Saturday, December 16, 2017

Candle Light Tonight


I John 1:5
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare it to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

Tonight at VRC, we will be holding our Candle light service. A celebration of God invading our time and space to bring the illuminating word that a Savior has been born. This will be our 21st Candle light service, and each one has been different. Each one has focused on a different aspect of Christmas and the birth of the Christ child.

This is my wife's most favorite service of all time, and I must confess that she is the reason that we do this service. Years ago when I was ordained, she asked if we could hold a candle light service. All her growing up years, the church she attended had such a service during the Christmas season. Of course my answer was "Yes!"..so the service was born...

Tonight will be a time of music and scriptures....
A time of reflection on what has transpired this year, as well as a looking forward to where we are headed in the coming year.
It will be a time of great intimacy and fellowship.

A time to reflect on the simple proclamation that "He has redeemed my soul from the pit of emptiness."

Tonight's service starts at 7 p.m....
VRC Is located on Broad Street, downtown Gadsden, between 4th and 5th streets.

If you're free, come out and join us...

God on you....
mbb

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas Was Only The Beginning



(Posting from December 6, 2012)

No matter what you may think during this time of year....
Christmas has a purpose....
It is a sign post...a day of remembrance....
A day to remember the birth of Jesus.....
"For unto you this day is born in the city of David a Savior, Christ the Lord."
But this day is only a directional arrow that points to something greater....
The cross.

A birth that would point to something greater.

Jesus was born to die.
That little baby, there in that stable in Bethlehem, was brought into this world to die.
But he was to die for a greater purpose. 
He became the lamb that was offered up for me....and for you. If you want to get down to the heart of the matter.....Sin is the reason we celebrate Christmas. If not for the sins of the world, my sin and your sin, Jesus would never have been born.
His blood was spilt on that rocky hill outside of Jerusalem to pay the price that the sin of the world demanded.
Every drop of that precious blood that flowed and fell to the ground was the key that opened to the door for you and me to have right relationship with God. We were reconciled on that day and salvation was brought to the forefront of humanity. No longer would the blood of sheep and goats and bulls and pigeons be needed. No longer would yearly trips to the Temple be needed to receive atonement for sin.
That baby boy, born in Bethlehem, was to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sin.

Hebrews 9:22 reads: 
And according to the law, one may also say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

The mention of a bloody Jesus....
Of crosses.....
Sacrifices......
Sin.....
is not very Vogue in some churches today....
This time of year, we may see Christmas pageant's and plays...
There will be live nativity scenes with men and animals....a woman and a baby....

There will be serenity and peace around such...
We will gaze upon them while singing "Away in a manger".....having warm and wonderful thoughts about that night long ago in Bethlehem....
But we must never forget that Jesus came to die.

It was for me....
It was for you that he mounted that cross and gave himself up to nail, hammer, whip and fist....

But the ultimate pain and agony came when the sin of the world was laid upon his shoulders.
There on that cross, Jesus' heavenly Father looked away from that scene.....

Hung between heaven and earth, Jesus was forsaken because of the sin that he bore.
God the Father poured out every bit of wrath to assuage the anger and hatred for sin....He poured it out on His only Son....That baby born in a stable, laid in a manger.....

But the story doesn't end there.
It only transition's....
Resurrection! Breaking the power of death, hell and the grave, Jesus stepped out of that tomb and ascended back to heaven.....
To sit at the right hand of His Father, as Lord and Savior.
Whenever I think of the baby Jesus, I can't help but get excited about who this child would become.
The very conqueror of Satan himself.

The power of sin IS broken.
Jesus is the POWER that we look for in this dark life of sin/addiction.

Praise God! This can be the first real Christmas for you if you don't know this Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Talk to Him....Just talk...
Confess (tell Him about) your sin.....

Do you feel that brokenness inside...that emptiness....?
Jesus is wanting to fill you up with His Spirit...

Ask Him to forgive you of your sin......
And believe that you are....Scripture says that "IF we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Acknowledge Jesus as your Lord and Savior...(Turn will and life over to Him)
If you do this.....
You have just received the greatest Christmas gift ever!
New life.....

Find you a Bible (One that you can understand) and begin reading in the gospel of John.
and get ready for a real Christmas!!!

God on you....
mb

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Please Pray For Him


Dec. 14th.....
Early morning at the Bynum house.
Christmas tree is lit....
House is quiet. Not time for Vicki to get up yet.
Today at the mall and Wal-mart people will be rushing here and there to buy presents for others......
But my friend....
He has left and gone back into the darkness.....
He has forsaken everything he has learned to take one more drink....

Kids excited as they wait their turn to sit on Santa's lap and share their Christmas wants...
My friend only wants the pain to stop...
One more drink should do the trick, only it doesn't....
More he drinks, the farther away he slides from truth...

He might not say the words, but he knows all too well that this is going to kill him...
Years of darkness takes a toll on a man's body...
Takes a toll on his spirit and soul also....
Truth doesn't sing to ring as clear as he takes another drink....
But the one thing truth does is it makes everything hurt with a greater intensity...
He takes another drink.....

Walking down Broad street, Christmas music fills the air....
"Silver Bells".....
"O Come All Ye Faithful".....
"Joy To The World".......
Joy?  Not much joy when you tally up your "Life's" score and you always come out with a negative number.....Not much to add, but a whole lot to subtract.....
Wife...
Children....
Grandchildren....
Freedom...
Friends...
Health....
Jobs...
Finances...
All fall in the negative column as the list of things lost grows larger.....
He takes another drink....

No wonder the holiday's are such a dark time....
The light and tinsel of the commercial side of Christmas only magnifies the destruction of a life lived in addiction....
The brighter the lights...
The deeper the pain....
Eyes and minds blurred by alcohol only see the pain and misery they have brought about....
why not have one more drink?

But sitting here this morning, I take hope for this one who has gone back out....
You see, I believe not just in prayer....
But the one who hears my prayers....
So I do pray....
I ask for the angels of heaven to go and surround my friend....
Stand guard over this soul....
Keep the enemy at bay....
I pray that God's Holy Spirit would bring conviction on my friend....
Not condemnation, but divine conviction that leads to repentance....
Conviction and God's forgiveness which are the calling cards that move God to take him out of the darkness of his addiction, and transfer him into the wonderful light of God's presence....
I pray with the understanding that nothing is impossible with God.....

I pray my heart's cry to Jesus, my Savior...
Amen....

I do have someone I care about who has gone back "out there".
The Big Book of A.A. would refer to my friend as being one of those "poor unfortunates" who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.....
Funny part in all of this, is that my friend knows A.A. backwards and forwards...
He can quote scripture and verse of A.A. concerning any topic related to recovery....
He just can't quit drinking....
For as long as I've known him, his years of drinking has been punctuated with short periods of sobriety.....

Please pray with me that he would not drink himself to death....
That God's healing hand would touch my friend and awaken the truth within him.
God's blessings on you and your family this Christmas season....

P.s.
This posting was never meant to be a downer during this Christmas season...
It is the simple truth that my friend is going through today....
It is a reminder that not everyone is having a "Holly, Jolly Christmas".
If anything we should count our blessings and seek to give to others what God has so freely given to us...

God on you...
mbb

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

I Saw Three Gift's Last Night



Ephesians 4:7-8
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore He says, "When He (Jesus) ascended on high He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men."

One of the greatest pleasures I have is to watch the Holy Spirit form and shape and individual who has renounced the old life of addiction, and embrace this new journey with Jesus. It isn't something that happens in an instant. It takes time as the person's heart is transformed and filled with His presence.

Last night, after the Bible study at Rapha, I stood talking with three of the men who had attended. I began to notice that as we talked, each one of these men had a specific topic they wanted to discuss. As I stood there listening, I saw three men who were in the process of being transformed into this new life I've written about. The center of our conversation was Christ, but each one had a specific view of their own personal journey.

The first man asked some very deep theological questions....Not to gain information, but to understand better. I tried as best I could to answer his questions, but it became apparent that this man was headed to being an apologetic, or one who defends the faith and belief of who Christ is. His questions were thoughtful and he was very humble as he asked each one. He was not trying to elevate himself, or trying to show me how spiritual he was. He had a passion to see and understand the Scripture.

The second man told me part of his story. To be honest, his story wasn't much different than countless others I have listened to. Raised in church, turned away when he was a teenager. Made bad choices and began this slippery slope we call addiction. This last rodeo he was on wound him back in jail again. Only this time, something was different. He wanted a Bible to read......no, it was more like He needed a Bible to read........Naw, that doesn't do it justice......He HAD to have a Bible to read. Finally someone brought him one. He began to devour it. He began to pray, not to be released from jail, but to know God and His word. He told me that it was like a fire had been lit inside of his heart. So this man has been given a passion for Jesus and the Word.

The third man is always early for our Bible study. Whenever I arrive at the Chapel, he is either seated at the piano or holding a guitar. Head bent down, he plays melodies and hums softly while the music flows out from him. Usually at Rapha whenever someone gains access to musical instruments, the first thing they want to do is to play a secular selection of every rock song they know. "Highway To Hell"...."Stairway To Heaven...."Free Bird"....and the list goes on and on and on, with music that defined them when they were out there running the streets. But not this man. As I sat there before time for the Bible Study to take place, that chapel was strangely warmed by this music that he was playing. I knew that I knew (well, at least let me say that God spoke concerning this man) that this man had a worshiper's heart. He spoke of all these melodies he hears in his mind, and how they all seem to be trying to come out at one time.

As our conversation wound down, I asked the three men if I could pray for them. They all said, "Yes." I asked God to bless them and increase these gifts that had been given to each of them. I asked that God would grant them to vision and strength to allow the Holy Spirit to unwrap these gifts and let them be given to the world. Each man received what I prayed.

As we turn to leave the chapel, I could not help but think that "yes, it is Christmas time, but God has given three gifts to three men who never in their wildest dreams saw themselves as they are today. If that be truly so, then imagine where they will be next Christmas.
That God is something else, isn't He?

Merry Christmas from the "B's" in Attalla.
God on you....
mbb

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

My Christmas Wish For You



Greene Street Letter from Dec. 9, 2015


My Christmas wish for you and your family is that you find Jesus Christ in a way that you never have before. That you see and understand who He truly is and what He did to secure salvation for everyone.
I wish that your hearts would be filled with the wonder and joy of knowing Jesus.
That for all of us, Christmas would be more than presents and food and family. That it would be the stark realization that without Christ, we are hopeless and lost. He makes all things possible. And what falls under "All things"? Everything.


My Christmas wish for you is that your hopes and dreams come in line with God's hopes and dreams for your life. That you, in this next year, would experience the joy of walking by God's Holy Spirit's leading. 

My Christmas wish for you is that you would look outward and not inward. That your focus would shift to helping and giving away what God has so freely given to you. You don't need a program or an agenda or a church group to tell you how to do this. All you need is a heart that wants to give away. Find someone and do it. Simple as that. Give a meal or a ride or share your story with another. Look at the faces today as you walk about and ask God, "who do you want me to help?" 

Some of my most wonderful times have come in the most unusual places. Praying for people in Wal-mart. I remember being at Wal-mart some months ago and I was looking for some duct tape and work gloves. I happened to step back and bumped into an elderly woman. "Excuse me, I 'm so sorry.....are you all right?" I asked. She laughed and said yes, but you could tell that she was not doing well. I asked again if she were all right and she began to tell me about her grandson and how he'd gotten into trouble with the law over drugs. I asked her if I could pray for her and she said sure. When I started praying, she said, "you mean right here? right now?" I kind of laughed and said what better place and what better time. It wasn't a long prayer, just to the point. When I finished, she hugged my neck and said she never thought about God coming to Wal-mart but he had. 
You don't have to be a theologian or a Bible master, you just have to be willing to go out on the limb and ask...."Hey can I pray for you."  The prayer doesn't have to be eloquent or wordy....Just from the heart. Try it .....you might find out that God really does show up at Wal-mart.

My Christmas wish for you is peace in your home.
If you don't have peace there, you don't have peace anywhere.

I pray that today would begin a time where Christ would rule over and in your home.
That those who come to visit would be be overtaken by divine peace and even comment on how wonderful your home feels.


I hope each of you is overwhelmed by Jesus during this season.
That the weight of God's glory would settle over you and you find the truth about yourself and this Jesus I have written about.


"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom and teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God"....................Colossians 3:15-16

Merry Christmas from the Bynum's
God on you.....
mb

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Attitude Of Mary

Mary, the mother of Jesus, gets a bum wrap about this time each year.

We either elevate her higher than she should be or we totally discard what she gave unto God. When asked, Mary gave herself....heart, soul, mind, spirit and body to be used by God. What more could a person give?
If you really look at her, you see that she gave everything to be a servant of the Lord.
She gave up her plans for the future, which in turn affected Joseph's future. What a couple these two were....they embraced the call that God offered. Faith and hope are more powerful than what we want or think that we need.
Mary gave up friends and family (including extended family) because of the social stigma connected with the birth of Jesus.
Yet before it all began, when the angel came to inform her of God's intention we read of her response.

Luke 1:38
Mary responded, "I am the Lord's servant and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true."

The recognition of her position: "I am the Lord's servant."
The surrender of her will: "I am willing to accept whatever He wants."
The faith to believe: "May everything you have said come true."

How we love to wrestle with God. To interject ourselves into his plans as if we were part of a democracy. It isn't a democracy, it is simply God's plan and our obedience. Nothing more, nothing less.

Let us be like Mary.
A willing servant who lays aside every aspect of their life in order to embrace the life God is calling them to.

God on you........

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Putting Up The Bynum Christmas Tree


Put up our Christmas tree yesterday.....
Snow falling outside only made it seem more like this was the right thing to do.
For years we put our tree up on the 15th of December. Never was one to do the "day after Thanksgiving" tree-putting-up. Now, there isn't anything wrong with whatever day you pick to put your tree up...it's just my own personal thoughts as to the appropriate time to have such an occasion.


If you walked into our home and saw our tree and all the decorations, you might think to yourself, "Why it looks so old." And you would be right. You see, our tree is not only a Christmas tree, but it is also a memory tree. That is the wonderful part of Christmas that we get to enjoy each year. As we hang the ornaments, we share the memories that we have about the ornament.

We have several that were made by patients who came to Vicki's office. Incredible pieces of work that took much time to make them. One is a small white heart that is covered in sequins. Vicki named the woman who had made it, and shared that it took her hours to every sequin in place. There were ornaments that were hand painted, and signed on the back by the person who had made it. Like I said, each ornament held a story.


My favorite of all the decorations are probably the messiest....
They are cut out pictures that had been hand colored....
There is one of the baby Jesus lying in the manger. Now this Jesus is sporting a bright red blanket...I mean red...I mean 'hurt your eyes" kind of red. Nothing dull about this baby's birth. This particular decoration was created by my son Josh. Dated 1980, that would mean that he was 3 years old when he created this masterpiece.

Then there is a paper cut out Christmas bell, tied at the top with green felt rope. This was created by my son Chad. He had mastered the art of staying between the lines...and as I hung it, I could picture him in my mind when he was my little boy. Chad was, and still is, passionate about what ever he is tackling at the moment. Whether it was G.I. Joes, Star War figures, or NFL football cards, Chad would jump in with both feet and study to know everything he could about his current interest. Even today, we have a STAR WARS Trivial pursuit game that the rest of the family refuses to play because no one can beat Chad. What we do now is simply take the box of cars and read them to him so we can all marvel at his wisdom concerning the Empire and the Rebellion. What a guy!

Of course no Christmas-tree-putting-up ceremony would be complete with Tennessee Ernie Ford's "STAR CAROL" album. A staple in my family's tree trimming when I was a wee lad. Come to think of it, I don't ever believe I was "wee" anything.My mom and dad loved this album, and it played continuously during the Christmas season. I am a sentimentalist and I make no apology for it. 

Tree trimmed....
We turn off all the lights so we can officially light up our tree.
Drum roll......
"TA-DA!!!!!"

The room is bathed in the glow of our tree.....
The memories come rolling off that tree as Vicki and I catch each one.
I become full to the point that a tear forms in the corner of my eye, and rolls down my cheek.
As she and I look at each other, we smile a smile that can only come from sharing a life together. Without saying one word, we both acknowledge that God has blessed us and our family beyond anything we could ever imagine.

Merry Christmas from the "B's" in Attalla.....

God on you....
mbb

Friday, December 8, 2017

Bringing Balance To Life / Growing Up Or Growing Old








I know that relationship with God is not a balance sheet like in accounting, but I find myself sometimes with more on the liability side than on the asset side.
Maybe this is normal human behavior..........see the worst in yourself. After all the number one thing I hear from others when questioned about why they don't get saved is, "I'm not worthy."
Who decided this? They did. Why? Because they gauged their own self value against their past deeds and sins and they came up woefully short. I guess that is why scripture says, "There are none good, no not one." Now that would be a very depressing statement, if it were not for the love of God, for in reality, He alone gets to define us. His definition is not based on deeds or actions, but rather on the simple truth of "what have we done with Christ?" Did we confess our sins? Repent for what we've done? Did we receive His forgiveness? All part of the salvation process.

For me, I am aware of how much time I waste.
Not that I need to have every minute of every day crammed with some form of religious activity.
But I do think I need to be a better steward of the time God gives me.
I find that my prayer life is not what "I THINK IT SHOULD BE." I guess I'll spend some time in prayer and ask God what He thinks. Ask Him to show me what the truth is about myself.
The very last thing I want to do is fall into a legalism trap where love for Him slides away and life becomes duty simply because duty is the name of the game. I think there is a healthy balance to life with Jesus. I just need to find it or be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

I don't know about you, but I grow weary sometimes of discovering new and stinky things about myself as far as my character and behavior goes. I know that God is giving me an opportunity to change and to allow Him to work in me, but you'd think (or at least in my flesh I feel this way) that you'd reach a place where you could take a breather or maybe even graduate to "Complete Human Being." I think that only happens when we die (Or Jesus comes back to get us). On the positive side, I guess I should rejoice that God is continuing to work on and in me. I'm kind of like I-20 in Atlanta.......always a work in progress. The fact that the work continues should be a source of encouragement not discouragement. Thank you, Lord that you haven't given up on me.

It's all part of the "growing up" process. I want to grow up before I grow older. Sometime growth comes through the pain we experience. One of my most favorite lines comes from a Pat Terry song....

And it's funny how pain can touch you...
And it only makes you better or it robs your heart and soul....
All and all it defines the separation.........

between growing up.......
and growing old............

Merry Christmas....
May you find Christ this year like you've never found him before.....

mb


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Jeff


Well....
it's been a year since you left us....
We've gone through a whole bunch of "first's".

First Christmas without you...
First New Years...
First Valentines day...
Your birthday...
And on and on and on...

Looking at your picture, I see a whole lot of your dad in you. Never really noticed that before.

The crazy part in this whole thing is that life goes on.
Only life is a lot harder without you.

There have been good days and then there were days when you filled my thoughts and my heart. Memories would come and I would be warmed by them, and yet at the same time, It would only magnify your not being here.

If not for God, I don't think the family could have survived this past year, as your wife, mom, dad, and sister met each day with a strength not born of human will or ability. Only God could dispatch such things through His Holy Spirit, as He poured out great grace to move forward.


I guess the greatest gift you could have left us happened over this past year. We got to see the thousands of lives you touched, as people reached out to offer their condolences in your passing. Your kindness, your friendship, your love has brought people from all over the country to honor you and celebrate your life. What a testimony! I do know that this old world would be an even better place is there were a couple of thousand "Jeff's" out there doing what you did.

Jeff, last week a good friend of mine died. I wrote something about him that I want to share here. Some say that time heals all wounds....well it doesn't. It just makes life a bit more bearable each day." That is to say that we've managed to make it through this year. And the hope that we hang on to....the hope that we embrace is that God is who He claims to be, and will do what He has promised He would do. In this, we know that our separation is momentary. We will see you again. Even as I write this, a smile comes to me because I can see you at this reunion..."What took you guys so long!!!"

So as we move deeper into this Christmas season, I rest in the knowledge and truth that you are celebrating every day with the One who came to this earth as a baby, and opened a door for us to pass through into relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Merry Christmas Jeff!
I miss you and I love you....


God on you...
mbb

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hope That Waits


Matthew 1:21
She will bear a Son and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.

Luke 2:10-11
But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid for behold I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord.

What must these words have done to the hearts of the ones who heard them.
Too long their country and their way of life had been under the heel of a Roman boot.
Kings ruling over them who had bought their position.
Taxes that strained the very life and existence out of the people.
Yet through it all Words that were written hundreds of years before told of a coming Messiah. A deliverer who would set up a new kingdom that would be greater than King David.
The priests spoke of such a person....Yeshua Hamasheach. Hope that God had not forgotten them. Hope that, even though seemed to be only a flicker of a flame, kept folks going day after day.

Now after all the waiting, divine angelic activity was on the increase as communication from heaven began to appear all around the people. 
An elderly priest name Zacharias had had an encounter where an angel had prophesied that he and his wife would have a son. 
A young virgin who was to be wed suddenly became pregnant, and told her husband to be that the pregnancy was from God. 
Shepherds on the hillside out from Bethlehem were shaken to their very core when multitudes of angels appeared to proclaim that the waiting was over.
The Messiah was here!


Now things would be different.
Now we would see the heel of the Roman boot lifted from the neck of Israel.
They would once again take their rightful place of prominence among the nations of the world.
But nothing happened.
From the time of the announcement until Jesus began his ministry was 30 years.
I wonder if the shepherds lost hope during that time?
I wonder if doubt crept in and stole the joy of that night on the hillside out from Bethlehem?

To the eye, it would appear that the proclamation from heaven about the coming Messiah was false.
30 years passed before Jesus began to heal, and teach.
Those 30 years was a time of preparation, not just for Jesus but for the people.
Even in those 30 silent years, God was moving and working his plan for Jesus to pay the price for our sin.
Jesus learned obedience. A lesson I need to take away from this posting today.
Jesus learned to pray and communicate with his heavenly Father.
A communication that was pure and powerful that Jesus simply "did" what the Father told him to do.
Those were not 30 wasted years in the eyes of God.
They were equipping years.

Don't be discouraged today if it seems that God has forgotten you.
He hasn't.
Don't loose heart over things He has spoken to your heart.
You are in the time of "equipping".
God's timetable and mine are completely different. I know that His is better than my impatience.
Let God do His work in you today.
Find joy and peace as you wait, and watch for the Hope of Glory!!

Merry Christmas....
God on you....
mbb

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

I Still Miss Him


There is an old expression that I am sure you have heard before.
"Time heals all wounds".....especially when it come to the death of someone you loved.
Well, I'm here to tell you that time doesn't heal all wounds....it only makes life bearable to the one who is grieving.
God is the only one who can heal the pain of separation because of death.

Last week was the anniversary of the day my dad died.
It's been 32 years and it seems like only yesterday.
I still find myself when certain things happen, thinking "I need to call dad and tell him about this."
32 years is a long time. A lot has happened to me and my family. We have changed.

My oldest son was 11 years old when dad died.
My youngest was 8.
They remember dad but not with great clarity.
My oldest is now 43 and youngest 40. Both married with families and jobs and future concerns, balancing life and chasing God.

My oldest son has a tendency to stand exactly like my dad did,and he isn't even aware that he does this. I guess there is something in the "Posture" genes that has been passed to him.
My dad didn't come to be saved until shortly before his death.
When ever I look closely at either of my sons, I see semblances of my dad in them
For that I am grateful.
Cancer robbed his brain and the ability to think straight.Near the end, my dad was no longer himself.
I remember getting the call at work on Tuesday that I had better come to the nursing home where dad was.
Time was short and the doctor didn't expect him to make it through the night.
It's a hard thing for a son to walk in and see what's left of his father.
By that, I mean a man who was tall and strong and had a voice
that was loud and husky. Now here lay a mere shadow of
the man he use to be.

Wires and tubes and equipment all around him.
The look in his eyes was of bewilderment as if to say
"Where am I? What's happened to me?"
Dad drifted in and out of sleep that afternoon and around 5 p.m. seemed
to make a swift turn around.
He woke up hungry ready to eat supper.
I stayed with him as the rest of the family left.

As he ate supper we talked. I don't remember much about the conversation other
than he seemed in really good spirits.
He pushed his tray away and announced that he was finished with supper
and that he wanted to sleep some more.
I sat next to him praying over him asking for God's mercy to be extended to Huley Benton Bynum.

Around 9 p.m. dad woke up.
Looking around the room, he turned to me and asked, "who are all these people?"
"What people?" I replied as there was no one in the room except for dad and me.
"They are everywhere! Look how bright their clothes are!"
I believe that at the point, the veil between this reality and the reality of heaven
was parted and my dad saw what lay beyond.
He continued for a few more minutes talking about all the people and what
they looked like.
Conversation seemed to be going on but he couldn't make out what they were saying.

Eventually he lay his head back on his pillow and closed his eyes drifting into sleep.
I stood over his bed and looked into the face of a man I had seen a gajillion times.
That night it was like I was seeing him for the first time.
He looked so peaceful.

He had lived a hard life.
Times were hard as he grew up.
He worked hard all his life and his hands were hard and calloused. Such was the measurement of  the years of hard labor he had spent.

His wife, my mother, had departed this world four years earlier and somehow
I don't think he ever recovered from her death.
My mom and he had enjoyed the last few years of her life, going places and
meeting friends for meals and good times.
Without her, he seemed to be incomplete.
Now it was his turn.
Around 4 a.m. the nurse came by and said, "Don't you live nearby?" I replied, "yes."
She said, "why don't you run home and shower, change clothes and come back."
I didn't really want to but I was tired.
She said that she would sit with dad while I was gone.
I left.

As I walked in the front door of my home, the phone rang.
It was the nurse.
Dad had died shortly after I left.
She was very apologetic.
I assured her it was o.k., but deep inside I wished I had been there
with him.
Even to this day, the thought of my dad alone when he died is painful.
As I sit here typing this post out, I remember all the good things about him.
How he loved his family. Such was hard for him to convey with words as with many who grew up during the time my dad did. I don't remember my dad verbally telling me that he loved me, but I knew he did. In fact if I'd asked him, "Dad, do you love me?" his answer would go something like this. "You've got a roof over your head don't you? You've food on the table don't you?" You've got clothes on your back don't you?" Which, in his way, was how he would let you know that you were loved.

His laugh. My dad did love a good joke or story.
His love for dogs. He was a fox hunter and we had more than our fine share of dogs who were bred for such an adventure. Many a night would find him sitting around a fire with his fellow hunters, listening for the dogs. It use to amaze me that he could distinguish each dog's yelp and bark.

I remember at the end...how he came to Jesus, old in years but innocent like a child.
I look forward to the day when family will be reunited.
After all....
Family is all we have.
Merry Christmas from the "B's" in Attalla.
God on you...
mbb

Candle Light Tonight

I John 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare it to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. ...