Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Prayer Is Warfare!

"And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it:  but I found none - (Eze. 22:30).

Hey Gang:  Wow, the rains have stopped and the sun was out bright and beautiful today!  So I got out my work cloths and enjoyed a day in the sun and it feels great to be tired.  I cut the part of the lawn that was   not under water which is always a joy for me, for I can sing praises to God at the top of my lungs and no one can hear me but God.

The past year has been a time of testing with some ‘slight afflictions' licking at my heels.  At eighty, one expects to see some slow down in their vim and vigor, but on some days it just plain ‘gets up and goes’.    A good friend once said the first thing she does in the morning is check the obits and, if her name is not there,  she gets out her vitamin case and takes on fuel for the day.

I spend a lot of time in the Book of James, during times of testing, just seeking assurance that there is a purpose for battling alligators on a very regular basis.  I have learned that when we are confronted with wilderness experiences, we have to make a decision in whom we will put our trust.  James gave us the key to victory when he said, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance" (1:2-3).

He goes on and gives us the reason for staying the course, even in the midst of adversity, "Let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (vs. 3).  

Years ago, in my tenure of working with young folks who had made some bad decisions, God taught me a lesson that has been the foundation of my efforts to help these young folks.  It seemed I was to be willing to share the mistakes I have made in my lifetime and how God bailed me out from those mistakes.  I learned that hurting people crave to hear someone sit down with them as say "been there, done that"  but I serve a living Savior who collects those things from anyone willing to lay them at His feet and take them to the cross daily.

Our God is an awesome God! Isaiah 1:18 gives me the assurance that "Though my sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow, though they are crimson, they will be like wool, if you consent and obey."   Notice the "if". 

Soooo, young warriors, reread the Scripture today and note – “He sought for a man so stand in the gap but He found none".   Wow, is that not tragic.  Jesus said, "Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest" (John 4:35b).  What are your goals for today?  Do they include keeping your antenna's up, asking God to use you to come along side someone and say, "been there, done that" but there is a God who loves you, who is willing to take your burden to the cross. 



Monday, July 28, 2014

Greater Works! Who ME?

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“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” (John 14:12). 

Hey Gang:  My daddy was a coal miner, a bus driver and a custodian in a school.  His formal education ended in the eighth grade, due to the depression and his need to help support his family.  My mother's background was very similar.  Her father passed away early in her life.  She, too, ended her school years in the eighth grade, to care for her brothers and sisters while her mother scrubbed floors at the local Post Office to keep bread on the table.

By worldly standards, both did not score very high on the "opportunity for achievement chart".  But, they had a drive deep in their hearts that their four sons would have a greater opportunity for achievement than they did; they also sacrificed their lives to make that happen.  They were bound and determined to make sure that their four sons would have "greater works and opportunities”  than they had.  

Their eldest son became a pilot, later squadron commander and gained the high rank of Colonel in the Air Force and raised a family of five children- who also are successful in their various fields of interest.  Their second son became a master's level college graduate and entered the business world; he, too, was the father of five (two are decease), the others are also successful in living their lives as contributing members of their community.

Son number three is yours truly; college graduate, served this country in the Air Force, founder of a youth and family treatment center. We raised four children, all college graduates (David deceased) and today are making a difference in the lives of youth and families.

Son number four completed Tech School and eventually became the head tech rep on an atomic submarine.  I believe my parents, both eighth grade graduates, could say, "They, our children,  did greater works than we were able to do".

I wonder how the disciples felt the day that Jesus shared this promise “greater works will you do” with them.  In many ways they were like my momma and dad, poorly educated with no standing in the social levels of society.  They saw Jesus heal the sick, cast out demons, even raise the dead.  Do you think they might have said to Jesus, "Who me?"   I think I would have.

But, when we look at the life and ministry of Jesus, we note that He was never outside this small area on the Mediterranean Sea and was restricted by time and space.  Billy Graham in one Crusade probably preached to more people than Jesus did in all His ministry on earth.   He spent much of his ministry walking from one place to another. Graham could be in North Carolina in his home in the morning and preaching a Crusade in London that very evening. 

Yesterday, the medical profession announced that they have made another major break thought in learning the root causes of cancer and have even had success in defeating this Satanic killing device.  Is that what He meant by "greater things?"  He gave ability to scientist to take us to the moon and do things in the world of technology that blow our minds, even in this day of rapid learning.  Is that what He meant? 

Soooo, my friends and neighbors, this I know, I was able to accomplish things in my life that were far beyond the capacity of my parents, not because I was smarter than they but because they gave me opportunities to use my abilities in a way they never had the opportunity to use theirs.  When Jesus taught this lesson to His disciples He knew His day on earth were few, but the provision had already been designed in the Throne Room of Heaven - He would send a Comforter to live in the heart of every believer - and through that comforter we would do greater things than He was able to do in limited time and space. 



Friday, July 25, 2014

Do You Have An Itch You Can't Scratch?

For this reason I say to you, don't be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" (Matt. 6:25).

Hey Gang:  When was the last time you were satisfied?  I mean really satisfied.  Paul wrote in his first letter to Timothy “We brought nothing into the world, so we can take nothing out.  But, if we have food and clothes, we will be satisfied with that.”  (6:7-8). 

Paul also said: "Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12:10).  In 4:17, Paul referred to those things listed as thorns in his side, as ‘slight afflictions’.  To me a ‘slight affliction' falls within the category of pest, or something that comes and goes through our life, but is no big deal.  

But to Paul ‘slight affliction’ carried a far different, often menacing meaning.  Later in his letter to the Corinthians he gives us a short overview of his definition of ‘slight affliction’: far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death, stoned three times, eaten with rods, shipwrecked , encounters with robbers, hungry on many occasions, cold and exposed, daily pressure on him from the church, etc. etc. etc.  (2 Cor. 11:23-30).   Notice how he closed this descriptive section on the "slight-affliction issue, "If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness" (vs. 30).

But yet, in his letter to the Philippian believers, he wrote, "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am" (Phil.4:11).   And on what did he base that contentment? "If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content" (1 Tim. 6:8).

Jesus, the wisest man to ever walk the earth and now sits at the right hand of Father God in intercessory prayer for us, gave us advice that we need to take to the bank.”  He said, "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matt. 6:34).  An old country preacher preached a powerful message on the two days he never worries about, “Yesterday, for I can do nothing about it, and tomorrow, I do not have a clue what lies ahead.”

In the preceding verse Jesus gives us the remedy to discontentment, and anxiety:  "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matt. 6:33). Recently a reporter interviewed a woman who won the lottery but had lived in poverty all of her life.  When asked how she felt to be free of worrying about having enough money to live on, she replied that the fear of having someone take it away was even worse!

Sooooo, I repeat, “Seek the kingdom of heaven and all these things will be given to you.”  What things?  Paul answers that question, "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 14:17). And the neat thing about the kingdom, we can enjoy the fringe benefits of the kingdom here and now.



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

GOd, The Compulsive Decorator

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."  (I Peter 1:3-5).

Hey Gang:  Do you know what God’s desire is for you today? “That the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” (Eph. 1:18-19a)

And how do we make this happen?  We don’t. “It comes through the working of the strength of His (God’s) might.”   (vs. 19b).  Did you know that God is a compulsive decorator?  Let him live long enough in a heart, and that heart will begin to change. 

This might account for some of the discomfort we feel when we die to self and place Him (Jesus) in control of our lives. Remodeling of the heart can be a very uncomfortable trip.  We don’t mind it much when a new coat of paint is added or new carpet is laid, but God is not satisfied with superficial changes, He desires to dig deep into the recesses of our hearts with the spade and shovel and do some serious digging.

Why?  Because He has such high hopes and aspirations for each of those into whom He breathes life.   When God has a chore that He needs done, He looks for a broken vessel and smashes it and molds it into His Son’s image. There was a saying, a few years back, that stated "God does not make junk". 

Paul wrote, "Be imitators of God, as beloved children."  He also said, "Be an imitator of me" (1Cor. 4:16).  .  Do you think your life would look different if you were an imitator of Jesus or Paul?    Is it even possible, in this hectic, sin-filled world, to be an imitator of Jesus or Paul?

Paul goes on to list a smorgasbord of how to be an imitator:  "Walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma" (Eph. 5:2).

 In years gone by we had a friend who was an wonderful teacher of the word.  He said "when I am going to teach on a particular section of the Scriptures, I read it no less than fifty times.  And, when he stood on holy ground and taught what God had taught him in those fifty readings, there was something very special about what came out of his mouth.  There was a 'fragrant aroma' when in his presence. 

But, one day in one of his seminars there was a pretty young lady who caught his eye and Satan began to do a work in his heart.   To make the long story short - he left his wife and family, and entered into an adulterous relationship with this chick which placed his ministry on hold.  He later committed a crime that sent him to the ‘big house’ for a number of years, but God did a mighty work in  his heart and restored him to fellowship.

Soooo.  Friends and neighbors, we do make choices, each and every, as to whether we will be a 'fragrant aroma' or 'be stinketh'.  Paul went on in the sixth chapter of Ephesians to give us a formula for being a "fragrant aroma for Jesus"- by being strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might".   How?  "By putting on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil" (Eph. 6:10-11).     When we are clothed with the armor of God, Satan cannot tell us from Jesus!



Monday, July 21, 2014

Are You Living a Life of Purpose?

"The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains.  The world, and those who dwell in it" (Psalm 24:1).

Hey Gang:  My endorphin file is like Magee's closet, there are all kinds of goodies tucked away waiting to be dug out and sent along to you.  This neat little ditty carried with it a very good and deep message.  It seems that the mayor of a small town was driving through the city square when he noticed two workers doing something rather weird.  Working very steadily, one of the men was digging a hole in the ground and the other was filling it back in.

After watching them dig and fill several holes, the mayor confronted the two workers and asked for an explanation.  "Well, sir," replied the first man, "we work for the city planting trees and usually there are three of us - one to dig the hole, one to plant the tree and the other to fill the hole.  The guy who plants the trees called in sick today but we are here doing our job anyway.”

There's something to be said for hard work - but deep down all of us want our work to have purpose. What if we looked beyond our work, for other ways to accomplish God-honoring purpose in all areas of our lives?  Have you ever asked, "How would you have me invest what you have blessed me with to further Your kingdom?   It can give you a whole new perspective on your spending, savings, and Estate Planning.

Notice the verse for today clarifies to whom all that you have.  "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it."  This Scripture reminds us that God is the rightful Owner of everything, every jot and tittle.   Once we recognize that all we have comes from God and belongs to Him, it should change how we view what we own, and our long range plans for life.

Take a minute and consider how, living by placing God's purpose as our focus, looks in each of the following areas:

Our time:  How does God want me to invest it?  Becoming wise with the use of time often requires an adjustment in priorities.   Learning to say 'no' to some good things in favor of God's best for us can be difficult, but a worthwhile exercise.

Our talents: What abilities can I honor God with?  God created you with unique gifts to do special work for Him.  Recognizing, developing and using them for His glory is your gift back to God.

Our resources:  Where should I be investing my hard-earned dollars?  Providing for the future of your family and leaving a legacy for your children and their children can be wisely-planted seeds that will bear much lasting fruit.  John wrote, "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of Father in My name He may give you" (John 15:16).

Soooooo, friends, several years ago God impressed on my heart that I should pass my spiritual legacy down to my children, grand's and even to my great grand children.  Gramps Morning Thoughts grew out of that impression from the Lord.  I wanted each to know that, when we live for eternal purposes, our lives become a true reflection of God's goodness and cultivate a deep sense of value and worth.  I challenge each of you to live with His eternal purpose in mind.



Friday, July 18, 2014

Is Your Home A Home of Prayer?

"For who among men knows the thoughts of a man, except the spirit of the man which is in him?  Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God" (2 Cor. 2:11-12)

Hey Gang:  The bride-of-my-youth and I have, for years, been enjoying a time of Spiritual fellowship with one of our neighbors and it has been fabulous.  Not always deep, just sharing what the Lord is saying to us.  Together we studyied a book titled Why Pray by Dr John DeVries, a pastor missionary we have learned to love and respect..  John is the founder of a ministry called Mission India that provides all types VBS  and year round teaching for children, Pastor training and support, church planting, and literacy classes  that prepare the locals to care for their own people and spread the Good News of the Gospel.

In his book, Dr. DeVries encourages us to H.O.P.E.- to make our homes and very lives “Homes Of Prayer” Every day. This kind of a prayer relationship with our Savior brings hope to our families.  His point: Hope is expectation.  Peter tells us that we are born again to a living hope.  To pray is to live in a relationship of exciting expectation, as we wait to be continuously surprised by our Lord and Savior.

John made a tremendous point that we need to ponder.  He wrote, “We are to be friends in the middle of the night!”  We have kind of adopted that saying in developing a ring of prayer warriors around the Eagle Village.  What we really need is a multitude of committed folks who will follow through on their promise to take the Village and staff to the throne room of God each and every day and when the Lord places the Village in our minds.  (Check out the web:

Soooo, my good young friends, family, former and current staff, I pray that you will commit to becoming an integral part of that prayer power that goes forth daily to God’s throne.  I challenge you to pay special attention to your every contact, every word, and every activity today and see if God is testing you to see if you will say with Jesus, “Thy Will be done”.
It is my firm belief that there are thousands of children and families that need your commitment.  Paul said we are to “rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.  (1 Thess. 5:16-18)

PS… As I post this today our Borders are overflowing with children, Israel is being hit by over 100 rockets a day, refugees – mostly Christians from Syria and Iraq are fleeing and in camps, Christians from N Africa are being persecuted and killed.  Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.  Jesus said, “When all these things happen, LOOK UP your redemption draweth nigh!”



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Time of Pain

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all our ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight". (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Hey Gang:  Growing up in the mountains of Pennsylvania was a wonderful experience, but also a very hard existence.  They used to say we lived so far back in the sticks that even the hoot owls carried knap sacks, and they had to pump sunshine to us.  My daddy was a coal miner and coal miners were equal to church mices in pay.   But I did not know we were poor until the local social worker showed up at school and placed me on the ‘needs-milk list’.

I always thought my mother was a genius in her ability to stretch a dollar.  She could get more 'bang for a buck' than any one I have ever met but, rubber as she made them, there was not room in the Saturday check to buy anything but the bare necessities of existence.  However, everyone, in the tiny mining community of several families, was in the same boat -so we really did not know we were destitute.

I learned two wonderful lessons during those years: one was the joy of anticipation and the other, that God had built into me a trait called ‘ingenuity’.  I found I had the ability to use my God given talents to find things to keep me busy.   I can say without qualification that in my lifetime those two wonderful gifts have served me well.  We are truly blessed to have wonderful minds  -that when used for good, we can do things far beyond what we consider to be our ability level.

When we moved from California to Eagle Community in Michigan, with what we believed to be God's call to develop a program for troubled children, I spent two years as the only "Non employed director of a non-existing boys’ home".   Since my bride had a teaching degree ,she was able to find employment. For some reason I was unable to find a job sufficient to feed my family, so  in the 60’s, I became one of the first 'stay at home dads'. 

How many out there know in God's agenda there are no wasted times or experiences?  If we are diligently locked into God's program, it is like storing food for the future - only in this case it was storing experiences that I would one day use.  I did everything from working the fields with a local farmer, which meant repairing equipment,  learning to work with animals and many other wonderful experiences.  I also built furniture and toys.  But most importantly, I spent many hours filling my tanks  in the Word. Gma Jesse, a wonderful Bible Teacher, lived next door. There were all good tools that I would use in the future, as we developed the Village.

But it was also a time of struggle, for I am not a very patient person, and allowing my bride to be the support for our family was not something I handled very well.  Agony and pain might be a better description.  

Soooo, what was the lessons learned in those two years in the wilderness?  That " We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).    



Monday, July 14, 2014

My Love For You, Israel, Will Never Falter

"He shall say to them, "Hear O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today.  Do not be fainthearted.  Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them" (Deut 20:2);  "Even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, And I will subdue all your enemies" (1 Chron. 17:10)  "I will bring near My righteousness; it is not far off; And My salvation will  not delay.  And I will grant salvation in Zion, And My glory for Israel" (Isaiah 46:13).

Hey Gang:  How would you like to wake up with a siren screaming, warning you that you have fifteen seconds to get to a bomb shelter or possess annihilation.  In the past week over 600 such missiles have invaded the land of Israel.  If you could only grab one child which one would you take?

The words of Claudia Koenig, wife of International White House correspondent who happened to be in Israel during the beginning and the Hamas onslaught penned these words, "The Jews setting their gazing eyes on us (Koenigs, representing America) seeking a word of comfort and wisdom.  They listened to our words, seeking a solution for peace for their land.  There is a fighting spirit in their words, yet they are restrained by the politicians and religious leaders -in whom they have no hope. 

This battle is to be won by the One, whose name is not allowed to be spoken, Yeshua.  He is the Son of the God of Israel, the Messiah, whose name is on the city of Jerusalem.  He is the solution, He is the Hope of Israel.

Without a spoken word, the presence of the His Spirit is felt in the midst of His people during the meetings.  The wondering of their hearts is expressed on their faces...."Could it be that what I am sensing in them be the Messiah? The solution? The hope of our people....dare I believe?".

The world so badly wants to spew its venom on this tiny nation that exists in the midst of a desert of darkness.  Today some nations say, “You are right, Israel, for retaliating but do not retaliate too violently.  You must think of the women and children, be humane.” BUT, there is no such concern for the little ones and women and elderly who are the recipients of the missiles that carry death and despair into their country.

Is there another nation in history that calls and warns people that a weapon of destruction will soon be forthcoming - leave immediately?  Is there another nation in history that, when their people are called, the residents of that house are advised by Hamas to go onto the roof top and be a human shield?   Has there been a nation that places launching devises for missiles in kindergartens, hospitals, and in homes?

And, has there been another nation in history that provides, in one day, 1,228 tons of food to their enemy, 290,000 liters of fuel, medical supplies and opens its hospitals and medical staff to caring for their enemies wounded, as Israel does?

Soooo, my friends and neighbors, many times I have quoted the verse in Hebrew 12 that tell us a time is coming when everything that can be shaken will be shaken.  When we see this shaking taking place, it is time to look up, for our redemption draws near.     We have an option to be excited about what is happening in our world today, for surely we are nearing that day when God says to His Son, Yeshua," time for a wedding feast - go and collect Your bride".  What say you, is your name written in the Lamb's Book of Life? 



Friday, July 11, 2014

Would You Reconsider?

"The cup that God has given me, shall I not drink it?"  (John 18:11).

Hey Gang:  As A kid growing up in the mountains of Pennsylvania, we had some words that qualified as "Hillbilly talk.”  One such word was 'pithy' .  I would guess most folks in the more civilized parts of our nation would not have a clue what 'pithy' means.   To the hillbilly, pithy means soft inside.   

Is the church pithy today? Keep in mind Satan's church is totally united.  It is God's church that is fragmented and spends huge amounts of time and energy arguing about our differences.    Did you know there are fifty-six different denominations with 173 churches listed in the phone book?  All within fifty miles of Big Rapids.
I recently heard a pastor taken to task for having lunch with a local catholic priest.  The question to him, "Did you talk to him about anything spiritual or religious?"  "Yes, we talked about several things that we agreed on".  He added, “We enjoyed our time together so much that we set up another time when we will sit down and dig a little deeper into setting a foundation that we can talk to each with honest hearts and integrity.”

Was he comfortable in the initial moments of meeting with the priest? No, but I wonder if Jesus was comfortable when he asked Peter, "Shall I not drink of this cup that the Lord has set before me."  I wonder how many times I have missed drinking the cup that God laid at my doorstep?

Years ago, my bride and I were asked to do a series of Parenting Classes at a local church; we readily accepted.   In the first class there were four or five young couples who attended; at the second session the number grew by several and within the month the number bloomed to more than twenty couples.  We were more than a little surprised when all of the couples showed up at the next session and had completed the assignments we gave them.  We were also amazed that there were no 'door knobs' (people who had no interest in what we were saying but coerced into attending). 

It was a class of sharing the joys of success and the pain and agony of failure.  Each week the class members grew closer until it looked more like a family gathering then a class.  At the end of the twenty weeks that we had committed to, the request was nearly unanimous, they wanted to continue but our schedule would not allow it so an alternate format was suggested.  Let's develop a Family Support Sunday School Class!  

Sounded like plan so we took it to the church board and amazed with their response ...”No, we do not have plans for such a class.”   No amount of reasoning, about why this class should not be a very high priority, was beyond my comprehension.  It would have doubled the size of the Sunday School, provide an opportunity to grow the church numbers by advertising that _____ Church was a refuge for hurting families .  Each of the couples confessed they had made great strides in building their homes on Biblical principles and their homes were more stable, fun places to be and filled with the joy of the Lord.

 They gave a number of reasons why they did not think it was a good idea to have these forty young people as part of their Sunday School.  I might add I sensed that each lame excuse was based on a pride issue.   I believe the Board saw the strength within that group of young people as a threat to their power base.   The end result is all of the couples left the church and moved to other churches that were more family oriented. 

We just went through the season of the year where we celebrate another example, a much more profound example, an itinerant carpenter from a tiny village name Nazareth was seen as a threat to the religious leaders of His day. The threat was so great that Caiaphas, the head honcho, declared it is more expedient that one should die than for us to lose all their power and bangles and beads.    

Soooo, I believe with all my heart that when God breathed life into our mortal bodies He had a plan for you.  Perhaps it was to lead someone to Christ, or to be a witness to those with whom you work, sweep the floor in the dining hall, or just say hello to the cashier at WalMart.  As you traverse this day be aware of the opportunities God sends your way to be a witness. Ask yourself the question,  "The cup that God has given me, shall I not drink it".


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Do You Need A Hand his Morning?

 Is your back is against the wall?  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.  For I am the Lord our God!” (Is. 43:2-3a). 

Hey Gang:  I love that story in Mark 8 where Jesus, having just arrived in Bethsaida, was confronted by the people bringing to Him a blind man.  Mark wrote, they "implored Him to touch Him"; an example of faith demonstrated.  Notice the first thing that Jesus did was "take him by the hand".     Is that not a wonderful attribute of our Lord?  He wants to touch us.

He then led the blind man out of the city and did something, that certainly would not be recommended in the Medical Journeys, "He spit in his eyes and laid hands on him." Jesus’ question, "Do you see anything?"   The former blind man looked up and replied, "I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around."  

I would suggest to you that, if a blind man came to us for healing and we touched him and he could see men walking like trees, we would rejoice in the miracle that had just occurred, but that is not good enough for Jesus - "Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked up intently and was restored, and began to see things clearly" (vs. 25). 
I find great hope in this story. There are many times when I have prayed to the Lord and received a partial answer or an answer that did not exactly fit my desire.  There are times when God needs to spoon feed us a bite at a time.  Perhaps the blind man was not entirely convinced that Jesus could heal his eyes and needed a second touch from the Lord to fill in that little pocket of doubt that still persisted.

Hey folks, let me make a confession to you this morning.  When God called us to pack it, in California and move to Michigan to develop a home for kids with behavior problem, to say I was ‘green as grass’ in what the road looked like ahead of us would be misleading.  I was more like an unopened package of seed!  

The two years between California and the opening day of the Eagle Village was a time of deep pain.  Being one of the ‘first stay at home dads’ was not my cup of tea.  But during those two years God was doing something to my heart, in preparation for the many times I would throw up my hands and say "I just do not have the tools to work with to do this task. I need a second touch from You Lord!”  

Soooo, Dudes and Ladies, If the Scripture of the morning does not get your heart to dancing, you had best check your pulse and see if your thumper is still thumping.   You will pass through the waters today, or tomorrow.  It is not a matter of if you will but when.  He, the Lord of the universe, will be with you.  When you walk through rivers or fire you will not be burnt, For I am the Lord our God, and I will never leave you or forsake you. (Isa 43:2-3)   And that my friends you can take to the bank! 

Refrain:  Hymn- God leads His Dear Children Along  by H . Lillenas
Some thro’ the water, some thro’ the flood, Some thro’ the fire, but all thro’ the blood;
Some thro’ great sorrow, but God gives a song, In the night season and all the day long.



Monday, July 7, 2014

Plant a Miracle Today

"Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not break and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take in to account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."  (I Cor. 13:4-7)       
Hey Gang:  Do you want to see a miracle?  Then plant a seed of love in someone's life.  Nurture it with a smile and pray diligently for them, and watch what happens.   Bruce Barton wrote, “When we plant a seed in someone’s life we purchase a little slice of immortality, for through that person’s life your encouragement and love lives.” 

A work associate gets a word of encouragement, a wife gets a compliment on something she did, a child is praised for picking up his cloths, a word of kindness is spoken to the check-out lady at Walmart, a preacher is praised for his labor.  These are Eternal seeds that will grow into all that God wants it to be will be recorded in your book of life. 

I recently read of a divorce attorney who, after listening to the reasons why the husband felt he had run the course in his marriage and wanted out, had a unique way of preparing for the divorce.  He explained to the husband that the settlements were always easier to agree on when there was a degree of compatibility between the divorcing partners.  He suggested to the husband that while he prepared the paper work, he should treat his wife with honor and respect, complimenting her at every opportunity and fulfilling his duties in every way.  

A week went by, and then another and still another.  When the client finally arrived at the attorney's office the attorney laid out the divorce decree for him to sign.  The husband picked up the paper and put them in his pocket and replied, "We don't need these any more".   Galatians 6:7 is a wonderful promise when used in the positive, “We will reap what we sow"!

I learned very early, in my tenure of working with children and families who were struggling, that planting seeds of encouragement and early in the relationship with them, finding positive points on which to build, set the stage for dealing with the tougher issues later.   It was always so much more productive to tackle difficult problems when you had a solid positive foundation on which to work.

Soooo as you prepare for the world today, keep in mind when you step out the door of your abode - you are entering the :mission field!   Don't forget to take along God's toolbox and feel free to use all the neat tools He provided, "But the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control, against such things there is no law".  (Gal 6:22-23) "Have a blessed seed planting day.



Friday, July 4, 2014

The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

Flag from  Fort 1812.  US Smithsonian Institute

Jesus said, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:31-32).

Hey Gang:  Okay I admit it, when it comes to the Stars and Stripes I am a pure and unadulterated softie.  I was never much of a racing fan until I happened to turn on a Nascar Race and was introduced to their respect for our nation, our flag and our military.  I have never been more proud than when I served my country as an airmen in the United States Air Force. 

One of the favorite books of the bride of my youth is titled Amazing Grace.  It is 366 inspiring stories from the hearts of sincere believers who have penned their relationship with Father God in ‘Psalms, hymns, prayers and love’.  In our many contacts with people who are struggling with the complexities of this life, we have suggested they carry a music truth with them throughout the day and let God speak to their hearts through the soothing voice of God through music.

In the book Amazing Grace there is the story of "The Star Spangled Banner and how it came into being.  I am sure all of you know the history of its development but ‘let’s take a moment and review it.  This song came into being during the War of 1812 when its author, Francis Scoot Key, was on the deck of a truce ship nervously pacing back and forth on its deck while the British attacked the harbor of Baltimore.

He had been sent there as an advocate of peace to plead for the release of a physician, who had been taken captive.  The night was frightful; the bombardment continued.  Then the firing suddenly stopped, just before morning. Key was fearful of the outcome, but as he looked hesitantly across the water, he saw the American flag still triumphantly flying with the assurance of our nation's freedom.
Although the words, written on the back of an envelope, and music later added, which happened to be an old hunting song, the Star Spangle Banner did not become our National Anthem until an act of Congress officially adopted it on March 3, 1931. 

As I read and reread the words of our National Anthem, a question surfaced in my mind:  In this day, when everything -in our once proud nation- was looked upon by the world as being the "Land of the free and home of the brave, will the flag continue to be seen triumphantly flying with the assurance of our nation's freedom"?   

Sooo, my young friends, how about you.  When you see the Stars and Stripes or hear the National Anthem, do you stop and bow your head in respect for all who have given their lives to give us the freedoms that we enjoy?  As we celebrate the day our US Constitution was adopted by the Continental Congress and became the law of our land, we need to pray that God will protect it- for surely it is under attack from many sides today.

Join Anne Graham Lotz urgent call to pray as she leads us each day in prayer and fasting for our nation,  July 1-7



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Set Your Mind On Things Above

"If anyone wishes to come after Me, He must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matt. 16:24-25).

Hey Gang:  I love the little words of the Bible.  I tend to think of them as trigger words- when one appears, we need to take heed of a very important truth will follow. Notice, the Scripture of the morning begins with the trigger word 'if'.  “'If' anyone wishes to come after Me, He must!’   We might call that a covenant.  An old country preacher, Pastor Mumford, often said, “When you come to a 'therefore' in the Word, you need to stop until you understand what it is ‘there for’.

Let’s look at an example of the very small word “if” being a gigantic trigger word in a very important truth.  In Colossians three we find Paul’s formula about how to change from the old to the new.  He gives us a four step process: first we must die to the old man in us, "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God" verse 3.

Second, we must “put off” those things that are offensive to God, that grieve the Holy Spirit (Vs. 5b-8). Third, we must fill the vacuum that is created when we dump the old by “putting on” those things that bring honor to our Father (vs. 12). 

And lastly comes the really tough part of the equation, we must "“Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts” (vs. 15-16).  John addressed this very point when he wrote "Peace I leave with you;  My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled nor let it be fearful" (John 14:27).

We have used this formula in many of our workshops and there is always one or more of the participants who tell us they tried, but it just does not work in their home.  I then remind them there is a prerequisite that begins with a trigger word that places Paul's plan into action.  Notice verse one begins with two trigger words, "Therefore, ‘If’  you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God”.  And how does one do that?   Read on:  by “…setting your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth”.  (Vs 2).

And how do we do that?  Paul instructs us on the "how's" In Romans 12:1-2; here he admonishes us with a challenge, "Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living an holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind"

Soooo, my friends and neighbors, I challenge you, as you peruse the Scriptures, highlight those neat and wonderful trigger words that put God's plan into action.  One of my very favorite is John's words in 15:10-11; "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full".

Is your heart filed with God's joy?  Does your face know it?  Do you want your witness to be a "Beacon Light of encouragement to all you meet?  John said, "If' you abide in Me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you".   This is my prayer- that His joy will be made full in you this morning.