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Sunday, February 25, 2018



Psalm 35:14, “I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.”

Psalm 41:9, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”

Many years ago a young man was driving his new Ford automobile and it broke down and he was stranded. An elderly man happened to be driving by and he stopped and asked the young man if he needed help. The young man smarted off to the older man “Yea, I need help but no old man like you would be able to help. Just go on old man!” As a result Henry Ford drove away! It might do the youth in our churches of America to listen to those who have preceded them and paved the way for them.

In these 46 years of being an ordained and licensed Baptist preacher I have been asked this question over and over again, “How do you keep your confidence in people?” Please allow me to say I do have confidence in the human race! I am not disillusioned with mankind. I still have confidence in people. I pastored for 33 years literally hundreds of people whom I loved that chose to turn on me.

I have listened to people say, “I’m becoming bitter at people! I’m disappointed in people! Preacher how do you keep from being disenchanted with people? How do you pastor still trust people after being betrayed?”


We are so funny! We repair watches by sending them to a repair shop in order to open it up and fix the insides so it will function. No sensible man or woman will throw the watch on the floor and stomp it to pieces.

Here is a new word, for those of you reading this chapter; it is called “Christian.” What a fresh concept of not only acting like a Christian but also being a Christian with our relationship with those who attack us! How about blessing those who curse you? How about overcoming evil with good? How about doing good to those who despitefully use you? “Preacher that is just not natural!” Of course not but it is supernatural!


It may be that you are the only person they express hatred for. If there are 6 plus billion people on planet earth. If anyone loves us they can hate the rest of the world and they are considered to be good people by us. If anyone hates us they can love the rest of the world and they are bad people in our eyes. In essence we judge every one based on how they treat us. This is nothing but a picture of our own self-centeredness and selfishness.

Some of you reading this chapter are having a tough time having confidence in people and the truth is you have become bitter. You find yourself absolutely refusing to trust anyone again.

You are reading an article written by an author who is not disillusioned by the human race. I have not lost confidence in people and I refuse to live mistrusting people because of a few bad experiences.


One of the difficulties as humans we possess in our human relationships is the inability to discern and dissimilate. When friendship trumps truth then we hide behind the guise of “loyalty” because of our friendships. However, we become “disloyal” to truth in order to be “loyal” to a friend, family member, or even a pastor and create wrong emotions.

Years ago there was church member who once a year would set an appointment with me. He would come to the office with a list of all the mistakes I had made the previous year. Of course there were only a few! Ha!

One day my secretary told me this church member was next for counseling. She then paused and said to me, “Everyone in this church knows he is a trouble maker and a critic. You don’t have to see him if you don’t want too!” I said, “No, I want to see him!” She just shook her head and led the man into my office.

He pulled out a piece of paper and began to go down his list. I took my pad out and began to list his concerns. The truth is the first five were ridiculous and petty. However, when he began to tell me of his sixth concern the Holy Spirit began to convict me and it was painful. 

I circled number six on my pad and said to myself, “Dear Lord, if you will let me live I promise I will correct that! Thank you Holy Spirit!” Of course I did not let him know! I still have my pride! Ha! When he left I dropped to my knees and asked the Lord to forgive me and I made things right!

There is no such thing as a universal “body of Christ.” There are only local churches and thus only a local body. We are not the “bride of Christ.” You have to have a marriage before you can have a bride. We are “espoused” to Christ, but only after the rapture will there be a marriage. So, if that were true then it must be understood that every “body” has a “heel.”

When you surround yourself with nothing but “Yes” it can be dangerous for you and them! Preachers are right so much of the time that they begin to think they are right all the time! 

·      I believed there were people I pastored who would stand by me come Hell or high water
·      I believed there were some who would leave me and yet not be my enemies
·      I believed there were those whom I pastored who would turn on me

The key to all of this is found in verse 14, “…I behaved myself as though he had been my friend…” I quickly learned that it is impossible to be the pastor or preacher that I should be unless I looked at each church member as being a part of group one. I on purpose placed individual church members in-group one. 


It is best to behave myself as though each were my friend. I can still hear my preacher, Dr. Jack Hyles say, “Not all of you are loyal, but each of you are loyal.” I determine to look at the churches I pastored as being in-group one and never number two or number three.

It is wise to look at the human race like that. I want to be surprised when it does happen so I can enjoy what I am doing for the Lord. This way I enjoy the assets of each member without their liabilities up until the very end. It is best for me if I assume each member was for me. It is best for them if I assume that they are for me.

People who spend their lives looking for enemies have nothing left to spend on their friends! My desire was to be shocked.  Hold it! I am not shocked that it is GOING to happen, but just not today. I am not shocked that in the future someone will turn on me because the odds dictate it will happen. However, I want to be shocked at WHO it is that turns on me.

I refuse to spend my life speculating about people! If I have a problem I deal with it, fix it, and move on. I refuse to categorize people into group three.

I was blessed at Longview Baptist Temple of Longview, Texas, where I pastored for 29 ½ years. God gave me 33 of the finest deacons a pastor could ever ask for. I know that in almost three decades of pastoring LBT that one or two deacons turned on me. 

I knew in the future one or two deacons would turn on me, but I just refused to believe it to be any one of the 33 I served with at the time. I refused to think it would be any given deacon. I wanted to be shocked! I wanted to enjoy all of their assets until the very end! I did not have confidence in all of the deacons, but I had confidence in each of the deacons.

I figured that if the past is an accurate indicator then one or two of the current deacons will in the future turn on me but I made up my mind to enjoy each of the deacons’ friendship and not spend my life speculating as to who will turn on me.

The same thought applied to the seventy voice adult choir God gave us. The same thought applied to the almost forty piece orchestra God gave us. The same thought was true to the almost hundred on our church and school staffs.

I did not have confidence in the entire adult choir, but I had confidence in each of the choir members. I did not have confidence in all forty orchestra members but I had confidence in each orchestra member. I did not have confidence in all of the hundred staff members, but I had confidence in each of the hundred staff members.

We owned forty seven individual buses and ran over thirty Sunday school bus routes. I did not have confidence in the almost 200 bus workers, but I had confidence in each of the 200 bus workers.


I am not disillusioned and I’m not discouraged with the human race! When I travel to preach somewhere around this great nation I never assume an adversarial position and neither do I feel that they are in an adversarial position. I an not na├»ve! I understand there is someone there who is not for me, but I never LOOK FOR HIM OR HER because I have determined to assume that each of them are for me! Thus, I do not distrust any single individual.

Monday, February 19, 2018



Jeremiah 2:33, "Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways.”?

It is an easy thing for a child of God to desire to be liked and loved. No child of God desires conflict. Yet, the truth is there is a built in conflict between the flesh of man and the Spirit of God. When you trusted Christ as your personal Saviour the Holy Spirit of God came in to dwell in your body. He is your constant companion. He not only regenerates you but he teaches, guides, comforts, and even convicts. Why, because of the battle from the flesh to quench the Holy Spirit!

Here is a pastor who feels alienated from his people. He has been faithful in the preaching and teaching of God’s word. He personally loves to be loved. He personally desires to be accepted by his members. He finds himself at odds with those he has given his life to serve. He has won them to Christ. He has nurtured them in the Lord and yet he finds himself under pressure to conform to their ways. Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love?

Here is a lonely college student who has surrendered to full time service and left home to attend Bible College. He finds peer pressure did not stay at home but followed him to college. He stands for and does right. Yet, he finds those around him for various reasons are playing college and playing church. He wants to be loved. He wants to be accepted. He wants to be liked. Thus the pressure to conform exists almost daily. Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love?

Here is a struggling parent with a rebellious child. The child threatens to leave home if the rules of the house are not changed. It is very easy for parent to trim their way to seek love.

Here is a little gal in high school and she is not in the in crowd but she is a godly young lady. The pressure begins to heighten on her. It would be very easy for her to trim her ways to seek love and acceptance.

Here is a lonely teenage boy. He does right because he wants to do right but the pressure begins to mount. The peer pressure is almost too much to bear. It would be very easy to trim his way in order to seek love.

Here is a college young lady who wants to date but she is too straight laced they say. It is tough and a very easy thing for her to trim her way to seek love.

Here is a young widow. She is lonely and she faces it day in and day out. The emotional pressure is almost too much to bear with the empty spot at the dinner table, the bed, and the sofa. It would be very easy for her to trim her way in order to seek love.

Here is a young man in college. A young lady has shown him some attention but she is always critical and self-centered as well as selfish. It is very easy for him to trim his way to seek love.

Here is a businessman who’s an honest man and a shady deal is offered to him. It is very easy for him to trim his way to seek love.

Whether it is the love of money, a girl, a boy, a church member, an employee, a son, a daughter, or a boss if you trim your way to seek love you will regret it one day.


By the way you are in some good company! Paul did take a Jewish vow. Peter went fishing naked looking for acceptance. Peter cursed and denied his Lord, his faith, and his church looking for love. Barnabas fussed with Paul and chose his nephew over God’s will for he was looking for love. Solomon did the same thing in taking many wives when God said one wife for one lifetime in Deuteronomy 17:17 for he was seeking love. Demas did the same thing by trimming his way in order to seek the love of the world. John Mark did the same thing by turning back trimming his way in order to seek love. King David trimmed his way when he stayed home from leading his army into battle in search of love.


Here is a struggling youth pastor taking a stand for right. A child complains to his parent. The parent becomes upset with the youth pastor. Pressure is put on the youth pastor and it would be an easy thing for the youth pastor to trim his way to seek love.

Here is a choir director giving his all to proper music and the pressure to liberalize his music standard comes against him. It would be very easy for him to trim his way to seek love.


A church takes a strong fundamental stand for soul winning, standards, bus ministry, being independent, pastoral leadership, and an inspired King James Bible. The pressure comes from family members and other churches. It would be very easy for them to trim their way to seek love.


God asks the question, “Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love?” It is possible this thought was Jeremiah’s first sermon after his ordination. The scope of his sermon was to show God’s people their errors. God’s people were charged with the sin of idolatry. God’s people had broken their covenants and had degenerated from their good beginnings. 

Jeremiah let them know that they were without precedent in changing loves. He let God’s people know they had willfully and obstinately changed their lifestyle, which in the end their idols would be unable to help them.

The same is true today for whomever or whatever you have traded for your God will not be able to help you in the end. Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love?

Here is an allusion to someone who becomes a lewd woman: a painted up face, a fancy hairdo, a mini skirt, and an attire of a harlot. Here is sinful courting and God asks why? God pleads with them and asks in verse 31, “Have I been a wilderness unto Israel?” and “Have I given you a land of darkness” and “Why do you reject me” and say, “We are lords we will come no more unto thee?”

Jeremiah 2:32, “Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number.”

In verse 33 God said you have encouraged the wicked by trimming your way to seek love. God says to them the blood of the innocent will be on your hands for trimming your way to seek love. God says in verse 35 to them just because you think it is ok does not make it ok! 

In verse 36 God tells them they will become gadabouts. Why, because they trimmed their way to seek love. In verse 37 God continues by saying to His people you will not prosper and all because you trimmed your way to seek love.

For some strange reason we think that if we trim our way that the world will love us! Not true! They will use us and despise us in order to get out of us what they want! “Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love.”

Sunday, February 11, 2018



Matthew 12:20, “A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.”

Please take note of verse 20. It does not say, “A flickering flax shall he not quench.” It says, "smoking flax!” It does not say slightly burning flax for it says smoking flax. God is saying as long as there is smoke there is a chance for a fire.

What is God saying here? He is saying the smoking flax shall he not quench. In all of our lives we have had the fire to go out at one time or another. There have been times in your life and my life when the fire has gone out. It may be that sin; heartache, discouragement, or bereavement has caused the dowsing of the fire. What our Lord is saying here is that as long as there is smoke there is hope for more fire.

God did not say as long as there is a flicker for he said the “smoking flax shall he not quench.” If the fire appears to go out in any church it simply means there had to be fire there at first. Placed there by God Himself and the smoke that remains means that the fire can blaze again!

It also means if the fire appears to no longer be burning and the warmth of the fire is no longer in existence that as long as there is smoke God is saying he will not quench the "smoking flax!"

I am speaking to those who use to have fire in your marriage where the fire appears to have gone out! If you have taken the marriage vows and both of you are still living there is still smoke there! There may not be any fire, but there is still smoke. 

That in itself means if you will give yourself to the Holy Spirit he can fan that smoke.  He can stir up the fire again in your marriage no matter how feeble the flickering. No matter how dead the spark seems or however cool the flame may appear. It can burn again as long as there is life!

As long as there is life there is smoke and the Holy Spirit desires to fan it and pour oil on it to bring back the fire. Oh, it may not warm as many people at first or like it once did but it can warm someone. It may not shine as far as it once did but it can shine some! I am not saying that if you have lost the fire you will get it back like you once had it but you can get some fire back. It may not be as bright as it once was but it can still shine some.

The church may not be as large as it once was, but it can still grow. One of my favorite songs my dear late friend Dr. Paul Duckett Jr. used to sing was, “Dear Lord take up the tangled strains that we have wrought in vain. That by the skill of thy dear hand some beauty may remain.” I love it!

It may be that the fire appears to have gone out of your life. It may be that sin; heartache, illness, discouragement, or bereavement has seemingly snuffed out the fire. “Preacher I have lost the fire I once had!” Ok, but as long as there is smoke God wants to fan it. God wants to pour oil upon it to rekindle it and cause the fire to burn once again.

A man may not be able to pastor any more, but he can teach a Sunday school class. The school may not train as many as it once did but it can train some. The marriage that once burned with holy passion may not be what it once was, but it can be salvaged to become a warm and happy marriage. 

There is not a marriage that cannot be salvaged! “But preacher I have lost my love.” Wait a minute are you still breathing? Hold it are you still alive? Then there is smoke there and if you will let God fan it then a flame will come again. Jesus said, “The smoking flax he will not quench.”

There are people reading this article who feel the fires seemingly have gone out, but thank God there is smoke and soon there will be fire if God is given a chance to fan the smoke. I have in these going on 46 years of ministry counseled thousands of couples having trouble with some being serious some frivolous, but all necessary counseling. Some had smoke where fires once burned and I attempted to fan the smoke and pour oil on the smoldering smoke to make the fire burn again.

I am referring to marriages that seem to have lost its fire, but there is still smoke there. How do I know there is smoke there? It’s simple you are still breathing! I am speaking to parents, pastors, preachers, students, and teens that have lost the fire you think.

There is no person whom God cannot use again. There is no marriage, ministry, pastor, preacher, college student, or parent that cannot be salvaged. Jesus is saying, “Ok if you have no fire then I’ll look for some smoke and when I find the smoke I will not quench it. I will not put it out!”

In some cases the devil gains entrance into our lives because of bad decisions. Those bad decisions begin to extinguish the fire. The fire becomes a flicker after a while when pride creeps in and we refuse to reverse by swallowing our pride and admitting we are wrong. 

After a while there is nothing left but smoke. But after men have long given up hope for you to make it and long after others said you will never recover enter Jesus who says, “I see smoke. I see hope. If you will let me fan it and pour oil on it soon the fire will return!”

The fire of joy, a smile, or happiness may be gone, but praise God if there is smoke there can be a fire once again. A man addicted to porn whose life was once spiritual and who was on topside for God with no seeming fire. 

Wait is the man breathing? He is still alive? Then as long as there is smoke God wants to fan it and pour oil on it to get some fire back. Oh, it may not be the same brightness but at least Jesus said he would not quench it.

Here is a life that kept people out of Hell by soul winning; a life of value, and a life of productivity, but the fire seems gone out? There are no flames of soul winning, no red-hot prayer life, and no red-hot service for God. Nothing here but a flicker of a flame or just smoke. 

Hey, wait a minute Jesus has not given up on them. He will not quench the smoke. He will fan the smoke and create a fire. He will pour oil on it and cause the fire to burn. No, it will not burn as bright but it will burn!

Dope has captured you? The old life has come back to haunt you? The fires of evangelism are gone? The bold giving of tithes and offerings has vanished? The soul winning fire is nothing but smoke now. The prayer life of fire is nothing but flax now. The Amens and shouts are but smoke now. You sit here defeated with no excitement for the things of God. 

Yes, you used to stand to your feet and wave your Bible over a truth being preached from the pulpit but not any more. Nothing but smoke now! Wait a minute? Jesus said, “I will not quench that smoke but I will fan that smoke!”

If the fire has gone out at least the smoke is still there and God promised that he would not quench what is left. If you will let him he will fan what is left. He will pour oil on what is left to start up a small fire once again.

Broken marriage? Deserted wife? Deserted husband? Deserted child? Teens have you blown it? College student have you messed up? The question invariably comes, “Preacher can God use me again?” Oh, yes God can use you again! 

Please pay attention to this article former college zealot, former teen zealot, former preacher zealot, former bus captain zealot, former Sunday school teacher zealot, or former soul winning zealot for God will fan the flax and it will burn again!

Oh, wasted life with nothing but simmering smoke left please turn back to Jesus and allow him to fan the smoke. Please let him pour oil on it. It is not over for Jesus can use you again! It may not be to the extent that you have been accustomed to but he will use you again!

Dear mission man, divorced man, divorced lady, backslid teenager, or expelled college student God can use you again even though there is only a simmering smoke for God can cause the flames to come again.