What Time Is It?

Someone has put together the following scenario.  What if you had an account at a bank that would credit your account each morning with $86,400?  It would not carry over a balance to the next day because it deletes whatever part of the balance you didn’t use that day.  I expect we all would try to draw out every cent before the sun set.

There is such a bank – it is called TIME.  Each morning it gives you 86,400 seconds.  Each night it writes off everything that you did not invest for a good purpose.  It never carries a balance.  It allows no overdraft.  Each day it opens a new account for you.

You can’t borrow from yesterday’s account.  You can’t put aside a little of that time for tomorrow’s account.  You have to live on today’s deposits.  That makes it awfully important to invest wisely how we spend every second.

We invest in a lot of scientific research on keeping time accurately.  It was just released in April 2015, that we have a new atomic clock that is so accurate that it will not gain or lose one second in the next 15 billion years!  Now that is accurate!  No worry about correct time.  The important thing is how well do we use our time, even if we might today be keeping it inaccurately.

I am not good with technology.  Every six months we have to change our clocks involving Daylight Savings Time.  I never can remember how to change the clock in my car.  My brother George has the same challenge.  He told me not to worry about it because he said, “John Ed, at least, your clock in your car will be accurate six months out of the year.”

How we use each second is oftentimes the difference in doing something significant, or missing out.  Sometimes it is the difference in finishing first or second.  Alabama is famous in the NASCAR world for the running of the Talladega 500.  That is big in our state.  Do you realize how close those races are?  They drive those cars for 500 miles, and the difference in first and second place is less than one second.

In 2011, the margin of victory for Jimmie Johnson at Talladega was .002 seconds.  Now a second is very short.  This is not a tenth of a second, nor a hundredth of a second, but one thousandth of a second.  That is a close margin.

In 2010, Kevin Harvick finished first by a margin of .011.  That is less than a tenth of a second.  In 2002, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won in .060.

Time is valuable.  You have as much time today as anybody else.  Don’t waste it or use it unwisely today.  Time is a real treasure you have. Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is a gift.  That is why it is called “the Present.”

Some phrases we use are “killing time” – “spending time” – “passing time.”  I think the best phrase could be “investing time.”  Ephesians 5:15 says, “Be careful how you live, not as unwise people but as wise making the most of time.”

What time is it?  It’s time to be wise with our time!

Things That Never Happened Before

Haven’t most things happened that could happen in sports – especially in sports like professional golf, professional basketball, and professional baseball?  Those sports have been around a long time and a lot of things have happened – any room for something new?  Last Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17, something new happened in each sport.

I was very interested in the pro golf Players Championship on Sunday because of the charge that Rickie Fowler was making.  A couple of young golfers in the Frazer family know him and have played against him in college or on the professional tour, and have said great things about him.  He is a class young man.  He is a fine Christian.  He won the Players Championship in a 3-way playoff.

Actually he was so far behind in the final round that his mother, sister and college coach left for the airport to catch a plane.  Rickie caught fire on the 14th hole and started an eagle and birdie barrage like pro golf has never seen.

Rickie Fowler went five under par on the final four holes of the Players Championship.  It was the lowest score for a winner over the last four holes of an event since the PGA Tour began tracking hole-by-hole scores.  That had never happened before in professional golf.  They did send a car and an escort to the airport and his mother, sister and coach got back in time to see him win the playoff hole.

On Sunday the Los Angeles Clippers were playing the Houston Rockets in Game 4 of their series.  The Rockets decided to intentionally foul the Clipper’s center DeAndre Jordan.  It was reminiscent of the “hack a Shaq” strategies against Shaquille O’Neal a few years ago.

DeAndre Jordan was fouled so much that he shot 28 free throw attempts in the first half.    No pro basketball player has ever shot that many free throws in one half.  Jordan only hit 10 or the 28 foul shots, but the strategy didn’t ultimately work as the Rockets lost 128-95.  But something new happened that has never happened before.

On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Pirates were playing the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Cardinals had runners on second and third bases with no outs.  The Cardinals’ Yadier Molina hit a line drive.  It was caught by Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker.  He threw to the third baseman Jung Ho Kang to double off the runner at third.  Kang then threw back to Walker who stepped on second to retire the runner there who had failed to tag up.  It was scored 4-5-4.  In all of baseball history there had never been a second to third to second triple play.

As a sports fan it amazed me that three things in three different sports that had never happened before could occur on the same weekend.  The odds of that happening are unbelievable.

Has God done everything He is going to do today?  Are there new things that have never happened before that God wants to do?  Is there something in your life – your church – your family that has never happened before?  If new things happen in baseball, golf, and basketball – think about what God might be planning to do that would be far more unbelievable (if we believe) than in sports.

The psalmist David talks about a “new song.” (Psalm 40:3) Paul talks about the possibilities of “a new person in Christ.” (II Corinthians 5:17) The Bible is filled with examples of God’s doing new things.

You fill in the possibilities.  God’s possibilities for new things in our lives today are far greater than birdies, triple plays, or foul shots.  God can redefine what is possible!

Dead or Alive?

Are you dead or alive?  Is it hard for people to tell?

Janina Kolkiewicz is a 91-year-old Polish woman.  In January 2015 she had a near-death experience.  She woke up one day in a body bag placed in cold storage at the morgue.  She had been there for 11 hours.

The family had discovered her lifeless body and a doctor actually pronounced her dead.  Some of the people working at the morgue noticed that the body bag started moving.  That would be an interesting experience – especially if you are working alone!  After observing it for a little while one person opened the body bag and discovered that Janina was very much alive.

She was complaining about being cold.  The first thing she wanted was a hot bowl of soup.  People thought she was dead but at 91-years-old, she was still alive.

A lot of people have some challenges with the IRS.  Most folks are trying to find some way not to file tax returns, but a 94-year-old World War II veteran, Siegfried Meinstein, has been trying to file a return. The IRS won’t let him because they insist that he is dead.

Siegfried is very much alive.  Only the government is declaring him “deceased.”  He actually received three letters from the IRS insisting that he is “deceased.”  Now that could be a bit unsettling.  Siegfried’s son told him that he ought not let the IRS upset him.  He made a very philosophical statement when he said, “Eventually they’ll be right.”

His son is correct.  Every person will one day be deceased.  The Bureau of Statistics in Alabama still says that one-out-of-one will die.  Nobody will escape it.  The comedian Woody Allen once said that he didn’t mind the thought of dying – he just didn’t want to be there when it happened.  He will be.

I heard a cute story about a first grade class that had been photographed.  The teacher was trying to persuade each child to buy a copy of the group picture.  The teacher said, “Just think how nice it will be to look at when you are all grown up and say ‘There is Jennifer. She is a lawyer.  There is Michael. He is a doctor.’”  About that time a small voice at the back of the room rang out and said, “And there is the teacher. She is dead.”

But death doesn’t have the last word.  That is reserved for God who gave us life to begin with.  Billy Graham said, “One day you will hear that Billy Graham has died.  Don’t believe it.  On that day I will be more alive than I ever will be!”

Jesus promises, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

While we don’t like to talk about death, it is a reality that each of us will one day face.  I just want to make sure that I live life fully before death comes.  I don’t want to wind up in a cold morgue in a body bag while I am still alive.  I don’t want to have to try to prove to the IRS that I am alive – I just want to keep paying my taxes and using the rest of my money for something that really counts!

When I die I want to know that I will continue to live.  Jesus has that answer!

Answered Prayers

In 2014, 35-year-old Asia Ford, a Kentucky mother with three children, began experiencing serious health problems because she was overweight.  She knew she needed to do something so she started losing weight.  She lost 217 pounds!

She decided it was time for her to run a 10K race.  She entered.  As she was coming down the final stretch she began crying because she was afraid she was about to pass out.  At that time Louisville Police Lt. Aubrey Gregory came up beside her and started encouraging her.  He kept telling her that she could do it.  It changed her whole attitude.

Asia completed the race.  She said, “I asked ‘God, please let me take a few more steps.  Right when I said that, God brought this man.  He gave me the encouragement to do it.”

Isn’t it great that in a time of need God puts somebody in our path as an answer to prayer?   The problem is a lot of people are in need and praying for help, and God has somebody picked out, but that person doesn’t respond.

One of the rapidly growing sports today is women’s fast pitch softball.  I like it because the players don’t waste time between pitches.  It is a fast game.

Last year Florida Southern College, an excellent Methodist school, was playing Eckerd College.  Florida Southern was leading, but then the batter for Eckerd hit a game-winning homerun.  As the batter started rounding the bases, she all of a sudden started crying and limping badly.  Would you believe that her opponents came out and gave her a hand in completing the trip around the bases?

The pitcher for Florida Southern, Chelsea Oglevie, said, “It wasn’t until she got to the middle of first and second base that I realized she was sobbing.  We helped her. All I knew is we were doing the right thing.”

What if more people did the right thing?  In the heat of competition, Chelsea helped out the opponent who had just hit her pitch for the game-winning homerun.  I don’t know softball rules, so I don’t know what would have happened if the batter had simply fallen between first and second and could not have completed the bases.  Chelsea didn’t even ask that question – “she just did the right thing.”

When World War I came a young traveling preacher named Oswald volunteered to go as a Chaplain to the troops.  He offered a daily teaching for them.  In 1917, he died after an emergency appendectomy.  He was only 41-years-old.

His bride, Gertrude, could take dictation at over 150 words per minute.  She listened to his devotional thoughts, and each day wrote down all of his teachings.  After he died, she started typing out all those notes that she had taken.  She put them into a little book which today is one of the most famous devotional books.  That young preacher was Oswald Chambers, and his wife Gertrude put together “My Utmost for His Highest.”

Gertrude was there to perform a great service to her husband Oswald.  Sometimes you don’t even have to ask for someone to help you – God just puts somebody in that place.

God always puts somebody in place as an answer to a prayer need.  You might be that answer!

Smart Chopsticks

Health inspectors give a report each week on restaurants in the River Region indicating a numerical score for how clean they are.  The report ends with Mark Bullard giving a robust “Clean Up!”   But what about the food the restaurant serves?  Is it pure – untainted?

The Chinese have now developed a pair of “smart chopsticks” that will help you gauge the quality of the food you are about to consume.  These chopsticks have been developed by the Chinese tech giant Baidu and they were recently displayed at a technology conference.

These chopsticks feature built-in sensors that “can detect oils containing unsanitary levels of contamination.”  They have named the chopsticks Kuaisou, and they link to a smartphone app, which displays a “good” or “bad” reading depending on the quality of the food’s cooking oil.  The smart chopsticks will also record temperature, nutritional information, and calories.

Evidently the Chinese markets have had some challenges with food quality scandals such as “gutter oil,” or cut-rate cooking oil made from recycled garbage and sewage that is used by some street vendors.  These smart chopsticks will help determine the quality of the food.

We can see where external things are clean or not.  But we sometimes have real difficulty seeing how pure and untainted ideas, philosophies, opportunities, etc. are.  How do we discern that?

One way is the use of our conscience.  The problem with the conscience is that it is oftentimes based on education, values taught as a child, etc. and cannot be totally dependable.  The conscience can also be dulled.

I like the definition of the conscience by a little boy who said, “It’s a three-cornered thing in my heart that stands still when I am good, but when I am bad it turns around and the corners hurt a lot.  If I keep on doing wrong the corners wear off and it doesn’t hurt anymore.”  Another kid defined conscience as “something that makes a kid tell his mother before his sister tells her.”  You can’t depend on your conscience.

We need God’s divine help.  His desire is to help us discern where there is evil, even though it is well disguised.  We are tempted to consume a lot of things intellectually that are “gutter oil” and recycled from garbage and sewage.  Check out some of the things we watch on television or see at the movies.

God’s spiritual chopsticks come from a close relationship to God like Paul had when he wrote, “It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)  This relationship causes sensors to go off when we are about to consume something that would be unhealthy for us morally, intellectually, or spiritually.  The Chinese app is new.  God’s app has been around for thousands of years and it is the smartest app you can ever receive.

Eating food that is unclean can make you sick for a while.  Consuming things that are impure for our minds and souls can do permanent damage.

Do you have your “spiritual chopsticks” yet?  They carry with them a “life-back” guarantee that includes this life and eternal life.

Together

An organization functions best when each person correctly accesses his/her gifts, then deploys those gifts as a part of a team effort.  Organizations get into problems when some people try to assume responsibilities for which they are not gifted.  Another deterrent to productivity is having one person think that his/her gifts are more important than another persons’.

A good model to follow is I Corinthians 12.  Paul describes the church as the human body.  My body has different parts, such as feet, hands, ears, eyes.  My body does not function well if my eyes try to hear or my ears try to see.  There is also dysfunction when one part of my body starts claiming that it is more important than another part.  Each part is extremely important and essential for my body to function as a coordinated unit.

There is a beautiful example of this recently reported in China.  A couple of eco-warriors in China are redefining what it means to work together.  Jia Haixa is blind and Jia Wenqi is a double amputee who lost both his arms at age 3.  They both found it very difficult to find a job.

In 2001, they decided to engage this basic principle.  They began working together planting trees along the riverbank in their hometown of Hebei.  Despite the fact that neither one of them could do the work by himself, they discovered that together they could accomplish amazing things.  They saw their respective situations not as disabilities but as possibilities if they worked together.  The 53-year-olds have now managed to plant 10,000 trees over the last 10 years!

Today they are making a modest living which is helpful to their families, but is also helping to protect their village from dangerous floods.  Haixa says, “I am his hands.  He is my eyes.  We are good partners.”  It is amazing what can happen when each person contributes his best gift to the work of the entire organization.

There is a story about a Captain of a ship and the Chief Engineer who one day began arguing about which was more important to the ship.  To settle the argument, they decided to swap jobs for a few hours.  The Chief Engineer went up to the bridge and the Captain went into the engine room.

About an hour later the Captain appeared on the bridge.  He was covered with oil and soot and wildly waving a monkey wrench.  He said, “I can’t make her go.”  The Chief quickly said, “Of course you can’t, we have run aground.”

An important aspect is that we have to be able to both give and receive the help we need.  It was recently reported that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook revealed that he once offered a dying Steve Jobs part of his own liver.  Jobs’ response was “I’ll never let you do that.”  He refused the help.  Cook said that he worked with Jobs for 13 years and was never yelled at but four or five time, but this was one of them.  What could have been if Cook and Jobs had been together on the same page about Jobs health?

Working together is the “together” that makes for success.  Sir Thomas Beecham, the eminent conductor of the London Symphony, on one occasion was the guest conductor in another venue and was frustrated with the seemingly undisciplined group of musicians.  During the rehearsal the concert master asked Mr. Beecham how he wanted a particular section played.  After a long pause, and with great emphasis, he replied, “Together!”

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all!

Grave Visiting

There is a growing interest today in visiting the graves of great athletes.  These grave hunters have a website, www.findagrave.com, and they have collected a database that gives the final resting spots of 5,563 sports figures.  Steve Rushin has written about this very popular practice.

Part of this fascination is the fact that people want to feel close to some of these old stars.  Frank Russo says, “When you visit the grave of Stengel or Durocher or Ruth or Gehrig, you get a chance to be close to them.  They’re not there physically, but you can feel spiritually close to them.”

Russo has a website, www.TheDeadballEra.com, which is devoted to major leaguers “on the other side of the grass.”  It’s those whose colorful lives have been reduced to a bronze hyphen.

Hollywood is the home of Parisian Florist, which for 20 years had a standing order from Joe DiMaggio to make a twice-weekly delivery of roses to Marilyn Monroe’s crypt in the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park.  One man was so enthralled with Marilyn Monroe that he paid to be buried face down in the crypt above Marilyn Monroe!  Hugh Hefner bought the tomb next to hers.

It is fascinating that so many people are “grave visiting” and want some kind of emotional thrill to be near the casket of a celebrity.  It seems to me that intelligent people would know that you can’t feel close to somebody who is not in a grave.  There might still be some remains of a body, but those people are spending eternity somewhere.  They are not there.  They are not going to come back from the grave.

I remember a cute story about a man who went out to a cemetery to place roses on the grave of a friend.  Right near him was an oriental man who brought a bowl of rice to place on the headstone of a friend of his.  The American thought that was a rather strange thing to do so he said to the Asian man, “When do you expect your friend to come up and eat the rice?”  The Asian simply smiled at him and said, “The same time your friend comes up and smells the roses.”

Death is not the end – it is only a transition into an eternal existence.  Where one spends eternity is not dependant on athletic statistics, or good deeds, or accumulated fame.  It is all determined by whether or not a person receives the grace God offered through His Son Jesus Christ.  He said, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who lives and believes in Me shall never die but shall have eternal life.”  John 11:25

I think I will start a website called www.rev21:27.com.  It already contains the eternal destination of all who are deceased.  

Jack Norworth’s remains lie in a cemetery near the Santa Ana freeway.  He retired in California where he started the Little League program there in 1952.  In 1908 he wrote a little song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” which is still sung at the seventh inning stretch of many baseball games.  “Take me out to the ball game, Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks, I don’t care if I never get back.”

You can get back from the game but not the grave.  The grave is the place where we get on to our eternal destiny.  We don’t need grave visitors – we need eternity celebrators!

Dance Lessons

Many interesting life lessons were learned from this past basketball season.  Many coaches and teams can testify that you can get overconfident and be upset.  Many learned that there is no such thing a sure win in the “big dance.”  Coach Ron Hunter from Georgia State learned that you can get injured on the bench if you celebrate too much!

On February 18, 2015, I wrote about Coach Dean Smith and things he taught as a coach.  On October 29, 2014, I wrote about a new hero of mine, Lauren Hill.  She scored the first basket of the college basketball season.  She is on hospice, but still alive and doing God’s will.  Both of these blogs are archived on my website.

Here are two more powerful lessons I learned from this past year:

When Austin Hatch was 11-years-old he survived a plane crash that killed his mother and two siblings.  Would you believe that eight years later another plane crashed and killed his father and stepmother and left Hatch in a coma?

Austin wanted to play college basketball.  As a 20-year-old he finally realized his dream when he walked on at the University of Michigan.  He scored his first points when he sank a couple of free throws.  He said, “My past won’t define my future.  What happened to me is kind of unique, but that’s what happened.  That’s not who I am.”

Our past should not define our future.  If our past is tragic and bad and disappointing, God’s gives us a new chance and a new hope for the future.  If our past was extremely successful, we can’t rest on the laurels of the past but have to move on to what God is calling us to do today.  Our past should never define our future.  The Apostle Paul said, “Forgetting the things that lie behind, and reaching for the things that are before, I press on toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Coach Kevin Willard is the coach at Seton Hall.  He did not have a really good season as he was 16-14 and 6-12 in the Big East when he played Georgetown.  He desperately needed a win.  There was some talk that his job was in jeopardy.

Georgetown had a player by the name of Tyler Adams.  Tyler came to Georgetown on a scholarship, but developed a heart ailment and couldn’t play.  Georgetown’s final game was with Seton Hall and the NCAA granted a waiver for Tyler Adams to play.

At the opening tip Seton Hall fell back and allowed Adams to dunk his first goal in college basketball.  He then was taken out of the game and left with an emotional exit.  Georgetown did not know that Seton Hall would purposely let Adams score the first goal.

It was a class act on the part of Coach Willard!  Seton Hall went on to lose the game by only 4 points.  He received some criticism for allowing Georgetown to get 2 easy points.  He said that it was more important for Tyler Adams to have a memory of his only game in college basketball than it was for him to get a win.  That is class!  The Bible says that we should esteem others better than ourselves.

In life winners are not those who score the most points, but those who score the most with their lives.  If you want to advance through the brackets of life, learn and practice these lessons taught by Austin Hatch, Kevin Willard, Dean Smith, and Lauren Hill.

The “big dance” takes on a new meaning.  David relates how in Psalm 30:11God “turned our morning into dancing.”  The wisdom of Solomon is expressed in Ecclesiastes 3:4 when he tells us that it is a time to dance.  Austin, Kevin, Dean, and Lauren are pretty good dance teachers!

Two Vastly Different Days

April Fools’ Day is one of the most lighthearted days of the year.  Some associate it with the turn of the seasons since it is close to the vernal equinox in March.  Others believe it started because in 1582 Pope Gregory VIII adopted a new calendar which called for New Year’s Day to be celebrated January 1st.

Some people either did not like it or did not know about it and continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1st.  People began making fun of the folks who didn’t change and would send them on “fools’ errands” or try to trick them into believing something false.  The people who are the victims of jokes are known as “April Fools.”  While April Fools’ Day is not a national holiday in any country, it is well known in Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil, and the United States.

One of the more popular hoaxes occurred in 1957 when the BBC broadcast a film purporting to show Swiss farmers picking freshly grown spaghetti, in what they called the Swiss spaghetti harvest.  People flooded the phone lines at BBC with the requests to purchase a spaghetti plant.  The BBC at first had some further fun by diplomatically replying “place a string of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”  They had to declare the film a hoax on the news the next day.

I remember reading a few years ago in the April Sports Illustrated a story about a rookie pitcher, Sidd Finch, who signed to play for the Mets.  He could reportedly throw a baseball 168 miles per hour with pinpoint accuracy.  Sports Illustrated was flooded for more information about this magnificent player.  The article was an April Fools’ hoax.  The author of the article, George Plimpton, did give a clue in the subheading of the article, “He’s a pitcher, part yoga, and part recluse, impressively liberated from our opulent lifestyle, Sidd’s deciding about yoga – and his future in baseball.”  The first letter of each of those words spelled out H-A-P-P-Y A-P-R-I-L F-O-O-L-S’ D-A-Y – A-H F-I-B.

This year April Fools’ Day comes a few days before Easter.  For many people there is not a lot of difference in the two days – people treat Easter like it is just another day and could even be a hoax.  Throughout history people have discounted the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Easter is not a hoax.  Through sin we make a fool out of ourselves – but the cross and Easter have the answer.  While some people in the 1st century thought that the resurrection was a hoax, many people gave testimony to the fact that they had seen the Risen Lord.  Paul wrote, “How do some among you say there is no resurrection…if there is no resurrection, Christ has not been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is also in vain.”  I Corinthians 15:12-14

Lie and life are close in spelling but vastly different in meaning.  These two vastly different days demonstrate that.  April Fools’ is based on a lie – Easter is based on life now and life eternal!

I don’t know of anyone who would intentionally omit Easter, but it can happen.  The Southern Baptist Conventions’ 1996 -97 calendar of activities omitted Easter.  The calendar was a 16 month September to December long range planning calendar used by church leaders and produced by the Southern Baptist Conventions’ executive committee.  Inadvertently Easter was omitted.  They quickly gave a press release indicating that it was a terrible mistake and completely unintentional.  The Baptists believe in Easter!

Be alert for April Fools’ pranks – be more alert for evidences of the resurrection!

How To Deal With Sin

We all sin.  The Bible teaches that very clearly and we know it.  What do we do with sin?  One of the most crippling diseases is to harbor that sin and let it grow bigger and bigger.  We feel guilty.  We become tied up with emotions that are unhealthy.  We try to rationalize why we did it.  We try to avoid thinking about it.  We make excuses.  None of that works.

The only answer is to confess sin.  It is the only healthy way to deal with our sin.

Elwin Wilson was raised in the South.  He joined the Ku Klux Klan years ago to stop racial integration.  John Lewis was a black Freedom Rider who tried to enter a “whites only” waiting room at the bus station in Rock Hill, SC in1961.  Wilson and several of his racist friends beat him unmercifully.  That memory haunted Wilson.  It ruined his life.  He harbored that sin.

Lewis became a prominent member of the U.S. Congress.  One day Wilson got an appointment and went to his office to personally apologize.  He said, “My daddy always told me that a fool never changes his mind and a smart man changes his mind.  Will you forgive me?”

Wilson became a national symbol for reconciliation and redemption.  He made a lot of public appearances with Lewis.  He tells of this change of heart.  He has publically said, “All I can say is that it has bothered me for years, all the bad stuff I have done.”  He said that his ultimate decision to renounce racial hatred and confess to John Lewis was because of the faith that he had come to experience.  He said he knew “there is no way I could be saved and get to heaven and still not like blacks.”

Governor George Wallace became an icon of segregation when he stood in the schoolhouse door in Tuscaloosa.  He ran for public office.  He was elected Governor of the State of Alabama on a platform of racial segregation.  His famous statement, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” echoed throughout the nation for a lot of years.

In his later life Governor Wallace began to see that he was wrong.  Some people accused him of changing his mind for political reasons.  He publically began to confess to African-American people and ask them to forgive him.

He watched our Frazer worship services on television.  He stayed home and turned the TV up really loud because following the attempted assassination on his life, his hearing had become greatly impaired.  He asked me to come see him several times.  He always wanted to know if God would forgive him.  He knew that people had forgiven him, but he wanted to be sure that God had forgiven him.

I, along with some others, repeatedly assured him that God’s promise is true that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins.”  (I John 1:9)

I remember well visiting with him not long before he died.  He would use a blackboard and chalk to write.  Some of the best words I have ever seen written were when Governor Wallace wrote “I know I am forgiven.”

The only way to deal with sin is to confess it, and God’s promise is that He will forgive.  The Good News is that God’s confession booth is always open!