“You are only as happy as your least happy child.” (Proverbs 23:22, 24-25)

Today’s devotional returns to a familiar theme of Solomon’s urging his son to fulfill in word and deed the fifth commandment which states: “Honour [treat with respect; obey] thy father and thy moth…

Source: Proverbs 23:22, 24-25 – “You are only as happy as your least happy child.”

“JUST IMAGINE” – One pastor’s brief commentary on race and hope

unshackledI hope to see America’s Blacks unshackled from the oppression of liberal Democrats in my lifetime.  
High unemployment, derelict fathers leaving single moms raising their children in poverty, and decaying inner cities paint a bitter picture of our nation’s future if someone does not rise up and give hope.  I believe this is one reason Donald Trump’s message, “Give me a chance! What do you have to lose?” has resonated with so many in America.

I was a child in the raucous 1960’s and witnessed the integration of public schools in the South as an early elementary age child.  I followed the race riots on television; however, living in rural SC I can honestly say I never noticed the hatred and anger that was portrayed in the media, most of it originating in urban city areas and inflamed by white and black leaders who made themselves not only famous, but incredibly wealthy off the federal government establishment.Men and women interlocking hands, close-up, overhead view

My childhood community in rural SC had a balance of blacks and whites, many who had lived on their farms side by side for generations. Were there some who were genuinely poor? Absolutely…black and white.   However, I remember hardworking neighbors…black and white,  who taught their children by example an ethic of handwork I embrace to this day.  Some of the finest men and women I knew were black, God-fearing people.  I cannot remember my parents ever casting racial slurs at any blacks in our community.  We were taught to respect and honor our elders and were colorblind in our outlook.  

I do not dismiss the sad reality that there were undoubtedly racial prejudices in my town and community; however, those would have been the exceptions driven by old Southern Democratic prejudices as represented by the KKK.  

I am blessed to pastor a colorblind church that is a portrait of the demographics of Tampa, FL.  In Christ, our church is not divided by races or societal identities; we are one body made up of many members (1 Corinthians 12:12-20).  

I am convinced the grace and forgiveness found in Christ and preached by Biblical Christianity is the only answer to the racial divide in our nation and world.  Can you imagine a church, community, city and nation dominated by the principle, “love thy neighbor as thyself”?  (Matthew 22:39)
Just imagine: An America driven, not by racial prejudices and a false narrative demanding restitution, but a nation that embraces personal responsibility for individual choices. Imagine an America unshackled from the Democratic plantation that has enslaved a whole race with empty promises and government dependence.  Imagine an America that repents of her sins and turns back to God…an America free from racial hatred. Just imagine…

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith

Three Proverbs to Start Your Day: Buyer Beware!

“Buyer Beware!” is a lesson we have all had to learn, many of us having learned it the hard way! False and misleading advertisements in television, radio, magazines and sales flyers have made people and corporations rich; however, their victims are often the ones who can least afford the hook and line in deceptive advertisements!

Proverbs 20:10 pictures a business transaction from a bygone era when dry goods, meats, and precious metals were traded using certified weights and scales.

Proverbs 20:10“Divers weights [stones; weights used for measurements], and divers measures [measurement for grains], both of them are alike abomination [disgusting; abhorrence; loathsome] to the LORD.”

Nearly every aspect of business transactions in our day is electronic; however, not butcher shop scaletoo long ago a butcher or a feed store transacted business by mechanical scales much as they did in Solomon’s day. The opportunity of cheating unsuspecting customers was present and many men exploited the naïve with false weights and deceptive practices.

Regardless of the excuse “everybody does it”, God demands that His people be honest.  Allow me to cite several verses that emphasize the same principle.

Deuteronomy 25:13 Thou shalt not have in thy bag [money bag; purse] divers weights, a great [greater than its marked value] and a small [less than its marked value].”

Proverbs 11:1, 3 – “A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight. 3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.”

God hates dishonesty and demands that His people are upright in business.

Psalm 25:21“Let integrity [innocence; complete; perfect] and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.”

A second proverb states the actions of a child are a reflection of his character.

what-are-you-known-forProverbs 20:11“Even a child [youth; young servant] is known [acknowledged; revered; regarded] by his doings [works; actions; deeds], whether his work [acts; deeds] be pure [clean], and whether it be right [straight; just].”

It amazes me to hear parents insist their child could do no wrong.   Far too many parents are either blind or unwilling to acknowledge the fallen, sinful nature of their children as evidenced in their sinful actions.   You need only observe your child’s attitudes and actions to discern their spiritual bent.

A spiritually minded child will do right.   They will obey and honor their parents and other authority figures in their life.   However, a child who is disrespectful, habitually lies and deceives should be recognized for who he is—a young fool who desperately needs parents who will discipline and direct him on a path that is righteous and God-fearing (Proverbs 13:24; 29:15, 17).

Our third proverb is an acknowledgement of God our Creator.

Proverbs 20:12“The hearing [obedient; hearken; attentive; understanding] ear, and the seeing eye [discerning; perceptive; beholding], the LORD hath made [fashion; create; construct] even both of them.”

I have heard it said, “God has given us two ears to hear, two eyes to see and only one mouth to speak! We should do less talking and twice as much listening and seeing!”

There is a lot of truth in that simple adage. Sight and hearing are wonderful gifts God has bestowed to man. I recently saw a video where a toddler had been given a God created eyes and earshearing device and the smile that came across his face when he first heard his mother’s voice was priceless!

The psalmist challenged man to look at the heavens and see God’s glory displayed in His handiwork (Psalm 19:1).

Our ears give us the privilege to hear the Gospel declared and the saints of God lifting their voices in song and praise to our Savior and God. They enable us to hear the first cry of an infant and the words “I love you” from those we love.

We are in God’s debt for the wonderful gifts of sight and hearing.

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith

Road Rage: Beware the Bear behind the wheel!

Angry bearProverbs 17:12 “Let a bear robbed [bereaved] of her whelps [cubs] meet [come in contact with] a man, rather than a fool [stupid; silly] in [in the midst of] his folly [silliness].”

Anger has been the malady of sinful man since Cain rose up and slew his brother Abel in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 4:5-8).  Anger, however, is a natural emotion that is not always sinful.  For instance, the Bible describes the wrath of God and His fury against sin in over 500 instances [Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary].  Anger can also describe the “righteous indignation” of the saints towards sin.  Paul commands believers in Antioch to, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26).  In other words, righteous anger is slow to wrath and seeks resolution as soon as possible (Proverbs 14:29; James 1:19).  The apostle challenged Angry couplethose same Christians in Ephesus to, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).

Let’s be honest; explosive, self-centered anger has become an emotion that characterizes the fabric of our marriages, homes, churches, communities and nation.  Anger is the sin behind senseless acts of abuse, slander, outbursts of violence, and a newer phenomenon known as “Road Rage”—an outburst of anger and violence against a total stranger who may have inadvertently “cut you off”…but who becomes the victim of your pent-up anger, bitterness and lack of restraint.

In today’s proverb (17:12), Solomon warns it is better to cross paths with an angry she-bear seeking her cubs than be a companion or friend of a fool in the midst of his folly.roadrage  Such is the case when you cross paths with an habitually angry man or woman.  He is a danger to himself, his family, friends and acquaintances.

Beware the fool!

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith

Remembering 09.11.2001


  • The following is an excerpt from my letter to Hillsdale Baptist Church in preparation for this Sunday’s 9\11 memorial services.

fdrI recall only a few times in my youth when the adults in my life mentioned the fateful day we know as December 7, 1941; a day Franklin Delano Roosevelt immortalized in his declaration of war as a “day that will live on in infamy”.  That generation was blessed with a character deeply rooted in the conviction that these United States were providentially blessed of God and the liberty and prosperity we enjoyed as a nation was a trust from our Creator.  The toll of war and the sacrifices of the World War II generation are incomprehensible to my generation and the generations that have followed.  America was blessed with political and military leaders who accepted nothing less than victory and, when the sacrifices of war ceased, we began to aid our vanquished enemies.

On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, Twenty-first century Americans were awakened to a reality we were facing a new enemy, driven not by patriotic ardor or nationalistic pride, but by a political ideology masquerading as a religion.   Reminiscent of the patriotic zeal of the 1940’s generation, fervor of national pride took hold in America accompanied by calls for national prayer and the enlistment of hundreds of thousands of young men and women into our military forces. obama Fifteen years and two presidencies later, it is the opinion of this pastor that we have been betrayed; not by our youth who were ready and willing to go to war, but by politicians who lacked the will and character to set aside political ideologies and defeat an enemy determined to destroy our Constitutional liberties and enslave our citizenry.

For fifteen years we have witnessed the carnage of Islamic barbarity on a scale that is nigh unfathomable.  While an estimated 6,852 U.S. military men and women have died in America’s War on Terrorism, our politicians have evidenced little concern for the hundreds of thousands who have been slain by the Muslim hordes who have recorded their atrocities against humanity. Beheadings, rapes, mutilations, crucifixions, boiling, burnings, and stoning are but a few of their legacies.remember

September 11, 2016, Hillsdale Baptist Church and this pastor will stop…and remember.  We will remember nearly 3,000 who died on 9\11\2001; remember nearly 7,000 men and women who have died serving our nation; remember the men and women who have served, fought and many who bear the scars of war.  Remember and pray…God of grace, forgive our sins and heal our land.

With a shepherd’s heart,

Travis D. Smith, Senior Pastor

P.S. A few may realize I have been absent from blogging and social media for nearly two weeks. After a battle with kidney stones, it is a joy to be sharing with you once again. God bless!

Copyright 2016 – Travis D.Smith