Tag Archives: depression


William Andrew Dillard

Americans who claim to be Christians have a fairly strong conviction that they are indeed a thankful people. Perhaps that perception arises out of experiences of the past century. It was only one hundred years ago that the world was relieved by the ending of World War I, the war said to be the bloodiest of all wars. With that war ending, the nation entered an era of unparalleled prosperity in the roaring twenties. But so, soon was the rug yanked out from under the nation with the financial collapse of 1929, followed by a decade-long, Great Depression. Next, came World War II, then the Korean conflict, and Vietnam. Through these monumental events also came industrial, educational, and technological break-through in rapid advancement. The inflationary measures that now loom as a doomsday pitfall, was viewed as a blessing a half century ago, When, at last, people had some money. Production of material things flooded the markets for people to buy. There came new cars, new houses, new clothes, and a million other things. People were happy. People were thankful. Really?
Some pundit said that “America is the only country on earth where people will trample you to get to annual sales items on the day after they proclaimed they were truly thankful for what they have.” Somehow, that paints a mental picture that is oxymoronic, and far from the humble, grateful spirit – the attitude of gratitude – so prominent among the early pilgrims. They knew it was only by the grace of God that they survived the harsh obstacles of life in an undeveloped land.
But thankfulness is not an attitude franchised by the poor, deprived, and/or oppressed upon their achieving better circumstances. It is rather a vastly important plank in the platform of wisdom to those who seize and employ its model. Whether poor or wealthy, ignorant or educated, ill or healthy, the blessings of the Almighty are superabundant to those who look for them. And, the look need not be far. A peek deep down inside at a view restricted to the individual and God tells it all, and it does not lie. What is the scene? Is it spoiled, selfish longing for some self-exalting acquisition of popularity, power, or material thing that will ultimately contribute to ruin? Is it gratefulness to God for life itself? Is it the mountainous blessings afforded God’s children, and a heart of thankful realization upon confronting or hearing of so many unfortunate cases which evoke a soft, sincere, whisper: “There, but by the grace of God go I.” Truly, those who know Jesus the Christ on a personal basis should be the most thankful people on the planet. Introspection! How does it tell your story?

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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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Author – William Andrew Dillard

In communication exchanges with my dear cousin, Sandra Thieme of Colorado, she mentioned the idea of a chisel. I cannot get this off my mind, mainly because it makes so much sense. Accordingly, I attempt to expand on that idea for my own analysis, and I hope it may make some sense to others who read these lines.
How prone we are to live life to the fullest, but as much as humanly possible within our comfort zone. When something invades our comfort zone, it is always by an external force, and not of our own making. We are secure in who we are; identify ourselves by the peripheral things and people around us, especially those we have known for a lifetime.
When a parent, sibling, or child dies, we feel ourselves chiseled. But we must understand that we really are as a sculptured work of art, fashioned by the Master Artist, and fully realize that He is not done with those of us who remain. When one of my children was still-born, it was as a chisel strike that I would have avoided at all cost, but one that brought more clearly into focus the fashioning of my life by my loving and righteous Creator-God. When deep depression struck in 1984, the chisel had never struck so hard and so painfully to shape my life to solely depend on my loving Sculptor. Then, dad died in 1987. The chisel struck again; painfully, but masterfully, further defining what I am to ultimately become. When mom died in 1988, it was a chisel blow. When my sister died in 2000, the chisel struck again. She was the first of my siblings to cross the bar, and I felt so vulnerable; that there was less of me than before. This week, my brother just older than I, succumbed to a massive stroke, and I am again feeling the strike of a chisel. There was love between us, even though we were not so close in later years as we had been as youngsters growing up. Still, all the precious people were there, and I knew it, and to some degree depended upon it. That was my comforting, self-definition of life. I feel the chisel from which no one is immune, even ministers of the gospel.
I do not seek immunity from the chisel, nor do I lament each blow as it may appear that I do. It is just that life is ever changing, and those who love the Lord will feel the chisel as He uses the events of life to channel us into complete trust and comfort in Him rather than the people and things that surround us. One day the Master Sculptor will be done with the chisel, and changes will cease to occur for we shall see Him as He is because, at last, we shall be like Him. Until then, may God give each of us the strength and grace to be still, and to cherish each blow of the chisel in the comforting knowledge of what He is doing to and for each one of us.

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Liberty on the Rise

The old court records of New England reveal the names of many Baptists who were constrained to pay taxes for the support of the Congregationalists.  One of those was Nathanael Green who was ordained as the pastor of the Baptist Church in Charlton, Mass. on Oct. 12, 1763.   That Congregation experienced many trials through the years, and at times spiritual depression was known as well as great spiritual revival.  In that Elder Green served until his death on March 21, 1791, it is apparent that the church endured the period of the Revolutionary War.  The pastor is spoken of as “being exemplary, “until he fell asleep in Jesus…”  But the public court record shows that Elder Green was arrested, taken to Worchester, imprisoned, and fined for refusing to pay the “ministers rate,” which we have mentioned before was for the care of the state preacher and his family.  The preacher was advised by Col. Chandler to pay the fine and after six hours he was released.  The pastor received a receipt for, “…sixteen shillings, nine pence, one farthing, being in full for his town and county rates for the year 1767: Benjamin Bond, Constable for the year 1767.”  The pastor sued on the basis that the law is to protect citizens against unscrupulous actions.  He won at the lower court, the assessors appealed and he won in the Superior Court.  The Man of God received all of his money and court costs back.  We should note that the sun of liberty in America was rising in those days.  Today it is just the opposite, when we go to court for the cause of liberty, the court rules for the state and against those that try to uphold freedom, and we have a Constitution, and they didn’t have its benefits yet. But we do have a “sin” problem.  “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”  [Pr 14:34]

Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp, 166 – 167.


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[t]he Baptist doctrine of local church autonomy prevailed]
 On Jan. 31, 1938, in a specially-called meeting, the congregation voted 92-18 to concur with the pastor and deacons and withdraw from the Convention and its affiliated organizations. On May 16, 1926, Rev. Ford Porter had become pastor of the First Baptist Church of Princeton, IN. This church held membership in the Northern Baptist Convention, the Indiana Baptist Convention, and the Evansville Baptist Association. The battle between fundamentalism and modernism had recently begun. Pastor Porter had become aware of serious modernistic inroads into the Northern Baptist Convention. Believing in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible, he determined that he would position the congregation solidly upon the inerrant, infallible Word of God. In 1932 during the depression, more than 200 professed conversion or united with the church. The church came to the conclusion that something must be done about their alignments so a special church meeting was called to discuss the matter, when the above vote was taken. However a minority refused to admit defeat and spurred on by denominational leaders they took the church to court asking to be declared the true First Baptist Church of Princeton. We should all rejoice that the Baptist doctrine of local church autonomy prevailed as the court ruled in favor of the majority. Dr. Robert T. Ketcham, one of the founders of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches testified on behalf of the church in this case. Rev. Porter’s son Robert was only 13 years old at this time. Rev. Porter wrote the famous tract, God’s Simple Plan of Salvation.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins, pp. 62-64.

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