blessing! I could breathe properly.

That night I called the Lord ‘Jehovah Nissi’. Why? Years ago while I was studying the various names of God used in scripture, I learned one of those names was Jehovah Nissi. The reference is found in Exodus 17:15. The general meaning is “The Lord is our Banner”. He is the Banner that goes before us. He had truly gone before me to Johannesburg. The CPAP was there waiting for an absentminded preacher who really needed it. He is my Jehovah Nissi.

Are you facing a struggle, a real battle? If Jehovah Nissi is leading the way in your struggle, then you will prevail, but if you are fighting your battle in your own strength your defeat is imminent. Where in your life do you need God to show Himself strong as Jehovah Nissi – The Lord your Banner? He will go before you if your heart is inclined toward Him, but you must ask.

At Times We Need To Recognize Him As ‘Jehovah Nissi’

~ Brother Roy

The Hurrieder I Go

hurriederThe pace of life seems to get faster and faster with each passing year. Perhaps I am slowing a bit, but I know the speed of life is accelerating.  The old adage, ‘The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get’, certainly seems to apply. The competitive and rapid pace of the world will crowd our prayer life and prevent us from spending needed time with the Lord.

Sometime in the past, I read a poem that has stayed with me ever since. I want to share it with you:

I got up early one morning,
And rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
That I didn’t have time to pray.
Problems came tumbling about me,
And heavier came each task.
“Why doesn’t God help?” I wondered.
He answered, “You didn’t ask.”
I wanted to see joy and beauty,
But the day toiled on, gray and bleak.
I wondered why God didn’t show me.
He said, “But you didn’t seek.”
I tried to come into God’s presence,
I used all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
“My child, you didn’t knock.”
I woke up early this morning,
And paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish,
That I had to take time to pray

~ Author unknown

 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

~Brother Roy

Dubious Shortcut

shortcutMy wife’s father, certainly one of my best friends, was notorious for taking shortcuts while driving on family vacations.  As a young man, he had driven a Mayflower Moving Van all across the U.S and knew the basic road network. In addition, he had a wonderful sense of direction. Off we’d go down a side road and across country to save a mile or a minute. He was usually right.

On one occasion, we had started our Canadian vacation later than he wanted. Somewhere in central Indiana, he turned off the major highway and took a side-road. We registered only token resistance at first. He seemed so sure he knew a shortcut. The road continued to narrow until eventually we were on a gravel road. Finally, the road appeared to be someone’s lane. Persistent in his conviction, we ultimately ended up in a farmer’s barn lot.

While there are occasionally viable shortcuts on many roads of life, there are no shortcuts to heaven!  In John chapter 14, Thomas expressed concern about knowing the way to heaven. “Jesus said to him, ‘ I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’”  (John 14:6, NKJ).  Peter speaking in Acts 4:12 (NKJ) said, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” 

When people offer an easier way, a shortcut, or perhaps another way, I would rather trust Jesus and divinely inspired scripture. A shortcut could end up in a place far worse than a barn lot. Paul speaking to the Corinthians said, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). 

No Shortcuts – Jesus Is The Way

~ Brother Roy