Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How Awesome and Mighty Is Your God in Your Eyes?

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
Jerusalem from the air (ICEJ Staff photograph)Jerusalem
Today's picture is a bird's eye view of the city of Jerusalem. It reminds us of Matthew 16:21; "From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day" 

"Behold these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him!  But the thunder of His power who can understand" (Psalm 79:11).

Hey Gang:  Have you taken a moment or two lately to look around and see how vast and wondrously made this universe is that God provided for us?  Scientists tell us they do not have a clue how big the universe really is.  I have been privileged to stand at the foot of the great Teton Mountains, and experience the magnificence of Old Faithful when it erupts and sends forth its awesome display of power.  Wow! Words are so inadequate to describe these creations of our God.

A bird just flew by my window.  I wonder where he is going?  Does he have a daily planner built into his computer bank that programs his every move?   The Word tells me God knows every creature personally.  Is that not awesome?  And is it not reassuring?

I watched a documentary on the awesome power of God as demonstrated by nature.  We, humans, like to think we have the intellect to build great powerful devices.  The rockets that sent the orbiters into space are indeed awesome but many launches were cancelled because God's weather conditions were not just right.

The news is filled with rhetoric coming from Iran and other Muslim nations that they now have enough power to annihilate the Little Satan (Israel) and the big Satan (the United States).  Iran claims that they will soon have the materials to build six atomic bombs. In their warped minds they believe they will have sufficient power to spit in God's eye and blow away the "apple of His eye".

Ezekiel paints a different picture.   "He wrote "You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers, so you will be My people, and I will be your God."  (36:28).

Yes we live in that time described by the prophet Haggai, "Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land.  I will shake all the nations" (2:6).  
But, don't sweat it, our God says,  "Be strong and courageous, Do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you." (Deut. 31:6).  And that you can take to the bank!

Soooo, keep in mind, God Word is clear, the only security is in Him.  All else will fade.   What say you gang, where is your trust this morning?  "To trust and obey for there is no other way".


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Are You Paying Attention?

Inline image 1We LIKE Prime Minister Netanyahu's statement at the start of his meeting with Mitt Romney. "Jerusalem today is marking the destruction of the city and temple thousands of years ago. As you see it’s been rebuilt by the Jewish people, open to  all the three great faiths, vibrant, bustling, and as you said, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and Jerusalem will always be the capital of Israel. 

"Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it,"  whenever you turn to the right or to the left" (Isa. 30:21). 

Hey Gang:  Every time I run across this verse it brings back a memory of my days as an Air Traffic Controller at Selfridge Air Force Base.  They were doing some major repairs to our instrument runway so we did instrument approaches to the runway and broke off the approach at a minimum altitude. 

One particular jet jockey was given the warning, "Break it off at 2700 feet and land on runway 27", but it did not penetrate his dome of intellect and he landed his T-bird on the closed runway.   Fortunately, there was sufficient space for him to navigate the aircraft among the construction equipment.  The pilot was a safety instructor who was there to lecture the young pilots on safety issues!

Is that not a common malady of many Christians? they just do not listen to God.  They go to Him only to talk! Yet the Scriptures reveal that any one, who was ever used of God, learned to remain in His presence until hearing from Him.

The Scripture of the day makes it clear that the Lord wants to talk to every one of us.  Pastor David Wilkerson related the following story: A little girl suffering from leukemia  was struggling with the thought of dying. One morning when her mother came into her room, the girl was all aglow and happy. "What has happened to you?" her mother asked.

The little girl answered, "An angel came to me and said I was going on a trip. God came and took my hand and walked with me through a beautiful garden. He told me, 'You're coming here tomorrow to be with Me.'" God spoke to that little child and took all the pain and fear from her heart. When she left to be with Him the next day, she had total peace.

How about you?  When you are intimate with Jesus, do you receive direction from Him? Does He tell you what to do and when and how to do it?  Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27).   

Soooo, take heed of Brother Wilkerson's challenge to each of us, "In times of  trial, get alone with Jesus and cry, "Lord, You're the only One who can help me. Only You know the way through this trial, so I'm going to stay here till You tell me what to do."  That is the kind of praying that is pleasing to God".



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Are You Listening?

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
The moon over Jerusalem (ICEJ Staff photograph)The Moon over Jerusalem
Today's picture is of a nearly full moon over the city of Jerusalem. It reminds us of Isaiah 24:23; "Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion. 

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "this is the way, walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21).

Hey Gang: I don't know about you, but personally, I believe there are times when God is far too quiet.  When I am in the midst of alligators I want God to come and drain the swamp- right now. 

I wonder if Daniel, when he was in the pussy cat cage, felt the same way, or how about the three Hebrew kids in the fiery furnace?  I suspect Joseph did some crying out to God when he was the jail house for something that he did not do.

As I pondered this question this morning, I kind of got a guilty conscience, for there are times when I feel that God is on vacation or perhaps not as up-to-speed on what is happening in my life, as I want Him to be.  Time for a reality check!

For the past several years I, and the bride of my youth, have been involved in volunteering at The Voice of Martyrs, a ministry that provides support services for  persecuted believers around the world .  The first trip to Bartlesville, the home office of the ministry, was a eye opening learning experience that led to a deep feeling of unworthiness. 

I learned that I did not have a clue to what standing on the promises of God really meant until I read the accounts of what folks in various parts of our world endure.  I had read of persecution but it never really penetrated.  I mean each day the sun came up at my house and my chances of even having someone take me to task, because I believed in Jesus as Lord of my life, was very remote.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have barely reached the first rung of the ladder in 'trusting and obeying" but I have learned a lesson or two about what God meant when He said, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you" (Psa. 32:8) and "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" Pro. 3:5).

I wonder if Daniel was concerned when he was surrounded by hungry felines?  I think I would have been.  But notice his response to the king, "My God sent His angel and shut the lions mouths and they have not harmed me" (Dan. 6:22).  We find the same protective covering over the Hebrew children and Joseph, for God had a far greater plan for their lives because they were obedient to His calling.

Soooo,   Are you like me?  Do you sometimes wonder why God does not send us a God-O-Gram with clear instructions?  Oh, but He does.  Jeremiah wrote "Call on me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know" (33:3).  Isaiah wrote, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying "This is the way, walk in it." (30:21). "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God(Romans 10:17)


P.S.  Just a note to tell you God is perfect in always and on time with His responses.  But there are times when the guy in the mirror is out in left field many times when the chips begin to fall.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A New day; A New Opportunity!

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
A shepherd with his sheep (ICEJ staff photograph)A Shepherd with his sheep
Today's picture is of a shepherd with his sheep. It reminds us of Mark 6:34; "When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things"

“For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding” (2 Cor. 10:12).

Hey Gang, I don’t know about you but I am up to my armpits with the billions of words that are meant to do one thing – put your opponent down and make me look like a shining star.  Paul said folks who constantly rag on others “are without understanding”.

A number of years ago, while working at a California detention center for juveniles, there was a youngster,Tad, who reeked with ability.  Whatever he set out to do, he did with near perfection.  If there was ever an odd ball among the broken lives that surrounded him, it was he.

Often at night after we locked the section down, I would bring a boy or two boys out of their rooms to do mundane things and prepare for the next shift, but my ulterior motive was to learn more about the young folks that were darkening our doorstep.  

When I ask Tad why a talented young man like he choose to spend time in a place like this, his response was one that I heard many times in my tenure in the juvenile justice business. He said, "My dad is an alcoholic and when he comes home drunk he beats up the family.  I do things that I know will not get me sent into long term care, just things bad enough to get out of the house and recoup.  Here I get food, a bed to sleep in, safety from abuse and I get to do things that I cannot do at home, like sports.

But the most important reason I like to come here is you guys seem to like me and give me a lot of warm fuzzies."

As I talked with Tad, Paul’s words in Philippians 1:6 seemed to ring my bell, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus”.   For all intents and purposes one would say that Tad was on the wrong track, but I believe he was “with understanding” and would one day realize that God had a purpose for his life.

Soooo, my young warriors, let me share a lesson I learned many years ago and has served me well: when I am talking I am not learning, but when I am in the listening mode, I can learn all kinds of new and neat things.  When I began my work with children I was an uneducated novice. On my first day I shared that piece of news with the kids and said, “You will have to teach me what I need to know about how to serve you best”.  

Dangerous?  No, they taught me well!



Sunday, July 22, 2012

Daniel, A Highly Esteemed Servant of God

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
Golan Heights (IDF Spokesperson's Office)Mount Hermon
Today's picture is of the green hills of the Golan Heights, moving up to Mount Hermon in the background. It reminds us of Psalm 133; "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; 

 “All this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth”

Hey Gang:  If there was ever a time in the history of our nation when we need a Daniel to come forth, it is now.  What made Daniel so special in God’s eyes? God Made Daniel his oracle because Daniel never let up in prayer.  “While I was speaking in prayer…he informed me…and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give you skill and understanding” (9:21-22).  How we need a leader with skill and understanding today.

Daniel made a declaration of war that he would not leave God's presence until he discerned what God was doing. Daniel did not care what price he must pay.  Does that sound like a challenge for you and me?

Something else happened to Daniel, he was brought to the end of his fleshly speaking.  God said, “I have sanctified your tongue”  Now I am going to speak through you!  Wow, would that not be awesome?  The Psalmist wrote, “I, the Lord, am your God, Open your mouth wide and I will fill it” (Psa. 81:10).  Jesus said, “Do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say”  (Matt10:19).

Daniel had a deep sorrow over the condition of the people and the moral decline of the nation.   It was at the time when Daniel was receiving visions from the Lord and was spared from the Lion’s den.  It is sad to say, I see a similar scene in God’s house today;  Mministers and churches have closed their ears to prophetic warnings.

Let me share with you a prophetic message that David Wilkerson, the author of The Cross and the Switchblade received from the Lord a short time before his death in an automobile accident.

“While in prayer, I was impressed by the Holy Spirit with an extraordinary vision.  God has been at work in the heavenlies on a covert operation.  He’s raising up an army within an army, searching his regular troops to form an elite unit of volunteers.  This special force is made up of warriors he can touch and stir to do battle with the enemy.  We see a picture of this in Scripture, with Saul’s special militia.  The Bible tells us, “There went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched” (I Sam 10:26).

Soooo, good buddies, yes, God is shaking everything that can be shaken but Jesus made it clear that when all these things happen, look up, your redemption draws near.  Hey, folks are you looking up this morning or are you locked into the woes of the past? You do know there is nothing you can do about the past, don't you?  That is why God says when I forgive you I forget your trespasses.  Try it.  It may make the sunshine brighter.


Friday, July 20, 2012

          “How will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?  And how will they hear without a preacher”  (Romans 10:14

 Hey Gang, TGIF!  Do you sometimes feel that way?  I certainly had many Fridays when I felt that way but, in my working days I was involved in three occupations,   I was an air traffic controller, worked as a counselor in a detention home and was developer and president of a child care program. 

Note, none of these jobs were five-day  weeks, nine to five with weekends off and holidays.  Did it bother me?  Yes, to a degree, it would have been nice to punch the clock at five o’clock and put the work place out of my mind until Monday morning when I punched in again, but there was also the joy of knowing that one of my fellow employees was home enjoying his family today, and I would be able to do the same tomorrow. 

I found this neat little ditty in Chuck Swindoll’s book Ultimate Book of Illustrations that makes a great deal of sense.  I wish I would have had it when I was up to my armpits in alligators.  It goes like this:

“Slow me down, Lord, ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind.  Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time.  Give me, amid the confusion of the day, the calmness of the everlasting hills.  Break the tension of my nerves and muscles with the soothing music of the singing streams that live in my memory.  Teach me the art of taking minute vacations – of slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to smile at a child, to read a few lines from a good book.  Slow me down, Lord. And inspire me to send my roots deep into the soil of life’s ending values, that I may grow toward my greater destiny.  Remind me each day that the race is not always to the swift; that there is more to life than increasing its speed.  Let me look upward to the towering oak and know that it grew great and strong because it grew slowly and well.”

Is that not a great piece of advice especially to those who are wired with the insatiable feeling that we must be doing something constructive?  My warning to  those who have completed their working tenure and are preparing for the life of leisure is, “Careful, chose your projects well or you might find your calendar looking like someone walked on it". 

Does that mean I am telling them to get out the old rocking chair and, as Dwight Eisenhower said he would do, sit quietly for seven years and then begin to slowly start rocking”.  No, that is not what I am saying, but rather when you no longer have the discipline of the work day in your life, you can let your life get out of control.  

Soooo, my young buckaroos, when it seems the alligators are rising and the sun is having a hard time peeking through the dark clouds, take a moment or two and smell the posies.  Then call someone twho is worse off then you and tell them you really, really, really care about them.



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Even in the Midst of a Cemetery

"Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing. And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.”  (Ex. 15:20-21).

Hey Gang:  When I was a ninth grader at good old Keith Junior High School I was also a pin setter at a bowling alley in downtown Altoona, Pennsylvania.  Today the hazards of getting into the pit and resetting the pins, that the heavy's tried to knock clear out of the building, has been replaced by very sophisticated machines that do the job.  

Now I am sure you are impressed with that piece of trivia but, before you get too excited, let me tie that message to what the Lord laid of my heart this morning.   We finished our pin setting at the midnight hour and I would begin my four mile walk home.   Three miles from home I had to make a choice, I could go by way of the streets or cut the final mile in half by cutting through the cemetery. 

Now, I knew in my mind there was no one in the cemetery that would going to get me but, when you are a wee bit on the skittish side to begin with, every sound can be a motivator to get your feet in gear.  A half mile can be a heap of distance, when you have been setting pins for four hours, so I developed a defense mechanism against the ghost and goblins that many think lurk in cemeteries. 

Now, when I hit the cemetery gate I turned on my in-built stereo system and began to sing.  The song was always the same "Jesus Loves me this I know".  And then I would have a discussion with God,  How do I know ? "For the Bible tells me so".  And then I would claim that promise that follows, "Little ones to Him belong".   And would confess that " I, indeed am weak, but You are might and strong".    

Now, I want to make a confession to you, every sound that one hears when walking through a cemetery at one o'clock in the morning and  there is no moon or stars out, can be a motivator to your feet.  Ecclesiastes tells us,"... there is time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance".

 I was not doing much weeping or mourning or laughing nor even dancing but flat our running! I want you to know, you can sing at the top of your lungs while motivating your feet to flat out move! 

Soooo, good buddies,if you find yourself in the midst of a cemetery at the darkest hour, remember Jesus words, "I will never desert you or forsake you". (Heb. 13:5) even in the midst of a cemetery at the darkest hour.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Are you A Hoarder?

"And he would answer and say to them, "The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise." (Luke 3:11)

Hey Gang.  I happened to come across a program on the boob-tube about hoarders.  Their houses were piled to the ceiling with things that appeared to be misdirected garbage can items.  And owners were not about to give the garbage up without a fight.

I do not consider myself to be a collector and certainly do not qualify as a hoarder, by the program standards, but I must admit yesterday I spent the day cleaning my shed and hauled a truck load of junk to the salvage yard; I was rewarded with a check for $46.20.  In the process I gained more space for the things I feel have a purpose and the sheds looks a heap much better, and I feel great.

But as I was in the process of completing the cleaning task, I began to hear a voice in the distance saying, "Hey dude, when was the last time you cleaned the garbage out of your vessel?  With each piece that made it into the back of the truck, He reminded me that our brains can become so filled with the nonsense and yes, even the garbage of the world that He, Yeshua, has a hard time penetrating.

As the day progressed and the sweat rolled on, I found little reminders of what God was saying.  "Look at all those books".  Books filled with this man's opinion and that man's opinions.  Did I not warn you that, if you do not develop knobs in your head that I can hang My word and My ways on, your mind will become so cluttered with garbage there is no room for Me?"

And how about time?  Have you checked to see if the things of the world, that really have no meaning tomorrow, have become a consuming fire in your daily walk?  I mean how long does it take to put your mind in neutral and observe what the world is feeding through that four cornered monster? Now compare that time to the preparing of your spiritual knobs.  Paul tells us in Colossians three that we need to die to self, put off all the things that offend the Holy Spirit and put on those things that God can use to glorify Himself through us. 

And the biggy ending - if you do this, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful."But, notice he also instructs us, "... whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks through Him to God Father". (Col. 3:15, 17).

Soooo, good buddies, check it out.  Are you a hoarder.  Do you fill your mind and heart with the things of the world that have no eternal purpose?  Keep in mind when the rubber hits the road God pulls out of you what you have hung on those knobs in your head to gain victory.



Friday, July 13, 2012

More Daddy, Please More!

"He Will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse." (Mal. 4:6)

Hey Gang:  In my tenure as the exulted eagle of an oasis for hurting children, I kept the above verse on my bulletin board.   I prayed without ceasing that one day we would hear the trumpets sound and see the missing armies of fathers marching to find their children and take their God given place in their children's lives.

One story that has been a driving force in my heart and mind is who of a little girl that had a deep emptiness in her heart,  her daddy was not a part of her life.  He would come weekly and take the older sister out and lavished his attention on her.  And then one week he went to pick up the older sister but she was bedfast with the flu.

Mom suggested that he might want to take the younger sister out this week and lavish his attention on her.  He agreed  and took her to the local McDonalds for a "Happy Meal".  While the meal was being prepared they talked and in the course of the conversation, daddy took her hands in his and said "I want you to know I love you".   With tears streaming down her face, she replied "More daddy, more, please more!.

 When I went to work in the Juvenile Hal,l I thought it would be a training ground for me prior to going for my masters degree in criminology.  And so, I used my working hours as preparation time for when that day would arrive when I would go back to college.  I compiled my own "poll" and what was happening in the hearts of the kids.  I learned very early that you could tell how hard the kid was by how many hours he cried himself to sleep at night.

Number three on my questionnaire to the kids was, "If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?"  The answer was always the same 'to have my mommy and daddy together and to have a happy home.' 

One evening at the Village, I sensed that someone was standing at the door of my office.  The day was shutting down and the boys were in their rooms for quiet time and off to the arms of Morpheus.  Leroy, an eleven year old was standing there, and I asked him if he would like to come and sit in my lap for a spell.   In the course of our conversation, he asked me a question that would change the total direction of our work.  He said, "Mr. H.  you tell me you love me.  Do you want to show me?"  "Yes, Leroy,, I want to show you".  He then laid this on my heart "Help my mother".

Soooo, my friends, look at your hands.  Do you realize that God directs each of us to be a witness for Him to someone, this very day, who is crying out "More daddy, Please More.  It may be your child, or a grandchild or even a great grandchild.    Or it may be your spouse, your brother or sister or even your parents.  This I know, there are few days that go by that God does not send someone who is crying "More daddy, please More!.  Are your ears tuned to hear their cry?



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Are you Missing the Boat?

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
Sailboat on the Sea of Galilee (ICEJ Staff photograph)Sailboat
Today's picture is of a sailboat on the Sea of Galilee. It reminds us of Ezekial 27:7-8; "Your sail was of fine embroidered linen from Egypt so that it became your distinguishing mark; your awning was blue and purple from the coastlands of Elishah. The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were your rowers; your wise men, O Tyre, were aboard; they were your pilots" 

"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father" (Col.3:17)

Hey Gang: Question for you to ponder this morning.   Do you hide your sin? Wait, wait, think about that for a moment.  When God sends someone across your path who really needs someone to come along side and help carry their load, what is the first thing you do?

 A lesson I had to learn was folks that are hurting are not interested in my credentials or how far up the corporate ladder I have achieved, they want someone to deny self and help them take up their cross.

Most cannot understand my success because they have no knobs to hang that information on.  In other words, "If you have never been there", you won't have a clue what I am talking about.  The pit is too deep for them to see out;  But when I crawl into the pit with them and share the Good News that God is also in the pit ready to push, the alligators seem to take a hike.

On the first day I went to work at the Juvenile Hall it took me about eight minutes to learn words are not worth much to the kids who found their way into that pit.   I had to make a choice, admit I didn't have a clue and ask the kids to teach me how to help them, or 'try and snow them with footwork'.  I choose the former. "Teach me what I need to know how to help and not be a hindrance."  

Over the next four years that is precisely what they did.   Notice- the courses that were part of the curriculum in my working towards my PhD in the school of hard knocks were vastly different than those taught in the schools of higher learning:

Lesson number one, "Don't try and be something you are not! Followed close by "remember,  we have the brains to know a phony when we see one." Second,  If you are not ready to back it up with your life - don't say it.  Lesson number three,  I am not interested in your promises - only your actions! 

Lesson number four, Most could not spell integrity or honesty or commitment but they certainly knew what they meant; not from the positive experiences in their lives but by the many who failed them along the way.  Lesson five:  "Don't tell me you have  been there - you don't have a clue!" 

Lesson six:  "You can talk about love and caring about me until you are green in the face, but if I don't see it in your face and hear it in your talk and see it in your walk - it ain't worth much to me."  Finally,  the most important lessons of them al, "I am not a number on a case file, I am a real live person; if you can't see any other good in me at least recognize that".

Soooo, good buddies,  do you really want to be one of God's warriors who is a  carrier?  I mean a carrier of the Holy Spirit.    Then pin this curriculum up on your bathroom mirror and let it become part of your daily walk.  There's a whole barn full of kids, and adults, wallowing in pits today. Without someone to push them out they will remain captive for their entire life.  



Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Poke in Reality -Part 2

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
Tel Aviv beach (ICEJ Staff photograph)Tel Aviv shoreline
Today's picture is of the beach in Tel Aviv. It reminds us of God's promise to Israel in Numbers 34:6; "As for the western border, you shall have the Great Sea, that is, its coastline; this shall be your west border

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness, For His name sake" (Psa. 23:1-3).

Hey Gang:  Yesterday I shared a tiny bit about the advent to the faster-than-sound age.  A very important point that I neglected to share was when the first jet, the Lockheed P-80 prototype was delivered to be flight tested, Chuck Yeager, a mechanic, had a deep desire to be its pilot but he lacked the credentials to be chosen.  

But, someone had his eye on this young person. On the day the test pilots were chosen, Chuck was on the list,  The Colonel, who set the standards for those he would trust in the cockpit of this new level of aircraft,  had his eyes on this young mechanic.    When the Bell X-15 came on line and needed a specially equipped person to handle the controls in this speeding bullet, the Colonel had only one name on his list - Church Yeager.

Now, I tell you this to make a point.  Sometimes we think we are just a part of the scenery and do just enough to keep the boss off our back.  That is not God's way.  Chuck was a very special kind of guy who gave one hundred percent every day and had a compulsion to be better at everything he did, every day.  He did not do it to gain attention- for he was but a maintenance man in a very hi tech business. 

Let me make Chuck's story a wee bit personal.  As I have mentioned before in my growing up years I was, to make it bluntly, a mess.  If there was a person that would qualify for the "least likely to succeed" award, there would have been no question who would get it. 

I was totally and completed convinced I would never amount  to a hill of beans, so I settled into a pattern - everyplace a went and every place I worked I did the very best job I could do.  I learned very early, if I was willing to do what others were not willing to do with quality, I would at least have a feeling of value and worth in my efforts, even if it did not move me up in the opinion polls of this world.

But like Chuck, I, too, had someone who was watching my every move, even though I did not have a clue, He (Abba Father) was directing my every step.  I believe many times we grieve the Holy Spirit when we try and do things in our own strength and fail to take advantage of what God wants to do through us.

Soooo. those of you who are beginning your climb up the ladder of life, keep in mind, "My God will supply your every need" - if you submit to His leading.  There was a movie years ago titled "God Is My Co-Pilot".  In God's sight, that is not good enough - He demands that He be our PILOT!



Thursday, July 5, 2012

A "Poke Through Jello"

Breaking the sound barrier - Chuck Yeager 

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix our hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the relation of Jesus Christ." (I Peter 1:13).

Hey Gang:  From the time my brother Del was old enough to see iron birds flying in the skies, he knew he would one day be a pilot.  This he accomplished after being discharged from the marine corp. at the conclusion of WWII.  Since he was my hero I, too, had a desire to become a sky jockey but that was not God's plan.  I contracted a mysterious heart murmur that lasted the duration of that physical.

But I never lost my interest in airplanes and enjoyed seeing the development of the jet age.  As an air traffic controller, I was very aware of idiosyncrasies of the entry into the jet age, the phenomena of the sound barrier.

One of the very special heroes of my adolescent years was Chuck Yeager, the test  pilot in the development of faster-than-sound age.  I was especially drawn to the tremendous advances that Chuck experienced in his piloting of the Bell X-1` experimental airplane.  It is a phenomenal story of perseverance in spite of the hazards of test flying an airplane that was designed after a 50 caliber bullet- since bullets traveled faster than the speed of sound.   

In 1947, eight powered flights were made in the X-1 each providing new data and new obstacles.  The major problem was as they approached the sound barrier, they experienced increased turbulence in the aircraft.  On the eighth flight a change was made in the control mechanism, controlling the aircraft with the horizontal stabilizer instead of the elevator to correct the angle of attack.

The X-1 was carried to the launch altitude in the belly of a B-29. In flight eight, after the drop from the B-29,  Yeager hit the go button and fired three rocket engines; in a matter of seconds he surpassed all previously speed records.  Once again at mach .94 the plane began to rattle.  He made the adjustment with the horizontal stabilizer trim switch and then ignited the fourth rocket.  

Poof! The X-1 sliced through the supersonic barrier on a sheet of glass.  A "poke through Jell-o" was how Yeager described the historic event. 

As I have traversed my tenure on this earth, I can relate to Chuck's experience.  I know only too well what it means to hit severe turbulence as I approach the victories that God has for me.  We used to say "We knew what was coming next at the Village because God tested it in our own family."  But we also learned that when the turbulence really got tough the key to being an ove-rcomer was to fire the fourth rocket.

Soooo, let me share one more piece of news about the sound barrier.  As the aircraft approached, moving from subsonic to super sonic, a halo engulfed the aircraft. It is both mysterious and beautiful.  It is in a sense, resistance to release.  Having a tough time today, do you want a halo moment?  Then flick the fourth switch.



Tuesday, July 3, 2012

AH - Come On - Really!!

"That the living may know: The Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes and sets over it the lowliest of men." (Daniel 4:17). 

Hey Gang:  I was watching the news report on the Supreme Courts decision that ObamaCare was constitutional in all respects and it really ticked me off.    My Dutch dander really came to the surface and then I heard that voice that has becomes so very familiar in my walk with the Lord,'He whispered,"Did you ever stop to think what might happen if every time you feel the need to lambaste someone, you would pray for them instead?"

The bride-of-my-youth, who has put up with yours truly for 55 years, often tells the story of a young lady that really ticked her off and was eating at her gizzard.  And then one day she, too, heard that voice that said very clearly, when you think of her, pray for her.  Obediently she took God's command and shortly thereafter she grew to love this young lady.

I suspect there is a heap of grumbling going on in our nation today and some very choice words for those within the Belt-Way.  Now I also suspect that grumbling and complaining will not do much good but God does give us the key to becoming over-comers,  in 2 Chronicles 7:14:  Humble yourself, pray diligently and put all the mundane foolishness in the thrash can and follow His ways.

I am proud to be an American and proud to say I served my country in the United States Air Force.  I am proud of the twenty plus close relatives who served in the Second World war, the Korean War, Desert Storm and Afghanistan.  It makes me sad when I see and hear those who put or country down.

If we are truly God's patriots in this "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave," we will read with new understanding the words of Peter, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake; whether it be to the king, as supreme or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well..." (I Peter 23:13-14).

Soooo, my fellow American's, what will it be with you?  Our decision today will have much to say about our tomorrows.  Paul wrote, "I exhort therefore,  that . first of all, supplications, and giving of thanks, be made for all men, for kings and for all that are in authority; that we may lead to quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty"  (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

God Bless America!! - America Bless God!!



Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Commandment With Promise

Holy Land Picture of the Day  
Fallow Deer at the Jerusalem Zoon (ICEJ Staff Photograph)Fallow Deer
Today's picture is of Fallow Deer, native to the Holy Land. It reminds us of Psalm 42:1-2; "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God"

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord Your God gives you.” (Exodus 20:12).

Hey Gang:  I mentioned in a recent morning message that I had done some serious black pot cooking.  I might add the beans and ham,  salads and fresh baked bread with strawberry jam was fabulous. 

Black pot cooking requires your personal attention throughout the cooking process.  The key to successful black pot cooking is to control the heat.  If it get to hot, it burns the bottom of what you are cooking, and if not enough heat, the obvious result is a underdone end-product.  That is part of the enjoyment of black pot cooking; it makes one stop the business of the day, get a good book, sit back and patiently wait for the finished product.

But this time was different.  For some reason my dad was the focus of my thoughts.  I want you to know I loved my daddy, but as a boy growing up I did not believe my daddy loved me.  I used to think he was an angry man but as I have grown older I believe my daddy was really a frustrated man. He was not a school- educated man but he certainly was a self taught person who could literally fix anything and everything. As I think about his life, I realize how frustrated he was because his life was filled with failures and disappointments.

He married and started his family during the tough depression years.  The only work he could find was as a coal miner.  They tell me he was a good coal miner and worked hard to be productive, but one day an accident ended his coal mining years.  He and mom then opened a bakery and just as it was beginning to thrive, it burned to the ground.

He then went to work for a bus company as a driver and life seemed to stabilize for him, but one day tragedy struck again – the company went out of business and at age 57 he lost all of his retirement.  But, once again God provided and he was able to find work as a school custodian in California.  

I do not recall ever sitting on my daddy's lap or spending undivided time with me.  I do not recall him ever telling me I had done something well.  I don’t recall him ever saying much of anything to me.  But God does move in mysterious ways.  When he was in his final years on earth, he was diagmosed with the hideous disease, Alzheimer’s. We cared for him in our home for those final years.  One day, I was doing the dishes, I felt his presence behind me.  He said, Kermit, (he  had not known who I was for years) I want you to know that I love you.    I waited more than sixty years to hear that!

Soooo, ladies and gentlemen, my counsel to you this morning is keep the faith and put your trust that God will give you the desire of your heart.  It may take sixty years, but He is faithful and true to meet our inner most needs.