Friday, January 30, 2015

What If?

"But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near"  (Luke 21:28).  Does that get your blood to boiling?
Hey Gang:  What say you?  Jesus said, "When all of these things begin to happen, don't get panicky, look up, for your redemption draws near".  (Luke 21:28 Hillbilly Rendition).  

What things was He talking about?  A quick review of Matthew 24, the Olivet Discourse, Second Timothy Three and the words of the prophets of old, and we can soon compile a   list of ‘signs of the end of the age’ that we should be aware of. 

A prophesy guru was asked if he could sum up the prophetic promises of the Bible in one word.  His response, “Piece of cake, ‘Israel.’"  After twenty- five hundred years the land of Israel was restored; and, after twenty five hundred years the old language of Hebrew was restored; and after 2500 years the Olim (people living in the diaspora -those countries where they were dispersed to in 70 A.D when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and burned their Temple) began to make aliyah (to return to the land of their heritage).   

It is amazing to me today that so many folks are being caught up in the blasphemous teaching that Israel is no longer the apple of God's eyes.  How can you look at Israel and believe such rubbish?  How can you read Jeremiah 23:3, "Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply", or the other hundreds of verses that tell us clearly that God's love for His chosen people has not waned a lick?

We have been there. We have dug in the dirt, (I unearthed an intact tea pot that had not been touched by human hands for more than 2000 years). We have helped restore the walls. We have worked in the rose garden of the Knesset. We have helped set up a dental clinic for Arab children in Jerusalem. We worked with a ministry that bought Olim from the old USSR, as prophesied in the Word.  We have been obedient warriors in fulfilling God's challenge to us, "To pray for the peace of Jerusalem". (Psalm 122:6).

But what about the subtle things that are happening all around us? It all adds clarity and expanse to our seeking what Jesus meant when He said, "When these things happen look up.”  Have you noticed that everything that can be shaken is being shaken as predicted by the writer of Hebrews in Chapter 12?  Have you noticed that Israel is totally surrounded by enemies that are loaded with killing devices as recorded in Psalm 83?

Have you noticed that Russia and Iran have made a military alliance and the other nations listed in the coming battle of Gog and Magog are coming together?  As mentioned above, have you noticed Israel is a nation again, risen from the ashes of more the 2500 years.  They are a powerful nation that will not be defeated by those nations that are using the very words of Psalm 83:4-5, "They have said, "Come and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more."  For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant".

Have you noticed that the economies of the world, including the once powerful United States, are in a state of chaos?  If Jeremiah were here today and prophesying, he would say "Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8). 

Soooo, my young friends, Jesus said, "I do not want you to be unaware.  I want you up to speed every minute of every day.  So that when these things happen you do not get discouraged but your heart will be programmed to look up, for I am coming soon.  You best have your lamps trimmed and your best wedding clothes prepared for we are going to be taken to the greatest wedding blast of all time - the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. But there is a prerequisite, your name must be on the invitation list recorded in the Lamb's Book of Life.” (Hainley rendition).



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

No, Never, Never, Never!

"So, the Lord was no longer able to endure it, "Because of the evil of your deeds, because of the abominations which you have committed: thus your land has become a ruin, and object of horror and a curse, without an inhabitant, as it is this day" (Jer. 44:42).

Hey Gang:  I am going through the Bible, once again, revisiting and getting the power verses firmly engrained in my mind and heart.  My secondary agenda is to list all of those attributes of heaven and hell that God makes very clear to those who are interested in where they will spend eternity.  As I study the Word, I note the Lord makes it very clear we are going to spend that time, referred to as eternity- someplace - and, it seems to me, it is a place where I am going to go on, and on, and on, and on, and on…..

While I was working in the Detention Home in California, one of the young lads, who had just come from Catholic Mass, asked me this question:  "Mr. H.  How long is eternity?”   It seemed that the priest had introduced this subject but failed to present his answer in a way that made sense to Sandy.

 I found, in my work with the youngsters, that Jesus’ methods of teaching and explaining His principles was the key to getting into the hearts of the kids.  I said, "Sandy, you have been to Sacramento several times.  You know it takes about two hours to drive the three lanes up and three more to drive the three lanes back.    Now, take that tooth brush, you have in your back pocket, and look at it.  If you were to take that brush and scrub every inch of that highway up and back ten times, it would be a drop in the bucket compared to the time we will spend in eternity.

For the past several weeks I have been reading the words of Jeremiah.  Is it not fabulous that, if we read the Bible a hundred times, God would surface new truths that deepen our walk with Him with each reading.  In Chapter 44 there is a story that one might say,' could never happen in our country in this day and age of enlightenment'.

 Jeremiah had prophesied that the Northern Kingdom would fall and the people would be scattered, and it had happened!  He had also prophesied that, without repentance, Judah would also fall, and it had happened!  One would think that the people would have had their eyes opened, fall on their knees, and seek repentance before the Lord.

But, such was not the case.  The remnant, that was left, were preparing to cut and run for Egypt when Jeremiah laid out a scenario that, based on what had just happened before their very eyes, would have been accepted as a blessing from God.  God’s plan, remain in Israel and I will care for you and provide for your needs (42:10-16). 

Did they shout, Praise you Lord!  And grab this blessing?  In verse 44:16 we read the response of the remnant, "We are not going to listen to you".    As you read this verse, keep in mind that Jeremiah gave us the definition of a God-anointed prophet in Jeremiah 29:9, "The prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, then that prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent.”

Soooo, that was then, and this is now.  We would never do that, or say that, if a prophet of God laid out a scenario that removed the gross sin from our nation and gave us His blessings.....would we?  Would we say, "No, Jeremiah, we are going to do it our own way”?  How we need to think of this question in the light of eternity!



Monday, January 26, 2015

I Am A Lousy Loser!

"Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.  Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezek. 36:25-26).

Hey Gang: And now for the rest of the story!  As mentioned in the last morning message, when gleaning the  records, pertaining to Dennis's previous stays with us, I was both saddened and angered that this young lad knew there was a hole in his heart and he needed someone to come along side him and give him a 'shirt tail to hang onto’.  Not once, but every time he passed through the portals of the detention facility he cried for help; not once, but every time we failed to respond to his cries for help.

A battle ensued between the counties: who would be responsible for Dennis's future?  In all probability this would be a long tenure in a psychiatric-type facility, since Dennis had sadistically killed a friend who was probably closer to him than any other person.  His crime was committed in one county, but he lived in another, so the main issue that surfaced in the proceedings, which took several months, was ‘who is responsible’.  In other words, who would pay the bills?

In that two month period I experienced the total and complete destruction of this fifteen year old.  As the powers-that-be fought and argued, Dennis slipped away into oblivion.  On the final day of his trial when the Court of Appeals made a final decision, Dennis did not have a clue what they were saying. He really did not know who he was. 

I learned that day there was a vast difference between the Dennis's and Ted's.  As a lad Ted had a seed planted by his grandmother; a seed that lingered deep in his heart and one day would flower in the corner of a holding cell.  I could find no such seed that was ever planted into Dennis's life.  It infuriated me that the main issue in his trial was who will pay the bills.

I wish I could put a great hug on Dennis today and tell him his life did not end on that day when they locked him away in a mental hospital,  thousands and thousands of children can point to this lad and say, “I   found life because of a guy I never met; one who never really had a life."

But, there is a miracle part of this story.  You recall something happened to Ted one night in a holding cell in the Juvenile Hall, as he awaited transportation to a juvenile prison.  i love to share the story of Ted to the Gideon's, who give Bibles and New Testaments to ‘whosoever will’.  The State had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in an attempt to rehabilitate Ted and turn him into a useful citizen, but failed horribly; but a sixty-nine cent Gideon Bible changed this out-of-control lad into a missionary of God.

He had been sentenced to spend three to five years in prison, before even being considered for parole; God did a Peter-thing on him and opened the prison doors in nine months.  They could see no reason to keep him locked away from doing what he really wanted to do.  Upon release he went to a used clothing store, bought sandals and tie-died shirt, grew a beard and went into the area where the ‘flower children’ and druggies were located. 

Soooo, when I tell this story there are always those who hear it and say, “Wow, that's great! You salvaged fifty percent and, considering the kids you worked with, that is fabulous!  My response, “Hog wash”.  I am a terrible loser!  When I lose, I know a child has been thrown in the dumpster and chances of getting out are not very good.   And that is why, as I entered the juvenile hall each day, I prayed, "Lord, place a question in the mouth of one of the hurting kids that are within these walls.

It is the same prayer I have uttered many times each day since May 1969, when the first boys arrived at the newly developed ‘Dennis and Ted Refuge for Broken Kids’, better known- at that time as Eagle Boys Village.  I pray you will put it on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator and on the rear view mirror of your car, to pray for the thousands of kids that have found hope in Jesus as Ted did; and that God will give wisdom to the folks who give of their lives daily to "throw out that shirt tail to hand onto" to the new Dennis's and Ted's that have found their way to the refuge called Eagle Village.  



Friday, January 23, 2015

Seed Planting Made Real, Part 2

"I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long.  For my loins are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh.  I am benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart" (Psa. 38:6-8).

Hey Gang:  Read that scripture again.  Have you ever felt that way?  Perhaps I should rephrase the question and ask, “Have you ever come face to face with a person who feels that way and their life is a perfect picture of what is described here?   In the last morning message I introduced you to Ted, a vibrant sixteen-year old who was a real pro at making wrong decisions.  But he did make decisions!  Did you know it is, oh, so much easier to change the direction of a moving vehicle than one that is stuck in the ‘no go’ position? 

Ted was a lad who was filled with zeal, and even enthusiasm, because he knew who he was.  Now that was not all good because his zeal and enthusiasm was not attached to, the often missing attributes called ‘common sense’ and "knowing that we reap what we sow".  These were often missing in the young lads that passed through the portals of the judicial system.  I loved the challenge of the Ted's of the world.  In our camping programs I always gravitated to the little ‘rip-snorters" that could turn a peaceful event into a roaring fire in mere seconds.   

This morning I want to introduce to the second reason I up dumped my family and set out on a trail and I did not have a clue where it was going to lead me.  For two years my bride introduced me as "An unemployed director of a non-existent boy’s home".   

His name was Dennis; he was the perfect picture of the Scripture of the morning.  He was well known to me, for he had been in the juvenile hall on several previous occasions, mostly for what we referred to as ‘dingy-type offenses’.   On one occasion the policeman, who brought Dennis in for booking said, “I would normally take this type kid home, but he really has no home and I thought a couple days of food and a warm bed would be good for him.  
I might make a side comment here: in this day, when many have turned their backs on those guys in blue who put their lives on the line daily to keep us safe, were the only friends many of the kids, I was worked with, had.   

I did not have to ask Dennis many of the questions on the intake form, for I knew them well.  As I looked into his eyes that night, I saw a fifteen-year old boy who was bent over and greatly bowed down, with no soundness in his flesh, who was benumbed and badly crushed, whose eyes had long since faded.    I saw a lad who had been crushed by life itself and had given up on ever being anything but a "nothing burger"; a lad who was not going anywhere.

Dennis was not booked in, that rainy night in April for a dingy-type offense. He had committed a major felony, that was the culmination of a life that was not going anywhere and "was bent over and greatly bowed down and had no soundness off flesh."  In the last blog I answered the question, "Why Eagle Village!"   The answer was incomplete.

I was assigned to glean the previous records and develop a recommendation for what should be done with Dennis.   As I gleaned the records I found a very common denominator in his records - on each occasion he had not asked, not suggested, but literally begged that we would send him some place where they would love him, care for him, teach him, and give him what he had never had in his life - a friend!

It was that night that I went home and said to my bride, I will either do something for the Ted's and Dennis's of the world or I will become a "plumber’s helper."

Soooo, With your permission, I will close this morning message as I did the last one.  I cannot improve on what has been tucked away deep inside my gut for all these years.  What is the nuts of bolts of this morning message? Luke wrapped it up in seven wonderful words, "Give and it will be given to you".   John wrote, "For God so loved He Gave".   Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News”, and ‘Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”. 

Why Eagle Village? Because, Jesus loves me! And I want every child that brings their baggage of pain and agony to my door step to know that.   I want them to know there is a Savior who loves them and died, that one day all the hurts will be gone and they will run and leap and praise God in that place called "Paradise."

I pray you will join with me and pray for each, of the more than one hundred children who are at Eagle Village today, because God provided for all the wildernesses we experienced as we followed His commission to "Go and build a refuge for hurting children".



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Seed Planting Made Real!

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged, and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned, pardon, and you will be pardoned.  Give, and it will 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 you in return".  Luke 6:37-38).

 Hey Gang:  Lesson one, to every young person who crossed my path, began with a very basic principle: "We are going to reap what we sow". (Gal. 6:7).  It doesn't matter whether you believe it or not, it works every time.   The reason I have a deep compulsion to alert the troops to this principle is that I learned the hard way. It is a principle set in concrete and I have many examples tucked away in my life that proved this principle so I could teach it with a great deal of gusto.

I believe Luke was driving home a point that we all need to understand: We have much to do with the harvest of our lives.  Keep in mind, we are not harvesters but planters only.  However, Luke tells me I will receive in the same measure that I give, that I pardon (forgive), and in the same measure that I love, even those folks that tend to tick me off. 

In the last morning message I mentioned two boys who impacted on my life greatly.  Two boys that had a common denominator- their lives were a mess, and they had committed sufficient crimes to be placed in a facility where their lives were totally controlled, even to the point of when they went to the rest room.    Ted was considered dangerous enough to staff and other residents, that he had to be locked away in the isolation cells in another part of the building.

He had been with us for several weeks and was scheduled for pick up and be transported to a juvenile prison down state.  My job on this, his last night with us, was to check him every half hour and make sure he was okay, and provide for his needs.   His room was secured with a cage inside of a room and a slot in the door where I could push his food through and provide for those needs that he was permitted to have, which on this occasion was 'zip'.  

On the first six visits he greeted me with a string of expletives that turned the entire hallway blue; but on the seventh trip, I found him sitting in the corner of the cell with what appeared to be a young man in deep thought, and no expletives.   On the next round I found him sitting in the same corner with the same deep-in-thought look. 

At that point I asked him if he was okay and if I could help him.  We used to have a saying in the detention home that we could tell how tough a kid was by how many hours he cried himself to sleep at night.  I saw no overt tears, but I believe I did see Ted cry that might, perhaps not outside tears but I sensed he was crying inside.  In a calm voice he said, "Mr. H. could you get me something to read?”

Keep in mind this sixteen year old, 200 pound, very good-looking young man had never been to a church in his life.  I asked him one night if anyone had ever talked to him about Jesus and his response was an emphatic, "NO".  I then asked him if he ever felt pangs of guilt when he was involved in one of his crime sprees; I was amazed with his answer, “Yes, sometimes I even cried.”  He said, “I often felt like someone or something was telling me it was wrong.

The only reading material I had available to give him was a Gideon Bible.  On my final check of the night I found Ted sitting in that same spot in the corner reading the Bible.  That night, in a cold cell he gave his life to Jesus and a profound change came into his life.  And that is a story in itself that I will share at a future date.

Soooo, what is the nuts of bolts of this morning message, Luke wrapped it up in seven wonderful words, "Give and it will be given to you".   John wrote, "For God so loved He Gave".   Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News”, and ‘Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so’.  SOOO, Why Eagle Village? Because Jesus loves me and I want every child,that brings their baggage of pain and agony to my door step to know that.   I want them to know there is a Savior who loves them, and died in their place so that one day all the hurts will be gone and they will run and leap and praise God in that place called "Paradise."

I pray you will join with me and pray for each of the more than one hundred children who are at Eagle Village today, because God provided for all the wildernesses we experienced as we followed His commission to "Go and build a refuge for hurting children".



Monday, January 19, 2015

A Prison Door Opened: One Remained Closed

 "But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die.  All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced he will live" (Ezek. 18:20-21).
Hey Gang:  I am often asked the question, "Why did you start Eagle Village?"   We had a nice home; I had a good job with many chances of advancement- a new facility was in the building stage and I was on the short list to be its new director.  Most folks in my shoes would say they ‘have the world by the tail’.   

Some months ago I wrote several morning messages title "Don't Get Too Comfortable."  In those messages I listed the steps God had taken me through to reach the plateau I was comfortably enjoying.  But, as an old country preacher once said, “When we reach a point in our life when we are resting comfortably on that plateau, God comes along with His chainsaw and cuts the limb out from under us.

With the help of the boys I was caring for, I had honed my skills well.  I felt I was just where God wanted me and I was ready to dig my well and settle in for the rest of my working days.  But that was my plan not God's plan.  How many know when God wants to move us He uses many tactics to get our attention?

Although I had worked with several thousand boys who were going hurting deep inside, He sent two that penetrated to the depths of my heart; I have often said they were the real motivators of Eagle Village.   They are as real and close to me today, fifty years later as they were the day they booked into my Section at Juvy and into my life.

This morning, when I awoke, the story of Jesus on the cross between the two criminals came to my mind and I thought that the story of my two boys was very much like that story.  Both had reached a plateau in their lives where their decisions caught up to them, and they were going to ‘Pay-the-Piper’- for their devious ways.  I had no doubt that Ted,
 the super chief of the "Bloods Gang", had either killed or severely
 injured one or more rival gang members.  That was his life. 

And then there was Dennis, who was from all outward appearances was a quiet sort of lad that one might think was afraid of his own shadow.  But, due to his weaknesses, he was unable to keep from doing those nasty things that gets one locked up and sent off to one of the State’s finer (just a pun folks) finishing schools.

Two totally and completely opposite boys, but both sharing the pain and agony of knowing their lives were slipping away and they had not found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Question three on my questionnaire was, "If you could have one thing, what would it be".   The answers were always the same, my mom and dad together in a home filled with love.   

Soooo, this is going to take longer than I anticipated; let me cut it off here (more next time) and share the prophetic Bible verse that I pray will become a compulsion in the heart of every daddy in the world.  It is found in the last book of the Old Testament in one of my favorite books, Malachi.  "Behold I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.  He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse." (Mal. 4:5-6). 
Hey, all you daddies, take a minute and ‘hug’ your kids.



Friday, January 16, 2015

Wealth, Wealth, Everywhere - Part 3

"For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants and they will spring up like grass Like poplars by streams of water." (Isa. 44:3-4). "Behold, Children are a gift from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward....How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them" (Psa. 127:3/5). 

Hey Gang:  How many know we need a crash course, on across our land, these two verses; at least among all who are getting hitched.   For those who know about me, you know I have spent most of my life working with children who are struggling with the empty-cavity syndrome; this should be filled with a Mom or Dad, but some have demonstrated that caring for you is just too much of a hassle and restricts my freedoms. 

When I graduated from college I fully intended on continuing my education in California to prepare for a career in criminology.  I do not have a clue why I choose this field because I was totally ill-equipped to work in any field that required understanding in science and physics.  God knew that.  He knew my DNA was far better equipped to work on the other side of criminology called "throwing out a life line to kids who were floundering." 

With four youngsters under the age of six, I had no choice: I had to get a job, and get it fast.  It did not appear that I was going to be able to attend college until I salted away enough bread to pay the bills. So I was seeking job opportunities that was within my career field where I could get a lesson in application.  That led me to a Juvenile Detention Center that just happened to be looking for someone who could start – that day.

They were very kind and assured me I would receive training ‘before being throw to the wolves’.  So, they scheduled me for an observation shift that night and gave me all the tools I would need - a set of keys.  I could fill ten or twelve morning messages with my first experiences as a counselor in a detention center in the hard core section, meaning you had to be a class-one felon to gain entry to that section.  There was no question in my mind this was where God wanted to train me in the finer points of ‘throwing out lifelines’.

When I walked in the section the next day, having completed my required training program the previous night, I was confronted by fifty hostile young men who were not fond of counselors, who had control of their lives and were quick to let me know it.  I knew if God placed me there, He would provide a safety net for me.  On my first shift God put words in my mouth that would provide the basis for the education that was to follow.  Two fairly good-sized lads decided they did not like each other demonstrated their distain by beating on each other.

Now as I think back I must admit I do not have a clue why I did what I did! I stepped between the two lads and suggested there might be a less painful way to resolve what was bugging them.  One of the lads said, "Whatcha gunna do man?”  Good question!   I did not have a clue what I was ‘gunna do’.

Now, I also do not have a clue where my response to that question came from, (well I really know it came from above).  I said, "I don't have a clue what I am gunna do because you have not taught me what I should do that will help you fix your life and get out of here.”  As I recall, I am not sure who was the most shocked, my co worker, the kids, or yours truly.

Soooo, To make the very long story very short - THEY DID.  The fight stopped and we pow-wowed for an hour or so, in which most of the young men entered into the discussion and my education began.  I will close this now but in a later Blog will share the stories of two young men, of the thousands of kids who went through my section while there.



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wealth, Wealth Everywhere! Part 2

"But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs"  (I Tim. 6:9).
Hey Gang:  As one who has experienced scar tissue in the area of finances and family issues, I started this morning message to send along some advice to young couples in the early stages of raising their quivers full.  But as I reread part one I find that it really addressed great grands, grands, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews and even the next- door neighbor.

My last statement on yesterday's message was "Let me expand on that thought for a moment or two.”   Now, remember, that up this point in my life the one thing that was foremost in my mind was to find a way to not go through what my family had gone through in my early years - poverty.  But I soon learned in Korea that wealth does not necessarily mean green stuff in the bank."

The Air Traffic Control Center was located in a part of Taegu that was not considered Knob Hill, but more like depressed-ville, or so I thought.  Our job was to prepare the Korean Air Force to be self-sufficient and remove the need to have GI's.  So, we had three members of the Korean Air Force as part of our team.  Over the year-long period  that I was with these young folks there were opportunities to talk about other things beside Air Traffic Control. I learned a great deal about their families and life in general.   

It was amazing to me, being naive to the mores and folkways of the Korean people, how similar their descriptions of life in Korea were.  All had come from families of four or more children; one had six brothers and sisters. Two lived in one room houses; the other had a small pantry-like room attached.  They were considered more wealthy than the ‘one - roomers'.  Their houses were made of mud exteriors, no paint, and only one or two windows. 

In America we were part of the bottom rung of the economic ladder; we lived in a four-story house, that had a basement, main living area, sleeping area and attic.  Each of the six rooms were larger than the houses of my Korean students.  The attic in our house, which we used only for storage, would have been considered extravagant.    They each had running water and indoor plumbing, that worked most of the time, and electricity was a forty-watt bulb, most of the time.

The Korean lots were very small, with little or no back yard or front yard.  Houses were build right up next to the roadway, which was unpaved and, depending on what part of the year it was, dry or wet season, determined if it was passable.  Such things as food markets and medical services were extremely sparse.

Now for the lesson learned:  I thought I came from a financially-bottom-rung home and had committed to fixing that problem for the family that I hoped was in my future.  But in Korea I found families that had only the bare necessities of life, and I mean bare, seemed to be happy, content and really cared for each other.  There was no television, no sports arena on the corner, no daily planners with multi-activities for the week that prevented the family from sitting down together for a meal or enjoying a time of fellowship with the whole family present.

Yes, I was committed to working hard and providing a secure and comfortable life for my family, but as I thought about that and seeing the family relationships of my three trainees, I began to understand what Jesus meant, If you want true happiness and contentment, "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matt. 6:33).

Sooooo, my young friends, let me give you a piece of advice from my mother.  Years ago when the inflation rate was hovering around ten percent and they were living on a small fixed income, I called and said, "Mother, I know your income in limited and everything cost more today than yesterday, do you need some help?   I will never forget what she said, I can still hear it clearly in my ear, "No, we are just tithing more". 

I vowed that day that I would follow my mommy’s advice and commit to the mandate given to me by God in Malachi 3:10-11 and give all that I have  into God's storehouse and let him handle my finances.  To date I have no ulcers!



Monday, January 12, 2015

Wealth, Wealth, Everywhere

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"For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help, the afflicted also, and he who has no helper.  He will have compassion on the poor and needy, and the lives of the needy He will save" (Psa. 72:12-13).

Hey Gang, The signs are everywhere - win the lottery and win million of dollars and all for a single one dollar investment!    Casino advertisements are along every highway and even our government advertises the 'get rich schemes' of buying one of the many opportunities available to give your money to the government.

I received a frantic call from a friend of a friend who was in deep financial woes.  It seems her husband was a gambling addict and had secretly spent their savings and had even run up debt with one of the bookies, who did not take kindly to those who did not pay for their indiscretions immediately, if not sooner.   And now he had escalated his gambling to putting his hand in the till and spending the house payment, food and other needed expense money.

After meeting with the young man I drove him to the huge casino complex and walked with him through the hotel, the huge dining rooms, the casino and swimming and recreation areas - all lures to draw victims into their dragnet, where they could fleece prospects.  I asked him, "Where do you think the money came from to build this complex?"

 By looking into his eyes it was not difficult to see that he knew precisely where the money came from - from the 'fleecees', better known as the 'suckers'.   But, he would not admit that he helped purchase the gaming tables that were continuing to fleece him and the other suckers who were totally convinced that they could get rich quickly.

As a lad growing up in the home of a coalminer, we were looked upon as being very poor, even destitute.  As long as we lived in the mountains with the rest of the coal miners, we did not look at ourselves in that light.  Oh, there were times we wished we had more, but I do not recall being without food (carrots and turnips all winter) or warmth in the house.

And then one day I received an invitation from Uncle Sam that said, "Your friends and neighbors have chosen you to be a small part of our armed forces.”   It was fact that as long as you did not open the invitation you could offer your services to another of the armed services, which I did.  I immediately joined the Air Force.  Now some folks thought it was kind of weird that I refused the Army and its two year requirement and joined the Air Force that required four years of my life!

The Air Force offered me an opportunity to learn a trade;  but, I learned something far greater than a trade while serving in the Air Force.  I was sent to S.  Korea, which at that time was not considered the garden spot of the world.   Now, keep in mind that up this point in my life the one thing that was foremost in my mind was to find a way to not go through what my family had gone through in my early years - poverty.  I soon learned in Korea that wealth does not necessarily mean green stuff in the bank.

SOOO Good buddies,, there is much more that I believe God is leading me to send along so let this stew for a couple days and as Paul Harvey used to say, "Tune in at the next Gramps message for the rest of the story." 



Friday, January 9, 2015

Preparing For the Future Can Be Painful

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2-4).

Hey gang:  Have you ever had a bull’s eye on your back that the local macho club members of the community accepted as a challenge?  There was no sign that said, “Let’s beat the tar out of Kermit" but one did not have to be a rocket scientist to know it was there. (I can attest that bullying was a part of life in the 1930’s!) So, I tried to come up with ingenious ways to prevent my being the object of their harassment for that day; I took a different route to school and home each day, or arrived at the school at the very last minute.  

As I think back to those days at Fairview Elementary School, I can see why I was singled out to be the target of this particular group of thugs.  I had just moved into the city from the mountains, therefore, was not very hip on the way one was supposed to act in the city. I was skinny as a rail, had buck teeth, wore brogans and knickers and my name was Kermit.  Now I realize most of you do not know what brogans and knickers are and it would take too much time here to describe them, so let's just say they did make me stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. 

On top of that we were poor as church meeses, which qualified me, along with another misfit, to go into the bowels of Fairview Elementary School twice a day and drink a glass of milk that was supplied by the school.  That only added to the ‘sore thumb” scenario. 

But I want you to know I believe I was in training for what God was going to do through me.  I believe every one of those challenges were preparation for the day I would run into a youngster that was going through a similar kind of experience.  I learned that the greatest gift I could give to a person who was really hurting was to share that I, too, had been down that road, and God’s promise that He would supply for all of my needs, even a bunch if hooligans wanted to use me to build their very weak ego's.  

Soooo, my young buckaroos, did you know there are a barn full of hurting people, all around you, who needs support, encouragement and acknowledgement that they are a real live and very important person.  They need to know that God loved them so much He sent His only Son to die on a hideous to tree them from the bondage of sin; and, you may be the only Bible, or witness of that love, they will meet that day. 



P.S.  A Plain People's Proverb "Where ever we go, God is there; Whenever we call, God is listening;  Whatever we need, God is enough!"  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Do You Know Where Your Armor Is? Con't

Are we nearing that day when "All the world will know there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the BATTLE IS THE LORD'S  and He will give you into our hands"? (I Sam. 17:47).

Hey Gang:  Did you read the last morning message?  Did you read it all?  Did you have your mind in gear when you read it?  Did you read it with the same intensity that was in my heart as I penned it?  And now for a very important question, "How did it make you feel?"  Did it send cold shivers up your spine or did you get excited?  If I could measure your reaction on a graduated meter, where would you be on the faith meter that  you know the" BATTLE IS THE LORD'S"  He will give victory into your hands". 

Jesus said, "Hey Gang listen up.  There are perilous times coming!” (Hainley rendition)   "Men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be  shaken" (Luke 21:26).  Hearts will fail them from fear over the expectation that the sky is falling.

Time for cold shivers, right?  Not in your sweet bippie!  Luke tell us, "Then we will see the son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory" (v.27).  Now grab hold of this next verse and tattoo it on the inside of your forehead, "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (vs. 28).

The writer of Hebrews wrote these words of assurance to those who love the Lord God with all their heart, soul and mind and are totally sold out to His will and ways, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," so that we can confidently say "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid" (Heb. 13:5c-6a).   Is your excitement meter beginning to rise?  Not sure yet?  Then sing a verse of two of ‘Jesus Loves Me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

Pages one through four in my prayer journal are dismal indeed, and with a tiny push I could enter that "hearts failing them for fear" gig, but I have learned that when I have all the pieces of the armor of God in place, Satan cannot tell me from Jesus.

I have also learned that I need an arsenal of weapons to use against the evil one.  If I feed my physical body only once in a while, my strength level, when the rubber-hits -the-road, will register 'zip".   I have learned when I do not pull up to the pump titled 'Spiritual Fuel – God’s Word' in the morning, I am opening the door for a tough day.

Soooo, page five in the journal begins with the verse listed above.  I re-enforce the promise that My God, Yeshua Ha Mashiah, will never leave me nor forsake me."  That "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me"(Phil 4:13).  That "My God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).

I then go to page six and remind myself that I have an enemy who wants to destroy me and who roams the earth seeking whom he can devour.  And keep in mind, if at first he does not succeed he will indeed try and try again at a more opportune time.  We need to understand Paul's warning in Ephesians 6:12-13, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist the evil day, and having done everything to stand firm". 

I am a diabetic and, when out working, there are times when I need a slug of sugar to pick me up; there are times when pages one thorough four become a wee bit overwhelming and I need a spiritual shot in the arm.  I learned years ago that Satan hates spiritual songs.  The word tells me that at the name of Jesus, Satan must cut and run.  So I have three songs that are forever on my lips; they are the adrenalin needed to keep my soul fired up. The first – ‘Jesus Loves Me This I Know’, the second, ‘This Little Light of Mine I am Going to Let it Shine’, and the third, “Lord, Make Me a Sanctuary’.

Soooo, my young friends, I would suggest that anyone reading this epistle and is very likely dealing with a clinker or two in their lives, if not now, surely will be by the end of the day or week.  Clinkers are as much a part of life as breathing.  It is nice to have the assurance that "My God Will Supply…" in those times when it seems our sky is falling.  Sooo, make sure you pull up to the "Spiritual Pump", 'Anti- Satan fuel' which is the Word of God and fill your tanks. 



Monday, January 5, 2015

Do You Know Where Your Armor Is?

"For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened" (Rom. 1:21).

Hey Gang:  A New Year and the opportunity to put all of our blunders behind us.  Is it not awesome that we have a God who loved us so much that He commissioned His only Son to come to earth, walk in our shoes, and provide a way - for all those who commit their lives to Him - to be freed from the bondage of sin and errors of our ways.   Lord, I praise you for that act of mercy and kindness for I, like Paul, have a tendency to do the very things that I hate.
This morning, as I was getting the fire stoked up, putting on the coffee and pealing the morning oranges, a thought kept ringing in my head, "Ok Lord, what does 2015 have in store for us?"  As I look down through my prayer journal, which has grown to many pages, I see such items as abortion, the rapid grown of gay rights in our nation, the withering of the church, the rapid increase in violence, the hatred that has been promoted by our government in race relations, the growth in the break- down in the family and increased number of young people that have turned their back on the church.

Then on page two I see the rapid growth of pornography among men and woman alike has gone out of sight and we wonder why we have seen a rapid increase in the number of child molesters, rapist and serial type crimes in our country. 

And on page three I see such subjects as a President who looks more like a dictator than a president of the people, by the people and for the people;    A nation that is eighteen trillion dollars in debt and continues to spend as if there is no bottom in the well; A congress that is so locked up in politics and political correctness that addressing the many problems that face our nation are pushed into the back cornet of the closet. 

Page four does not look any more inviting with such crisis subjects as the IRS scandals; what really happened at Benghazi; the rapid growth of the terrorist movement and threats on our country; the breakdown of the moral code in our educational systems.   The Fast and Furious gun ordeal in Mexico, and the most recent addition to the ever growing list of crisis, Cuba and Iran and the President's intention to reopen embassies in these bastions where the terms liberty and justice are not found in the nation’s Dictionaries.

On page five we find the most serious of all the crisis facing our nation:  In Genesis 12:3 we read about the covenant that God made with Abraham, an irrevocable Covenant, a Covenant of salt that promises, "I will bless those (Israel) who bless you and the one who curses you I will curse and in you all the nations of the world will be blessed."  I wonder if anyone in the Beltway has checked to see what happened to all of those nations who turned on Israel, the Apple of God 'eye". History tells us they have long since faded into the sunset.

We find many examples of the wrath that is promised against those nations that turn their backs on God, and on the nations that He calls His very own.  In Joel 3:2 we read this dire warning, "I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat.  Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations, and they have divided up My land".

We see the fulfillment of Zechariah 12:2-3 daily; God said, "Behold I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around, and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will be against Judah.  It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured.  And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it".  Today, we see increasing numbers of hostile nations surrounding Israel as others – EU - that are boycotting Israel from selling products in their counties.

Soooo, my friends and neighbors, is the sky falling? Are the alligators taking control?  Only if we allow them to do so!  The pages that follow in my prayer journal have God's hope for nations and people who have chosen to go their own way and are feeling the darkness.  But there are prerequisites! God's people, who are called by His name, need to become more empowered than those who would sink our ship.  It is way past time when the voice of the church must be heard ,and a mighty army of believers get serious about pushing the gates of hell into the pit from which it came. 

  We will look at the rest of the pages in my journal in the next blog.



Friday, January 2, 2015

Time to Reciprocate!

A message for the moment:  "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven."  This expression, "Yet once more," denotes the removing 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"  (Hebrews 12:25-29).

Hey Gang:  I have wrestled with a problem that has been bugging me since I began putting Gramps Morning Messages on  the web.  Those who know me, know that I have a great interest in not only what is happening in our world today, but what is going to happen in the near future.  One does not have to be a rocket scientist, when they see my office that is filled with books, magazines, maps, DVD"s, the menu on my computer, and other things on my desk, to know that I am a rather serious studier of prophecy.

The reason is very simple- because Jesus said, "I do not want you to be unaware of what is coming down and how near we are to that time when  Father God says to Jesus, Son, "time to go for it."  And, if Jesus said, "I want you to be up to speed in what is coming down,” that is good enough for me.

Now for the problem.   In our sojourn we have been privileged to do some teaching on prophecy and have learned that there are, as in every subject area, some who are avid students of the prophetic word and are in a constant attitude of seeking;   but we have also run into the "I want nothing to do with prophecy - it scares the tar out of me” crowd. 

In a recent conversation with a pastor, he informed me he does not even look at the evening news.  He also informed me he had no interest in teaching prophecy to his church because of his lack of knowledge and his fear that it would offend some of his members, and they would cut and run.  Now I wonder about that.  The Bible is considered to be one-third prophecy and holds the keys to the final chapter of what is in our future.     It seems to me he is cheating his parishioners out of a significant portion of the Bible.

Getting back to the problem,  as I mentioned I have studied prophesy for many years, have done some teaching on the subject and have shared some of my opinions with friends and neighbors but have shied away from including prophecy in the Morning Messages.  Why, because of my concern that I might present something to someone who avails themselves of the morning messages, but does not have foundation to receive the message, and they cut and run while still needing encouragement.
Soooo, after some prodding from some of you, I have need to hear from the rest of you.  My options are to continue on the same format and restrict my messages to two thirds of the Bible, or I can begin to include "Hey, what's happening, man?  in the regular rotation and pray it is clear enough that it does not confuse anyone.  What say you?    A simple "go for it" or "don't go for it' would be appreciated.   

Blessing to you this New Year.   (For you on the blog. my gmail: