HEALING OUR LAND
If my people, who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(II Chronicles 7:14)
At some point in the past this scripture was so much a part of me I put it on a small poster and placed it high on a wall in our bedroom closet. Beneath the scripture I wrote "a lifestyle." If we would pattern our lives by this admonition, how different our world would be. The change must be with each of us, humbling ourselves, seeking God’s will, and turning from our wicked ways.
Humility seems not to be a natural virtue. We feel pride in living in America, a great world power, and we feel blessed beyond the struggling masses in many parts of the world. Perhaps we would find it easier to perform difficult tasks in order to gain God’s favor than become humble. But God says in James 4:10: "Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and he will exalt you." We must be humble before coming to our Almighty God in prayer.
We also shrink from being accused of wickedness—but each generation seems to develop a greater tolerance for the sin within and around us.
Under the guise of entertainment and pleasure, we are allowing sin to become commonplace. We can sit back and blame the entertainment industry, but the fact remains that if those of us who profess to be Christians refused to be enticed by these efforts to entertain and influence our lives, the industry would fail. The disgraceful television programs, movies, books, magazine, and videos would not be in demand, and the liquor and gambling industries would falter.
We have become a society which expects to be entertained and pleased from early childhood to our senior years. We demand more and more to be satisfied. We are unable to break away. We develop undesirable habits, allowing that which was unacceptable to become commonplace. Often the results are unhappiness and sometimes death.
Even our churches are finding it necessary to offer entertainment of various types to entice Christians to come to the Lord’s house. Instead of being satisfied with the singing of hymns of worship and consecration and the preaching of sermons from the scripture, many go into places of worship expecting to be entertained by special professional groups. Supposed these are preparing the congregation to hear God’s word proclaimed, but all to often the sermon becomes anti-climactic. In and of themselves these performances may be good, but we must be on guard to put our emphasis in the right place.
The July 26, 2001, issue of The Baptist Record includes an article "Hook ‘em While They’re Young: Influence of the Media." The author, Lee Yancey, bemoans the place television has taken in the lives of families and most particularly the younger generation. Through television, homes are filled with scenes shocking beyond what was once found only in the trashiest of publications.
Also public displays in variety stores, drugstores and grocery—in locations hard to avoid—flaunt sin and debauchery. The tabloids are unbelievable in their search for scandal, and even the more reputable magazines try to grab attention by featuring their most shocking articles.
We cannot seek his face unless we abandon our wicked ways. We must pray first for the cleansing of ourselves and for a humble spirit. Only when we have met the conditions He set out can we expect him to heal our land.
Prayer is a powerful weapon in our lifestyle change. As I pray daily, I ask for help for myself. Recently I have read, reread, and pondered The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life, by Bruce Wilkinson. Dr. Wilkinson says that the prayer of the little-known Bible hero Jabez contains the key to a life of extraordinary favor with God. Since reading this book, I start my prayers by asking God to bless me greatly, to keep me from evil and to extend my territory so I can help others.
I pray earnestly for our country and its people, I pray for our leaders from the lowest position to the highest. I pray that they will hold the welfare of those they govern above their own political gain. I pray each will lead with clean hands and a pure heart so that Christianity will prevail. When the core begins to rot, the entire nation will spoil.
Someone has said, "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of." The late Dr. R.G. Lee said, "Only that which lies outside the will of God lies outside the reach of prayer." We have a limitless storehouse of power at our disposal simply for the asking. With the help of prayer, we can make a change in our lifestyle.
THE JABEZ PRAYER
And Jabez called on the God of Israel
saying, "Oh, that you would bless me
indeed, and enlarge my territory, that
Your hand would be with me, and
that You would keep me from evil,
that I may not cause pain!"
I Chronicles 4:10
(NKJV)ROBERT T. (BOB) ROSSON, JR., CFSP
SERVES AS PRESIDENT OF THE MISSISSIPPI FUNERAL DIRECTORS ASSOCIATION
Bob and Beth Rosson, Funeral Directors and Managers of Waller Funeral Home, were photographed recently at the annual Installation Banquet of the MFDA, where Bob was installed as President. Participation in the Association provides continuing education opportunities, a master trust that provides additional financial security for pre-arrangement, and contacts beneficial to excellence in funeral home operation.
THE VALUE OF RELIGION
A survey conducted by the secular research group Public Agenda reveals that the majority of Americans believe that there would be less greed, materialism, and crime in the country if more people were religious. Respondents also said that religion is the best way to strengthen moral values, increase volunteerism, and strengthen the family.
The poll additionally showed, however, that Americans are wary of the influence of a specific religion could have in politics and in schools. Fifty three percent said they prefer a non-sectarian moment of silence to actual prayer in school. Seventy-four percent said they think political candidates who talk about their religion are saying what they think people want to hear. Fifty-four percent think it would be a good idea to increase government funding for religious groups offering programs to help the homeless and drug addicts.
Among the evangelical respondents (24 percent of those surveyed), 84 percent said Satan is behind the fight against religion in public schools. More than two thirds of evangelicals said there is prejudice against them in society.
—Religion Today News
January 11, 2001
Reprinted in SBC Life, June/July 2001
IKE’S FAITH AND HUMILITY
The late Dwight David Eisenhower had the distinction of being the only American President to have been Baptized and received into a church membership upon confession of faith while in office. The memorial service in the Washington Cathedral witnessed strongly to his faith,--there can be no mistaken of it. The simple service, the hymns sung by the choir and congregation, the Scriptures read, the prayers given, the Apostles Creed,--all bore witness to Ike’s faith in his Lord. The leaders of one hundred nations were present and they heard the witness, More than that, national television brought the witness to the American people.
We were not only reminded by Eisenhower’s faith, but his humility. There might have been much pomp and ceremony. Eisenhower was the Commander of the Allied forces for the invasion of Europe. He was one of the world’s most decorated military men. Many honors had been heaped upon him in life. In death the services were simple. It had been planned that way. He was buried in a casket just like those used for common soldiers. This speaks of humility of the man. With all of the honors bestowed upon him, and having been the 34th President of the United States, and having enjoyed a personal popularity seldom matched in America, he chose the common lot.
reprinted in Paul Lee Tan's
Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations
THE COLLEGE PRESIDENT AT WORK
Dr. J. F. Cowan once told the story of a small religious college that was having financial difficulties, even though their academic standards had been exceptionally high. One day a very wealthy man came on the campus, found a white-haired man in overalls painting the wall, and asked where he could find the president. The painter pointed to a house on the campus and said he was sure the president could be seen there at noon.
At the designated time the visitor knocked at the president’s door and was admitted by the same man he had talked to on the grounds, though now he was attired differently. The visitor accepted an invitation to have lunch with the painter-president, asked a number of questions about the needs of the college, and told him he would be sending a little donation. Two days later a letter arrived enclosing a check for $50,000. The humility of a man who was fitted for his position as college president, but who was not too proud to put on the clothes of a workman and do the job that needed doing so badly, had opened his purse strings.
reprinted in Paul Lee Tan’s
Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations
PROTECTING CHILDREN AND TEENS FROM
NEGATIVE MEDIA INFLUENCE
According to Bob Waliszewski in Living with Teenagers, here are some ways parents can help protect children and teens from negative media influence.
Keep the TV out in the open. Allowing teens to have a television in their own rooms effectively prevents you from monitoring them.
Find out about movies beforehand. You wouldn’t let someone commit sexual acts or use drugs in front of your child—don’t let your kids watch programs or movies that glamorize these behaviors. One excellent source for media reviews is Plugged In magazine’s website, www.family.org/pluggedin.
Speak up. When you see something on TV that is blatantly wrong, let your teen know the Biblical reason why you do not approve. Talk about what they see. When your son or daughter comes home from watching a movie, discuss what he or she watched. Ask about the plot, whether the characters were worth imitating, and whether the movie was satisfying or disappointing (and why).
Walk out. Don’t be afraid to get up and leave during a movie if its content is inappropriate. Most times, theatres will refund your money. Likewise, change channels if a television program starts to sour.
Dispense with commercials. Many commercials, even during family-friendly programs, are not up to family standards. Hit the mute button when commercials come on. You may even decide to record your favorite shows and fast forward through ads.
Remember who’s watching. The best protection when making media choices is to remember that God’s watching along with you.
Consider a media fast. When Hollywood asks you to sit back and turn off your mind, say "no." Try turning off your TV, movies, and videos for a week or a month. Read a book, take a walk, talk with friends, and enjoy the quiet around you.
—Reprinted in the Baptist Record,
July 26, 2001
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT FUNERAL PLANNING
The following questions and answers cover some concerns expressed in funeral service planning.
How can we personalize the funeral of a loved one?
Because every person is unique, every funeral is different. Our staff will help you in planning a funeral service to reflect the personality of your loved one. We listen to your ideas and then explain options for you to consider in providing a meaningful service for the deceased. Selections of casket, music flowers, clothing and pallbearers individualize the service. Family members and friends can be encouraged to bring photographs and other memorabilia to display at the funeral home. Eulogies from family members and good friends can be included to personalize the service.
How can interfaith families and families with members on opposite ends of the spectrum within the same religion arrange funerals that bring comfort to all?
Compromises have to be made. Advance planning is especially important to eliminate some of the stress. Clergy must be sensitive and help those of other faiths to realize they have much in common despite their differences. In some instances, family members have felt better after organizing and additional memorial service at home with friends of their own faith.
How can we arrange an affordable funeral?
The funeral home staff wants to help you arrange a dignified funeral within your means. If you will let us know the range of spending comfortable for you, we will explain options that are available. Each item is priced separately, so you can make choices that suit your budget. Casket prices vary significantly, and we point out the features of different models. Using clothing from the deceased’s own wardrobe saves. We will in know way pressure you to spend beyond your wishes and means. We will help you to determine if you might be entitled to Social Security or Veterans’ benefits and tell you how to claim them. Planning ahead—before need—prevents emotional overspending and is one of the most effective ways to manage funeral expenses.
When do I pay for funeral expenses?
Payment arrangements should be made at the planning conference after the death of a loved one—unless pre-paid. Payment can be made with cash or check (with time allowed to transfer funds), credit card, assignment on verified life insurance, or arrangements made with a bank or other lending institution.
How can I plan ahead?
Just call us at the funeral home. We will be glad to meet with you at your convenience to discuss plans. We have forms available for recording personal information and making funeral service choices. We will keep the information in a confidential file until it is needed. Prepayment—with many options available—is recommended but is not required.
TURN IT OVER
There comes a time in any undertaking when we have done all we can do. Having accomplished what is humanly possible, it is time to turn the rest over to God.
Turning it over is akin to planting a seed in the ground and having the faith to allow that seed to germinate in the darkness. Just as invisible forces bring forth the seed’s potential, Infinite Intelligence works behind the scenes to produce the good that you desire. As one person put it, "I realize that God is doing for me what I cannot do for myself."
Turning it over also means placing the final results in God’s hands. Have faith that if spirit is doing the work through you, spirit will handle the outcome. As you develop this trust in the higher plan, fear and worry will gradually disappear until you can declare with confidence, "It is all for your glory. It is all in Your hands, and I do rejoice in this."
I Am With You Always
THE LORD’S WAY
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might to greater things,
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for—but everything that I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men, most richly blessed.
— Author Unknown
Grieving is as natural as crying when you hurt, sleeping when you are tired, eating when you are hungry, or sneezing when your nose itches. It is nature’s way of healing a broken heart.
— Doug Manning
Don’t Take My Grief Away
We dedicate this issue of Seasons to those who died and whose families we served from May 1, 2001 through August 5, 2001.
Mr. Richard Lewis Rushing / May 1, 2001
Mrs. Luella Haag Dodge / May 2, 2001
Mrs. Lucille Davis Watt / May 2, 2001
Mrs. Mary Alice Blank / May 3, 2001
Mr. Lokie George Lynch, Jr. / May 5, 2001
Mrs. Opal Royal Roux / May 6, 2001
Mrs. Josie Winter Garrett / May 6, 2001
Mrs. Ellen Apperson DeVoe / May 8, 2001
Mrs. Susanne Fortenberry Wood / May 12, 2001
Mrs. Joan L. Saucier / May 22, 2001
Mrs. Imogene Tatum Davidson / May 26, 2001
Mrs. Johnnie Myrtle Shipp James / May 27, 2001
Mr. Benjamin Roberts McEwan, Sr. / May 28, 2001
Mrs. Martha Key Fite / May 28, 2001
Mr. William Autry Harwell / May 29, 2001
Mr. Fred Sims / June 1, 2001
Mrs. Patricia Onsby Edwards / June 3, 2001
Mrs. Louise Johnson Stripling / June 3, 2001
Mr. Roy Howard Waller / June 4, 2001
Mr. Carroll Judson Sparks / June 11, 2001
Mrs. Rita Jean Weir Callaway / June 15, 2001
Mrs. Ada Sibyl Turner Hogan / June 15, 2001
Miss Beth Nicole Daniel / June 15, 2001
Dr. James Hazel Barnes / June 18, 2001
Mr. James Charles Fox / June 19, 2001
Mrs. Mary Pauline Britt Betts / June 20, 2001
Mrs. Lorraine Bradley Levy / June 21, 2001
Mr. John Bunyan "J.B." Kelley / June 25, 2001
Mrs. Mildred Ragland Frazier / June 28, 2001
Mrs. Alpha Roy Hartley / July 1, 2001
Mrs. June Donaldson Rogers / July 2, 2001
Mr. James Gordon Beeler / July 4, 2001
Mrs. Ara Phillips Sparks / July 6, 2001
Mrs. Linda Stephens Gordon / July 8, 2001
Mrs. Audra Lawhorn Sandefer / July 10, 2001
Mr. Clelon Wilburn Brummett / July 13, 2001
Mr. James W. "Billy" Bowles / July 17, 2001
Mrs. Amy Blankenship Burrow / July 20, 2001
Mr. Marvin Wayne "Jack" Webb / July 22, 2001
Mrs. Clara Christine Thomas Milam / July 27, 2001
Mrs. Norma Paton Harmon / July 28, 2001
Mrs. Millie Holmes Ferguson / July 30, 2001
Mr. Billy Bob Whorton / August 1, 2001
Mr. Donald Harry Medley / August 5, 2001
Mrs. Rebecca Jane Paschall Dogan / August 5, 2001