Friday, June 28, 2013


 “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 called 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 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 (according to Bible on Internet)  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.

Sooooo 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!” 



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What HappensWhen 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, 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 Paul, 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 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 per month and make it much more convenient.  Now if you believe that I have a wonderful piece of land just off the coast of Miami that I will sell to you are bargain prices.

My question to the upgrade advocate – how much pain and agony is attached to getting all the bugs worked out until my level of understanding is acclimated to using the new system?  Oh, no worry!  This is a tested and proven, bug- free mechanism that even a 79 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 the  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 angry some nights and I must admit that my patience was at 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. Prayer changes ME!

The computer is working fine as I write this and my anger has gone underground again waiting for another opportunity to destroy my patience. But I am better equipped to handle it,  I have learned to use the James method: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trial, knowing the testing of your faith produces endurance" (James 1:3-4).  The computer has given me a crash course in implementing these words of wisdom.



Monday, June 24, 2013

My God is an Awesome God! Blog 400

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" (Phil. 4:13);   And my God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:19).

Hey Gang:  How many out there truly believe that you can do all things through Christ who stands ready to strengthen you and supply for all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus?    

This morning is one of those very special days for this Pennsylvania Hillbilly.  I have mentioned on several occasions that my daddy was a coal miner and in my beginning years we lived in a coal- mining town called Dean.  It is said that we lived so far back in the sticks that they had to pump sunshine to us and even the hoot owls wore knapsacks.    

Although both mom and dad were endowed with common sense, the ability and drive to work hard and use their gifted talents to the maximum, formal education was not a luxury that they had opportunity to achieve.  In essence in those early formative years, (also the depression years) there was very little time to sit on Daddy’s knee or have Mom read stories or teach some of the finer things about life.

And then disaster struck, my Dad was injured in a mining accident which terminated his mining days.  We moved from the mountains to, what I considered, a gigantic metropolitan city.  Actually, it was a city of sixty thousand or less.  From Hunky Hollow, deep in the Appalachian Mountains, to a place where indoor plumbing was the norm-  along with all the other wonderful modern conveniences -was exciting but also very frightening.

It was indeed a time of deep shock for yours truly.  I was enrolled in a school where there were more kids than I had ever cross paths with in my entire years on earth.  On the first day I arrived wearing my knickers,  brogan shoes, had buck teeth and my name was "Kermit"- which immediately placed a large bulls eye on my back.  School, from that point on it was more of a survival exercise than an educational exercise.  I graduated twelve years later with a fifth grade reading level.

Now I tell you this so that all of you that struggle with the schools of higher learning will have hope.  Look at the Scripture of day again and note "My God Shall".  There is no greater power verse for the down and outer that "My God Shall".  True I was very limited in my formal education but as I look back over the years, I was truly blessed by God, who supplied my every need.

You see I learned "God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed"  (2 Cor. 9:8).  This morning I reached a plateau that was totally and completely impossible for that Pennsylvania Hillbilly kid with limited education.  If you were to ask any of my teachers, they would be quick to tell you my chances for climbing the ladders of success were so very limited.  But as you read this morning message keep in mind that it is blog number 400.   Also remember "My God Shall!"

Soooo, my young friends, as you get ready to face another day of challenges, keep Paul's words in the front of your mind,  "Now 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. 9:10). 

Malachi blessed our sox off when he gave us these power verses: "Bring the whole tithe in to the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house and test Me now in this," says the Lord of Host, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows."  And note his next words, "Then I will rebuke the devourer for you".  (Mal. 3:10-11a).  And that my friends you can take to the bank!



Friday, June 21, 2013

Time To Move On - But Wait! (Our God is a Mighty, Awesome, Miracle Working God)

"The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words" (Matthew 27:44)

Hey Gang, The past several mornings I have centered the messages on the subject that I call ‘The key to walking with Christ’, namely "Choices".

  It is now six thirty in the morning and I have already made a dozen or more choices; What will I wear today? will I peal one or two oranges?  How many scopes of coffee should I put in the coffee pot? And what shall I zero in on in the morning message? As my day progresses the choices will get more numerous and probably much more life impacting than whether I should peal one or two oranges or what I should wear.

There is nothing more impacting on our lives than the choices we make.  One of the sayings that I picked up during the Star Wars era was, ‘Your choices determine Your Destiny’.  God modified this to me and preceded it with these most important words- "Your Attitude".  Together they read, "Your Attitude determines your Choices and Your Choices determine Your Destiny".  Words you can take to the bank!

Remember in the last morning message, I shared the news that God provides us with choices that have eternal consequences?   Why were there three crosses on Calvary’s Hill?  The two criminals had much in common but when reality set in, one suddenly got some smarts. 

Both were convicted to die by the same system, both were surrounded by the crowd, both equally close to Jesus.  In fact they began with the same sarcasm, "The two criminals also said cruel things to Jesus" (Matt. 27:44). But something happened to one of the thieves and he cried out, "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom".   (Read Luke 23:39-43)

 There are times when God sends thunder to stir us.  There are times when He sends blessings to lure us.  But then there are times when God sends nothing but silence, as He honors us with the freedom to choose where we will spend eternity.  He gave the thieves on the crosses the choice as to where they would spend eternity.     

 And what an honor it is!  In so many areas of life we have no choice.  Think about it.  You didn't choose your gender, race or place of birth or siblings.  Sometimes our lack of choices angers us.  "It's not fair "we say, “that I am so slow, or my nose is too big, or I cannot keep my body at the exact weight I desire.”

 Soooo,  one last thought about the thief who repented: no question he had made a barn full of wrong choices, choices he was paying for.  Is he reaping the fruit of those bad choices?   No, just the opposite.  The thief is enjoying the fruits of one good choice he made.  In the end all his bad choices were redeemed by a solitary good one. 

How could two men see the same Jesus and one choose to mock Him and other choose to pray to Him?  And the one who prayed, Jesus loved enough to save him, and when the other mocked, Jesus loved him enough to let him.  He allowed him the choice.  He does the same for each of us!!



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Choices, Choices, Choices! #2

"On the wood of the cross the world was saved all at once, and whoever is lost loses himself, because he will not receive the Savior, because he falls again and repeats the fall of man."  Count Nikolaus Ludwig Von Zinderdorf 

 "There Jesus was nailed to the cross, and on each side of Him a man was also nailed to a cross"  (John 19:18).

Hey Gang:  Yesterday we talked a wee bit about choices and how they impacted on the life of a very famous leader of our country.  We also talked a wee bit about others who have followed that same pattern of choice making.

Now, I wish I could tell you that I am one of the few people that has never make a bad choice, but that would be the greatest whooper of all time.  I have run into people that I sense would try to convince you that they have never chosen the wrong path.

A few years back the Plain People discovered they were losing their young people to the world’s ways. They developed a practice in their church called ‘rumspringa’, a period of time when Amish young people experience the outside world before deciding whether they want to join the Amish Church."   In other words, it is a testing period where the young folks are forced to make some very serious choices.  If you ask College Deans to Identify the major problem they have with freshmen who come to their schools, most would say ‘They are not equipped to make decisions’, in essence they are immature.

In part one of this series, I wrote, "In every age of history, on every page of Scripture, the truth is revealed.  God allows us to make our own choices and pay the piper when those choices are contrary to His will. 

No one delineates this more clearly than Jesus.  According to Him, we can choose a narrow gate or a wide gate (Matthew 7:13-14), a narrow road or a wide road (Matthew 7:13-14), a big crowd or a small crowd (Matthew 7:13-14).  We can choose to build our house on a rock or on sand (Matthew 7:24-27), serve God or riches (Matthew 6:24), or be numbered among the sheep or the goats (Matthew 25:32-33).

And the greatest choice we will make in our earthly walk!  "Then (those who reject Christ) will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life" (Matt. 25:46).

Soooo,  Keep in mind, as your traverse this day, that God will give you the opportunity to make many choices, some mundane that have very little eternal value, but there will be choices made this day that we will give an account for when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ. The most profound will be to answer the question, "What did you do with Jesus?"   



Monday, June 17, 2013

Choices, Choices, Choices! # 1

"On the wood of the cross the world was saved all at once, and whoever is lost loses himself, because he will not receive the Savior, because he falls again and repeats the fall of man."  Count Nikolaus Ludwig Von Zinderdorf

 "There Jesus was nailed to the cross, and on each side of Him a man was also nailed to a cross."  (John 19:18).

Hey Gang:  Let me share a bit of trivia that I ran across in my travels.  I love to read the short entries in magazines and I like to listen to the fillers on radio and television that give tidbits, that would otherwise go unspoken and not shared shared. 

Here is one that caught my attention while waiting to get my eyes tested. Edwin Thomas was a brilliant Shakespearian actor from the age of fifteen.  He also had a brother, John, considered lesser in talent but still very worthy of praise, who sometimes appeared with him on stage  

It is interesting to note that John had gained fame by playing the part of Brutus, who assassinated Julius Caesar, which was a harbinger of what was to come.  Two years later he, John Willkes Booth entered the Ford Theater in Washington and put a bullet into the head of Abraham Lincoln.   

Edwin was never the same and shame drove him into retirement and seclusion.  He might never have returned to the stage, if it were not for a twist of fate at a New Jersey train station. 

Edwin was waiting for his coach when a well dressed young man, pressed by the crowd. lost his footing and fell between the platforms and into the path of a coming train.  Without hesitation, Edwin locked his leg around a railing and grabbed the man and pulled him to safety.  After the sighs of relief, the young man recognized the famous Edwin Thomas Booth.

Edwin, however did not have a clue whom he had rescued. Later,iIn a letter received by Edwin, Gen. Adam Budare, chief secretary to Ulysses S. Grant, thanked Booth for saving the life of a child of an American hero, Abraham Lincoln.  How ironic - one brother killed the father, Abraham Lincoln, and the other brother saved his son, Robert Todd Lincoln.

·         Edwin and John, same mother, same father, same profession and same passion - yet one chose life the other death.   One wonders how this could happen.  Today we might even say such happenings occur much more frequently, as we see the continued breakdown of marriage and family life in our nation. True, this was a unique time in our history, we were engaged in the Civil War, where families were often split and one brother fighting the other.
·         Is this a single tragic occurrence?  I  think not.  Cain and Abel had the same parents but Cain choose murder and God let him.  David and Saul were both Kings of Israel, one chose God, the other power and control, and God let him.   Peter and Judas both denied the Lord, one sought mercy and forgiveness, the other choose death and God let them.

Soooo, What is the point here?  In every age of history, on every page of Scripture, the truth is revealed.  God allows us to make our own choices.  Today by noon, you will probably make a choice that will impact, not only your life but also those closest to you.  A mother may choose abortion, the down and outer may choose to rob a bank, you may choose to go play golf instead of taking your family to church.  Something to ponder this day!



Friday, June 14, 2013

It's All In the Book!

Mountains around Jerusalem 

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).  

Hey Gang:  I went back into the archives and retrieved material for this message.  The last several messages have been on choices and I  felt this was a very important reminder of God's grace  and what He has prepared for us.

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.”  (verse above).  In other words, what you say isn’t very important, but what God says has eternal significance!  It also provides a wonderful foundation for making the right choices.
So, take a minute or two this morning the give yourself a test.  Read each of the following principles and rebuttals and check out your faith meter.   Keep in mind , as you read these principles and rebuttals, that God cannot pull out of the heart, in times of wilderness experiences, what you have not programmed into the hard drives of your mind.  It is like developing knobs in your head and placing these principles on them for today and future use. 

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 you faith” (Ro. 12:3)

You say, “I’m not smart enough.”  He says, “I’ll give you wisdom” (I Cor. 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 your 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 determine my destiny".  You will make choices today – will you feed the white dog or the black dog?



Wednesday, June 12, 2013


So, I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened" (Luke 11:9-10). 

Hey Gang:  But what about those times that I prayed, and prayed and then prayed again for something and it resulted in more questions than answers?  How about those times when the prayer lines were opened across the land and the results were a crushing blow to my faith? 

I am reading a wonderful book by Martha Bolton who has gained much fame in recent years writing books about the Plain People (Amish).  This one is a book you want to read when the government is going through a series of fiasco's, as it is today.  She has written many things that I would like to share with you this morning but I will restrict it to one.  That does not mean that I won't use others tomorrow.

The story centers on a congressman who was running for president and had just withdrawn due to dropping pole numbers and the rejection of his party to support him.  As he was leaving Washington for his home in Wisconsin he ran into road construction and decided to take a less traveled route. This took him through one of my old stomping grounds, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

To make a long story short, he took his eyes off the road and ended up in a ditch, One might say this was a life-changing experience.  You see, he was in the midst of Amish country, on a back road infrequently traveled by motor vehicles..

Finally, he noticed something coming up the road - which turned out to be an Amish buggy with an Amish driver.  Again, let me skip to the punch line of this story.  A friendship developed between the Amish man and the politician, a relationship that changed the heart of the politician.  And in the course of conversation and his stay at the Amish home for a couple days, they talked about their lives and about their families.  The Amish man proudly introduced his children and carefully described each.   The last was his teen aged son, who had been killed in an accident, just months before.

The politician asked the Amish man a question that I have asked man times in the past several months.  You all know lost a grandson, whom I dearly loved as I love all of my grandchildren and great grandchildren, to a two year battle with cancer.  It was not a totally new experience, for I also lost a son 27 years ago in auto accident.  
The question: how in the world did you get through a loss like that?  And his answer was so simple and so basic,  "By believing in the things I believed in before it".  Wow!!!.  As I sat there thinking about that I felt the need to seek the Lord's forgiveness for trying to put the blame of deaths of David and Ryan on the shoulders of the Lord.  It reminded me of the story of John Huss, who was given a chance to recant his faith in Christ prior to those lighting the fire that would take his life - His response, “How can I turn my back on my Lord when He has cared for me all these years.

Soooo. my friends, when the alligators rise and start nipping at your heels, and you find your backside against the wall, remember the words of the Amish man who said, "By believing in the things I believed in before it happened!”   Paul put it a little differently when he wrote these words for our edification,   "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28).  



Monday, June 10, 2013

Don't Bug Me, Hug Me

Hey Gang, I need some help with this Morning Message.  I have wracked my brain for days trying to come up with a Scripture that fits this ‘Hugging Judge’ message and have drawn nothing but a blank.  Soooo, give me a hand, send me one that fits that is tucked away in your computer hard drives.   

In the past several days, I have been sharing people who have impacted my life in one way or another..  But, I pray, you have also looked beneath the surface of the messages and seen how the people involved also impacted the lives of larger numbers of people by being encouragers. 

This morning I want to share the message of a very unique person.  I say unique because in my years of working with dysfunctional children and families I have had the opportunity to meet many judges but can say I have never meet a ‘hugging judge’.  A few along the way kind of reminded me of Judge Bean of earlier days who had the reputation of being a ‘hanging judge’.

But Judge Lee Shapiro was a very unique person, he was known as ‘the Hugging Judge’.   Years ago he developed what he calls his "Hugging Kit".   On the outside it reads "A heart for a hug." ; the inside contains thirty little red embroidered hearts with stickum on the back.  Lee takes his ‘Hugger Kit’, He goes around to people and offers them a little red heart in exchange for a hug.

Once, Judge Shapiro after speaking at a conference, was challenged by a conferee that hugging was okay for the conference center but in no way would work in the real world.  The gauntlet was thrown down:  "Prove it here on the Streets of San Francisco".  And so the test began.  First he met a woman on the street.  “Hi, I am Lee Shapiro, the ‘hugging judge’.   I'm giving out these hearts in exchange for a hug."  Her reply, "Sure, let's go for it!" 
But the critic said, "Oh, that's too easy".  He saw a meter maid who was having a hard time with a BMW owner for whom  she was writing out a ticket.  Try it with her, said the critic.  With camera crew in tow,. he marched up to her and said, "Hi,  I'm Judge Shapiro, the ‘hugging judge’ and you look like you could use a hug.”  She threw open her arms and readily accepted his warmness. On their tour he approached a policemen and bus driver, both known for their salty attitudes, and each case the hug was readily accepted.

But the final test came when Lee's friend, Nancy, a professional clown, showed up at his doorstep and said, "Lee, grab a bunch of your Hugger Kits and let's go out to the home for the disabled".   After several hours they entered the last ward.  These were 34 of the worst cases Lee had seen in his life.  After working his way through the first 33 beds he came to Leonard's bed.  Leonard had been in that bed for 23 years.  He was wearing a big white bib which was covered with his drooling but Judge Lee did not hesitate, he reached down and gave Leonard a very special hug.

As they were leaving the hospital Leonard began to squeal, Eeeeehh!  Eeeeeeehh! And some of the other patients in the room joined in clanging things together.  Lee turned to the head nurse and asked, "What is going on?"  She replied, "This is the first time in 23 years we've seen Leonard smile." 

Sooooo, my friends and neighbors, do you have a ‘Hugging Kit’?  Judge Shapiro is known to his friends and neighbors as the most genuinely loving person in the world.  Very early in his career he came to the realization that love is the greatest power there is.  In my early years I shied away from the huggers but have since learned that Judge Shapiro is right - hugging can the change element in a relationship.  I believe Jesus was a ‘hugger’.  Try it today- and expect a miracle of warmth to prevail!