He Is Good All The Time

© 2019 Bill Murphy

We sang a song in a church I once attended that said, “He is good all the time.  All the time, He is good.”  How very true.  

I believe in thanking Him all the time, and all the time thanking Him, even for those tiny little things that may not mean much to others.  I’d rather thank Him ‘needlessly’ for something He didn’t supply… than to miss thanking Him for something He did!  This past week, one of those ‘silly little things’ happened.

Carol and I were returning home from Alabama, where we had attended my brother-in-law’s funeral.  We were somewhere in rural Tennessee, the day was overcast, and we were already in a somber mood.  Carol was driving… and I was simply watching the world go by.  Ahead, to the right, I beheld an amazing sight.  It was amazing to me anyway.  I believe that God knew that I needed a small shot of sunshine, a little dose of smiles, something lighthearted and upbeat.  The scene we passed was right out of a child’s nursery rhyme, but instead of a drawing, this was in living color.  There was a broad, flat meadow of lush, green grass.  This field lay at the base of a gentle hill, not much more than a low mound.  This high area was solidly covered with bright green corn stalks… which extended over this little hill and for acres and acres beyond.  And standing right up next to the corn…  the cornstalks brushing their sides… was a herd of brown and white cows.  And I thought…

Little boy blue,

Come blow your horn,

The sheeps in the meadow,

And the cows in the corn.  

Amazing! I couldn’t help but grin! 

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SMOKE HOUSE

© 2019 Bil Murphy

Who remembers playing in the old smokehouse? I’m not talking about your local tobacco store either! Unless you’re like me, older than dirt, then you’ve probably never had the blessing of smokehouse fun.

Pappa and Mamma Murphy had a ‘working’ smokehouse when I was a kid in short pants. It sat a few feet from the rear of their house in Carthage, MS, and a few dozen yards from where those hams were born and raised. Because my Dad loved his parents dearly, we visited Carthage often, much to my approval and delight!

The ole smokehouse was no more than eight feet square, with a low roof. Hams hung from the rafters at about eye level. It smelled… what can I say… almost heavenly in the place… but it was dark inside. Because it was a valuable asset to the farm, and a major source along their food chain, our care-free play time inside of it was strictly limited.

Occasionally, a friend or distant cousin would visit who was ‘out of the loop’ of our country fun activities, and we’d suggest a game of follow the leader.

The smoked hams hung from the rafters of the low roof by strong cords, making the lower portion of the heavy hams about eye level to an eight or ten year old. Perfect! We’d entice the unsuspecting newcomer to follow us inside that dark and sweet smelling place. The aroma alone was enough to shock your senses, and throw your thinking off balance.

Did I mention that these the hams hung down… looking for all the world like punching bags in a prize fighter’s gym?

The leader would wait until the door was closed, and it was once again dark inside, and the unsuspecting victim was pressing close to the leader for guidance… and then the leader would reach forward and push a ham forward… and then release it… and duck! Instead of egg in your face, the poor visitor got twelve pounds of ham in the face!

My grand and great-grand kids think that I must have had a boring childhood… because I had no cell phone, no TV, no radio controlled toys, no video games.

And I shake my head and think what an artificial childhood they are having, because they have no smokehouses, hay lofts, peanut patches, nor have they ever experienced drinking cool fresh water that they themselves have drawn from a well with a bucket on a rope.

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HE KNOWS

© 2019  Bill Murphy

Matthew 6:8 tells us… for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

What a wonderful truth!  It speaks volumes of the greatness and love of God.  Yet amazingly, I’ve heard it misquoted, and misunderstood.

Perhaps it would be best to discuss what this verse doesn’t say.

First of all… it doesn’t imply than its pointless to pray because God already knows.  Also, read this truth closely, and see what it says, as opposed to what you might think or wish that it says.

Pray is communion with God.  Prayer is the channel through which we (humanity) speaks with God (deity).  Prayer is also one of the principal times when God speaks to us, or should I say when we pause and listen to Him.  Prayer is spiritual face-time.  Prayer is a gift.  Prayer is a treasure.  Prayer is a blessing and a necessity.

I know that God is interested in all aspects of our lives, and He assuredly knows ever inch of our hearts, including all of our wants and desires.  Furthermore, He also knows which of our needs are most pressing.  And perhaps most important of all, He also knows which of our wants would not help us or be of any benefit to us.  God is the ultimate Good Father.  None can love and care for us as much as He does.  Therefore, His focus is on our needs, and not our wants. 

Many years ago I heard a simple story which best illustrates this truth.  Call it a modern-day parable.  Two friends were graduating high school together.  Both boys came from ‘financially comfortable’ homes.  Both boys had been promised an automobile upon graduation.

Both boys wanted red sports cars.  After much discussion in their respective homes, the father of boy A caved in to his son’s wishes and bought his son the sports car.  The father of boy B stood his ground, explaining to his disappointed son that he was not ready to handle the responsibility of a high powered vehicle… and bought his son a used compact. 

Within a week, the boy with the sports car was dead… crashing his sports car into a tree at high speed.

In retrospect, which father was wiser?  Which father demonstrated more genuine love and concern for his son?

As the scripture says… your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.  Wants and needs came be as different as life or death. 

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Family Heirloom

© 2019 Bill Murphy

 When I was perhaps eleven or twelve my maternal grandmother entrusted me with a unique family heirloom.  She knew that I would always protect, and treasure it as if it were pure gold, and not simply bronze.  It’s a heavy eagle with outstretched wings… fifteen inches, tip to tip.

GRANDPA FAIRCHILD’S EAGLE

This eagle has never been far from my sight, except for the six months I was away for military training/technical school.

Mamaw Fairchild explained to me that my grandfather, Patrick Henry Fairchild, had this eagle mounted atop his steam locomotive.  He was a railroad engineer, who worked those early logging rail lines of Mississippi.  

But, a well-meaning relative made a remark years ago which attempted to de-value my bronze treasure.  They said, “Oh, your wild and wooly cousin most probably stole that thing from atop a brick column at the entrance to some fancy home.” 

I’ve always chosen to believe my grandmother’s story.  It was her husband.  She should know!  

Because of my grandfather, I’ve always been a rail-fan. I had model trains as a kid, and I have them today.  I have box after box of railroad magazines.  I have coal dust in my blood. And yet, I’ve never seen a photo of a locomotive with an eagle.  I found it amazing that my grandfather could have been so unique.  Could my well-meaning relative have been correct?  Perish the thought! 

This past week, that horrid thought was thoroughly vanquished! The photo below clearly shows a similar eagle atop another logging railroad locomotive from Mississippi! This eagle once belonged to Fred Ricks, engineer for the J. J. White Lumber Company. It now graces the flagpole of the county courthouse of his home town.

To say I’m thrilled is an understatement.  This verification has been a long time coming.  I well understand the evils lurking in cyber-land, ready to steal, kill, and destroy.  But, there are also good souls out there, sharing their positive thoughts and freely welcoming us to enjoy their treasured memories and histories.  And such a soul last week shared that amazing image above, from an old newspaper clipping.  I deeply appreciate that!

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