Monday, January 3, 2011

With apologies Pastor Bumpus


With a hoarse and sore throat and a head that felt twice its size from a month-long cold, I stayed home from worship services last Sunday

All the doctor could tell me was I didn’t have the flu. So with that assurance I stumbled on toward Christmas, wishing January would come quickly. The old wives’ tale says nothing cures a cold, just wait it out. It will be gone before the week’s out. I was longing for January as it became evident one week was not chasing away this demon of a cold.

With all the strength I could muster I turned on our television and dialed cable number three last Sunday. Jody (she caught the cold also) and I sat on our sofa and watched the 10:30 morning service from the First Baptist Church of San Angelo.

Pastor Mark Bumpus’s sermon was not just for Sunday, but for every day of the week. Like most preachers know “church” is not just a Sunday thing. Sunday only starts a week with God, if we so choose. A church visitor ask an usher “when does the service begin?” Christian service, replied the usher, begins right after the sermon.

The scripture was from the Old Testament, Isaiah 41:10. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

With apologies to Pastor Bumpus, I thought it wise to go through the week with this first 2011 column. The scripture from Isaiah has an encouraging word for every day of the week. Each day’s word:

SUNDAY, God is reminding us to not be afraid. None of us know what a day or even a week can bring, but “fear not.”

MONDAY, God explains “fear not,” by assuring us that He is our God. One of the primary teachings of the Christmas just past is “Emmanuel”—God with us, even on “blue” Mondays.

TUESDAY, do not be worried, anxious or troubled about events near and far, for once again God is ever-present. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He is even closer when trouble rears its ugly head.

WEDNESDAY, He assures us of the fact He is still with us in the middle of the week. “I am your God!” means we are in a personal relationship, not some spiritual “feeling.” You can’t go so far that He is not there.

THURSDAY: “I will strengthen you!” If ever a sentence demanded an exclamation point, it is this one. “Wait upon the Lord, who renews your strength” (Isaiah 49:31). America, like Israel, should know God is our strength, not a strong military.

FRIDAY, God is not just a spectator, but the only reliable one to help us. We need lots of help as the week ends, for often find our work is not finished. He helps us when under pressure.

SATURDAY, not only is there strength and help in time of need, but His righteousness is always underneath. His righteous right hand keeps us from wandering. We will not slip through his fingers.

For the many who are facing unemployment; death of a loved one; fear of death itself; disappointment in others; loved ones in prison or twisted with doubts: remember that God has not forgotten you.
“Let shadows come, let shadows go, let life be bright or dark with woe; I am content, for this I know, Thou thinkest, Lord, of me.”

I’ve read many 19th century newspapers. A majority of them printed a local sermon each week. Reporters took notes and printed a summary (when short of news, sometimes the whole sermon). If well done, they informed and blessed the readers. Back in great-grandfather Argyle C. Towery’s day there was no television for the homebound. (Somewhat of a blessing in disguise.) Argyle was also great-grandfather of a Texas Pulitzer winner, Ken Towery.
For the New Year may all your sniffles and colds be little ones.

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