Below the Daily Devotionals
Gary Miller's Outdoor Truths,  July 17, 2017
Angie Land's Heart Matters, July 17, 2017

Guy Sheffield's But Anyway, July 11, 2017

SRWMD donates 147 acres
to Dixie County School Board

Dixie County High School’s Sr. FFA Chapter are seen with the SRWMD Governing Board

Photo and Text Provided By SRWMD

Published July 21, 2017 at 8:37 p.m.
     LIVE OAK –
The Suwannee River Water Management District (District) Governing Board approved a 147-acre land donation to the Dixie County School Board on July 13.
     The 147-acre tract is located near Dixie County High School and Ruth Rains Middle School. The land is intended for use by the Dixie FFA Chapter for agricultural operations, teaching, and research. Students from the Dixie FFA Chapter attended the Governing Board meeting on July 13 to express their appreciation to District officials.
     Dixie FFA Alumni Treasurer Becky Bussard shared her excitement at the board meeting, describing the many benefits provided by the new land resource. The chapter looks forward to raising more animals for the local fair, hosting district competitions such as land judging, and setting up learning facilities for aquaponics, silviculture, forestry production, and timber management. The chapter will have the opportunity to raise a small beef herd and use what they learn to compete in Supervised Agricultural Experience contests on a state level. Additionally, the chapter intends to collect and sell pine straw from pine trees on the property as a chapter fundraiser.
     Bussard ended her statements with, “community members are very excited about this opportunity for Dixie FFA and many have already made plans to assist in the work necessary for this to become a reality by offering the use of equipment and products. We are very fortunate to live in such a community and we would like to thank Suwannee River Water Management District for their generosity!”
     District Governing Board Member Virginia Sanchez commented on the donation, stating, “as a water management district that serves a predominantly agricultural region, we are proud to support the education of future agriculturalists, land managers, and foresters who will become the next-generation stewards of our water resources.”
     The District intends to complete the land transfer to Dixie County School Board within the coming week. For further information, you may direct questions to Keith Rowell by calling the District at 386-362-1001.
     The mission of the Suwannee River Water Management District is to protect and manage water resources using science-based solutions to support natural systems and the needs of the public. The District holds true to the belief of water for nature, water for people. Headquartered in Live Oak, the District serves 15 surrounding North Central Florida counties.

Bronson firms up
town election schedule

Mayor Bruce Greenlee (left) and Vice Mayor Beatrice Roberts are two of the three candidates who may seek reelection.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © July 18, 2017 at 4:17 p.m.
-- Three seats on the Bronson Town Council are soon to be available for qualified candidates to fill.

Bronson Town Councilman Aaron Edmondson (left) is the third member of Town Council whose seat is one that the voters will choose who will represent them. Town Councilwoman Katie Parks is seen here in her post on Monday night (July 17). Her position on Town Council is not up in this election.

Another member of Bronson Town Council is Jason Hunt. He is not one of the three who faces the potential of a competitor seeking to replace him in the election set for Sept. 12.

     At the regular meeting of the Town Council on Monday night (July 17), a 5-0 unanimous vote approved the proposed time-line created by Bronson Town Clerk Pamela Whitehead, who is the supervisor of elections for elections in the municipality.
     Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones will help the town clerk.
     The Bronson Town Council seats that are up for election are Seat 1, Seat 3 and Seat 5.
     The Town Council members in those seats now are Seat 1 - Councilman Aaron Edmondson; Seat 3 - Vice Mayor Beatrice Roberts; and Seat 5 - Mayor Bruce Greenlee.
     Qualifying for this election begins on July 28 at 9 a.m. Candidates can qualify during regular Town Hall business hours from that moment until Aug. 4 at 4 p.m., when the qualifying period ends.
     The election is scheduled to be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 12.

Library program
helps children grow

Levy County Public Library Youth Services Coordinator Jenny Rodgers strikes a pose so that a camera can be focused for a video.

Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © July 14, 2017 at 11:17 a.m.
All Rights Reserved
The fourth of five public libraries visited this week in Levy County as part of the Build A Better World – Summer Reading Program – was the A.F. Knotts Public Library in Yankeetown on Thursday (July 13).
     Levy County Public Library Youth Services Coordinator Jenny Rodgers and Assistant Jennifer Becker were joined by Katie Trimm, a program assistant with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Family Nutrition Program for Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties.
     The program this week is Build A Better World – Eat Healthy!
     As it does each summer, the Levy County Public Library System helps children grow intellectually. The program offers fun, positive lessons to benefit them now and as they go into their future.

Jenny Rodgers opens the program with a magic trick with help from Assistant Jennifer Becker.

Katie Trimm, a program assistant with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Family Nutrition Program for Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties, holds a bookmark that was among the items children took home after the program Thursday morning in Yankeetown. Here she is starting her presentation about healthy food. That included gardening tips later in the morning.

     The programs always start at 10 a.m. There is an advertisement on the right side of the Calendar Page to see which libraries are visited on which days, and the titles for the programs.
     Next week, it will be Build A Better World – Vote!
     The children in Yankeetown enjoyed magic tricks by Public Library Youth Services Coordinator Rodgers at the beginning and end of the program on Thursday.
     In the first magic trick, Rodgers put paper in a metal pot held by Assistant Becker. Trimm gave Becker oven mitts because she has seen the program before.
     Rodgers tore up paper, added lighter fluid and then lit it. She quickly extinguished the blaze by putting a lid on the pot and suffocating the fire.
     The trick was supposed to produce a library card.
     Instead, the pot was full of raw carrots. Rodgers credited Trimm with that magic – replacing the magic library card with magic carrots.
     After the trick, Trimm read the children a story.
     She talked about the different food groups – fruits, vegetables, greens, proteins and dairy.
     Trimm focused on healthy foods, and gardening to grow what can be eaten after it is harvested.
     Participants enjoyed opportunities to color a placemat; paint a sun catcher; accept a free water bottle – with a seed pocket to grow basil, parsley and chives; and they enjoyed making a wizard hat as well.
     At the end, Rodgers performed another magic trick.
     Beyond the learning and the crafts, the children were given a free lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches; Cheetos puffed chips; baby carrots and ranch tomatoes with ranch dressing; orange juice and a choice of milk or chocolate milk.
     Trimm gave the children a snack of orange-glazed carrots, and they were given the recipe to make it at home.
     On Friday morning (July 14), the event repeated at Luther Callaway Public Library in Chiefland, although sometimes there are variations on the lunches.
     The free lunches are thanks to a partnership between the Levy County School Board and the Levy County Public Library System. This week’s program about growing food, the healthy snack and recipe to make it, is from the help of UF IFAS Program Assistant Trimm, who serves as a part of the state’s Extension Service – especially in Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.

CF invites students
to enroll and make history

Old history and new offerings shared

Even with some heavy construction equipment in front of the new building, it is clearly on the brink of being occupied by people. This photo was taken at about noon on Wednesday (July 12).

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © July 12, 2017 at 8:27 p.m.
Dr. Rayanne Giddis, College of Central Florida Levy Campus provost at the current CF Chiefland campus said she is excited to be moving soon to the new CF Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus, which is located at 15390 N.W. Highway 19 (on the west side of U.S. Highway 19 north of Chiefland and south of Fanning Springs).

     Giddis said there is still time for students to make history at the new campus by being among the first to attend there. Register now for the fall term!
     The college is offering 100 scholarships valued at $500 each to students who want to be among the first to attend the new campus.
     To be eligible, students must take six or more credits at the new campus when classes begin on Aug. 21. The scholarships are available to new and returning students, as well as students enrolled at another college or university.
     The scholarships are a one-time opportunity to celebrate the opening of the campus, which is the first permanent higher education facility in Levy County. The $30 college application fee will also be waived for students to plan to attend the new campus.
     Students simply need to apply to CF Levy Campus for fall 2017 to be considered. Additional information will be sent via mail and scholarship awards will be made upon completed registration.
     Staff will be on the new campus starting at 8 a.m. Monday, July 24 at the new campus.
     For more information about enrolling, please contact CF Levy Center Manager Holly McGlashan at 352-493-9533, ext. 2118 or at

A closer look at the face of the building shows part of the northern wing is named St. John Educational Center.

     “CF is making history in Levy County and we want our students to make history too,” Giddis said.
     As for history, Dr. Rayanne Giddis has been the provost at the College of Central Florida since March of 2016.
     Before that, she was the dean of at CF Academic Foundations from November of 2009 until February of 2016.
     Giddis is not new to Chiefland’s campus for CF. She was the director at the CF Levy Center from May 1998 until November of 2009.
     Giddis accepted her doctorate in higher education from the University of Florida in 2003.
     The history of Central Florida Community College in Levy County, which later became the College of Central Florida, goes back to 1982 in Bronson, and then it moved to the current campus at a storefront, in 1993.
     Now it is now moving to a permanent structure, as has been the hope for almost a quarter of a century.
     During an interview on Wednesday morning (July 12), Dr. Giddis shared insight about the history of CF in Levy County, the donors and state aid, and what people in the community as well as students can expect after the CF Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus opens with classes next month.

This view from of the southern end of the structure shows it too is almost complete. Views of the inner parts of the building are going to photographed later, so as to not steal thunder from the opening days. Likewise, other photos are planned for a time when the landscaping and other facets are complete.

     As noted, the CF Levy Campus in Chiefland opened in 1993.
     Central Florida Community College first opened in 1982 in Levy County at the Bronson Center, Giddis said.
     What led to eventually become the CF Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus started with a search for property in 2004, Giddis said.
     In 2006, former CF Board of Trustees member Loy Ann Mann and her husband Jack donated the first 15.4 acres that would be a cornerstone in what was to become a 40-acre campus.
     This 40-acre parcel includes the welding education facility and the separate front office building, which is destined to become a Levy County Sheriff’s Office outpost after the college opens for students and the community in August.
     In 2008, CF held a campaign named “Promise for the Future,” Giddis said. There were three different campaigns going on within that, she added, with one being for general funding for new programs. Another part of the campaign was for a new building at the CF Citrus campus in Lecanto. And the other was for what would become the new CF Levy campus, Giddis said.
     In 2009, Jack Wilkinson donated $2.9 million to the CF Levy campus, Giddis said.
     The CF District Board of Trustees then chose to name the new campus in honor of Jack Wilkinson, she added.
     “That is the first campus that has been named for an individual in the college’s history,” Giddis said.
     At the time, it was the largest single donation the college had ever received, she said.
     In 2012, CF Moved to the site with its welding program.
     In 2014, the college received $4.3 in state funding to begin planning and the infrastructure work to build the new CF Levy campus, Giddis said.
     In 2015, CF received another $2 million from the state to start construction. It was that December, when the groundbreaking ceremony was conducted.
     On March 17, 2016 CF received $7.28 million from the state to begin construction.
     On Aug. 11, there is a ribbon-cutting ceremony (by invitation only) scheduled for the new campus. There will be an open house in the afternoon that day and that will be open for everyone, Giddis said.
      Since opening in 1993, the CF Levy campus has produced many graduates.
     “I’m amazed at how much has been accomplished here,” Dr. Giddis said. “It’s kind of like photography. It’s not how good your equipment is. It is the eye of the photographer.
     “Using that metaphor,” Giddis continued, “it is the people who have worked here throughout the years, who have had the dedication to make opportunities available to students, and to really invest in student success.”
     While the brand new campus is gorgeous, Giddis said, it is really the heart of the faculty who care about the students that provides the level of excellence in education at the CF Levy campus.
     All of the existing educators, administrators and support staff are moving from the old building to the new campus.
     There is one new faculty member being added for science, she said.
     The new campus has state-of-the-art equipment, she added.
     “It is a fantastic science lab that will support a multitude of courses,” Giddis said.
     These include but are not limited to anatomy, physiology, microbiology, natural sciences and more.
     “It really allows us to expand our offerings in science,” she said.
     Another staff member to be added at the new campus will be another educational advisor.
     Kat Davis has been the person for enrollment, advising and for student activities, Dr. Giddis said. Now, there is going to be another person added to help with those responsibilities.
     The whole CF Levy campus is moving on July 19 and 20.    
     As for parking, there will be plenty of space at the new campus for the students, Giddis said.
     There will be vending machines, but it is too soon to have an onsite cafeteria. There will be an onsite bookstore, though, where students will be able to purchase all of the books they need.
     Some other positive aspects of the new campus include a learning resource center. This is something like a library. There will be material for checkout.
     There will be material for students, and other members of the community, to use onsite as well, Giddis said.
     This will be a place for quiet study and quiet collaboration, she added.
     “We hope that it will evolve into an area where students know they can stay for a while,” she said, “because we know that if we can keep students on campus, then we have a better chance for them successfully completing and doing better in their courses.”
     Another aspect of the new campus will be the student success center – or student support center. This is a place where students can be tutored.
     There will be computers for students to use on their independent work, in addition to collaborative work, Giddis said.
     There will be two private rooms available for students to use for collaboration, she said. The student support center will be more active for students to speak with each other, and to hang out, Giddis said, in contrast with the learning resource center.
     There is going to be comfortable seating and table arrangements for students to work independently or together, she said.
     The new campus will even have big dry-erase white boards on wheels that students can use to share their insights with one another as they work on projects together, Giddis said.
     The sense of community goes beyond the student community and includes the whole area, she said.
     There are going to be a couple of conference rooms, one that is 3,000 square-feet and a smaller one. The community will be able to use these for meetings, weddings and the like, she said.
     The people are going to be participating in an historic event when the CF Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus comes alive starting next month.
     Following are some bullet points for consideration by future students. There is everything from a course of study for a bachelor’s degree to taking classes to earn a GED and for non-credit. There are also college credit certificates that are useful in gaining employment.
     Many courses are offered completely over the Internet. Students can come to the campus, too, to use computers there and to possibly enjoy a better Internet connection than from their homes.
Bachelor’s Degree
     ● Business and Organizational Management
     ● Nursing
Associate in Arts
     ● 62 academic pathways are available to prepare students to transfer to college and university baccalaureate degrees.
     ● Direct Connect University of Central Florida (Orlando) and FUSE at the University of South Florida (Tampa)
Associate in Science
     ● Business Administration
     ● Computer Information Technology
     ● Criminal Justice Technology
     ● Early Childhood Education
     Associate Degree Nursing
College Credit Certificates
     ● Childhood Development
     ● Childcare Center Management
     ● Computer Information Technology
     ● Criminal Justice Technology Specialist
     ● Engineering Technology
     ● Business Administration
     ● Equine Technician
     ● Help Desk Technician
     ● Office Administration
College Credit Certificates
     On Campus Only
     ● Emergency Medical Technician
     ● Applied Welding Technology
Adult Education
     ● ABE/GED
     ● Timber Harvesting Equipment Program
     The College of Central Florida provides access to high quality, high value baccalaureate degrees, associate  degrees, certificates and diplomas. It promotes the economic, social and cultural development of the community.
     For more detailed information about CF, one good starting point is
     For more information about enrolling, contact CF Levy Center Manager Holly McGlashan by calling 352-493-9533, ext. 2118 or by sending an email to


LCSO offers Teen Driver
Improvement Program

Pre-registration required

LCSO Deputy Grant Sandlin teaches about driving safety in the Cedar Key School Media Center. The four-hour program includes the first 90 minutes indoors, then there is golf cart driving and then a return indoors to wrap up the lessons.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © June 28, 2017 at 7:37 p.m.
Updated July 21, 2017 at 8:37 a.m.
The Levy County Sheriff's Office has started its 11th Annual Teen Driver Improvement Program this summer.

     There were not enough participants for the program to happen on Wednesday (June 28) at Chiefland High School, but there were enough at Cedar Key School on Tuesday (June 27).
     LCSO Sgt. Max Long of the Community Relations Division is heading the program again this year. Joining Sgt. Long are LCSO deputies Grant Sandlin, Keith Osteen, John Gulledge and Chase Gregory.

Before the cones were dropped, the two golf carts are seen at Cedar Key School. Due to a lack of participation Wednesday, no video was taken at Chiefland High School, although there had been a plan (by a journalist) to demonstrate via a video how distracted driving can cause injury, death and property loss – when it can be avoided by drivers paying attention to driving.



     The LCSO is striving to help students between the ages of 15 and 19 years old become even more aware of the importance of abiding by the law and common sense in regard to aggressive driving, distracted driving and impaired driving. The fourth element where the program focuses is upon reminding the young drivers about seatbelt use being a method to save lives.
     This free program is open to all Levy County students who have a current operator license or learner's permit.
     Sgt. Long and Deputy Sandlin said, too however, that students from Gilchrist and Dixie counties are welcome, and so are any students who are visiting relatives in this part of Florida during the summer.
     The four issues are the key points for the classes that go from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each day. Lunch is not served, however the Cedar Key School participants were offered a free lunch on Tuesday. One of those three students chose against accepting that offer.
     Parents will want to be aware that the four-hour program includes a graphic presentation that shows students the consequences of bad driving choices.
     There is classroom instruction, videos, Power Point presentations.
     There is hands-on golf cart driving. In those sessions, the students first drive through a course marked by orange cones. Then they drive through the course while trying to tend to the distractions caused by cell phone use while driving. In the third round through the orange-cone obstacle course, the students are wearing goggles that cause their eyes to see a distorted view of the obstacle course -- which represents being impaired by using alcohol or other mind-altering drugs.
     Parental waivers are required due to the graphic nature of some parts of the presentation.
     As of June 22, there were 1,721 students who have taken this course, Deputy Sandlin said. The LCSO has provided it to other agencies and at other places, though, and those numbers are not calculated.
     Students must pre-register. If at least three students do not show up, then the program will be cancelled for that day.
     To register, call Sgt. Max Long at 352-486-5111, extension 256, or send an email to
     Classes are from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (There is no lunch.) Following is the tentative schedule for the rest of the summer:

Wednesday, July 26
Thursday, July 27
Tuesday, July 25

CF summer hours
of operation in effect

Published May 20, 2017 at 4:57 p.m.
Updated July 13, 2017 at 4:57 a.m.
— The College of Central Florida has implemented summer operating hours.
     The college is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and closed on Fridays through Aug. 4.
     Several CF departments have extended hours Monday-Thursday to better serve students through the summer.
     The Bryant Student Union, Student Affairs, Admissions, Academic Advising, Cashier, Financial Aid and Registrar, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
     Ocala Learning Resources Center, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
     Citrus Learning Resources Center, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
     Ocala Campus Bookstore, through May 19, 9 a.m.-5:30p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and May 22 through Aug. 9, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
     Citrus Campus Bookstore, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
     CF Postal Services, Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

     On Nov. 1, 2011, The Christian Press section on The Life Page of, started, about nine months after the start of the daily news website -- which officially started Feb. 1, 2011. The name was derived from an encounter a decade earlier, where and when a man mentioned to a journalist that this particular journalist must work for "The Christian Press." Although the presumption was incorrect and misplaced, the name sounds good.
     Since then, The Christian Press section of this page has run daily devotionals, and then within a relatively short time, weekly columns. 
     The Rev. Dr. Thomas "Tom" Farmer Jr. who retired from St. Paul's United Methodist Church of Largo several years ago is among the first contributors from 2011. There are several other individuals who contributed over the past seven years. Many daily devotionals have been pulled from Strength for Service to God and Country (Whitmore & Stone © 1942; Renewed 1969 by Norman E. Nygaard; Second revised edition © 2002 Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Providence House Publishers). I note my appreciation for the use of those devotionals from that now-defunct publishing company. I welcome contributions of daily devotionals. Daily devotional authors are asked to please send only their original works to

Saturday, July 22, 2017 at 7:37 a.m.


Read Daniel 1:1-16; Acts 5:17-42

     But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
– Daniel 1:8 (KJV)

     The other evening I sat with a young couple, married for 18 months, who were facing a major life change. They had built themselves a new home. They had dreams of a family, of friends, of a place of service in church and community. Now it was all changed.
     The husband had been called by his draft board to report for his physical examination. He knew he would have to leave. As they faced the breaking up of their home, the delay of their plans, and the possible loss of their property, the young man said, “What I want to know is this: What will we be like when we come out of this war; will our morals and our dreams and our hopes have been shattered?”
     No one can answer that question for him now. It will have to be answered differently for different people. The answer depends upon whether he and the others of you are true to the best you know.
     Some young people will doubtless come out of this war with shattered dreams, impoverished morals, and a lost faith. Others will reinforce themselves daily from the great Source of high living. The memory of loved ones, their treasure house of Scripture, and their own religious faith will keep them on the high road. They will be able to say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” That is the prayer of all your Christian friends back home for you.
     I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
     I would be pure, for there are those who care;
     I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
     I would be brave, for there is much to dare. Amen.
The Rev. Cecil E. Haworth (1888-2000)
Central Friends Church
High Point, North Carolina

United Presbyterian Synod of California
Strength for Service to God and Country
(Whitmore & Stone © 1942; Renewed 1969 by Norman E. Nygaard; Second revised edition © 2002 Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Providence House Publishers)

Outdoor Truths Ministry
By Gary Miller © July 17, 2017 at 7:37 a.m.

     It’s July and I feel a sense of pressure. I’m thinking of food plots and practice shots. I’m thinking we are two weeks from August and August is thirty days from opening bow season in Kentucky. I’m thinking I’m not ready for this. I’m thinking no one cares if I’m ready and time doesn’t stop or even slow down for anyone, no matter what the circumstances. I’m thinking how do others do it? I’m thinking I’m wasting time thinking.
     All my friends are feeling the same crunch. They are moving tree stands, setting out cameras, and scouting new locations. Acorns are beginning to form and we should know very soon as to which trees will hold an abundance of these delicacies. That is one thing we still can’t determine with great accuracy. Yes, we can fertilize those trees but Mother Nature still calls the shots when it comes to temperatures and amounts of precipitation. Most trees run in two to three year cycles, but again, frost and rain amounts can throw these successions into a free-for-all. So, we scout, watch, and wait right up until the very last possible day – even until opening day, because it’s better to be late and sure than early and guessing. In this case it’s better to be a day late to the party but know you’re at the right place than to be early to the neighborhood and unsure which house everyone is meeting. I wish this luxury was available for more important areas of my life. I mean don’t you wish you could look ahead at the results before taking an action? What if you could see if your investment would be profitable before you invested? What if you could know beforehand the girl you’re dating would be the girl you married? What if you could see your future before you pursued that particular degree or occupation? If we could do this, would we always choose the sure thing over the unknown? Let me ask another question. Would you choose great success with great pain or mediocrity with no pain? To be honest, I think each of us may choose differently and we would most likely be influenced by our present situation. Again, the problem is too much thinking and not enough living and this happens when we forget to live in the present. Regret is fretting over the past. Worry is fretting over the future. Neither will get my food plot ready nor give me a steady hand with my bow. They will only make me waste more time thinking.

Gary Miller has three books that are compilations of the articles he has written for nearly 15 years. He also speaks at game dinners and men’s groups for churches and associations.

Gary Miller's website is located at

Heart Matters
By Angie Land © July 17, 2017 at 3:47 p.m.
     As the last weeks of summer slip by, many anxious parents are getting ready to move their son/daughter off to college. I remember well watching my younger son leave our one-red-light town headed for UCF in Orlando. Even though it was only a few hours away, how I wanted so much to go with him to make sure he was safe and happy! So many things we want to say as our children leave the nest. The book of Proverbs captures this very scenario: Picture a father placing a hand on the shoulder of his son, a young man anxious to head out into the world on his own. “Son, before you go, we need to talk…” So many things the father wishes to convey to this boy whom he loves more than his own life. How can he possibly warn him against every danger, the risks not worth taking, and the battles worth fighting? He is fully aware that many of the struggles and dangers the young man will face will be different than the ones he survived. So, what can he say to prepare him to be a man who lives well?
     With this scenario in mind, the book of Proverbs becomes an entirely different read. Instead of a whimsical book of clever sayings, it transforms into the heart’s cry of an aging father desperately wanting his beloved son not only to prosper, but also to avoid as many pitfalls and tragedies in life as possible. Hear the pleading of the father in these words:
     “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. (Proverbs 1:8-9)
     “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding…then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:1-2,5)
     “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.” (Proverbs 3:1-2)
     “Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning so do not forsake my teaching.” (Proverbs 4:1-2)
     If you continue reading, each of the first seven chapters of the book of Proverbs begins similarly. Hear these earnest pleadings of a father, urging his son to recall what he has been taught, to make wise decisions, to avoid unnecessary dangers, and to not waste the gift of life.
     Like every father, no doubt some of the lessons he tries to teach his son were learned the hard way, evident by old scars and deep wounds not easily forgotten. What he would give for this young man to be protected from such things-so he urges and teaches and instructs, hoping the seeds of truth he is sowing finds fertile ground.
     So it is with our heavenly Father! He knows that life has its share of trouble. Jesus himself told us so: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Indeed, he overcame the world, along with our sin, and his body carries the nail-scars to prove it. Wouldn’t we be wise to hear his instruction, pay attention, gain understanding, and store up his commands in order to be men and women who do life well? Picture yourself seated at his knee and read a few proverbs. Accept His Word, and be convinced that your heart matters so very much!

Blessings, Angie

     PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Heart Matters is a weekly column written by Angie Land, Director of the Family Life Ministries of the Lafayette Baptist Association, where she teaches bible studies, leads marriage and family conferences and offers biblical counseling to individuals, couples and families. Please contact Angie with questions or comments at She notes that she would love to hear from people.

The Church Makes
A Joyful Noise

By Guy Sheffield © July 11, 2017 at 11:17 a.m.
     After a series of rather unfortunate events and untimely departures, my Pastor reluctantly named me his new music minister just months after I was saved. Since it’d take all day to catalog the series of cataclysmic events necessitating such a preposterous decision, I’ll just tell you, his list of options included the Church gathering around an eight-track humming “Kum Ba Yah”. Looking back, that might’ve been the way to go.
     My only credentials suitable to the job were that I owned a guitar, and that the world’s music scene had already busted my bubble concerning ever attaining fame or fortune with it. Despite those immense qualifications, I knew I had my work cut out for me. I had no background in Christian music whatsoever. I’d have guessed the first line to ‘Amazing Grace’ was probably “God is good, God is great….”
      My first mistake was to open up the choir loft to whoever felt they could make a joyful noise. It was a wonderful recruiting method, but after the first week I was rummaging through some mismatched old robes to find enough to accommodate all the new noise makers when the Pastor pulled me aside. “Uh… Guy,” he said, “I’ve noticed most of the church is positioned behind me now while I preach?” I nodded, smiling with satisfaction.  “And while it’s great to have a really BIG choir,” he continued, “You do realize they should at least be able to sing, or members of this church?” I winced and stomped at the new thought. On his way out he added, “Oh, and we’re getting complaints about setting the neighborhood dogs to howling.”
     It turns out Pastor was not only patient and forgiving, he was one smart dude. He simply suggested I reposition my big loud rock-n-roll guitar amp over behind the choir loft. Sure enough… after a few more services a big portion of new volunteers were stepping down. Immediately things began to turn around, including Pastor, who was no longer preaching to the choir!
     I continued to feel overwhelmed however. I must’ve been the only music director in history to show up Sunday mornings asking the drummer, “How’s that first song go again?” I was suffering from a serious case of Melodical Aorta Malfunction, complicated by extreme Lyrical Lostitis. I recall one service in particular. I’d just finished a song when suddenly I couldn’t get the rhythm to the next one in my head. Knowing how a delay breaks the congregation’s focus, I plunged ahead anyway. However, all naïve hopes of everything ironing itself out were quickly proven totally unfounded. My singing and strumming weren’t jiving at all. It was so bad the band couldn’t even join in. Heads popped up all around the sanctuary. I just had to stop. Still trying to appear in control, I swallowing what felt like a wad of cotton, and tried again, then again. No better. Eventually the service came to a grinding halt. Dead silence. I looked to the drummer, but he was ducking behind the cymbals. In desperation I eyeballed the exits, picturing myself making a fresh start somewhere else, Mexico perhaps. Suddenly, something really wonderful happened. The congregation began shouting words of encouragement. “You can do it,” they said, “Try again!” Someone began singing the tune, others joined in. They laid a pretty good foundation, so I joined in with them. Soon we were all off and running like nothing ever happened. A roar of approval resonated throughout the room! Pastor winked and gave me the thumbs up.
     Who needs fame or fortune? I still get chills thinking of how wonderful the Body of Christ can be when we heed the Apostle Paul exhortation. (Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. Ephesians 4:2-3 NLT).
     But anyway - That was many moons ago. I’m much more comfortable in my role as a reluctant music minister now. (Seems I’m still called upon every time a more qualified director moves off.) I’ve even learned three verses to ‘Amazing Grace’! I’ve experienced my share of it too, from the Church; every time my brain takes one of those little siestas.                        
Guy Sheffield's website - But Anyway is located at

SATURDAY  JULY 22  7:37 a.m.
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