Monday, December 30, 2013

I Wonder If This Might be the Last Christmas On Earth?

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

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

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

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

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



Saturday, December 28, 2013

Something New? Or same Old Stuff?

"And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold. I am making all things new," And He said, "Write for these words are faithful and true".(Rev. 21:5).

Hey Gang: Another New Year is rapidly approaching;  I suspect it will look a great deal like the last one if you let it.  The leaders of our country would have us believe it will be better this time around but I think I will take a wait and see attitude. 
I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions.  Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount said, “You have heard the ancients were told, “You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord,”  But I say to you, make no oath at all”.  I wonder if that includes New Year’s Resolutions?

But I am also a believer in taking a peak at the road I have traversed and seeking God’s direction and His will for my life in the coming year.  I am an avid ‘Israel watcher’ for I believe Israel is the key to what is going to transpire in the coming year and beyond.  I have contemplated doing a second blog, weekly, just to keep folks alert to what is happening in Israel, but not sure if there is interest in my doing that.  You might drop me a line if interested. 

In Zechariah we read, “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around”….It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured.  And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it” (12:2-3). 

One does not have to be a rocket scientist to realize that Jerusalem is indeed a cup that is causing reeling and a heavy stone in the affairs of the world.  And what is the next step?  “For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle".  It sure does look like that prophetic word is rapidly coming together.   I would suggest it might be well to check you baggage and make sure you are packed to do some flying. 

Sooooo, my young buckaroos, perhaps it is time to take a moment and take a peek at where you have come from, and pray and seek the Lord’s will for where He would have you go in this New Year.   Keep in mind Jesus’ instruction to His disciples - Go!



Friday, December 27, 2013

A Growing Problem in Our Age

"But as for you, Bethlehem, Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah,  from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.  His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity."  (Micah 5:2).

Hey Gang:  Have you said "thank You Lord' for putting aside the Godhead and coming to this confusing human world, a world that tended to lean toward choosing to live in the darkness of the world instead of the light - even when the light is right before their nose? Have you ever given thought of what the Son gave up to come and accept the sins of all mankind for all ages and endure the agony of Calvary just for you and I?

One might say that Satan did an admiral job of spinning a web of confusion around His birth. I am sure confusion reigned in the mind and heart of his earthly father.  Joseph was a good man but I sense did not have a clear understanding of what was happening.  So God instructed him through dreams. 

 When danger in Bethlehem threatened the baby Jesus, Joseph took him to live in Egypt; acting on another dream, the family returned to Judea.  Then, a third dream diverted them to Nazareth.  Prophecy said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, but everyone would know him as a Nazarene. Now I ask you, does that not seem puzzling!

No wonder the disciples gave the wrong answer when Jesus asked, "Who do people say that I am?"Some say Elijah, and other say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets" (see Matthew 16:13-14)

People also insultingly called Jesus a drunkard, a friend of sinners, and a criminal.  They obviously didn't know who he was.  Even the citizens of Jesus' hometown said, "He's just a carpenter's son, and we know Mary, His mother, and His brothers - James. Joseph, Simon and Judas.  All his sisters live right here among us.  What makes him so great?"  (Matthew 13:55-56)  Remember the Scripture where Jesus said, "It is nigh on to impossible to return to your home town and preach the Word.  A man is without honor in his home town.

This is certainly true in this day.  How very tragic that each day less people know who Jesus is.  What is the remedy for this?  When Jesus asked the disciples, "Who do you say I am?"  Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."  Jesus replied, "You are blessed. because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you.  You did not learn this from any human being" (see Matthew 16:15-17)

The story of the Baby in the manger did not spring from the human imagination.  This event is beyond the grasp of the most exalted and refined reasoning.  It is something that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the mind of man to conceive. and understand.   There is no way our human brains can understand the coming of Yeshua to earth in the form of man without God's leading us into understanding.   The light of nature and force of reason are helpless to understand it.

The Gospel is a heavenly revelation.  Yes, one can understand by the testimony of creation that there is a God - there a seeker can see the living God who gives life and breath and all things to his creatures.  But to see that the Son has been given, who is of the same nature with God and equal to God, who is the Messiah of Israel and the Savoir of lost sinners, is impossible unless the Father reveals it. 

Soooo, my young friends and  neighbors,  Jesus left his place in the heavenlies to come to this sin-filled placefor one purpose to die in my place to take me to his place, "that He who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16b)  What would you say if someone asked you the question "Who do people say that Jesus of Nazareth is?

PS  Special Extra Dec 28!



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Greatest Gift of ALL!

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

Hey Gang:  I pray, as we near that day set by man that we celebrate the birthday of our Lord, that you will take some time alone and give thanks for the gifts that God gave to us through His Son Jesus Christ.  Keep in mind that when Jesus came to earth as a man and suffered and died on the cross so that you could be reconciled to God, He had you in mind, even though you had not been created yet.  
Luke put it this way: “And human hands can’t minister to His needs, for He has no needs!  He Himself gives life and breath to everything, and satisfies every need there is” (17:25 Living New Testament). 
The most memorized verse in the Bible lays the very foundation for God’s love for His creation and His desire that none should perish but have everlasting life with Him, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). It is also the most profound verse in the Bible.
The greatest gift – He gave Himself.  Our greatest gift  – to give ourselves to Him and those He sends our way.  He gave us life so that we would have something very precious to give to Him. And He gives us abundantly, more than we need, so that we can share those blessings with others who are not as blessed as we are.
I have learned that when I give to others the presence of God flows through the giver in compassion, which is love in action.    And I have also found that the greatest of all gifts is not purchased at Macy’s but rather words of comfort to those in stress, a casserole dish to someone who is too ill to prepare dinner ,or shoveling the walk of the shut in next door.
And a neat promise of God, is the giver is always blessed more than the receiver.  When you give, expecting nothing in return,  blessings are sent from the throne room of heaven.  The first blessing will be the joy of the Lord saying ‘thank you.’   Matthew put it this way, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (25:40). 

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


Monday, December 23, 2013

Are You Giving Gifts That Have Eternal Value?

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

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

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

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

We go to great pains to fill the vacuum that is just the size of God in our chest cavity.  We just experienced another “black Friday” when the world's retailers spread the good news that they have the very thing that will fill that vacuum.  People lined up hours in advance to make sure they were the first in line to purchase that aphrodisiac that will give them a moment or two of joy.  
Years ago I would do weird things like put our kids new skies in the light fixtures, or hang their Christmas gifts in the trees around the house and make them hunt them.  In a recent family gathering the subject of ‘dad's weirdness’ came up and in the discussion the gifts were never mentioned but the love that went into the preparation was. 

I believe the Psalmist knew something about that when he wrote these words, “But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You.  For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:11-12).

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



Friday, December 20, 2013

The GiftsI Remember

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

Hey Gang:  what did you get last year for Christmas? I have wracked by brain for days trying to remember the very special things that I have received in my lifetime at Christmas and after much thought came up with one.  Shortly after I finished my tenure in Korea I asked a very special lady in my life if she would consider becoming my bride.  And she said "YES!"  That was more than 56 years ago but it is as clear as yesterday.   

Last year I was especially intrigued to watch the little people, the great grand's open their Christmas packages.  Each were given a gift to open and after much prodding on the part of their parents the wrappings were separated from the gifts but, in each case, the gift was ignored and the box and paper became the items of interest.  It reminded me that the gift of anticipation was the wonderful part of waiting for Santa's arrival.

As I have mentioned, in previous blogs, that I am the son of the coal miner and spent my very early ears living in the mountains of Pennsylvania. It is said we lived so far back in the sticks that even the hoot owls carried knap sacks and they had to pump sunshine to us. 

Depression years were very tough years. Every dollar earned was needed to keep bread on the table and heat in the house, but my Mom was a magician when it came to salting a dollar here and a dollar there to buy one special gift for her boys.  With the exception of one Christmas, when I wanted a little yellow truck that had a dump bed on it, I do not recall Christmas mornings in the mountains when the stockings were "hung on the chimney with care", but I do have some warm memories of when we as a family hiked through forest to find a tree.

And I remember the evenings when we cut colored paper in stripes and made little circles to hang on the tree.  I remember times when we looked for things like pine cones to place on the tree, popping popcorn and stringing it, and cutting colored paper and making decorations.  There were no lights, no tinsel, no beautiful star at the top, no commercially made decorations, but beautiful, because we did it as a family.

My folks were not into religion in those years.  I do not recall their attending the church just down the road from where we lived, but  I had a dear saintly grandma who made sure that we heard the Christmas story - that Jesus, the Son of God came to set me free from the stupid things I did in my life, was born.  It was only after we left the mountains that my mom ushered me off to church every Sunday morning.  But the seeds of wanting to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior were planted on the top of that mountain, many years ago.

Soo, I pray, that you will shut down all of the wonderful modern audio devices for a while and join your hands and hearts together and give thanks that God so loved you, that He sent His Son as a gift to you. 

Blessings, Gramps

PS   Shepherds watch their flock, Magi watch the heavens: today we watch for sales, TV dramas, Church programs and are often distracted from focusing on Christ.  Create a new habit this Advent season.  Each evening, look up at the heaven for the brightest object.  Reconnect with that first Christmas when others were watching and set your heart on Christ. (Gma)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mary Did You Know?

Paul wrote, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God"  (Romans 3:23).  I assume Mary was part of that "all" but she was also purified through God's grace, as is each person who accepts Jesus as Lord and Messiah.    

This we also know, the Word is clear, God cannot tolerate sin or even have sin in His presence.  I sense there was no great pain to Father God than when He turned away from His Son, as Jesus hung on the cross as our sin-bearer. 

A point to ponder:  Was Mary sinless in the nine months she carried the Messiah in her body?   I would think she had opportunity to say or hold some thoughts that might be construed as sin, when the gossip mill was active at the water well.  And how did Joseph feel that night when Mary called him aside and said there is something I need to share with you, "I am with child" but no worry, the Holy Spirit is the Father.  Can you imagine the agony he must have gone through between her announcement to him and the Angel of the Lord's visitation telling him "not to worry, she is with child of the Holy Spirit"?

With your permission I will do as I often do when teaching - take a side trip and give you some meat to chew on. Put yourself in Mary's shoes for a moment. How do you think she felt when a whole barn full of shepherds suddenly arrived in her palatial cave?  Keep in mind she had had contacts with angels. Do you think she felt super blessed, overwhelmed or perhaps even a little fearful?    This we do know from the Holy Writ, "…she treasured  these things and pondered them in her heart (Lk 2:19).

Getting back to the question "Was she sinless during that nine month period.  I have no question but that God gave Mary a special anointing when he said, "You are highly favored", I have a very special assignment for you, but does that mean she was sinless?  I will ask God when I get to heaven.  

My bride has entered into the world of genealogical studies of her family and mine.  It has sparked an interest in my mind and heart to know more about one Grandpa that I never had the privilege of knowing.  It is said that he was a fiery Mennonite preacher who made the rafters shake when he preached.  I would have liked to heard him.  But my real interest in knowing more about him is that he came from the Dutch-land of Germany where the Amish originated, was he Amish?    

If God reached down and said to me this morning, Kermit, I am going to give you a very special gift.  I will open the door for you to interview any person who ever lived on this earth, my choice would be very easy.  No, I would not waste such a gift on my grandfather's background, but rather I would ask to interview Mary, the mother of our Lord.  Now some would say, why would you not choose to interview Jesus, her Son who takes away the sins of the world?  My answer, "we talk on an regular basis!"

I would say to her with Mark Lowery........
        "Mary did you know that your baby boy would someday walk on water?   Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?  Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?  This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.  Mary did you know that your baby boy would give sight to a blind man?  Mary did you know that your baby boy would calm a storm with his hand?  Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?  And when your kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

Oh Mary did you know The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?  Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?  Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?  This sleeping child you're holding is the great I AM?" 

My dear friends, who honor me by reading, what I pray God is saying through me in gramps morning thoughts, "Do you know that Jesus is the Lord of all creation" and one day He will rule all the nations"?   Perhaps we will celebrate Jesus’ next birthday in the New Jerusalem.  Come Lord Jesus! 

Soooo, I ask you this morning "Do You Know Him personally?



Monday, December 16, 2013

Have We Forgotten? "For Unto You Is Born This Day A Savior Who Is Christ the Lord

"The Joy of the Lord is my strength".  (Neh 8:10c)

Hey Gang:   Joy is such a little word but when combined under the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, brings strength, freedom and vitality to the receiver.  The opposite of joy is sadness, which brings darkness into our lives.   In the Christmas narrative we find Mary radiated this joy when she cried out, "My soul exults in the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior."(Luke 1:47-48).  As we approach the celebration of the coming of our Lord, does your soul exult greatly in the Lord?

Can you imagine how Mary must have felt when the angel declared she would be with child from the Holy Spirit and bring forth the Messiah? Wow!  Keep in mind that is the dream and prayer of every Jewish momma in Israel - that through their body would come the long awaited Messiah -. a dream that persists  today in the Orthodox community.  Notice that the first words from the angel to Mary, "Do not be afraid", are the same ones that Jesus used throughout His ministry, each time he saw the heart of his sheep in anxiety and fear,

This passage sets the stage for giving us confidence that something good will happen in our lives today and every day - but we must separate the wheat from the chaff.

Mary's words of exultation and anticipation are for the humble of heart.  In other words Mary was nothing special, except she had a pure heart and was highly esteemed in the eyes of God. But there was a profound difference between Mary and the average young maiden on the street, she was willing!  Being used as a servant of God requires a willing heart. 

Yes, she was nothing special, just an ordinary teenager, betrothed to a fine Jewish man; she probably spent much of her waking hours planning for the home that she would share with her Joseph.    But this we do know, God would only choose one who was pure in every way to carry the Son of God in her body for nine months and then bring Him forth into the world.  She was a virgin, untouched by man and "Highly Favored" by Abba Father.

As I thought of this I wondered if it is possible to be highly favored today.  I do not find the phrase "Highly Favored" pertaining to any person besides Mary in the Bible.  But I wonder if John the Baptist, Elijah, and Enoch and others were not "Highly esteemed” in the eyes of God.   Daniel found favor with the Lord, David was a man after God's own heart and Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Can you or I be "highly esteemed" in the sight of Lord?  I think yes!   Is that not what the coming of the Lord is all about, that God so loved each of us that He sent Jesus, Yeshua Hamashiah, His only begotten Son, who would take all of those sins that are laid are His feet with contrite hearts that we might be freed from the bondage of sin.  Does that not mean I am highly favored when I am obedient to the calling of God and lay down my life as my gift to Him?   But no more "highly favored" than any other who falls on their knees in confession, repentance and becoming obedient to our Heavenly Father.

Soooo, young lads and lassies, I think need to ponder this question "can we be highly favored'? so  I will close this and retreat to my closet and perhaps finish it in the next morning thought.



Friday, December 13, 2013

The Memories of a Christmas Pageant

"But Mary treasured all these things pondering them in her heart.  The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them".  (Luke 2:19-20)  

Hey Gang:  When I was a little squeezer, the time from Thanksgiving to New Years was "out of sight".  It was a time for digging the platforms and Christmas trimmings out of the a cubby hole in the third floor of our house, lugging them down two flights of stairs to the living room and taking out each peace with loving care.  It was an exciting exercise! Each year I grew older I was allowed to be more involved n the building  the little Villages and putting up the trains.   

We had a tradition that was handed down from my dad's family; the tree did not go up until the little ones were tucked away in their beds, awaiting the arrival of Saint Nick.  I was never quite sure how dad trimmed the tree and set it in the middle of the platform without stepping on the houses, but he did. 

There were other wonderful things that happened in that time period.  It was the choosing of who would be in the Christmas Pageant at the church and then rehearsals two and three times a week.  I have since come to the conclusion it was not the involvement in the play that made it so special, but the fellowship and fun, even though there were times when Mrs. Holiday got on our case because we were not as focused as she wanted.    

No doubt the script of our Christmas pageant was based on the stories told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  These accounts tell of the action surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ.  But the Gospel of John cuts through these descriptive accounts and simply tells the significance of what happened.  John's account provides no opportunity to fall into sentimentality or nostalgia about Christmas.  Neither does it lend itself well to pageants on Christmas Eve.

John minces no words; he jumps to the chase and tells us,  "The Word, who was God, was made flesh".  I sense he wanted to make it as clear as humanly possible that Jesus was really and truly a man who subjected himself to the miseries and calamities of the human nature.  God became flesh!  That is really the purpose for this season; Jesus left the Father to become like us.  Do you think He ever wondered if that was such a good idea?

And the final days of preparation arrived and we did a walk though, They called it a dress rehearsal.  Not sure why because we were not dressed in what we would wear the nights of the performance.  Opening night was a very high point n my year.  Wow, was it neat to see the cars coming from all over the city to see the Nativity play.   Our sanctuary only seated 150 people but they could open the back doors and seat another 75.  Each night the church was packed.

 I never graduated beyond the shepherd level, which was just a very small step from being a sheep.  This role was given to all children who were too young to play the glamorous characters like Mary, Joseph, angels, and wise men.  There must have been at least a dozen of us traipsing and tripping down the aisle of the church that night.  I remember that my turban was an actual bath towel and my robe was the same bed sheet that had formerly transformed me into ghost on Halloween.

On the final night they served a banquet, or I thought it was a  banquet.  Today, I am not sure wieners and hamburgers quality for feast-hood.  And at the end of the feast we donned our coats and visited all the shut ins in our church and sang Christmas corals and wished them a Happy Christmas. One year a local farmer provided a horse and wagon which was neat.

And then it was over for another year.  As I hung up my sheet, and put my staff in the corner for another year, I prayed that next year I would be elevated to one of the real key player positions, but tragedy struck our church that year.  The church board, after much prodding, decided the church really needed an organ to increase our level of songs and praise.  To make the long story very short - a war broke out between two factions in the church on who was going to play it.

 It would have been better if they would have called the Body together and torched the organ - You know what happens when power and pride get involved in God's work.  It not only split the church but also took the heart out of those who did not give a hoot who played the organ.  One might have gotten the idea there was some sort of plague in the church, for people were bailing out faster than if someone yelled "fire" .  The church died the day the truck pulled up and delivered the organ - from more than 200 regulars to 45.  

Soooo, I still have a sadness in my heart that I never had the opportunity to move up and be a king or a Magi or even reach the pinnacle of the Church Nativity Program - to be Joseph the father of Messiah - wow, would that have been neat!  But the bottom line is - He Came and paid the debt for you and me. Praise You Lord for You came!

Blessings, (means that I pray God to impart his supernatural favor on those of you who read this blog.)


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Yes, We Are Strange....By Most Folks Standards!

"Be hospitable to one another without complaint.  As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold  grace of God" (I Peter 4:9-10).  James put it a wee bit stronger, "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).

Hey Gang:  Yes, I and my bride are strange.  We often drive two and a half hours to a tiny town with a quaint restaurant for breakfast.  Why?  Because the food is so fabulous?  No, that has nothing to do with it.  It happens to be in the midst of Amish and Mennonite Country, which allows me to return to some of those by- gone days when I was able to rub elbows with some of these folks.

I would move down there in a minute but can't afford it.  You see the economy is so strong, in the land of the ‘Plain People’, that even others tend to plant their roots for life.  But it is an economy that most folks, that the Amish refer to as Englishers , have no idea how to achieve.  It is an economy based on being debt free, living on what you earn, purchasing only those things that you need ,thus living a very plain life.

Years ago, I had the privilege, and I emphasize the word 'privilege' ,to work for a dairy where I went into the milk houses of 53 Amish farmers and picked up their milk for processing. Hard work?  You bet your sweet bippy!   Loading more than a hundred and fifty 85 pound cans of milk on a truck that was as high as my chest was hard work!  But the fringe package that came with that job was fabulous.  I got to learn so many wonderful lessons about living a truly good life, which prepared me for that day when I would have a bride and little bambino's.

On one of our trips to Shipsy I noticed a steady stream of buggies, some with tools, some with provisions, some with building materials, all in route to Brother Yoder's farm.   You see Brother Yoder's barn had burned the week before and this was the work day to rebuild it.  Buggies came from the surrounding Amish communities, some a far distance for horse and buggy.  The men 'raised' the barn while the women folk cooked.  The children were the go-fers who supplied the materials to the builders and cooks.

Soooo, Yes, I would move to Shipshewanna, Indiana, in a minute, for there is something there that I have longed for, a community that really cares for each other.  Sunday mornings are fabulous as you watch the buggies and listen to the clip-clop coming from all directions to the meeting place for their time together to worship Abba Father. 

O, one last point before I close this epistle and send it along to you, if the sky or the economy does fall, if the electricity does go kurplunk, if there are no groceries on the super market shelves, the Amish will survive for although they live in this world, they are dependent on Father God and not on the government or things of this world. 



Monday, December 9, 2013

Yes, I Am Frazzled !


"Then the Lord cried out to Moses, Why are you crying out to Me?  Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.  As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land." (Exodus 14:15-16).

Hey Gang: I ain't going to try and con you, my faith has been sorely tested in these past months.  Now I know, since I am talking to most folks who are faithful members of the choir, you won't have a clue what I am talking about but, then again, maybe there is one or two who might.  I also have another confession to make, I have spent a heap of time searching the Scriptures and digging out all of the verses on "seek and find, ask and I will give" verses.

I would also confess to you that when the "alligators are up to my shoulders" and creeping higher, I tend to seek those times in the Word when the writers tell me of the tremendous miraculous and awesome times that God overcame the alligator brigade and gave His children victory at the very last minute, just when we tend to throw the towel over the cliff. 

On May first 2001 I retired my last Bible and transferred its ownership to a grandson only after I had tediously transferred every jot and tittle from it to the new Sword, an act of love I had done many times before.  I am presently in the process of a repeat performance and another of my family will become the recipient of my present but very well worn Bible. 

Now, I tell you this not in a boastful manner but rather as a challenge to each and every person who reads this message - Make sure you Pass Your Christian Legacy Down to Your Children. 

I would also confess to you this morning that when you reach the ripe old age of eighty you tend to look at things differently.  Perhaps this will be the last such exercise in transferring data from one Bible to another.  When I was at the car dealership looking at what I would like to be my next set of wheels the thought entered my mind - this may be the last car!! 

Getting back to the subject at hand, I have been racking my brain seeking those times when, if God would not have moved right now, it would have resulted in disaster.  I would suggest that if I asked ten folks, who are familiar with the Word, nine might have answered "the experience at the Red Sea” or Sea of Reeds or whatever title you might place on that body of water. 

There is no question the children of Israel were in a heap of trouble.  A barn full of Pharaoh's chariots beating down on them filled with very unhappy warriors who had just lost their first born..  I would also suggest they had built up a head of steam while dealing with bloody water, frogs, gnats, pestilence, boils, hail and other very unpleasant inconveniences. 

The sea was in front of them and Pharaoh and his minions approaching from the rear -time to have your will and testament in place!  But, Pharaoh had not learned a lick, in spite of the gruesome object lessons God provided for him.  Moses stepped forward with staff in hand and declared, "Do not fear!  Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord" (Exo. 14:13).  We know what the salvation of the Lord was that day.  "Not even one of them (Egyptians) remained".  (vs. 26).      

Sooooo, all ye that are heavy laden this morning keep in mind that Jesus promised, "I will never leave you or forsake you" but I may not respond the way you want Me to and I may not come until the "fourth watch of the night" and I may come in a way you least expect.