Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
Rainbow over Jerusalem (ICEJ Staff photograph)Rainbow over Jerusalem
Today's picture is of a rainbow over the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, taken after the recent rains here. It reminds us of Ezekiel 1:28; "As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.

“Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said. “Crucify Him!’  (Matthew 27:22).

Every team in the State wanted to play my home town football team on Home Coming Day.  It don’t take a brain surgeon to figure out why – we were the patsies of Pennsylvania.  And then one day the miracle of miracles occurred, we beat a perennial power house.  And on that day, I gained a compulsion to root for the underdog.  I love it when the number one seed gets clobbered by Podunk College from the back country of Appalachia.

We are in that time again when all the sports buff’s minds are being glued to the coming ranking of March Madness.  As I listened to a group of guru’s who were certainly the “in crowd” and knew all there was to know about round ball, I thought it might be worthy of my time to relate the excitement of playoffs to the Bible. 

There is no question that March madness is that time when all things- work, pleasure, getting the yard ready for Spring, etc. are placed on hold.  Why? Because every game has the potential for a giant to fall.  

So here’s the question for you to ponder was Jesus an underdog?  I could fill this epistle with names who qualify for the underdog club listed throughout the Bible.   David certainly qualified when he took on Goliath with a sling shot and a stone.  How about Jacob, Joseph and Daniel but they each had a common denominator, they were winners in the face of being underdogs and, I would suggest the odds makers of Las Vegas would not have given them much chance.

But what about Jesus?  Did He not snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat when He came forth from the tomb?   That sounds pretty dramatic, maybe a little underdogish.  At the same time, defeat was never really an option.  All along, God knew that Jesus would win through the cross.  It was all part of the plan.  Now I don’t know if Satan really knew, that’s an interesting question of its own.

The Devil is pretty big and intimidating sometimes.  We’re told “the path is narrow”, and humans are inclined toward sin, so I guess you could say he has numbers here on earth.  Does that make Jesus the underdog?  At the same time, Jesus is the Triune God, three in one, those are impressive numbers.  You could add to that the legions of angels at his hand and the Church universal. 

Soooo troops, I believe we are nearing that day when most of the world would say Jesus is a  very difinent underdog.  John tells us Jerusalem will be surrounded by the armies of the world with one intent – to push God’s chosen people into the sea. But, as Paul Harvey would say, “we know the rest of the story.”   John gives us a vivid picture of the defeat of the Satan, his super powers and his minions.  Is Jesus the underdog – perhaps to the world--- but not to the sheep of His pasture. 



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Are You a Laugh-er?

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
Mount of Olives in Jerusalem (ICEJ Staff photograph)Mount of Olives
Today's picture is of the Mount of Olives. It is mentioned several times in the Bible, including Luke 19: 37-38; "As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: "BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"  

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward kin heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”. (Matt. 5:12)

Hey Gang:  Do you think Jesus laughed?  We know he cried when He heard his good friend Lazarus had died and he wept over Jerusalem, , but I find  no place where it says, Jesus, threw back His head and laughed from the depth of his diaphragm.

I like people who can laugh.  We just completed our tenure at Voice of Martyrs where we were part of a team that worked in the mail room preparing the monthly mailings.  And we were truly blessed to work with some tremendous warriors who pay no attention to the time clock but are committed to get the message out to those who need to know about the fantastic work this ministry does. 

Daren, my team leader, was a laugh-er.  The rest of the team were smil…errrrs  but Daren was a true-blue belly laugh-er.  When he laughed, he laughed from the tips of his toes and that is a true blessing for grumps like me. 

In my tenure as a believer, I have seen hundreds of pictures of Jesus and I only recall ever seeing one where He is laughing.     

It has always amazed me to see the reaction some people have to the idea that Jesus would laugh. If you were to put a picture of a laughing Jesus on the screen in most sanctuaries ,you would find neigh- sayers who would be horrified, shocked and offended that you would suggest such a thing.

Some would even go so far as to accuse you of heresy.  Their belief, "Jesus was too holy to act like that."  
 But do the Scriptures not say that Jesus was both fully God and fully human. Doesn't that mean he would have done the things all people do? Don't you think he had dirty diapers when he was a baby?"

Did Jesus laugh?  You can bet your sweet bippy that Jesus laughed. Every normal person laughs. To suggest that Jesus never laughed implies that he suffered from deep psychological problems. And what evidence is offered to support this idea?

Simply this: The Gospels never say, "Jesus laughed."  

Having worked with children for more than forty years, I can attest to you that children do not gravitate  too, or seek out grumps.  Matthew emphasized this point when he rebuked  the disciples for not allowing the children to come to Jesus (Matt. 19:14).  He even proclaimed that “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  Children loved Him.

Soooo, good buddies and ladies, when you are deep into the duties of the day, don’t forget to take a moment or two and smell the posies and do a Daren belly- laugh.  Doctors would tell you to laugh is to improve one’s health. 



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
Eastern Gate to Jerusalem's Old City (ICEJ Staff photograph)The Eastern Gate to Jerusalem
Today's picture is of the Eastern Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem. It reminds us of Ezekiel 44: 1-3; "Then He brought me back by the way of the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces the east; and it was shut. The LORD said to me, "This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it, for the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. As for the prince, he shall sit in it as prince to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by way of the porch of the gate and shall go out by the same way" 

The East Gate and the Return of Jesus. 
 “Lift up heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O  ancient doors.   That the King of Glory may come in!  Who is the King of glory?  The Lord strong and mighty.  The Lord mighty in battle….The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory” (Psa. 24:7-10)

Hey Gang:  Did you ever have had an experience or seen something that so impacted on your mind, heart and soul that you never forgot it.  I have had such an experience on several occasions.  I have been wondrously blessed to visit the land where Jesus walked and will walk again, I believe very soon. 

I have been blessed to visit from one end of the Land of Israel to the other.  I have visited the Old City of Jerusalem, Capernaum where Jesus spent most of his ministry time.  I have stood in what many believe is the  tomb where they laid Jesus body on that fateful night and have been and walked by the Sea of Galilee where Jesus did much of His teaching.

All life changing experiences but there is one place that rates in my heart as the most profound place I have ever been for its major ministry is yet to come.  As I stood on the Mount of Olives and looked down across the Kidron Valley to the City of David my heart began to beat faster and an amazing picture opened before my eyes. 

The words of Ezekiel came to life in a new and vibrant way that I shall never forget, Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east; and it was shut.  And he said to me, "This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut.  Only the prince may sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way." (Ezek 44:1-3)
Nehemiah described it this way . "...the gate that looketh toward the east: And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east."  (Neh. 3:29)

Soooo, my young brothers and sisters in Christ, soon, and I believe very soon, the masonry placed there by the Ottoman Turks in 1530 A.D. used to wall up the East Gate will crack and fall away and the King of kings and Lord of Lords will enter and take back what Has been and continues to be His.



Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why Pictures from Israel

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
Samaria (ICEJ Staff photograph)Northern Samaria
Today's picture is of a strip of Highway 443 which runs through northern Samaria. It reminds us of Jesus' words in Acts Acts 1:7-8; "He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" 

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing” (I Thess. 5:9/11).

Hey Gang:  If I were asked, “What  is the most glorious experience I was ever privileged to experience?” There would be no hesitation -  It occurred over twenty years ago when we were blessed to go to Israel for the first time.   Twenty minutes before landing the pilot turned on Israeli music that penetrated deep into  our hearts and soul.  When we touched down a peace that surpasses understanding filled our hearts as never before: Rehoboth – Home!

Why such a blessing?  I mean ,it is just another Jewish City.  O, yes, it does have some special significance for Christians, Jews and Moslems, but why all the emotion attached to walking the streets where Jesus walked?   Reason number one is  that God loves Israel and I am a child of God and have been commanded by God to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  There is no way you can pray for Jerusalem knowing how much God loves it without falling deeply in love with this eternal city.

Secondly, it is the place where I expect to spend eternity and I want to know as much about my eternal dwelling place as I can learn.  When I read the words of Jesus, through John in Revelation, it sends a joy and peace that surpasses any joy and peace that I have experienced before.

When I stood on the mount of Olives and looked across the Kidron Valley to the Gate Beautiful, I remembered what John wrote, “I saw the Holy city New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,  “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them., and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will  no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain, the first things have passed away” (Rev. 21:2-4).

My deepest desire is that each one who receives ‘gramps morning thoughts, will one day be able to walk where Jesus walked and feel the same peace and joy - knowing one day the Old City will be replaced by a new city, the city where “There is no temple for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb  are its temple, and there is no need for sun or moon for the glory of God will illuminate it.  A place where the gates will never close – a place where there will be nothing unclean but only those whose names are listed in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be permitted to enter” (Rev. 21:22-27).

Soooo, It is for that reason that I have begun to send the daily pictures that I receive from Israel through the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem each day, and pray they will dig deep into your soul and  you, too, will feel the joy and peace anticipating that one day you too will walk the streets of gold and live eternally in the presence of Yeshua, the Son of God.



Thursday, February 16, 2012

This IS Eternal Life, That They May Know You -John 17:3

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
Mount Hermon (ICEJ Staff photograph)Mount Hermon
Today's picture is of Mount Hermon, with just a few patches of snow near the summit. It reminds us of Psalm 133: 1-3; "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion; fFor there the LORD commanded the blessing-life forever" 

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life”  (John 5:39-40).

Hey Gang:  in the last gramps morning thoughts I shared the deep desire of my heart is to sit at the feet of Jesus just as Mary did.  I asked the question of each of you “Have you ever had a yearning so deep that it filled your every thought."  I pray you have given that question your undivided attention.

But those who know me also know that I am not one who leaves unanswered questions lying dormant in my dome of intellect.  I do not believe God would have me seek such an experience while here on earth without making provision for me to have the desire of my heart fulfilled. 

How many know that God does indeed work in mysterious ways.  I just happened to open a book that I have been wading through to the chapter titled “The Undivided Life” and I believe I have found God’s formula for sitting at the feet of Jesus, even now while I am an earthbound homo-sapien.

Ortberg begins by saying you can be a Bible attacker, where the challenge is to read through the Bible from cover to cover.  He warns that to be filled with the knowledge about the Bible but to be unwashed by it is worse than not knowing it at all.  It can give us a false sense of security.

Have you ever come face to face with a Bible thumper who could quote Scriptures that fit every  subject but when one looks at the fruits of their lives?  There is a melt down between what they are saying and  the fruits they are producing in their lives. 

Now hear me, he was not putting down reading the Bible through or even reading large portions of Scripture in rapid fire motion.  But what he was saying is, speed reading is not meditation on the Word and will not lead to growing in the Lord.  His suggestion, take a passage and first seek the Lord’s guidance and wisdom to understand and grow in the Lord through that passage.   Ask Him, “Lord what do you want to say to me in this moment?”  Keep in mind the Bible is God’s love letter to His children and, to get the depth out of what He is saying, we must consume it like a love letter.

Keep in mind, the goal is not to get through the Scriptures but to get the Scriptures through us.  The Psalmist says that sitting at the feet of Jesus comes to the person who meditates on the law ‘day and night’ (Psa. 1:2).  Keep in mind meditation is a slow process that requires allowing God’s thoughts and words to seep deep into our souls.

Soooo friends and neighbors,  do you want to sit at the feet of Jesus?   Then “Be still and know that He is  God” (Psa. 46:10).  Remember, the word that God speaks to us can renew our mind, but we must be silent and receive it.



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Do You Ever have A Yearning Too Deep for Words?

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
Gethsemane (ICEJ Staff photograph)Gethsemane
Today's picture is of the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. It's story is told in Luke 22: 39-40; "And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. When He arrived at the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation."

“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us, and if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him” (I John 5:14-15)

Hey Gang:  Today I have received five requests for prayer and I haven’t left the house as yet today.  This wonderful technology called computers, and the other 312 new devices that allow us to receive more news than I like to receive, do keep us up to date on a multitude of events, tragedies and folk's general welfare. 

  Years ago I was blessed to work with a dear middle aged lady by the name of Molly Mc Gurk (name changed to protect the innocent) whose favorite words were “”Have you heard?”.  I must admit, I tended to watch for the arrival of Molly and split from the scene for the other place  safe from getting the daily reports of tragedy and pain – ‘the men’s head’.

Well, I am not really interested in sharing the woes of “tragedy incorporated” , but rather share a yearning that keeps creeping up in my heart on a growing basis.  It seems to me in the past several years that requests for prayer from folks who I do believe need, has increased.   I keep a prayer list that I try and cover each week which has grown to mega pages.  Now, please do not think I am complaining, for I believe it is blessing to take those with needs to the throne room.

But I have also found there are growing numbers of days where I just want to talk to God, not about crisis or pain, I just to talk to Him and get to know Him better.  I am 78 years old and have gone beyond my promised three score and ten and one of these days this thumper in my chest is going to say 'syanara’ or “shalom” and I will meet the Lord at the pearly gates.  And I want to be as up to speed in my knowing Him intimately.

Does that mean that I do not want to pray for the many requests that come into my life?  May that never be!  Jesus gave us specific orders on how we should pray, in His Sermon on the Mount, and even gave us a model pray to help us along.  Paul said “I am to pray unceasingly”.  There is no greater power in the world than to send our petitions to the throne room of heaven and I certainly want to be obedient to all of the instructions given on prayer, but let me share a desire of my heart that has been close to my heart in the past weeks.  

Jesus, in His travels dropped into visit some old friends and we are told that Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus but Martha was distracted with the business of the day and let Jesus know she was not all that pleased about it.  Now, note Jesus response, “Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Lu. 10:42).  That’s it, that is what I am yearning for – I want to sit at the feet of Jesus and feel His touch and hear His voice and worship at His feet.  Does that hit your hot button this morning?  if so take a few minutes and get alone and sit at Jesus feet for a season.



Monday, February 13, 2012

We Don't Have a Clue

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
Samaria (ICEJ Staff photograph)Northern Samaria
Today's picture is of a strip of Highway 443 which runs through northern Samaria. It reminds us of Jesus' words in Acts Acts 1:7-8; "He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" 

“So that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known” (Phil. 1:13a)

Hey Gang:  One of the  great joys while serving at Voice of Martyrs is that we are blessed to be part of is the Tuesday morning Chapel Services.    In our last service we were blessed to hear three pastors who are serving their Lord and King in the underground church.  Listening to their stories makes one ask the question, “Would I have faith and confidence and courage to stand as they do?

The following is a story about a young mother who has been in prison under the sentence of death for more than two years .  Her guilt?– she is a witness for Christ who will not back down from her allegiance to her Lord and King, Yeshua and proclaim that Allah is the only god. 

What do you do while imprisoned in solitary confinement for more than two years?" The answer for one Pakistani Christian is “pray.” Asia Bibi has spent almost three years in prison on charges that she blasphemed Islam’s prophet Muhammad. She was convicted and sentenced to death, and now awaits the ruling on her appeal. To protect her from other inmates, she has been kept in solitary confinement. She cooks her own food to ensure that no one tries to poison her.

As each of the pastors spoke of their experiences in the underground church, I kept asking myself the question, “What would I do if I found myself in the same position with these unbelievable dedicated men?"  

One went on to say, from the point of his water baptism, “he no longer lived but Christ lived within him”.  Wow, what an awesome testimony and one that we need to take to heart.

Sooooo, young laddies and lassies, keep in mind Jesus' last words, “Go ye into all the world and spread the good news that Jesus loves you,- even to the hostile ones- this I know, because the Bible tells me so!”



Saturday, February 11, 2012

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
Gideon's Spring (ICEJ Staff photograph)Gideon's Spring
Today's picture is the traditional site of Gideon's Spring, located near the original site of Kibbutz Ein Herod in the Jezreel Valley. It's mentioned in Judges 7: 5-8; "So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, "You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink." Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water. The LORD said to Gideon, "I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home." 
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was  offering up his only begotten son.” (Heb. 11:17)

Hey Gang:  Have you ever asked God why it is that some folks have such a profound faith that they
can move mountains and so many, like myself, tend to struggle when confronted with the clinkers we
must face? 

In my morning time with the Lord I was researching the Abrahamic Covenant and how it applies to our
day and age.  I think I could spend the next week to ten days on the wonders of God’s Covenant with
Abraham, but the story of God’s calling to sacrifice his only son seemed to be in bold print.

The first thing that struck my dome of intellect was “He was in tune with the voice of God”  He had
heard it and heeded its advice many times before.  Let’s face it, to receive marching orders to leave the home of your youth and set out to a distant place and you had no idea where you were going would take a heap of faith.

As I read this account of Abraham’s faith, I thought of a neat little ditty that has been tucked away in the
recesses of my dome of intellect:  It seems a rock climber was doing his thing when the carabineer holding his safety rope snapped, leaving him hanging on the side of the mountain.

After trying every tactic he knew to do he came to the conclusion without help he was in deep trouble.  So he cried out, “Lord help me, is anybody up there?”  A voice came back and said, “Let go and trust me!”  He thought about that for a moment and then shouted, “Is anybody else up there?”

Do you think when God said to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son and offer him as a sacrifice” Abraham might have thought “Is anyone else up there?”  Yes, Abraham was a man of tremendous faith but he was a man with feelings and emotions.  As I thought of this story, I believe the message to us is, ‘he was obedient, and, if we are to realize God’s blessings, we must first be obedient to His word.’

Soooo, lads and lassies, as you traverse this day you, too, will be giving marching orders.  What you do with them will determine if God will trust you with even greater marching orders tomorrow.



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Have You Ever Turned Aside to see A Burning Bush and Gotten Your Fingers Singed?

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
Mount Hermon (ICEJ Staff photograph)Mount Hermon
Today's picture is of Mount Hermon, with just a few patches of snow near the summit. It reminds us of Psalm 133: 1-3; "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing-life forever" 

 “The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.  So Moses said “I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.”  (Ex. 3:2-3).

Hey Gang:  One of the neat things about the Word of God is, He gives us different people with different
character traits that meet our needs at different times.  I am not one that has ever had a problem with
overconfidence or feeling I am superior to anyone.  The depression years and growing up in the mountains of Pennsylvania took that out of me.

I have often asked God the question, why did He allow me to be the founder and builder of the Village
when there were multitudes of people out there with much greater skills and abilities than I.  His response was always “You were willing”.  Does that mean I was always confident of the decisions I was making were the right ones?  In no way.  I made so many mistakes along the way, I often wonder how God was able to do anything through me.

When most folks think of Moses they remember his dependence on God and the strength that
He maintained throughout his walk with the Lord.  Was He perfect.? No, he lost his cool one day
and struck  the rock.    Under the circumstances I would have beaten the rock into dust.

There were many times when I faced problems that I did not have a clue how to solve.  Now it
may sound strange but I believe that was my greatest asset for it made me totally dependent
on God to lead and give me the wisdom to do what needed to be done.

Notice, when God gave Moses the mission He had for him, Moses was not ecstatic with joy.  His first
response, “Who am I , that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”  (vs. 11).  “Who will I say sent me?”  “Lord, I don’t talk so good” “What if they do not  believe me”.  Does that sound like a man of confidence??

Why do I like the story of Moses?  Because it removed that feeling that I  had nothing to offer the
Lord.  He showed me that my greatest asset to God was my willingness to be used by God, no
matter what the assignment.

Soooooo, young folks, are you willing to be an Isaiah this morning?  “Then I heard the voice of
the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”  Then say, “Here am I, Send
Me!” (Is. 6:8).  Are you a “Here am I kind of person?” or a sorry, Lord, sorry,  I don’t think I have the ability to do that”.  Keep in mind, God’s promise “I will supply!” 



Saturday, February 4, 2012

Settle Down Pussy Cats, No Meal Tonight!

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
Beit She'an (ICEJ Staff photograph)Beit She'an
Today's picture is of ruins of the Greek amphitheater at Beat She'an, on the crossroads of the Jordan and Jezreel Valleys in northern Israel. The theater, and the Galilean hills in the background remind us of 1 Corinthians 12:13; "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" 
“He said, ‘O man of high esteem, do not be afraid.  Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!”  Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, ‘May my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.'”
 (Dan. 10:19)

Hey Gang:  How many out there would agree with me that Daniel was one tough dude.  Now think about what was dealt to him as a teenager.  He was captured,  taken to a foreign land, his country was destroyed and his people taken into bondage,.  To this we add  that he was in a strange culture and perhaps most pressing was being chosen to be a satrap in training in the king's court which placed him under the threat of death at any time.

He certainly had to make some tough decisions.  They attempted to mold them into a true Chaldean including changing his name.  But when it came to his eating habits, he would have no part of defiling himself by eating of the kings food which had been sacrificed to idols. 

When the rubber-hit-the-road Daniel declared, “I will not defile myself”.  Daniel had purpose in his life and he knew who he was in God’s eyes.  Do you ever feel the need to take a stand?  In this age when everything Christian is under attack, have you faced times when you need to shout “No, I will defile myself”?

We need to take a peek at Daniel’s life and find one of  the keys that gave him the backbone to trust in the Lord under any circumstance.   First, he was a fervent pray-er.   He knelt three times a day before open windows toward Jerusalem, and prayed and gave thanks before his God. 

This he did even though a trumped up decree was pushed through, in the dark of the night, forbidding anyone from praying to anyone or anything but King Nebuchadnezzar.  Daniel knew the sleaze bag club would run to the king and report his dastardly deed – praying to Abba Father.

We note that Daniel did not get all in a dither for he knew that God had placed him there for a purpose and  if his mission was completed, so be it, but if not, then he would close the pussy cat's mouth.  We know the rest of the story.

Soooo. Gang, Can we, too, have such trust and faith? Not without being in constant contact with Abba Father,  keeping the Armor of God in place, and filling our heart with the Word of God.  Folks, this I can guarantee, today you will come face to face with something that is contrary to God’s will and way for your life;  you must choose – will you allow yourself to be defiled? or will stand in the face of adversity and say, “No way, I will not allow myself to be defiled”?



Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
The Jordan River (ICEJ Staff photograph)The Jordan River
Today's picture is of the Jordan River, which looms large throughout the Biblical narrative, including in Mark 1:4-6; "John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey"

“”He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen, Come Lord Jesus.”    (Rev. 22:20).

Hey Gang:  I have mentioned my D14 Allis Chalmers Tractor in several morning messages, usually using it as an object of frustration but I want you to know, I am not sure what I would do if I did not have it.  I also have a semi-worn out garden tractor that long since gave up its ability to cut grass but has been a wonderful run about that saves hours on the mower and D14. 

Just when it was committed to the “junk heap” it gained new life.  But,  it tends to be a wee bit cranky and I am never sure it will feel like running today.  I keep a battery charger on it continually to keep its energy at peak levels and know if the temperature is below forty, I can forget it for the day.

In other words I am never quite sure Old Charlie will get up and go.  So what is the message here?  I am
78 year of age and, like the D14 that is more than sixty years old, there are more and more days when I feel like my “get up - got up and went”.  To complete task that I used to enjoy doing have now entered the “act of the will” category.

I have also learned that many things I used to do automatically, now require thinking and planning.  When I was speaking two and three times a week, I used to tell those who asked if I would come and speak to their group,  “Have mouth with travel”.  In other words speaking was a piece of cake because my mind was continually being filed with the message I felt God wanted to deliver;  but that is not the case anymore.

Now to prepare and deliver  messages are much more difficult and require much more time.  Now why in the world am I telling you this – this morning?  To set the table for this comment that I pray will dig deep into your soul.  

Ready?  Every day you waste now, when you are young and your brain is vibrant and ready to receive
what God wants to put in for future usage- when the rubber-hits-the-road, is time gone forever.  When we hit a clinker we cannot say “just a minute, I need to go look up and see what the Lord has to say about this crisis in our lives.

Soooo,  my young friends, take a word or two of advice from an older-than-dirt-hombre, if you do not put God’s word into your heart and mind now, when your mind is best equipped to receive,  He will have nothing to pull out when you find your back- is-against-the-wall. (to you computer geeks - GIGO!)