Friday, August 30, 2019

Murder Attempt Led Me To The Lord

Murder Attempt Led Me To The Lord

     It was my 13th birthday and all but one of us celebrated my special day ending with Mom’s delicious chocolate cake with white frosting.  Yum.  Yum.  The missing person was my Dad.  He was always drinking and had a terrible temper so I was kind of glad he wasn’t home yet.  It was bedtime and I went right to sleep in my upstairs bedroom.

     Scream.  Louder scream.  “Larry come quickly your Dad is trying to kill us.”  It was Mom’s voice.  My Father’s whisky-fueled anger had exploded into a horrid fight with Mom.  He said, “I think Larry is going to turn out like me. I’m going to kill him... tonight.”  He then headed to the garage for a weapon.

     When my feet hit the living room floor my Mom and Sister whisked me out to a neighbor’s car.  A police car was in our driveway with pulsing red and blue lights.  As we were driving off I saw the police wrestling something from my Dad.  It was a double-bladed axe.  He was arrested and my Mom filed for divorce.

     A few months later we learned he’d been released and was threatening us again.  We moved hoping he wouldn’t find us.  But he did.  A neighbor took us in so we wouldn’t be home if he did show.  Show he did.  In the middle of the night he smashed the front window with his fist.  Peeking through the neighbor’s curtains my Mom saw him and called the police.  When the police entered they saw a trail of blood (from his cut hand) on the floor leading to each of our beds where the covers were thrown everywhere.  But he had left by the back door.

     We moved again.  He fled out of state to avoid arrest.  Without his income my Mother worked herself to the bone to keep us fed, clothed and in a safe location.  Seeing her desperate struggle I accepted an offer that would ever change my life and future.

     A farmer in Tillamook County needed help and agreed to provide room and board and $15 a month.  I spent my Sophomore and Junior years rising at 4:00 AM to milk cows, shovel manure, catch the school bus, then returning to begin milking at 4:00 PM. Seven days a week.  14 hour days.  Phew.

     In school a classmate introduced me to the Lord Jesus.  Her minister, Don Rodda, taught me the plan of salvation.  Guess where?  In the barn by the calf pen.  That’s right ~ in the barn.  Talk about an awesome minister.  I was baptized the day before my 14th birthday in Garibaldi, Oregon.

     The Holy Bible became my guiding light.  I began studying it in earnest.  That led to my decision to go to Bible College a couple of years later. 

     One early morning, as I shoveled manure and fed the calves, I knew something was wrong.  One of the calves was lying down while the others hurried to the feeder.  When I touched her she was lifeless.  The day before I had petted this little Jersey but now she was gone.  I felt sad like I’d lost a friend.

     “What have you done,” thundered the Farmer?  I knew he’d been building a shed nearby but didn’t know he had entered the calf area.  His face turned red as he angrily raised the hammer and screamed, “Why you…” as he menacingly approached.  It was then a verse came to mind, ”A soft answer turns away wrath.”  Softly I whispered, “I only just found her.  I didn’t cause it.”  Never will I forget how he lowered the hammer and spoke kindly in response.

     Solomon said, “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1, NKJV).  From that moment on, as my faith increased, I marveled how true the Bible was.  I realized the importance of reading the Scriptures.

     I chose King David’s personal decision to guide my footsteps as well, “I have thought much about your words and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin.  Blessed Lord,
teach me your rules.   I have recited your laws and rejoiced in them more than in riches.  I will meditate upon them and give them my full respect.   I will delight in them and not forget them.”  (Psalms 119:11-16, TLB) 

     Years later I forgave my Dad, had him over for a family dinner, helped him move from his apartment to another and tried to share Jesus with him.  He remained stubborn to his final breath.

     Today I continue to store God’s Word in my heart and rejoice at His continuous blessings.

Amy Grant, Thy Word:

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Monday, August 26, 2019


     Some of you with stone faces, tight lips, exacting hearts and rigid beliefs may think it wrong to praise or honor a living person. Muttering, "You're just using flattery because you're seeking something in return." However, it is God's will that honor, respect and appreciation is shown by each of us.
"Pay everyone whatever he ought to have: pay your taxes and import duties gladly, obey those over you, and give honor and respect to all those to whom it is due." (Romans 13:7, TLB)
     The Scripture is full of people who were honored for their service to the Lord of Lords. The Apostle Paul praised so many different people that large Christian books have been written about them. Epaphroditus was such a person. Paul sent him to the church at Philippi with this statement:
"So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him," (Philippians 2:29, NIV)
"You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins." (Jim Stovall)
"No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." (Calvin Coolidge)
Why Does Matt Shively Deserve Honor and Respect?

     Though totally blind and nearly deaf, Matt Shively is the most refreshing, dynamic and enthusiastic man I’ve ever known. He can not be stopped from accomplishing anything he puts his awesome will to do.

     Nothing is more enjoyable than spending time with this Christian giant. His innate curiosity, detailed Bible studies and spontaneous questions tax anybody's ability to converse with him. His humor is a joy.

     I’ve said many times that he has more insight and vision than any sighted person. For more than 36 years I’ve watched Matt march to His Master’s leading. Though totally blind and nearly deaf he directs and acts in drama, builds craftsmanship quality bookcase-head boards, a storage shed, playhouse and much more. Guess who cuts the pieces, sands them finer than a baby’s skin and climbs ladders to roof the patio?

     He has no equal as a public speaker with wit, humor and unbelievable antics. I’ve watched him mesmerize scores of grade-schoolers, teens and adults. Everyone benefits when he shares.

     Toastmasters has awarded him so many times he needs to build a huge display room.

     Matt’s greatest innate characteristic, more than all of the above combined, is gratitude. Any one who helps him in anything, tiny or huge will be given an artistic gift from this former View Master
/ Disney Master Graphic Artist.

     In Matt's case so much more needs to be said.

     He was born with a genetic disease that causes creeping blindness culminating in not being able to see light from dark. Totally blind by about age 40.

     Sadly Matt was nearly unable to see his beloved daughter at her birth, though he did cut the umbilical cord. She was six when his eyesight was totally gone.

     The disease also eats away hearing at about the same rate. Today Matt has just about 12% hearing remaining and wears a powerful hearing aid to hear anything.

     Consider Matt:

     1. Blind Matt is an awesome soul winner. Whether on a bus, at school, at a party or wherever others are gathered he testifies about God's greatness and challenges them to believe in the Creator. In Jesus' day a man born blind became the first soul-winner ~ John 9:1-12.

     2. Matt refuses to be called handicapped. He says, "I am handy-capable!" And he is.

     He gives all the credit to the Lord just as the Apostle Paul (who wrote half of the New Testament) did when his eyesight failed him. ~ (Gal. 4:15, 2 Cor. 12:8-10).

     Samson, despite being blinded, destroyed an idolatrous temple. The Bible is full of people who, in spite of varied disabilities, were used by the Lord in remarkable ways.

     Quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada perceived

"Our Saviour chose to flash His credentials as Messiah through ministry to disabled people.… A disability magnifies God's grace.... We in our wheelchairs get to prove how great and how trustworthy God is."
     3. Matt's Artistic Gifts Are Unrivaled. For many years, as his eyesight was fading, Matt continued to work as a Walt Disney Graphic Artist ~ painting View-Master slides. But he saved his best for the last. He said, "The last thing I want to paint is my Lord Jesus on the Cross." It is a spine-chillingly descriptive, masterpiece. Copies of it are everywhere.

     4. Matt is a phenomenal orator. Matt's failing hearing left him with a speech impediment.

     But he tackled it with zest transforming himself into a trophy winner at International Toast Masters. His preaching today is a treat. He has a rousing, baritone voice even in huge auditoriums. His comic humor is memorable. I've witnessed public grade school children mesmerized by his charisma.

     5. Matt is a powerful preacher with unmatched creativity. He excelled in Bible College grasping every opportunity to preach, study or testify. Today he challenges all audiences and is fearless in denouncing sin. He has earned accolades both for his stirring sermons and his unparalleled humor. He is popular as a guest speaker at retreats, seminars, reunions, and churches across America. No matter what if Matt agrees to speak he'll show up well or sick.

     6. Matt has a powerful memory. Matt often quotes lengthy passages of Scripture and remembers not only his own script in drama but many of the other actors as well.

     7. Matt is both a virtuoso actor and director of live drama. Directing and acting in live drama his memory is so keen it seems he is reading his script on a teleprompter. Sadly Matt's hearing is now so poor he can no longer hear the other actors say their lines. But anyone who ever had a part in his dramas always received a hand-drawn Thank You Appreciation note.

     8. Blind Matt is a craftsman carpenter. Though totally sightless Matt built a huge deck with a covered roof. He has built headboards, wishing wells, storage shed, playhouse and more. Watching him cut lumber on a table saw and sanding projects as smooth as a baby bottom leaves anyone amazed.

     Matt's story becomes a moving example of the kingdom of God, where able and disabled people sit together as equals both in the church and in eternity at the marriage feast of the Lamb.

      So then who are we really praising?

     All of the above is due to the very nature of God. He receives honor when He utilizes unsophisticated people to achieve greatness.

"We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves." (2 Cor. 4:7, NLT)
     C.S. Lewis expressed it in this way:

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
     To inquire about having Matt speak to your church, school or other group please email:

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Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Whole World Sings Praises To The Lord

The Whole World Sings Praises To The Lord

Part 1

      As of this writing the Gospel of Jesus has been translated into more than 1,534 languages.  When the Good News of Jesus is read millions of believers worldwide sing praises to our indescribably-great God.  Supreme exaltation to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  "Now sing praises to God!  Every kingdom on earth, sing to the Lord!"  Jesus, when challenged to stop the praise singing rejoiced: “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.”

For an awesome spiritual mountain top experience
feast on praise singing in several Asian countries:

"So Faithful"

Regretfully This song was removed by the source.

"Hold Me"

Regretfully This song was removed by the source.

South Korea
"God Is Calling"

"I Want Jesus to Walk With Me"

"One Candle"

"100 Years Gospel Celebration"

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Saturday, August 17, 2019

When All Else Fails ~ ~ Remember His Faithfulness

When All Else Fails ~ ~ Remember His Faithfulness

The congregation had tripled under the faithful and inspiring preaching of Myron Wells.  The Holy Spirit's indwelling presence led to many souls being immersed.  Following each baptism many members sang praise songs waiting to pray with the new convert.  It was like when a new-born baby gasps for air and seemingly cries out I'm free now.

A result of the steady growth created a challenge: the classic 104-year-old-brick-church building was now inadequate to hold the larger audience.  What should we do?  The answer came: we felt led to start a second service to help ease the overflow.

About a year went by and both services were packed again.  Something had to be done.  Should we build an addition? However Code statutes couldn't be met as our lot was too small.  We decided to plant a new church on the other side of town.  About 1/4 of the members joined the new plant.  This reduced our cramped quarters.

But when the Lord's people's faith is contagious ~ ~ souls respond to the Gospel of Jesus.  Before too long we were overflowing again.  A solution became paramount.  We needed to build a new building or purchase a larger building.

While members scouted for an ideal place to build, another group searched for a larger used building.  As we considered the seen and unseen costs of erecting a new building and the high price of land the latter became self-evident.  We decided to put our current building on the market and search for a larger used building.

Weeks dragged into months. Months flipped the calendar over and over and still no offers came in to purchase our church.  And then a large building came up for sale. It was ideal. Perfect to a "T."

But other groups were also interested. Patiently we trusted the seller would accept our offer.

But because our building hadn't been sold the seller turned us down.

It was at that moment that the Holy Spirit spoke to the heart of our cherished godly secretary.

PeggyAnn said, "We've tried everything except the most critical of all.  We need to have a day of prayer and fasting where the whole church unites together in earnest."  I felt chills dancing down my spine as her trusting soul showed how blind we had been.  Sure we'd prayed and prayed but never had we considered a day of prayer and fasting.

She exhorted us to let God do his miracle, "He is always faithful.  Always!"

We didn't delay but set aside next Saturday for the fasting and prayer vigil.  Hundreds spent portions of their day imploring God to provide a buyer.  Late in the evening someone closed in prayer.  When the door was opened a voice from the office said, Brother Smith you have a telephone call.  The realtor said, "Larry ~ I have a solid offer on the building."

We sold the building and the formerly hesitant seller quickly accepted our offer.  We purchased that larger facility which easily held our crowd.  I never forgot the timing.  The building was sold instantaneously after our vigil. 

God's omnipotence and loving faithfulness was shown in all its glory

"It is beautiful how God has done everything at the right time." (Ecclesiastes 3:11) 
“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” (Joel 2:12)

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint."  (Isaiah 40:31) 
Remember by Laurin Dagle 

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Monday, August 5, 2019

World War 3 Or A Saved Marriage?

World War 3 Or A Saved Marriage?

     Obviously Bruce and Charlene had been squabbling as they showed for their initial counseling session at 10:02.  Bruce snarled before sitting, "I am furious with her.  She makes me late every time we do anything.  I'm fed up."

     "Honey... you don't give me..."

     "Don't you dare interrupt me and make another lame excuse.  It's you who needs counseling or better yet a Shrink," he acidly snapped.

     Gesturing toward the couch, "Why don't you both have a seat."  Charlene sat and Bruce bolted to a chair.  Shaking his head he barked, "Maybe I'll just leave.  She'll never change."

     I interrupted, "Perhaps you should if you won't quit throwing a tantrum."

     I'd seen fiery angry outbursts before but never at the start of a session.  Silently I asked the Lord to provide the much needed wisdom.

     Having watched Charlene trying to dodge his grenades for an hour I motioned for them to pause, "I'm going to pray now.  Finished I said, "We'll meet again but only if you'll both agree to do an assignment...and not refuse nor ask why."

     Curious Charlene smiled, "Sure."  Bruce scowling reluctantly nodded.

     "This next week spend an hour, without your spouse, at a cemetery."

     I stood and watched the puzzle on her face and the smoke coming from his ears as they left.

     When they returned I said, "Describe what you saw at the cemetery."

     "I loved the rhododendrons and azaleas.  It was so quiet I could almost hear myself thinking.  Peaceful.  Restful.   Most of the grave markers were so sad.  Tears filled my eyes."

     "All I saw was a giant, crazy waste of my time.  I couldn't get out of there soon enough.  Why in the world did you send me to a graveyard?"

     "Each grave holds a person who never got to finish his work."

     This is the key to save your marriage.

     Over the next sessions we dealt with how to stop living a time-controlled life.  Having Bruce leave his watch home when they're going to the beach or mountains and allowing Charlene to decide when to go home.

     "You'll begin to enjoy the closeness of loving your spouse because of how different they are from yourself.  The differing gifts were implanted by the Creator to complement each other."

     I asked them, "When you're looking in a mirror do you kiss your own image?  Do you want your spouse to be your twin?  Why didn't the Creator paint everything with one color?  Just imagine: brown grass, brown skies, brown flowers, brown oceans, brown rainbows, and brown flamingos!"

     Always remember: It isn't who is right; it is what is right.  Living together seeking what is best for your spouse is what is right.  "Treat others just as you want to be treated."*  Learn to be appreciative of how each of your differences are designed to fuse you together.  That's why you're called a Couple!"

     Never forget the Lord wants you to live together peacefully and always trust that He'll be there for you.  He'll make things right no matter what it might be.

* Luke 6:31

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