“Getting A Facelift”

Dads face lift before and after

No these are not “mug shots!” On February 18, 1988 Dad got the final costs of a “face lift.” The cost for the “lifting,” and “tucking,” of all unwanted, sagging skin on his neck, brow, eyes, and cheeks was $7200.00. He evidently got a discount (normal for Dad) because to do just the brow lift and both eye lids were $4400.00, and to just do the face and neck-lift were $4400.00. The before and after are pictured here (the after is the small picture).

Dad always had a great smile, and always enjoyed hugging. He was a happy guy… confident in God’s grace and salvation… Yet his self image wasn’t always that great he said. When things began sagging, as things do with old age… he finally decided to do something about it. He got the names of the nurses and doctors who would be working on him, got the costs, and made the plan to take the time off needed for surgery and recovery, March 1- April 7, 1988. Mom and Dad made the journey to Bearwood Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Ctr in Anderson, SC… and got it done. He was very satisfied with the results…

Sometimes we just need to do something with our face. “It is said that Abraham Lincoln, when he was President of the U.S., was advised to include a certain man in his cabinet. When he refused he was asked why he would not accept him. “I don’t like his face,” the President replied. “But the poor man isn’t responsible for his face,” responded his advocate. “Every man over forty is responsible for his face” countered Lincoln” (Resource, July/August, 1960).

Not everyone has the money for a face-lift. Face-lifts are not always the answer to a person who has more scars on the inside than on the outside. There is a cheap face lift however that all can put into practice… smile.

Dad quoted a little poem…
“I know my face ain’t no star,
But I don’t mind it, for I’m behind it,
The one’s in front get the jar.” (Author unknown)

Sin takes away the smile and joy of life. King David experienced a terrible time in his life where he was at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and looked at the wrong woman too long. 2 Samuel 11-12 records the story if you wish to read. Everyone knows he committed adultery physically with her and had her husband murdered on the “front line,” to try and cover it up… Few people pay attention to the fact that this took place in his heart before it took place physically.

Jesus said, 27 “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). Then he follows this with talking about cutting out an eye if it is going to cause one to get to hell. The idea of course is controlling OUR THOUGHT PROCESS. According to Jesus, there is not much difference in adultery dreamed of and adultery done. With David, with all whose face reflect the pain of a life of sin… much could have been avoided with just controlling the THOUGHTS, for it begins and takes place in the heart first!

Then came Nathan, and with his little parable, he cut to the heart of David, who when convicted… humbled himself and asked for forgiveness… He received it. Grace and forgiveness provided a “face-lift” for David, bringing back the “joy of his salvation.”

There is just so much a face-lift can do… It will not give a person a new heart. It may take years off ones looks, but it won’t add joy to a sinful, broken heart… ONLY GOD’S GRACE CAN DO THAT. Take a moment to read Psalm 51 (David’s broken heart and contrite plea for forgiveness.) Then read Psalm 32 (David rejoices in forgiveness.)

Today, we have a hard time with grace and forgiveness… and the older brother did too. Reading Luke 15:11-32, the parable of the prodigal (wasteful son), I get the feeling the the older brother did not want the father to extend grace and forgiveness to the younger brother. “It’s just NOT FAIR!” “He needs to PAY FOR WHAT HE DID!” “He not only SPENT AND ENJOYED SPENDING his inheritance… but now HE GETS TO COME HOME AND get a RING, A ROBE, AND SHOES, AND (this just cooked his bacon) A FATTENED CALF FOR A FEAST!”

David did pay with a lifetime of heartache. The prodigal… I imagine he did do a bit of kicking himself and wishing he never did what he did. The point is, that grace and forgiveness cannot be earned. There’s not enough goodness in good works to pay the price of “pay-back” for sins done. Grace is bigger than has been portrayed by many pulpits… It cost $7200.00 for Dad to get his face lift… and he had to pay for it. IT COST JESUS paid for OURS with his life on the cross. The results of what doctors can do are truly marvelous.

The results of what Jesus can do in a person’s life is even more remarkable, because it is a change that gets better with time. Physically, the skin will sag again with time. Spiritually, grace gives a song to the lips, a smile to the face, and hope to the heart that cannot be taken away.


Grow in grace! Let Jesus offer of GRACE be heard in our pulpits!

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“Redeemed” – “A Personal Note From Dad”

This article is part 14 of 14 in the series Redeemed

My Dear Friend,
This book would be incomplete without this personal note. I wanted to close it with a few
thoughts from my heart to yours.

Right now, HEAVEN AND HELL seem a long way off. Even the word “tomorrow” is not too realistic. We live TODAY. When I was a young minister, I brought a coffin (a real coffin) into the church building for a Sunday morning service. It was a TERRIFIC ILLUSTRATION. It was empty and it represented many truths.

1. IT ILLUSTRATED LIFE, for the coffin, you and I will be in, IS EMPTY.

2. IT REPRESENTED SALVATION, for the “empty coffin” still offers us the invitation of Christ. “Behold I stand at the door and knock. Open the door and I will come in and abide with you” (Revelation 3:20).

3. IT PORTRAYS TIME, remaining. Time to say “YES”! Time for the fallen Christian to repent (Revelation 3:14-20). Time yet to have your sins washed away! (Acts 22:16).
“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

The (your) coffin is still empty, and Judgment is not yet. When will that day be? When will the coffin be filled? TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION – YOUR SALVATION. Say “Yes” to God! Crown Jesus as your Lord. Judgment will be no more, for heaven will be your home.

Love you,
Jack ExumJack and Ann Exum

Jack and Ann Exum



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“Redeemed” – Lesson Thirteen – “Gehenna” “The Final Place Of The Wicked”

This article is part 13 of 14 in the series Redeemed

“GEHENNA” is a Greek word which is all but GOOD! I don’t like it! I don’t like reading about it! I encourage all to avoid it (and everyone can avoid it by God’s grace). If heaven is a real place, so is hell. If heaven is NOT real, then one cannot believe in Hell. You can’t have one and not the other.

“Gehenna” came from the name of a valley outside Jerusalem, owned by Hinnom (Hebrew). Eventually this valley became a sewage dumping place (or ‘land fill’) for city refuse. It burned day and night, worms and maggots devoured the rotting flesh of animals and even the poor and wretched of mankind.

Jesus chose to use this word to describe the “place” for the Devil and his angels. He used the word 12 times and included those who hate their brother (Matthew 5:22). Jesus condemned the city of Capernaum and said, “And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades (Hell)(KJV). For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day” (Matthew 11:23).

Jesus also said, “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell” (Matthew 18:8-9).

Jesus spoke of this place as a place where the worms do not die, and fire does not go out. It is a place where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth”. Hell is a place AWAY from the presence of God! Jesus said, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him” (Luke 12:4-5).

Why on earth would anyone joke about “HELL.” It’s no joke, it’s not funny, and you do not want to go there… not even for a “minute.” Jesus offers joy, peace, forgiveness, grace, love, blessings, as well as HEAVEN…. Why be lost? You don’t need to be lost…

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“Redeemed” – Lesson Twelve – “Heaven Bound”

This article is part 12 of 14 in the series Redeemed

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:1-2)

The Revelation written by John describes Heaven more fully… “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth…” “He will wipe every tear from their eyes… There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away…” “I am making everything new…” “Come I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb…” “… the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are it’s temple…” “Then
the angel showed me the river of the waters of life…” “No longer will there be any curse…” (Revelation 21 and 22).

HEAVEN IS A PLACE – Jesus said, “I go and prepare a place for you…” (John 14:1-2). Shut your eyes and picture your house, the one you live in now. IT IS A PLACE. Literal or not, heaven is a place prepared for the redeemed… ALL OF THEM. If you think this earth is beautiful, from the wonder of the morning light, or the glow of the sunset across the horizon… just try and imagine how beautiful heaven must be. Hard to imagine… but Heaven is real… a PLACE.

HEAVEN IS A PERSON – God will be there…. Jesus will be there…. The Holy Spirit will be there…. IN PERSON. All the redeemed from all of history will be there! The Apostles, Prophets, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and on and on you can go… ALL WILL BE THERE! How? I don’t know. I just want to be THERE. (Dad sold what he called, “the old homestead” after his Mom and Dad passed away.) He said, “It just wasn’t the same without them being THERE.” I had the same feelings when Mom and Dad passed away in 2010. It was so very sad, so very hard to even go through their house, their things which were no longer needed. I wanted to ‘pick it all up’ and hold it… but they were not THERE. But, I know where they are… waiting for that special day of reunion. HEAVEN IS A PERSON.

HEAVEN IS ME – I’m going there. How do I know? Is it because I am so good? No! Is it because I followed Him perfectly? Certainly No! It is because of His grace, and His PROMISE. I stand on those promises, and in His grace. I sing about those promises, and one day when the coffin is filled, I will realize and receive those promises. “He is faithful that promised!” (I Corinthians 1:9). Heaven is me – in prospect and promise. Glory to God, and by His grace! (It’s not over… yet!)

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“Redeemed” – Lesson Eleven – “Today Is The Day Of Your Salvation”

This article is part 11 of 14 in the series Redeemed

“Redeemed – how I love to proclaim it!” Just the first few words of a tremendous song written by Francis Jane Crosby. This song inspired Dad to write this study, and even though some thoughts are added by myself, the over-all tenure of the lessons are as Dad intended. “REDEEMED,” from the Greek word “agoraso,” and pertains to “the market,” where one would go to purchase an item.

Recently I (dad) stood by the grave of FRANCIS JANE CROSBY, the author of that marvelous song. She went on to write, “I know I shall see in His beauty, the King in who’s law I delight; who lovingly guardeth my footsteps, and giveth me songs in the night… REDEEMED!”

Paul declares, “For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Now, take out your calendar… look for “yesterday” or “tomorrow”. Take out your dictionary and look for “Would’a,” “could’a,” “should’a,” and you won’t find these either.

Giving your life to Jesus, is strictly… a PERSONAL DECISION… YOUR DECISION. Accepting and trusting in Jesus is not something your loved ones can do for you. It is your decision. It affects everything and more… it affects your eternity. The express purpose of this little book is to lead those looking for a personal relationship with Jesus, to do just that. Please, DO NOT IGNORE – POSTPONE – DELAY this!

Jesus “paid the price” which was demanded to purchase you “in the market” and a new life is waiting for you if you want it.

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“Redeemed” – Lesson Ten – “Be Filled With The Holy Spirit”

This article is part 10 of 14 in the series Redeemed

This chapter is as important as any of the others… The final instruction concerning the
Holy Spirit is given in Ephesians 5:18, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
While drinking wine to the excess will ‘take away one’s mind’, and Paul prohibits this, he on the other hand, encourages, “If you are going to be filled with (controlled by) anything, be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit.”

Drunkenness is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19). Too much wine (drunkenness) leads to ‘works of the flesh’. Yet as far as I can tell, one cannot get “too much” of
the Holy Spirit, which leads to more and more fruit of the Spirit.

Paul says, “Don’t “quench” the Spirit’s influence in your life (I Thessalonians 5:19). “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). If I am not to quench the Spirit or grieve the Spirit, what am I to do? “BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT.” This is not a ‘suggestion’, and it is not really an ‘option’ for the Christian. This is not an ‘alternative lifestyle.’ This is a COMMAND.

The reason why this is an important chapter is, because we are NOT commanded to
receive the gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:39). We are PROMISED that we will receive the gift of the Spirit. Everyone knows the difference between a COMMAND and a PROMISE right? Yet we are commanded to be FILLED with, controlled by, the Spirit. In other words, instead of “grieving” or “quenching” the Spirit in your life… LET HIM HAVE HIS WAY!!!

(1) This command is an emphatic imperative which should be literally translated, “BE BEING KEPT FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT”. It is ‘present’ and ‘on-going’. While we all receive the Spirit as a gift (Acts 2:39, 5:32), we are to continually allow the Spirit to control, and fill our lives.

(2) This command is for each and every Christian. It was not just for the apostles, elders, deacons. Paul was not converted along with the 3,000 on the day of Pentecost. Frankly we don’t know where he was. However, we are assuming he was there since it was a ‘big’ day for the Jews. The Gentile Christians of Ephesus were not there either. Yet this command is for all Christians.

(3) This command is in the present. “Continue to be filled with the Spirit.” You eat food for your physical bodies every day in order to live – so allow the indwelling Spirit to feed, nurture and nourish you every day. The Spirit will lead and feed your spiritual nature.

(4) This is a command to be obeyed. Yet in the obedience, it is important to understand the motive behind it all. TO GROW IN CHRIST!!! Guilt, coercion, manipulation are not there. JUST GROW IN CHRIST!!! God will be praised, and the Spirit will continue to make and form Christ in you.

Just like it is hard to hide when a person is stoned, falling down drunk… it is hard to hide when your life is under the control, filled by the Spirit.

Although this short lesson does not exhaust the grand subject of “be filled with the Spirit,” it should whet your spiritual appetite. Get to it… Begin the day with prayer, and maybe a walk. Continued the day with a verse and a song… and a smile! You belong to Him now!

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