Friday, August 29, 2014

A Word of Encouragement

"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

Hey Gang:  In the last Gramps Morning Thought I shared a small chunk of our wonderful weekend in Shipshewana celebrating our 57th anniversary. While there we had the joyous opportunity to enjoy the play "Josiah For President".  As I was out cutting wood this week, I could not get the powerful message that was the theme of the musical out of my mind. 

But, before I begin to share some of those thoughts, I need to share a very important point pertaining to our 57 years of bliss together as one in Christ.   I am very proud to share the wonderful news that, of all the weddings I was blessed to conduct, I have not had one end up on the rocks of divorce. 

My message to the young couple was one that has been the foundation of our marriage from the moment we said our " I do's".  Solomon, the second wisest man to walk the earth, knew a wee bit about marriage - he had a whole barn full of wives.  He gave us the following piece of advice that, if it is the foundation of your marriage and relationship, your marriage will sustain even the most sever adversities like the loss of a child.

He wrote:  "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.  But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.  Futhermore, if two lie down together they keep warm but how can one be warm alone?  And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him.  A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart" (Ecc. 4:9-12). 

At the Blue Gate Theater that night there was the normal packed house and, as is the case in each performance, the host did a quick research project asking where folks were from, if there were any birthdays and anniversaries.  We were third, one couple was celebrating their sixty- third year as help mates to each other, another 58 years.  I noticed something else that in today's world seemed very strange, there were very few singles and due to the age of those singles, I would suggest they had lost their mate.

Oh, by the way, I was blessed to only perform one wedding! 

Soooo, I did not get to those things I wanted to share that were going through my mind as I cut wood this week, and I am fixen’ to get my working threads on and get back into the wood pile this morning. So, perhaps they will appear in the next blog.

But, before I wrap this up, I want to share a couple thoughts from a neat little book titled Amish Proverbs, written by Susan Woods Fisher.   The Amish (Plain People) are creators of proverbs for just about every facet of life and all are in the same vein of Jesus parables.  They have overt and covert meanings and are almost impossible to miss the point they are trying to make.

Such proverbs as, "God is there to give us strength for every hill we have to climb"; "Never doubt in the dark what  God has shown you in the light"; and "Trusting God turns problems into opportunities";  “Focus on God's provision to endure a difficult circumstance”. 

So, before you shut down the electronic device you are reading this on, go back and read once more the proverbs; it is very probable that you will find an alligator or two snipping at your heals very soon and need to know God's provisions are there for you, if you ask Him.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

R and R (Rest and Recuperation)

"Do not let your heart be troubled, believe in God, believe also in Me" (John 14:1) 

Hey Gang, Do you have a very special place where you can go when it seems everything that can be shaken is being shaken.  We just returned from the place that we have adopted as being our oasis out of the storm, Shipshewana, Indiana.   We make several trips to Shipshewana each year but this time it has a very special significance, we were celebrating our fifty-seventh year of marital bliss together.    

Shipshewana is in the heart of Amish Country (The Plain People).  I readily admit that for many folks, a day in Shipshe, as many refer to Shipshewana, would be a boring experience, especially if they have teen aged children.  When it comes to the bangles and beads of the world, it is lacking.  One does not go to Shipshe for excitement and entertainment.    While in the military serving in Korea, we were blessed with periodic trips which were referred to as R and R (Rest and recuperation).  Going to Shipshe is a time of R and R for me.

When you ask for directions in Shipshewana most folks use the Blue Gate restaurant and theater as the starting or ending point.  Breakfast at the Blue Gate is usually enough to take you through the day with a great deal of gusto.  Blueberry pancakes with all the trimmings is worth driving the 120 miles to get there – but big pretzels are always a must. 

One would think a theater in Amish Country would have a hard time surviving.  I mean, who would drive to a tiny town of less than a thousand people to attend a theatric presentation.  The show that was being offered was a musical titled "Josiah For President".  We had the privilege of reading the book before attending so we were anxious to see how they presented the story on the small stage to the three hundred attendees.

It was a story that one could place in the "miracle category if it could happen".  An Amish man becoming president?  You’ve got to be kidding.    True, but for two hours we were treated to a wonderful play and deep inside I found myself saying, “Lord, if could only be!"   His presidency was centered on "of the people, by the people, for the people - "So Help Me God".    His platform was very simple, if God said it, so be it. 

When Josiah finally agreed to run, after much cajoling on the part of a burned out politician who wanted nothing more to do with politics the political world thought it was some sort of pun but the people on the street did not think so and soon a ground swell began to take place in support of this bearded man who wore clothing that appeared odd to them and rejected such things as electricity and automobiles.

Though the drama and book don’t end like you might expect, I don't  believe there was a dry eye in the auditorium.  I prayed silently with tears in my eyes, "Lord, if it could only be" that You would raise up a person who loves you with all their hearts and committed to Your ways alone and restore this once great country to the principles it was founded on.

Soooo, as I thought about the story line in the ‘Josiah For President’, I could see the not so subtle message that the author was sending to the reader.  "For God so loved you and me so much that He sent His only Son into the world be go to a hideous cross to give us the option to be freed from the bondage of sin".   In this day when the sky seems to be falling I strongly recommend you read the red in your Bible and, if you want to escape the shaking that is going on around you, you might pick up a copy of ‘Josiah For President’, shut of the electronics and find a tree in the meadow and rest and recuperate for a spell.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Check Out the 'Therefore'

"Therefore I run in such a sway, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified" (I Cor. 9:26-27).

Hey Gang:  I have probably made this statement somewhere along the line, in one of the previous morning thoughts, but it bears repeating:  "I love the little words of the Bible, the if's, but's, therefore's. etc.  In many cases they are trigger words to a powerful truth.  This is especially true when we study the covenants of the Bible.  There is a vast difference between a ‘conditional’ and a ‘non-conditional’ covenant and it is determined with the tiny word "if".     
As I thought about the message I sent to you recently, the Lord seemed to be tugging at my shirt tail to follow it up on how to implement the instructions of Colossians three.  Again we turn to the words of Paul, but this time in his letter to the Roman Church (chapter 12).  Again we find that trigger word ‘therefore’, so as Pastor Mumford would say, "Let’s take a minute and find out why it is “therefore”.

Paul begins by telling us how to be successful in our walk with the Lord:  “Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies (meaning your whole self – physically, mentally and spiritually) a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (v.1).  Stop!  Read those words again.  Note that Paul is saying to walk with the Lord you must be willing to sacrifice your all in all, holding nothing back. 

One thing we know about Paul is that he never gives us instruction with giving us the practical application of the principal he is sharing.  Now, for practical application; “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (vs. 2).

I recently talked with a young man that was up to his armpits with alligators.  His marriage was not going well, he had been laid off from his job, house payment due, car payment due, etc. etc.  In the course of conversation he made this statement, "Is it enough to make one seek religion?" I suggested maybe that was the problem, what he really needed was not religion, but Jesus as Lord of his life. 

His problem? He was conformed to this world and not willing to present his body as a holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.  He was willing to give up the mundane things, but not willing to be transformed by the renewing of his mind.  That is kind of like finding out you have several cancerous tumors in your body and telling the surgeon, take this one and that one but leave the others alone.      

Sooooo, my young friends, notice the key to implementing this principle: “... present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God”.  Think about that!  He will accept nothing less.  What price are you willing to pay?  Are you ready to sacrifice your all?  Remember the price that Jesus paid for your salvation – He paid it all!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Climate Control!! Really???

"When He utters His voice, there is tumult of waters in the heavens, And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain, And brings out the wind from His storehouses" (Jeremiah 10:13).  

Hey Gang:  Does anyone out there have a mowing machine with pontoons instead of wheels?  We are blessed to live at the bottom of a water shed and not only get direct delivery services from the heavenlies but also the run off from my neighbors; it is usually mid June before I can get into a major portion of my lawn. 

This year it has been especially bad and the grass rapidly grew beyond the capacity of my mower to solve the problem.  So, I did some research as to which would be best, to hire a local farmer to bring his combine in or rent a herd of goats to spend a week or so getting it under control.  There are some advantages to the goat herd idea, it negates the need to fertilize.

If you are an avid news follower I suspect you, like I, am getting kind of burned out on this thing called "climate control".  According to the climate control advocates, if we don't do something yesterday to reduce our use of the various products that are causing the problem, we will all turn to ashes within a fortnight. 

Now I admit I have a problem with that theory.  You see, I believe God is at the controls of the universe and totally controls the winds, the rains, the sleet, the droughts but mostly the temperature.  Several years ago it was reported that Polar Bears were becoming extinct because the ice was melting and there were no ice flows for them to live on.  Last week another writer wrote an article on the problem the Polar Bears are having this year, the ice is so thick that the seals cannot break through the ice, endangering the food supply for the bears.

It is like the story of two rabbi's who were discussing the many ‘things to come’ theories, and for each topic brought up for discussion, there were four opinions.    It brings to mind the words of Paul when he wrote in his second letter to Timothy, "…men will ever be learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”  (2 Tim 3:7).  Paul did not stop there, he went on to warn us, "Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith" (vs. 8).

I suspect a large part of the problem is that many folks believe the media controls the weather and what they write is gospel truth.  Well, my blood pressure will not allow me to get into that this morning.  I would rather share truth, nothing but the truth, so help me Father God who gives us the assurance it is not how much coal we burn or how many cars pollute our air that controls the thermometer.  

Soooo, You have a choice to make this morning, you can listen to the so-called climate control authorities, or the press with its horror stories, or you can turn to God's work and learn about the One who controls the climate.  The Bible is filled with wonderful examples of God's mastery over the winds and weather.  One of my very favorites came when the disciples were fearful that they were going to visit Davy Jones at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee and Jesus, sleeping through the whole ordeal was awakened and said, "Wind be still” and the wind was stilled.

The disciples response to this awesome experience? "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him" (Mark 4:39/41).   As for me and my house, we will put our trust in the Lord to be our ‘Climate Controller’.            



Friday, August 15, 2014

Are You Where You Are Supposed To Be?

"Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel" (2 Samuel 11:1a).

Hey Gang:  There is an adage that says, ‘We often find ourselves in the right place at the wrong time or the wrong place at the right time.  Years ago, while in the research stage of developing the Village, I had made an appointment with an old salt who had been in the camping business for more years than I had been alive.    

This was before the advent of GPS's.  His instructions to get to his  Camp were very clear: “Go to Napoleon and you will see directions on sign posts as you approach town.”  In other words follow ‘the yellow brick road’.  My daddy taught me, in my growing up years, that it was very important to be on time for appointments and to be late was just plain ignorant to the other person.

So, we had allowed plenty of time but when we got to Napoleon we found no sign with directions to the Camp.  No problem, it was a large YMCA Camp and everyone would know where it was located.  Besides the town was about the size of Podunkville.  So we went to Plan B and began to inquire of the local citizens where we might find Camp Storer.  Each time we were greeted with blank stares; they did not have a clue!

So, we went to Plan C and called the person we were to meet with and found we were in the right city, Napoleon, but the wrong state.  We were supposed to be in Napoleon, Michigan and was in Napoleon, Ohio.    A rapid fifty mile trip solved the problem and our mission was accomplished.

We were in the right place but the wrong state.  In our scripture of the morning David, you do remember David, don't you,   he was a man after God's own heart?  He had decided that this spring time he would delegate his authority and send his armies out to fight - without him.  That was mistake number one. 

If he had been where he was supposed to be, he would not have become bored in the middle of the night, out on the rooftop, and not seen the woman bathing.  From there it was rapid decline into the pit - adultery followed by murder.  And how did God feel about this "man after His own heart?" "But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord"    (2 Sam. 11:27).  It was also the beginning of tragic times within David's family.

Another very familiar story of someone who was at the wrong place at the right time, Jonah.  God had a very special mission for Jonah, a mission that Jonah decided was not his cup of tea.  Not a good idea! When the ‘word of the Lord says’, "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me." (Jonah 1:2-3).  

How many know that God has very unique ways of getting our attention?  I would suggest this was a Hall of Shame experience.  A whale, really?  His description of his ride in the belly of the whale sounds like an attention getter, "Water encompassed me to the point of death, the great deep engulfed me; weeds were wrapped around my head" (vs. 2:5).

Did it open Jonah's eyes?  "While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord and my prayer came to You" (vs.7).

Soooo, my young witnesses and warriors, we do not have kings that go to war in the spring time, nor do we have whales in our neighborhoods, but God does have a way of ringing our bells when we are at the right place at the wrong time or the wrong place at the right time.   What joy there is in knowing we are in the right place at the right time!



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Peter's Grievous Mistake

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat: but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers" (Luke 22:31-32).

Hey Gang: Have you ever felt like Satan was trying to "sift you life wheat?"  I know that feeling.  But, Jesus said, "I have prayed for you!"  Wow, the Son of God, who died to take the sins of the world away and free us from the bondage of our iniquities, sits at the right hand of the Father and prays for you and me.  Can you say "Thank you Jesus?"  His prayed that "our faith will not fail" and when we do fail in our walk with Him, "we will turn around and strengthen the brethren".   

I can remember, as a boy, my grandmother making apple dumplings for the family.  Wow, do I like apple dumplings.  Anyway she always sifted the flour, I thought to remove the impurities but I suspect it was to spread the flour evenly over the dough.  I have since learned that to sift means to separate.  I believe God seeks to separate us from our sins. 

Remember the story of the silversmith? He takes the impure ore and places it on the fire until it melts and the impurities rise to the top.  When is it pure?  When he can see his face in the silver.  When are we pure, when we are molded into the image of His Son, Father can see his reflection in us.

 James talks about growing stronger in the Lord through our experiences in alligator alley.  This is also the story of the growth of the church.  Without ‘sifting’, even suffering, we can become very weak and lazy.    It is the sifting experiences that prepare us for the "go" command given by Jesus (Matt 28:19).

The disciples had been with Jesus for nearly three years and had sufficient knowledge to do as Christ had prepared them to do but, that knowledge had to be transferred from head knowledge to action.  Jesus’ trial, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension back to the Father, moved them from the gawking stage to the action mode.   If there had been no sand paper experiences, the disciples may have remained in Jerusalem and the gospel would have died on the vine. 

Satan's plan from day one is to divide and conquer.  Many like to think that Satan is one smart dude.  But, his true purpose is to destroy the Jews and church, so that Jesus has no place and no family to return to. 

But, think about that for a moment.  If you were trying to reduce the number and everyplace that you persecuted the believers the church grew by leaps and bounds, would you not stop persecuting the source of growth?   I, therefore, nominate Satan for the "dunce chair" in the moron's club.  

Sooooo, the major point that Jesus is making in these verses: “Yes, Satan does place a bull’s eye on the back of every believer and continually waits for those times when our armor is spit polished and hanging in a closet and not affixed to our mortal bodies.  When God asked Satan where he's been? Satan remarked "roaming about the earth" (Job 1). 

I suspect as the prophetic clock continues to count down to the coming of Jesus. Satan is roaming with a great deal more intensity seeking whom he may devourer (I Peter 5:8).  But look up for your "redemption is also drawing neigh" (Luke 21:29) and remember "Jesus is praying for you" (I John 17:20).



Friday, August 8, 2014

Put On The New Self, continued

"For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory" (Col. 3:3-4).

Hey Gang:  When I finally stopped running from God, (how many know, if you have two grandmothers, a mother, a mother-in-law and a wife praying for your salvation and Spiritual well-being, you might as well throw in the towel and get with God's program.  I labored under the false assumption that with the washing away of my sin burden at baptism and my becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus, all my previous vices would also be washed away.  Oh, how wrong I was.

Did you know that Satan is a poor loser and never, never, never gives up trying to re-gather you into his fold?  Remember when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness and Jesus cleaned his clock with Scripture? Luke tells us Satan left, awaiting a more opportune time to return and pick up the gauntlet again.  We see his pattern throughout Jesus’ earthly existence.  I soon learned that was to be the same modus operandi he would use on me. 

Paul was well aware of Satan's MO and said, "You have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col 3).  I learned early in my walk with the Lord that nothing had really changed.  I still had the same evil desires and thoughts, but now I had the weapons to deal with those actions and thoughts.  But it took an act of my will to put those actions and thoughts on the run!

Paul went on to warn us that we must “Consider the members of our earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desires, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.  For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience" (vs. 5-6).  Paul now moves on to step two of the change process, we must "put aside those things that grieved the Holy spirit and replace them with the third step "put on those things that bring honor and glory to God.   (vs 8-11).

Paul now introduces us to the most difficult part of the change process, we must totally surrender ourselves into His hands.  "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful, Let the word of Christ richly dwell with you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your heats to God"  (vs. 15-16)

Soooo, my friends, notice Paul caps off this teaching with these words, "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father" (vs. 17).  Hard, yes!  Impossible, no!  In our own power, No.  But with the Holy Spirit as our driving force, yes it is possible.  Remember the four sets of words: die, put off, put on and let God.



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Put On The New Self

"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is  seated at the right hand of God" (Col 3:1).                                      
Hey Gang:  I love the Word of God, cover to cover!  I am a literalist - take the Word as it is written.  I believe God has protected His Word down through the generations.  Although I love very jot and tittle written, there are parts that have made a special impact on my life.  Chapter three of Colossians is one of those passages. We share this formula for change in nearly every teaching and workshop.

As I researched for this morning thought, I found myself looking more closely at word meanings and how this fits into Paul's total teaching.  Six phrases, I have color-coded in multi colors with arrows, that we need to focus on are Die, Put Off, Put On and Let God.

Paul always lays a solid foundation for what he is about to teach us.  In Colossians 2:12 he laid such a foundation with these words, "Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead."

The point: Baptism is more than being dipped under the water; it represents a cleansing process, but it is only a second step.  In conversion we confess our sins and in baptism our sins are washed away.  But be advised, confession and forgiveness is a process that never ends, for we continue to sin overtly and covertly.  That is why Jesus said, "We need to take up our cross daily.”

Pastor Wilkerson wrote, "Our greatest danger as Christians is ‘drifting’".  Jesus said that Christians are to be “Yes, Yes and No, No” people (Matt. 5:37).  We need to have "I know what I believe and who I believe in” firmly planted in our hearts.

Notice Paul begins this teaching with the trigger word "if".  “If you have been raised with Christ" is the key phrase to understanding the remainder of Paul's teaching.  What he is saying is, "If you have been raised up with Christ" a profound change will take place!

Paul tells us the key to that change is that our minds begin to "seek things above". In other words the mundane things of the world becomes less and the things of God have become more important.  Money, prestige, position take on a new meaning - a secondary meaning.

Through resurrection with Christ as our Lord, we now belong to  higher world and our desires and conduct must model that higher world.  And how do we do this?  "By focusing our thoughts on things above".     
Does that mean that when we go under the water of baptism some sort of miraculous cleansing takes place that removes the old and replaces it with the new?  That would certainly be nice....but!  Peter tells us that after the cleansing process is completed, the silversmith process follows.  He said you must work hard to learn more and more about God and one day you will begin to grow into the image of God. Silver is pure when the Smithy/God can see His reflection in the pot.

Soooo, Now hear this!  Paul is not advocating that we withdraw from the world.  He is talking about a radical change process that provides the formula for growing into the image of Christ while in the world, but he also makes it clear that we are to be ambassadors and warriors for Christ; that means we must be in the midst of the fray.  Keep in mind when you leave the parking lot of the church you are entering the mission field.

BEGINNING next week new MORNING THOUGHT days will be Tues and Fri.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Integrity! What Is That?

“But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Behold with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge.  There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife.  HOW THEN COULD I DO THIS GREAT EVIL AND SIN AGAINST GOD?” (Gen. 39:8-9).

Hey Gang:  How sad that it has become so common to hear, "Another warrior for Christ has fallen". Yesterday, as I traversed the day, the thought of why things happen, or why we allow them that to the bank- what it will do to those who have trust in us?  I believe with all my heart the things that grieves Father God the most is when one of His faithful warriors succumbs to the  offerings of the evil one. 

 A cartoon in a local newspaper depicted two executives sitting in prison.  One turns to the other and says, “And all along I thought our level of corruption fell well within community standards.” Another said, “We can tell the success of our people by how many toys they have.”  

As I listened to the news tonight, which I might add is the most depressing part of my day, I got the feeling that I was sitting in one of the deck chairs on the Titanic.  As one announcer said, ‘The biggest problem for the news media today is which crisis or break down in the law should they cover.’      

 The question then is, what is integrity? Everyone can probably give a definition of integrity and they'll probably all be different in some way or another.  The dictionary says that integrity is "the quality or state of being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty, and sincerity"

Okay, so integrity has to do with being moral, so now we need to see what moral means. Again, according to the dictionary moral means "capable of making the distinction between right and wrong conduct." That's man's definition, but what about God's?

Integrity is doing what God would say is the right thing, even if it costs you. It means obeying God's law, speaking only truth, and putting the other person ahead of yourself. It means displaying the character of God in your daily walk, and that means setting us apart from the world, and role modeling of the character of our God.

A man of integrity would rather die than deny, or turn away from, his integrity. Job said, "I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity" (Job 27:5). Why? Because even in the midst of torment, Job held on to his integrity.

Soooo, The point that I believe God was driving home into the depths of my heart today is, if someone has integrity, you can count on them in whatever situation. Why? Not because they'll do what you want, but they'll do what is right, no matter what the cost.

Monday, August 4, 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:  I was out doing one of my favorite chores, cutting, splitting and stacking wood for the coming fuzzy-white-stuff times when God tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You need to finish the morning message you sent yesterday.”    As I reread the Scripture the words, "but I found none" stuck out in bold print.  It brought to mind Isaiah's commission: "Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?"  Then I said, "Here am I, Send me!"   (Isa. 6:8). 

The situation described in today's key verse made me think of our nation today.  Was Israel really in such straits that there was not one man to intercede for them?  God said that He had found none.  This brings up another question.  Will God use just one man to stem such a flood of sin?  Would it take just one to fill the gap or make up the hedge in America to turn our country back to God?

When our present president was elected by a landslide, I had great hope that this could be a man who could lead America back to the Judeo-Christian principles on which our founding fathers built this once great and blessed nation.  I believe with all my heart that he was given a mandate to do just about anything he felt would pull the nation out of the dive we were in.  

From the account in Exodus, it appears that God can use one man to stem the flood of sin in a nation.   Just one faithful man on his knees, in his closet, interceding before God for his church or his community, can have amazing power with God.  Such a man is taking the battle to the level where it should be fought.

If we are not known in the spirit world, as Paul was known (Acts 19:15), we are worth little as preachers or intercessors. You and I should be known by the devil as dangerous enemies of his satanic agenda because of our persistent intercession.  Prayer is spiritual warfare.  The battle for spiritual victory and lost souls depends heavily on prayer.  The battle is won or lost right here.  Evangelistic efforts and outreach programs are simply the trucks that God's people drive out on the field to pick up the spoils of the warfare of prayer.

Aaron and Hur helped Moses' intercession by holding up his hands.  Where was the battle won that day?  In the valley?  No, on the mountain!  The victory in the valley was decided by the intercession on the mountain.  Likewise, the church would win more victories in her valleys, if there were more intercessors on the mountain. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16). 

Soooo,  I hear many people banging on the government the leaders of the nation, on just about everything.  Listening to the news is an exercise in gloom and despair, but we also need to remember that God gave very clear instruction on how to fix the problem: "If My People who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chron. 7:14). 

We hear there is need for revival across our land but, I would submit to you this morning that we need the Church to awake from its slumber and follow the mandate that the Lord gave for healing of lands.  Then perhaps revival will breakout at every crossroads in our country.  So, be that man!  Stand in the gap.  Make intercessory prayer a way of life.



Friday, August 1, 2014

Why Are The Nations Of The World In Such An Uproar?

"But as for me, I will install My King upon Zion, My holy mountain" (Psalm 2:6)

Hey Gang: I want to remind you this morning in the midst of these troubling times that you are a child of the KING of kings and LORD of lords.  Your citizenship is not on this earth but anchored in the heavenlies with your LORD and Messiah, Yeshua.  You are a Citizen of Heaven!

 Can you say ‘Praise the LORD’ for that this morning from the depth of your heart?  I know you are aware of that but, when the alligators are running rampant, we sometimes tend to forget that our God has us in the palm of His hand and will never leave us or forsake us.  We need to remind ourselves that God alone has total control of all that we survey.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that God is going to shake everything that can be shaken so that only those things that cannot be shaken remain.  There was an old country preacher who had just finished a fiery sermon on the coming of the LORD and the need to have your house in order, when an older gentlemen in the middle of the congregation stood up and began to yell out, "Something is fixen’ to happen, something is fixen’ to happen!
It kind of ticked-off the old country preacher.  But, the longer the old gent shouted this out, the more it got into the spirit of the old country preacher until he could no longer contain himself.  He ran down off the stage, down the aisle in beside the old gent; the Preacher threw his arms around the man and shouted, "I don't know when something is fixen’ to happen but I am fixen’ to be part of it".   

I believe we could all agree that our nation is in chaos and because of our terrible national sin, we will soon come under the judgment of our God.  Marv Rosenthal of Zion Fire Ministries wrote the following in his monthly letter to his readers: "I know that many beloved Christian leaders are calling and praying for national repentance, and I commend them for their call to righteousness.  Certainly our God has the power to bring about repentance, if it is His will to do so.  However, I fear that our national rejection of some of the most based things - such as the sanctity of life in the womb, marriage only between a man and a woman, and what only can be viewed as the moral insanity of our government - has taken us beyond the point of no return"

I have had the privilege, the past several weeks, to share some of my thoughts on "What's Happening Man”- in our world that has true meaning, with our Sunday School class ".  I did a similar study two years ago with a group in another city.  I thought I was up to speed with what was really happening but, when I began to expand my vision and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I found my greatest problem was not finding sufficient material to keep the interest of the class for these forty-five minutes but, in reality, the true problem was staying within the time allotted to me.

Jesus, in His Olivet Discourse, gave a prefect description of our world today.  (Matt. 24:1-14) Paul in his second letter to his adopted son, Timothy, gave us a panoramic view of what man's heart will look like as the Age of the Gentiles winds down. (2 Tim. 3:2-7/13).  “It is a time when men's hearts are failing them with fear and anxiety.”

But in the midst of the woes, described by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse, He promises his children "The one who endures to the end, he will be saved" (24:13).     And Paul gives us the formula for staying the course and keep our eyes on Jesus, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, and correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Sooooo, my young friends, yes, it does look like the sky is falling, but notice Jesus’ words in Luke 21:28: "When these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up our heads, because your redemption is drawing near."  He also said, "Be on guard, so that your heart is not weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will  not come on you suddenly like a trap"  (21:34).  "But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man"(Vs 36).