In Times Like These

As I sit down to write this letter, it is approaching the middle of November. I just finished my morning walk amidst the cool breeze of autumn’s breath. Leaves are falling everywhere which only adds to the joy of this season I have been anticipating greatly through the heat of summer.

We’ve still got some leaves on the trees and there remains a faint reminder of the annual miracle of season change accompanied by the wondrous transformation of green into golds, reds, and oranges.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I love the Thanksgiving celebration because first of all, I have so much to be thankful for. Of course there’s also the four days of food, family, friends and fellowship. Oh, one more…football!

I was saddened to hear just yesterday that the Greenberg Smoked Turkey business, located right here in Tyler, Texas, suffered an explosion due to some mechanical failure. This 82 year old business ships some 200,000 turkeys all around the world each holiday season. (They’re really good!)

When I heard this sad news I thought, “Boy, if this isn’t representative of this whole past year.”

Between Covid19, civil unrest and a controversial presidential election, it seemed everything was just spinning out of control on a daily basis.

Then the turkey plant blows! Really?!

Apparently, Thanksgiving in California is going to be policed by some sort of “Poultry Patrol” who are going to make sure that Thanksgiving gatherings have a three family limit with appropriate social distancing and bites of the Thanksgiving meal must be taken only upon lifting your mask to receive the portion of food, whereupon the mask must be promptly re-affixed over your face. There will also be no loud talking or singing!

As I sit here now and write, none of this has yet happened.

As you read this, Thanksgiving is past and I can’t help but wonder how it all worked out.

How many citations were issued for turkey transgressions? Were these crimes misdemeanors or felonies? How many are in the “slammer” right now for violating “dressing dictates” or singing songs of the season?

Ever hear the term “Upside Down World”?

Sometimes I feel that’s the world we’re now living in. Up is down, good is bad and right is wrong…or so it seems at times. But, then as Solomon so wisely stated, “There’s nothing new under the sun.”

In the year 1943, Ruth Caye Jones, a pastor’s wife in Pennsylvania and the mother of five, was distressed by the headlines of her Pittsburgh newspaper. She saw the World War II casualty lists and she knew the Allies were making slow progress through the boot of Italy. Supplies were rationed at home and everyone was living under incredible strain.

Opening her Bible to 2 Timothy 3, Ruth read the scripture: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.”

A song began to be composed in her mind. She jotted down some lyrics on a small pad in her apron pocket. A series of notes also played in her mind. Only later did she realize they came from the old clock on the mantle with its iconic Westminster Chimes. Soon the notes and music congealed to become one of the most beloved gospel songs of the 1940s and 1950s… In Times Like These (Story by: Robert J. Morgan).

In times like these you need a savior
In times like these you need an anchor
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock
This Rock is Jesus yes He’s the One This Rock is Jesus the only One
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock

It must have seemed to Ruth Caye Jones as it does to us now, that the world was coming apart, or turning “Upside Down”. (Ironically, I am writing this Praiseletter on Veterans Day, November 11.)

I know many of you have endured personal challenges, hardships, frustrations and perhaps fears over this last year.

Many in our country have lost jobs, lost loved ones and most tragically have lost or almost lost hope. Now we enter the Christmas season with all its celebration, expressed in gifts given and received, beautiful songs of the Savior’s birth sung and heard. Lights, trees and winter wonderland scapes seem to almost highlight the tension that exists between Christmas and the chaos of our times, between hope and despair, between darkness and light.

I have good news!

Actually, HE has good news!

Christ triumphs over chaos! Hope defeats despair! Light eliminates darkness!

Remember: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and they were terrified. (Chaos)

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. (The Hope of Ages) This will be a sign to you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Suddenly, a great company of heavenly host appeared with the angel (Light), praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth, peace to these on whom His favor rests.” (Luke 2:8-14 NIV)

Amidst the chaos of the times and the shepherds nighttime encounter, hope is proclaimed and assured by God Himself, and all this in the midst of eye blinding, dark defeating, glory of God penetrating light!

Remember this Christmas; His glory has not faded!

Linda and I wish you a Merry and Blessed Christmas!

We pray this for you and yours with the confidence and assurance that He is able to do abundantly, even more than we dare ask. And this He is able to accomplish even…

In Times Like These.

P.S. Thank you once again for your friendship, your prayers and support. It has been a challenging year for us and our ministry as well. I had planned to take some ministry dates this year, but with Covid, those opportunities almost entirely went away.

We continue to minister effectively through our writings, Here We Are Podcasts and other unique outlets.

Linda’s health has been improving, for which we are so thankful. I had a stent put in an artery that was 90% blocked. Who knew? God did, and I’m so thankful it was discovered and addressed. I’m doing great! Just wanted you to know in case you heard otherwise.

We continue on ministering the Good News of the Gospel when and where we can. That will never change!

As I usually do at the end of the year, (and only then) I ask you to prayerfully consider a gift to Praise Ministries to help us continue to serve our Lord in ministry and fulfill His call on our lives.

Thank you, we love you and may God bless you richly.