Monday, March 31, 2014

Spiritual Authority

"The Lord said to him, what is that in your hand?"  "A staff”, he replied".  (Exodus 4:2)

Hey Gang:  Many years ago our Board President felt we needed a little rest and relaxation so he provided a scholarship for us to spend a week at the Christian Retreat Center in Bradenton, Florida. while there we were privileged to sit under the teachings of such people as Gerald Derstine, Iverna Thompkins, Judson Cornwell and many other anointed teachers.

 But one that I would place at the top of the list was a pastor by the name of Jamie Buckingham.  Jamie had spent many weeks in the Sinai learning what God would teach him the desert.
He wrote a book, that graces my library, titled A way Through the Wilderness

When I find myself in the midst of a wilderness experience, more times than not, I return to the pages of this book for encouragement and perhaps a better understanding of what I am going through.  He, like Paul and James, is a very practical teacher. He uses the simple things of the desert to teach us profound truths.

For example, he points out that when God is looking for something for His service, He usually looks for something common to us.  An old country preacher once said, "When God needs something done, He looks for a broken vessel and smashes it and then places it on the potter’s wheel for molding into the image of His Son and preparation for what lies ahead.  

In  Exodus 4:2 we find such an example.  Moses was not red hot on the idea of going back to the land of Pharaoh who had placed a price on his head for bumping off one of their citizens.  He, like most of us, opened his bag of excuses as to why we do not want to do something.  ‘I mean Lord, I don't talk so good, I mean Lord I am a minimally educated hillbilly from the sticks, I mean Lord there are mega people more qualified than I.’

 I wonder if Saul might have come up with similar excuses as to why he did not want to become Paul the missionary to the Gentiles.  But God gave him no opportunity to open his excuse bag - He (God) looked down and said, "I'll take that one” and knocked him off his donkey".

I wonder if God was not becoming a wee bit impatient with Moses when He said to him "Hey, Moses, what do you have in your hand?”  "A rod".  "Throw it on the ground".  We know the story, the rod turned into a serpent. God said pick it up by the tail.  The serpent turned back to a rod but without the serpent in it. 

Soooo, my young friends, We know, from seeing all the movies about Moses, that he was never without that rod. Why?  Because the rod represents authority!  Moses was now a man under authority.  Does that mean we should all go and get a rod?  No!, I do not think that is the focus of the story; but rather that God can use anything that is given to Him. Keep in mind God honors simple things!



Friday, March 28, 2014

Awesomeness of Our God

"O Lord God, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who has displayed Your splendor above the heavens?"  (Ps 8:1)
Hey Gang:     Do you think David was pumped when he wrote these words?  Do you think you could write these words if you had not already experienced the majesty of God?   Have you ever had an experience that literally left you speechless?    Like standing at the foot of the Grant Teton Mountain, or experience the birth of a child for the first time.  How about the absolute awesomeness of a rainbow?

In recent months there has been a growing interest in 'blood moons' (special lunar eclipse) as they pertain to prophecy.  It was interesting to me that the writer/researcher went to the NASA archives to find the data for his article.

You do remember that NASA did research back to the beginning of time to learn the perfectness of God's times tables? In their research they found a glitch in their equation - a glitch that one of the researchers solved when he told the story of Joshua 10:13. Here God made the sun and the moon stand still as a sign to Joshua.

In Psalm 103, the Psalmist glorifies God from a heart that is bursting at the seams with praise.  He says, "Bless the Lord all my soul and all that is within me?" (Vs 1).  Have you ever felt that way?  In verse eleven we find a comparison, where God declares that the mercy of God is as great as the distance of the heavens above the earth.  Man's scope of the universe is limited by the technology available to penetrate the depths of the universe.  New galaxies are being discovered with each advance of the telescope. (Hubble telescope found 100 new galaxies).

Scientist have measured the distance from the earth to many bodies in the heavens.  The distance to the moon is about 240 thousand miles.  Can you imagine how the astronauts, whose mission was to walk on the moon, must have felt when they knew blast off meant a trip of more than a half million miles and no repair shops in route?  

The sun is about 93 million miles from the earth; but, keep in mind the sun, moon and planets are all in our solar system and there are vast systems beyond.  The closest star beyond the sun is Proxima Cenauri, which lies 4.22 light-years away (24.7 trillion miles).  How far is a light-year?  The distance light travels - 186,000 feet per second!  Are you beginning to get a picture of how great the mercy of God is?       

In 1977, scientists launched two space probes called Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.  Voyager 1 travels at 37,100 miles per hour and is now over 9 billion miles away from the earth.  Now get this, if we were on board Voyager 1, it would take 75,000 years for us to get to Proxima Centauri.  Is your comprehension levels being stretched as to the vastly of God's love for His children?

In verse 17 David says, "But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him".     And put this on your bathroom mirror this morning  -"As far and the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us" (Ps 103: 12).

Soooo, my young inquisitive seekers of truth, be advised that we live in an awesome universe created by God, but what awaits His children in the heavenlies makes all this pale in comparison!  All of this is available "To those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them" (Ps 103:18).  Wow, what an awesome God we serve.



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SOWERS.... (Correction at bottom)

“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”  (Matt.25:40).  “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance”  (Matt 25:29).   
Hey Gang:  We are winding down on our time at the African Missionary Retirement Home and will soon return to the world of reality.  I say that because when you are blessed to be in the midst of seventy-seven retired saints of God, it is more than a wee touch of heaven.  As we look into the faces of these dear people, some in wheel chairs, some crippled and bent over from the toil of their lives, we know that one day we will see them in glory running and leaping and praising God when they are freed from the bondage of their earthly bodies.  
I want to introduce you to another unique group of people that we have been privileged to rub elbows with over the years of our volunteering. Retied folks who come here each winter to give of their time talents, finances and blessings.  We are called Sowers (Servants On Wheels –RV’s- Ever Ready).  In the past seven days we have enjoyed rubbing elbows again with the forty gray haired people who live under the banner that ‘it ain’t over until it is over’.  Meaning, they cannot find any place in the Bible where it says ‘Well done, now get out your rocking chair and slowly start rocking.’ 
As in past years, we have watched with amazement the efforts of these grey-haired warriors play huge roles in completing large buildings and several homes.  At this point there are thousands of such warriors that spread out across the country with one goal in mid – to be of service to those who are trying to make life better for those who are in need.
Jesus said, “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  All the nations (and peoples) will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats …then the King will say to the sheep ‘Come you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mat. 25:31-34).
And what is the criteria for inheriting the Kingdom, For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in; naked and you clothed Me; sick and you visited Me; in prison and you visited Me” (vs. 35-36).
Soooo, my young friends I am speaking to all the great grand’s, grand pops, and daddies.  God laid it on heart several years ago that I should challenge all I meet that they should make monumental effort to pass their Christian legacy down to their great grand’s, grand’s and children. We do it with our finances but often fail to pass down those things that have eternal value. When you stand before our King, how will your respond to His question, “How did you treat the least of these???”  Are you leaving YOUR Spiritual legacy?

Note:  correction to the error on Mar 21 - John 14:21 should read "Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (not fruitful)


Monday, March 24, 2014

Peace Like A RIver - Part 2

 “He who overcomes,  I will make him a pillar in the temple Of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore and I will write on him the name of MY God, and the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name”   “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev. 3:12/21).
Hey Gang, I just reread the last morning message and see that I left you dangling, so let me un-dangle you this morning.  I said I have been blessed in my life to find two places where I feel God’s peace deep in my soul.   The first I mentioned was at the African Missionary Mission referred to as Media, which means halfway between the mission and heaven.  Today we had lunch with twenty one missionaries – wow, I haven’t seen so many smiley faces at one place since I threatened the boys that if they did not smile and even laugh I would restrict them from going home that weekend.
The second experience where I felt God’s peace in my soul was 1984, the first and every time we were privileged to go to Israel.  From Chicago to Israel was an all-night flight so when we neared the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, the sun had just come up, and the entire city and valley was a bright gold.  It is one of those pictures that is indelibly imprinted on the inside of my forehead.    At that moment the pilot turned on the radio with live and very exciting Jewish National music.
In the fifteen minutes between the seeing Israel for the first time and hearing the music I could feel the excitement rising within my soul.  I had dreamed of making this trip for most of my life but never dreamed that I would be able to pull it off until after I had completed my tenure on earth and moved into the New Jerusalem.  And here I was, standing on the tarmac of the airport in Tele Aviv, Israel!     
After going through the needed checking into the country, checking out our luggage, finding the tour bus that would be our means of transportation for the next ten days, we headed for Jerusalem.  Now I have been pumped before in my life but never like I was that night.  We were blessed to be on one of the top floors of the Hilton Hotel that sets on top of a hill overlooking the city of Jerusalem.   In Israel the drivers drive with one foot on the accelerator, one on the brake and both hands on the horn.  The noise was deafening but oh so beautiful. 

Soooo, still today many ask if we are not nervous to go to Israel; my response is yes, we have to go through New York or Chicago.  I can also attest to the fact that, on our ten trips to Israel, we have never found one person we traveled with who said, “I am afraid to be here:” On that very first trip I learned what the Bible meant when it said, “There is a peace that passes our human understanding when we place our trust in Abba Father.”   

Friday, March 21, 2014

Peace Like A River

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give you.  Do not let your heart be troubled nor let it be fruitful” (John 14:27).  “For thus says the Lord, “behold, I extend peace to her like a river” (Is. 66:12).
Hey Gang:  I have been blessed in my life to find two places where I feel God’s peace deep in my soul.   Now, before you take me to task for making such a brash statement, let me add some meat to that statement.   I am certain that some of you would say when we are in the arms of Christ, we should feel perfect peace at all times.  I certainly wish that were true and, if you experience that kind of peace, I envy you.  But in my lifetime I struggled when I heard a pastor preach on Philippians 4:7 that tells me “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension (understanding), will guard you hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus”.   

I am writing this Gramps Morning Message from the African Inland Mission, known by the residents as ‘Media’, meaning half way between the mission field and heaven.  Media is the retirement residence for seventy-seven missionaries that spent thirty or more years in Africa as warriors for Christ.  Several have invested more that forty five years seeking out the lost and giving them the Good News that there is God in heaven who loves them so much He sent His only Son to die on a horrendous cross that they might live eternally with Him.
It has been my privilege to come here several times and invest a small piece of my life in helping to expand the campus so that others can come.  What joy there is in having seventy-seven children of God praying for you when you are hanging shingles or suspended thirty feet in the air, painting trusses. Visiting with them in their homes and listening to their stories are experiences I will never forget.
I might add, referring to these dear people as retirees is indeed a misnomer.  Prayer is the joy of their lives when they connect with their Heavenly Daddy.  We see them taking their daily walks with prayer list in hand.  All those who have the physical stamina to “go into all the world” are involved in the surrounding churches, schools and lives of the local people. 
Sooooo, when I tell people we are going to Florida the response Is always the same - to do what?  Your not going to spend time on the beach, or go to Disney Land?  I mean you are eighty years old, isn’t it time to relax and enjoy your retirement years.  And our response is always the same, we will do some of those things but our focus is to “be about our Fathers business”.  I wonder how many sheep will be in heaven because of the commitment of these 77 warriors for Christ.  How about you? 
P.s. On our last working trip here there was a dear lady that was cared for in what we would call the extended care facility by the name of Florence.  She was blind and had multiple infirmities but she was joy to spend time with.   And then one day her systems began to shut down and they moved her to the hospital where they stabilized her and added a few more days to her life.  It is said that she ministered to every nurse, doctor and aid in those days and then one day she announced to the chaplain, “Today I am going to go and meet my Jesus face to Face.”  Wow, what an awesome testimony.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Warning For Our Day!

GENESIS 47:13-27  (Read carefully before proceeding)
Hey Gang:  The following message came across my computer from a friend but I confess when I read it, I sat up and took heed of the wisdom of the Virginia Pastor’s words.  I have not taken the liberty of trying to interpret what he is saying but have given it to you as I received it.
 “So we see that economic hard times fell upon Egypt, and the people turned to the government of Pharaoh to deal with this for them.  And Pharaoh nationalized the grain harvest, and placed the grain in great storehouses that he had built. So the people brought their money to Pharaoh, like a great tax increase, and gave it all to him willingly in return for grain. And this went on until their money ran out, and they were hungry again.

So when they went to Pharaoh after that, they brought their livestock - their cattle, their horses, their sheep, and their donkey - to barter for grain, and verse 17 says that only took them through the end of that year. But the famine wasn't over, was it?  So the next year, the people came before Pharaoh and admitted they had nothing left, except their land and their own lives. "There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our land.  Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land?  Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh." So they surrendered their homes, their land, and their real estate to Pharaoh's government, and then sold themselves into slavery to him, in return for grain.

What can we learn from this, brothers and sisters?

That turning to the government instead of to God to be our provider in hard times only leads to slavery? Yes... That the only reason government wants to be our provider is to also become our master?

Yes. After Jacob and Joseph passed on, and the Jews began to drift away from their GOD, even they too became slaves in the land of Egypt.  .

I also tell you a great truth today, and an ominous one:

We see the same thing happening today - the government today wants to "share the wealth" once again, to take it from us and redistribute it back to us.

It wants to take control of healthcare, just as it has taken control of education, and ration it back to us, and when government rations it, then government decides who gets it, and how much, and what kind.

And if we go along with it, and do it willingly, then we will wind up no differently than the people in Egypt did four thousand years ago - as slaves to the government, and as slaves to their leaders.

What Mr. Obama's government is doing now is no different from what Pharaoh's government did then, and it will end the same. And a lot of people like to call Mr. Obama a "Messiah," don't they?

Is he a Messiah? A savior?

Didn't the Egyptians say, after Pharaoh made them his slaves, "You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh"? Well, I tell you this - I know the Messiah; the Messiah is a friend of mine; and Mr. OBAMA IS NO MESSIAH!

No, brothers and sisters, if Mr. Obama is a character from the Bible, then he is Pharaoh. Bow with me in prayer, if you will...

Lord, You alone are worthy to be served, and we rely on You, and You alone. We confess that the government is not our deliverer, and never rightly will be. We read in the eighth chapter of 1 Samuel, when Samuel warned the people of what a ruler would do, where it says "And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day..."

And Lord, we acknowledge that day has come. We cry out to you because of the ruler that we have chosen for ourselves as a nation. Lord, we pray for this nation. We pray for revival, and we pray for deliverance from those who would be our masters. Give us hearts to seek You and hands to serve You, and protect Your people from the atrocities of a new Pharaoh's government. In God We Trust...

And all of Gods people said amen!
Soooo, my young friends, what say ye?  We know the rest of the story.  God reached down to a shepherd through a burning bush and called him (Moses) to go and declare to Pharaoh, it is time to “Let my people go”. Have you prayed 2 Chronicles 7:14 lately?  Have you humbled yourself before the Lord and prayed from the depths of your heart that He would heal our land?  And notice who is to pray this prayer, “My people”.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Do You Do It To the Least of These My Brethren?

"But love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men"  (Luke 6:35).

Dr. Luke followed this power-packed verse with another power-packed verse that has been engrained in my heart and life; "Give, and it shall be given to you.  They will pour into your lap a good measure - pressed down, shaken together, and running over, for by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”  (Lu. 6:38).   

Hey Gang:  I came across this neat, but very understandable, explanation of the difference between heaven and hell.
A holy man was having a conversation with God, one day, and asked Him to show him heaven and hell.  God led the Holy man to two doors.  The holy man opened one of the doors and then looked in.  In the middle of the room was a large round table which a fantastic pot of stew that made the holy man's mouth water. 

But the people sitting around the table were thin and sickly; they appeared to be famished.  They were holding spoons with  very long handles which were strapped to their arms. Each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons to their mouth.  The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering.  The Lord said you have seen 'hell'.

They went to the next room and opened the door.  It was exactly the same as the first one.  There was the large round table with a large fantastic pot of stew, just like the one before which also made the holy man's mouth water.  The people were equipped with the same long handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. 
The holy man said, "I don't understand". "It is simple" said the Lord.  “Entering heaven requires but one skill, you see, they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves.  In other words those in heaven were focused on the Golden Rule to ‘do unto others as you pray they will do unto you’.

In the very early years of developing the Village making budget was always a very tough chore.  God supplied but did not spoil us with a dime more than we needed!  It was a time when I learned that sacrificial giving was very difficult for many folks, including myself.  Coming out of the depression, the son of a coal miner, I tended to have a fear that if I gave it away, I would come up hungry. 

And then a dear elderly lady, who resided in a local nursing home, taught me a wonderful lesson. She sent me a very special gift, three dimes, a nickel and two pennies, I knew this is what she had left after taking care of her financial responsibilities.  One thing I have learned, in my sojourn on this earth, ‘you cannot out give God’.

Soooo, friends and neighbors, remember when Jesus died on the cross He was thinking of you (John 17:20). When He defeated Satan and rose from the grave, He was thinking of you. When He ascended into the heavenlies and sat down at the right hand of the Father, you were on His mind and He now is your intercessor and one day, soon, He will hear His Father say – ‘time, go for it’.  Soon, He will come and collect all those who love Him as Savior and Lord and are committed to Him totally.



Friday, March 14, 2014

When Faith Falters -continued

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.” 
(Ps. 5:11-12). 

Hey gang:  We pick up Elijah’s story at I Kings 19.  Keep in mind that Elijah had, what we would call mountain top experiences:  He had provided food for the widow and her son, successfully confronted the prophets of Baal and seen God’s mighty fires from the heavenlies totally consume the sacrifice, altar and many gallons of water, and then outran King Ahab’s chariot for more than seventy miles.   Would that not give you faith to move mountains?

But note verse one, Ahab shared the events of the day with Jezebel who sent a message to Elijah “So may the god’s do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow.”

Did Elijah boldly stand against her threats knowing God would protect him?  Not so, he cut and ran a day’s journey into the wilderness and sat down under a juniper tree and asked God to take his life.   I wish I could say, ‘never been there or done that’. I do not recall ever sitting down under a Juniper tree, nor do I remember God ever sending a raven with vitals for me in the form of people food, but I do recall many times God sent to me, when the alligators were up to my armpits, sustenance and strength to stay the course.

I recall one very hot day, while still the exalted ruler of Eagle Village, a staff member came running into the office yelling “fire”.  A brush fire was rapidly burning toward a wooded area, and if it reached it, the fire would take out two of our residential units. 

By the time we got there the fire was five hundred feet from the wooded area and the winds were providing power to move ever closer to the trees.   On the way out of the office we grabbed whatever tools that were available and were frantically raking with a broom, rake and shovel, to no avail. 

One did not have to be a brain surgeon to realize we were in big trouble and nothing in our human strength was going to still the winds and control the fire.  And then it entered my mind and my heart, when the fire leaped over me and I was standing in the midst of the storm, to ask God for help. 

Frantically, I dropped the broom and raised my arms and yelled, “Lord stop the winds”.  I could hear the fire engines approaching when God reached down and did as I asked Him; He reversed the wind and the fire retreated down the hill to where it began. By the time the fireman arrived on scene it was out.  The firemen said they had never see fire burn back over itself.

I wonder what would have happened if Elijah had sent a return message to Jezebel to “bug off”, “My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in heaven.” (Phil. 4:19).  For, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).  There is a wonderful parallel message in the story of Jezebel and Elijah – Elijah was taken up into heaven in a fiery chariot and Jezebel was eaten by dogs.

Soooooo, my young chicks, what is the message in this story?  We make choices each and every day as to whether we will stand against the darts of the enemy or we will seek out a Juniper tree and try and hide.  This I know, we will have many opportunities to place our trust in God to give us strength to be overcomers today and every day, for Satan travels the earth seeking whom he can fire his darts into or devour.  (I Peter 5:8)   What say ye?



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

WHen Faith Falters

“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.”(Ps. 5:11-12). 

Hey Gang:  I love to read about the salty, tough hombres of the Old Testament that God used in mighty ways.  None of them would have made the fortune 500 ‘man of the year’ according to worldly standards but they had the power of God to move mountains.  Elijah, one of my favorites of the God’s Prophet Hall of Fame, was one tough hombre.

A study was made recently of what is the toughest sport to compete in.  The marathon won hands down.  It was agreed that running 26 miles placed the greatest strain on the total body.  But notice after Elijah slew the 450 prophets of Baal, “the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he girded up his loins and outran Ahab to Jezreel” a distance of more than 70 miles!  Keep in mind that Ahab was driving a chariot with one of the finer horse teams of his kingdom doing the lugging.

As a lad, wet behind the ears, I loved to run.  I believe I would have been a very good cross country runner.  I certainly had the credentials to be a good runner, I was skinny as a rail and very hyper; but we were too far from the training grounds and did not have the finances to support lugging a kid around to participate in the twenty plus meets.

Take note that Elijah had a very powerful resume: By God’s power he stopped the rain in all of Israel for their disobedience, he provided oil and flour for the widow Zarephath and her son, he confronted the prophets of Baal and seen God’s mighty fires from the heavenlies that totally consumed the sacrifice, altar and many gallons of water, and then outran King Ahab’s chariot for more than seventy miles.    Would that not give you faith to move mountains?

But, Ahab shared the events of the day with Jezebel who sent a message to Elijah: “So may the god’s do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow."  (! Kings 19:1). 

Did Elijah boldly stand against her threats knowing God would protect him?  Not so! he cut and ran a day’s journey into the wilderness and sat down under a juniper tree and asked God to take his life!

Now, before you begin to rag on Elijah, keep in mind it is not wise to throw stones in glass houses.  Do we not do the same?   We make choices each and every day as to whether we will stand on the Rock- against the darts of the enemy or seek out a Juniper tree and try and hide.  What say ye?

The apostle James wrote that Elijah was a man 'subject to like passions as we are" (James 5:17).  Really, Lord!  But Lord, Elijah had an angel controlling his travel plans, a day planner and a food program provided by ravens! I wonder if Elijah was waiting for another fire from heaven answer to his problem? 

We love to read the wondrous stories of God's intervention like the parting of the Sea and the destruction of the prophets of Baal, but how many know that is not the normal modus operandi for our God in the control room. 

Soooo, fellow warriors let me close this for today and pick it up in the next morning message.  Keep in mind that the people used by God in the Bible in a mighty way were mere human beings that put their pants on one leg at a time.  We do not have to be a Peter or Paul to make an impact for the Lord, but we do need to be obedient and respond to His call.  



Monday, March 10, 2014

Do You Feel Like You Are In God's Shaker?

Hey Gang:  The writer of Hebrews wrote these words, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.”  Yet once more,” denotes the removal of those things which can be shaken, as of created things so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.  (Heb. 12:26-29).

 James wrote, “Consider it all joy  when you are in the shaker knowing the testing of your faith produces endurance and endurance the perfect result so that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing”  (James 1:2-4 Hainley rendition).

Yes, my young friends, we are going to go through increasingly more difficult shakers as the end of the Age of Gentiles, described so clearly in the Prophets and Revelation,  The writers of Hebrews and James also knew that, but they also had the words of Jeremiah in their computer banks.  Notice the power verse in Jeremiah 29:12 where God said, “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” 

As I little twerp I dreamed of the days when I could make my own decisions and do what pleased me.  And then that day arrived and I walked into the world of reality.  The Amish have a saying that goes like this: "To quick old and too late smart!"  I have learned the wisdom in that statement a thousand or so times - each time I think I have the answer and tell God to take a hike that I can handle this "back-against-the-wall experience.  My life has consisted of a never-ending line of peaks and valleys, some top-of-the-mountain times when I allow God to be in control, and the drudgeries of the valleys, when I say, ‘okay I will take it from here.'

In the past several weeks I have encountered some new valleys.  It is common to hear people refer to the older years as the Golden Years.  I have modified that to say Golden Years for the medical profession.  I have always been super blessed with good health but in the past several months my body has been sending me messages that my four score years is catching up with me.

There are new aches and pains, new infirmities which gives me the right to grumble- right?  No, when I feel like doing that I turn by attention to those restricted to wheel chairs or life threatening conditions and I say, "Thank You Father for the wonderful gift of health!”   
 Soooo my young friends, when it feels that God has you in His shaker turn to Isaiah 25:1 and shout to the heavens,  “O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness". Having a tough time? Find someone that is worse off than you and bless them.



Friday, March 7, 2014

What Voice Are You Listening To?

"Truly, truly, I say to you he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life"  (John 5:24)

Hey Gang:  Did you ever literally have another person’s life in your hands?  Where a misspoken word could lead to their demise?  I have.  As an air traffic controller, on any given shift of work, I held more than a hundred aircraft filled with people in my hands; one missed communication could have placed one, or more, of these aircraft in a life threatening position.. 

One night, while working at the Selfridge AFB Rapcon, I was idling away the remaining hour of my shift by tinkering with the long rang radar scope that allowed the Ground Controller at another facility to line the aircraft up with our radar and thus land the aircraft safely.  As I tinkered I listened to the ground controller give her instructions to the pilot but, I noticed there were two aircraft taking her instructions.   The direction finder soon proved that she was giving instructions to the wrong airplane.      
A call soon corrected the problem and the aircraft was safely vectored to his home base.  The pilot thought he was following the instruction that would lead him to safety but without immediate corrective action, the T33 would soon run out of fuel and fall far short of his Rehoboth (home base).  .  Do you see the analogy painted here.  We may think we are following the right path when in reality we are slipping further away from the Lord. 

Moses gave us the formula to remain strong in the Lord and not be subject to following the wrong voice when he wrote, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.   These words which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in our house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut.  6:5-7). 

Soooo, my young friends, unless you feed your heart, soul and mind with the things of God and stay in constant communication with Him, you may choose to follow the wrong voice.  Jesus began His teaching on what is to come in the last days to be careful and not be deceived". (Matt. 24:3).  If He were standing beside you this morning, He would still say, “Be in My word and be not deceived.”



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Is It Time To Change The Salt?

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under-foot by men" (Matt. 5:13). 

Hey Gang:  One of the very neat things about Jesus’ teaching is that He always used examples, analogies, and simple stories that all could understand but, sometimes it is necessary to know a little about the practices and mores of the day in order to get the drift of what He is saying.

In Jesus’ day the houses of the common laborer were very small with only one window, therefore, ventilation was a problem.  Baking inside was out of the question so they would build their ovens between the house and the road.  The ovens consisted of a dome and shelves on stilts. To aid in baking they would place a layer of salt on the bottom of the oven as a reflector of the heat.  After a number of baking’s, the salt would lose its reflective power and had to be replaced.  The salt was removed and thrown into the road for folks to walk on. 

Sooo, what is Jesus saying here?  We are to be reflectors of Jesus.  There was a saying that was popular a few years back: "What would Jesus do?”  Jesus was an imitator of the Father and He expects nothing less from His children. 

In the early days of the church folks who lost their first love and fell away from the faith were said to have "lost their salt".   Notice Jesus followed this verse with, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden nor does anyone light lamp and put it under a basket but on the lampstand and it give light to all who are in the house." (Matt. 5:14-`15).

Stop, read the verse again, and read it from the context that God is laying a blessing on each believer.  I would suggest that this was the greatest compliment that was ever paid to the individual Christian, for in it Jesus commands the Christian to be what He Himself claimed to be.  Jesus did say, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world" (John 9:5).  What is He saying? "Hey gang, be like Me!"  Wow, awesome!
Jesus summed up His teaching on "letting your light shine" by saying, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (vs.5:16)
In Scripture "salt and light" are like "bread and water".    I sense the point Jesus was making was you/we are the light of the world, as long as we keep our salt fresh. And how do we do that?  By keeping our swords sharpened with the Word and keep our relationship strong with the Abba Father, through prayer. 

Soooo, my young friends, I repeat “How’s your salt?.  As a little twerp I always enjoyed a special excitement when we sang two songs, one Jesus Loves me this I know".  Our teacher always stopped and asked the question, "How do we know?”  And in unison a combined chorus of all the little twerps would cry out "For the Bible tells me so".  And the second was "This Little Light of Mine, I'm going to let it shine".  In later years I added a third, "Lord Make Me a Sanctuary".  I have placed it in my will that these three songs be sung at my going away party. 



Monday, March 3, 2014

You Can't Take It With You

"Do not love the world nor the things of the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world."  (I John 2:15-17).

Hey gang:  Two hobos were sitting on a curb when a funeral procession passed by carrying the rich guy from up on knob hill to his final resting place.  (Isn't it great that a casket in the cold ground is not going to be our final resting place?).  I don't know about you but the Word tells me my final home is an out of sight place in the present of Yeshua.  Wow, awesome!

Getting back to the two hobos, one said to the other, "I wonder how much he left?" The other responded, "All of it!"   Timothy had something to say about that, "For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either"   (Tim. 6:7).

Recently, I listened in on a conversation between an interviewer and an interviewee, who had just won the lottery. The interviewer asked, “What has changed since you won the mega bucks?”   His , “I used to worry about where I would get enough money to keep my ship afloat; now I worry that someone will come along and sink my ship and take away my vast holdings.”  Studies have proven that suddenly winning a barn-full of money can be very detrimental to your health. 

Psalm 37 is a very favorite portion of Scripture to me.  Remember it begins, “Don’t fret”.  I like it when I read words like that.  Jesus often began His conversations with His disciples with "Do not be afraid!"  My Pennsylvania hillbilly background taught me it don’t matter no-how-  how much money you have; it’s what you do with it and, if you are blessed with a barn full, what your attitude is.  .  David gave a neat piece of advice when he wrote, “I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken”  Can you say ‘wow’ to that?

Sometime ago I read an article which was built on the promise a guy made to himself.  I do not recall very much of what it said, but I do remember his punch line: there are two days that I do not fret about, yesterday and tomorrow.  Similar words were spoken by the wisest man who ever lived on earth, Jesus, when He said, "Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough alligators of its own" (Matt. 6:34, Hainley rendition).

Malachi tells us there is a far greater guarantee available to those who love the Lord.  He wrote, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for  you a blessing until it overflows.”  Notice the promise connected to this promise, “Then I will rebuke the devourer for you!"  says the Lord. (Mal.  3:10-11).

Soooo, my good friends invest the whole tithe in the Lord’s bank and let God place His mantle of protection around you and keep in mind Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount "No one can serve to masters.”