The Ninety and Nine

We do devotions on SOWER assignments every morning at 7:30. We all take turns leading these devotions. This morning the farmer felt led to share his testimony in song.

But first he had an important story to tell. He heard it at church Sunday. There was a guy who went ice fishing in Minnesota. He got all set up, cut a nice hole in the ice and caught nothing! Not one thing. He noticed that the guy close to him was catching a lot of fish. After awhile he decided to ask this guy what his secret was. The man told him, “hmm, mmm, mmm!” He said, “I’m sorry but I didn’t understand a word you said.” The good fisherman answered him just the same. He just had to know the secret so he asked him one more time. The good fisherman spit out something from his mouth into his hand and said, “the secret is keeping the worms warm.”

In 1868 Elizabeth Clephane of Scotland wrote a poem. In 1874 Ira Sankey, who was Dwight Moody’s song leader saw this poem in a newspaper in Scotland as they were conducting revival services in the area. Ira thought the words of the poem were powerful and cut the poem from the newspaper. A few days later after Dwight Moody finished a strong message on the Good Shepherd, he said to Ira, “Mr. Sankey, I believe you have a song to close the service tonight.” Ira couldn’t think of anything but that poem, but it had no music. The Lord gave him the music right on the spot and he sang the words of the poem.

The farmer sang this song, which he sees as his testimony.

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1 There were ninety and nine that safely lay in the shelter of the fold,
but one was out on the hills away, far off from the gates of gold,
away on the mountains wild and bare, away from the tender Shepherd’s care,
away from the tender Shepherd’s care.

2 “Lord, thou hast here thy ninety and nine: are they not enough for thee?”
But the Shepherd made answer, “This of mine has wandered away from me,
and although the road be rough and steep, I go to the desert to find my sheep;
I go to the desert to find my sheep.”

3 But none of the ransomed ever knew how deep were the waters crossed,
nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through, ere he found his sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert he heard its cry, sick and helpless and ready to die,
sick and helpless and ready to die.

4 And all through the mountains, thunder-riven, and up from the rocky steep,
there rose a glad cry to the gate of heaven, “Rejoice! I have found my sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne, “Rejoice, for the Lord brings back his own;
rejoice, for the Lord brings back his own.

The farmer said, “It’s not about how good I am or how bad I’ve failed. It’s all about Jesus.

Then I shared about the scriptures we read this morning.
Mark 12:32 so the scribe said to him, well said teacher, you have spoken the truth. For there is one God, and there is no other, but he.
Verse 34 now Jesus saw that he answered wisely. He said to him, you are not far from the kingdom of God.
What was he missing to be a part of the kingdom of God? He was missing Jesus. Jesus as the son of God and not just a teacher.

There are four stops on the Romans Road.
Stop # 1: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Stop # 2: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Stop # 3: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”(Romans 5:8).

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Here’s a multiple-choice question: How good do you have to be to go to heaven?
A) Pretty good
B) Really Good
C) Better than Uncle Joe
D) Perfect
The answer is D. If you want to go to heaven, you have to be perfect. And I don’t mean “sort of” perfect, “mostly” perfect, or 80% perfect. Being 80% perfect is like being 80% pregnant. Either you’re pregnant or you’re not. Either you’re perfect or you’re not.

Stop # 4 is part of our passage for today–Romans 10:9-10.
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (vv. 9-10).

God made it simple; I want to make it available. Maybe you are religious, you probably are, you have probably gone to church before, but the question is, “Do you know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord?” Here is a prayer that can help you express your faith: “Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son. I believe that he died on the cross for my sin and that you raised him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Precious Memories

Welcome to Blackburn

Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete.

Marcy DeMaree

With another SOWER (Servants on Wheels Ever Ready) assignment on the horizon we departed our little house on the prairie and headed south. South seems like a good place to go in the winter. However this winter has seen freezing temperatures all the way to Mexico. We had twenty below zero at the little house on the prairie.

Loading up all of the dutch ovens and heading south until we found a place to use them outside seemed like a reasonable idea. Our dutch ovens weigh more than our little 19 foot camper. Okay that is not absolutely the truth. They are heavy but we love them and wouldn’t go anywhere without them.

Our first destination was a trip down memory lane. We pulled into the old yard in front of my grandparents ranch in Oklahoma and I really expected to see Granny running out the door to greet us, just as she did for so many years. Some day I’ll see her run from her mansion in heaven to greet me. She did make me feel that she had been watching just for me all day. I felt like the most special little girl in her life.

Baptist Church

Camping in their yard was a dream come true. Granny and my Pap-paw were very influential in my life. They gave me a little Bible when I was two and told me to read John as soon as I could read. Granny made sure I went to church and Vacation Bible School. Pap-paw told me the most important decision I would ever make would be to accept Jesus as my personal Savior. He knew firsthand the difference Jesus could make in a life. Pap-paw was a mean alcoholic all of his first 35 years of life. He fought depression and sometimes hopped a freight train back to his old home in Kentucky. Three men at the little Baptist church pictured above, kept inviting Pap-paw to services and he would say no. They didn’t give up and one day he said, “yes”. He went and was saved by the precious blood of Jesus and he never touched another drop of alcohol.

I accepted Jesus too because my Pap-paw said it was a good decision. I have never regretted following his advice. The farmer and I trekked all through the woods on that old ranch just like we cousins used to do when we were kids. I don’t think there was an inch of that place we didn’t cover as kids. An old threshing machine was our pirate ship or our hideout from the bad guys. Oh the imaginations we had.

Love is the greatest gift that one generation can leave to another.

Richard Garnett

Jesus is the greatest gift one generation can show to the next generation. I pray for my grandchildren each day that they would know and follow Jesus as their personal Savior.