Thanks David, for the Little Fox.

© 2019 Bill Murphy

      Carol and I host a small home-group Bible study on Thursday nights.  Recently our topic was Christian influence.  Our question was, who in your past was a positive, Christian influence in your life?  Not wanting to name someone from the ‘standard list,’ such as a great-uncle, grandmother, or a Bible hero, I went back to the 1950s, to a school and neighborhood pal, David Walker.  Mom and Dad taught me to always say thank you, and this thank you David, is long overdue!

    Scripture tells us that it’s the little foxes that spoil the grapes.  It’s also little items that also speak positive volumes of truth.

    Some wear their Christianity like a jacket, when it’s ‘needed.’  Not David.  He always kept his ‘jacket’ on.  But it was NEVER worn in a boastful or self-righteous manner.  Far from it!  The ‘little fox’ I best remember about David was the notebook he carried to and from school at Enochs Junior High. Written in his own hand across the front were the words JESUS SAVES. He carried it quietly, yet purposefully, like a traveling billboard, proclaiming that profound and fantastic truth to all who saw it. David was never ashamed to be linked with our Savior.

    I believe he went to Griffith (Baptist) Church.  I went to Grace (Methodist).  My grandparents on mother’s side were Baptist, and Methodist on dad’s.  A few times, questions of ‘doctrine’ reared their ugly heads.  But little things, like David’s calm faith, and his willingness/eagerness to carry that notebook to school, did wonders to chop off the heads of those ugly questions.  

     I’d already given my heart to Jesus years before.  But David, and that blue notebook he always carried, stood like a true soldier of the cross before me, leading the way.  I looked UP to that, respected it, and was eternally thankful for it.  As I said before, I’m so very thankful for what he probably never knew he was doing to and for my heart and spirit way back then.  Thanks David!  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

A CHRISTMAS LIGHTMARE

© 2019  Bill Murphy

Joshua ‘fit’ the battle of Jericho, and I just semi-finished my first skirmish of the 2019 Christmas Tree Light War.

Just as Ole Saint Nick began as a figment of someones fertile imagination, what they call ‘pre-lit’ trees are also imaginary.  One would think they’d last even through the first season of ownership, but alas, the true life-span appears to be three weeks, tops.

My first call to battle came hours ago, when I attacked the flanks of the large, living room tree.  It comes in three battle groups (sections): top, middle, base… with connections in-between.  Duh. That SOUNDS easy enough.

The enemy no doubt had a grand laugh at my first charge.  I attacked the middle unit first!  Big mistake. (The base fits it nicely… as if a devious deception to thwart me.)  Carol came in and said,  “It looks too skinny.” I didn’t discover my mistake until and hour later.  That’s where the lights really opened up on me, or should I say, stayed well (darkly) hidden, so that they could not be seen.  A large sections of those lights refused to illuminate.  Wheeeeeeeeee.

Fortunately, I knew exactly here the spare bulbs are kept: in our standard kitchen ‘junk’ drawer.  Admit it, you have one too.  45 minutes later, and with the replacement of a couple of duds, wa-la!  Houston, we have lights!  It was around this time that I discovered that I was focused on the middle section.

Off came the base, and onto it now came the proper, larger, base section.  I connected the two, then connected the power.  The base was now acting precisely as the middle had previously done!  Surely they were in collusion. 

After only a few minutes of this, mysteriously the entire base illuminated as advertised!  Amazing.  But then, seconds after that, the middle section reverted back to its old ways, as if to say, “There, take THAT!”

I fired a few parting shots, hoping to hit a vital organ, which I did not.  So I parted also, returning to the den for a little R&R… well actually R&C… rest and coffee.   As a final act of defiance on my part, I unplugged the thing.  It’ll get its anticipated meal of electricity later!

May I wish you all an early, pre-Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and may all your Christmas tree lights be bright!

                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not The End Of The World

© 2019 Bill Murphy

   I’ve never wanted to be a cowboy, or a fireman, or a movie star.  I learned early in life that art, especially commercial art, was my thing. In the early 1960s I was fresh out of college, and dreaming of that cushy job as as a creative illustrator, in the advertising field.  In those days we had no cell phones, no Google.  We had a telephone attached to a wire and a thick telephone book by the side.  And… the yellow pages were profusely illustrated!  It was THE job to be had.  

    The Yellow Page office was located upstairs over a Promos Restaurant on North State Street in Jackson, MS.  That fateful day, downstairs in the restaurant, I sat across the table from the art director for an interview.  He ordered coffee for us.  I took my first sip, and promptly SNEEZED INTO THE CUP.  There was an explosion of coffee.  It went everywhere.   

    That embarrassing interview didn’t last long.  I was not hired.  That was a huge dissappointment, but it was not the end of the world.    

    Not even 3 years later, the vice-president of Jitney Jungle called me for an interview.  They wanted to create an in-house graphic/advertising department.  Was I interested?  Yes, very much so.  41 years later, Jitney closed its doors.  I was the first one in the ad department, and the last one to leave.

    I look back now and I’m glad I sneezed in my coffee that day.  

    Oh, as a footnoote.  After a couple of years at Jitney, I had a visitor.  It was the Yellow Page Art Director and his side-kick.  They wanted me!  This time, I told them ‘no thanks.’

   That day of the coffee explosion wasn’t the end of the world.  It was the beginning! 

                                             ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                               

THE BOOK THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

© 2019 Bill Murphy

This is a re-post. It was originally posted on November 28, 2017. The reason for the re-post is that for the original posting, I was forced to use a stock photo of the small red Gideon Bible, as mine was lost. I’ve searched for it numerous times since then, but to no avail. But yesterday, that cherished memento was found! I took a few liberties and ‘tweaked’ a few works. I hope you’ll enjoy this sweet memory with me!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m certain this writing assignment was expected to invoke responses such as: Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men or The Old Man and the Sea. But the one book that had the most effect on my life, is the Bible. To be more specific, a small red Gideon’s New Testament, which I was given in 1952 – and promptly read.

At that time, I was in George Elementary School in Jackson, Mississippi. George was a neighborhood school. We had no need of school buses, and I can’t remember a single child being dropped off by automobile.

I was a ‘Safety Patrol Boy’ that year. Every intersection surrounding the school, and for a couple of blocks beyond, was manned each morning and each afternoon by a patrol boy, to insure that the smaller kids got safely across the street.

Early that year, the Gideon’s visited to our school, and passed out small red New Testaments to the students. As you see in the photos, I still have mine.

When I received my Testament, I was assigned to a rather dull and boring intersection – with few students to monitor. Morning and afternoons, I spent my time reading. I finished the entire book before my intersection assignment changed.

I was raised in a Christian home. We were not just church members, but church attenders, Sunday mornings as well as Sunday nights. Dad was on the Board of Stewards, and Mom was the head of the Primary Department. Needless to say, my sister and I received our fair share of perfect attendance awards. But one does not become a true ‘believer’ by osmosis.

As I read my little Testament, the words seemed to come alive as never before. Something really weird was happening, something that I couldn’t at first understand. And then it came to me, my Eureka moment.

Before, because I was so closely associated WITH church, and thoroughly indoctrinated with the teaching of the church, and because our church was a Christian church, ergo, I must be a Christian. But for the very first time in my young life, my heart was called upon to decide – did I really BELIEVE all this small tiny book was telling me – or didn’t I.

That was 67 years ago, but I can remember the morning as clearly as if it were yesterday, the day that I determined in my heart and in my mind, that YES, I believe. And belief and trust in the subject of that small book, has changed my life forever.