NEW EACH DAY
DAILY DEVOTIONALS
THE CHRISTIAN PRESS​


NEW EACH WEEK
WEEKLY COLUMNS

Below the Daily Devotionals

Gary Miller's Outdoor Truths,  Dec. 11, 2017
HERE
Angie Land's Heart Matters, Dec. 11, 2017
HERE
Guy Sheffield's But Anyway, Dec. 12, 2017
HERE


Students honored

(from left) Tarris Jonesof Chiefland Elementary School, City Commissioner Rollin Hudson and Gavin McLelland of Chiefland Middle School pause for pictures after the ceremony to honor the students.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 12, 2017 at 2:17 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND --
Two boys went home from the Hardy Dean Sr. Municipal Building Monday night (Dec. 11) with certificates in hand and a $20 gift card each.

 

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     Another student had her traits that made her an outstanding student read by Chiefland City Commissioner Rollin Hudson as he presented the honors to the November Students of the Month in Chiefland.
     Tarris Jones, a third grade student who attends Chiefland Elementary School was noted by teacher Erin Boyd to be the CES choice for this distinction. He is the son of LaWanda Jones.
     "Tarris is a kindhearted and polite young man," Commissioner Hudson said as he read the comments from Boyd. “If he sees an adult or peer in need, he is quick to help. If he sees something out of place or trash on the ground, without prompting he will take care of it.
     "Tarris works hard and puts forth good effort," Hudson continued. "He is a 'thinker'. In discussions, he takes time to respond and make connections."
     Gavin McLelland, the son of Matt and Beth McLelland was nominated by all of the seventh grade teachers at Chiefland Middle School.
     He is one of the most hardworking students, the teachers noted and Hudson read. Gavin McLelland wants to learn, they noted.
     "He is polite to his peers as well as to adults," Hudson said. "He is active in FFA, Student Government and is on the Cross Country Team. Gavin is a role model for others."
     Victoria Hutson, a senior who was nominated by the Chiefland High School teachers was not present Monday night to accept her certificate. Each student also received a $20 gift card for use at Walmart. The gift cards were donated by the Rotary Club of Chiefland.
     Although Hutson, the daughter of Shannon Hutson, was absent, Hudson read what the CHS teachers noted about her.
     "Victoria Hutson is an amazing young lady," Hudson said. "She is in multiple clubs, plays sports and is dual-enrolled while maintaining a high GPA. In seventh period, she works with several students -- tutoring them to help increase their understanding. She is honest, loyal, positive and committed to CMHS. Victoria is an amazing Lady Indian!"


All are welcome -
Monday evenings

Published Dec. 11, 2017 at 1:27 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND --
For anyone who is feeling alone or stressed out during this time of year, First United Methodist Church of Chiefland is inviting them to visit in a social setting.

     Everyone is invited to join in a Coffee & Conversation!
     All Are Welcome! Everyone buys their own coffee and doughnuts, however, if they feel inclined toward that since it will be at Dunkin' Donuts in Chiefland.
     These get-togethers are each Monday night from 5-6:30 p.m. at Dunkin’ Donuts in Chiefland.
     The discussion is centering around “Christmas Gifts That Won’t Break.” This is a safe place to ask questions, be yourself, and meet new friends!
     It is sponsored by the First United Methodist Church of Chiefland. Contact us at 352-493-4627 or office@fumccheifland.com for more information.


Six strays become pets

Levy County Animal Services Secretary III Crystal Pruitt (left) instructs Eddie and Teresa Barron in how to care for their new kitten.
~
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 10, 2017 at 11:37 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND --
Through the combined efforts of a retailer, a county commissioner, staff and volunteers of Levy County Animal Services and caring human beings, four dogs and two kittens found new homes on Saturday (Dec. 9).
     The six furry animals will be loved and care for in their new homes if all goes as expected.



Teresa Barron holds her new kitten ‘Peaches’ after completing the adoption process on Saturday (Dec. 9) in Chiefland.


Two dogs ‘Roscoe’ and ‘Kaley’ that were among those not adopted Saturday rest in their cages.


Animal Control Officer Nathan Mercer prepares to return ‘Roy’ the bulldog to his cage after a couple looked at this dog but chose against adopting him.


Levy County Commissioner Lilly Rooks holds ‘Kaley’ a female golden retriever, who was not adopted Saturday.


     Tractor Supply Co. of Chiefland, located in the same shopping center as Winn-Dixie, LifeSouth Blood Centers and other outlets in Chiefland, allowed Levy County Animal Services Director David Weatherford and some of his team to conduct a reduced-fee dog and cat adoption event on Saturday.
     Levy County Commissioner Lilly Rooks, the liaison for Animal Services with the County Commission, was present for the whole event. Commissioner Rooks is known for helping to care for cats and dogs. She is also an avid and accomplished hunter.
     Animal Services Director Weatherford, Dr. Darlene Esler, the county's veterinarian; Crystal Pruitt, secretary III; and Nathan Mercer and Lamar Sears, animal control officers, were among the people working in the gloomy, damp, cold morning on Saturday to help dogs and cats find new homes.
     They stayed at least until 1 p.m. and by 12:15 p.m. or so, they had found new homes for four dogs and two kittens that had most recently been housed at Levy County Animal Services.
     New dogs and cats become available for adoption at Levy Animal Services all of the time. The dog pound is not a retreat or destination sought by dogs and cats. It is part of a necessary function of animal control, resultant in large part due to not enough people spaying or neutering their pets.
     During the past decade, the service in Levy County has reduced its euthanasia rate for dogs significantly. Unfortunately, cats who reach the location in Bronson still have a 50 percent chance of going to cat heaven rather than to a home where they will enjoy being a family's pet.
     There were two kittens, however, that found welcoming people on Saturday.
     One of those kittens was named "Peaches." This 8-week-old female, long-haired black kitten was adopted by Eddie and Teresa Barron of Chiefland. Teresa Barron is among the members of the Chiefland City Commission.
     "Peaches" has been spayed, microchipped, de-wormed, treated for fleas, vaccinated for rabies and completely vetted by the Levy County Animal Services staff under the direction of Director Weatherford and Dr. Esler.
     The Barron couple also went home with extensive instructions for new kitten care, and a kitten toy as part of their purchase. “Peaches” had just
     "Now we are going to buy a collar," Teresa Barron said as she and Eddie Barron walked into Tractor Supply Co.
     Dogs and cats are available at the Levy County Animal Services facility.
     Two websites to check out for more information about Levy County Animal Services are visible by clicking HERE and by clicking HERE.


Goldy the cat Hardison visits with Needles the community cat of the unrecorded subdivision known as Jemlands on Saturday (Dec. 9). The cats are on either side of a glass door. Goldy is inside and Needles is outside. Needles, who was named this because he blends in with the pine needles of the area, survived freezing temperatures that night. He is not neutered, or vaccinated or anything. He is a formerly completely feral cat who allows some humans to give him cat food and water. Levy County is planning to start a program of spaying and neutering community cats. A community cat is one like Needles. They really have no home, but they survive in a community. The problem with these cats is that they create kittens and this fans the flames of cat overpopulation.


Goldy the cat Hardison and Inky the cat Hardison visit with Needles the community cat of the unrecorded subdivision known as Jemlands on Saturday (Dec. 9). The glass door separates the cats. Goldy, the senior mascot of HardisonInk.com, appears to like her outdoor male counterpart while Inky appears to hate Needles. Goldy purrs and Inky hisses at Needles. Needles could become an indoor cat somewhere, but not at The Ink Pad because there is only room enough for two cats there.

Mayor presents
award to students


Mayor R. Gerald Hethcoat begins his presentation of awards by starting with Bryce Hardy.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 7, 2017 at 7:47 a.m.
     WILLISTON --
Several people attended the first part of the Tuesday night (Dec. 5) meeting of the Williston City Council to see two elementary school students accept recognition from Williston Mayor R. Gerald Hethcoat.



Bryce Hardy holds his Outstanding Student certificate as the mayor reaches for a pizza certificate.


Jennifer Cook of Williston Elementary School and Bryce Hardy of Joyce Bullock Elementary School stand with Mayor R. Gerald Hethcoat after the presentation process.

     The monthly presentation of the Student of the Month certificates to Williston scholars has been tapered back a little bit this school year. Nevertheless, the mayor has maintained his standard of excellence in presenting the level of attention to the honor bestowed upon the young learners.
     The Student of the Month for Joyce Bullock Elementary School was Bryce Hardy.
     This second grade JBES student is the son of Theresa and Justin Hardy, and his teacher Monica Cooper noted that “Bryce is a hard worker and a wonderful role model.”
     As always, Mayor Hethcoat provided his commentary to remind the audience that students brought forward for this recognition have earned their awards.
     While the mayor read Cooper’s words, he added commentary and asked the boy questions to prompt happy reactions from the child.
     “He is always on task and so motivated to learn,” Cooper wrote and Hethcoat read. “He's always thinking and asking questions! Not only is he a very bright young man but he is also a good friend to anyone he comes in contact with.
     “He is always willing to help out a fellow classmate and always includes everyone, whether playing at recess or during group work. I'm so honored to have him as part of our class this year,” Cooper concluded.
     Each time the mayor asked the young Mr. Hardy a question, he replied “Yes sir” or “No sir.”
     Mayor Hethcoat called upon the audience to applaud the boy for his accomplishment at JBES.
     The mayor then asked the boy if he liked pizza. Receiving a positive response, the mayor announced that as a result, he was being given a certificate for a 14-inch, two-topping pizza at Angelia Mia’s Pizzeria in Williston. That restaurant is located across the street from Shogun Japanese Restaurant and relatively close to Dixie’s Antiques and Gifts.
     The Student of the Month for Williston Elementary School is Jennifer Cook. This fifth grade student is the daughter of Jessica Cook. Pricilla Fugate is Cook’s teacher.
     “Jennifer has been selected as Williston Elementary School’s Student of the Month,” Fugate wrote. “Jennifer is a thoughtful, kind, well-mannered young lady. She strives to do her best on every assignment and is always willing to help her classmates.  She has an outstanding work ethic and wonderful organizational skills.
     “Jennifer has made ‘A Honor Roll’ for the first nine weeks,” Fugate wrote and the mayor said. “Jennifer's cheerful, cooperative attitude makes her a joy to teach. She positively reflects the mission of Williston Elementary School and is an ideal choice for Student of the Month.”
     She also received a pizza certificate as well as the certificate, as it does for all of the Students of the Month, “Outstanding Student Award” for academic excellence, leadership, citizenship and attendance.

 


Countywide MLK Day
planning session set for Dec. 14


Gussie M. Boatright of Williston speaks to the Bronson Town Council on Monday night.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 6, 2017 at 3:07 p.m.
     BRONSON --
A planning session for what promises to be a week of celebrations throughout Levy County to honor the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Jan. 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968) was announced Monday night (Dec. 4) during the Bronson Town Council meeting.
     Bronson Mayor Bruce Greenlee was absent from the regular twice-monthly meeting, because he remains hospitalized due to a health issue. Vice Mayor Beatrice Roberts reminded everyone to keep Mayor Greenlee in their prayers.
     Gussie M. Boatright of Williston spoke during the public comment part of the agenda.
     The next meeting of people who are helping bring this all together this year is on Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m. in St. John Missionary Baptist Church Dining Hall, 498 E. Main St. (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street), in Bronson.
     This year, Boatright said, there is a group of people who are reaching across Levy County to help assure a collaborative effort for this program.
     Katherine Manuel from Bronson is among the people who are helping this effort, Boatright said. There are also representatives from Chiefland and Bronson.
     “This year,” she said, “we’ve included an essay contest for our students. We’re excited about that.”
     The theme for the 2018 event is “Together we win with love for humanity,” she said.
     “Never lose hope. Unity wins.” is another couple of phrases in the program in January.
     Boatright said she anticipates winning students to be selected from the group in elementary schools in Levy County, and from the middle school and from the high schools.
     These winning children will be invited to present their essays during the night of the gala – Jan. 13 at the Williston Middle High School Cafetorium.
     This black-tie affair lists single tickets for $20.
     To start this set of events, there are big kickoff celebrations anticipated to be in each participating city, Boatright said. That will be on Wednesday night (Jan 10).
     Thursday night (Jan. 11), Boatright said she anticipates the activity to be in Chiefland.
     Friday (Jan. 12), she said, is seen as a day of service when everyone can participate in a community service project within their community.
     Saturday (Jan. 13) there is a parade planned through Williston and Boatright wants as many people and units as can participate to make this the biggest and best MLK Parade so far in the city’s history.
     The Saturday night gala at WMHS promises to include some live entertainment as well as the students reading their essays, she said. The committee is seeking members of the Class of 1968 to be honored that evening.
     Boatright said the WHS Class of 1968 buried a time capsule that year, and there is a plan to dig it up and share it at the 2018 gala at WMHS.
     On Sunday (Jan. 14), Boatright said she is asking churches to mention something about the life of Dr. King. She thinks some young people are unfamiliar with his accomplishments.
     The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement.
     Dr. King is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.
     On Monday (Jan. 15), the national holiday known as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Town of Bronson has a short walk planned and then there is a celebration on Main Street (Martin Luther King Jr. Street) in front of the Levy County Health Department.
 

 


Overcomers is set to
present 'Grafted 2'

By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 3, 2017 at 10:17 a.m.
     STEINHATCHEE --
Overcomers, a non-profit group that helps people overcome addictions, is sponsoring ''Grafted 2," seven nights of inspirational worship music and speakers slated to be at Steinhatchee School, 1209 First Ave. S.E., in Steinhatchee, according to information provided by Davy Cannon, the leader of Overcomers.
     This program is planned to go from 7 to 10 p.m. on each evening on Dec. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17.
     There is no cost and anyone can attend, Cannon said. Everyone is invited, Cannon said, and this event may help change participants’ lives.
     Among the scheduled speakers and performers is Eddie James of the Eddie James Ministries group.
     Contemporary gospel artist Eddie James was born in Phoenix, Ariz., according to Andy Kellman’s commentary on a site that reviews music.
     He made his national recorded debut in 1995 with the Phoenix Mass Choir. That album, Higher, reached number three on Billboard's Gospel Albums chart, Kellman said.
    It was his most successful album from a commercial standpoint so far. He continued to expand his audience and went on to release many albums throughout the next two decades, including Grace (1996), God (2010), and Victory (2011), Kellman said.
     Almost all of his work -- as well as albums from his group Colourblind -- came out on his label, Fresh Wine, Kellman said.
     James leads his own ministry and established Dream Life, a recovery program, Kellman said.

 


Guardian Ad Litem Riders
generate gifts via a poker run


The riders prepare for launch from Carter’s Crossroads Convenience Store in Levy County as they start their journey to Cedar Key.

Story, Photo and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 2, 2017 at 8:47 p.m.
     NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA --
The Annual Ride For Toys by at least 25 Riders For The Third Judicial Circuit Guardian Ad Litem enjoyed the fourth of five stops at Carter's Crossroad Convenience Store in Levy County on Saturday morning (Dec. 2).




In this video, the riders are seen departing Carter’s Crossroads Convenience Store, which is on the corner of State Road 345 and Levy County Road 347. The bikers are heading out SR 345 to reach Cedar Key. Carter’s was one of the stops. Following are the five stops in order: Burger King in Perry; Tennille which is at latitude 29.778 and longitude -83.326; Charlie’s Landing (a bar and grill) in Dixie County; Carter’s Crossroads; and the Big Deck Raw Bar, which is across Dock Street from Steamer’s Clam Bar and Grill in Cedar Key.


     The Third Judicial Circuit includes Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor counties.
     Levy County is in the Eighth Judicial Circuit which includes Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy, and Union counties.
     The Guardian Ad Litem is effective in every circuit of the 20 judicial circuits in Florida. This set of people help assure that children’s interests are served when they are involved in a judicial matter such as child custody and the like.
     This ride is a typical poker run. A poker run is where riders collect one card each of five stops. The rider with the best hand wins.
     This particular poker run, though, included being conducted as a memorial to Pat Comins and Ken Dalton.
     Pat Comins (Dec. 16, 1951 - Dec. 3, 2016) was a resident of Perry at the time of his passing away. He served in the United States Navy during Vietnam. He was married to Trudi Comins.
     Kenneth Alan Dalton (Sept. 7, 1959 - Oct. 26, 2017).
     Dalton served in the United States Air Force. He worked as a Computer Tech with the 9-1-1 emergency systems, with several different counties. He was a dispatcher with the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office for many years. He was a member of the local AmVets, and his spare time he enjoyed motorcycle touring, with his wife Min.


LifeSouth announces friendly

blood drive competition
By LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Staff
Published Dec. 2, 2017 at 9:37 a.m.
Updated Dec. 5, 2017 at 10:57 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND --
The strength of a community depends on its health, and its health partially depends on an adequate blood supply.

     To help keep the blood supply at safe levels this holiday season, employees at Chiefland City Hall (The Hardy Dean Sr. Municipal Building) and the Chiefland office of the Florida Department of Transportation are continuing a friendly blood drive competition.
     The two sets of workers are hosting a blood drive on Thursday, Dec. 14 at both locations. The address for Chiefland City Hall is 214 E Park Ave, Chiefland, FL 32626. The address for the Florida Department of Transportation is 1820 S. Young Blvd. (U.S. Alt. 27), Chiefland, FL 32626.
     They invite everyone to come out to either location and to credit blood donations to their organizations.
     Donors are asked to eat a healthy meal, particularly breakfast, and drink plenty of fluids before donating.
     All donors will receive a recognition item. All donors will be entered to win a 60-inch High Definition Television.
     The drawing for the TV will take place on Dec. 22.
     Donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more, and show a valid photo identification (I.D.) at the time of donation.
     Sixteen-year-old donors must have signed parental consent.
     For more information about becoming a donor or about blood drives in your area, call LifeSouth at 888-795-2707 or visit www.lifesouth.org.
     The bloodmobile is scheduled to be at Chiefland City Hall, 214 E. Park Ave. between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Dec. 13.
     Look for the bloodmobile at the Florida Department of Transportation Office, 1820 S. Young Blvd. in Chiefland between noon and 6 p.m.
     Donors may give at either location and credit their donation to the desired group at registration.
     LifeSouth is the sole blood supplier for 39 medical facilities in 17 counties in North Central Florida. LifeSouth is a nonprofit, volunteer blood center supplying 128 medical centers in Florida, Alabama and Georgia.


Mayor Drinda Merritt
announces progress showing
Mastadon Bridge repairs soon


In this map provided by Google, Mastadon Drive is shown going south from Levy County Road 40 East, which is east of U.S. Highway 19 in the Town of Inglis. The thin blue line crossing Mastadon Drive is Harrison Branch and it continued south to feed the Withlacoochee River.

Map By Google

By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 1, 2017 at 10:47 a.m.
     INGLIS --
People who reside in a subdivision served by the Mastadon Bridge in Inglis are bound to be pleased to learn that the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) Mitigation Bureau has agreed to a grant request to fix the bridge again.

     The approved funding is by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), according to records.
     Inglis Mayor Drinda Merritt has been working to obtain this funding for the last year. She is pleased to see that the grant will allow the bridge to be repaired properly with a life expectancy of 50 years.
     The first phase of the estimated $268,000 project is funded for $55,000, Mayor Merritt said in a telephone interview on Friday morning (Dec. 1). The Town Council has agreed to the required $11,000 match of funds for that, she said, and Inglis Town Attorney Bradly Roger Bettin Sr. is anticipated to complete the creation of the documents required to accept bids on the project soon.
     After Hurricane Hermine caused problems in parts of Levy County, Levy County Department of Emergency Management Director John MacDonald provided the FDEM with a mitigation list for requested assistance for repairs. Those repairs included the bridge that extends Mastadon Drive across the Harrison Branch creek.
     Levy County Emergency Management Director MacDonald said there is a project list that is ongoing and there can be between 50 to 70 projects on it, where the county and all of the municipalities work together to create it.
     As funding becomes available through various sources, the interested parties work to obtain funding, MacDonald said. In the round of applications here, there were three projects initially targeted for approval – one from Cedar Key, one from Yankeetown and one from Inglis, MacDonald said.
     There was a total of about $600,000 available in this particular set from Levy County, MacDonald said.
     The leaders in Cedar key opted out because they wanted to construct something other than what the FEMA guidelines called for, he said. The leaders in Yankeetown missed the deadline to complete the application as required, MacDonald said.
     In the Mastadon Bridge culvert replacement project, MacDonald worked with Inglis Mayor Merritt to make sure the application was completed on time and correctly.
     "During the past 30 years," Mayor Merritt said, "the Mastadon Bridge has needed replacement three times. It happens once every 10 years."
     The most significant reason for bridge failure, she said, is the metal culverts rusting and collapsing. The replacement culverts are to be built from concrete, she said.
     This bridge crosses over the Harrison Branch, which is a tributary to the Withlacoochee River, Merritt said. This branch is dry or has little water unless there is a lot of rain, she said. When that happens, the bridge can be washed out if the culverts fail.
     People who live in the subdivision on one side of the bridge still have ingress and egress through other roads in the area that lead to Mastadon Drive, when the bridge has collapsed, but it causes an inconvenience.
     The most important service of the bridge is that it provides access to the subdivision from Levy County Road 40 East along Mastadon Drive for emergency vehicles more quickly than if those first responders had to use the alternate routes.
     Publisher’s Note: While the name of the type of dinosaur is spelled “Mastodon,” the name of the roadway is spelled “Mastadon Drive.” Also, while the Google map used for this story shows State Road 40 East, it is really Levy County Road 40 until it reaches the Marion County line, and then it becomes State Road 40.





     On Nov. 1, 2011, The Christian Press section on The Life Page of HardisonInk.com, started, about nine months after the start of the daily news website -- which officially started Feb. 1, 2011. The name was derived from an encounter a decade earlier, where and when a man mentioned to a journalist that this particular journalist must work for "The Christian Press." Although the presumption was incorrect and misplaced, the name sounds good.
     Since then, The Christian Press section of this page has run daily devotionals, and then within a relatively short time, weekly columns. 
     The Rev. Dr. Thomas "Tom" Farmer Jr. who retired from St. Paul's United Methodist Church of Largo several years ago is among the first contributors from 2011. There are several other individuals who contributed over the past seven years. Many daily devotionals have been pulled from Strength for Service to God and Country (Whitmore & Stone © 1942; Renewed 1969 by Norman E. Nygaard; Second revised edition © 2002 Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Providence House Publishers). I note my appreciation for the use of those devotionals from that now-defunct publishing company. I welcome contributions of daily devotionals. Daily devotional authors are asked to please send only their original works to hardisonink@gmail.com.


December 14, 2017 Thursday at 7:47 a.m.

THE NEW CREATION


Read John 3:16-21; Romans 10:9-10

     Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
-- 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)


     Who is the new creature to whom all things are become new? It is the one who believes in Christ as personal Savior. It is the one who knows that Jesus paid the penalty for sin on the cross in his or her place.
     The change is so great that it is proper to speak of the new creation in Christ Jesus. He or she has new views, new motives, new principles, new objects, and new plans of life. The impure becomes pure, the profane becomes clean; there is a change so deep, so clear, so entire, so satisfying, so abiding that it must be described as a new creation. It is the divine power of God alone which can accomplish so wonderful a change.
     Old things are passed away - prejudices, opinions, habits, love of sin, love of the world. Behold, all things are become new. Oh, the joy of it! The mind is centered on God, and the heart forms new attachments. All of these things are in the mind and heart of the newborn soul. The new creation in Christ Jesus is born of God.
     OUR FATHER, may we give Thee praise from the heart for Thy loving-kindness. Turn our faces heavenward that we may see all Thou wouldst do for us. May we know more of Thy tender mercies, that we may love more in accord with Thy will. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
H.E. Eavey, President
The Eavey Co.
Xenia, Ohio

Strength For Service to God and Country
(Whitmore & Stone © 1942; Renewed 1969 by Norman E. Nygaard; Second revised edition © 2002 Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Providence House Publishers)

 


Outdoor Truths Ministry
By Gary Miller © Dec. 11, 2017 at 6:47 a.m.
 
      There’s one four letter word I think everyone uses. Well, there’s at least one four letter word everyone uses. And they probably use it every day. It’s the word busy. Ask any person who has a job and somewhere in the middle of a normal conversation, he or she will mention how busy they are. Even those who have retired will tell you they are busier now than when they were working a regular job. With all of this busyness, it seems to get harder and harder for me to find the time to get in a tree stand for even a few hours. In fact, I mentioned to one young man how it seems for me to really get into hunting; I have to leave for a few days. Otherwise, my mind is roaming to all of the things I need to be, or should be, or ought to be, or, you get the idea. It seems with all of my daily responsibilities, to leave for only a half day, puts me too far behind to catch up by the end of the week (Whenever that is.) There is no doubt time neither stops nor slows down for anyone, no matter what excuse we have. Right now is a perfect example. In my area, the secondary rut is about to take place. This is maybe my favorite part of the hunting season. But by now, I have become so busy (there’s that word) I am having to miss crucial days being in the woods.  
     Now before you put down this article, let me quickly tell you what I hate about the busyness excuse. It’s the same thing you hate and the reason you were close to burning this week’s edition of Outdoor Truths. We hate people who think they are so busy they should get a pass for not doing certain things. Or another way to put it, we hate people who think they are busier than everyone else. We hate it because we know the truth, and it’s this. We all have 24 hours in each day. No more. No less. We all have families to care for, jobs to work at, and bills to pay. I mean you do know this don’t you? Or are you the one who leans to heavily on the “busy” excuse? Please don’t be that person. Please don’t use that excuse for not accomplishing some of the things you’ve dreamed about or doing some of things you know you should do. And please don’t use it for a reason to neglect your spiritual life.
     Let me tell you why…The people who accomplish more than we do are not afforded more time during each week. And neither are they afforded fewer responsibilities. They simply manage time instead of time managing them. They live, for the most part, proactive and not re-active. They don’t have fewer interruptions than the rest of us. Instead they buffer them in. The only way you will ever accomplish that one thing you want to do and that one thing you need to do, is if you begin by rejecting the busyness excuse.

~
Gary Miller has three books that are compilations of the articles he has written for nearly 15 years. He also speaks at game dinners and men’s groups for churches and associations.

Gary Miller's website is located at http://www.outdoortruths.org/



Heart Matters
By Angie Land © Dec. 11, 2017 at 1:27 p.m.
     Have you noticed how every single holiday commercial promises that this is “most wonderful time of the year?” Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, but rarely does the real world always live up to those promises. This year we are facing Christmas without loved ones who have passed away. I am already missing their presence even in the holiday preparations. Many of you are feeling that too, along with conflicting schedules, unresolved conflict or maybe just too many miles? Any of these can leave us feeling discouraged and wondering how in the world to cope. I think Mary and Joseph knew a little bit about that:
     “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first-born, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Luke 2:4-7
     About that first labor pain, Mary had to be thinking, “This is not how it was supposed to be!” Those pretty Nativity scenes we set up each year are wonderful decorations, but the real deal was dirty and smelly! Surely Mary didn’t have this in mind. Instead of her soft, clean bed, she gave birth on the floor of a stable. Even a room at the local inn wasn’t to be had! Instead of her mother and other women tending to her, she was alone with Joseph, who was no doubt as overwhelmed as she was! Instead of a cradle to lay her son, she placed him in a feed trough.
     And do you remember those shepherds who came to see the baby Jesus? If Mary and Joseph had been anywhere else, the shepherds would have totally missed it. Shepherds were not exactly high on the social ladder, but God chose them be the first witnesses of the birth of his Son! Who better to understand the amazing truth that God had just provided the perfect “Lamb” that would one day be the sacrifice to take away the sins of the world?
     Could it be that when we feel like there is no room for us someplace, it is because God has made room for us somewhere else? Try this perspective when dealing with holiday plans for your family: if someone can’t be there, for whatever reason, look around and see who that makes room for, and if something causes you to miss family celebrations, look around to see where God is making room for you. Celebration is ultimately up to us, and the attitude we choose to take. Our plans may not work out exactly like we hoped, but it could be that God has something extra special in mind this year!

Blessings for a Merry Christmas,
Angie
~

     PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Heart Matters is a weekly column written by Angie Land, Director of the Family Life Ministries of the Lafayette Baptist Association, where she teaches bible studies, leads marriage and family conferences and offers biblical counseling to individuals, couples and families. Please contact Angie with questions or comments at angieland3@windstream.net. She notes that she would love to hear from people.




Don't Drag Old Glory
Through The Mud

By Guy Sheffield © Dec. 12, 2017 at 1:47 p.m.
    My grandpa pretty much paid cash for everything he ever bought; except, of course, his house. I understand it took him nearly a year and a half and two bumper crops to pay that off. If my Mimi needed a new car, Papa saved up and got one cash-money. If the farm needed a new cotton picker, Papa went down to John Deere with cash-money. When it came time to pay his workers, Papa would dig in his britches and whip out a wad of bills thick enough to befuddle Ben Bernanke. No, he wasn’t rich. In fact, his folks had been poor immigrants from Italy. Papa was just smart enough to embrace the American way of working hard and staying out of debt. I never gave him much credit for it, at least not until the day he drove up with a brand new yellow three-wheeler in the back of his truck.
     If Papa had intended it for "Farm Use Only" he’d obviously failed to consider the nerve-pounding pressure produced by the overwhelming whining wattage and pleading power of two bored boys visiting on a summer break. Yes, within hours my little brother Heath and I had not only talked him out of the keys, but run through his inaugural tank of gas. Naturally we were miles from home when it sputtered to a stop. Something told me we should’ve listened to Papa’s instructions before peeling out on his foot and tearing off. They were just shy of filing a missing persons report when we finally made it back to the house that night. Papa was hot. He yelled at us all the way back to the three-wheeler. Then again, when he realized we’d left the lights on and drained the battery. It was a good thing we didn’t understand Italian.
     Over the next few months we stirred up so many turn rows around town our dust clouds were showing up on local weather forecast. The townsfolk took to calling us the ‘Dusty Duo’. Papa was even considering the police chief’s suggestion about getting us helmets. For us it was great. We’d never experienced such freedom. Other than the occasional bump or bruise suffered during minor altercations over whose turn it was to drive, life couldn’t have been going any sweeter. Then the rains came.
     For two days, big fat thunderheads sat upon us and pelted the parched little town. Finally, on the third day, the lightning abated somewhat and the rain slowed to a heavy sprinkle. We headed back out for ole’ Yeller. We’d been cooped up in that house so long I’m not sure who was more excited, us or Papa. Our attention swung immediately to the low swag in the side yard, which was now ankle deep. You could hardly tell Papa’s best stand of Bermuda was under there. I suggested it would be a good place to carve out a nice little figure eight track and start our own version the mud derbies.
     It all turned out to be great fun, at least until Heath alleged that I was cheating as the official time keeper. The proceeding altercation caused tempers to flare, and greatly fueled the fierceness of our competition. Soon we’d whipped that mud up and were slipping and sliding like barefoot boweivels break-dancing in a bowl of buttered boiled okra! I guess we were so wrapped up in winning we didn’t even notice how the water sizzled when splashed up on that overtaxed little engine, or how the clouds we were now riding under were not thunderheads at all. They had a much more oily smell. Yes, we were blissfully, and perhaps, willfully ignorant of all the warning signs. We were still talking trash right up to the point ole’ Yeller backfired and locked up on us. I don’t recall a lot of our dialog after that, but I’m sure it included the phrase, “Uh-oh!”
     Isn’t that just the way it is most times? A new generation coming up doesn’t take time to consider or appreciate the sacrifices and the struggles their forefathers endured to bring them the freedoms they now enjoy. It sure happened with ole’ Yeller that day. I just hope it doesn’t happen here, with Old Glory. The Lord has blessed us so because of our forefather’s determination to establish ‘One Nation under God’. I just hate to see us drag it all through the mud now. (Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the LORD's commands. Judges 2:17 NIV).
     But anyway - neither Heath nor I knew much about praying, but we suddenly felt compelled to learn. We called a truce and fell to our muddy knees together. From there we did what came natural. We begged. We pleaded with God to spare us from the great wrath of Papa! We found the Lord to be most merciful. In nothing short of a miracle, ole’ Yeller sputtered back to life and ran long enough for us to get her back to the barn. The rains revived and flooded over the muddy mess we had made, at least until we could call momma and have her come take us home!
     I learned a lot about stewardship that day, and how easy it can be to totally ruin an awesome blessing entrusted to you. I also learned the value of prayer and the power of repentance. Boy, if we could just get a hold of these things as a nation.

~
Guy Sheffield's website - But Anyway is located at http://www.butanyway.org/
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--UPDATED--
THURSDAY   Dec. 14   7:47 a.m.
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