Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Butt In -Part Two

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"Oh, that I had wings like a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest.  Behold, I would wander far away, I would lodge in the wilderness.  I would hasten to my place of refuge from the stormy wind and tempest." (Ps. 55:6 - 8)

As I laid on the rack (bed) last night, God reviewed what I had written in the first ‘Butt In’ message and prodded me to finish what is lurking in the depths of the heart on this subject.  So here goes part two.
I found myself asking Abba Father which of these we failed to fulfill –humbling? Praying? or as Paul said in Colossians three, ‘have failed to die to self and put off all those things that offend the Holy Spirit?  In that loving - quiet voice He simply said, "YES".  I wanted to put blame on someone for the failure of having Father God honor my prayers and put into office the people I had determined would lead us out of the wilderness.

I had forgot that passage where He told me I am to honor and pray for the leaders that He, notice the ‘He places on the throne’.  I was ready to throw some boulders at the glass walls where I had found myself.   

As I thought of the two million Christians who voted to send the very people who had caused many of the problems facing our nation back for another shot at fixing the mess, I had a hard time seeing the image in the mirror for the boulders in the beholder’s eyes.

When the light began to creep through the anger that I had allowed to become ingrained in my heart and soul, God began to remind me of the many power verses that I have used as themes in these blogs that He has written through me. He began to remind me of the mega times I had hit a clinker and He bailed me out.  He reminded me of the times when the alligators were up to my armpits and climbing and suddenly the dark clouds parted and His light began to shine.

He reminded me of verses that I have grabbed hold of when the sky seemed to be falling.  "My God shall supply"I will never leave you or forsake You;”  “I will take even the most difficult experiences of your life and turn them for good”  “I am the way, the truth and the life”;  And the anchor that has filled my heart for 79 years, "For God so loved me that He sent His Son to take my sins to a hideous cross and set me free from the bondage of sin".

Soooo, I have talked of God's covenants in these morning messages but I want to go a step further. Jesus had a great deal to say about covenants. He referred to Irrevocable Covenants, Conditional Covenants and Unconditional Covenant.  He talked about the word measure in the same light as covenant.  In Matthew Jesus said, "We will be judged in the same measure that we judge others.” (Matt. 7:2).  In Luke 6:38 we are told, “Give and it will be given to you in the same measure that you give."

 But the most profound Covenant, one that we see being tested in this day and age is the Abrahamic Covenant where God said, “I will bless those who love bless you and  curse those who curse you".  (Gen 12:3).  On this Covenant rest the blessing or the curse of this Age.  (Check recent blog -"Did Your Ears Perk Up").



Monday, January 28, 2013

Just Butt IN

"Oh, that I had wings like a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest.  Behold, I would wander far away, I would lodge in the wilderness.  I would hasten to my place of refuge from the stormy wind and tempest." (Ps. 55:6 - 8)

Hey Gang:  Everybody in the world has heard, and perhaps even used, the words ‘Butt Out’.  Some have modified the words and say, "Hey man, give me some space!"   I believe the major problem in our world today is that mega multitudes of folks have said to Abba Father, “Just "Butt Out."  And when He is told to "Butt Out" I do believe that is precisely what He does.

Let me ask you a question this morning, “Do you think America has sent a message to Abba Father to "Just Butt Out"?  I certainly believe that is precisely what has been said.  My prayer for many months prior to the election was, "Lord, I pray you will' Butt In' - to the Affairs of our Nation".   I felt that was a  prayer that Abba Father would hear.  I am instructed to pray for our leaders and did not want to dishonor that command to us.  But at the same time, I wanted Abba Father to know that if our country is going to  repent of our gross sin, it could only happen if He, YHWH "Butt's In".  

I confess, after the election I was depressed, I mean really depressed.  Not so much about the President's re election, although that, too, was a depressing reality but rather I had such deep hopes that this would be the time when God would "Butt In" and lead us out of the wilderness.  It was truly a time when I needed a restoration of Spirit in my heart and soul. 

I found myself being drawn to 2 Chronicles 7:14, a verse that is very familiar to all who have been called by His name.  It is a powerful verse that gives us hope even in the most difficult times.  But, the more I pondered on this verse, the more I began to understand there is a covenant involved in the fulfillment of this verse.

The first thing that hit me between they was the tiny word "if".  The fulfillment of the covenant is determined by the tiny word "if".    "If" My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways".  The prerequisites for fulfillment of the covenant - humble ourselves, pray and put away our wicked ways. 

I began to seek God's counsel on where I had failed.  Was pride an issue with me? Have  I not humbled myself before you?  Have I failed in my praise and adoration to you through prayer and worship?  Lord, is there lurking in the recesses of my heart things that do not bring honor and glory to you?
Sooooo, my friends,  I fell better this morning after unloading the guilt feelings I have harbored since I did not get my way on election day.  Confession is good for the soul.   Isn't that what God's word teaches us?  I am glad I know that He is Sovereign God and I know His kingdom is forever.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Be Content

"I know how to get along with humble means and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need" (Phil. 4:12).

Hey Gang:  I found the following statement in a magazine that rang my bell, "Contentment begins when comparison stops.”  How true that is, at least for yours truly.  You see, I have always had a hard time being content at anything.  When I do a project I always end up doing far more than I anticipated.  If you don't believe that come and see the Christmas displays in our basement. When I set out to do a writing project, I am never content to leave it until it is completely done, corrected and published.

If I am in the final stages of a wood project and my bride calls for lunch or some other important chore, I tend to want to complete the project before I answer her call.  On top of this my brain seems to be stuck in a nonstop mode.  For me to sit down and read a book is agony and pain.  I presently have four books in the mill, one on page 18, the second on page 34, a third on 59 and the last on page 102.  (Note:  page 102 is a tremendous victory.)

This trait equipped me to be a role model for kids that I have worked with, for I have yet, in more than fifty years of working with dysfunctional children, have found one who is content.  As a matter of fact I have often taught in workshops and shared that they are dysfunctional because they are unable to find contentment.  It is like having an itch you cannot scratch and you spend every waking hour trying to fill that churning in your gut.

Does that mean I am plagued with uncontentment the rest of my life?  At age 79, if I am going to learn what Paul meant when he wrote, "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am." (Phil.4:11), I am going to have to get myself in gear, so me thinks I am talking to me and not you this time around.. 

Now, let me share with you a neat diversion we developed in our Girls’ Wilderness Quest Program that seemed to lead to contentment.  We built four shelters in a remote part of the campus.  They had no electricity, no water, no facilities of any kind and the girls had to walk half a mile to get to the dining hall and to do most activities.  And then one day one of the staff suggested we alternate boys and girls in the camp.  The result was open rebellion on the part of the girls and boys alike.  The girls did not want to move out and the boys did not want to move in.

When asked why the girls were so adamant in remaining in the primitive setting the main reason was "Here, we can be us, we do not have to put on a front - no make-up, no being concerned about our cloths, etc.  In other words they were content to be who they really were.   

Soooo, do you get the point?  "Contentment does begin when comparison is put to bed.   I believe I have learned that we cannot weigh our contentment on a scale of stuff.  When stuff is your measurement, you will never have enough because there is always someone out there who has "more stuff".

Blessings,   Gramps

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Did Your Ears Perk

“I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, AND  PARTED [“divided, cut in pieces”] MY LAND.” Joel 3:2 

 Hey Gang:  Wow, just plain wow!  Isn't it neat to be alive and on earth at this time in history when.. "can there be any doubt that we are seeing the wrapping up of the Gentile Age?"  The reestablishment of Israel as a nation was perhaps the most profound fulfillment of prophecy, since the birth of Jesus, and it certainly changed  Satan's agenda.  As long as there was no Israel, Satan did not have to be concerned that Jesus would come again and set His throne on Zion's hill and take back what has always been rightfully His.

 But that all changed when the United Nations agreed that Israel should have a homeland. And on May 14th 1948, Israel declared itself a Nation.  This decision that did not set well with the powers of darkness and the Wars and terror began in earnest..  Even before the flag could be raised over the capital of Jerusalem, the Jews learned that they were in for a long struggle for survival. 

Did your ears perk up when the Palestinian Authority requested formal acceptance of the United Nations as a bonified  nation?  And 138 nations voted yes, and 41 abstained and only 9 voted no, including the United States?   Do you understand what this means?  Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount said, "Let your statement be, "Yes, yes or 'No, no; anything beyond this is sin" (Matt.  5:37). Would you say that 179 out of 188 Nations is rapidly approaching the "all" status?

Notice what  Zechariah had to say about this in 12:3:  "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"

Hey gang, do you think we might be approaching that day? Does that mean we are going to see a second holocaust and there will be no more Israel?    To even remotely believe that means you have a very limited understand of the Plan of God for Israel.

This we know from God's Word:  God in his infinite wisdom and providence will soon work a miracle of such proportions that even the heathen will be convinced of his Glory. The Lord will be sanctified within Israel, which in turn will demonstrate to all created beings the heavenly evidence of the Holiness and Righteous might of Jehovah-Yahweh-God almighty!

 As I watch the massive demonstrations against Israel held in various cities all around the world, I wonder, "Is there no love or mercy in the hearts of these peoples/   I have watched Arab peoples dance in the streets when a Palestinian suicide bomber detonates a body-bomb and dismembers innocent people in a cafĂ©, a shopping mall, and seated in a restaurant.  I  have watched with utter astonishment and amazement as thousands of people took to the streets in Cairo, Baghdad, Damascus, Teheran, Paris, Rome, and many other cities from all parts of the world, chanting “death to Israel”.

Soooo, “Why is Israel so hated?” Of all the nations in the world, why is it that one of the very smallest nations is viewed with such disdain and also causes such an uproar of convulsion among peoples the world over?  Dr Luke gives us the answer,… "and you will be hated by all because of My name" (Lu. 21:17).  I ask you again, did,  (or Are) your ears perk up?  Keep in mind that eternity goes on and on and on and on…………………….........................................................................................................................



Monday, January 21, 2013

Can You Steal My Blessings?

 "When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, ‘Bless me, even me also, O my father!’  And he said, Your brother came deceitfully and has taken away your blessing."  (Gen. 27:34-35).

Hey Gang:  The passing down of blessings through the generations has become another of those wonderful things that we have buried in the new age thinking that we must  be our own thing.  In my trips to Israel one of the great blessings that I was privileged to experience was to go the Western Wall (the Prayer Wall), and just watch the people come and go.  Some came for prayer and often placed a note to God in one of the cracks in the Wall of what was once the temple, others came and just stood quietly reading their prayer book or Bible.

But I was blessed to see one type of ceremony that impacted deep within my heart-  called the  Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  Bar for boys and bat for girls.  The Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah marks the legal change of status, from childhood into adulthood (usually 12 for boys and 13 for girls). Many refer to this ceremony as making the participant subject to the Commandments and thus moving from child hood to adulthood.  At one time it was required that the participant memorize the Torah, the first five book of the Bible, and recite it at his Bar Mitzvah.   But it appears this requirement has been set aside and only certain parts required.

What a joy and fantastic thing it was to see the blessings being passed down through the family, first from the patriarch, to the second generation and then down to the one that was moving in status from child to adult,even the clothing changes.  As I watched this I thought of the many children who have passed my way that were dealing with this very issue – identity and belonging.  This is especially true for those who did not have the luxury of having a father in the home in those formative years.

Ya know, I long ago came to the conclusion that we rob our children in so many ways.  We give them the world but do not teach them the joys of anticipation.  We say we love them but then we also say we love our dog and in many cases give far more attention to our dog than we do our children. We often rob others of blessings when we don't allow them to help us.

Soooo, The question, can we steal a person’s blessing.  In a sense we have done just that as we have depersonalized our relationships with friends and family and, in many families, with our children. Homes that were once places of refuge have, in many cases become place so of debarkation.   The electronic age is a wonderful thing but it has placed a real crimp in putting our love into action by giving that special person a big hug.  Try it today, put the phone or IPOD or whatever, in the closet for a day and become involved on a personal basis with those you care about. 



Friday, January 18, 2013

The Lord is My Shepherd -Continued

"Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" (Psa. 23:6).

Hey Gang: Last time I closed as Paul began to share some of the alligators one might encounter in their walk with the Lord, especially those who are committed to serving the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind.

Paul talked about "slight afflictions" in this passage of Scripture which he later described in 2 Corinthians 11:25-33.  To name a few, he list "beaten without number", "five times in prison", hunger has been my constant companion", I have been shipped wrecked, traveled dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren".  He closes this dissertation on pain and agony with these words: "If I have to boast, I will boast of my weakness"  (vs. 30). 

Think about that for a moment.  Do we not want things short and sweet, neatly laid out on a platter that does not include ‘slight afflictions’ or ‘walks through the valleys’  James would say, "Hey gang, look on the bright side of ‘slight afflictions’,  they build endurance in our soul which leads "to being perfect and lacking nothing" (James 1:3-4). 

An old adage warns us "too much sun leads only to desert, pithiness and rot in our souls".   The plain people, the Amish, put it this way: "If you find a pathway with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere".

In Psa. 23:5 we see a new role, for God in our lives,  David sees God as his "host". "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies". The host publically provides protection and convenience for all in their care..  Why?  Because we are programmed through and by the Holy Spirit to want to love one another and care for the needs of others. It is the implementation of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

And, we have God's great assurance that although we find ourselves in the midst of our enemies, He will provide for us.  We don't have to look in the rear view mirror for God,  He is up front removing the alligators.  And His ways are ways of good news and love.

What a fabulous ending David's places in this awesome word from the Lord, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."  Think, not of tomorrow or when we die, but today - forever means today!  He is there in small things.  He is there in corporate worship.  He is there when we reach out to serve others.

Sooooo, warriors in Christ, keep in mind we need to remain focused on the "I shall not want." Keep in mind God is in the midst of his people - we don't have to go to some beautiful edifice to find Him.  God knew our need for this moment even before time began.  God's challenge to us today through David's heart - "I will dwell in the house of  the Lord forever."


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Lord Is MY Shepherd

Praise God for his wonderful works … Thanks to heavy rains and snow
 the Sea of Galilee is  higher than it has been in over 10 years.
This is good for Israel and adjacent areas dependent on that water supply. 
Don’t forget to pray for the Peace (coming Messiah) of Jerusalem.
Psalm 122:6

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want!"  (Psalm 23:1)

Hey Gang: I have researched the archives of all 300 blogs and nearly 200 gmails and cannot find a single one titled ‘the Lord is My Shepherd!  To that I say”WOW”. I am ashamed of myself.  I wonder if there is a more common theme in the Bible than "Jesus as Shepherd".  I think not. Perhaps the reason is that it is such an overwhelming subject and one that I would be hard pressed to cover in a ‘gramps morning thoughts’ Jesus as Shepherd is of  tremendous importance of His role as Shepherd of the Kingdom.  But let me share a few thoughts.

David begins with what I have termed a "power phrase, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want."   I sense when folks read those words they begin to come up with a whole barn full of "wants" that God has not responded to.  But I believe He would have us look at the phrase in a more satisfied way, and not in a prosperous way.   How unfortunate it is when we judge  satisfaction and contentment on the world’s bangles and beads and how much we can accumulate.

 In the Lord's prayer we are told to pray "Give me today my daily bread".  Notice: the key word here is ‘daily’, not weekly or monthly, but enough to get us through this day.   In other words ask for today and have faith for tomorrow.   

In the wilderness God said they were to collect enough manna for today and a double portion to cover sabbath.  David said "The Lord is my Shepherd",  I can be satisfied. 

Het leads us to quiet waters. Think of refreshing and purifying.  Jesus said, "Whoever drinks of the waters that I give will never thirst again (John 4:13-14).     God knows what we need long before we know what we need.  We fall into the trap of thinking the water we find will be sufficient to quench our thirst and we settle into complacency.  Jeremiah wrote "My people have committed two evils, they have forsaken Me and they have hewn for themselves cisterns that can hold no water"  (2:13).

 "He guides me in the paths of righteousness". Why?  For His name's  sake!   We should think of this as the light on the road to his destination.  Solomon wrote "Many plans are in a man's heart, but the counsel of the Lord stands" (Pro. 19:21)

"For His name sake."  Think, I'm living with His story or it's not about me.  Jesus said, "The hour has come, Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You" (John 17:1).  It is not about me, Lord,  but You in me - whose heart cries out to glorify You.

"Even though I walk through the valley" Life is a challenge, but God’s strength is sufficient.  "Though our outer man is decaying yet our inner man is being renewed day  by day.  For momentary slight affliction is producing in us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" (2 Cor. 4:16-17)
Soooo, my good buddies, I was right, there is no way one can begin to scratch the surface of the story of the Good Shepherd in a one page gramps message.  Soooo, I will close this epistle with a David word for this day "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me".  Can you say "Praise God” for that promise?


Monday, January 14, 2013

Just Be Ready

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them" (Eph. 2:10)

Hey Gang:  While driving home from Oklahoma I heard the following very disturbing story.  A ministry group, on one of the colleges in the Mid-west, decided to do a experiment based on the story of the Good Samaritan.  They chose the busy intersection on the campus and determined the busiest time of the day to do their test:  one of their members volunteered to lay in the intersection and act like he was in pain.  The object was to see if there was one who would come to the aid of the injured class mate.

The experiment went off much like the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible, with one exception - there was no Good Samaritan that came forth to give aid to the injured classmate!  They estimated that more than two hundred students passed by their classmate.  The thing that bothered me about this story was not the outcome of the experiment, for that is one of the common maladies of our country today, 
tthat we no longer follow God's mandate to love God and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Nor do we care all that much about widows and orphans, the elderly and the infirmed.  I mean, after all, in world standards they are better off than most, with all the government benefits they receive. 

While working at VOM and discussing the news that we read and hear about happening in the Muslim and Communist Countries (many turning their lives over to Yeshua), one of the young people we work with asked, “Why do we not hear about the same thing happening in our country?”  There is no question that the underground church is growing very rapidly, especially in those countries where persecution is the worst. SO, Why not here?

We did not have time to discuss this question at any length, but I have had time to ponder it since and would say to him, “The answer can be found in Revelation 3:15-17 where Jesus said to John, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot, I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are a lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.  Because you say, I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked"

 Soooo,  In my hours of feeding envelopes to the mail preparation machine at Voice of Martyrs, I had plenty of time to do some serious praying and pondering.  Did you know it is good to take some time away from the hustle and bustle of today's world and just plain "ponder".   And one of the main things I pondered and continue to do so is the verse in I Chronicles 7:14 where we are told that “If we, His people, who are called by his name will humble themselves and pray, and fervently and turn from our wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and heal their land".   
My question to God,  “In which of those areas did those who are called by your name fail?” And after many hours, I have concluded that the answer is "all three.  Notice the next verse, "Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place" (vs. 15).  What does that verse say to you this morning?



Friday, January 11, 2013

Just Be Ready - Part 3

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand, so that we would walk in them."    (Eph 2:10)

Hey Gang:  in November we returned for three weeks of volunteering at Voice of Martyrs in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  When we share about our volunteer experiences at VOM, people,
especially those in our age bracket, tend to look at us with suspicion.  I am seventy nine, my bride is seventy five, and we have earned, by world standards, the right to get the
 rocking chair out and just slowly start rocking.

 For some reason they do not see working eight hours a day, five days a week preparing mega-pieces of mail and whatever else needs doing, as something they want to do. 
Well, let me make a confession to you.  Ne-er do I!

If someone offered me a job making fifty dollars a minute to do this job, I would turn them down in a heart -beat.  So, why do we drive 873 miles, do hard physical labor for forty
hours a week when we could enjoy your retirement years in the convenience of our home which is heated by wood?  Let me tell you why:

First, I have searched the Scriptures to find an excuse for not doing it, but do not find a single reference where at a certain age we are given permission by Abba Father to retire.
I do not find the word "retire" in the Word! 

Second, I know we are saved by God's grace and the blood of our Lord.  No question that there is nothing we can do to assure our salvation except to believe and accept. However,
When believing and accepting CHRIST as Lord we also have a responsibility to be active about obeying his word and living a life reflecting his light and love,

 God did tell us that "Even before we were a conceived, God prepared the way for our salvation. But I also believe that, if I truly love someone, I will do all in my power to show that love. 
The Word is filled with commands, and I call them commands, to take care of widows and orphans.  And then there is the story of the Good Samaritan.  James puts it even more clearly
 when he wrote, "But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves" (James 1:22).  

Third, it is a truly blessing to be among folks who are like minded and willing to lay down their lives to serve God with the time and talents.  The director of the program has said time and
 again, ”Without the volunteer core who faithfully come and help get the word out that there are people who are being persecuted for their faith and we need to help them, they could not
complete the tasks or serve those in need.”
Fourth, we have learned to love and respect those who labor at VOM and respect them for the sacrifices they make.  We have been blessed to see the talents of these young people and
privileged to include them in our immediate family of Believers.

Soooo, my young friends and neighbors, you can see that VOM is more than hard labor to my bride and me.  We have returned January 2013 for six additional weeks of hard labor. 
 And how do we know that is God's will for us at this time? Because he gives us the strength to complete  the tasks.  And finally, "effectual doer's will be blessed in what he does" ist Jesus for good works, which God prepared  beforehand  so that we would walk in them" (Eph. 2:10)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Just Be ready - ALL ABOARD!!

Be Faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).

Hey Gang:  One of the very neat things about writing the morning messages is the research that is involved in seeking those subject areas that will provide growth, encouragements and a ‘poke in the ribs’ in the morning to get your day started on the right foot.  And, every once in a while I run across a ‘wower’, one that really sets my feet a dancing.

I happen to come from Altoona, Pennsylvania, known during the Second World War as number three on Hitler’s hit list.  You see, all the east – west movement of goods by train had to go around the horseshoe curve located just North of Altoona.  So, trains were a major part of my early years; I loved to see the old coal burning engines, sometimes three in tandem to give the power needed to push the trains to the top of the mountain.  

Knowing my love for trains, my Bride brought to my attention the following devotional from the Daily Guideposts 2013, written by Daniel Schantz.  I realize that this may come as a great surprise to you, but not all of the morning messages are original with me.  As a matter of fact very few are, but as I read the Word, I find that Jesus and the prophets used materials from the Old Testament writers in their ministry.  

The story was about a student who, like many kids who leaving home for the first time are like the prodigal, and their lives are similar to the ‘train wreck’.  (He is what I refer to as a ‘fringe operator’; he knows that what he is experimenting with is not one his mom would approve, but then again experiencing them will come in handy down the road when he hits the real clinkers in his life. Gramps)

Back to Daniel’s writing: This set me to thinking about all the train terminology in our language.  All aboard means to commit to a project.  Making the grade is about measuring a task.  A whistle stop is a short break from work.  A birth is an easy, high-paying job”.  Sidetracked means to be distracted from your real job and Caboose means you are in last place. 

Daniel also received a letter from a very distraught lady telling him her husband had died and left her penniless.  She had no skills to sell to an employer, so she had committed to go back to school and equip herself for the job market.  She wrote “I know I am on the right train and the train is on the right track, but where it is taking me, I do not have a clue.”

Now I ask you, is that not a perfect example of faith? I certainly can identify with her plight.  Are we not all aboard for heaven?”  Our Conductor is God.  The road to heaven is like that mountain grade that needs the helping hand of several pusher engines.
 And are there not times when we get sidetracked with the non essential bangles and beads of this world and forget to take a whistle stop to get back on the heaven bound train.  Is not each bend in then road a mystery filled with excitement, filled with new vistas and fresh challenges?
 Soooo, listen up my friends and neighbors, the most productive thing we can do on the railway of life is just to keep pouring the coal to the burner- with the Holy Spirit and God’s Word- until we arrive at our eternal home.  It matters little whether we are in a berth or in the caboose.  The main things is to be faithful to our Lord in all that we say and do and not waste the time He has given us..

Blessings, Gramps

PS from Gma: Some of you may remember this chorus we used to teach in VBS and SS- The Gospel Train
                Oh, I’m traveling on the Hallelujah Line on the good old Gospel Train.
                I’m on the right track and I never will go back to the station of sin again.
                I need no fare, I’m riding on a pass ‘tis the blood for sinners slain.
                I’m on the right track and I never will go back to the station of sin again!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Just Be Ready

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we would walk in them" (Eph. 2:10)

Hey Gang, About a thousand years ago, it seems that long ago (but then again I have never lived a thousand years, so I certainly do not know how it feels to live a that long)
But I was the ‘only unemployed director of a non-existent boys home’.  I had reached the point where I felt it was time for me to join the world of reality and become a provider
 for my family and get a regular job.

Does that mean that I had given up on what I thought God had said to me two years before in California and driven the point home when he sold our home in a very miraculous way?
 Sometimes, but not really!  I did know that he honed Moses for forty years in the wilderness as a sheep herder before he called him to take on the task of leading a million or so complaining
Jews to the land of "milk, and honey". Now keep in mind that Moses had all of the best training available in the world as the adopted son of Pharaoh.

 I had no such training.  I came to the conclusion that if it took forty years to prepare Moses, who had already done great things, it would probably take me two or three hundred years to be
 honed for action. But, you all know that God does not work that way.  I interviewed at a child-care facility and they turned me down because I had too many children.  I learned there was a
critical need for a maintenance man at a mission in Haiti and was turned down because I was over-qualified.  I even tried to sign on as a farm hand and was turned down because I didn't
 know which end of the cow milk came from.   

Do you think I might have asked myself more than once, “Am I reading the signs wrong?”  Was it just a figment of my imagination that God was going to use me to help young lives in His Name? 
Do you think it began to eat at the root of my faith and surfaced all the feelings of unworthiness that I had tucked away in my heart and mind?  Have you ever reached a point in your life where
you were ready to "chuck it all" and God would not let you?

Two years of agony and pain, questions, misgivings!  Two years of feeling that I had failed my duties as provider for my family!  Two years of wanting to run from what I thought was God's
calling!  And then the light began to seep through my "stinking- thinking".  A tiny chunk of Solomon's wisdom began to creep into my mind, "There is an appointed time for everything. 
And then a time for every event under heaven" (Ecc. 3:1). 

In these times of woe and disappointment in our country, I have once again been drawn to the words of Habakkuk where he gave us words of hope when we feel the sky is falling. 
Notice his counsel to us, "For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.  Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come,
it will not delay" (2:3). 

Soooo, good friends and neighbors, are you struggling this morning? not sure you are on track with Abba Father?  Well, take it from an old salt and note what Isaiah said to us a few years back
"In a favorable time I will answer you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you" (k49:8).

Friday, January 4, 2013

When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder...

"The Spirit and the bride say, "Come."  And let the one who hears say, "Come". And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost." (Rev. 22:17).

Hey gang:  Many years ago I had the privilege of attending the Shepherd's Conference in Kansas City where more than three thousand shepherds/pastors from around the country assembled to worship and be taught.  On the day, after the conference began, the Kansas City Newspaper came out with headlines: “Three thousand shepherds gathering at the Conference Center”, and they tacked on the line, "I did not know there were that many sheep-herders in the country.’

One series of messages called ‘The King and His Army’ was especially powerful and remains with me yet today.  Pastor Ern Baxter, now gone to be with the Lord, was often referred to as a ‘preacher’s preacher’.  The theme of his messages was based on First and Second Samuel. Pastor Baxter compared the days of Samuel, Saul and David with our country at that time (mid 80’s)
The people of Israel, who had been ruled by God's anointed kings, were in rebellion and demanding to have a king just like everyone else.   You see nothing has really changed, when life’s clinkers begin to fall our human nature tends to drive us to seek answers in all the wrong places.   Israel certainly chose a road that they have paid dearly for since the day they threw the towel in on the Lord's leadership, and sought a worldly king. 

God's response to Samuel, “Give them what they want, they are not rebelling against you but against Me.”  It is interesting that God gave them a king that Samuel described as a ‘head and shoulders’ man.  In other words, he was tall and handsome and had great strength - in essence he was a ‘head and shoulders’ man.  Saul's problem- he was a "Do it my way" sort of chap. Does that sound a wee bit like many of the people who expound great so- called wisdom in our world today?  Meanwhile, our world is rapidly putting all its energies into placing the One who can solve our rapid decline, in the closet.

Saul was king but, after several decisive acts of rebellion against God, God removed the anointing for Saul and send Samuel to anoint David as King of Israel.  His point, Saul was king by world standards, but David was the King under God's anointing. 

Soooo. What was his point?  Today, in the world we have world governments.  I might add most, if not all, are tragic examples of mans compulsion to do it their own way.  But, at the same time, God neither slumbers or sleeps and continues His plan unabated.  Can you say ‘Amen’ with me?  "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first." (I Thess. 4:16).  
As John Poole once said, "Somethin's fixen to happen and I'm fixen to be part of it!"