Spiritual Musings from an Educated Redneck

An inside look of the mind of Pirate Pops

Archive for the month “October, 2012”


The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

Maybe you remember the song, “Dead skunk in the middle of the road” released in that stellar year of 1972 (the year I “gradumacated” from High School).  The author, Louden Wainright III, said he wrote the song in fifteen minutes as an accident!  It tells the story of a dead skunk in the middle of the road and the problem the smell causes for everyone who goes by.  A dead skunk can ruin a nice drive!  So can a pig.

Recently, in the great State of Texas, a forty-mile toll road was constructed between San Antonio and Austin.  It was built with private money (investors) who paid the State of Texas one-hundred million dollars for the right to build the road and set the speed limit!  Then there was the cost of the road itself.  The investors intend to get their money back one toll at a time.  The toll is six dollars.  What do you get for your six bucks?  Well you get to drive 85 MPH and avoid the mess of interstate 35 between San Antonio and Austin!  Great idea!  Can you imagine how much money and planning went into the preparation and construction of that road?  Years of architects, engineers, and contractors, pouring over the topography of that forty miles.  Smart people.  Educated people.  Years of designing, drawing the plans, and building the road.  It’s a beautiful road.  It’s a well-designed and constructed road and idea.  So what’s the problem?  In all the planning nobody thought about the pigs!!!!

The problem is that the road runs through the Texas Hill Country.  That part of Texas is filled with wild pigs or ferel hogs!  These pigs are the ancestors of domesticated pigs that got loose and became wild.  Within a couple of generations they grow dark, wiry hair, and tusks!   They run in packs, multiply like rabbits, are incredibly smart, and are primarily nocturnal.  They play at night!  They can also grow to enormous sizes.  I personally have seen them between 350-400 pounds in the wild.  I love to stalk the pig! 

So what’s the problem?  Well, here it is.  At night herds of them cross the tollway!  How did the pig get from one side of the tollway to the other?  By crossing it.  In herds.  At night.  In front of motorists tooling along at 85 MPH.  Does anyone see a problem here?  The planners didn’t, but now the motorists certainly do.  So, how could these smart people who invested millions and millions of dollars in this road forget the pigs?  Well, quite possibly, all the investors live in Manhatten where monster hogs don’t roam the streets!  At least not the four-footed kind.  I’m just sayin….  Probably someone would have done well to ask a local rancher if he saw any problems with the road.  He probably would have said something like, “The pigs.”  I Guess that didn’t happen, huh?

So what is the point of all this discussion about toll roads, planners, and pigs? Well we are back to the Word of God aren’t we?  Nothing wrong with making plans.  In fact the Scripture encourages us in the making of wise plans and wise preparation.  The key word is “wise”. What is “wise” planning?  In all your planning don’t leave God out.  Consult Him.  Seek Him.  Why?  Because He knows about the pigs.  Unless you want your road littered with dead pigs, (not to mention the hood of your car in the front seat) better have the Heavenly architect in on the planning process.  He never forgets the pigs!!! 


“For he wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life.”  Romans 6:23

You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it, and in general it’s true.  There’s nothin’ free in this life.  There’s no free lunch!  No free ride!   And if it is for “free” there’s probably a catch to it.  You know, like the “free” set of golf clubs if you come tour the facilities of so and so resort.  Well the “free” has a catch to it doesn’t it?  You have to endure a hard-core, in your face, won’t take no for an answer, sales presentation about buyin’ a time-share that you can’t afford and probably won’t use.   So it wasn’t really “free” after all was it?  You suspected it wasn’t from the beginning but you thought you’d give it a shot anyway, just in case.

Or, if it really is “free” it probably isn’t worth having.  How many illustrations are there of this one?   One that stands out reminds me of some of the “You know you’re a redneck when…. jokes.”  Ever heard the one that goes, “You know you’re a redneck when your living room furniture becomes your patio furniture?”  Well, even a redneck will only go so far.  So eventually the sofa, that started in the living room, has been on the front porch so long it isn’t even fit for sittin’ on the front porch anymore!   What does he do then?  Well, he puts it out by the curb hoping someone will haul it off for him!   But day after day it just sits there because nobody sees any value in it.  Why?  Because it’s “free” and if it’s free it can’t be worth havin’.  I’m just sayin’, if there was any value to it the guy wouldn’t have dumped it off his front porch!  It would still be his patio furniture!

Well, he may be a redneck but he isn’t stupid.  He finally figures it out.  All he has to do is put a price tag on it.  “Sofa!  $25.00”.  It’ll be gone by lunchtime!  Of course the redneck will never get his $25.00 (but he didn’t expect to anyway did he?).  Suddenly it becomes worth riskin’ a charge of “Grand theft sofa!”  Has the sofa changed?  Nope!  What changed?  Perception changed.  Free is free because it isn’t worth anything.  A price tag suddenly gives it worth and value in most people’s perception.

The great problem people have with the “Free Gift of Grace” in Jesus Christ is the same thing.  How can forgiveness be free?  How can eternal life be free?  It can’t be!  There has to be a catch because nothing in this life is free!  If it is it must not be worth having.

So, in spite of all the times in the Word of God that “Grace” and “Salvation” are tied together, people argue with God and are convinced they have to “earn” salvation.  “For by “Grace” you have been saved (Ephesians 2:8) just gets ignored.  “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done but according to His mercy…..” (Titus 3:5) just gets ignored.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Mercy and Grace aren’t exactly the same but they are kissin’ cousins and have the same root idea.  You didn’t earn it or deserve it. In fact, it has been said that Mercy means God doesn’t give us what we do deserve.  Grace means God gives us what we don’t deserve.  That pretty well sums it up doesn’t it?

What do we deserve?  Judgment.  Eternal separation from God because of our sin.  Because of His mercy we don’t get judgment, which we do deserve.  What do we get?  Grace!  Because of His grace we get forgiveness, eternal life, which we don’t deserve.

How is this all possible?  Because on the Cross Jesus took our judgment for us!

The prophet Isaiah, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, looked 800 years into the future and summed it up.  “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”  (Isaiah 53:6)

So, here is where the sofa and salvation are different.  The sofa is both free and cheap.  Salvation is free but not cheap.  A great price was paid for our salvation on the Cross of Christ.  Grace just means that since Jesus paid the price for my salvation, it comes to me free of charge in Him.

So be careful before you question the “freeness” of salvation.  It’s free to me only because the price was paid by Him. Now that’s some good news. I don’t care who you are!

To Hike Or Not to Hike (A Leg That Is)

 [Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet] Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.  John 13:5

Recently, my son Zack was playing in a golf tournament and his wife Ashley traveled with him.  So, I took care of their dogs.  Three or four times a day I went by to let them out to exercise, eat, and do their business.  These two dogs couldn’t be more different.  Jango is a 145 lb. Great Dane.  He’s a gentle giant. When he walks up to me his head is as high as my chest.  Linus is a…..well we aren’t sure.  He’s a mixture of who knows what, but it all adds up to about 8 lbs. and maybe 10 inches of height.  We call Linus the escape artist dog because he can always find a way to get out of the backyard.  Then it’s off to search the neighborhood for him, or it’s a neighbor knocking on the door bringing him home from wandering the streets.

So, one afternoon I went by to let them out in the backyard.  I stood at the door and watched as Jango, the Dane, hiked a leg and did his business.  That’s good because he’s big as a horse and it wouldn’t be pretty if he did it inside!   Then little Linus did what dogs do.  He went over and hiked his leg over where Jango had gone and he did his business!  It was as if to say, “You may be bigger than me but I’ve still got something to say!”  Jango was watching these goings on and obviously wasn’t very pleased.  So then Jango walked over, hiked his leg over the top of Linus, and peed all over him!

That was it!  Game, Set, Match!  For two reasons really. One was, by this time both of them were out of ammunition.  But the real reason was,  “How could Linus top that?”  He couldn’t.  Now I had a mess.  Linus obviously had to be washed off before he could come back into the house.  So I gave him a quick bath beneath the water hydrant.  When I had finished that task I had time to ask myself, “Why would Jango hike his leg and pee all over little Linus?”  The answer was simple when it came to me.  Because He could!  He’s bigger, taller, and Linus couldn’t do anything about it.  He did it simply because he could.

Isn’t it interesting, that kind of behavior isn’t only the way of dogs, it’s the way of people?  Jesus often caught the disciples arguing over which one of them was going to be the greatest in the Kingdom.  One time the mother of two of them even came to Jesus asking for Him to elevate her sons (James and John) to positions of power!  Mama’s boys……

That precipitated Jesus gathering the disciples around Him and giving them these words, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20: 25-27)

Then on the night Jesus was arrested, and in less than 24 hours was to be crucified on a Cross, He took a towel and washed the disciples feet, thus demonstrating what He had told them.  In so doing Jesus was saying, “Greatness isn’t demonstrated by peeing on someone’s head (even if you can) but in washing their feet.”

Think about that the next time you are tempted to “hike a leg” over someone else.

We have a million ways by which we pee on people’s heads don’t we?  We ignore them.  We look down upon them because they haven’t achieved our status in material things, education, career, or any number of things.  We just hike our leg and pee all over them.  Why?  Because we can, just like Jango.

So remember, greatness is demonstrated by washing someone’s feet when you have the power to pee on their head.

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