Friday, January 29, 2016

When All These Things Happen # 10

Continuation of Subtle things happening in world today.  Number 11 will be posted on Saturday Jan 30

Jesus began his dissertation of the signs of the times by giving us a warning: ‘See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in my name, saying, “I am the Christ (he Messiah) and will lead many.  You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars.  See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end” (Matt. 24:4-6).

Hey Gang:  I want to start this epistle with a very important point that I neglected to get to in the last blog.  As you know or would know, if you brought up the last blog on What’s Happening Man, my lead in Scripture was Daniel 9:24-27.   It is my sincere opinion that Daniel gives us the most complete overall prophetic picture; many of the other writers zero in on specific things to come. 

It is also my opinion, and the opinion of such writers as Dwight Pentecost, John Walvoord and H.A. Ironside, who dedicated large portions of their lives to studying the prophetic word, that Daniel 9:24-27 is the most concise, complete and condensed overall picture of what has been, what is, and what is to come.  If you want a comprehensive overview picture of what is to come, you need to get this Scripture firmly planted in your mind and heart-but be careful, for there are many interpretations of what God is saying through Daniel, but- much of it is of questionable credibility.  

In the beginning of this series, I told of a meeting of twenty-two prophecy gurus who were asked what was the most profound single fulfillment of prophecy since the birth of Christ.  It was a given that the answer would be “the reestablishment of the nation of Israel.  But, attached to that question was “what is number two?”  They listed several things, but all agreed that “Convergence” was, without much doubt, second.   Jesus also talked about convergence when He said, “When all of these things come into view”, your name best be recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life and be prepared to fly, “for your redemption is drawing near”  (Luke 21:28).

Now, all of that intro to prepare you for my seventh prophetic sign.  I will warn you ahead of time, placing this sign in a separate category is not possible, for where you have war you have pestilence and famine.   First we need to understand "What does it mean that there will be wars and rumors of wars before the end times?"  Was Jesus referring to wars in and around Israel only or in the world?  If in the world, there has never been a time on earth when there has not been a “war, rumor of war someplace.  

The disciples asked, “What will be a sign of your coming and the end of the age” (Matt. 24:3).  Jesus responded, “There will be wars and rumors of war” (Matt. 26:6).  Is Jesus saying anytime there is a conflict in the world, especially in the vicinity of Israel, that we should be concerned that this is it - Jesus is coming?  But to believe that way you must take Jesus’ words out of context, without seeing how this declaration fits with the rest of the passage and ignore the end of the verse, “but the end is not yet”  (Matt 24:6).  God’s chosen people have been under attack almost since the dawn of time.

Understanding Jesus’ statement about “wars and rumors of wars” to mean that warfare is a sign of the end times is the exact opposite of what He intended. Jesus was instructing us not to allow wars or rumors of wars to alarm or concern us, because “the end is not yet.” Similarly, Jesus spoke of false Christs (Matthew 24:5), famines and earthquakes (24:7), persecution (24:9), apostasy (24:10), and false prophets (24:11), warning that “all these are the beginning of the birth pains” (24:8).

Sadly, all of the things Jesus pointed to as not necessarily being signs of the end times are precisely the things most people look at as signs of the end times.  It is kind of like having a pile of trusses, studs and wall paneling in one pile, cement blocks for foundation in another, plumbing and electrical supplies in yet the third pile and calling it a house.  Some is missing!

Now, this is not to say that wars and rumors of wars are completely unrelated to the end times. When the Bible speaks of the end times, it describes some intense warfare. But Jesus’ point seems to be that there always has been war, and, until He establishes peace in the Millennial Kingdom, there will always be war.

Whether it is the 
civil war in Syria, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, or the war against ISIS/ISIL, no conflict today is a stand-alone issue or necessarily a sign that the end times are imminent. No matter what wars and rumors of war are going on around us, our mission is the same, and it just so happens that the mission is what Jesus says is a reliable predictor of the end times, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14, emphasis added).

Again, for the sake of your time, I will restrain from going down another road that I feel we need to look at with the wars and rumors issue, pertaining to Israel.  Good Lord willing, and if the creek does not rise, we will look at this issue in the next blog.  By the looks of what is happening in our country in the catastrophic weather sectors, we have no guarantees we will have a tomorrow - so best be ready immediately if not sooner!



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Three Sieves to Purify Your Tongue

If any man thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless” (James 1:25).

Hey gang, did you know that gossip thrives on suspicion, mistrust, and a lack of confidence in others?  But it can also gain strength even in honest misunderstanding.  In my younger years I drove a truck in Lancaster, PA, and picked up bulk milk at 54 Amish Farms.  
I was truly blessed to be accepted and trusted by the Amish farmers and had many friends among the fifty-four framers that I serviced.   

One day, when I arrived at the Deacon Amos Zook Farm, I found a very irate Amos.  He was very quick to tell me there was a blasphemous situation that was taking place in his home Church Body.  It seems one of his parishioners was using electric lights to motivate his hens to lay more eggs and electricity was one of those modern conveniences that was a ‘no – no’ in old line Mennonite and Amish homes and farms.

Although the members of Amos’s Church did not have telephones, it did not take it long to spread the dastardly act of rebellion throughout the whole community: the gossip wheels began to turn.  But, after a brief investigation, it was learned that Brother Sam’s indiscretion was the result of a misunderstanding of what Deacon Amos had suggested that Brother Sam do to motivate his chickens.

It seems Brother Sam’s hens were just not motivated to lay eggs in the number that he expected, so, he sought the advice of the deacon who suggested Sam try the vitamin and electrolyte mixture that the local feed store had in stock.  This he did. Now I was not privy to whether the hens did indeed lay more eggs, but I was made privy to the fact that there would be a meeting of the Sanhedrin that very day to address the electrolyte issue.

It then dawned on the Deacon that he may have been the seed planter of this dastardly deed when he suggested that Sam purchase the vitamin and electrolyte mixture which the young chicken farmer took to mean “electric light”.  The mystery was soon solved and the young man corrected the errors of his ways and peace was restored to the community.

Unfortunately, not all gossip can be laid to rest with so much relief and touch of humor.  By simply pulling of the plug, brought Brother Sam back into fellowship with Deacon Zook and his brothers.    I believe that is what James was talking about when he wrote, “…yet he who does not bridle his tongue deceives his own heart”.  Notice he does not stop there, he went on to give warn “the gossipers religion is worthless”.  

 So, my young buckaroos, if you have a season when your chickens are not laying and you lack wisdom as to what to do, don’t seek out Deacon Zook, but rather put your hands in the hands of the One who stills the waters and has an abundance of wisdom about chickens, having created them. And “let him ask of God who gives to all generously and without reproach and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).  Oh, by the way, this is also the recommended problem solving route when you hit the clinkers in the road!



Monday, January 25, 2016

Be Not Decieved

Dear Readers,: This important note came across my desk and I thought you ought to be aware of the implications.  The regular Blog went out at 6:30 this morning.  Check the Column to the right to read it.

****New Fox Show: "Lucifer" As A Good Guy

Fox will premiere its new show, "Lucifer," tonight, Monday night---in prime time--9 PM Eastern..  Fox affiliated stations, not Fox News Channel or Fox Business Channel. Same ownership.  They say it's a new take on an old story.

According to analysts, In the story, Lucifer Morningstar is bored with being the supreme ruler of Hell, feels abused by his "Father in Heaven" and retires to the City of Angels---Los Angeles---where he eventually joins the LAPD to help fight crime.

The Apostle Paul recognized the deceptive nature of Satan and wrote to the Christians in Corinth: "But I fear; lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (II Corinth. 11: 3). He continues in verses 14 and 15: "And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light, therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works."

The Apostle John wrote, speaking of the devil, he "Does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him...for he is a liar and the father of lies" ( Jn. 8:44).

In fact when Jesus taught us how to pray, He included in His model prayer..."But deliver us from evil, or the evil one..."  Matthew 6

The prophet Daniel (8:25) described the spirit of Satan: " Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; But shall be broken without human means."

And will ultimately be cast into the eternal lake of fire.

In the meantime some thoughts regarding Fox's Lucifer:
·                     Fox can be glad they chose God, the Bible and Christianity to mock rather than Allah, the Koran and Mohammad. The Christian response is considerably different than an Islamic response would be!
Some action items:
1.            You can call or email Fox; however, tens of thousands of women associated with One Thousand Moms have already done that. They were ignored. You may also email or write to them telling them you strongly object to this TV show.
2.            I strongly urge you to be sure your family and circle of friends, including friends at church, are aware of what it is about. Be sure your children and/or grandchildren do not watch it. From all I have seen and read it will be funny, compelling and highly deceptive to the uninformed.
3.            Pray. Specifically pray that this program will be a financial disaster- due to low numbers of viewers and will be pulled from airing for lack of ratings.


Where Are Your Eyes This Morning?

“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:18).

Hey Gang:  Bottom line!  We are to be in a constant attitude of giving thanks for everything.  Why?    Because, according to Paul, “This is the will of God for you”.  Paul also emphasized this point when he wrote, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Col. 3:15).

He also encouraged his listeners to “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentle spirit be known to all men, The Lord is near.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:4-7).

I believe most folks would agree that Paul was a chosen vessel of the Father.  He looked down one day and saw Saul, the persecutor of His people, heading for Damascus to do his worst - but God looked down and said, “I’ll take that one”.  Yes, I believe Paul was a chosen vessel, but did that place a hedge of protection shielding him that he would not following the footsteps of Job? – In no way.

In Corinthians 4:17 Paul wrote, “For momentary, light afflictions is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison”.    In 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 he puts some meat on that statement; “…in prison; beaten times without number, often in danger of death, five times I received 39 lashes. stoned, shipwrecked three times, to name a few.”

When Paul was being taken to Rome as a prisoner, he endured a frightening voyage.  The boat was caught in a hurricane and shipwrecked.  Paul had to swim ashore where he was bitten by a poisonous snake, but lived and declared a god.  Once the ship was repaired, Paul and the crew spent months tossed at sea. 

When Paul arrived at his destination notice that his first response was to thank God for the blessings and was encouraged.   (Acts 28:15).  No speeches of the woes he endured, the horrible nights of terror, the days when it did not seem they would survive, or seeming endless trials.  He lived his testimony by declaring “In all things, I give thanks”.

In my 82 year sojourn I have heard many speakers tell of the woes of their lives and then, in the last five minutes give honor and glory to God for seeing them through the valleys and shadows of their sojourn.  We all have gone through peaks and valleys in our lives and wondered if we heard the voice of God correctly.

When we answered God’s call to come to Michigan and build a home for trouble kids, the trip across country certainly planted some doubt in our minds, as to whether or not we heard God correctly.  Flat tires, frozen heater lines, into the ditch, ice storm in Wyoming…. to name a few of the woes.   

I believe God was teaching us a lesson that would carry us through the tough times that would be ever- present in our lives thereafter.  We learned three very important lessons on that trip cross country: first, there would be adversities but God always provided an answer to those adversities. 

Second, we learned what Deuteronomy 31:6 really meant: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, He will not fail you or forsake you.”  We also learned “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked”  (Psa. 11:5).

Third, there is no immunity against hard times, folks.  As I look back over the peaks and valleys, the one thing that sticks out the most profoundly is “He was always there to bail us out”.  Perhaps not the way we thought it should be or the way we would have liked, perhaps not even in or timing,  but His ways always turned out to be the prefect way.

I close this epistle with a deep concern I have for many of our young people that have been protected by parents who do not allow their children to experience clinkers in their lives.  James Chapter 1 tells us that alligators are good teachers and train us to handle future adversities.   I believe one of the greatest failures in many homes is the failure to learn the joys of anticipation.  We want to give- when they want to receive – not a long lasting lessons of God’s best.  Seeds planted today are not harvested tomorrow.



Friday, January 22, 2016

Gun Control

 We felt this was important enough to move it up in the Series.

Allen West, Former Colonel in Military, former US Congressman printed these comments about the push for Gun Control.

The Law:

A well- regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free Sate, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

OBAMA The Presidents Response

License now required to sell single firearm, ban for some Social Security recipients

Independent gun hobbyists and collectors will soon fall under the same federal regulations requiring them to become licensed gun “dealers,” and conduct background checks similar to actual gun stores.

President Obama has issued 10 executive orders changing the way gun sales are monitored and carried out, redefining a gun “dealer” to include almost any private citizens who sell even a single gun annually.
Under the Obama edict, many person-to-person sales of firearms would now be scooped up by the federal government’s gun database.
Second Amendment advocates who spoke Monday with WND said they believe the new rules are about more than safety, since not a single mass shooting in recent years would have been stopped by the rules. They said the goal is to create a national gun registry that tracks the movement of nearly every gun in America.
 “These rules will provide clear notice to those individuals who try to hide behind the hobby exception when they are selling for a profit or for a business,” Lynch said.

A Response From a Citizen

President Obama, before you try that gun grab, I have a WARNING for you
Written by Allen West on January 5, 2016

President Barack Hussein Obama, on behalf of true Americans, I want to inform you that we will not follow your unconstitutional executive order.

We the American people have no other recourse than to resort to civil disobedience. We have no representatives in Washington DC who will stand and the Supreme Court has failed us as well.

You have embraced violent protest movements in America such as Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter. We are not lowering ourselves to that despicable progressive socialist “rules for radicals” model.

We, the people, are just telling you “No.” We will now be sending you emails and social media posts as well as calling OUR White House to say one word, “No.”

And, if you persist and take the same course of action as Xerxes, we will give you a two-word response, Molon Labe.

This is your final year as President of the United States so let us come to an agreement: you leave us alone and we, the American people, will let you stay and finish your term.

Heed these words of counsel. Our American blood is descended from men and women who rejected tyranny — so shall we honor their memory.

If you do not wish to honor your oath to the Constitution and protect us, we shall protect ourselves. And NEVER forget the oath we American Warriors take is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign, and domestic.

I beseech you, do not come down on the wrong side of American history. Do not come out into the East Room and issue these executive orders, which you know very well are not constitutional. America is a Constitutional Republic, not a constitutional monarchy, and we are not ruled by edict.

We have a system of checks and balances, separation of powers, and coequal branches of government. If you cannot govern this Nation according to its principles and established laws, then tell us so, and kindly vacate the office.

Nothing you are proposing by this executive action has any relevance to recent incidents. You have released countless criminals and now you wish to restrict law-abiding citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms.

Go to your hometown in Chicago, take a walk this evening in Washington DC, or drive up to Baltimore if you want to rectify “gun violence.”

But as a proud gun owner, husband, dad of two daughters, the third of four generations of American combat veterans, a former Member of the US Congress, and an American, I am telling you simply, “Stand down.”

And the attack on your rights continues.  Will his next dictatorial mandate be against the pastors in the land as to what they can preach from the pulpits of their churches?  American you had best wake up!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Been Fishing Lately?

 “Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen,” declares the Lord, “and they will fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks” (Jer. 16:16)

Hey Gang:   One of the very high points, in our volunteer services, was our tenure with the Ebenezer Fund in North Carolina.  The focus of this ministry is to assist the “olim” (meaning Jews in the “diaspora” which means anyplace other than Israel),  who want to return to the land of their heritage and who are seeking to make “aliya (meaning return to the Land of their heritage). 

One of the very special memories I recall was of an elderly woman who was found in a remote village in Siberia. She was in poor health and some administrative staff, that had no hands on contact with her, felt that investing the needed dollars to transport her to Kiev and then placing her in one of the limited slots on the ship to Haifi was not considered a good usage of their limited funds.

But there was something about this dear lady that superseded all of that good reasoning .   She had a radiance about her that melted the hearts of the folks choosing who would go and who would wait for the next available ship. 

Witnessing to the olim aboard ship was forbidden for, if a person was converted in route, the Israeli government would not permit them to enter the Land of their Heritage.  A policy that has since been changed, for the Israel government now recognizes that Christians are rapidly becoming the only friends they have in the world.  

But, even though there was no witnessing allowed, the olim knew the hearts of the workers were committed to Jesus as their Lord and many would say, “We know who you are and we are learning about your Jesus through your witness.”  A good lesson for each of us who name the name of Jesus – it is not what we say but how we carry ourselves that will draw all men unto Him. 

Although there were very few verbal commitments on those voyages to “The Land”, there were many heart commitments.  God called this dear lady home, several days after her arrival in Haifa.  A waste of money? Right? Only if money is your idol.   She died in the land that she loved all her life with a passion.

It has been interesting to note that most of the governments of the world have bought into Replacement Theology, the belief that God has turned His back on Israel and the Church has taken its place as the apple of His eyes. They teach that the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS Movement), whose intent is to isolate Israel from the economies of the world, will eventually win the day and starve them out.  Interesting, because the governments of the world in their rhetoric are against Israel; BUT, but the people on the street are supportive.  Such is the case in America and other nations.

What a wondrous blessing it has been to be alive on earth during this period of history and see the fulfillments of God’s words.  I was fifteen at the time the United Nations decreed that Israel would once again have a home land.

We were there to celebrate Israel’s 50th &60th Anniversaries. One has to be totally blind, if they cannot see the hand of God in the reestablishment of “The Land” and the ever increasing return of the Jews to the land of their heritage. Important in this is the restoration of the Hebrew language which had been dead for thousands of years.

What a wondrous day it was when the Al El 747 touched down at the Ben Gurion Airport and my feet touched the sacred ground of Israel for the first time.  I believe, with all my heart, all of His children will soon reside in the New Jerusalem and will forever be with the Lord, in His presence.  What a glorious day that will be my young friends.



Where Miracles Are A Lifestyle

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
Hey Gang:  Many folks think that me and my bride are rather weird.  Why?  Because periodically we drive to Shipshewana, Indiana for breakfast.  Why is that so weird?   It is more than 150 miles from home.   Shipshe, as it is commonly known by the horse auction folks, is rated on or near the bottom of the best place to take your teen aged kids for a vacation.    It is an Amish-Mennonite community that lives and breath’s the ethics and morals of faith in God.

I had a wonderful privilege as a young man prior to entering the military, to live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania which is also an Amish community and drove a bulk milk truck and picked up milk at fifty- three Amish Farms.  I learned to love the Amish and even wished, at times, that I had been born into an Amish family.  In my lifetime I have seen love within people, love within families and love within neighbors, but one day I saw a depth of love that truly was beyond my understanding. 

One of the farmers had lost his barn to fire and, in Amish language, that means you basically lost everything.  The animals, their farming equipment, their stored crops for the winter, their buggy and horses.  In other words, as they stood on the ashes of that barn, they were standing on their very existence.   No worry, just call the insurance man, right?  Not so, Amish trust only on God for their existence.  Maybe the Salvation Army or Red Cross, how about the Social Services.  No, we trust only in God. 

As I was driving to pick up at my first milk stop, I began to run into horse-drawn black buggies filled with Amish families- each pulling trailers filled with tools and supplies.    They came from the East and West and from the North and the South and, as they arrived, each man and woman and child seemed to know where they belonged and what they should do.

I wish I had the time and space to give you a total picture of what happened that day. As I was returning to the dairy, after my last pick up, I went out of the way to see and watch for a while.  I was absolutely amazed because, in the ten-hour period, they had totally framed the barn and had the roof on and shingled.  Three days later the finish carpenters were wrapping up their odds and ends when a second buggy parade began to arrive.  This one had a calf and another a liter of pigs.  Amos, down the road brought a dozen or so chickens.

But it did not stop there.   Trailer loads of equipment began arriving, a neighbor just happened to have an extra horse that he was fixen’ in sell, which fit perfectly with the buggy that another neighbor gave to the family.  Within five days the barn had been totally restored, the stock had been replacde and the equipment needed to continue farming was all in barn.   What I saw happening that week was “Sacrificial Love in action.

Each time I hear of someone being burned-out and losing everything, I think of those days at the Miller farm when their barn burned down destroying everything, and, six days later every iota of what had been lost, including a barn full of food for the animals was replaced.  O, it would be sinful if I did not mention what I felt was the key to that barn raising – it was the willingness of the community to “lay down their life for their brother and sister who were going through a very tough wilderness”. 

The key!  Did you ever see a prayer circle that encompassed a hundred or more?  Old folks that had to be held up, mommas with babies, little ones, big ones all tied together hand and hand and the patriarchs taking turns praying for safety, blessings and that before this day was over, God would get the glory.  One last point, there were folks there who were too old and feeble to work. They sat in chairs by the barn and provided expertise and quality control, but their main purpose for being there was to provide insurance – they were the prayer-covering of the project.

When I was in my growing-up years there was a program on radio called “Can You Top This?”  You have to be older than dirt to recall hearing this program.  It was a kind of story-telling program where people told of experiences they had in their lives, each was more profound than the one that was described before their turn came.  The barn-raising was and continues to be a fabulous example of laying your life down for your brother, but several years ago I heard of a tragic event that happened to seven families that were in the same area where I picked up milk.

A deranged individual, with gun in hand, entered an Amish school and shot and killed seven six and seven-year old Amish children and then turned the gun on himself in front of the rest of the kids in the class and blew his head off.   And then the miracle began to surface.  As per usual, the media showed up with cameras in hand and ready to report every iota of the gory details of this tragic event. They were astounded to not find hatred and anger but mommies and daddies who had just lost the most precious thing they had in all the earth - a child-  but found no hatred and condemnation.

You see the Amish look at such tragedies in a far different way than most of us more civilized folks.  They believe God made a plan for each and every individual who draws breath; each has a beginning, an in- between story, and an ending here on earth and then life truly begins when we are face to face with our Lord in that place He went to prepare for His children.  These folks had invited the bride and mother and dad of the deranged gunman to come and be with them, when they laid their children into the ground.    No hatred, no anger, they were living out what John 13:34-35 had been ingrained in their hearts.

And that, my friends, is why we are experiencing the Destruction of Love in our nation.  God, who is love, who laid down His life for us to break the bondage of sin in our lives, who died on a hideous cross, who rose again and ascended to where He sits at the right hand of the Father right now, and will come soon and take His children to that place that He talked about to the thief on the cross,
Today you will be with me in paradise.” Remember the song, “Put your hands in the hands of the One who stilled the waters”?

“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (I John 3:18).



Friday, January 15, 2016

Gramps Fifth Subtle Sign of the Times

“I will open the rivers on the bare heights and springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water and the dry land fountains of water.  I will put the cedar in the wilderness, the acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert together with the box tree and the cypress,  that they may see and recognize and consider and gain insight as well.  That the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it” (Isaiah 41:18-20).

Hey Gang:  My fifth ‘Sign of the Times’ is one that most folks tend to overlook and is found in Isaiah 35:1: “The wilderness and the desert will be glad and the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; Like a crocus”.  When the Jews began to return to the land of their heritage there was no great outcries that they were occupying someone else’s land.  Why?  Because it consisted of swamp lands and desert and broken down buildings.  There are those who say the Jews literally stole the land from the Sons of Ishmael who owned it but did not occupy it.  Such is not truth – they bought the land from the Arab owners and payed a dear price for every inch that they bought.

On our first trips to Israel we worked on a Kibbutz in the Arabah called Ir Ovot.  I would describe, what we saw the first time we drove into the Kibbutz, but it was indescribable.  It was a dessert-swamp that produced one crop – mosquitos that asked your blood type before they attacked.  But over in the one corner of the kibbutz we found long rows of plastic that were suspended from hoops in the ground; under the plastic were rows of half inch hose that were suspended above the plants that had been placed in the ground.  We learned that it was a new irrigation system, designed by a Jewish farmer, that allowed growing crops in the desert called “drip irrigation”. 

Simply stated, there was a head over each plant that provided a steady drip of water on the plant.  Keep in mind that the Arabah consist of the Plains of Lot that were very fertile grounds during the days of Abraham and Lot.  Lot, when given the option to choose the location where he would settle his flocks, chose the lush valley that covers portions of the Arabah.  If you picked up a hand full of soil, it would feel like a dry, very sandy substance; but, when water was added, it became some of the most fertile soil of Israel.

So, how does that fit in with the above prophecy that the desert will bloom like a rose?  We made eight subsequent visits to Israel, six of which were spend on the Ir Ovot, (now Tel Tamar), Kibitz.  On each subsequent trip we watched a literal transformation of the desert from a bleak, sandy desert to beautiful fields of vegetables, flowers, tree plantations, tropical fish and Peter’s fish plantations.  Today flowers, vegetables and other products that are raised in the desert are shipped around the world.

In Isaiah 41:18-20, the prophet's talk of a future restoration of Israel coincides with an occurrence in modern Israel - the construction of a vast irrigation system to improve farming. The lack of available water, including rain, is one reason why Israel had been a desolate, unproductive land, during much of the past 2000 years. But, during the 1900s, when many Jews returned to their ancient homeland, they built a network of irrigation systems. And during the past century, more than 200 million trees have been planted in Israel.

We have been truly blessed to watch the blossoming of the Arabah both from the standpoint of the beauty of the country side, but also from the beauty of God’s words and the fulfillment of His promises.  Another sign that He is preparing to come soon for His children.  Are you watching? 



Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I Just Do Not Understand

“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of the His temple, and my cry did enter into His ears” (2 Samuel 22:7).

Hey Gang:  I have been walking this earth for more than eight decades and never before has my heart hurt as does this day- not for myself or the bride-of-my youth, for I believe we are in that life’s period that Paul referred to as “the last lap of the race.” My concern is for the world I leavr for my children, my grand-children and my great-grand-children.

In the past several years I have been spending more time asking the Lord “Why Lord?” “Why would a nation- that has been abundantly blessed by You- suddenly choose to say, “We have listened to You these many years and have been so very blessed, but now we want to try it your adversary’s way”.  

Why would a person who was blessed by You with the intellectual power to evaluate, with common sense and the ability to see the results of the choices they are making, decide that their ways are better than Your ways?

As I was seeking the Lord’s guidance on what I would write to you this morning, the Paris catastrophe is still heavy on my heart.  When I first heard that a major terrorist attack was under way, I wondered if there were those who were praying.  There were sixty-thousand people in the stadium watching a soccer game when the explosions were first heard.  Prayer has nearly become obsolete in France, most of the churches, except the Muslim Mosques, have closed and sold for more up-to-date things.

I suspect there were people praying.  I suspect the seeds that were planted in their hearts, at some time in their lives, suddenly came to life.   In our lifetime of ministry we have often received calls from people who have rejected God all their lives asking that we pray for them.  I have often wondered if that does any good, but have honored those requests. 

There is an old saying that there are no atheist in fox-holes.  I certainly believe that is true.  I served in Korea, not during the killing phase, but worked side by side with warriors who had seen buddies fall and it was always very special to listen to their stories.  In the dozens who were free to share their story with me, I found some very tough hombres, but I found no atheist.      
I have been spending time in Isaiah once again.  I love the last 26 chapters of Isaiah and especially Chapter 53. The Suffering Servant Chapter is one with many colored markings, in my Bible.  This morning, as has happened many times before, one of the verses was in very bold print.  Did you ever have that happen to you?  I believe it was bold this morning so I would be sure to include it in Gramps Morning Thought for today.

As I read Isaiah’s words, once again, the message that seemed to stick out was “He could have called ten thousand angels down and snuffed the bad dudes who were planning on ending His life but He choose to die for me and you. (Hillbilly rendition).   We see a panoramic view of what He went through and I wondered, if I had a gun in my hand and someone threatened to do what they did to him, would I turn the other cheek?

I thought of the young lads and lassies that faced the misguided young man who ask the question “Are you a Christian.”    After the first one answered, “Yes,” and was shot dead, do you think Satan was saying “Hey, you surely will not die” “Just say no, it really doesn’t matter.  No one will blame you.”   The ones who answered, “No, I am not, he shot in the leg”.  I wonder if every time they shower and feel the scar from that decision.  Will prick their conscience?  

Do you think there were times when Peter agonized over his denial of the Lord?    I wish I could say that never happened to me, but such is not the case. How thankful I am that our Lord is a loving, compassion, merciful Lord who paid a price, He did not owe for me, who could not pay what I owed. 

It is snowing and the ground looks so clean and beautiful.  I wonder if the climate control folks enjoy God’s changes in the weather.  I pray you will have a blessed day, one that is filled with the joy of the Lord.



Monday, January 11, 2016

A Spiritual Roadway

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

Hey Gang:  Another New Year and we can rest assured there will be many new challenges that await us.  It will be a time when I choose -to look at what was in the past or to “look toward the goal for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”.   But this we know, when we travel God’s highway we can rest assured that there will be various sized pot-holes that will shake our back teeth, but we can also rest assured that, as Children of God, there will be many work crews along the way repairing those potholes. 

The past year was very harsh for the Hainley family.  Early fall my last brother went to be with the Lord.   We learned what a hideous disease Alzheimer’s truly was.  For more than six months we agonizingly watched the deterioration of healthy, vibrant human waste away to a less than one-hundred pound mindless body.  We learned first- hand that it is not death that is so painful but the dying process. 

I also learned another lesson in the midst of this wilderness walk; a lesson that would once again rear its ugly head when my eldest son contracted incurable cancer which ended his life a week before Christmas.   A week before the passing of my brother, his son lost his wife to cancer, and this past week my son‘s widow lost her mother to cancer. 

The lesson, what a blessing God gave to His creation when, after man opened the door to sin and made mankind vulnerable to disease, God “Drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen. 3:24).  As I stood by the beds of my brother and my son and watched the deterioration of their bodies, I thanked God for His love in blocking the way to the Tree of Eternal Life.
Many times in the past five years I have again asked the Lord, “Why Lord?”  And I confess I had reached a point in my walk with the Lord where I just did not understand.  Years ago, when we lost our first son to an auto accident, I had asked the same question, “Why Lord?” his life was dedicated to you and he was doing good things for you.  Three years ago when we lost a grandson, who was in full time Christian service, to cancer I asked the same question.

That question hung around in the recesses of my heart and brain every time I thought of David, Ryan and now Michael.  “Why Lord?”  Several months ago we were visiting our Rehoboth, a place where we escape when we need a reprieve from all the stresses and problems of the world.  While there we went to see the stage play Josiah For President.  It was a wonderful, somewhat light-hearted play that contained a line that penetrated to the depth of my soul.

Josiah had lost a twelve-year old daughter when a motor-vehicle driver lost control of his car and hit his horse drawn buggy.  It so happened that a person who had been running for president went off the road into a ditch just in front of Josiah’s farm and when to seek help from Josiah.  After many hours of conversation, the Politician asked Josiah how he could remain so positive after losing a child.
Josiah’s response is one that is etched in my mind: “Well.” he said, “I had a choice; I could look back at all the things that the Lord has done for me and my family or I could let this one crisis in my life destroy my relationship with Him.  I choose the former”.

As I read through the Bible I find many who ran into very deep ‘pot holes’; ‘pot holes’ that might destroy some.  Lot’s wife ran into pot hole that she did not handle very well and it cost her her life.  Nehemiah spent many days with the alligators nipping at his coat tails but he did not fail to complete the task God gave him.  We were in the development stage of the Village when David was killed but we completed the task and many lives have been saved.

I asked, “Why Lord?” And when I walk by the barn that David loved so much, or walk across the campus at the Village where Michael spent over thirty years of his life giving of all he had, and when I visit Grace Adventures and feel Ryan’s presence at the horse barn and throughout the campus, my question remains “Why Lord?”

I close this mini memorial to three very special people who God blessed me to be able to know and walk side by side with them with a tiny piece of wisdom I learned along the way from a good friend named Paul.  I said to him one day, “When I get to heaven I am in to ask, “Why Lord?’  He responded, “No, you will be is such awe it will never enter your mind!”  I am counting on that, Paul”.

PS – Yes, another change.  As you can see from this blog, grieving has taken a big toll on our lives this year -and Gramps did not mention all the others. Our energy-level and keenness of mind is a bit lacking; what we want to do, we can’t always get done. 

So much is happening world-wide that you ought to know, competes with the encouraging Devotional thoughts  - the purpose of this blog.  We found we cannot do five a week.  The series on Whats Happening Man is also important.  New decision: Monday and Wednesday will be ‘Morning Thoughts’ and Friday and Saturday will be the continuation of the series “Subtle fulfillments of Prophecy."

Friday, January 8, 2016

Did You ever Miss God's Best?

“When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter” (Exo. 15:23).

Hey Gang:  One of my favorite lessons that I shared with the boys, as chaplain at the Village, was based on this passage of Scripture.    I would give them a piece of paper with ten boxes side by side.  The first one, large and beautiful, represented all the money they could possibly spend.  The second represented all the places you ever dreamed that you would like to visit.  And the third all of the things in this world that you have always wanted that could now be yours. 

Each one contained one of those things that makes our mouth water with lust of the eyes, when we think about them.  But there was one last box.  It was ugly to the eyes and seemed totally out of place.  It had no title attached to it.  And there was always one of the troops that asked the question, “Mr. H. what is in that little ugly box on the end.

I would then tell them contained within that box was a book titled The Lamb’s Book of Life and an invitation to The Marriage Feast of the lamb.  I used an illustration of the first car that I was able to buy .I loved that car.  When a speck of dust landed on it I immediately washed it off.  Weekly it received a cleaning inside and out and barely a month went by when I did not put yet another coat of wax on it. 

I loved that car.  But one day I noticed a small area of rust, just under the driver’s side door.  An area that soon began to expand and other areas began to surface as well.  And then one day when driving down the road I lost power.  The fuel pump had breathed its last. This was followed with tire and other mechanical problems.  And then one day my beautiful car breathed its last and was dragged to the nearest grave yard.

When I read the story of the Exodus I wondered why God directed Moses to take the southern route through the Sinai.  The Northern route was much, much shorter and there were fresh water wells along that route.   The southern route had no such wells.

Scripture tells us they were three days into the desert and were coming to the end of their water supply.  Why did God send them down that path? Was there a little green box attached to that decision?

We have since learned that the crystal clear waters of Marah contain calcium, and magnesium which forms into dolomite, a muscle relaxing drug used by long distance runners to prevent cramping in hot weather. It is also taken by heart patients to keep the heart from going into fibrillation.

The Bedouins have a saying, “One drop on the tongue, and you go for three days.”  If you drink the water for a day or two, the purgative actions stops and your body adjust and you can drink the water.
So was Marah God’s best for the traveling troopers from Egypt?  Keep mind they were mud stompers; they made mud into bricks.  The water came from the Nile which was infested with parasites and amoeba that penetrate the blood stream, zapping the carriers of energy and stamina and the root of many diseases.  If they would have drunk the water of Marah and kept drinking it, the purgative action would have cleaned their bodies of all unwanted guest.

We read that many died of their diseases.  Does that make God’s promise not valid?  Not so!  It does point out the conditional nature of God’s promises.  Paul, in Galatians 3:13 wrote, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law having become a curse for us - for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”.    



Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Question: Are You a Seed Planter in Your Home?

And the King will answer them, "Truly, I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me."  (Matt. 24:40).  Are your spouse and children "the least of these'?

Hey Gang, I am a compulsive Seed Planter.  "To the extent" is a very important phrase; pay attention to it.  I believe it might even be considered a spin off from what we have learned already about the word measure.  There are many in American who think all we have to do is "believe" and we are home free and can do just about anything we want to do.  But Jesus debunked that thought when He said, "By the same measure that you forgive, judge, and give of your talents and resources, He will reciprocate.” (Gramps rendition)

Paul made this very clear when he wrote, "You are going to reap what you sow".  I like the English  Bible translation of this verse, “Don’t deceive yourselves; no one can make a fool of God; whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.  He who sows in the lower nature will from that nature reap a blighted harvest. He who reaps from the Spirit will from the Spirit reap life eternal.  Don’t get tired of the fine things, for when the proper time comes, we will reap so long as we don’t relax our efforts” (Gal 6:7-8).

One would think that "reap what you sow" would be a common-sense law; one that would be easy to understand. Drink huge amounts of alcohol equals liver problems; smoking leads to lung problems; drugs fouls your brain.  One does not have to be a rocket scientist to understand the hazards involved in this kind of seed planting but yet the numbers involved in these death-defying actions continue to rise each year.

In our parenting classes we always had one or more of what I termed my "agony and pain club”. These parents were bent on doing things their own way.  We could not convince them of the correlation between anger in their children and anger demonstrated in their own lives.   The "chip off the old block" unfortunately carries more truth than we like to think. 

 Years ago we had a young man who was doing fabulously in the program.  He was exceeding even his own expectations in school, in the physical program areas. and was becoming more involved in Chapel each week.  Then one night he ran away, stole a car and ended up in jail.  When asked why?  He said, "Mr. H., if I turn my life around like you want, I will be the odd ball in my family".  A tragic story, but one we heard many times.

Paul gave us the principle "You will reap what you sow".  Now turn to Dr. Luke to find step one in implementing the principle:  Luke 6:38 begins with a power word "give".  Now, notice once again, we run into the "measure principle" -"Give, and it will be given to you".   We have learned in our walk with the Lord that the old adage "You cannot out give God" is oh, so true!  

Luke goes on and puts legs on God's reciprocating giving policy: "It shall be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, they will pour into your lap." And he closes this truth with a promise from the throne room: "For by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you in return."  

Let me share a neat success story based on this giving principle.  A friend shared that his daughter was suffering greatly with depression and had left college and moved home.  He shared he had taken her to the best therapist he could find, but after several months the depression seemed to deepen.  I suggested that he pack her up and take her back to college and allow her to work through the problem.  Upon their arrival back at college she found her roommate bedfast with mononucleosis.  Immediately, she became a giver by taking care of her.  The roommate recovered under her care and her depression took a hike.

Soooo,  A study was done in the Retirement Villages of Florida, a few years back. Researchers found when they asked, “If you could impact in a person’s life, would you return to the cold north and do this?” a tragic response.  A very large percentage said, "No" they had no interest in getting involved in the lives of their kids and grand kids.  It is hard for God to bless in the same measure when we choose not to reach out to our  families and neighbors.  Luke says "Give”.  Paul says, "You will reap what you sow"!  Jesus said, "You will be blessed!”


PS New blog on posted Tues Jan 5. So much happening will post there Tuesday and Saturday for 4 weeks.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Do you Know? or Are You Locked into Hearsay-Media Hype?

I wish I could share with every Jew in the world the wonderful promises of Zechariah 8:1-5 when a simple trip to the grocery store could cost them their lives, “Then the word of the Lords of hosts came, saying,  ”Thus says the Lord, I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.  Then Jerusalem will be called the city of Truth and the Mountain of the Lord of Hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.”  Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Old men and old women will again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his hand because of ageAnd the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets”.

Hey Gang:  A research-type person recently did a sortie through several college campuses asking one simple question, “What is your opinion of Jews?’  Since the average college student does not have even the remotest comprehension of what a Jew is or what they believe or what they stand for, the answers were predictable, the prevailing attitude of the media – I hate Jews and would punch them in the nose if I came in contact with them. 

His real intent was to move to question number two with the haters: “Have you ever met a Jew and would you know one if you fell over him or her?”   Again the answers were predictable: “No” I have never meet a Jew” and “I would not know one if I fell over them.”  When asked, “Then why do you hate Jews, if you have never met one and you would not know one if you ran in to one?  Let me add here, there were exceptions; some knew a Jew and even a very small minority admitted they had a friend who was a Jew.
The hierarchy of the Presbyterian Church has bought in the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.  I forgive them for that only because God has told me throughout His word that He will forgive me in the same measure that I forgive others.)  Now I admit I have a hard time with that in that I cannot understand how a ‘person of the cloth’ can chose the world’s hype over the proven word of God. 

But I have the same problem with those who selling the trash-bucket teachings that God no longer loves His chosen land and people.  I wonder what rational might run through their brains to justify that opinion; it certainly is not based on the writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and the Minor Prophets.

While you are re-reading the Scripture of the day, slip down a few verses to verse 21 and notice these words, “Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I will also go.” So many peoples and mighty nations will come seek the Lord of host in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord.”  Now check this out folks!  “Thus says the Lord of Hosts, in those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you’”.   Hey, would that not be neat to have someone lock onto your arm and say “Let me go with you because I see the Lord in you”.

Isaiah also had something to say about this Replacement-Theology blasphemy when he wrote, “The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you and all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet; and they will call you the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 60:14).

But, haven’t the Jews been in a rebellious state for thousands of years?  I mean how patient can God be?  Good question to which I would respond, “When I look into the mirror each day I am reminded that Jesus died for the person staring back at me.  He did not have to.  He could have called a massive army of angels and snuffed out the whole rebellious gang but He was sent to die for you and me.  Wow, thank you Lord. 

  So why has His patience not run out?  We might say it wavered a bit when God said’ “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.  I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst” (Ezek.36:22b-23a).

Soooo,  I sometimes, oh, often even, get a wee bit upset when I hear brothers and sisters in Christ say they believe God no longer loves Israel, the apple of His eye, because of their sin and rebellion. But keep in mind that person staring back at you’ while brushing your teeth in the morning’ has the same malady the Jews have had – they are sinners, just like you and me.  The difference – we are saved by His wondrous grace.  I close this epistle with a suggestion:  if you are a wee-bit testy on whether God still loves Israel, Paul wrote a one liner that clears it up: “…and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written.”  (Rom. 12:26).  That means He never gives up.  Wow, is that not awesome! 



Friday, January 1, 2016

Something New or Same Old Stuff???

There are a thousand Scriptures that I would like to use this morning but these stuck out in bold print:   "Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world.  Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.  You turn man back into dust and say, "Return, O children of men."  For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night" (Psalm 90:1-4).

James wrote these words to help keep our head screwed on right: "Come now, you who say, ‘today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’  Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.  You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.  Instead, you ought to sway, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’" (James 4:13-15.)

Hey Gang, Another New Year has been placed in the archives of history.    I sense that most folks would place the events of the past year in the "up and down" column, perhaps leaning towards the down side.  If my heart and soul were not anchored on the King of kings and Lord of lords, I believe I would be a frazzled mess.  But I know that even before time began, God laid out a plan for this earth and for every person on this earth, an irrevocable plan and He has not neglected that plan or forsaken those who are locked into His word. 

But it is a good time, as we stand between two years (the past and the coming), to do some deep soul searching of our lives.  Look back and remember some of the events of the year, its high points and its low points, the delights and disappointments.  Some that stick out in our memories:  Three new great grand babies, the marriage of a loved one, the opportunity to pray for a brother or sister, the loss of a brother and a son, and seeing God pour out His healing power on a loved one-  all are experiences etched in our mind and heart forever.

Looking ahead, we have new hopes for the New Year.  We wait with anticipation, high hopes and new dreams. True, everything that can be shaken is being shaken- but we know that God is still at the helm.  God is God and we are not.  It is a time when we need to be firmly entrenched in the fact that God is in control and we are not. 

I have often said that in my home I control all the important things, like should we enter the war, who the next president should be or whether the taxes should be increased: the bride-of-my-youth controls all the mundane things like how to raise the kids, control of the household budget, where we should live and a multitude of other mundane decisions.  Do we not get the idea that we are in control of the important things of life, when in reality it is God's who controls death and life, day and night, seasons and times.  
Charles Swindoll wrote the following:  "As we move forward into a New Year, we would do well to remember these four "greats": 

*We have a Great God!  Our God has within Him power to accomplish all things He desires to do. 

*God is able to make this a great year! We may be looking at this coming year with fear and trepidation but keep in mind God can make this year a great year for serving Him
*Don't be afraid to ask GREAT things of Him.  This is where the shoes hit the pavement.  If we believe that God can do great things, why don't we ask Him for them?

*The Lord delights in giving His children GREAT gifts.  God loves to give - it's in His nature.

Soooo my friends and neighbors, brothers and sisters in Christ, do you believe that God can do great things?  What great things have you asked Him for recently?  

 We wish for each of you that you will have a deeper hunger to know and walk closer to the Lord in this New Year and submit yourselves to be used by the Lord to spread the Good News that Jesus Christ is Lord and Coming Soon!

God’s blessings in the New Year – Psalms 90:17

Gramps and Gma