Southside's Blog

Southside is a loving, vigorous, and growing congregation in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Our vision is toward the future: Our Children, Our Ministry, and Our Outreach. Our goal is to embrace all people in our hearts and fellowship as we strive together to support Christ’s mission on earth.

God Will Help by Max Lucado


When you feel helpless, where can you turn?  I suggest you turn to one of Jesus’ most intriguing teachings about prayer!

Luke tells the story of a persistent neighbor looking to borrow bread at midnight (Luke 11:5 -13).  Imagine it’s you ringing the doorbell.  The door opens. “What are you doing here?” he asks. “A friend of mine has arrived for a visit, and I’ve nothing for him to eat,” you answer. The homeowner grumbles but finally takes you to his pantry.  And, as a result, your surprise guest doesn’t have to go to bed hungry.  All because you spoke up on behalf of someone else.

This is intercessory prayer at its purest.  This prayer gets God’s attention. If your cranky and disgruntled neighbor will help you out, how much more will God do?

Read more God Is with You Every Day

Continue reading
  511 Hits

Dare to Pray Boldly


Max Lucado writes in his Daily Devotional:

“When Martin Luther’s co-worker became ill, the reformer prayed boldly for healing.  “I besought the Almighty with great vigor,” he wrote.”

“As John Wesley was crossing the Atlantic Ocean, contrary winds came up.  And when he learned the winds were knocking the ship off course, he responded in prayer. “Almighty and everlasting God…command these winds and these waves that they obey thee, and take us speedily and safely to the haven whither we would go.”

“Boldness in prayer is an uncomfortable thought for many.  Storming the heavens with prayers? God has invited us to pray as such!  Scripture says, “So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive his mercy and to find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).  Dare to pray boldly!”

Some of the Bible translations use the word “bold” and others use “confidence”.  Here are two thoughts from commentaries:

“We are not to cower anxiously before His magnificent presence. Rather, we are encouraged to come to Him and to keep on coming to His throne, without fear or doubt. We are to come to Him freely, constantly, ceaselessly, and persistently.”

“Now boldly is a somewhat incongruous word; it neither conveys the original, nor does it correspond to our sense of propriety. The thought would be far more beautiful and far more naturally represented by a more literal translation - ‘Let us come with frank confidence’ to the throne of grace. The word literally means, if we go to the etymology of it, speaking everything. You can easily understand how naturally that becomes an expression for the unembarrassed, unrestrained full out-pouring of a heart. You cannot pour out your heart in the fullest confidence to a person you do not respect, but if you get with someone you entirely trust, how swiftly the words flow. and how very easy it is to tell out the whole heart. Just so with this great word of the writer of this Epistle, descriptive of the temper and disposition with which men are to go to God - with confidence, full, cheerful, and unembarrassed, and which expresses itself in full trust, exactly as one of the old Psalms says - ‘Ye people, pour out your heart before Him.’”

Based on the happenings in our world today we do need to approach God often with boldness and confidence. This does not mean we are disrespectful or have to cower either but to tell Him what is on our hearts. Read carefully: Philippians 4:6-7

English Standard Version

“6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ.”

As you talk to God, remember you can take everything to Him. Always give Him the praise and thanks He deserves!


Mike    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

Continue reading
  474 Hits

Grace Comes After Us by Max Lucado


The wasted years of life.  The poor choices of life. God answers the mess of life with one word:  Grace!

Grace. We know the word. The bank gives us a grace period.  The seedy politician falls from grace.  Grace shares the church parsonage with its cousins: forgiveness, faith, and fellowship. But do we really understand it? We’ve settled for wimpy grace.  It politely occupies a phrase in a hymn and fits nicely on a church sign.

Have you been changed by grace?  Shaped by grace?  Strengthened by grace?  Softened by grace? God’s grace has a drenching about it.  A wildness about it. Grace comes after you.  From insecure to God secure. From afraid-to-die to ready-to-fly. Grace is the word that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off!

Read more God Is with You Every Day
God Is with You Every Day

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

Continue reading
  488 Hits

Hallowed Be Your Name by Max Lucado


"Jesus taught us to pray with reverence when he modeled for us “Hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9). His phrase is a petition, not a proclamation. A request, not an announcement. “Be hallowed, Lord.” Do whatever it takes to be holy in my life. Exalt yourself. Glorify yourself. You be Lord, and I’ll be quiet."

"The psalm that says, “Be still and know that I am God” contains a command with a promise. The command? Be still, cover your mouth, bend your knees. The promise? You will know that I am God. In the midst of your family storms, and in this storm that has swept over our country and the entire world, make it a point to be still. Set your sights on him. Let God be God. Be open and willing. Allow God to be hallowedholy in your life."



Continue reading
  528 Hits


I found the following on Facebook:

“You never really know the true impact you have on those around you. You never know how much someone needed that smile you gave them. You never know how much your kindness turned someone’s entire life around. You never know how much someone needed that long hug or deep talk. So don’t wait to be kind. Don’t wait for someone else to be kind first. Don’t wait for better circumstances or someone to change. Just be kind because you never know how  much someone needs it.”

Nikki Banas

We all have the capability to be kind but get so busy with ourselves that we don’t think about it or work at it. Children really need us to be kind to them. Too often their parents abuse and neglect them. They need us to be kind.

All people need to be kind, especially Christians. If others see kindness in us, they can be influenced for Christ. If they see unkindness, they can be turned off towards Christ. Work at and practice kindness. Your life will be better, and you will be blessed!


Mike   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Continue reading
  680 Hits

The Message of this Miracle by Max Lucado

 Jesus told them to roll the stone away. He offered a prayer of gratitude, and “then Jesus shouted, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ And the dead man came out, with his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth” (John 11:43–44). The Resurrection and the Life issued a command into the cavern of death. Somewhere in heaven an angel heard the familiar voice of the Shepherd and smiled. Somewhere in hell a fallen angel mumbled, “Oh no.”

And Lazarus? He didn’t want to go back to earth, of that I’m certain. But when Jesus commands, his disciples obey. Of that Lazarus was certain. Don’t miss the message of this miracle, my friend. You are never alone. Jesus meets us, even in the cemeteries of life. Whether we are there to say goodbye or to be buried, we can count on the presence of God.

Read more You Are Never Alone: Trust in the Miracle of God's Presence & Power

Continue reading
  478 Hits

Do We Get In God’s Way Sometimes?

There are those that will assure you a verse is in the Bible that reads: “God helps those who help themselves.” I’ve never been able to locate it nor can those who quote the phrase, but many will declare it is there!  Sounds reasonable and there may be some truth in the saying.

The phrase originated as the moral to one of Aesop's Fables.  It has been commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin as well.

The internet gives three thoughts to the phrase’s meaning. Depending on self is key!

(1.) to be able to come out of a bad situation by self-help rather than hoping for divine intervention

(2.)to be able to help one's own self

(3.)to make a plan to help your own self out of a situation

Read the following by Max Lucado: “So the sisters of Lazarus simply wrapped their concern in a sentence, and they left it with Jesus. They did not tell him how to respond. No presumption. A lesson for us perhaps? Christ responded to the crisis of health with a promise of help. “‘Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death.’” (John 11:4 NLT). Lazarus, we learn, will find himself in the valley of death, but he will not stay there. Because Christ was with him. Remember, friends, you are never alone.”

In place of relying on “self” do we ask God’s help in resolving our problems and issues then meddle in them by telling Him how to go about taking care of them. If we ask God for His help, then do not provide multiple choice options for Him. He’s got this! Trust and have faith! Let Him have the problem or issue and be patient. For those of us who have a patience problem read the following verses:

Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.”

Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, ”declares the Lord.”

Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

 Exodus 14:14 “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Now, practice these verses!

*Consider this prayer by Alan Jackson: “Heavenly Father, I admit that I at times been impatient and have doubted that You were listening to my prayers. I know that I ought to trust You now as I have in the past. You have never failed me or let me down. Your love has been poured out in my life many times. Help me, Lord, to be still and wait on your answer. In Jesus’ name, amen".


Mike    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*Standing Firm – Alan Jackson  - Intend Publishing 2018


Continue reading
  534 Hits

Our Vision Matters to Jesus


If God tested your spiritual vision, would you pass it? Can you see the meaning of life? Have you caught a vision for eternity? Most of all, can you see God’s great love for you? The hand you sense on your face is his. The voice you hear is his. Our vision matters to Jesus, and He will do whatever it takes to help us see how to see. Remember, my friend, you are never alone.

Continue reading
  515 Hits

Miracle Mud


“After saying this, Jesus spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes” (John 9:6). Now there’s something you don’t expect to read in the Bible: Jesus spitting. A prayer would’ve seemed appropriate, perhaps a “hallelujah!” But who expected a heavenly spit into the dirt? The God who sent manna and fire dispatched a blob of saliva. And as calmly as a painter spackles a hole in the wall, Jesus streaked miracle mud on the man’s eyes.

Sometimes God uses the less-than-pleasant. He initiates the miracle through “mud moments”: layoffs, letdowns, and bouts of loneliness. Can you relate? If so, do not assume that Jesus is absent or oblivious to your struggle. Just the opposite. He is using it to reveal himself to you. He wants you to see him. Remember friend, you are never alone."

We all have had these events in our lives and you may be experiencing one now. Focus on what Max writes about never being alone. Jesus is there! Hang on to that thought! Find comfort in it!


Continue reading
  551 Hits

When We Disagree

First, I want to thank Kevin Collier for his lesson today on unity and give him and his lesson an Amen! I’ve been writing on this article for a while. His lesson helped me finish my thoughts. You can see and hear his lesson on our website.

Disagreements have probably existed since Adam and Eve. There was most likely a huge one after they were exiled from the garden. Abraham, Moses and Noah differed with people. Paul and Barnabas had a “sharp disagreement” over who they would take on a journey. Even the apostles asked for Christ to solve the disagreement about who was the greatest among them. People can disagree with God. They accuse Him of not answering prayers in the manner they requested.

Husband and wives, parents and children, especially teenagers, friends, bosses, colleagues, and just about any number of people can disagree.  We disagree on ball teams and the officials calls during a game. If you don’t believe me, go to a little league game sometime and watch the actions of some of the “adults”.

Disagreements are inevitable. I even disagree with myself sometimes after I reflect on something I did or said! It’s not the disagreeing that is a problem but our actions and attitudes that cause problems. Some  people have a real knack for raising the level from simply a disagreement to a harsh conflict.

I’m on Facebook but don’t participate on Twitter or any of the other social media outlets. Many of the writers on FB are really vicious in attacking those who differ with them on their political ideology and Biblical beliefs. It seems in today’s society that differing with others results in an attitude that you are a terrible and evil person. People write vicious things under the cover of social media they would not say to someone else face to face. Is social media to blame for these things? No, because the person is expressing what’s really in their heart!

I’ve unfollowed some relatives on FB who believe if you are not liberal like them then you are ignorant, an idiot or just pick a demeaning word of your choice to describe yourself. There is a man on FB who is so conservative that you are just an evil  person and are trying to ruin our country if you differ from him. It’s ok to feel strongly about your political philosophy but it’s not ok to be like the following description In Ephesians 4. Notice my emphasis of “all”.

Ephesians 4:31-5:2 ESV – “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

The same verse is also true about disagreements concerning your religious beliefs. People feel and express the following at times: “If you disagree with my Biblical beliefs then you are hell bound.” I’m aware of a man who spends time on an internet Bible discussion group of being told he is hell bound. He believes the water Jesus turned to wine was alcoholic and the other person told him he was going to hell for believing that. Read Romans 14:1 ESV – “Accept the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.” The emphasis is mine.

Kay and I were members of a congregation in Memphis that totally dissolved over worship style after 50+ years of existence. The disagreements were over a worship team, raising hands during songs and clapping hands while singing. The elders tried two worship services but that created more disagreements. I will not write about all the different actions and reactions of the members but do believe that God was sad and very unhappy.

Some individuals  all to eagerly announce eternal judgement on others who disagree with them. Whether the wine was alcoholic are not is a matter of opinion to me. Why do people believe God gave them perfect interpretation of the scriptures? My intent is do as the Bible directs but I’m capable of being incorrect. To think you have perfect interpretation is arrogant. I do not intend to offend anyone but think about your treatment of and attitude towards others when you disagree on what the scriptures say. Loving others is important with your relationship with God. Some people spend very little time in Bible study relying on their parents, spouse, ministers and others to develop their beliefs. This is dangerous to your salvation! Read and pray about 2 Timothy 2:15 – ESV – “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

There are disagreements concerning our salvation which will clearly be a deciding factor on judgement day but remember the marque on a church: “Love everyone and let God separate them!”


Max Lucado writes: “We can be respectful. We do not have the right to be arrogant and to point a finger. Of all the people who should not be arrogant it is those of us who believe we are saved by grace.”  Quoted from an article: The Beauty of Disagreeing Agreeably from a Jen Hatmaker Podcast

“Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.”

 Max Lucado, When God Whispers Your Name - Published June 4, 1999 by W Publishing Group

We need to maintain our love for one another as we disagree. Jesus still loves us through all things! Pray for unity!


Mike   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Continue reading
  557 Hits

Sins of The Heart

As a youngster I remember men leading public prays asking for God to forgive us of our sins both of commission and omission. At that time, my thinking was that commission meant an outward act. Sins of omission were services  we should have performed for God but neglected. As I matured, I begin to understand that all sins are developed in my heart and it did not take an outward act to commit sin.

Quotes from writers on the internet. Some are unknown:

“The heart, according to the Bible, is part of man's spiritual makeup. It is the place where emotions and desires begin; it is that which drives the will of man towards action.”

“The seed of every sin known to man is in my heart.” ― Robert Murray McCheyne

“In a religious context, sin is a transgression against divine law. Each culture has its own interpretation of what it means to commit a sin. While sins are generally actions, any thought, word, or act considered immoral, selfish, shameful, harmful, or alienating might be termed "sinful".”

“Thoughts become sin when we nurture them, dwell on them, allow them to lead us down a path of more thoughts that are wrong. They are sinful when we allow them to inspire sinful attitudes and they are especially sinful when they compel us to act in a sinful way.”

Scriptures tell us that the heart or our spiritual makeup is where sin first manifests itself. People blame God for their sins. “He made me this way so I’m not responsible for my sins.” God did not make us to sin but did give us a free will to act however we choose. 

A variety of people believe that it does take an outward action before we sin. Their thinking is that if they have an attitude or thought but do not act on them, then they have not sinned.  Read the following scriptures about actions, thoughts and attitudes fostered in our hearts:

Matthew 5:28 – “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Matthew 15:19 - “For out of the heart come evil thoughts--murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.”

Proverbs 23:7 – “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, said he to you; but his heart is not with you.”

Genesis 6:5 – “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.”

Mark 7:21-23  “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder,  adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

So if the sin begins in my heart, what action do I take to fight sin? Proverbs tells us to guard our hearts: Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” What does it mean to guard your heart? How do I guard my heart? The Hebrew word for guard or keep means to set a watchman over it. God and the Holy Spirit are the watchmen. Through our following His direction in the Bible and through much time in prayers our hearts will be guarded. When the sinful thoughts or attitudes enter your heart instead of nurturing them ask for help in resisting.

In addition we need to start by following Deuteronomy 6:5 – NIV “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” If you don’t love the Lord with every ounce of your being, don’t expect much help in your war with Satan.

Do not try to fool God: Galatians 6:7 ESV – “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”

Psalm 119:9 NIV – “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.”

Proverbs 4: 20-21 NIV – “My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words.

Do not let them out of your sight keep them within your heart.”

Ezekiel 36:25-27 NIV – “I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes and to carefully observe My ordinances.”

We are all tempted and that is not a sin but when we cultivate the temptations in our heart they grow into sin. I read an article on the website Unlocking the Bible. Sophie McDonald’s, “How Do You Guard Your Heart”. The following is an excerpt from the article:

“What does this mean for us? Consider the following questions as we seek the Lord for his Spirit’s help in aligning our lives with his Word”:

“Are you actively setting the Word of God as a watchman over your soul by reading it and hearing it preached?”

“Are you filtering your circumstances, decisions, thoughts, and responses through what God’s Word says?”

“Do you prayerfully seek the Lord, trusting the One who gave you a new heart to protect it?”

“Are you trying to guard your heart in your own strength, or acknowledging your weakness and trusting the all-sufficient One to be your defender?”

There was a period of time in my life during college and for a while after that I did not guard my heart. I always knew God was there, but no cultivation of our relationship was happening. I did none of the things Ms. MacDonald suggested! Fortunately, I’m an example of God’s love and patience. He hung with me in times I moved away from Him. I believe he will do the same for anyone, but you have to make the move to come to Him with a totally new attitude.  There is a quote from the author Clausewitz about war in a novel I’m reading: ”you must prepare for the enemy’s capabilities, rather than his intentions.” We know Satan’s intentions so now we must recognize that he is capable of anything to separate us from God. Always be prepared for the devils onslaught. Ephesians 6:13 ESV – “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”

“The Divine Artist isn’t finished. The earth is his studio. Every person on earth is one of his projects. Every event on earth is a part of his great mural. He is not finished. The scripture says in Philippians 1, “God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again.” Remember, friends, you are never alone.” from Max Lucado’s Daily Devotional

He’s always there for us when our heart is ready for Him!

“God’s love never ceases. Never. Though we spurn Him. Ignore Him. Reject Him. Despise Him. Disobey Him. He will not change!”

“Our hearts seem so far from His. He is pure; we are greedy. He is peaceful; we are hassled. He is purposeful; we are distracted. He is pleasant; we are cranky. He is spiritual; we are earthbound. The distance between our hearts and His seems so immense. How could we ever hope to have the heart of Jesus?”

Max Lucado – From his article A Heart Like Jesus, March 19, 2014


Mike   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Continue reading
  706 Hits

What’s in Your Basket?


"Do you face fifteen thousand problems?  Before you count yourself out, turn and look at the One standing next to you!  Christ can help you do the impossible.  You simply need to give him what you have and watch him work."

"John 6:11 says, “Jesus took the loaves…”  This is the story of the day Jesus fed the five thousand men, plus women and children.  He didn’t have to use the loaves.  He made manna fall for the Israelites.  Instead, he chose to use the single basket of a small boy."

"What’s in your basket?  All you have is a wimpy prayer?  Give it.  All you have is a meager skill?  Use it.  All you have is strength for one step?  Take it.  God used three nails and a crude cross to redeem humanity.  If God can turn a basket into a buffet, don’t you think he can do something with your five loaves and two fishes of faith?  Remember, you are never alone."

Continue reading
  546 Hits

Stand Up, Take Up, and Walk


"He certainly gave a bright future to the Bethesda beggar.  “And immediately the man was made well” (John 5:9).  Jesus did nothing but speak, and the miracle was accomplished. What will God do for you?  I cannot say.  God’s help, while ever present, is ever specific.  It is not ours to say what God will do.  Our job is to believe he will do something.  It simply falls to us to stand up, take up, and walk.  Remember, friends, You are never alone."

From Mike: When you are down for whatever reason, it is comforting to know that Jesus believes in you! It's encouraging to know that God has plans for you! We don't know what those plans are. We may be frustrated that we don't know and must wait on God. Be patient, trust in God and as Max says "You are never alone!"


Continue reading
  488 Hits

Not-Yet-Answered Prayers



 "The Gospel of John tells a story about a man from Capernaum who approached Jesus in Cana. “Come heal my son?” the man asked. And Jesus said the boy would be healed, and the man set out for Capernaum. Do you find yourself somewhere between Cana and Capernaum? Like the official, you begged Jesus for help, and like the official, you didn’t receive the answer in the way you wanted. This is the issue of not-yet-answered prayer or the not-answered-in-the-way-I-asked prayer. How should we react?"

 "I’m sorry that the job did not materialize or the cancer chose to metastasize. Life has its share of dark, dank moments. Read the Bible from the table of contents in the front to the maps in the back, and you will not find any promise of a pain-free life on this side of heaven. But you will find this assurance: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). You are never alone"

Continue reading
  581 Hits

Capitalism  vs Socialism

What does the Bible Say?

I have been writing on this topic since last spring. It proved much more difficult than I imagined. The more I studied and read the more complicated it became. It’s by no means complete so I hope it encourages you to study the subject for yourself.

It would be very presumptuous of anyone to label God either a capitalist or a socialist although some do say God is in one camp or the other.  He’s neither! He is GOD! This article is not a politically based writing. I was raised to be against socialism and continue to maintain that belief but why?  We should reexamine our beliefs occasionally to confirm or change them.  A number of political leaders are in favor of socialism and are pushing our country towards that goal. In light of their effort, I felt the need to study the subject. I don’t want to be like the politician who came out with the position: “some of my friends are for it and some of my friends are against it, and well, I’m for my friends.” I want to be able to support the reasons I am against socialism. Let’s look what the Bible has to say. The Bible needs to be my guide in ALL matters. I cannot find either word in the Bible.

The New Deal was an amalgam of dozens of programs and agencies created by the Roosevelt Administration and the Congress.. These programs held many aspects of socialism in the U.S. FDR was elected president four times so his ideas and programs were popular. The New Deal was born as the result of the depression. The Social Security Act was signed in 1935. In the early 1970’s, I attended a financial seminar on investments. The speaker illustrated that investing the money you contributed to Social Security into a fund that earned a moderate interest rate  would give you a much better  benefit than Social Security. The problem with his idea is that too many people simply do not have the self-discipline to act responsibly. In other words they are not good stewards of God’s blessings. Many socialists do not believe individuals should not have to be self-disciplined.

The following are comments and descriptions of socialism and capitalism from the internet:

“Socialism is an economic and political system under which the means of production are publicly owned. Capitalism is an economic system under which the means of production are privately owned. Production and consumer prices are based on a free-market system of “supply and demand.”

“Capitalism and socialism are so different that they're often seen as diametrically opposed. Capitalism is based on individual initiative and favors market mechanisms over government intervention, while socialism is based on government planning and limitations on private control of resources assigned exclusively to either its “capitalist” or “socialist” components, or to the fact that the system is mixed rather than purely one thing or the other. The real debate, as Williamson* goes on to suggest, concerns the structure, balance, and integration of the elements that make up our political economy.” * Kevin Williamson, Deputy Managing Editor of National Review

“Socialism, strictly defined, is an economic theory which proposes the abolition of private capital and the substitution of collective ownership in carrying on the industrial work of the world. This collective ownership is to extend to all the material instruments of production; these are to be publicly operated, and the products to be equitably distributed. The government is to be wholly in the hands of the people, and it is to assign to each individual his task and to determine his wage. Every citizen is to be actually a government employee.”

“Many Christian socialists believe capitalism to be idolatrous and rooted in the sin of greed. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica Online, socialism is a "social and economic doctrine that calls for public rather than private ownership or control of property and natural resources.”

An opposing view is interesting reading: 5 Reasons Socialism Is Not Christian By Julie Roys, CP Op-Ed Contributor, The Christian Post

1. Socialism is Based on a Materialistic Worldview,

2. Socialism Punishes Virtue,

3. Socialism Endorses Stealing,

4. Socialism Encourages Envy and Class Warfare,

5. Socialism Seeks to Destroy Marriage & Family.

Read her explanation for each of these reasons.

Former Southern Baptist Convention President Jack Graham stated that the rise of the Democratic Party’s socialist left to a list of concerns like abortion and same-sex marriage on the line in “a battle for the soul of our nation.”

Graham continues: “Socialism is fundamentally at odds with the Christian worldview and seeks to suppress all peoples in support of the state,” Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, said in a televised sermon on Sunday. “No one serious about their Christian faith can be serious about socialism.”

There is a “movement” known as Bruderhof which is a communal form of life. No one owns anything. They share everything for the good of the community. It’s not a government system based on elected leaders based but the self-appointed leaders of the commune make the decision for the whole.

I do not believe these descriptions are all inclusive. When people use the term socialism it’s difficult to know exactly what they mean because there are different degrees and types of socialism. In researching the topic, I discovered that it is much more complicated than I thought. Some want to pull issues like abortion and same-sex marriage into socialism which I do not believe belong there. People bring issues into or leave them out based on their need to prove their points. An article by William Wilkinson written August 16, 2018 maintains that is conceivable to have capitalism and socialism  both combined. I willing admit that I don’t fully understand everything he wrote. Read the article for yourself. “Socialism” vs. “capitalism”: what left and right get wrong about the debate – Vox.

In one form of socialism, the government takes control of everything. I’m opposed to this form because I do not trust the politicians nor the government administrators! My biggest concern is their lack of seeking God’s guidance. They are relying too much on their own ideas but then again capitalists are guilty of the same thing. Maybe I’m wrong but it does not seem many of the government leaders ask God to be a part of guiding them. Also, the more we rely on the government administration and politicians the more rights it seems we have to forfeit.

Some socialists believe in creating equality of income. Their belief is that there should not be a large gap in the  income of people. During the pandemic layoffs, I heard a gentleman comment that he was being called back to work and was not pleased. He was making as much by not working as he was when he worked. One lady related the story about how her daughter and son-in-law were both laid off, but they were spending a lot of money. Turns out they were making more money than when they were working. If the government controls income and guarantees all people a minimum income, then more people are incentivized to remain jobless. To me this what happens under socialism when the government guarantees incomes to everyone.

My daughter has a degree in social work. She started her degree at the University of Memphis. The instructors there taught students to focus on the number of government programs available to their “clients” and to instruct them on how avail themselves of as many government handouts as possible. After we moved to Bell Buckle, she continued to work on her degree at MTSU. The instructors at MTSU taught her how help “clients” to use as few government programs as possible and teach them how to become independent. A huge difference in the two philosophies. I believe MTSU”s teaching is much sounder and more Biblical.

What does the Bible say about the poor and needy?

Proverbs 31:9 ESV  “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Matthew 26:11. NIV “The poor you will always have with you.”

Proverbs 14:31 ESV “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.”

Proverbs 28:27 ESV “Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.”

Luke 14:12-14 ESV “He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Hebrews 13:16 ESV “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

1 Timothy 5:8 ESV “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

1 John 3:17-18 ESV “But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but indeed and in truth.”

Luke 3:11 ESV  “And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”

Proverbs 14:31 ESV “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.”

Matthew 25:37-40 ESV “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

There are many more scriptures directing us to help the poor and needy. How can you read these scriptures and not understand God’s direction? Some believe that by giving to the church they have satisfied their duty. I disagree! These verses are written about MY duties. In Acts chapters four and six you find that the deacons did act as a way of distributing money for the needs of people. They did this so that the apostles could continue with preaching and teaching about Christ. That does not absolve us of our duties. None of the verses quoted directs us to solely use the deacons of the church to help the poor and needy.

The Bible does not teach us to take care of people through the government, but neither can I find where it specifically condemns it. Many who are in favor of a socialist government claim that Christians have not performed our duty by helping those in need. Those claims are not without basis. We tend to attach requirements to our assistance that I cannot find in the Bible. Church attendance has been one of those requirements. I understand the thinking about church attendance but none of the Bible verses requires church attendance. A hungry child needs to be fed and properly clothed whether his or her parents take him to church or not. The benevolence program at Southside does a great job in following the Bible.

Our judgement about the worthiness of those in need help sometimes enters into consideration. I must confess to judging at times. For the past 2-3 years Rafe Woodard and I have delivered meals for the Senior Citizens Meals on Wheels Program, a government sponsored program. At times I have doubts on whether some of the people are worthy based on their home, cars and what I see as their life styles. But I do not know the whole story on these people. I do not believe that these elderly people are capable of working.

What does the Bible say about those who will not work? The only qualification for providing assistance I find is in 2 Thessalonians 3:10  “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”

Other Bible verses describing the lazy:

1 Thessalonians 4:12 ESV “So that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”

Proverbs 21:25 ESV “The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.”

Proverbs 18:9 ESV “Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.”

Proverbs 19:15 MSG “Life collapses on loafers; lazybones go hungry.”

I do not believe these verses are about being judgmental or vindictive. The principle taught is practical, spiritual, and loving. Giving to those who want to live off of others or the government enables a spiritually harmful attitude.

The school system in Bedford County provides free breakfast and lunch to all children without qualification. The meals are subsidized by the USAD. Bedford County is considered a poor county. Is this program “socialism”? Some say ”yes” because it is sponsored by the government. If it is socialism, then I’m ok with it.

There is also a program called “Backpack” that provides canned food for children to take home over the weekend. Many children may go hungry if not for this program. For the most part “Backpack” depends on donations. Some money comes through United Way and some from individuals.  Many of the teachers help out of their pockets.

The form of “socialism” I believe in is what the Bible describes as our responsibilities to feed and clothe the poor and needy.  I will be interested in reading your thoughts and comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you write me, please include your approval for me to post your thoughts and comments.




Continue reading
  693 Hits

Finding Our Peace Through God

It seems like these times we are living in are the most difficult of my 70 years. We’ve dealt with national health crisis before but not like this one. COVID-19 has had not only a terrible toll in deaths but also on the economy. People are angry and upset over the dilemma of masks. Tension over racial relations has always been with us but has escalated to an all-time high. People are much less respectful of one another. There is the debate over capitalism versus socialism. Very few trust the news media to deliver the news as opposed to giving us their propaganda. The need for peace in our lives has increased exponentially. How and where do we find it?

One form of peace is a stress-free state of security and calmness that comes when there's no fighting or war, everything coexisting in perfect harmony and freedom. I can’t remember a time when there was not a war somewhere in the world we were not a part of in some form.

There is also a peace and calmness in your life when you are free from the stress of turmoil in your life. You are seldom totally free from problems in your life. Then what is peace through God? John 14:27 -“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” Romans 5:1 - “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This peace through God is not the absence of troubles. I’ve come to believe for the most part it is acceptance of your situation whatever it maybe. It’s not a giving up or caving in to the situation but a form of recognition that God is with you. As I’ve written before, he’s got your back! Praying is an integral part of finding the peace of God. I want to use my family experiences as an example.

My sister, Dianne, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998-99. The doctor recommended a radical mastectomy of both breast resulting in only a 5% chance of the cancer returning. She agreed to the treatment course. Two years later she was at the doctor’s office to see about a sinus infection. It was cancer in her brain, then they found it in her liver and everywhere. The medical recommendation was a series of three bone marrow transplants. They would either cure Dianne or kill her. She called a halt after the second transplant. She just could not take it anymore. We all knew what the prognosis was then. Dianne was at peace with her decision. She knew her destination because she believed in God’s promise.

My parents delivered Dianne’s hospice care in their third bedroom. I don’t remember if the insurance was a problem or just my mother’s desire to take care of her child. They cared for her for several weeks before she was admitted to the hospital for her final days. Dianne had seen both of her sons but kept hanging on, so her nurse told my parents she was waiting for permission to die. Within just a couple of hours of my mother whispering in her ear she was gone. Even though my parents were strong Christians, they struggled to find peace, especially my mother. How does a parent find peace after losing a child? After many prayers and time, they found their peace. There is true peace through God’s love.

If God granted me the blessing of making a few rules for life, in the top five would be that no parent watch their child die followed closely by no parent becoming the hospice care for their child. My parents aged and changed tremendously during this time. 

I’m not totally sure that I’ve reached a full peace. After the mastectomies and the doctor’s assurance that “all was well”, I stopped praying about Dianne’s health. What if I had kept praying? Would things have turned out different? If you are on my prayer list for a serious diagnosis or continuing medical problems, you’ll most likely remain in my prayers even if the doctor says, “all is well”. I’ve heard that “all is well” before. Is that a phobia or a lack of faith and trust in God? Is a strong faith and trust in God what peace really is? For me it is!

Our daughter, Meg, works as a consultant for a heath care provider in the delivery of hospice care. She works with the patient and the family. The degree of their acceptance and peace covers the whole spectrum. Some patients are in total denial as well as the family. Some-times the patient is at peace and the family is not. Then there are times the family is at peace and the patient is not. Most of the people at peace have a strong belief in God.

“God’s Love Never Leaves” from Max Lucado’s Daily Devotion:

“George Matheson was a teenager when doctors told him he was going blind. He graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1861. By the time he finished graduate seminary studies, he was sightless. His fiancée returned his engagement ring with a note: “I cannot see my way clear to go through life bound by the chains of marriage to a blind man.”

“Matheson adapted to his sightless world but never quite recovered from his broken heart. He became a powerful and poetic pastor, led a full and inspiring life, turning to the unending love of God for comfort. And he penned these words: “O love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee; and I give thee back the life I owe, that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer fuller be.” The love of people may come and go, but God’s love? It never leaves.”

Death is not the only challenge that we must face and find peace. Broken marriages, drug addiction, job loss, health difficulties and any turmoil must be faced and dealt with in our lives. If you can’t find your peace in and through God, life will be extremely difficult.

Allen Jackson on peace:

“God knows what we need, even better than we know it ourselves. Is that settled in your heart? Does your life reflect that reality?”    

“If Jesus said we don’t have to be afraid, we don’t have to be. If Jesus gives me His peace, that’s good enough for me.”     

Allen’s prayer for peace: “Heavenly Father, thank you that in this troubled world You provide peace, security and abundant life through the cross of Jesus Christ. May Your Holy Spirit counsel me daily in Your peace. When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.    

 I would love for this blog to be interactive. If you have a story or any thoughts on finding peace, please share. We can help one another!


Mike  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Max Lucado material sheared by permission

Standing Firm by Allen Jackson, Intend Publishing, 2018, Shared by permission


Continue reading
  714 Hits

Decide to Believe

Max Lucado writes: “Belief happens when we place our confidence in God. It is a decision to lean entirely upon the strength of a living and loving Savior. And to the extent that we do, we will have “life in His name.” This is the purpose of the miracles. John the Apostle recounted signs in this promise: that you and I are never, ever alone.”

“Was this not one of the final promises of Christ? Before he ascended to heaven, he assured his friends, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 ESV). Those words must have meant everything to John. Can you picture the aged apostle as he tells about the day some six decades earlier and a thousand miles removed when Jesus invited him to lay down the fishing net and follow him. John did. You can too. Remember, friend, you are never alone.”

Take note that Max uses three words that call for action on our part. He uses “place” and “decision”. He uses the adverb “entirely”. God is not going to force us into a decision to place our lives in His hands. We have to decide! If we do decide to entirely lean on Him, Jesus will always be with us. We will still experience problems even heartache but knowing He is there gives us peace and comfort. God/Jesus will wrap their loving arms around us and never leave us alone!

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado. Max Lucado’s Daily Devotional.


Mike   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Continue reading
  625 Hits

Max Lucado Devotional

Risk Believing in God


When forced to stand at the crossroads of belief and unbelief, God’s people choose belief! God’s people risk believing!  Nowhere is this better exemplified than in Joshua’s story. You could argue that the central message of the book of Joshua is this headline:  “God keeps his promises.  Trust him.”

Three times Joshua declares God did what he said he would do!  1) “The LORD gave all He had sworn to give.”  2) “The LORD gave rest according to all He had sworn to their fathers.”  3) “Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken.  All came to pass” (Joshua 21:43-45). Learn from Joshua.  Take a risk. Believe in God. He will do what he has said he will do.

Continue reading
  542 Hits

Results Oriented

I was “raised” in business to be results oriented. Effort was good and necessary but bringing positive results, meaning revenue, was required. If efforts did not bring in the best results, then figure out what needs to be done differently otherwise you should seek employment elsewhere.

That thought and practice has bled over into my spiritual life. In my work with CASA, I can often become frustrated because I cannot see results. Satan puts the thought in my head to give-up. The CASA leadership assures me that volunteers may never see positive results but one day that child may remember us for our efforts.

Trying to serve others for God requires faith and trust in Him. Max Lucado writes about prayer:  “Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”  Replace the thought of “prayers” with “service” and the same meaning applies. Any service for others in God’s name requires that we rely on his power, not our own. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Keep on with whatever service you are rendering to God and DO NOT let Satan lay doubts on you!


Mike   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Continue reading
  554 Hits

Will You Be Someone for Another?


When disaster strikes, the human spirit responds by reaching out to help those afflicted.  People stand in line to give blood.  Rescue teams work for endless hours. But the most essential effort is accomplished by another valiant team.  Their task?  To gird the world with prayer. For the most part, we don’t even know their names.

Such is the case of someone who prayed on a day long ago. He went to Jesus on behalf of a friend who was sick. No one was more vital than the one who went to Jesus.  John writes, “So Mary and Martha sent someone to tell Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick” (John 11:3 NCV).  Someone went to Jesus on behalf of Lazarus. And because someone went, Jesus responded!  Would you be someone for someone else?

From Mike:  The problems from COVID 19 are causing death, sickness, unemployment and finanical hardship so pray for others. Even if you don't know anyone personally that's been affected, offer up prayers. The recent hurricane has caused death and so much destruction so please pray. The news shows people in long lines trying to get food and water. Imangine yourself in that line and then your home is completely gone. You must deal with the insurance company and find an honest contractor. Life is upside down. Please pray for these people.


Mike   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Continue reading
  583 Hits