Feed the White Dog!

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What a way to start the new year 2017!

There is a story told about a missionary who led a tribal leader to the Lord. Some time later he went back to see the chief and asked how the new believer was doing. He said, “Inside of me there are two dogs. The black dog is mean and tries to talk me into making the wrong choices. The white dog is good and encourages me to make the right choices. The black dog fights the white dog all day.” When asked by the missionary which dog wins, the chief reflected for a moment and replied, “The one I feed the most!”

You know, most of us believers are the same way. There is a part of us that is Christ-filled, compassionate, trusting, caring, serving and focused on helping others. (Our White Dog or New Nature.) We also have a self-centered, fearful, habitual, controlling, anxious part of us that is generally focused on “me, myself and I” and preserving the status quo. (Our Black Dog or Old Nature.)  These two natures are in a constant battle.

Woof

Even the Apostle Paul had this struggle. He put it this way. “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:21-25 NLT)

So how do you feed the white dog? Turn from the dark and un-holy things which your spiritual enemies, the World, your Flesh and the Devil throw at you every day and seek and saturate yourself with the things of the Lord instead! Daily reading and meditation of the Bible, God’s holy Word (see link below for my blog “The Plus 30 Plan” for a helpful way to read the Bible).

Make a prayer list and pray daily for yourself, your family and others. Attend a church which preaches from the Bible and where you can make new friends of common faith. Serve others in any little and large way you can. All these things feed the white dog and lead to a much much more fulfilling and rewarding life.

FEED THE WHITE DOG!

Feeding plan here: The “Plus 30” Plan

The Rock

Clarence Wolfe

On this morning of September 11th I write to you about a person from the “Greatest Generation” who has been a rock in my life and the life of my family. As I sat by his hospital bed last night, where he has been on the precipice of eternity since last Friday, it came to me that he was among the major providers and foundational characters in my life. I speak of 89-year-old Clarence Wolfe (known to us growing up as Uncle Junior) who has had a tremendous impact on us as they say “from little on up”. The year 2015 brought to him many physical trials which culminated in a perfect storm of ailments attacking all of his bodily systems at one time.

Clarence was born in 1926 and grew up in the World War II era. His father’s name was Clarence, hence the nickname “Junior”. He joined the Navy when he was old enough and served two years at sea on a destroyer which protected carriers from attacking enemy planes. My family recently toured the USS North Carolina (my grandsons are pictured in the ships bunk beds below) and I realized it took a special person to be able to live in the belly of a big ship like that sometimes going days without seeing the sun. Those men were made of granite.

Ship Bunks

As I shared in my blog “Bud’s Beginning” my family got off to a rocky start and due to circumstances, some not of his own making, my father disappeared from our family’s life when I was in elementary school. My Uncle Junior (my dad’s little brother) and his wife Janie having no children of their own often came to our home with food and money and clothes to help my mom raise us Wolfe boys. We grew to know that they could be depended upon and time and time again they were providers for us. When our mom had a nervous breakdown we each were taken in by different relatives and my twin brother Bruce lived with Uncle Junior and Janie. They called him “Brucey” and I think even today they still consider him their adopted son.

As a young parent I went to Uncle Junior to ask him to co-sign a loan so we could buy a mobile home. He suggested rather that he had a “friend” who would be willing to loan the money to us for much less interest and a lower payment than the bank could offer so we took him up on the deal. The identity of the “friend” was never revealed but in my heart I knew it just had to be him.

When my Great Grandfather Allen Wolfe died (the country store keeper) Junior and Janie provided for his wife Grandma Kate by placing a mobile home on their property in which she lived the rest of her life. We came to know her as “grandma trailer” since at the time we had four living grandmas and it was just easier to differentiate her that way. Oh the happy times we had with Grandma Trailer and with Uncle Junior looking on as we drove his riding lawn mower (sometimes over his flowering bushes) and played pool in his basement.

Uncle Jr Janie

His last public event was my retirement party a couple of weeks ago (pictured above with wife Janie and our grandson Braden) and miraculously he was able to attend where he got to see many of his Wolfe relatives and all of my seven grandkids. His wife said he really enjoyed himself and was so glad he could make it. Uncle Junior was a great example for us, a solid citizen, a caring provider and a father to the fatherless. Our world needs more men just like him.

Uncle Jr

So I sat alone at his bedside approaching the end of visiting hours holding his hand and I told him how much I appreciated his impact on my life, how that he had been my rock. I told him it was ok to go home to be with the Lord and to rejoice there with all our relatives gone on before him. I told him we’ll look out for Aunt Janie like you did for us. See you over there my friend.

The day I wrote this blog, September 11, 2015, my Uncle Junior went to be with the Lord.

The Quiet City

Green Point2

Let me take you back to the community pictured above. Tucked between two mountains in the heartland of Pennsylvania is a little community called “Green Point”. Maybe I’m just a nostalgic guy but I would love to put myself back in those days when the world was a much simpler place. No interstate highways with cars and trucks racing back and forth across the land, no cell phones, no people staring mindlessly into their smart phones, no computers, no big chain stores. No Fed Ex! Are you with me? Could you go there? Oh yeah, I could go there. People would wave to you when passing on the street walking or driving. They would actually KNOW their neighbors by name and everything you needed was either on your property or within a short walking distance.

Take a long look at what you see in the picture. Among many things you should see is a One Room school, a church, 3 houses, plowed fields, a garden, livestock buildings and out of the picture just down the road to the right was a AJ Wolfe’s General Store. All the things a family needed to survive was located in just a half square mile! This was a quiet place and smack dab in the middle was what my friend a gravestone maker calls “The Quiet City” or a cemetery.

The Quiet City is a leveling kind of place. There’s no talking there, no putting on airs, no criticizing, no family squabbles. Stroll through this one and you will find stalwarts of the community, generations of family laid side by side under the same last name, the rich and the poor, plus you will find Henry Wise (Blue Eyed Six & The Faith – Chp 2 (Henry Wise) a notorious member of the “Blue Eyed Six” gang buried there after his hanging in the late 19th century. You will also find a meager set of stones of a husband and wife and their 3 small children all of which went into the presence of the Lord before reaching their one year birthday. No older offspring are found, just the three little ones. The Quiet City doesn’t speak but you can imagine for this couple who tried and tried to have children the heartache, the tears, the anticipation of another child and yet their hopes were shattered again, and again.

Is this all there is? Is there no hope for the Quiet City? Is there no place to find answers to the hard questions of life? Oh yes my friend, there is hope and there are answers! Smack dab in the middle of The Quiet City the white shining church steeple points heavenward and the bell cries out come! Come where you will hear of hope and of the path to righteousness and reconciliation with your fellow-men and to your God from the Sacred Page. Come and learn that even the criminal will have his chance for repentance and forgiveness. Come and hear King David’s words of faith to the young couple who lost 3 children, that if King David would see his infant son in eternity, then they too will through faith in Jesus see their children as well, and at last understand the ways and purposes of the sometimes hard paths of the Creator.

O yes, there is Hope in the Quiet City and in that place Jesus walks with us and talks with us and He tells us we are His own. And He tarrys there like none other to reach, to love, to give hope and eternity to his beloved.

Jesus said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man opens the door I will come in to him and dine with him and he with me”. Revelation 3:20

More faith building messages here: New Blog Index

The Hands of Jesus

I was writing some thank you notes this morning to people who showed me kindness at my recent retirement party. It suddenly came to me that some of these people are the very same ones who took in my brothers and me when were in effect homeless as young boys in a single parent home (you can read more about that in my blog “Bud’s Haven”) when the thought came to me that they were being the hands of Jesus and were even ministering to Him! Here are Jesus’ words:

‘For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me…’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (select passages from Matthew Chp. 25)

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Isn’t this what our world needs today? So many needs, so many people needing a friend, a place to live, food for the table, a ride to a doctor’s appointment, on and on it goes. We can be the hands of Jesus and if we open our eyes to the needs around us we will see them. They may even come to us like a young man from my neighborhood did the other night. He is going through some troubles in his home and marriage and because I had shared the Gospel with him many months ago he thought of me. He unburdened his heart and I shared my advice and then I once again shared Jesus with him. This time he opened his heart and trusted Christ as his Savior! I’m sure the angels were rejoicing in heaven and I covet your prayers for him and me as I help him in the coming weeks and months get grounded in the Word of God.

Jesus left this world after his resurrection and passed the baton to His disciples and to us. We are the hands and feet of Jesus, there is no else, there is no other plan. Be Jesus to someone, share Jesus with someone today!

Brian’s Decision and Destiny

We now come to the climax of Brian’s chronicles. It is a wonderful thing to know that there is a Master Craftsman with an invisible hand working behind the scenes of every human creature on earth. A loving Heavenly Father yearns for relationship and fellowship with His creation. A Master Strategist sends and allows circumstances and events to guide them and as it were like a magnet pulling but ultimately leaving the decision for true relationship, for that final step of faith in the hands of the created one.

It was the spring of the year when men often seek the Author of Life on the occasion of celebrating Easter that Brian and his Sweetie knew from somewhere deep in their parental core that their young sons needed to be exposed to the teaching of God’s Word. So they dressed up in their Sunday best and drove to the closest church in their neighborhood. It was a church that had “Jesus Saves” posted in neon lights across the steeple and unbeknownst to them they were having revival meetings! Why they chose that church they didn’t know at the time. Maybe it was because Brian lived next door to the pastor when growing up or that he attended school with the pastor’s children. Whatever the draw it soon became very clear why and it was providential.

They handed off their sons to the children’s workers and entered the sanctuary sitting close to the back of the church. The singing was loud and inspiring and life seemed to waft through the pews of people as they worshipped their Savior. The speaker was a powerful evangelist named D.M.Fruits who only had one leg as he leaned against a stool and fired away with truths from the Word of God. His words were arrows of burning truth and they pierced their hearts as he spoke so earnestly. He told how Jesus suffered then He bled and died and that He did it for Brian and his Sweetie. They sat in their pew with hearts trembling with conviction of sin. The congregation stood for the last song “Just As I Am” and an invitation was given to go forward to trust Christ as Savior. They gripped the pew in front of them and stood like statues. A little elderly man in front of them turned around and said, “If you want, I’ll go forward with you.” To which Brian said, “No that’s ok were just fine”. But they weren’t fine. They couldn’t wait to get away from that place and quickly retrieved the boys and scurried home.

Cabin

But God’s pursuit of Brian was relentless as he would find himself on a weekend trip into the mountains of Pennsylvania with a friend who was contemplating a divorce because of his broken marriage. Brian’s brother Pooch, a strong Christian, who had also witnessed to him at the gas station a year earlier, was also on the trip and after a day in the mountains the men were relaxing in the cabin and his brother began to encourage his friend to turn to God for answers for his broken marriage. All that his brother said caused Brian to reminisce in his own mind about the many times he himself had run from God. It all seemed to come to a head and he couldn’t escape any longer.

They went to the cabin bunk room and there lying in his bed in the dark room Brian told his brother about his thoughts and he responded, “You don’t have to be in church to trust Christ as your Savior, you can do it right here and now.” At that point Brian stopped running and opened up his heart with a simple prayer, “Lord Jesus, I’ve been saying no to you so many times but right now I ask you to come into my heart and forgive my sins and make me your child.” He invited Christ into his life in the best way he knew how and he came in! His life was transformed into a new creation!

He shared the news with his Sweetie when he returned home and she received it with skepticism but when she saw the genuine change that had come over him within 6 months she too trusted Christ as her Savior at the dining room table in his brother Pooch’s home. They went on to have another son and all 3 grew up to be men of God and all are serving Jesus today.

To keep this blog as short as possible I didn’t include other miscellaneous family facts and names to keep the theme focussed just on how God loves us SO much that He seeks us and draws us to Himself especially by sending His Son Jesus to the earth to die for our sins so we could trust Him by faith and have eternal life. I pray this story has been an encouragement to you.

Jesus said: “No man can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” John 6:44

Maybe HE is drawing YOU to Himself today!

If so, go to Guaranteed Reservation in Heaven!

Or go to New Blog Index for more encouraging blogs to help build your faith!