NEW EACH DAY
THE CHRISTIAN PRESS
Most MONDAYs - THURSDAYs
DAILY VIDEO DEVOTIONAL
NEW EACH WEEK
Below the Daily Devotionals
Gary Miller's Outdoor Truths, Nov. 12, 2018
Angie Land's Heart Matters, Nov. 12, 2018
Guy Sheffield's But Anyway, Nov. 14, 2018
Chiefland Vice Mayor Chris Jones reads the commendations as Outstanding Students of the Month for October as (from left) Sadie Gibson, Isabella Hewell and Eleanor Frields listen.
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 14, 2018 at 2:48 p.m.
CHIEFLAND – One student each from Chiefland Elementary School, Chiefland Middle School and Chiefland High School accepted one certificate each as Outstanding Student of the Month for October at the outset of the regular monthly meeting of the Chiefland City Commission.
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Posing for photographs taken by members of the press and parents of the children are (from left) Chiefland Vice Mayor Chris Jones reads the commendations as Outstanding Students of the Month for October as (from left) Sadie Gibson, Isabella Hewell and Eleanor Frields listen.
Chiefland Vice Mayor Chris Jones presented the three girls with the honors. City Commissioner Rollin Hudson had been scheduled to perform this duty, however he was absent.
All of the students of the month from Chiefland are presented not only with a certificate, but they each went home with a $20 gift card to Walmart. The gift cards are funded by the Rotary Club of Chiefland.
Sadie Gibson, a fourth-grader from CES was nominated by CES Teacher Aimee Watkins. Sadie is the daughter of Amanda Gibson.
“Sadie is a go-getter!” Watkins noted and Vice Mayor Jones proclaimed as he read why the student was selected. “She always is pushing herself to do more than her best. Sadie is organized and has all assignments done and where they should be.
“She takes responsibility to help her peers to be their best by helping them understand worth they may struggle in,” Watkins noted and Jones said. “She doesn’t waste time, and utilizes the resources she is given. She is a great girl and has the drive to take her far in life.”
The next Outstanding Student of the Month for October was Isabella Hewell, a seventh grader at CMS, nominated by all of the seventh-grade CMS teachers.
Isabella is the daughter of Lois and Gregory Hewell.
Isabella or “Izzy” as she is known, was noted by the teachers to be a hard-working young lady.
“She always has a great attitude,” Jones said as he read her commendation. “She is always kind to others. Isabella has a wonderful work ethic and sets an example of excellence for others. Isabella is always kind, dedicated and respectful.
“Isabella (Izzy) is a dedicated student,” the teachers continued. “She is a thinker who wants to know WHY, and to understand things at a deeper level. She is also super-friendly and kind toward her peers; and if there is a student in class who is struggling, she is the first one to offer help. Izzy is very respectful toward her teachers, and she has impeccable manners.”
The third Outstanding Student of the Month for October recognized Monday night was Eleanor Frields, a tenth grader at CHS.
She is the daughter of Amy Frields. Eleanor was nominated by the entire set of high school teachers.
“Eleanor is a conscientious student,” Vice Mayor Jones said. “She always has a great attitude and her effort in class in unsurpassed. She is just an all-around remarkable young lady.”
Camp Of Champions;
Christmas At Camp Anderson Is Coming
The recent ‘Camp of Champions’ child welfare event at Camp Anderson with Pastor R.V. Brown was a resounding success. This was an outreach to needy kids. It was an incredible experience! There were 24 students who gave their lives to Christ and 22 of them decided to be baptized in the Suwannee River on Sunday morning (Oct. 29). The next outreach event is ‘Christmas at Camp Anderson’ that is scheduled for Dec. 28 through 31. The pavilion will be a giant living room and there will be a family-style Christmas with 225 needy kids. Click HERE for Christmas at Camp Anderson.
Published Nov. 10, 2018 at 8:08 a.m.
Photo and Information
Provided By Camp Anderson Camp Director William Bloodworth
restores home after fire;
Kindness and love shine brightly in Inglis
The initial team of workers on Thursday morning included Paramedic Jon Gilbert, Capt. Katie Salter, and the following individuals Alfred Rios, Alex Whitmer, Jeff Norton, Presless Salter, Johnny MacDonald II, Ken Kotas, Hunter Kline, Levi McFarland, Jennifer Elshoff and Josh Hicks. These volunteers are not listed in a particular order because they were able to stand together for about one minute, before they had to return their mission of the day – repairing a mobile home for fire victims. Capt. Katie Salter is the third person from the left in the front row, with Inglis Fire on a sleeve.
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 9, 2018 at 12:38 p.m.
INGLIS – More than a dozen firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, members of the United States Coast Guard and others joined forces Thursday for a one-day mission Thursday (Nov. 8) that restored a home for a woman in her 90s and her 61-year-old son.
Among the many workers are this brother and sister team – EMT-Firefighter Crystal Jordan and EMT-Firefighter Hunter Kline
This is one part of the area devastated by the blaze that leveled a singlewide mobile home on Saturday (Nov. 3) in eastern Inglis.
The neighboring singlewide mobile home suffered damage, but with the restoration and repair work by a strong set of volunteers, this home was saved for the Taylor family.
Hazel Taylor, 90-something, and Wayne Taylor, 61, live on East Cason Boulevard in Inglis. They used to live in two separate single-wide mobile homes that were near each other at a 90-degree angle.
On Saturday (Nov. 3), Wayne Taylor was cooking and a grease fire quickly got out of control. He was able to escape from the burning mobile home and all of his pet cats survived as well.
The fire spread to his mother’s mobile home, however, as well as destroying other property in the immediate vicinity.
Every piece of the man’s clothing except what he was wearing, and all of his other belongings were lost in the fire.
On Sunday (Nov. 9), Levy County Department of Public Safety Paramedic-Firefighter Jon Gilbert responded to a medical call at the address where the fire had forced Wayne Taylor to move into his mother’s neighboring home.
Paramedic Gilbert, who has been in the lifesaving profession for 30 years, saw the plight of the Taylors, including the immediate need for clothes and toiletries for Wayne Taylor, who was taken to a Gainesville hospital for surgery.
Gilbert contacted Inglis Fire-Rescue Capt. Captain Kelly A. Salter, an EMT and firefighter who also works for LCDPS, and Crystal Jordan, another multi-agency EMT-firefighter.
“Kelly Salter exploded on this,” Gilbert said. “She found people and local businesses that wanted to help immediately. Crystal Jordan also took the reins and donated her time to make this succeed.”
Gilbert, who is in the midst of remodeling his home, spoke with Josh Hicks, owner of Handy Hicks-Insured Handyman of Inverness. Hicks and his principles agreed to donate whatever they could to make this project happen.
The volunteers all decided to do what was needed to repair and restore Hazel Taylor’s singlewide mobile home. The fire had taken parts of the roof and some wall areas.
Another part of the project was clearing the extensive debris field that was left by the inferno.
Gilbert set the goal of doing the whole project in one day – Thursday (Nov. 8).
The team began recruiting other workers and they visited at least 20 business interests to seek donations of material and services. Some interests donated completely, others provided discounts.
The team of volunteers put their needs aside and focused on one mission, which came together with precision like a Swiss watch. Well, there may have been a couple of rough or quirky moments, but the people all put their hearts and souls into the task at hand.
Capt. Salter said this was not a project of Inglis Fire Rescue, or the LCDPS. This was action by people who wanted to help a woman in her 90s, whose son had lost all of his belongings.
The fire was an accident, but there was no insurance to cover any of the losses, Paramedic Gilbert said.
The initial team of workers on Thursday morning included Paramedic Gilbert, Capt. Salter, and the following individuals Alfred Rios, Alex Whitmer, Jeff Norton, Presless Salter, Johnny MacDonald II, Ken Kotas, Hunter Kline, Levi McFarland, Jennifer Elshoff and Josh Hicks. Others showed up throughout the day.
Capt. Salter said she greatly appreciates the work by people who helped repair and restore the mobile home for the Taylors.
Capt. Salter she especially wants to note the assistance provided by the following business interests: Buddy and Fred's Hardware of Inglis; Handy Hicks Insured Handyman; Nichols Lumber; Beasley's Auto; W. Soule (a company in Florida); Pioneer Precision Metal & Powder Coating of Inglis; Tri-County Metals of Trenton; Carl Roof Land Clearing; Quality Painting; Curry's Roofing; the No. 324 F&AM Masonic Lodge of Inglis; Lowe's; Home Depot; Rural King; Little Caesar Pizza of Inglis; Kangaroo/Marathon gas station in Inglis; Shrimp Landing Restaurant of Inglis; Citrus Custom Cabinets; and Quality Paint and Pressure Washing.
Paramedic Gilbert and Capt. Salter said they hope to be able to help the Taylor family a bit more in their time of need. They said people who want to donate money for this extended effort can contact Capt. Salter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tobacco Free Florida highlights
benefits of supporting
employees in quitting smoking
on Great American Smokeout
Published Nov. 6, 2018 at 3:28 p.m.
LEVY COUNTY -- In observance of the Great American Smokeout (GASO), Tobacco Free Florida is encouraging employers across the state to support their employees to quit smoking on Thursday, Nov. 15.
The Great American Smokeout raises awareness about the dangers of smoking and the many effective resources available to help smokers successfully quit.
While it is common knowledge that smoking is bad for the smoker, not many consider the effect this addiction has on local businesses. In Florida alone, the annual direct costs to the economy attributable to smoking exceed of $19.6 billion, including: workplace productivity losses of $4.4 billion; premature death losses of $7.9 billion; and direct medical expenditures of $7.2 billion.
Between both the additional healthcare costs and losses in productivity, an employee who smokes could cost a business more than $6,000 every year. For each employee that quits, a business can save as much as $2,000 per year through reduced insurance costs.
In Levy County, the College of Central Florida and the School Board of Levy County have implemented tobacco free worksites with success.
The College of Central Florida will be hosting an informational day for the Great American Smokeout on Tuesday, Nov. 13 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. to educate staff and students about the Quit Your Way Resources that are available in Florida, the health risks and concerns of using tobacco products and e-cigarettes, and the benefits of being a tobacco free worksite.
The Tobacco Free Partnership of Levy County is seeking local worksites who are interested in implementing tobacco free grounds policies.
If you are interested in working with the partnership to discuss the resources available, please contact Kristina Zachry at KZachry@QuitDoc.com or 352-577-4309.
Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Florida and the United States. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. Smoking can also cost individuals a lot more than just their health. A pack-a-day smoker in Florida can spend more than $2,000 in just one year and more than $10,000 in five years on cigarettes.
Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way program makes it easier than ever for tobacco users to access evidence-based, free tools and services to help them quit tobacco. For more information, please click HERE.
People can also access Tobacco Free Florida’s online Cost Calculator to find out how much money they could save by quitting smoking -- by clicking HERE.
Cookies and other items
help church's missions
Pastor Alex Christian stands on a trailer that had tools and many other items available for purchase Saturday.
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 4, 2018 at 4:18 p.m.
CHIEFLAND – First United Methodist Church’s Youth Group, Sunshine Disciples (women’s group) and the United Methodist Men consolidated fundraising efforts Saturday (Nov. 3) for the many missions of the church.
Dot Remington (left) sells her handcrafted jewelry made from antique silverware. Among the many patrons looking at Remington’s items was Gerry Jesk, a member of The Sunshine Disciples of the First United Methodist Church of Chiefland.
Edith Brown, an avid volunteer for The Children’s Table, shows some of the amazing peanut brittle she sells. This particular batch is in a plastic zip-lock bag, however there were also Mason jars full of the peanut brittle for the consumers who may not eat it as quickly as some other consumers – because the Mason jars keep it fresh longer.
A long view of cookies, homemade candies, pies and other baked goods are seen here. The First UMC of Chiefland’s Annual Cookie Walk is a tradition with a long history. This church is more than 150 years old. This year, there were hundreds of cookies made and the range of different types of cookies covered a very broad spectrum.
Kay Putchaven holds up one of the cookies she selected to put into the cookie tin she bought. Patrons were able to donate depending on the size of the tin they bought and they could fill the tin with cookies.
This view from the front of the church shows many people gathered and buying, selling and socializing. Among the many people here are some number of the young people who are part of First UMC Chiefland.
The First UMC Chiefland United Methodist Men meet each second Saturday of the month in the Fellowship Hall (basement) of the church. The UMM would like to see more men join them. They perform various jobs to help people and the church. The gentlemen seen here who are part of the United Methodist Men are (from left) Reid Granger, Bill Dosreis, Ken Dietrich and UMM President Gene Pollock. The men are sitting under the cover of the C. Doyle McCall Pavilion, which was built primarily by UMM members. It is covered, has a concrete floor and there are electric outlets.
Flu shot vaccinations
recommended for people
in the Tri-County Area
Published Oct. 30, 2018 at 8:48 a.m.
TRI-COUNTY AREA -- The health professionals at the Florida Department of Health units in Levy County, Dixie County and Gilchrist County are reminding all residents to get their flu shot before the height of the upcoming flu season.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), last year’s record-breaking flu season resulted in 80,000 deaths in the United States, which is the highest number of deaths from the flu in more than 30 years.
"Protect yourself and those you love this season by getting by getting your flu shot soon," said Wesley Asbell of the Florida Department of Health’s environmental health units in the Tri-County Area.
According to Barbara Locke, Administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Levy County, Dixie County and Gilchrist County, getting the flu shot annually is one of the best ways to reduce the odds of contracting the flu virus -- which circulates every year.
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone who is six months and older, including pregnant women. It can take up to two weeks after the vaccination for the recipient's body to develop protection against the flu.
The CDC recommend getting a flu vaccine every year as the first and most important step in protecting against influenza and its potentially serious complications.
There are different flu vaccine options this season, which include high dose and adjuvanted vaccine for adults aged 65 years and older.
The CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine every year, because flu viruses evolve quickly. Last year’s vaccine may not protect against the current year’s flu strain. Even if the flu vaccine does not fully protect against the flu, it may reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of complications.
People at higher risk for flu-related complications, such as death, include children who are younger than 5 years old, adults who are 65 years old and older, people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women and people who have existing medical conditions, such as asthma and obesity.
Click HERE to visit Flu Free Florida for more information on how to be a part of #FluFreeFL.
On Nov. 1, 2011, The Christian Press section on The Life Page of HardisonInk.com, started, about nine months after the start of the daily news website -- which officially started Feb. 1, 2011. The name "The Christian Press" was derived from an encounter a decade earlier in 2001 in St. Petersburg, when and where 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 sounded good. And the the journalist said that if he could work for The Christian Press, then that certainly would be the publication to serve.
Since Nov. 1, 2011, The Christian Press section of this page has run daily devotionals from several individuals who contributed over the past eight years. Many daily devotionals are 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 email@example.com.
Nov. 16, 2018 Friday at 7:48 a.m.
THEY THAT SHALL BE OF THEE
Read Isaiah 53
And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
-- Isaiah 58:12 (KJV)
That is a fine word of bold optimistic anticipation. One of the most refreshing feelings that ever thrills the human soul is that of becoming comfortably confident that the ideals it has held, and loved and labored for, will be secure in those who come after. One of the bitterest disappointments death is ever made to reveal to the soul is that the cause it has given so much of its time and affection to must now be committed to those who come after, and yet care nothing about it, and by whom the withering effect of neglect will surely soon be made evident.
To you, young men and women arising now to power, we throw the torch! We have tried honestly to build nobly; we have tried to shape well the things of lasting value. We cannot bear to think of being buried out of all this if you fail to catch and hold high the great Christian ideals. It isn’t death we fear. We dread only to be buried away from these great ideals of faith we have held so immeasurable dear all our lives, if you who come along allow them to wither.
But we gather courage, for we do believe in you. We have calm confidence that you are those who are, in true faith in God, to build the waste places and keep in repair the paths of God’s ways among humanity.
Faith Of Our Fathers! Living Still
Faith of our fathers! Living still
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword,
O how our hearts beat high with joy
When e’er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.
Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free;
And blest would be their children’s fate,
If they, like them should die for thee:
Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!
Faith of our fathers, we will strive
To win all nations unto thee;
And through the truth that comes from God
Mankind shall then indeed be free.
Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!
Faith of our fathers, we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife,
And preach thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.
Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!
-- Frederic W. Faber (1814-1863)
The Rev. Dr. Merton Stacher Rice (1872-1943)
Metropolitan Methodist Church
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)
Published Nov. 15, 2018 at 9:48 p.m.
Pastor Alex Christian of First United Methodist Church of Chiefland provides a daily devotional video most Mondays through Thursdays via the church's Facebook page.
Pastor Christian (or Pastor Alex as some people call him) in this video offers insight as well as other as aspects that may be inspirational to individuals.
In his videos this week, Pastor Christian shares with people about overcoming hate through the way of love.
The pastor provides insight today (Nov. 15) about how we can saturate the world with God’s love.
Click HERE to see and hear this pastor in this video.
John 17:20-26 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Prays for All Believers
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[a] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Outdoor Truths Ministry
By Gary Miller © Nov. 12, 2018 at 7:38 a.m.
While November usually can’t compare to the colder days of January and February, it can still get cold. But if one is to have the best opportunity at a big buck, he has to get out in it. He just better be prepared. What I have noticed over the years, however, is that I seem to manage the cold pretty well, but what I am never ready for is the wind that may accompany those cold temperatures. I had rather hunt in 20 degree weather with no wind than 30 degree weather with the wind. And no matter what the weather lady says the wind chill is, it is always colder than her predictions. When I hunt in the Midwest, it is especially bad. I’ve also noticed there is really no wind that is ever comfortable. I have sat for days with a cold wind blowing directly in my face. My chapped lips and wind-burned face are proof of those days. And I hate it when it blows from behind because it seems that I can never keep my neck warm. During the cold days, the wind determines my ability to stay in the stand more than anything else. It is the greatest motivation to move. If it continues to blow, one gets so uncomfortable that moving is the only option.
It is no coincidence that Jesus compared the Holy Spirit to a wind. And when the Spirit first came on the scene, Luke, a gospel writer, said it sounded like a violent wind. Again, this is no coincidence. While the Holy Spirit lives within all believers, there are times when His activity is especially felt. You may not see it or even know at first what it is, but before too long you will recognize an uneasiness or an uncomfortableness. And with a gentle inaudible voice, He will let you know it is Him and that the Heavenly Father wants your attention. He has a word about something in your life. It may be a word concerning a move He wants you to make or something He wants out of your life. You can try to resist, and sometimes you can, but the price to stay and ignore this nudging will be one you will never recoup.
So, are you feeling that nudge right now? Is the Wind making it uncomfortable to sit where you are? Have you been uneasy and wondered why? Don’t take it lightly. If it is important enough to God to get your attention, then He must have something very important He wants to do in your life. And remember, He always wants what is good and best.
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 http://www.outdoortruths.org/.
By Angie Land © Nov. 12, 2018 at 11:08 p.m.
Have you ever struggled with good things happening to other people? As much as we hate to admit it, it can really get under our skin when someone else gets the promotion, wins the award, or is recognized for an accomplishment, and never more so than when we were hoping for that very thing for ourselves. Like nothing else, this actually exposes our internal battle with pride, the very root of our sin nature. It takes great maturity to be rejoice when others are celebrated, and I am convinced this is nearly impossible without God working in our hearts.
Last week we tossed and turned with King Xerxes through a sleepless night and listened as a servant read from historical records hoping to make him drowsy. Instead, the King discovered that someone who had saved his life had not been properly rewarded. (This account is found in Esther 2:19-23, of Esther’s Uncle Mordecai discovering a plot to assassinate the king) So the King sets out to make things right and honor Mordecai. Look closely at Esther 6:6:
“So Haman came in, and the king said to him, ‘What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?’ And Haman said to himself, ‘Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?’”
We can already know this is not going to end well! Haman is clueless to what the King is really thinking, and proceeds to give a list of all that should be done to honor someone. We can almost see him rubbing his hands together in anticipation of receiving this honor. Wouldn’t we all pay the price of a ticket to see his face when the king agreed with the list and told him in verse 10: “Hurry, take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew…” Can you even imagine Haman’s thoughts at that moment? Or as he led Mordecai through the city proclaiming, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.” Verse 12 tells us exactly: “…but Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered.” Haman tried to use his position and power to destroy Mordecai. Instead, he was ordered to honor him.
Before we leave this part of the story, shaking our heads at Haman’s huge ego, I think God wants us to learn something here. Look again at the account of Mordecai’s discovery of the plot against the King’s life, (Esther 2:19-23). Verse 23 says that the “affair was investigated and found to be so…” and chapter 3, verse 1 says: “After these things, King Xerxes promoted Haman the Agagite…” In the original writings, Scripture contained no chapters or verses. These were added later for easier reading. Many Bible scholars believe that the promotion Haman received could have been the result of his being the investigator in the plot against the king’s life. This seems a plausible explanation since no other reason for his promotion is indicated. It also seems that this could have been Haman’s opportunity to do things a little differently. Instead of demanding that Mordecai bow to him, what if he had expressed gratitude? After all, if Haman did receive his promotion in this way, then Mordecai was partly responsible. My point is that rarely does anyone achieve anything worth being recognized for on our own. In all of our accomplishments, others have made contributions along the way. Being thankful is the key to maturity and humility, and the way that we can truly celebrate with others when they are rewarded. Recognize those who have contributed to your success in any way and learn to celebrate when those contributions are rewarded. Even better, be the one to give honor for those contributions. What a great way to usher in the Thanksgiving season! Because every heart matters!
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Heart Matters is a 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. She notes that she would love to hear from people.
Running A G-Rated Race
By Guy Sheffield © Nov. 14, 2018 at 7:38 a.m.Running a “G” Rated Race
“What’s the big deal,” my brother Heath asked, “We’ll pack a tent and throw a few hot-dogs in the cooler. It’s just us fellows. We’ll be fine.” He was probably right. What did our wives know? This very nation was settled by men just like us, willing to ride off half cocked, with only a pack of weenies in their saddlebags. Just because it was Thursday of race week and we still hadn’t shored up tickets or a place to stay was no call to be going soft. How big of a deal could a little ole’ NASCAR race in some tiny town called Talladega be anyway?
We left that Saturday before daybreak and stopped at a local truck-stop to load up on ice for the two coolers of food our wives had packed. Oddly, there was a wait at the check-out line. When I finally laid my money on the counter the lady said, “You must be going to Talladega?” My head cocked sideways, “How’d you know that?” She just smiled, “Honey, people been coming through here all week.” At that point we were 229 miles for Talladega! Maybe this was some sort of ‘Big Deal’.
When I got back to the truck Heath’s little boy Noah had already fallen back asleep. He looked so innocent. Something triggered me to say, “Maybe we should’ve seen that new movie ‘Talladega Nights’ so we’d know what to expect.” Heath just waved me off. “Nah, we’ll see it all first hand tonight. Besides, I heard the movie’s got a lot of cussing in it.” “Yeah, I’m sorry,” I admitted, “I don’t know what I was thinking.”
On the way down I noticed almost every car was decorated with some sort of racing memorabilia. While still several miles from the track helicopters began to buzz overhead. The farm land was littered with thousands campers, tents, and buses. We pressed on and boldly made our way right up to the racetrack itself, where they had advertised a little bitty “first come first serve” free section of camping. An attendant waved us to a stop. Heath asked cheerfully. “You got anything left?” The guy just sort of winced at our gall. “You’re welcome to look,” he said nodding towards at least five other cars leaving unsuccessfully. “Okay,” Heath chirped cheerfully and drove on. One group coming out looked like they had already broken into their pack of weenies.
After seeing the first row of these poor sardines in that little camp I thought, “We haven’t got a prayer.” Being the faith warrior I am, I whispered, “Lord, if we could just find a place to park so we could sleep in the truck?” About that time a little side road caught my eye. It seemed to go nowhere, so of course I bade Heath to try it. Low and behold, on the back side of a row, almost under the awning of a big bus, was a nice little miracle spot! We had our weenies roasting in no time.
The atmosphere in Talladega was most festive, especially after sunset. That’s when a lot of strange things began to happen. People began to line the small roads and a lot of hooting and hollering commenced. People riding in the back of large trucks began parading through the campsites, apparently seeking to collect some kind of plastic beads. All I can say is thank goodness God had led us to that little spot tucked away behind that big bus where we could eat our weenies in peace. Our eyes didn’t have to behold any of the shenanigans going on, and little Noah got to enjoy a wonderfully “G” rated Talladega night. Heath and I both breathed a sigh of relief.
But anyway - I say all this just to brag on how well the Lord took care of us. Obviously the power of Jesus’ prayer for His disciples is still working today. (I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. John 17:15 KJV) We enjoyed perfect weather, wonderful tickets, safe passage, and safe haven, all despite our total ineptness and inability to provide any of these things for ourselves. The Lord even hooked us up with a local Church group holding a wonderful little Sunday morning service out beside the track. What an honor it was to be a part of the little wad of worshippers amongst the other ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY THOUSAND people in little Talladega that day!
Our favorite cars spun out, and we didn’t collect any plastic beads, but I guarantee we left with a deeper appreciation of our wonderful God, and a joy that only comes from seeing His hand at work in your situation. It’s amazing what He can do with a pack of weenies.
Guy Sheffield's website - But Anyway is located at http://www.butanyway.org/
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FRIDAY NOV. 16 7:48 a.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties
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