Got a Minute? Advice Before Moving In

Hi, friends in exile, got a minute?

Not long ago a dear young woman posted that she was moving in with her boyfriend. She asked advice from her FB friends. I only have one word of advice: get married first. Young men without the restraint of truth revealed by God would be happy to indulge in handy sexual activity from a live-in arrangement, while propping the back door open for easy exit if the felt-need arises. The Yiddish proverb comes to mind: “Why buy the cow when the milk is free?”

Genesis 2:24 (NIV) says, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” This was repeated by Jesus in His teaching about human sexual fulfillment, and then again by the Apostle Paul. It is the The Plan. I like to summarize it like this: “Get married, stay married, and like it … to the glory of God.”

Why set yourself up for a probable heartbreak in the not-too-distant future? Hold out for a real man who will make a promise he is willing to die to fulfill.

Smiley Mudd

Got a Minute? Taught … and Caught

Hi, friends in exile, got a minute?

The first African American who played in major league baseball was Jackie Robinson, number 42. Branch Rickey, a serious Christian and the manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, saw the unfairness of the situation and actively looked for a fellow-believer who would have a thick enough hide to endure the hostility he was sure would occur. He pitched the challenge to Robinson, and they became partners in the enterprise that broke the color barrier in major league baseball.

The movie 42 tells some of the story, but not much about their faith. However, it depicts the evil of racism that Robinson had to face. In one game, the camera zooms in on a boy with his father in the stands. At first, the boy is shocked at what he is hearing his father yell at Robinson. But soon, he is chiming right in. I thank God that I never caught a hint of such prejudice from my parents. They believed the teaching of Scripture that in Christ, we are one with all believers (See Ephesians 2:14-22), and that before that, we are all made in the image of God.

Smiley Mudd

Got a Minute? Honor and Life Adjustment

Hi, friends in exile, got a minute?

My mother was attending the university at age eighteen when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Mom was number eight of ten children who had been born alive to the family. Two others had died at birth. The older children were committed to their own families, and so my mom withdrew from the university and went home. She cared for her mother for the next two years until her mother passed. Then she returned to the university and finished her degree. After that, she enrolled in seminary—an unusual path for a woman in the 1940s. She graduated with a Masters in Religious Education degree.

In Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul quotes from the Torah, “Honor your father and mother, … so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2-3, NIV). It seems that this is what my mother was trying to do when she went back home to the family farm to nurse her own mother through her final illness. Honoring parents takes many forms, and it can require some adjustment.

Smiley Mudd

Got a Minute? A Tribute to Mom

Hi, friends in exile, got a minute?

My mother was born in 1922 on a farm in West Texas. She was number eight of ten children. She put her faith in Jesus at a young age and never looked back. After moving to college, her mother became seriously ill. My mother returned home for two years to help care for her. After her mom passed, she went back to college, then to seminary. She completed a Masters in Religious Education. While serving at a church in Corpus Christi, Texas, she met my father-to-be. As they considered marriage, they saw how their goals came together: missions and church planting. My brother was eight and I was five when we first moved from Texas to Washington State. Mom taught school while dad served as pastor. After my dad died, mom started a Christian school. After she retired from that, she wrote a language arts curriculum.

Says the last line of the book of Proverbs: “Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate” (31:31, NIV). Amen. Happy Mother’s Day!

Smiley Mudd

Got a Minute? Being “Dogmental”

Hi, friends in exile, got a minute?

I would like to coin a new term. It is a combination between dogmatic and judgmental: Dogmental. To be dogmental is not only to be bullish for one’s cherished beliefs but also to condemn everyone who does not feel those beliefs as deeply as one does. “Cancel culture” is dogmental.

My lovely wife has encountered this recently. She was reading a description of an outdoor art event that sounded interesting to her as a seasoned artist. Then she read part of it outload to me. To participate in the event, artists needed to present documented evidence that they had received the full dosage of one of the COVID-19 vaccines. The organizers of this event believe their vaccine dogma to the point that they are willing to judge any other artist as unworthy of their company. Dogmental.

I confess to being dogmatic on the truth in Jesus Christ, but I am trying not to judge others as a result. God can do that well enough without me, and He will. See Matthew 7:1-5.

Smiley Mudd

Got a Minute? The Fairest Flower in All the Land

Hi, friends in exile, got a minute?

My lovely wife and I were married in 1975. I usually joke that we met when I picked her up at the bus station in Spokane, Washington. Technically true: she had taken the bus from Seattle to spend the summer with her family in Colville, where I lived during high school. Her cousin Bob and I were friends, and he invited me to go with him to pick her up at the bus station. It was the summer after I graduated from high school. We became good friends that summer, but we didn’t date until I moved to Everett in the fall.

We were both on a spiritual detour at that time, but as God brought our lives together, we eventually returned to our faith in Jesus. I can say without qualification that God has used Jeannie in my life to bring about more good than any other human being alive or dead. On her birthday today, I say, “I love you, Babe. You will always be the Fairest Flower in All the Land.”

Smiley Mudd

Got a Minute? King Arthur, Paul, and the Day of Prayer

Hi, friends in exile, got a minute?

Today I am thinking of famous lines from Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in Morte d’Arthur (“Death of Arthur”). King Arthur has been mortally wounded, and he calls on those attending to him to cast Excalibur back into the lake from which it was forged. All knew that the end of the age of the noble knights had come. With his dying words, Arthur says,

“Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer

Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice

Rise like a fountain for me night and day.

For what are men better than sheep or goats

That nourish a blind life within the brain,

If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer

Both for themselves and those who call them friend?

For so the whole round earth is every way

Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.

In short, human beings, made in God’s image to know him, are no better than the animals if they do not pray. So, “Constantly keep on praying,” says Paul (1 Thessalonians 5:17, FJV), especially on this National Day of Prayer.

Smiley Mudd

Got a Minute? Why Won’t Our Car Unlock?

Hi, friends in exile, got a minute?

We bought a different used car for me to drive recently. Then, my lovely wife and I traded vehicles for a day, since I needed to haul something in our Dodge Caravan. She went out to get into the new-to-us vehicle parked across the street from our driveway and discovered that she couldn’t get the car to unlock. She pressed the key fob over and over, and … nothing. Then she put the key into the lock and the alarm went off. Right then, she looked up and saw our neighbor. He pressed the button on his key fob and the alarm stopped. She then turned back toward the house and saw our car. “Sorry!” she called out with a sheepish grin. The cars really do look alike.

There are a variety of claims to “Christian” in our world. Which one is the right one? Jesus said to His followers, “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19). Those keys are found in the inspired teaching of the New Testament of the Bible. They open the door to the real thing.

Smiley Mudd

Got a Minute? “Let’s Go Fishing.”

Hi, friends in exile, got a minute?

Three of my grandchildren came for a visit this week. The two oldest had different directions to go, so I invited my youngest grandson to go fishing. We got up the next day, ate some food, packed up and left. This is where Patrick McManus would tell the story in Outdoor Life. We got about a block away and remembered we left my little dinghy at home. We turned around to get it. I took a five-mile accidental detour. When we almost arrived at the lake, we noticed that neither of us put the fishing rods in the car. Back home. We finally got there, and then I fell partway into the lake trying to get into the boat. Some helpful and amused folks fishing from the dock fished me out.

The wind was up, and we got blown all over the lake. My grandson’s reel became a nest. But guess what? We caught four nice trout and had them for supper. Look up Romans 8:28. God is able to bring about good despite the goofy humans with whom He has to work.

Smiley Mudd

Got a Minute? The Will Not to Believe

Hi, friends in exile, got a minute?

Some liberal Jewish men once posed a question to Jesus, hoping to catch Him in an unanswerable dilemma. Even though they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, they put the dilemma like this: “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second 31 and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. 32 Afterward the woman also died. 33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife” (Luke 20:28-33, ESV).

They really thought they had Him. His answer corrected their misbelief in the resurrection proper and in regard to the final state of those who are raised to life again. I have observed that those who wish not to have God in authority over them will use almost any objection to evade it.

Smiley Mudd