Thursday, December 29, 2011

Are You In The Planting Mode?

“He hath sent us to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound - and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, the day of vengeance of our God and finally to comfort all that mourn.”  (Isaiah 61:1) 

I have said it before and I say it again, we have been truly blessed to have been used by God to send out Gramps Morning Thoughts – 395 of them.  But I sense it is time to stop, at least for a season.  We are packing the car preparing to head to Bartlesville, once again, where we will work \volunteer at the Voice of Martyrs ministry for three weeks and then off to Kansas for a month or so with family. 

The work at VOM is hard for folks that are older than dirt and we probably should spend more time in a rocking chair but we thoroughly enjoy being with the people and knowing that each piece of mail that we touch is an opportunity to send a blessing along to a persecuted Christian someplace in this world.  And the neat part of the hard work  -God gives us the strength to put in eight hours of hard labor five days a week!

As I write this final message, my bride is out (you might have guessed it) volunteering her services at a local ministry.   I do not know how many hours we have spent in such services this year, but do know we have driven over 4500 miles in getting to and from projects and will surpass the 5000 mile mark before the year turns.

Luke 6:38 has been our guide and the foundation of all that we have tried to do with our lives.

Luke wrote, “Give, and It will be given to you”. Wow, I like that Lord!  You mean I have something to say about the blessings I will receive?  I believe that is what He is saying;  “They, (the blessings) will pour into your lap a good measure- pressed down, shaken together, and running over”.  Now notice these final words of this text, “FOR BY YOUR STANDARD OF MEASURE IT WILL BE MEASURED TO YOU IN RETURN.” Does that not deserve a double Wow?

The rock on which we have tried to build our lives has been based on Paul’s words in Galatians where Paul warned, “We will reap what we sow in our lives!” (Gal 6:7) Matthew adds to this in the parable of the sower when he tells us we will reap more than we sow and it makes a difference where and how we sow.  (Matt. 13:3-9)

Returning to Paul for the fringe package that goes with ‘Seed Planting’, “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”  Now, notice the power part of this verse- “Each must do as he has purposed in his heart not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”. 

 Do you want grace to abound in your life?  Do you want to have all sufficiency in your life?  Do you want to have ‘abundance’ for every good deed in your life?  Then know “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness” (2 Cor. 9:6-11).

Soooo, my good buckaroos, my prayer for you is that you, too, will be a “seed planter”, and  that you will have a hunger and thirst for His Word and be a sacrificial giver to those who are not as fortunate as you are and need to see God’s love and plan of salvation through you.  For those reading this who might not know Jesus as Savior,we pray that you will read John 3:16, ask Jesus to be your Savior and Lord, and seek out a friend or pastor who will help you grow.

PS Keep checking the blog, if God puts a thought into my brain, I will surely share it with you.  Make sure you tune into and receive a blessing. And of you fell like sending a message along please feel free to do so. 


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Are You Peculiar?

 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has call you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9).

Hey Gang:  In my travels through the Word of God I have found that no verse stands alone.  I have great concern when a pastor or teacher takes a verse out of context and does not surround it with the hidden pearls of great price that support that verse.  One of my very favorite verses is Peter’s words found in I Peter 2:9.  

 As I study Peter’s life and words, I sense a kinship with him for I, too, have been known to step out of the boat and be a wee bit brash in some of my actions and words.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I, too, have been reprimanded when my brashness has become too bold.

When my grand kids were in their younger years it was my privilege to baptize them.  On the day we were to complete this blessed event, one of the grandmas, being raised in the Catholic persuasion, had a concern that I was not a priest, in the Catholic sense of the world.  When I read Peter’s words to her that as believers we are “royal priest” she was satisfied that I was, indeed, qualified to baptize her grand children.

Does it not make you feel all warm inside when you realize that as a child of God you are a “royal priest”?  One commentary suggested that as people became believers they "at once bore the dignity of kings, and the sanctity of priests".  Jesus, through John in Revelation wrote, “And He hath made us kings and priests unto God." (Rev. 1:6).

In the King James Version we find the word ‘peculiar’ used to describe God’s children.  Most folks would get their dander up if referred to as peculiar, but a little research soon shows us its meaning is much deeper than we find  used today.  The Greek word means “A people for a possession that is pertaining to God”.  They are people who are secured as a possession, or His own; a people that belong to Him and no other.

Sooo, gang, have you praised Him this morning for calling you “out of the darkness into His marvelous light?”    We live in a time when the dark clouds are gathering and all that can be shaken is being shaken, but it is not fan-tab-u-lus to know you are a royal priest, and a member of a holy nation, and a person for God’s own possession and “you have been called out of darkness into His glorious light”?  “Rejoice ye in it!” 



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Poof! Gone!!!

“Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:40-42).

“I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken  and the other left  Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken [ and the other left” (Luke 17:24-35).

Hey Gang:  Several nights ago I had a terrible and very frightening dream.  I was out in the woods working, came in for my afternoon coffee and one of Jean’s delicious snacks but when I got there I could not find her.  I looked all over the house. No Jean.  The car and truck were in the garage.  And there was no note on the refrigerator telling me where she had gone.

And as I ran to and fro in a nervous dither, the above verses began to resonate in my mind.  When at the apex of my dream, I heard the door close and there was the bride of my youth who had taken a walk and stopped by the neighbors to swap stories.

But the more I thought of that dream the more I felt God sent it to me for a purpose.  It has always amazed me that so few people have any comprehension of what that time referred to as the “hereafter” really is.  When one looks at the context of existence we note that in reality we are just preparing ourselves for that period referred to as ‘eternity’ and this is but a proving ground for that experience. 

I do not believe there is a more frightening verse in the Bible than Rev. 20: 15” “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”  The fabulous part of that verse is the “if”.  It is God’s desire that none perish, but all must chose to have their name recorded in His book of life. (2 Pet.3:9).

I tend to think of those who read this ‘morning thought from gramps’ are part of the choir whose names are securely recorded in the Lamb’s book, but each day we cross paths with many who are not. The wonderful part of the story is – the story does not end with Rev 20: 15; it is followed by the fabulous description of what awaits those whose names are listed the ‘Lambs Book of Life’.

Soooo, Pray today that God will send you a person who needs to hear the wondrous story of Yeshua, God’s gift to all who choose to accept Him as Lord.



Monday, December 26, 2011

Three Sieves to Purify Your Tongue

If any man thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless” (James 1:25).

Hey gang, did you know that gossip thrives on suspicion, mistrust, and a lack of confidence in others?  But it can also gain strength even in honest misunderstanding.  In my younger years I drove a truck in Lancaster, PA, and picked up bulk milk at 54 Amish Farms. 

When I arrived at the Deacon Amos Zook Farm I found a very irate Amos.  He was very quick to tell me there was a blasphemous situation that was taking place in his home Church Body.  It seems one of his parishioners was using electric lights to motivate his hens to lay more eggs and electricity was one of those modern conveniences that was a no – no in old line Mennonite and Amish lives.

Although the members of Amos’s Body did not have telephones, it did not take it long to spread the dastardly act of rebellion throughout the whole community and the gossip wheels began to turn.  But after a brief investigation it was learned that Brother Sam’s indiscretion was the result of a misunderstanding of what Deacon Amos had suggested that Brother Sam do to motivate his chickens.
It seems Brother Sam’s hens were just not motivated to lay eggs in the number that he expected, so, he sought the advice of the deacon who suggested Sam try the vitamin and electrolyte mixture the feed store in town sells.  This he did. Now I was not privy to whether the hens did indeed lay more eggs, but I was made privy to the fact that there would be a meeting of the Sanhedrin that very day to address the electrolyte issue.

It then dawned on the deacon that he may have been the seed planter of this dastardly deed when he suggested that Sam purchase the purchase the vitamin and electrolyte mixture which the young chicken farmer took to mean “electric light”.  The mystery was soon solved and the young man corrected the errors of his ways.

Unfortunately, not all gossip can be laid to rest with so much relief and touch of humor.  By simple pulling of the plug brought Brother Sam back into fellowship with Deacon Zook and his brothers.    I believe that is what James was talking about when he wrote, “…yet he who does not bridle his tongue deceives his own heart”.  Notice he does not stop there, he went on to give warn “the gossipers religion is worthless”. 

 So, my young buckaroos, if you have a season when your chickens are not laying and you lack wisdom as to what to do, don’t seek out Deacon Zook, but rather put your hands in the hands of the One who stills the waters and has an abundance of wisdom about chickens, having created them. And “let him ask of God who gives to all generously and without reproach and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).  Oh, by the way, this is also the recommended problem solving route when you hit the clinkers in the road!



Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas is a Time of Reminiscing

“Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecc. 12:6-7).

Hey Gang:  In our affluently in our country have we lost the sensitivity or true meaning of receiving a gift?  We learned very early in our work with dependent – neglect children that to receive a gift was almost an embarrassment.  They had been taught by experience that they were not worth much and therefore did not deserve a gift.

Several years ago I watched one of my grand kids open his Christmas packages and noticed it took prodding by the parent to keep him focused on opening the various packages.  His real interest was not in opening the gifts but in playing with the wrappings and boxes and running to and fro visiting with all of the family members who were there.  

I have learned through my years on this earth that the importance of Christmas is not the time of giving material gifts but a time of showing our appreciation and love for those we chose to honor with a gift.   Listening to the kids reminisce about Christmas’s past is always a warm feeling for it is not the material gifts received that is the focus of the conversations but the things we did in the giving of those gifts that was important.

Jesus said “ Greater love hath no man than this,.... By these words our Lord shows, how far love to another should extend, even to the laying down of our lives for the brethren; which is the highest instance of love among men.  Did he mean that we have to give up our life in a literal sense.  Possibly, but I sense it went far deeper than that.  It is a hello to the handicapped person who pushed the carts into the store at the super market or a few extra cents in the Salvation bucket to help someone less fortunate.

Soooo,  my young friends, it is time to close this morning thought and get back to my workshop and finish the wooden trucks and trains that I pray will end up in the hands of a bunch of little people that need to know that someone really cares enough for them to give a little chunk of their life. 



Friday, December 23, 2011

The Greatest Gift of All

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 12:17).

Hey Gang:  I pray, as we near that day set by man that we celebrate the birthday of our Lord, that you will take some time alone and give thanks for the gifts that God gave to us through His Son Jesus Christ.  Keep in mind that when Jesus came to earth as a man and suffered and died on the cross so that you could be reconciled to God, He had you in mind, even though you had not been created yet. 

Luke put it this way: “And human hands can’t minister to His needs, for He has no needs!  He Himself gives life and breath to everything, and satisfies every need there is” (17:25 Living New Testament)

The most memorized verse in the Bible lays the very foundation for God’s love for His creation and His desire that none should perish but have everlasting life with Him, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). It is also the most profound verse in the Bible.

The greatest gift – He gave Himself.  Our greatest gift  – to give ourselves to Him and those He sends our way.  He gave us life so that we would have something very precious to give to Him. And He gives us abundantly, more than we need, so that we can share those blessings with others who are not as blessed as we are.

I have learned that when I give to others the presence of God flows through the giver in compassion, which is love in action.    And I have also found that the greatest of all gifts is not purchased at Macy’s but rather words of comfort to those in stress, a casserole dish to someone who is too ill to prepare dinner,or shoveling the walk of the shut in next door.

And a neat promise of God is the giver is always blessed more than the receiver.  That when you give, expect a blessings from the throne room of heaven.  The first blesssing will be the joy of the Lord saying ‘thank you.’   Matthew put it this way, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (25:40).

Sooo, as you prepare for the sharing of gifts on Christmas morning, keep in mind the greatest of all gifts was not made with human hands, but comes from the Father of Lights, THE GIFT OF SALVATION.



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Are You Giving Gifts That Have Eternal Value?

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth”
 (John 1:14).

Hey Gang:  When was the last time you shut down all the things that cloud our minds from looking at some of the more important things of life?  Gar Trusley, who did time studies for corporations, identified, by a large percentage of those he studied,  the three top things they would do if the doctor said you have one month to live; seek the Lord and make sure they were in good relationship with the Lord, make sure they were in right relationship with spouse and family, and repair all the breaches that might exist between them and their neighbors.

It was interesting to note, that when he asked for the ten things that folks tend to invest their time and energies into,  these three things were are the bottom of the list.   In other words, they knew that the things that brought real joy into their heart was not making a buck, climbing the corporate ladder or becoming something super special in the eyes of man!  

A recent study discovered the point that suicides are increasing by leaps and bounds each year and depression is the number one plague among a growing number with our population.  As we move God further from the life of our country, despair and hopelessness grow in equal proportion.

We go to great pains to fill that vacuum that is just the size of God in our chest cavity.  We just experienced another “black Friday” when the world's retailers spread the good news that they have the very thing that will fill that vacuum.  People lined up hours in advance to make sure they were the first in line to purchase that aphrodisiac that will give them a moment or two of joy.  
I vaguely recall a song of years gone which told us that we seek the things that give us peace  in all the wrong places.  I believe the Psalmist knew something about that  when he wrote these words, “But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You.  For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:11-12).

Soooo, my young lassies and lads, am I saying the giving of material gifts is wrong?  In no way! But, keep in mind the gift will be forgotten in due season but the intent behind the gift will never be forgotten.  



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Wonder if This Might be the Last Christmas on Earth?

“For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”.
  (Luke 2:11).  “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God”  (I Thess. 4:16). 

Hey Gang, Have you transitioned in your walk with the Lord between verse one of the morning Scripture and verse two.? Me thinks that many folks are still locked into the “babe of the manger” and not the "King of kings and Lord of lords. "  
This past week I came in contact once again with Paul’s words to the Philippian Believers and must admit that, in the many times I have read Philippians, I never associated Paul’s words in chapter 2:5-11 as being Paul's Christmas story.  As I read this portion of Paul’s words I was impressed that he did not stop at the manger but described the birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and Second Coming of the Lord.

Several weeks ago our pastor preached a message that he titled “Hopeful Anticipation”.  I have said on many occasions that one of the great tragedies of our 'instant gratification  generation" is the taking away the joy of anticipation.  Receiving a gift is nice but when you have prayed, dreamed and waited with great anticipation for something you really want and the day arrives when you can hold it in your hands, it is very special memory that you will remember forever.

Those who know me know I have always gone to great lengths to make the Christmas Season very special to my family.  Some might even suggest the hundreds of feet of Christmas displays is a wee bit on the over-kill side.  But as a “Seed Planter’ my heart has always been to implant that Jesus not only came as a babe but “he is going to come again as King of kings and Lord of Lords”.  We know not when Father God will tell His Son to “go for it” but we do know from His prophetic word, all is place for the final chapter to begin.  

Sooooo, Yes, Jesus was born in a manger under very miraculous circumstances - but that was only the delivery system to get Him to earth.  This Christmas season as you share the Christmas Story once again, make sure you do not leave Jesus in the manger.  As Paul Harvey would say - “now here is the rest of the story":  “Then they will see The Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven” (Mark 13:26-27). 



Monday, December 19, 2011

The Wonder and Awe of the Christmas Story

 “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6).

Hey Gang, There is no doubt that the Christmas story is filled with wonder and awe. It fills young and old with delight that is even more enjoyable and amazing because it is all true! I found the following quips about Christmas somewhere in my travels, and would share them with you this morning.

Shepherds, at the bottom of the social fabric of that time, were entertained and blessed by a choir of angels that filled the night with glory and hope. Mysterious Wise Men from the East followed a star that brought them to Bethlehem, where they worshipped and presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the new born King.

Then there is the centerpiece of the story; a young couple, probably still teenagers, who were uniquely chosen to bring the Christ-child into the world. They faced a challenge of faith and courage that was undergirded by angelic visitations! Mary, the young virgin maiden, was with child without ever knowing a man before marriage; an outward looking scandal by any stretch of the imagination. Then there was Joseph, who had to endure the gossip and “whispering” of a community who knew nothing of the angelic announcement heralding the birth of Jesus.

More sinister still was Herod’s plot to kill the child and, by so doing, frustrate the will and purpose of God for world redemption. The Christmas story is truly beautiful, amazing and thought provoking. For Christians, it teaches us:

1.  That Christmas is worth celebrating since all of Heaven did so and gave beautiful voice to the wondrous events as they were unfolding in Bethlehem. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke devote lengthy passages to this story of wonder and great joy. We should do the same.

2.  That Christmas is the hope of the world. God became man and did so to save us from our sins and give us a new beginning. The message is ever the same; peace and goodwill to all the world; a peace and goodwill which has to be appropriated individually by repentance and faith in the finished work of the Son of God on the cross.

3.  That Christmas has a unique message in the gifts delivered to the Christ-child by the Kings from the East. Gold was a tribute to his identity. He is King of the Jews and the King of Kings of all the world. Frankincense, a priestly connection meant his life would be pleasing to God and sinless. And myrrh foreshadowed that he would die for the sins of world – for any who would repent and accept His salvation. This is because myrrh was a burial ointment that was used to prepare the body for its final resting place.

4.  That Christmas reminds us of a conflict that ever rages over the souls of men. Dark forces were at work on that beautiful, awe inspiring night. They sought to destroy the babe born to Mary and Joseph and thus they ultimately sought the destruction of all of humankind. This battle continues!

Soooo good buddies, we would do well then to gather our families together and carefully read this wonderful narrative from the Gospels. Worship and prayers of thanksgiving and joy should ascend to Heaven and sweet carols of years gone by should bathe our souls in the wondrous love of God. We would do well to visit the House of God on Christmas morning and there, together with all the family of God, give thanks for the gift of all gifts that became ours on Christmas Day.


“Greeting favored one, the Lord is with you.”

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.  And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one!  The Lord is with you.”   (Luke 1:26-28)

Hey gang:  Are these not amazing words that get your heart to pumping?  The Christmas story begins with an experience that is beyond description to our human minds.  Gabriel, an angel who stands at the throne of God was sent to tell a young lassie, that she was the “favored one” who would be the mom of the King of kings and Lord of lords. 

All you mom’s out there who learned for the first time that you were with child.  How did you feel?  And keep in mind she was a virgin, betrothed but not married yet.Imagine the torrent of feelings that must have surged through Mary’s heart at that moment.

Then the angel spoke, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call Him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of  His father David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever and His kingdom will have no end”

The Catholic Church refers to Mary as “The Queen of Heaven” and has placed her on the same level as deity, which to Protestants tends to place her in what might be called the ‘second class coach of the gospel train’, but we need to be mindful of the role that Mary played in the Christmas story. 

God did not give her divinity but instead used her obedience to give Christ humanity.  Note Paul’s words in I Timothy 3:16, “This is the mystery of godliness, that Jesus Christ is entirely God and thoroughly man” (Hainley rendition).  And how did this happen? Through the young woman’s pregnancy and pain of labor.  

Mary’s response to Gabriel foretells her important place in the gospel story: “And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.  For He has had regard for the humble stated of His bond slave. For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed” (Lu. 1:46-48).

As we begin the countdown of this final week before we celebrate God’s Gift of His only ‘begotten Son” who came to earth for the specific purpose of laying His life down for you and for me, make sure you honor and worship and praise is for ‘Jesus, the Reason for the Season’.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Hedge Against Temptation

“I will ask the Father and He will give you another helper that He may be with you forever” (John 14:16) 

 Hey Gang:  I don’t know about you but in this day when everything that can be shaken is being shaken, I take great joy and confidence that God has made a way through the wilderness for me through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Bruce Wilkerson included the following comment in his book ‘Spiritual Breakthrough’ that rang my bell: “I made a dramatic breakthrough when I discovered that right before every temptation, my emotions were distressed (inwardly agitated) and that I was actually seeking for comfort.  That’s when I remembered the promise, ‘I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever’” (John 14:14-17).

Is it not incredible that Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to be our ever present source of comfort? Have you ever really checked Him out? I mean put Him to the test?  I decided to try. I prayed,  “Holy Spirit, I am in desperate need of you, I don’t want to sin, please comfort me now”.  Now I must admit that in the initial stage I felt nothing.  I really felt bummed out! 

But then I slowly became aware that the anxiety level had subsided and I felt a degree of comfort.  I also learned that this, like all learning experiences, had to be honed on the wheel of experience.  The more I made my mind aware of putting trust in the Holy Spirit the more I felt the comfort that is provided only by the Holy Spirit. 

The neat part of this experience is that God has made me more aware of those times when temptation is knocking at my door; as I put my trust in the Holy Spirit to protect me from that temptation, I find that it slithers back into the pit from which it came.  Keep in mind we have an irrevocable promise that protects us from falling off the wagon “No temptation is overtaken you, but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (I Cor. 10:13).

Bruce Wilkerson said “I’ve prayed to my Comforter many times since, and I’ve discovered two immutable truths: first, The Holy Spirit always completes His responsibility in my heart, and second, He does it without delay.

Soooo, buckaroos, Tuck that away in your heart and mind for you can count on Satan and his minions testing to see if you are able! 


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What Happens When the Rubber-Hits-The –Road?

“For what credit is there if, when you sin (hit your thumb with a hammer) and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience?  But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God” (I Peter 2:20).  “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” (Eph. 2:26-27).

Hey gang, I have learned, in the past two months, that these two verses go together.  I have also learned what the person who coined the saying, “if it works, do not fix it”, meant.   I have also learned that I do not have the slightest clue what to do, when one of the weird screens that I have never seen before, comes up on the computer; one that has no connection with what I am trying to do! 

If it does not disappear when I reboot, I am dead in the water until I can call my friendly computer guru or find a six or seven year old lad or lassie who knows far more about such things than I will ever know.

Our computer internet and phone provider recently merged with another company and we were advised that we must upgrade our equipment to gain all the wondrous advantages the new company was offering and the carrot was it would cost less money per month and make it much more convenient. 

My question to the upgrade advocate – how much pain and agony is attached to getting all the bugs worked out and until my level of understanding is acclimated to using the new system?  O, no worry!  This is a tested and proven, bug- free mechanism that even a 78 year old, that does not understand the “For Dummy’s books’, can become proficient within minutes.

After several weeks and more than twenty hours of listening to a multitude of so called technicians, my bride packed up the entire system and went back to place it was purchased and announced I do not leave here until this thing is doing what you said it would do or we go back to the old system. 

Okay, what does that have to do with the Scripture of the day?  First I thought I had my anger totally under control and could handle about any circumstance.  Wrong!  I wanted to throw the computer down the basement stairs.  I also learned that my patience was not as secure as I thought it was.  Perhaps that is what this whole trip through the wilderness was all about.  I must confess I did indeed go to bed very anger some nights and I must admit that my patience was a best – tarnished!

Soooo, my young friends, keep in mind that the devil waits for his chance to set your patience- control on tilt and to build a fire in your anger controls.  But I also learned that if I take a moment or two and say, “Okay God, If you can’t handle this we are both in trouble”, it helps.  He has never failed.  The computer is working fine and my anger has gone underground again waiting for another opportunity to destroy my patience.



Who Said Life Would Be Fair

“To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding.  To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity” (Proverbs 1:2-3).

Hey gang:  In my 78 years on this earth I have been a die-hard sports fan and have especially enjoyed seeing the near perfection of some of the athletes efforts.  But at the same time there is nothing that irritates me more than for an ump or ref to blow a call that takes away from that perfection.

Example, in the past 135 years of major league baseball only 20 pitchers have thrown a perfect game.    On June 2, 2010, Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers would have been number 21 but a blown call on the part of the umpire took the perfect game away from him on the final  out of the game.  The replay clearly showed the runner was out not by one step but two steps but rules are rules and the call could not be changed.  

Galarraga remained calm, expressed sympathy for the ump, and never bad mouthed him for his error.  His refusal to retaliate and rant and rave astounded fans, players and sports writers.

I wonder how I would have reacted if I had pitched that perfect game that day and had it taken away from me.   I certainly admire Galarraga for not taking the ump to task but I suspect there was something more important at work in this travesty of justice.  I don’t know if he is a Christian.  If not we Christian’s need to take heed of his testimony through this affair for he demonstrated Christian wisdom by being more concerned for the welfare of the errant ump than having his name in the record book as number 21.. 

Oswald Chambers said of our personal dealings with others, “Never look for justice, but never cease to give it; and never allow anything you meet with to sour your relationship to men through Jesus Christ”.

Soooo, keep in mind when we experience unfairness it is our responsibility and I might add “privilege” as flowers of Christ to respond with honesty and integrity, doing what is right, just and fair.   Jesus put it this way “when slapped in cheek, turn the other one”.  But’  my friends that is not the world’s way!



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Have You Been on a Roller Coaster Lately?

 Hey Gang:  Do you know what I am talking about when I mention the phrase “Ups and Downs”? I believe most would agree that life is filled with its ups and downs.  Wise King Solomon certainly did (Ecc. 3:1-4).
Solomon’s daddy, David, was called a man after God’s own heart. (I Sam 13:4, Acts 13:22).  Yet David’s life was a perfect example of one whose life was filled with ups and downs.

  He wept over the loss of His and Bathsheba’s first born “2 Sam . 12:22) Yet he also wrote songs of praise and his mouth was filled with laughter and his tongue with joyful shouting (Ps. 126:1-3).  All the time?  No!  With the death of Absalom he agonized in deep mourning (2 Sam.  18:33).  But when the Ark was brought to Jerusalem, he put on his ephod and danced before the Lord (2 Sam 6:12-15).

I have taught many times that if I were able to see my life charted on a graph with highs and lows, I would find that when I trusted in the Lord and placed Him first in all that I said and did, I would find myself on the top of the graph but in those times when I said, "Okay Lord, I’ll take it from here” I would find myself on the bottom of the graph. 

We do a dis-service to ourselves and others when we portray the Christian life as peaceful and happy all the time.  Instead, the Bible portrays the believer's life as one being filled with ups and downs. 

Soooo, in what season are you?  No matter where you are in your life graph, the way out of the doldrums is to seek the Lord with all your heart and place your trust Him.  But keep in mind that it is in the ups and downs that we see God come along side and  “smooth’ the road.



Friday, December 9, 2011

Ask and It Will Be Given to You

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  Luke 11:9 

When Jesus implored His disciples to ask, seek, and knock, He taught them (and us) the basics of what it means to live a life of faith. 

Hey Gang:  Many years ago, we had the opportunity to hear a converted alcoholic who also was a very successful executive in a major company give his testimony.  He was asked if he prayed for healing for someone and that person died, what would he do?  His response, go to the next person who needs healing and pray for them. 

Did you ever ask God why bad things happen to good people or ever wonder why you do as God said, “Ask, seek and knock," but the fruits of your prayer fail to materialize?  Why, Lord, did you not hear my prayer or why, Lord, did you not do as you said, "Ask and I will deliver.”?

As I have looked and asked these very questions throughout my 78 years of walking through many valleys and shadows;  I believe there has come a degree of  understanding.  I have begun to understand that below the surface of these words is the humility of fervent prayer, the vigorous activity of seeking after God, and the persistence to overcome any obstacle that is placed between us and God.

I have also learned that God’s ways are always far and above better than my ways  The Bible tells us God's ways are not our ways, neither his thoughts our thoughts.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts” (Is. 55:9). 

Does this not sound a lot different than the self-serving first impression we often associated with this passage?   Careful, young friends,  that you not accept a shallow, worldly interpretation of Jesus' words but the blessed, deep, and rich meaning that Jesus intended. 

Soooo,  as you take your petitions before the Lord this morning, keep in mind Jesus made a promise in this teaching. Good things, very good things will come to those who actively participate in the asking, seeking, and knocking of faithful living (see Matthew 7:9-11). And that my good compatriots is the truth.
Blessings  Gramps

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Are You Anchored To the Rock?

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correti0oni, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Hey Gang:  I am going to challenge you to do something that I find very difficult in my old age, to memorize portions of Scripture that provide a hedge of protection for those times when Satan aims his darts at you. 

As an air traffic controller I had to memorize literally hundreds of airways, minimum altitudes, frequency of every radio facility in my air space area which covered from Baltimore to New York to Columbus to Minnesota and each month a new listing would be published with changed facilities frequencies by a decimal point or two requiring unlearning and relearning. 

Now I tell you that only to emphasize the point that my mind was vastly more adept at memorizing when I was in the mid twenties than it is today.  I would suggest that you memorize the following verses as a hedge against those times when Satan “locks and loads.”
First, memorize Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure”.  The point:  if God is within us we certainly want to please Him.
Second, Isaiah 26:3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because He trust in You”.  The point:  He will keep us in perfect peace!

Third, 2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”.  The point:  He wants us to live in perfection, that we grow daily in grace and knowledge of our Lord.

Fourth, Deut. 31:6 “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lords your God is the one who goes with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you.”   The point: It is the Lord who has kept us and will go with us through ALL of our experiences.

Fifth:  Lam. 3:22 “The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail”.  The point:  The loving kindness of God is unfailing and renewed daily.

Sixth, I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.  The point:  Confession includes forsaking sin and growing in God’s Word!

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”.  The point:  Seek God first, not after everything else has failed!

As most of you know, we are traveling folks and therefore we get into some places where one might be a little suspicious of how folks might take advantage of you, so we decided to protect ourselves by becoming active members of Life Lock which protects against identity theft.  So it is with the Word of God but we must put the Word of God into our dome of intellect and heart so that when the rubber-hits-the-road, God can reach down pull out what we have put in.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Nod, a Smile a Word of Encouragement – a Seed

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were  all made to drink of one Spirit.  For the body is not one member, but many”. (I Cor. 12:13-14).

Hey Gang: Legendary UCLA coach Wooden was a winner.  In a recent article that centered on the life of coach Wooden I found he gave credit for his success to a very interesting practice that he pounded into his athletes heads and hearts.
Simply stated it was to acknowledge and give credit to the one who helped them score the bucket.  When one of younger payers said “but coach there is no time to run over and pat the guy on the back.  To that Coach Wooden said “\ a smile or a meeting of the eyes, or a nod of favor sends the message that you recognize the opportunity he made possible for you.
He continually drove home the point that victory was dependent on being willing to sacrifice yourself to help one of your team mates excel whether on the hardwoods, gridiron, or in the corporate world.  He also made it clear that when you give up yourself to help another you are equally important to the victory as the one who in most cases are the focus of the headlines.

Coach Wooden’s rule and I Cor. 12 are both rooted in the principle of seeing our need for one another.  Let’s me use my talents to help build, strengthen, and help to carry out God’s purpose.There are no unimportant people to carry out God’s purpose (vs. 1-11).

Admiral Nimitz was being interviewed by a reporter while standing on the upper deck of an air craft carrier during World War II.  The reporter asked, “Who is the most important person on this ship”.  His response tended to set the reporter back.  He said “see that seaman down there dumping garbage over board? 

Right now, he is the most important man on board for if he does not does not scatter it properly, fish will begin to follow our ship and the enemy will follow the fish to our doorstep’.

Soooo,  my good friends put this in your think tank and mull it over as you go through the chores of the day.  I suspect if you are looking around there will be opportunities to give a nod, a smile or a few words of encouragement to someone who really needs encouragement today.



Monday, December 5, 2011

It's In The Book

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).  
Hey Gang:  Paul wrote, “There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing us truth, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.”  in other words, what you say isn’t very important but what God says has eternal significance!

You say, “It’s impossible”.  He says, “With me all things are possible” (Lu. 18:27).  You say, “I’m exhausted.” He says, “Wait on Me,  I’ll renew your strength” (Is. 40:31).  You say, “Nobody loves me.” He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jn. 31:3).  You say “I can’t go on.”  He says, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Co. 12:9).  You say, “I don’t know what to do.” He says, “I’ll direct you” (Prov. 3:5). 

You say, “I can’t do it..”  He says, “You can do all things through Me” (Phil 3:13).  You say, “It’s not worth it.” He says, “It will be – just keep going” (Gal 6:9).  You say, “I can’t forgive myself,” He says, “You can – because I have” (Eph. 4:32).  You say, “I can’t make ends meet. “ He says, “I’ll supply all your needs” (Phil. 4:19). 

You say, “I’m afraid.”  He says, “I didn’t give you a spirit of fear, but of…power” (2 Tim. 1:7).  You say, “I can’t handle this.” “He says, Give it to me; I’ll carry it for you” (Psa. 55:22).  You say, “I don’t have enough faith.” He says, “I’ll give your faith” (Ro. 12:3)
You say, “I’m not smart enough.”  He says, “I’ll give you wisdom” (I co. 1:30).  You say, “I’m all alone.”  He says, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).

Soooo,  my  friends , God honors our choices! He does not tamper with you free will.  There is an adage that I have pinned on the inside of my dome of intellect that says, “My values  determine my choices which in turn determines by destiny.  You will make choices today – will you feed the white dog or the black dog?



Thursday, December 1, 2011

Memories, Memories, Memories

“Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed: then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7).

Hey Gang, I read a very sad notice in the email this morning, that The Roy Rogers Museum has closed its doors for good. I remember as a brawny lad that Saturday morning when the serials were playing at the theaters was the time I anticipated with great joy when Roy Rogers on his faithful horse trigger with Gabby Hayes at his side conquered evil and saved the poor and weak from harm. 

It is extremely sad to see this era lost forever.  Despite the fact that ll of the early heroes movies, as well as those of other great characters, can be bought or rented for viewing, today's kids would rather spend their time playing video games. 

Today it takes a very special pair of parents to raise their kids with the right values and morals.  These were the great heroes of our childhood, and they did teach us right from wrong, and how to have and show respect for each other and the animals that share this earth.I believe I was born at the right time.

 I grew up surrounded by  these great people even if I never met them.  In their own way they taught us patriotism and honor, we learned that lying and cheating were bad, and sex wasn't as important as love.  We learned how to suffer through disappointment and failure and work through it.  Our lives were drug free. 

Soooo,  it's good-bye to Roy and Dale, Gene and Hoppy, The Lone Ranger and Tonto. Farewell to Sky King and Superman and Sgt. Friday.  Thanks to Capt.. Kangaroo, Mr. Rogers and Capt. Noah and all those people whose lives touched ours and filled many little boy's hearts with anticipation that one day they, too, would be shining Knights in armor saving the world.