LAGNIAPPE AND CHRYSTAL WEDDING


LAGNIAPPE AND CHRYSTAL WEDDING OATS

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

Lagniappe” is a French word pronounced (lan-yap) that is well known in pockets of French culture such as Louisiana. South Arkansas, Quebec, Canada, etc. It means “A little something extra” as a favor from a merchant to a customer or something thrown in for good measure. In the little community of my childhood, it was always a practice, and in some areas, it is a custom presently.
This recalls corporate practice in childhood as well. We did not purchase much at stores beyond absolute necessities, but when it came to breakfast food, washing detergents, and cow feed. four things determined choice. In breakfast cereals it was always Chrystal Wedding oats and Nabisco shredded wheat, because there was a nice crystal-like drinking glass in every box of the oats. These lined our shelves. In every box of washing detergent there was a nice, free dish cloth. These filled cabinet drawers. In cereal, I begged my parents to buy Nabisco Shredded Wheat. I hated the stuff, but there were illustrated “Straight Arrow” cards separating the wheat loafs that taught me how to build an Indian shelter out in the woods. Finally, in cow feed, every gingham type sack of 100 pounds of feed must be clean and not torn because we would be wearing it as a shirt from momma’s hands very soon.
“Lagniappe!” What a good and helpful practice it was to poor families recovering from the Great Depression. A little something extra to the primary purchase. It brings to mind, the great goodness of our Savior. He loves us so much that He died to save us, and all who call upon Him in repentance finds that gift of salvation in full power as it was at the beginning.
However, if that were not enough, it goes on and on from that initial gift. His spirit guides us and illuminates us to the marvelous truth of His Word, so that peace beyond understanding, promises that are staggering, and comprehension to the harmony, unity, and symmetry of His ingested Word renews the mind, and implants an insatiable desire to know more, and to receive their fulfillment. His gifts are “Lagniappe” forever and ever.

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CRYBABY LOSERS ON RECKONING DAY


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
CRYBABY LOSERS ON RECKONING DAY

In the world of Christian discipleship there are as many classes of folks as there are fruit producers in the parable of the seed and the sower, Matthew 13:2-8. The lifestyle of these folks parallel the seed effects falling on the wayside, in stony ground; among thorns, and in fertile soil. The latter ones are blessed beyond imagination whether they fit into the thirty, sixty, or hundredfold producers. The former categories forecast the sad state of those who choose another way of life than that which is produced by the nourished seed of faith. In attempts of self-justification, they may point to the failure to understand, and blame the forces of evil (birds) for snatching away the opportunity to understand wondrous truths when it was they who refused to open their heart, mind, and Bible. Then there are those whose lives reflect no depth of root and are scorched by the pressures of a sinful world.
Finally, there are those who will not deal with the social concerns, financial opportunities and other pressures of life promoted by the flesh, and who, as a result, miserably fail in discipleship. It just seems easier to give in to the world than do the proverbial paddling upstream of Christian discipline. Such as these do have a long lineage; a primary example of which is ancient Esau. To Esau, the things that could be his in the future paled in comparison to what he could have in the present, even if it was just a bowl of soup. He was hungry! So, why worry about pie in the sky when there is steak on the ground? Esau thus lost his birthright: a double portion of his father goods. He also lost out in the blessings of life that patriarchs were empowered to confer on their offspring. Upon realization of his miserable failure, Esau, saddened and enraged, lamented much, but to no avail. Crybaby projections are so unflattering and useless in foolish adults!
So, let all be warned. The scriptures do not say what they say in vain. The writer of Hebrews states quite forcefully that churches should be aware of the spiritual condition of their members to ensure their spiritual well-being. He said we should look diligently: “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”
Some may be repulsed by this in the belief that reward is not to be gained or lost, but such an idea is foreign, even opposed to the scriptures. The Judgment Seat of Christ is for Christians, I Cor. 3:9-15. John’s admonition to avoid loss is to God’s people, 2 John 1:8. Let us not live so as to be Crybaby Losers on Reckoning Day! Judging the present state of “Christianity,” by standards of the Word, there will be plenty of them.

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CHALLENGE OF THE MUSTARD SEED?


HEBREW HONEYCOMB
CHALLENGE OF THE MUSTARD SEED?

It is nothing short of staggering! Jesus said if one had faith as a grain of mustard seed, he could remove mountains. Matt. 13 & 17. Now think with me for a minute about this.
The tiny mustard seed slips through the fingers of a clinched fist, yet it makes a tree-like plant. The possibility is simple but awesomely complex: God programmed it to do so. Were the tiny mustard seed blessed with a brain, it would surely object to the prospect.
The mustard seed might say, “do not plant me in the ground. It is cold, dark and lonely there, and I would not be happy.” It may also offer: “to expect me to produce a mighty plant is ridiculous.” Furthermore, it might offer: “even if I did sprout, the chances are too great that a flood or drought would kill me, and if that were not enough, the sod is too hard to break, and even if I did someone would step on me, and that would be the end of that.” The negative odds are overwhelming.
I submit that the success of the mustard seed lies in its absence of a brain, so it simply does what God programmed it to do. One cannot escape the idea that if the tiny mustard seed succeeds in such a mighty, formidable task, what could the Christian do who is resigned to follow the will of God? Regardless of the “mountains” of potential opposition, he would accomplish mighty things!
Dwelling on the subject at hand reminds one of an old story. It seems a tavern was to be built in a town that had always been dry. Christians in that town opposed it and called for a prayer rally. They asked God to intervene in the proposal. The next day, lightening struck the tavern then under construction and it burned down. The tavern owner filed a lawsuit against the town churches, declaring them responsible for his loss. The churches hired a lawyer, and denied all responsibility. Responding to this unique case, the judge declared that regardless of how the case comes out, it is evident that the tavern owner believes in prayer and the churches do not.
Ouch! That is close enough to home to hurt! Yet, it illustrates human reaction in contrast to mustard seed programming.
But is it possible to have faith as a grain of mustard seed? Readers should consider the faith of Job in agony; of Daniel in the lion’s den; of the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace; of the church praying for imprisoned Peter; of Prisoner Paul in cold, wet shipwreck. If that is not enough, some time should be spent meditating on the eleventh chapter of Hebrews.
The apostle Peter walked on water so long as his attention was on Jesus, but the sad reality of modern day saints is that they are like those other disciples on the sea that night: they never get out of the boat. “If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed. . . “

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DOES THE MAYFLOWER LIVE ON?


 

DOES THE MAYFLOWER LIVE ON?

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

The Mayflower, as early history students learn, brought the first pilgrims to America. It returned to England and was decommissioned in the 1620s. It is known that it made at least one more voyage to western Europe laden with merchandise, but soon after the ower died. How long it sat before being auctioned off as scrap is not known, but its present state has been featured in respectable magazines such as National Geographic and others as presently a barn in Jordans, England, outside London.
It was my privilege to visit that place where there is also a cemetery hosting the grave of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. While enjoying tea and crumpets, I could not help but notice the resemblance of a large barn-like structure to an inverted ship. Upon inquiry, I was told that it was the Mayflower. Asked how this could possibly be, I was told that the lack of wood in England made decommissioned ships valuable as building material. So the ship was bought at auction, disassembled, then reassembled upside down as a barn structure. A visit to the inside was fascinating.
In the United States, most anything that is a century old is considered old, but in England hardly anything is considered old unless it exceeds four to five hundred years of existence. I was privileged to stay in a hotel and dine in a banquet room that dates back to the 1200s. A.D. The antiquity of the room was apparent, and hosted an aroma of age, but the large timbers were quite structurally sound.
So, perhaps the Mayflower lives on as a useful structure, but not as originally intended. I was reminded, that unlike the Mayflower the ship of our life has deposited us as pilgrims in a Christ-rejecting world. However we will live on in Christ Jesus, not downgraded, but upgraded: mortality swallowed up of immortality. Praises be to the Lord Jesus Christ Who took our dross, and Who made His own righteousness available by faith to all who receive Him! 2 Cor. 5:21 states it this way, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

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RECONCILIATION AND NONSENSE


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
RECONCILIATION AND NONSENSE

The subject of reconciliation is heard across much of the religious world today. But it appears to be as much secular as religious, and in some cases outright nonsense. Think with me a minute.
Just what does the word mean in the context of current usage? Largely it is calling upon churches to apologize to the black community for the sins of fathers three or four generations ago when slavery was common. The hoped for outcome is peace and acceptance with others who harbor ill feelings over the actions of that era.
The truth is that those who harbor such feelings are wrong to do so. They were never wronged, and the present generation never did wrong to apologize for what they never did, and are unable to do for what past generations did. Moreover, history reveals that many black people owned slaves as well. Additionally, the Bible never condemns slavery as a way of life, rather presents it as the ideal of relationship of man with God. The term “doulos” meaning bond slave, is an oft repeated New Testament term of obedient man’s relationship with God. Furthermore, One may repent of his own sins, but he cannot repent of the sins of another. The same is true of apologies. So the whole thing is a farce!
The New Testament presentation of reconciliation is that of man being reconciled to God which is possible only through repentance and faith on the merits of Christ Jesus and the truth of His Word. If one is to enjoy the blessings of God in growing in knowledge and grace, he must be submissive, that is, reconciled to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in connective terms of the Holy Word. Reconciliation measures one against the pattern set down in Holy Writ, and only that which matches is acceptable.
Reconciliation is not some high and lofty rule to which man always fails to attain, neither is it burdensome as some ascetics may indicate. Rather it is a state which is beyond man’s reach entirely, but perfectly attained by the Man, Christ Jesus. Thus faith in Him, His Word, His Person, His work, will bring the spirit of a wayward sinner into the spiritual state of reconciliation with the Holy God. It is not that we achieve a level above all sin, but that our faith is counted as the Faith of Christ Jesus who did just that! Beyond that, we are given the blessed privilege of reconciling our day to day life to God through understanding and application of the faith once delivered to the saints; hence, the apostolic plea, “. . . as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:20.
The theological presentation of reconciliation is beautiful, but as so many other terms and ideas. it may be twisted out of context and presented in a way never intended. Such as that is not the presentation of the harmonious scriptures, but the nonsense of a religious world that thinks it can deal with God’s Word anyway it wants.

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CONQUERING THE COSMOS


HEBREW HONEYCOMB
CONQUERING THE COSMOS

A supposed contradiction in scripture presented to this writer a few years ago goes like this: God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. . .” contrasted with “Love not the world . . .” I John 2:15. Are we to conclude then that the Bible is telling us to not love what God loves? That is contradictory. Well, think with me a minute.
God created a cosmos (order of things). It was so perfect, so beautiful, so desirable from every viewpoint. Its zenith was manifest in Eden when the climax of creation (mankind) was made the federal head of it.
Willful transgression by the federal head, caused the entire cosmos to be cast down. From that casting down, the Lamb slain was the plan of God to redeem it unto Himself. Rev. 13:8. Thus were the works finished from the foundation of the world (casting down of the cosmos). Hebrews 4:3.
Inasmuch as mankind was made from the earth and installed as the federal head of it, all of creation became subject to his actions. When sin entered into mankind, it changed the then known and wonderful cosmos of peace and life into a cosmos operating on the laws of sin and death. Moreover, all of creation was subjected to that disastrous decision of man, and it groans, awaiting its liberation which will occur in the final liberation of the people of God in the resurrection and rapture heralding the beginning of a new age. Romans 8:19-23.
That being said, thoughts return to the supposed contradiction, and how these thoughts apply to it. God loves the work of His hands. When all the work was finished, He beheld it, and it was very good! Gen 1:31. It is then the purpose of God to redeem His work from the “cast down” state to the fullness of His plans for it during the millennium, and on to the ultimate goal of it in the heaven ages to follow.
It is the cosmos that God so loved, and that Jesus came to redeem. However the cosmos that the Bible commands us to not love is the present one of sin and death. It is destined to eternal removal from the presence of God. Of it, John wrote, “Love not the world (cosmos) neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15.
Alas, we are all in the cosmos and doomed with it except for the success of the second Adam, Christ Jesus. Being born from above and following Him involves one in a dimension of life unknown to the present cosmos. It is an earnest of the inheritance that is to come in all of its unspeakable joy, peace and beauty. As the decision of one man cast down the cosmos and all in it, so through repentance and faith in the work of one man, Jesus, one escapes the laws of sin and death, and is admitted to the wonderful laws of life in the redeemed cosmos!

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VALUE OF CHURCH


A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. ‘I’ve gone for 30 years now,’ he wrote, ‘and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the pastor is wasting his by giving sermons at all.’

This started a real controversy in the ‘Letters to the Editor’ column. Much to the delight of the editor, it went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: ‘I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals.

But I do know this… They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!’

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The Group of Frogs


Morning Story and Dilbert

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As a group of frogs were traveling through the woods, two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs crowded around the pit and saw how deep it was, they told the two frogs that they’re was no hope left for them.

However, the two frogs decided to ignore what the others were saying and they proceeded to try and jump out of the pit. Despite their efforts, the group of frogs at the top of he pit were still saying that they should just give up. That they would never make it out.

Eventually, one of the frogs took heed to what the others were saying and he gave up, falling down to his death. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die.

He jumped even harder and…

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Monopoly


Morning Story and Dilbert

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Today I heard a story about the game Monopoly. I remembered playing the game many times in my life. Sometimes it was fun and sometimes it was not. Very much like life! It’s not always fun!

We all gather around the table and set the board up. Someone is the banker and they hand out the money. As the game goes on we can buy and sell property. It’s a great feeling to own Boardwalk, Park Place and to trade in those tiny green houses for red hotels. Since the hotels were red you know that’s what I wanted.

As the game goes on it’s fun if you’re the one buying the red hotels and winning the game. But the game comes to an end at some point. It isn’t very long and it’s time to put the game away. As the story I heard this morning was told, the…

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RE-THINKING THE TALE OF DEAD MEN


RE-THINKING THE TALE OF DEAD MEN
Parson to Person – By W.A. Dillard

The proverb heard over and over is: “Dead men tell no tales.” However, practical evidence abounds that this proverb is wrong and needs to be righted. “Dead men do tell tales!” Think with me for a moment.
An estimated fifty thousand martyrs since the days of Jesus on earth testify that the Christian faith is worth dying for. Moreover, the uniform stones of a military cemetery declare that democracy and freedom are worth dying for. There is much biblical evidence that “Dead men do tell tales!”
Wisdom comes to us from the voices of those who have gone before us. What is most important to them will be most important to each of us. So, what is the tale that dead men tell?
They tell of the foundational character of faith: that it is essential to salvation, Eph, 2:8-9. That it is essential to a good relationship with God, Heb. 11:6, and that it is first in the order of spiritual gifts, I Cor. 13:13. Additionally, everything that is not of faith is sin, Rom. 14:23.
Dead men tell us of the potential power of faith in the believer, Matt. 17:20, and of its importance at death when the claim of the grave, the great equalizer of earthly distinctions, will not be denied. Here genius, heroics, wealth, statesmanship invention, philanthropy, etc., all fade into the background, and the all important issue is: was this a person of faith in God?
Who are these dead men who tell such tales? Just to name a few, consider Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Jacob, Joseph, Moses and his parents, Joshua, Rahab, and an innumerable host of others. Hebrews 11:4 points out Abel, who by faith offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, “. . . by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”
Furthermore, there is another who speaks through the vicissitudes of time. It is a certain rich man who lived contemporarily with Lazarus. Luke 16. Millenniums of time have come and gone, but he still is desirous of a drop of water on his burning tongue. He wants to warn others to not follow his path. Truly, dead men do have a tale to tell. Wise people listen and act appropriately.

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