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Archive for November, 2016

Do you struggle with focus? Are you doing what you are supposed to be doing? Do you know what that is? Do you understand God’s will for your life?

I’ve written extensively about these topics in the past and I’ll not go into the details again here. However, you can simply type “God’s will” into the search box above and see past posts. Yet, I bring up those questions of “focus” to focus us on what’s important.

What is important in your life? Perhaps these (in no certain order):

  • Family
  • God
  • Health
  • Money
  • Relationships

All of these areas require focus, do they not? You and I have to be focused, for instance, on not overspending if we want to see that we don’t end up out of money and broke. Do you check your bank account often? I do. I do that so that I stay focused and I can invest money where it’s needed the most and can be used for eternal things. I’m trying to be focused.

Let’s take another area of life. Let’s pick “Family.”¬†Are you focused? How is your relationship with your spouse? Your children? It’s mostly going to be a function of time. Yep…time. It’s impossible for us to grow our relationship with anyone unless we spend time with them. I think you’d agree. So, do you talk? Do you communicate with your family? Do you have “down time” where you can chat with your family members? If we don’t make time to do so, it will never happen. The truth is: we DO NOT have time to develop relationships in our lives…we have to MAKE TIME! It’s got to be intentional.

So, how is it with your kids, mom and dad? How is it going for them in their lives? Do you have teenagers? The only way you are going to really know how things are going with them is to spend time with them and verbally talk. Oh, I know you can read their tweets and see what they post on Instagram. But, it’s got to be more than that! If that’s how you communicate, then you are no more to them than an acquaintance who happens to live in the same house.

I read an article recently about why our kids walk away from them faith. It’s excellent. http://theaquilareport.com/why-christian-kids-leave-the-faith/

Bottom line: we’ve got to be spending intentional time. Focused time. If you look at your children’s lives and you ask yourself: “Do I really know what’s going on inside of their heads?”, and the answer you got in return is a bit fuzzy, then you need to take time to go to their room tonight and sit down and say, “How’s it going?” It’s that simple. Once they say, “Fine.” Ask it again and add the word “really.”

How’s it going, really?

Try it. It works. Why? Because they’ll see you care. They’ll see they are more to you than just their kid that you hope doesn’t flunk out of school, or gets into trouble or might embarrass you. They will see that you really do care. And let me add this. Prepare to lose sleep. Why? Because you are worried about them? No, not necessarily. You’ll lose sleep because once you get them talking, they will talk your ears off. They will literally share their heart and how they feel with words and emotions that run the gamut of their feelings and that will TAKE A WHILE. That might mean that a conversation you start at 10:45 pm doesn’t end until 12:30 am, but it will be worth every minute of it, I promise you!

Will you be tired the next day? Probably…but, even in that…the Lord will give you energy that sleep can’t give and He’ll do the same for your child. He is faithful and His mercies are new each morning!

I love my children. I know you know that. But, I just have to say it again! I dearly love my children! I’m so grateful and thankful for them and their unique personalities and idiosyncrasies and little quirky ways. I love the fact that they put up with a dad that makes a lot of mistakes and fumbles and bumbles around trying to be a good daddy, but often ends up being a babbling goofball. I’m grateful for a fantastic wife and mom, who already does the things I’ve mentioned (very well, I might add). But, it’s the dad’s who so often struggle with spending the intentional, concerted time with our children. Dads, can I get a witness?

We long for peace and for serenity and that’s why we’ll often sweep things under the rug or just hope difficulties go away. Why? Because we aren’t good at multi-tasking and we don’t want any more on our plates than we already have. So, it’s easy to stick our heads in the sand and the next thing you know…we don’t have a relationship with our children that’s any closer or vibrant than one of their acquaintances. That’s sad. But, it’s happening in many of our homes.

Dad, think about your children. Think about how they look (even if they are adults now). Think about clasping your hands on their cheeks and looking them in the eyes and saying,

“Let me look at you. Let me remember how you look. Let me look into your eyes and see your heart and know how I can love you, pray for you, support you and encourage you. Let me be here for you. Let me know what I can do.”

I dearly and I mean dearly love these people and so I’m bound and determined to stay connected with them and to intentional love them.

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Of course this includes my new granddaughter Evelyn. A new family picture forthcoming soon! ūüôā May we never allow our lofty goals for our children to interfere with simply recognizing that they are OUR children and are a gift from God.

By the way, some have asked: “What about the Weather? What’s the latest winter forecast?” Well, I’ll link to my good buddy Joe Bastardi for the latest on winter. Click the link below and then click on “Saturday Summary.”

http://www.weatherbell.com/#premium

Here’s what the forecast calls for in the next two weeks… This is Dec 8-13th.

cyw9kgdwgaadby5-jpg-large

That’s cold air folks and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bit of ice or snow during that period of time. No, I’m not saying a huge storm. But, with the jet stream finally shifting and the Gulf of Mexico finally opening for business and injecting moisture this way…well…you heard it here first. ūüôā

Kevin

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What I’m Thankful For…

I hope and pray each of you have a fantastic Thanksgiving with your families. I’m grateful and thankful for all the Lord has blessed me, just as I know you are as well. Truly, I’m thankful for you, my faithful reader, and I pray the Lord will anoint you with His favor and goodness today and throughout this Thanksgiving season!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Praise Him all creatures here below

Praise Him above you Heavenly Hosts

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Amen!

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/xmuc9fb

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A New Day In America

Do you feel it? It’s been one week since the election. And it’s a different feeling country. Well, actually, it will be tomorrow morning about 2:30 am that it will have “officially” been one week since we knew the results of the presidential election. It looks to be that when the final state is declared (Michigan…which looks to go to Trump) the final Electoral College count will be:

Trump 306

Clinton 232

However, Clinton will win the popular vote by around 700,000 votes out of close to 125 million cast. Bottom line: Donald J. Trump is the new President-Elect of the United States and will be inaugurated on 1.20.17 in front of the Capitol Building. I’ve shared several times that it would be either Trump or Clinton who would raise their right hand and take the Oath of Office as the 45th President of the United States. There was no denying that. However, I had considerable doubts that it would be Donald Trump. Why? Because the media was already portraying him as dead. Put a fork in him…he’s done! Perhaps this idea and this false portrayal unraveling last Tuesday night, starting around 9:30 pm when Florida went to Trump was even more interesting and intriguing to watch.

From 7:30 until almost 1:20 am, I flipped from channel to channel: FOX, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fusion, CNN, CNBC, et al, and it was amazing to watch the commentators. I thought Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow and Brian Williams were going to break down into tears. George¬†Stephanopoulos, Chuck Todd and Lester Holt were almost in shock. Scott Pelley and Anderson Cooper (notably calm and extremely articulate men), seemed to be tongue-tied. Even the Fox News crowd seemed befuddled. Juan Williams, of Fox, seemed to be having heart palpitations and Britt Hume was enamored by the “FiveThirtyEight” statistical blog that showed Trump with a 58% chance of winning at 9:30 pm.

And folks, that’s when you could feel it. It started to change. As the map continued to turn red, the faces of the news commentators did as well. This was unprecedented and unheard of! Who would have thunk it!!?? As the evening wore on, I felt a growing relief in my heart. Why? Because I thought to myself, “Kevin, I know Donald Trump is not going to change this country in that he is some sort of Savior…but neither was Obama, only God can do that through His Son Jesus…but, you might have more time to share the Gospel with your family now. You might actually have the ability to see this thing out in the pulpit of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and not be locked up before you hang it up in 20-25 years!”

Is that selfish thinking? Sure it is! I’m selfish! We all are! While I was ready to go to jail for Jesus, I was NOT chomping at the bit to do so. Do you think I’m crazy or something? I don’t have a death wish and I certainly wanted to watch my children and grandchildren grow up. And just 2 1/2 days later, on November 11th (Veteran’s Day), my second grandchild, Evelyn Ruth Isaacs (7 lbs 1 oz, 20 inches) was born.

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Is that precious or what? And is it okay for me to want to do my job and be free to do it in the future? Honestly, I don’t know, (unless you have walked in my shoes), that you can understand how I’ve been feeling over the last several years. You see, the Barack Obama Administration (in my humble opinion) has done more to strip Americans of religious freedom than any other administration ever. He made it very clear (early on in his Administration) that he was going to fundamentally change this country. And he tried! He tried really, really hard! And he made a lot of headway, particularly with the courts, the media and our universities and schools. But, his agenda and his legacy have now been summarily rejected. Not only did Hillary Clinton lose the election, his policies and his desire to move this country to a postmodern nation was defeated as well.

You might say, “What a minute! Clinton won the popular vote!” Yep, she sure did. But, our founding fathers were brilliant. They knew if the popular vote won the day, then there would be no need to even show up in small states that are sparsely populated. Who would have thought there would have been such campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire in the last two weeks. After all, if the popular vote wins the day, just campaign in New York, California and Florida (where all the people are) and never even go to Iowa or NH. That’s why the Electoral College is a brilliant system for a republic (and I’m honest when I say this… I would have said the same thing if Clinton had won). It’s the most fair way to give everyone in every state an equal voice in our republic.

Folks, I’m transparent with you when I say that I have lived with pain in my heart for the last several years. I’ve watched this country go down the tubes morally and if you tell me not to worry about it…and it’s all part of God’s sovereign plan…well, why was God willing to relent because Abraham prayed about Sodom and why did God change His mind from destroying His own people in the wilderness desert when they made the golden calf? Moses prayed and God answered and he relented. So, I prayed! I prayed that it wasn’t over! I prayed there would still be time for my kids and grandkids and the church I love!

Yes, I get it. Many, many Christians didn’t vote for Trump because they “morally” couldn’t do it. I get that. But, I couldn’t morally sit back and watch more babies be murdered in the womb and know that the progressive-liberal policies of the Left were going to only continue and potentially get worse. I knew the Supreme Court was up for grabs and so morally, I couldn’t sit back and say, “Well, I’m not going to vote or I can’t vote for this person or that person because they are morally corrupt.” No. At the end of the day, I looked up and I saw the score on the scoreboard. I could deny it or hope that the score would somehow change. But, at the end of the day, it was going to be Trump or Clinton and the questions for me became very, very simple: Who was going to potentially do more harm to the country? Who was going to potentially destroy religious liberties with a liberal Supreme Court Justice? You see, those decisions would “morally” impact Charlotte and Evelyn and my children for the rest of their lives and I couldn’t idly sit by and say, “Oh well…God’s will be done.” Perhaps you could and you did and that’s fine. That’s your decision and I respect you for it. We must all give each other the latitude in Christ (Romans 14) to do so. You will answer to God for how you have lived and so will I and I can tell you with 100% assurance, that my conscience is clear. I rendered to Caesar that which is Caesar’s.

For me, this election boiled down to: How is the church going to be able to share the Gospel going forward? Will we be free to do so or will it mean jail time for leaders? I wondered: Is the government going to seek to censure us? Clinton led me to believe that was likely and eventually going to be the case. She said over and over again that she was fine with Christians and how they “worship” in their buildings, ¬†but not how they “believe” in the marketplace, and if that “belief” didn’t match up to the postmodern view of the day, then trouble was coming. I was convinced in my mind by the end of her four-year term, I would most likely end up behind bars for preaching Orthodox Biblical teaching about marriage, sexuality, gender and life (abortion).

What had I seen in the last 2 years? I saw a county clerk in KY being locked up for not signing documents that went against her conscience. I had seen bakeries shut down because they wouldn’t bake cakes and t-shirt makers fined because they wouldn’t make t-shirts for ceremonies that violated their consciences. In my own life…I was vilified because I quoted God’s Word on social media. I was told I was a closed-minded and a bigot and an unintelligent fool. And I thought, “What kind of ‘tolerant’ country were we living in!!” There was no tolerance in any of this! And at the end of the day, 81% of so-called “evangelical christians” voted for Trump, because they said: ENOUGH!!! In fact, that 81% was more than George W. Bush got in 2004 with 78%. Truly, it seems that many Christians felt like they had been marginalized and many felt like a minority. And to the polls they went en masse.

So, here we are today, one week after the election and I see the country has a lot of healing to do. The mainstream media is currently¬†pushing the idea that Trump is going to round-up all the LGBT community and all immigrants and throw them out of the country. Yet, if you actually listen to what he is saying, that is not the case. I must say that I respect President Obama for the stance he has taken in welcoming Trump to the White House and also saying publicly that it’s time to move forward and give President-Elect Trump an opportunity. That’s what we did in 2008 and 2012 and that’s what should be done here and now in 2016.

Yes, we have much work to do as a nation and I talked about that today in my Two-Minute Tuesday. I talked about the fact that we have a lot of work to do with the millennial community. They are scared to death that the sky has fallen (mainly being fueled by social media) and yet, we can’t marginalize their feelings any more than how many Christians felt that their feelings were being marginalized over the last 8 years. We must work together to see each other’s point of view and then lovingly show the grace and mercy of Christ in how we bring calm to the hysteria that’s being promoted in many ways. We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work in carrying out our marching orders: Going and making disciples of all nations! And at least for now…I believe I might be able to continue to do that breathing free air and watching my family grow up. ūüôā

Two Minute Tuesday, “Many Millennials Are Asking: Is There Any Hope For America?”

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/6a665d8

Kevin

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I wrote the Daily Devotion below for today and I hope it will bring you encouragement on this historic day. Here’s today’s Two-Minute Tuesday.

The title is: “Good News For A Change.”

http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/61b67c4

It’s Election Day, But Remember: The Clouds Are The Dust of God’s Feet

Nahum 1:3

The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
    and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.
His way is in whirlwind and storm,
    and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

Think of that… The clouds are the dust of God’s feet. As you and I think about this date: November 8, 2016, I’m convinced today will be the beginning of something that we’ve never seen before. Today is election day 2016 and it’s huge. And any way you slice it, there is going to be about 1/2 the country that’s upset with the outcome of today’s election. Half! 50%! That’s huge folks! I feel the weight of today’s outcome and so do you. I know you do. In fact,¬†its people¬†who read devotions who actually care. (Truly, people who don’t care about life too much seldom read devotions in my humble opinion. :))

But, think about the power of God. He is in the whirlwind (that’s a hurricane or tornado). He’s that powerful and whatever happens today will not deter His sovereign plan or His will. Now, that doesn’t excuse us from doing our part, as some have suggested. God expects us to be His salt and light in all areas of life (including politics). We don’t stick our head in the sand and cross our fingers and just hope things get better. No, we are participate in the process and we do our part.

Don’t ever forget that God controls even the hearts of kings and emperors. He can turn the heart of mankind for His will and purpose at any time. Yet, He gives mankind the opportunity to receive or reject Him.

Yesterday, someone emailed this line to me about today’s election:

“We‚Äôll see if God has given up on America!!!”

I replied: Well, I think we might could rephrase that a bit and I would say it this way:

“It won‚Äôt be that God has given up on America‚Ķbut rather…it will be that America has given up on God.”

There is a difference you know. But, even if that’s the case…that doesn’t change the fact that…

Nahum 1:3

The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
    and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.
His way is in whirlwind and storm,
    and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

Remember pagan Nebuchadnezzar? He had defied God and literally spit in His face. Yet at the end of his life he said:

Daniel 4:34-35

34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;

35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
    and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
    and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
¬†¬†¬†¬†or¬†say to him, ‚ÄúWhat have you done?‚ÄĚ

Yep, that’s God’s power if I’ve ever seen it. Do you understand what I’m driving at today? God is All-powerful and nothing is out of His control. “None can stay his hand.”

I like how Moses phrased things:

Deuteronomy 4:30

30 When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice.

Yes, 50% of the country is not going to be happy tomorrow and many will choose to push the panic button. But, as believers and followers of Christ, I encourage us to remain calm and cheerful, no matter the outcome and realize that God is in control and He still controls the whirlwinds and no one can stay His hand. In the end, we win! Do you get that? In the end…for those of us with an eye on eternity…we win!

Indeed I will say with Nebuchadnezzar:

I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation.

Kevin

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I went and did my civic duty today and voted. I was on my way back from Wilkes Senior Village and seeing a church member and I thought, I’ll go on and vote. I was hoping it would be quick and easy at the local Fire Station in Millers Creek. Well, it wasn’t fast.

In fact, when I arrived, there was a line of 18 people in front of me (yes, I counted). That’s not too many, I know. Yet, the line wasn’t moving. The voting booths were empty. There are 8 of them and not a single person in them. I thought, “What in the world is going on?” I stood in line and checked my emails on my phone and thought, “Just listen Kevin, you’ll learn soon enough.” And sure enough, within a few moments, the two men in front of me started talking about the situation. One man said, “How crazy is that. They’ve just got one computer up here for the whole place?” The other man said, “Yeah…do you think all the voting places are going to be like this?” The other man laughed and said, “It would be just like the government ¬†wouldn’t it.” I bit my lip from laughing out loud because I started to say, “Amen.”

Apparently there was a lady whose address wasn’t pulling up on the computer. And the problem is this: You have to print out a form that you sign before you can get a ballot. Those of you who vote know this, but the form simply has you verify that your name and address is correct. After waiting for about 15 minutes, some people about 3 or 4 folks in front of me gave up. The computer was locked up and kept kicking out the address of the lady. I thought, “Are these folks going to hold up what is now about 30 people for this one lady? How long will this go on?” By now there were about a dozen people behind me (now out the door). Two more people left.

Finally one of the ladies at the desk with the computer spoke up and said, “We’re sorry folks, we finally have this figured out. This should move a lot quicker now.” And she was right. The line started moving. I noticed the lady behind me (a lady in her 60’s I would guess) had her license out. I politely said, “Ma’am, you won’t need that.” She said, “What? How will they know who I am?” I said ma’am there is no voter ID. The only thing they will ask you is for your name and address. I said, “In fact, if you try to show they your license, they will turn their heads away from you like you have a disease.” And sure enough, within 30 seconds of that sentence coming from my mouth, a man who works at a local lumber company (according to his shirt) tried to show his license to one of the workers. She said, “Oh no sir!” She quickly turned her head to the side! “Sir, I’m not allowed to look at that.” I looked at the lady behind me and I raise my eyebrows as if to say, “See!” She smiled and said, “You were right.”

Interestingly there was a gentleman behind her in overalls with a camo hat. He looked to be late 60’s to early 70’s. He said, “Ain’t that something? If I write a check at Wal-Mart they’ve got to see my license. Ain’t it crazy that you can vote for the President of the United States and they don’t want to see your identification.” I looked at him and I smile knowingly and I said, “Yeah, try to get on an airplane without a photo ID.” He quipped back, “The world has gone crazy and that’s why I’m here voting. I’m sick of this mess.”

Six people in front of me were an old couple. They honestly looked very frail. They looked to be in their 80’s. I heard the lady said to her husband (rather loudly…because I saw that she had a hearing aid in her ear)… “Honey, I know it’s been a long time, but we just had to come. We can’t let this go without voting this time.” As I looked at this old couple, I had to admire their tenacity. After a couple more minutes I noticed someone had gotten the elderly lady a chair and she sat down. She was looking pretty wobbly.

Being tall, I can look over crowds rather easily and I continued to survey the crowd. I saw another man in overalls and farm boots with a Caterpillar hat on his head. I saw a lady that looked to be a nurse or health care worker with scrubs on and white tennis shoes. I saw men with blue work shirts with their names on the front and grease under the nails. I saw a well dressed lady with high heels and a fashionable purse. I saw a man with a Korean War Veteran hat on his head. I stepped out of line and stuck out my hand saying, “Thank you for your service to our nation sir.” He smiled and said, “You’re welcome son. I was glad to do it.” Several others shook his hand who were standing around him. I saw the look on his face of honor and respect and I smiled. I saw another preacher that I know. We made eye contact at one point. He winked and I winked back.

I finally got to the table and told the lady my name: David Kevin Brown.

“Sign your name here…full name…after verifying your address,” I was told. I signed and was handed a ballot and told to complete both sides. I went to the booth and began to fill in the bubbles and I thought to myself. “Kevin, for goodness sake, don’t darken the wrong bubbles!” But, I was ready. I had already cut out of the newspaper the sample ballot and filled it in just in case I drew a blank on some of the more obscure names. But, truly, I didn’t even look at it. I had really done my homework and I know the candidates and the issues and what they stand for and the agenda they will promote if elected. I understand the party platforms and I understand what I believe the future will hold if certain individuals are elected.

I’ll tell you something else I understand. I walked from the booth to the counting machine and it took my ballot, NUMBER 434, and I walked out of the Fire Station with renewed hope for our country. I thought, “Kevin there are still tons of people who love this nation and there are some really good people in this country.” And I got in my car and headed back to the church and I thought, “I’m thankful for the privilege I just enjoyed!” And those are the things I learned in a voting line.

Kevin

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