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DR. JIM DENISON, PRESIDENT
SEPTEMBER 28, 2011

Will there be pumpkins for Halloween?

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest pumpkin store. Wet weather on the East Coast has flooded farmland normally used to raise pumpkins. As a result, we’re seeing a rush on pumpkin crisis warnings this morning. According to Google, these stories have generated about 427,000 hits.

Fortunately for pumpkin pie devotees (myself among them), it turns out all the hubbub was just that. Other states have picked up the slack and Halloween can continue as normal (if our strangest holiday can be called that).

Continuing this day’s appearances-can-be-deceiving theme, I had a strange encounter with Abraham Lincoln yesterday. I’m in Kentucky this morning, where I’m speaking at Campbellsville University. This is a gloriously beautiful part of a beautiful state, and the school’s red-brick campus looks like a Normal Rockwell painting. The faculty and staff have been as gracious as their setting is picturesque. For a guy who grew up in Houston, where our only hills are freeway overpasses, this scenery is amazing.

Driving here from Louisville yesterday, I was tooling along the highway when suddenly there emerged on my right a giant brown sign announcing: “Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, next right.” I slammed on the brakes and spun my rental car into a screeching turn. On a tight schedule, I jogged up the steps to the Memorial Building, dedicated in 1911 by President Taft to protect the log cabin where Mr. Lincoln was born. Sure enough, inside the building stands a log cabin. Since I know nothing about log cabins, this one looked authentic to me.

It did to historians as well, until investigations proved that it was neither Mr. Lincoln’s original cabin nor was it built from logs used in that first structure. But it stands where the original stood, and that made the visit worthwhile.

Thinking back on yesterday’s excursion, I am struck by the similarities between Mr. Lincoln’s birthplace and my soul: an exterior houses an interior that is not what it appears to be. Paul spoke for me: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15). What you see is not what you get.

The good news is that my Father “knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21) but loves me anyway. He knows all the secrets I’ve kept in the past and even those I don’t know I’ll keep in the future. And yet he takes me as I am, loves me and likes me, and offers the help of his Spirit in living this day for his glory.

What about yesterday makes you glad for such grace today?

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