Count the Cost

“Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? (Luke 18: 28)

It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and despair. Yet, increasingly fewer are doing so. A buy now and pay later mentality has permeated every area of life.

If considering any action, consider what it involves, and can you afford doing it. Consider the cost.

Every action, good or bad, has a resulting cost, which again is either good or bad. Think of the end from the beginning. What will be the result of your action?

Elemental as it sounds, many people do not take this simple and significant action.

Often little things distract us and prevent responsible thought. Some years ago news sources reported 300 whales had suddenly died. It was determined that the whales were chasing small sardines and ended up marooned in the shallow bay. Those little fish had lured those massive whales to their death. Those giants of the sea wasted their enormous powers on an insignificant goal. Don’t be whale-like.

At issue, will the action be harmful or helpful, developmental or detrimental, productive or destructive, honoring to the Lord or dishonoring. Know before you go into an action what the outcome is most likely to be.

Is it an action in which you “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness….”

Consider, for example, spending money. It can be a good thing or a not so good thing. Research has found spending money triggers areas of the brain associated with pain and disgust and that different forms of payment trigger different levels of discomfort. Credit cards delay this psychological pain. Doing so delays facing responsibility. Often when the time to pay comes the responsibility can’t be met and there is despair.

This principle also applies in another area of life calling for a person to act responsibly.  WWDJ isn’t so childish as might have been thought. “Let this mind be in you which also was in Jesus Christ….”

Personal responsibility is a foundation for Christian conduct. Take responsibility for your attitudes, affections, and actions.

Keep in mind this compelling warning, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what has been done, whether good or bad.”  (II Corinthians 5: 10)

“So then each of us will give an account for himself to God.” (Romans 14: 12)

Don’t only count the cost of an action, just imagine the benefit also.

Ain’t God Good 9/13/98

Psalm 86:1-5
Page 874 Come Alive Bible

JESUS CHRIST whispered words of encouragement in the ears of His disciples and the world overheard Him. On the Mount of Beatitudes in His Sermon on the Mount He spoke of happiness. For clarity of understanding He spoke of seven facets of a relationship He guarantees will result in a fulfilling and gratifying life. Seven times He said “blessed” are you. In the language of the day the word translated “blessed” was MAKARIOS. It can be translated “blessed, congratulations, or happy.” MAKARIOS had long been used by the Greeks to speak of the blissful and blessed state of their gods. Christ now says in reality you can have true happiness like the Greeks only imagined their gods to have.

The word spoke of a state of being not dependent upon externals. The ancient name of the Island of Cyprus was Makarios. The island was thought to contain everything necessary for a good life. The climate was mild. Soil was fertile and growing conditions ideal. Fresh water was plentiful. In effect, the island was self-contained. This is a picture of what the word really means. In using it Jesus was saying “I can put within you everything necessary to a joyous and productive life. This joy is within and not contingent upon externals.”

This provision He offers every follower. Why then do so few seem to be enjoying it? It is because we have inverted the standard. We have grown to believe happiness is dependent upon externals — things. Having done so we have failed to develop the internal attributes resulting from applying God’s Word.

Recently my dear brother in Christ, Jerry Clower, went to be with our beloved Lord. Jerry had lived in preparation for that moment. When he confronted Christ he wasn’t meeting a stranger.

One of his recordings was made here at Roswell Street Baptist Church. He gave it the title of an expression he often used: “Ain’t God Good!” That “ain’t” good grammar but it is good news. Our text revolves around such good news.

Does it seem to you that you live in a world depicted by drawings seen in some biology books in which a small fish is about to be swallowed by a larger fish which also is about to be devoured by an even larger fish which is in danger of being swallowed by an even larger one. The picture continues with each fish getting bigger. You are always the smallest fish.

Does your life seem like an eight-track tape in a CD world?

Are you like Alice in Wonderland when she had to run as fast as she could just to stay where she was?

Life is such a rat race that they even have cheese flavored tranquilizers.

Someone asked: “What do you think of civilization?” The answer, “It is a great idea. Why doesn’t somebody start one?”

At times it seems we are in a deep forest being pursued by persons whose hands and heads have outgrown their hearts.

In such a world we need to know well the Good Lord.

Without Christ as your guide, all the world can offer you is “cures that don’t cure, blessings that don’t bless, and solutions that don’t solve.” (G.K. Chesterton, God is our Refuge…)

What’s a Christian to do in this mad house?

Realize you are going to have trouble. It never leaves you once it finds you. Acknowledge it will either make you better or bitter. You alone make the choice. Therefore, rely on:

With words I can show you what God’s character is like. It is revealed in this story as told by the late Dr. A. J. Gordon. As he came out of his church one day he noticed a young boy with a cage of small field birds. Gordon asked, “What are you going to do with those birds?” The lad’s freckled face lit up as he said, “Look here, mister,” as he pulled on the wing of one, “I like to make them cry out. I’m going to have some fun torturing them some, and then I am going to feed them to my cat.”

Gordon replied, “Son, I’d like to have those birds.” The boy responded, “You really don’t want them. They ain’t good for nothing.”

Gordon and the boy finally agreed on the price of $5.00.

When the boy left Gordon opened the cage door, but the birds refused to move. He finally nudged one out the door and soon the others followed. Gordon said that experience reminded him of a Chinese legend.

One day Jesus was out walking and he came across Satan who had a cage full of people. Jesus asked, “Satan, what have you?”

Wryly Satan replied, “I’ve got the world. I have all mankind in this cage.”

Jesus asked, “What are you going to do with them?”

Satan sneered, “I’m going to promise them everything. Then I’m going to break their hearts and eventually damn their souls to hell without God’s love.”

Jesus said, “Satan I would like to have them.”

Mockingly Satan said, “Jesus you don’t want them. They’ll steal Your money. They’ll desecrate Your day. They’ll blaspheme Your name. They’ll break Your promises. They will break Your heart. You don’t want them.”

Jesus said, “I know the number of hairs on their heads. I know their names. I know their thoughts and I want them.”

Satan taunted, “You’ll have to pay for them.” Jesus said, “I’ll give you gold, the gold of all the universe.”

Gleefully Satan replied, “No, no, no. That’s not enough.”

“I’ll give you wealth untold – pearls, rubies, and all the mountains and all the oceans of the world.”

“That’s still not enough,” said Satan.

“I’ll give you the diamonds of every island and continent.”

“That’s not nearly enough. I want more,” derided Satan.

Then Jesus said, “All right, Satan. Name your price.”

Satan’s lips curled in a snarl as he said, “I want the gold of Your heart, Jesus. I want the diamonds of Your tears. I want the rubies of Your blood. I want You, Jesus. I want you on a cross. But you won’t pay that price.”

Gently, without a word, Jesus began to lay aside His regal robes and make His way to earth.

To understand God’s character keep this story in mind as you reflect on Romans 8: 32: “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things?”

That is the character of the God who has promised you MAKARIOS.



We all need forgiveness. General Oglethorpe once said to John Wesley, “I never forgive and I never forget.” Wesley replied, “Then, Sir, I hope you never sin.”

Never in modern America has the secular press given forgiveness such headlines. Never has forgiveness been more needed by more people. The slippery slide of sin that has led to this was greased by our language. For years the operative word in America was “character.” Words revealing character, good or bad, were used to speak of persons. Words such as “integrity, high morals, honest, trustworthy, loyal, dependable.” Every so imperceptibly the operative word changed to “personality.” Instead of referring to persons with character trait words personality describing language was substituted. Words such as “self- confident, assertive, introspective, self-styled, cool, or with-it.”

Then the avant guard of morals began to tell us right and wrong, good and evil were not separate categories of conduct but relative terms based on ones own subjective experience. Sin was thus easily excused.

Forgiveness is the antidote for this moral malaise. Forgiveness is therapeutic. God intends it to cleanse the soul as well as purge the conscience.

It is renewing in its relationship with the Lord and restoring in human relations.

Karl Menninger, the famed psychiatrist, and founder of the Menninger Clinic, said that if he could convince the patients in psychiatric hospitals that their sins were forgiven, 75% of them could walk out the next day. It is therapeutic.

We must not forget there are prerequisites to forgiveness. They are: CONTRITION, CONFESSION, AND REPENTANCE.

Contrition means it is more than merely saying, “I’m sorry…” That may only mean, I’m sorry …. I got caught.” That is remorse. Judas had remorse but not repentance.

Contrition means to share God’s broken heart over our actions.

Confession means to agree with God about it and admit it as wrong.

Repentance means to turn from it and turn to the Savior.

Peter’s sin of denial of Jesus was just as bad as the sin or betrayal by Judas. Judas was remorseful, Peter was repentant.

Many love to rely on the story of the woman caught in the act of sin who was brought to Jesus and He said, “Thy sins be forgiven thee…” That is beautiful. However, we must not forget the rest of the story. Jesus continued, “Go and sin no more.” Translated: “Quit your habitual sinning in this manner.”

Other accounts of forgiveness involve Moses and David.

Moses was instructed in a time when water was desperately needed to speak to the rock of Miraba and it would give water. Moses disobeyed and instead of speaking to the rock he struck it. He repented and was forgiven. Wonderful story!

David committed two horrendous sins. He set-up a young loyalist named Uriah to be murdered and he also committed adultery. Two for one. He repented and was forgiven.

The natural consequence of sin is often overlooked in the stories of these two monoliths. Moses repented and was forgiven but he wasn’t allowed to enter the land of promise.

David repented and was forgiven but not allowed to build the temple. Solomon, his son was given that privilege.

They had disqualified themselves for these roles by their own sinful conduct.

Christians sometimes get confused at this point. They equate forgiveness of sin with acquittal by the law. They are not the same. Forgiveness is an act of grace. Acquittal is an act of law and may not apply even when sin is forgiven.

Simply stated there is a natural consequence to our actions.

HIS MERCY – Vs. 5b. You may have messed up your life. This is God’s Red Cross station for you. God is ready to forgive. Therefore, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16).

A mother pleaded with Napoleon to have mercy on her condemned son. The Emperor said, “He doesn’t deserve mercy.” Replied the mother, “I know he doesn’t deserve mercy. If he did it wouldn’t be mercy.” Mercy with its twin sister grace are unmerited favor given sinners.

A man wanted to treat himself to a shave by a barber. This almost lost art, he heard, was still performed in a local barber shop by a young woman named Grace. After the shave he was astounded when told it was $35.00. Nevertheless, he paid up and thanked Grace.

The next morning he looked in the mirror and didn’t need a shave. In disbelief this continued for two weeks. He returned to the barber shop and found his pastor there. He pulled his pastor aside and asked if he had ever gotten a shave there. Sure enough he had. The man explained he had not needed a shave since getting shaved there. The pastor said, “There is an easy explanation. Once shaved always shaved when you have been shaved by Grace.”

Once our Lord saves us we have been saved forever but stand in the need to perpetual forgiveness.

HIS POWER – Vs. 10. Power is the ability to achieve purpose. “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6: 10).

“You will be filled with His mighty glorious strength so that you can keep going no matter what happens–Always full of the joy of the Lord” (Colossians 1: 11 TLB).

HIS UNDERSTANDING – Vs. 15. Notice these traits of His understanding in this one verse: “compassion, gracious, longsuffering, mercy and truth.”

This is a display of some of God’s goods for you. Don’t be like a window shopper who APPRECIATES but does not APPROPRIATE.

His Word was never meant for our scrutiny, or mere study, but our support and instruction.

III. GOD’S CALLING Vs. 11 “I will walk in thy truth…”
David prayed, “Unite my heart to fear thy name.” He wanted every fiber of his being united in reverence to God’s name. Rivet your attention on Him.

Never let the spotlight go off Him from the moment you awaken. Keep Him at center stage of your thoughts from the instant the curtain goes up on a new day.

Let your heart be united in Him. A divided heart is never at peace. The heart can never be united in sin. The Holy Spirit, in love, keeps pulling at it.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote of a divided personality in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Tragically the story ends with the triumph of evil. You make the choice of which prevails in your life.

What makes you eternally significant is what you chose to do or refuse to do. You make the decision. As we decide our lives are formed and our eternal destiny is determined.

[Hold up a seed and remark:] The content of this seed can be determined clinically. Basically it consists of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, etc. An artificial seed can be made using these components. However, one thing would be missing — the life principle. It must come from another source. One’s life needs the super-additive called ETERNAL LIFE.

Release From Past Negative Influence

We tend to interpret the present in light of the past. By failing to put down the baggage accumulated in the past, we restrict our potential for spiritual growth.

Consider bitterness. One general characteristic of today is resentment of authority. There are many admirable exceptions to this fortunately. It is, however, a trait of the era in general. Over the years we have developed a root of bitterness regarding authority and it colors all of life. Who is the ultimate authority? The Lord Himself. Even those who know Him as Savior often resent His authority over them and do not comply with His teachings as recorded in God’s Word.

All people need to be alert to the danger of being caught in the web of bitter people. Bitter people may smile and use pleasant tones, but they manipulate others by pushing their emotional buttons and bringing out the worst in them. We must resist the bitter person’s attempts to pull us into their traps of anger, non-cooperation, and complaint. 

God is not pleased with the root of bitterness which He says causes “deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives.” (Hebrews 12: 15)

The full text says, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by this many become defiled.”

Following is an abhorrent thought regarding past baggage. Often the Scripture uses a graphic repulsive image to help our understanding. Romans 7: 24 is such a reference. “Who shall deliver me from this body of death?” This refers to a Roman law well known in that era. If a person committed murder, the body of the victim was strapped to the back of the murderer with wet leather ties which drys and becomes even tighter. The body of the victim was left there to go through the process of decay. Naturally it infected the body of the murderer. This unpleasant image gives some indication of the influence our old spiritually decaying nature has on us. Our old sin nature should be considered just as heinous.

Is it time for you to consider having the funeral of your past bitterness, anger, hurts, and resentments?

Christ buried the baggage of our sins in the depth of the sea. Won’t you?

Because of all the negative imprints in your life, because of all the negatives that built up and accrued through the years, because of all your sins and shortcomings, now is time to renounce the negatives in your past. Perhaps you need to pray:

“As a child of God, purchased by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, I here and now renounce and repudiate all the sins of my ancestors and their influence on me. I joyously and voluntarily put myself under the controlling influence of Jesus Christ and denounce the negative powers of my family, friends, or Satan.”

Yes Lord, Yes

Jesus deserves devotion like that given the British by the soldiers from Nepal, known as Gurkhas, who fought with them in Indonesia in 1964. The Gurkhas were courageous and fiercely loyal. These primitive people made up for their lack of training by their boldness. One mission called for there to be persons air dropped behind enemy lines in a section of Borneo. The British request for the Gurkhas to make the jump was declined at first. After consideration they sent word they would do it under certain conditions. The first condition was that the area of the drop had to have reasonably soft ground with no rock outcroppings. The second condition was that the plane had to fly as slow and low as possible, not over 100 feet. 

Their three requests: fly slow and low over soft ground and they would jump.

The British told the Gurkhas the planes always fly as slow as possible, but at only 100 feet there would not be time for their parachutes to open.

“Parachutes,” said the Gurkhas, “what is a parachute?” The valiant soldiers did not even know what a parachute was. However, they were willing to do whatever their commanding officers required even at the peril of their lives.

When our Lord calls on us to do something, He always has provisions in store about which we know nothing. Once we consent to comply, then He reveals the resources. This gives an opportunity to demonstrate faith.

Our response to the word and will of God should be like that of the people who in response to Joshua’s command responded,  “All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.” (Joshua 1: 16)

Our love for and indebtedness to Jesus deserves such loyalty. Consider what He does for us when we come to Him in faith seeking His forgiveness.

When Christ saves us He cleanses us and washes away our sins. He removes them as far as the east from the west. Distance can be measured in both directions in millions of light years.  Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. A light year is the distance light travels at that speed in a year. To give you an idea how fast 186,000 per second is imagine having a gun that would shoot a bullet at that speed with the capacity to travel that distance. If you fired the bullet and tried to get out of its way it would travel around the world 7 and 1/2 times before you could even move.

Figuratively it is said He buries our sins in the depth of the sea. To give you some idea of this depth consider this. If the tallest mountain on earth were put in the lowest part of the sea more than a mile of water would cover the summit of that mountain. The point of these illustrations is merely that when our Lord forgives us He takes away our sins.

Out of gratitude our response should always be, “Yes Lord, yes.”

What’s a Dad to Do? 6/21/98

II Chronicles 34:1-3
Page 687 Come Alive Bible

Jesus Christ taught us to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven….”

What is your image of the Father God?

No person arrives at the house of God without their “pet God” under their arm. For some the image of this “pet God” isn’t a very good one. That’s because our negative image of God is often rooted in our emotional hurts and destructive patterns carried with us from our past based on our experience with people.

Our perception of God is often an emotional not an intellectual one. It is based on our experiences with people not our study of God’s Word. Our God image should be based on Scripture but psychological studies show it is often arrived at slowly by observing people —- especially our dads.

At Sunday School a child is taught “God loves you.” If the child’s perception of God is based on experience with its natural father the concept of God might be of an unstable, rejecting, abusive person who can’t be trusted.

Dad’s your influence is critical to a child’s spiritual development.

If a dad is impersonal and uncaring, one who will never intervene on the child’s behalf, God is seen in that light. The child grows up feeling God is disinterested in its needs and can’t be gotten close to.

If a dad is pushy and inconsiderate God is thought of as one who makes you feel cheap and undeserving, that is, one who deserves to be taken advantage of by others.

If a father is a drill sergeant, demanding more and more and never showing approval the child feels unaccepted by God. This often results in an adult who is never sure of salvation. Having an authoritative figure in life that can never be pleased is often transferred to God who can never be satisfied. This person keeps praying over and over to be saved without ever having confidence of salvation. They think they can never do enough to please God.

If a father is seen as a weakling who can’t be looked to for help God is considered to be incapable of helping.

If a father is patient God is seen as patient, forbearing, and long suffering.

If a father is kind God is thought of as kind and gracious.

If a father is giving God is seen as supportive.

If a father is protective God is seen as a shield and defender.

Ideally, instead of our concept of God being derived from our association with people such as our earthly father, the fathers concept of his role should be derived from the model set by our eternal Father God. The Lord God modeled fatherhood through His relationship with His own Son. When the Father spoke of His Son He did so in terms of endearment, “This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” Earthly fathers should speak kindly and encouragingly of their children.

Jesus continued to model fatherhood by constantly reaching out to children.

For the importance of fatherhood to be restored in America we are going to have to recapture the importance of marriage. Americans love to get married. When we become as interested in staying married as in getting married the institution will prosper.

A Sunday School teacher asked children how many times should a person marry. Instantly one child responded, “Sixteen!”

The child was so certain she asked how do you know. Replied the child, “The preacher said so at the wedding last week. ‘Far [four] better or for [four] worst, for [four] good or for [four] evil. That’s sixteen.”

Children have a delightful way of putting things in perspective. Erma Bombeck tells of one such child.

This little girl loved her dad but wasn’t quite sure what dads do. She tells her own story.

“I hadn’t thought that much about dad before. He was just someone who left and came home and seemed glad to see everyone at night. He opened jars of pickles no one else could. He was the only one in the house who wasn’t afraid to go into the basement by himself.

He cut himself shaving, but no one kissed it or got excited about it.

It was understood that when it rained, he got the car and brought it around to the door.

When anyone was sick, he went out to get the prescription filled.

He took lots of pictures —- but was never in any of them.

Whenever I played house, the mother doll had a lot to do. I never knew what to do with the daddy doll, so I had him say, ‘I’m going off to work now,’ and threw him under the bed.

Then one morning daddy didn’t get up and go to work. He went to the hospital instead and died. We had never had so much company and food before.

I went to my room and felt under the bed for the daddy doll. When I found him, I dusted him off and put him on my bed. He never did anything. I didn’t know his leaving would hurt so much…”

Dads, those of you who voluntarily absent yourself from the lives of your children your going away hurts so much.

The little girl didn’t know what dads do. Let’s examine the life of one and learn some good things for all of us to do, but especially dads.

There are numerous studies showing the advantages of having a contributing dad in the home. In reality every home does not have one. If you are a child in a single parent home I want to encourage you by relating to the story of a child whose dad died when he was eight. He overcame this liability and an even greater one. His name was Josiah son of Amon, the evil King of Israel. His grandfather was Manasseh also an evil king. As a college student I heard Billy Graham preach a sermon entitled, “The Meanest Man Who Ever Lived.” It was Manasseh.

To aid in overcoming the liability of not having a living dad and being the product of a home with a corrupt heritage, he chose a role model. II Chronicles 34: 2 spoke of “his father David.” This meant a descendant of David. The David he modeled his life after was the repentant David who was “a man after God’s own heart.”

At the age of eight he became King of Israel.

Don’t give up on yourself if you are a fatherless child.

Don’t give up on yourself if you have a vile and evil dad. Do as Josiah who determined to – – – –

David had many weaknesses and numerous failures. Josiah chose the lifestyle of David as a man back in fellowship with the Lord. It impacted him dramatically.

It has been determined that the most influential times in a child’s life is between ages 30 months and five years and during early adolescence.

Current research shows three things in the lives of parents, especially dads, influence the faith life of children. Those who:

Research shows that the average teen in our churches spends only two minutes a day in meaningful dialogue with dad. Alarming as it is 25% of the teens say they have never had a meaningful conversation with their father. That is, a talk centered on the teens interest.

A study from Cornell University shows fathers of preschool children on the average spend 3.7 seconds per day in real contact with their youngsters. In contrast children spend approximately 54 hours a week watching TV.

While parents have not been watching, TV has slipped a false image of the family under their door. A contorted imagine of their “pet god” has been included as a supplement. Laughter has been the lubricant making it easy to slip in false concepts of the family.

Previous generations have been laughed at for laughing at “Father Knows Best” and “Leave It to Beaver” the present generation is developing character while laughing at “Bart Simpson” and “Married With Children” that depict fathers as bumbling, befuddled, or beastly.

Dads, children tend to spell love —- “T I M E.”

American fathers spend less time with their children than fathers in any other countries in the world except Britain. Today’s American father spends 40% less time with their children than any previous generation.

Charles Francis Adams was a prominent 19th century political figure who kept a diary. One day he entered the following: “Went fishing with my son today —a day wasted.”

His son Brook Adams also kept a diary and made the following entry on the same day:

“Went fishing with my father — the most wonderful day of my life!”

Children value the time spent with their parents.

I tried to tach my child with books,
He only gave me puzzled looks.
I tried to teach my child by word.
They passed him by, often unheard.
Despairingly, I turned aside,
‘How shall I teach this child?’ I cried.
‘Come,’ said he,
‘Play with me!’

David, even though king, evidently spent time with young Josiah who consequently sought the God of his father.

Without a mirror it is difficult to determine how we look. The Word of God acts as such a mirror to help depict our spiritual condition. “Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord” (Vs. 14) and it was read before the king. When it was Josiah saw himself and his people in light of God’s Word. When he did it caused him such grief that he spontaneously engaged in a custom of his day, he “tore his clothes” (Vs. 19). This was a sign of grief and remorse.



I have a friend, David Simmons, a former member of the University of Georgia football team and corner back for the Dallas Cowboys. He tells of his father a former military man who was extremely demanding and who rarely said a kind word. He constantly pushed David with harsh criticism to do better. His dad had obviously decided he would never allow his son to feel any satisfaction from his accomplishments. He constantly set challenging goals and never complemented Dave of those reached.

When Dave was a little boy his dad gave him a bicycle, unassembled, with command to put it together. Dave struggled to the point of tears with the complex directions. His dad said, “I knew you couldn’t do it,” and took over.

When Dave played football in high school his dad was unrelenting in his criticism. After every game his dad would go over every play in their back yard and point out Dave’s every error. Dave said, “Most boys got butterflies in their stomach before the game; I got them afterwards. Facing my dad was more stressful than facing the opposing team.”

By the time to go to college he hated his dad and his demands. He chose to leave Louisiana and play for UGA because it was the school farthest from his home that offered him a scholarship.

After college he became a second round draft pick by the St. Louis Cardinals. Joe Namath was the clubs first round pick. Dave was so excited he called his dad to tell him. His dad said, “So, how does it feel to be second?”

During Dave’s time in college Christ came into his life. His bitterness toward his dad disappeared. Gradually he began to try to build a bridge with his dad.

Dave learned something during this time about his grandfather. He had such a violent temper he once destroyed a pickup truck with a sledgehammer because it wouldn’t start. He often beat his son. This insight caused Dave to have compassion not contempt for his dad.

One day Dave spoke here in our church. It was the first time we met though we had grown up only five miles apart and a few years. He learned I was going to visit my parents. He asked that I visit his dad and if possible tell him about the Lord. His dad ran a feed store. I went by to see him and was told he was out back in the warehouse. The Lord gave us instant rapport. He learned right away we had relatives who were close friends. Gradually the conversation turned to Christ and we sat down on sacks of feed as I told him of Christ’s love for him. That day he became Dave’s brother by faith in Christ. Dave later said they became friends before his death. Christ made the difference.

Next Josiah —-

Josiah rediscovered the Torah, which consists of the first five books of our Bible. He restored it to its proper place as God’s guide for life for that era. It became the inspiration for reestablishing God’s will in the life of the community.

Verse 27 explains why the radical transformation in the life of Josiah and the community was possible: “because your heart was tender.”

This resulted in a devout spirit of self- humiliation before God (Vs. 27).

He engaged in a “purge” (Vs. 3c and 8). If being “salt” and “light” means anything it means being a purging and preserving agent in society. Dads take the lead. Purge your Internet viewing, your TV programming, and your reading lists. Lead by example. Let your standard for yourself be known by your children.

He evidenced devotion in that he determined to “repair the house of the Lord his God.”

He didn’t have a false “pet God,” but was given a proper concept of God by modeling his father David. He became pro-active in serving the Lord.