Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Did You Know That God Likes You, Too?

“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:37-39).

Hey Gang:  After completing the Gramps Morning Message, “Hey, What Do You Think You Are Worth? My mind seemed to center on the faith chapter (Hebrews 11), known to many as “God’s Hall of Fame”. Notice there is a common denominator among all who are included- the writer begins and ends the chapter by commending those mentioned. 

But I want you to notice that the people mentioned were normal people, just like you and me, and what was true about them is also true about us.  Does that not fill your heart with the hope that you, too, can one day qualify for God’s Hall of Fame?  (If you have some question of who can qualify, turn back to the last blog).  

They had doubts and fears and, I suspect, there were times when they were discouraged.  Surely Elijah was discouraged after receiving threats that Jezebel was going to do him in no matter what the cost.

Gideon was a mighty man of valor who was commissioned by God to take an army out and beat the tar out of the Midianites.   Do you know what Gideon was doing when the angel appeared on his doorstep, he was threshing wheat in a cave because he was fearful that those same Midianites would come and abscond with his food supply.

 And Gideon said “You want me to do what?” just like you or I would have said.  “I mean I am from the smallest tribe, the smallest clan within the tribe and am the smallest of the clan.”  He had doubts just like you or I would have had.

He was not alone.  Moses, the greatest leader of all time who led a million or more grumbling, complaining people for forty years in the wilderness also had doubts, when given his marching orders.  God said, “I want to you go and bring my people out of bondage in Egypt.” His response, “I don’t talk so good.”  He had a long talk with God.  You remember the story, but the point is, he had doubts, fears just as you or I would have had. 

When the Lord told Sarah that she was going to have a bambino, Sarah laughed – perhaps hysterically- for Abraham was one hundred and she was ninety, a wee bit over the normal child bearing age.   Isaac lied to the king, Jacob was a deceiver, and David an adulterer and murderer and Solomon was an idolater.
They all had doubts and fears just like you and me.  I believe when God gave the writer of Hebrews this chapter His intention was to send a message to every believer that we have within us the tools to be great in His kingdom but, be advised there will be times when we have doubts and fears just like those mentioned in the Hall of Fame chapter. 
Common denominator number one: they were normal people, just like you and me.  Say that with me, “I am normal even when I have doubts and fears!”  Common denominator number two: “God liked them”.  Say that with me, God liked them and He likes me!  God liked David in spite of his transgressions for David was a man after God’s own heart”. 

Are you a person after God’s own heart?   The third common denominator about these folks: God was for them.  We know the verse “if God is for us who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). But do we not turn that around when the alligators are snapping at our heels?  When we read the faith chapter we see that God was for them.  Say that with me “God is for me!”

Your picture is on God’s refrigerator door and on His cell phone.  He is for you and it really does not matter who is against you.  God likes normal people and is not looking for super heroes.

The fourth common denominator: God uses normal people and often normal people who have gone through the wilderness. Remember, immediately after feeding the 5000 Jesus sent His disciples on a hair-raising boat trip across the Sea of Galilee.  Why?  Verse 33 tells me “And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”
Finally, God has a desire to use you.  You may think you have nothing to offer, but you are normal just like those listed in the Hall of Fame that were used mightily by God to fulfill His purposes. 
  One last time – say it with me, I am normal, God likes me, God is for me and God can use me!  

One last requirement, you must have faith!  The Hall of Fame chapter is also called “the Faith Chapter”.  Faith is the anchor to our walk with the Lord.  “Without faith it is impossible to please the Lord” (Hebrews 11:6).

Hey Gang:  Each week I receive four reports from prophecy guru’s that alert those who are interested in  keeping up-to-date on “what’s happening man” relative to things today.   One writer said, “Thing are happening so fast I cannot begin to cover just the things that have surfaced in the past thirty days.”  I would in no way say that I, Gramps, am a prophecy guru, but do try and remain on alert status.

I have argued with myself as to whether I should send out a “What’s Happening Man blog”  and list some of the things that are happening. But, I have been amazed of the number of people who are not interested in what is happening in our world related to prophecy.  So I made a command decision: I would run a test and float a message from Gramps on what’s happening .an and put it on the What’s Happening Man blog at, Sat. Sept 3, and check the interest level.  I realize this is a holiday weekend, but it will be on for a week.



Monday, August 29, 2016

Hey! What Do You Think you Are Worth?

 “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Phil. 2:1-2).  “You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him—be free now from all these earthly prides and fears”. (1 Corinthians 7:23)

Hey Gang:  You have been bought and paid for by Christ.  You belong to Jesus.  How much does that make you worth? God says not only are you accepted; you're valuable.  O, I am not talking about what your bottom line is in worldly assets.  People who were wealthy yesterday by world standards have lost all in the devastating floods and fires that have plagued our land in recent weeks.
There is the story of the rich young ruler, actually he was the land lord of several tenement houses in the slums of one of our larger cities. He made big bucks on the backs of the least fortunate.  His story was surfaced when a small child was bitten by rats and died.  The inspectors learned that he had not invested one dime into making their lives more bearable, by repairing even the very needed items in each apartment that we would call necessities.
The media took the man to the cleaners and called him everything that is the book and few things that are not there.  But, in investigating for her story, a reporter did some interviewing of residents in the tenement and, down in the corner apartment of one of tenements, she found an elderly lady that was known throughout the tenement simply as ‘Grandma’.  
She, the reporter, was absolutely amazed that everyone in that tenement gained hope and encouragement from this little old lady who lived in the corner apartment in level one.  Now, if I were to ask you, “In God’s eyes, who was the person of value to Him, the wealthy tenement owner or the little old lady who did not have two pennies to rub together?”
Let’s take a side trip and put some meat on that question.  In John 15:13 we read, Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends”.  In Luke 6:38 we are admonished to 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 to you in return
In Matthew the twenty fifth chapter we read the words of Yeshua, “The King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world “What is that kingdom?  Jesus, on the cross, said to the thief who repented, “Today you will be with me in paradise”.  Jesus in another place gave the criteria for His blessing: “I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in (like the old grandma in the corner apartment of level one) and when naked you clothed Me.”
What say you? Jesus closed this teaching by saying,Truly I say to you to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the last of them, you did it to Me.” (vs. 40).
So, my friends, who do you believe will receive the blessings of the Father, the rich old tenement owner or the grandma in the corner apartment down on the first levelWe are forbidden to judge“But by their fruits we will know them” (Matt. 7:16).

Friday, August 26, 2016

Bargain Basement - and I mean Sub Terrane Basement Sale

“O love the Lord, all you His godly ones! The Lord preservers the faithful and fully recompenses the proud doer.  Be strong and let our heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord” (Psa. 31:23-24).

Hey Gang: It was advertised that the devil was going to put his tools up for sale.  On the date of the sale the tools were placed for public inspection, each being marked with its sale price.  There was a treacherous lot of implements- hatred, envy, jealousy, doubt, lying, pride and so on.  But there was one that was set aside from the rest. It was a harmless looking tool, very well worn and priced very high.

“What is the name of that tool?” Asked one of the bidders.  “Oh,” said the adversary, “that is “discouragement”.  “Why is it priced so high”?” asked the bidder.  “Because it is the most powerful tool in my toolbox” was his reply.

“I can pry open and get inside a person’s heart with that one, when all others fail.  Now, once I get inside, I can make him do what I choose.  It’s a badly worn tool, because I use it on almost everyone, since few people know it belongs to me.” 

The devil’s price for discouragement was so high, he never found a bidder who was willing to pay his price.  It remains, even this day, as his major tool and has found growing in effectiveness now that “Everything that can be shaken is being shaken.”

Have you ever been discouraged?  Perhaps I should ask, “Are you dealing with discouragement in your life today.”  In my tenure as exalted ruler of the Village with two hundred young folks who had a habit of making bad decisions, herding a staff of more than one hundred employees, and keeping them from being discouraged and making sure there were sufficient vittles in the pantry to feed the multitude, I often found myself dealing with discouragement.

Over the years I learned it was essential for my spiritual life that I, too, have a tool box filled with God’s antidotes against the poison of discouragement.  The first tool from the Master Tool Maker is God’s Word.  Throughout the Word we find the “I will” promises of God.  Tool one is to know we have the assurance that God gave His only begotten Son to come to earth and walk in my shoes, and offer His life,  to save me from the penalty of my sins.  I must make sure that I know Him intimately, not just to know about Him. 

The second tool is the assurances I have as a believer in Christ Jesus.   I have placed Deuteronomy 31:6  Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee’, and Hebrews 13;5 “For He has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you”.   

My third antidote against Satan’s dart of discouragement is found in Isaiah 41:10: “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you.  Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  Wow, is it not awesome to know, without doubt, that the Creator of this universe takes the time to be with His children and never, never forsake them?

There are many verses spread throughout God’s Word that give me those same assurances, but I must be connected to His power supply.  We might want to rephrase Isaiah 41:10:“I do not fear for You are with me.  I am not anxious for you are my God.  I praise you Lord for the promise that you will be there when I need help and that you will up hold me with your mighty right hand”. 

I close this epistle with a challenge from the depth of my heart.  There is so much I would like to say to you from my sojourn on this earth with God, and even before when outside of His grace, but three pages a week does not give one much time to share what is truly in my heart.

I challenge you to diligently get into God’s Word, even if you have to get up fifteen minutes earlier each day and be in continual prayer.  It is not good sense to jeopardize others by talking on our cell phones when driving, but there is no law that says “We cannot talk to God”.



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Changed! A Growth in Faith! Pt4

“But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth” (Col. 3:8).  “For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience” (verse 6).

Hey Gang:  Time to turn up the heat or we will be on the Change Process for the next six months.  Not that I do not believe we need to zero in on the change process; the Word tells us that we are ever seeking and too often do not come to the knowledge of the truth. 

My bride and I just arrive home from celebrating our fifty-ninth re-union of the day we both said “I do” and committed our lives to each other.  God knew what He was doing when He gave us the formula for a God blessed relationship between a man and woman.    In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 He gave us the perfect formula and note it is one that is anchored by the Holy Spirit.  Solomon wrote. “A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart”.

Hey, you married folks, and you who will walk the aisle with great anticipation, notice Solomon’s words, “Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun“ (Eccl: 9:9).  Well, that is enough marriage counseling for the day. 

In step two of the change process Paul tell us we need to take an inventory of our life and examine what is good and what is not-so-good and then send the not-so-good things packing.  Not sure whether your house is pure and ready to come into the presence of the Lord. 

 Psalm 15 is titled “Description of a Citizen of Zion” which begins with these words: “O Lord, who may abide in Your tent?  Who man dwell on Your holy hill?” (Verse 1).  And in Psalm 24:3 David adds to this question with these words: “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place?”  In answer to his question: “He who has clean hands and a pure heart who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and not sworn deceitfully” (verse 4).

To “put off” those things that are offensive to the Lord is tough, but when we submit “all” to Christ, we have the joy of victory through Christ who strengthens us.  Jesus said, “All power in heaven and earth dwells in Me, (Matt. 28:18) and dwells in you giving you the power to be an overcomer (Gramps rendition).

The weakness of humanity is that we are takers, we continually make withdrawals from our love bank and neglect to make deposits leaving an open heart for Satan to set up camp.  In step three of the change process Paul says we are to put on a new self, a new self that is being renewed in the true knowledge according to the image of Christ.

Paul gives a clinic on what that means. He continued his teaching on the nuts of bolts of putting on; he wrote, “Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing one another burdens, forgive each other, whoever has complaint against the other, just as the Lord forgave you, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” ((3:12-14). 

This we know, whatever we put into our mind will determine what is going to come out our mouth. To reflect the heart of Our Father put on Paul’s list.  Don’t let the influence of our culture control or color  your choices.   We  often make stew and one rotten onion spoils the whole pot.

The final step is the most difficult part of the change process. Remember the verse in Isaiah “We like sheep have gone astray each going his own way” (Isa. 53:5).  We all have seeds of pride within us that lead us down the path of separation from God and causes our light to go from good too mediocre to no light at all.

The final step of Paul’s change process, “Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body: and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ richly dwell with you with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God and Father” (Col. 3:15-17).

The Key to the change process – “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Col. 3:17).

Oh, I have tried but it just does not work.  Check out verse one again. Notice the prerequisite, “Therefore, “IF” you have been raised up with Christ keep seeking the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” Refire your boilers and recommit to allowing God to do what He knows is best for you.

Let the peace of Christ rule and let the word of Christ dwell!



Monday, August 22, 2016

Change! An Act of the Will!

“And in them you once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you also, put them all aside; anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him- (Col. 3:7-10).

Hey Gang:  Have you ever gotten interested in something that is really bazar bordering the sublime?   I find less and less interest in what comes across the boob-tube but once in a while I find something that triggers a question – why in the world would they do that?  The program is called American Pickers.

To make a long story very short, it is simply two guys in a moving-type van that go throughout the country visiting places where hoarders have barns full of ‘what are very precious items to the hoarder’ but look much like junk to me.  The amazing thing to me is, when offered a few bucks for an item that they dig out of the pile. in many cases the hoarder will not part with it.

Perhaps this program perked my attention because I kind of feel like many folks, even Believers, tend to fit into the hoarder category.  Point two of the Change Process fits nicely into this category; many folks want to follow the Lord but they will not give up the junk that they have accumulated throughout their life time. 

Remember, in point one of the Change Process, Paul said, “We have to die to our old self and put on a new self which is being renewed to a true knowledge, according to the image of the One who created him”.  I am presently reviewing a book, by David Wilkerson, that I have referred to many times. He is also the founder of Teen Challenge and author of the Cross and the Switchblade

The Title of this book is The New Covenant Unveiled.  The entire book is filled with one powerful statement after another.  I would suggest, if you want to grow in Christ, that you get a copy and spend a week or two alone in your closet and zero in on every word.  But, one that hit my hot button is found on page 127 (insignificant piece of information).  He wrote, “Here is the secret of the New Covenant:  It isn’t some sudden rush of supernatural power in us, enabling us to resist an overwhelming temptation.  Rather it is God’s still, small voice, revealing his love to us in the midst of our failure and testing.”

But, again, I would mind you that prior to Paul’s laying bomb shells in our minds and heart, he always sets the table in preparation for us to receive it.  In the step two of the Change Process we find an act of the will order (Paul never made suggestions!)  He said, “Now you also, put them all aside” Put what aside?

Bottom line, anything that stands between you and the King of kings and Lord of lords.  I am in the process of going through my tool shed and making a list of what will go to the next auction.  As I mature in Christ, I find that more and more of those things that were very important to me one day are no longer important.

And as I clean out the attic, basement and garage of my mind, heart and soul, I find very profound things happening; my attention is no longer on the bangles and beads of this world but on the things that have eternal value.  I began to understand what Paul meant when he wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me.”  Gal. 2:20).

Peter gives us the key to victorious living under the rule and banner of Christ: “Therefore (the is one of those ‘therefores’, what is it there for?).  He wrote, “Therefore, gird up your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you are the Revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 1:13).

So, my good friends, we now have two significant pieces to the Change Process, the key to the process, as John the Baptist said, “I must decrease so that He (Jesus) increase”; In essence, “I must die to self” and the first step to implementing Paul’s change process?... I must will out the closet of my heart and “put off” all those things that are offensive to the Father.  Easy?  No way!   But God’s fringe package is awesome!



Friday, August 19, 2016

Change! "Ifs and Therefores

“If then you were raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Col. 3:1`-4).

Hey Gang:  I love the Word of God cover to cover.  I am a literalist and take it as it is written.  That is where faith comes in.  I believe that God has protected His word down through the generations and, the more I read it, the more my faith grows that there is only one way the Bible could come into being and remained unchanged, it is protected by the Holy Spirit.

However, I do admit there are some parts more special to my reading than others.  I would rather read the red than Leviticus and Numbers.  I believe God understands that and is more concerned that we get our noses into the Word on a consistent basis.  But He also wants us to get our minds and hearts and soul connected to Him in our prayer closets.

Colossians three is one of the very special passages, which we title - our “Paul’s Process For Change”.   In the years that the Tool House (our Parent teaching) was in session, it was a very pivotal and essential part of our curriculum.  As is often the case, Paul’s teachings set the table for what is to come, with prerequisites. 

Paul begins the teaching with two trigger words, “therefore if”.  As an old country preacher said, “When you come to a therefore, you best find out what it is there for!”  I have learned, in recent years, to be very aware of the small words of the Bible, the ‘ifs, therefores, and buts’, for they are in many cases followed by a very important truth that God is trying to penetrate into our hearts and brains.

Step one: “You have died and your life is hidden with Christ” (verse 5).  In this day when millions are spent to make the body look better than when it was newly created, a time when “me” is premier, we need to understand that God looks at the inside, not the outside.  We are currently into another election time when the airways are filled with “Hey, look at me, I am just about perfect!”

 Jesus, the Son of Son, referred to Himself as “A Servant” and Paul as a “Bond Servant”.  Jesus said, “Whosoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave”.   Christ, our role model, the One we are instructed to pattern our lives after said, “Just as he son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and gave His life a ransom for many(He also taught, there is ”…no greater love than to lay down your life for your brother”.  

Alice was a rather selfish girl who had been given access to most of the bangles and beads of this opulent world, and then one day the roof came tumbling down – she ran in to clinker that invaded her secure world.  First it affected her physical health and, because she had no coping skills, it evaded her emotions.

After many trips to many different skilled doctors, and bundles of this and that kind of meds, she continued to fall deep into depression.  Decision time, dad put her in the car and returned her to her apartment with a prayer that she break-out of the bondage that was holding her captive.

God is so fabulous when we put our problems in His hands.  When she walked into her apartment, which she shared with another girl, Alice found her roommate suffering with mononucleosis and was barely able to get out of bed.   Alice immediately dropped her suitcase and began to care for her roommate.  Within a short period of time, both had recovered from their illnesses. 

Peter gave us this wonderful piece of advice, “Therefore gird your mind for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 1:13) and notice in verse four that he attached a fringe benefit to it “then you will be revealed with Him in glory”.

Well, as per usual I was much too wordy, so will close this and pick it up in the next blog.  



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Change? Who ME? Not Without a Fight!

Psalms 7:11-13 God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. If a man does not repent (change), God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts”.

Hey Gang:  I have been involved in many very tough experiences in my eighty decades and three on this earth.  Developing the Village, was one filled with alligators and back-against-the-wall experiences; as an air-traffic controller when I worked the Pittsburgh scope, during peak traffic hours on a stormy day, could also turn solid brown hair and streak it with grey.

But, if asked, “What is the toughest experience of your life?” My answer, “Serving as an interim country pastor of two small country churches.”  Tough, yes, because you do not have a clue what is going on in hearts of the folks.  I learned what the preacher’s adage, “When in doubt preach to yourself” meant.  This I can attest to: during that year I learned a great deal about three subjects, me, faith and change.

After retiring from the Village my bride and I were wired too tight to just get out a rocking chair and begin to slowly start rocking.  We gleaned the Word seeking what it said about retirement and could find no references on rocking chairs.  Now there are those who disagree with me, I mean what about Moses? Did God not retire him.  Yes – permanently. 

A few years back, my bride and I had the wonderful opportunity of volunteering at the AIM (African Inland Mission) Retirement Village named Media, in Florida.  To qualify for entrance your vita must include more than thirty years in hand-to-hand combat on the mission field.  On our first trip, to serve in this venue, we learned not to judge the residents by their bodies, most showed signs of their age and the rough life they endured in serving their Lord.

We were privileged to serve at AIM on several occasions and we never found a retired person there.  All spend large portions of their day in their prayer closets- or prayer walks, are involved a local church, conduct Bible Studies by mail and in schools, provide support and counseling services for those who were dealing the tough issues in their lives.  In other words, I never saw a retired missionary, while serving there; I did see a whole barn full of recycled warriors for Jesus there.

I must share this one story with you which I feel was the greatest description of the residents of AIMS Retirement Village.  They have a chaplain and more than 60-  assistant chaplains, but in essence every one there was a chaplain to someone in some way.  My bride had the privilege of working in the unit that housed the single residents and got to know these dear ladies in a little more intimate way. 

One, a lady by the name of Florence, whom God was preparing to take home grabbed Jean’s heart.  After Chaplain Roy returned to Media to announce that Florence had announced in the hospital that she was going to see her Jesus that day, and he tacked this neat obit to her victorious passing “she finished well”.  

Well my friends I did not get very far down the road on where I think I am to go, but as the old Dutch farmer said when he sun was fading and he still had half a field to plow, “if there ain’t no tomorrow, it won’t matter now how”. 



Monday, August 15, 2016

Something For You to Think About

Paul wrote: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain….But I am hard pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better” but then he tacked this closure “yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake” (Phil 1:21, 23-24)
Hey Gang:  I may have mentioned this story a time or two before but it is worth repeating if I have.  It seems an elderly lady’s health suddenly took a nose dive and she was rushed to the hospital.  After examining her, the doctor notified the family that they should come quickly for her stay on earth was rapidly coming to an end.  
Along with the family, her pastor arrived at her bed side and as pastors do, he laid his hands on her and prayed that she would be healed.  Amazingly, at least to the doctor, within hours she made an amazing recovery.
However, in a month or so, the process was repeated- including the pastor laying hands on her and another miraculous recovery.  When the same thing happened a week or so later, she whispered to the family, “Please do not invite the pastor.” 
Katherine Weber, a reporter for the Christian Post, recently published an article that she titled “If Death Leads to Heaven, Should Christians Pray to Be Healed From Sickness?”  The question: “If death leads us to eternal salvation, should we pray for healing when faced with sickness?
Professor Travis Myers, who serves as assistant professor of church history and mission studies at Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minnesota, wrote, in a recent post for the evangelical website, that he and his wife were torn about what to do when he was diagnosed with B-cell follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer.
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He wrote that during his time waiting for the cancer treatment plan, he kept thinking of Philippians 1:21, 23 which says: "To live is Christ, and to die is gain […] to depart and be with Christ [...] is far better."
This verse, Myers writes, made him question- if praying for healing was the truly Christian thing to do-."By praying for healing and longer life, would I be capitulating somehow to the sinful flesh, or be compromising my pursuit of God's glory? Would I be abandoning the pursuit of joy and superior satisfaction in Christ, himself, for the sake of an idolatrous love of the world?" Myers then added that he eventually realized his prayers for healing did not go against the teaching of this verse.
Just as the Apostle Paul dedicated his life to serving the Philippian Church, so Jesus can use your time on earth to serve others, Myers writes, "God has graciously put that same 'mind of Christ' in me and every believer. (Philippians 2:5).
Years ago, we went to give our condolences to a young couple who had lost the patriarch of their family and,  as we walked into the funeral home, we could feel the excitement – people were singing, knowing the patriarch had gone to his heavenly reward.
Hey folks, have you ever thanked God for the great gift He gave us when “The Lord God sent Adam and Eve out from the garden of Eden….(with no access to the tree of life and continued living eternally while infirmed) and placed cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life”? (Gen. 3:22-24). 
Can you say “thank You Jesus for that gift?

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Message From queen Esther For This Very Day

“The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown o her head and made her queen instead of Vashti” (Esther 2:17).

Hey Gang:  One of the amazing things about the Book of Esther is that God is never mentioned.  But I defy you to read it and leave God out of its message to us.  I challenge you to do some digging in the Book and see the wondrous comparisons of what happened then and what is happening in Israel today. 
On one or two of our trips to the Arabah in the wilderness of Israel we were privileged to celebrate Purim.  The week of Purim is a joyous time of celebration for Israeli children, It is also a  Feast that points back to one of the darkest hours of Jewish history when Haman, the Prime minister of the Persian Empire, plotted a ‘final solution’ – the extermination of all Jews living in Persia. 
The story centers on a hideous plot on the part of Haman, King Ahasuerus’ second in command, to annihilate the Jews of the Realm.  Sound familiar? It is a book that gives us a clear picture of how the plan of God- that was developed before time began- unfolds before our very eyes, if we are keen enough to seek it out. 

The story begins when Queen Vishti, defies the demand of the king to show herself at a banquet, attended by all the ‘wheels’ of the country, to be put on exhibition so that all could see her beauty.  Perhaps the young ladies of today should take heed of her example.

Her refusal resulted in a collection process that brought all the beautiful, untainted damsels from the Realm together so that King Ahasuerus could choose the one that rang his bell.  Moving quickly along, Meanwhile, Haman, was up to his arm pits in deception and had coerced the King into signing an irreversible decree that gave Haman the power to kill every Jew in the Realm.

The plot doth thicken…Esther, who happened to be a Jewish, was given the task by Mordecai to go to the king which, if uninvited could bring a death penalty on the intruder.

This she agreed to do but first Esther made an important and strategic request to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king…”(Esther 4:16).

Before she engaged on this crucial mission, on which so many lives depended, she understood the vital power of prayer. She understood that without prayer her visit to the king could result in failure or in only a partial victory. She knew if God wasn’t on her side, success would depend solely on the King’s mood.

But Esther also knew that there is another dimension to our known world of space and time. She knew that there is a God in heaven and He was able to turn the King’s heart ‘like the rivers of water’ (Prov. 21:1).

But most importantly, she knew that this heavenly dimension could be accessed only by humbly placing herself in the presence of God. 

Therefore, the most strategic decision which Esther made was not her decision to see the King of Persia, but her decision to seek the will of the King of kings and to seek His face for three days fasting and praying.

So, young lads and lassies, as we near the end of the age, the time when Jesus will pull the plug and come and set up His kingdom on Zion’s mountain, keep in mind Ester’s formula for success was going directly to the throne room of God in fasting and prayer.  It worked for Esther and the Jews of that day and it will work for America!



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Noe Hear This: You Can Control The Harvest!

“A farmer planted seed.  As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, the birds ate it.  Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly.  Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds.  Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams” (Mark 4:3-8 MSG)

Hey Gang:  The Plain People (Amish) have a saying that all should put on our bathroom mirror and refrigerator door. It goes like this, “Actions speak louder than words, Kind actions begin with kind thoughts”. They are also firm believers of “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can”.

That is true seed planting that will return to you with bountiful dividends.  Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:16).

I have written several blogs that focus on God’s irrevocable law “You will reap what you sow”.  If you stick your finger in the fire, you are going to get burned – every time.  If you fill your lungs with smoke and your stomach with rot-gut booze, you are going to pay the piper down the road. But, also can be far more lethal is what you allow to enter your mind.

The Bible is filled- cover to cover- with advice, teachings and even warnings about the dangers of tampering with God’s laws.  This morning I want to share four prerequisites to live an effective life for Christ and living a healthy life that is Christ centered.

The first was penned by Dr. Luke in Luke 6:38, “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 to you in return.  

wo very important words are found in Dr. Luke’s words: – give and measure.  Simply stated, if you do not give, it cannot be returned to you.  Jesus said we will be blessed in the same measure that we give.  Which means you will be blessed in the same manner that you give. 

The second prerequisite, it makes a difference where you sow.  In the Scripture of the morning we find four examples of the seed planter’s planting program.  They are not all good, but one is.  In teaching this principle I have suggested that parents be aware that one must teach three positives for each negative in order to neutralize and overcome the influences of the world and the evil one. 

For you who have children and are not familiar with Deuteronomy 6:4-9, I strongly suggest that when you complete reading this epistle, you immediately turn to that portion of Scripture and get it firmly planted in your heart and head.

The third prerequisite is you will reap more than you sow.  In Matthew 13:8 Jesus taught that some of the seeds fell on the good soil and yielded a crop; some a hundred fold, some sixty and some thirty.”  When I shared this message with the boys at the Village, I always picked the largest boy and asked him, "If I hit you in the nose what would you do?"  His answer was usually, "Punch you back, When I asked him how many times, he said “As many times as I can”.  My response, “That is more than I sowed”.

The final prerequisite is a wonderful promise from our Lord that is found in 2 Corinthians 9:6-11.  Although every word in this passage of Scripture is very important, the first three verse are especially powerful.  “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart not grudgingly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.”

My friends, there is one more prerequisite to the Seed Planting Parable. It is found in Revelation 3:20 and is key to its implementation, Jesus said I stand at the door, your door, and knock, and keep knocking; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I (the Master Harvester) will come into him, and dine with him, and he with Me”.  That, my friends is a promise from Jesus Christ, God’s Son.  That, my friends, is an irrevocable promise from God.



Monday, August 8, 2016

Have You Checked It Our With Two or More Witnesses?

“For your citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20-21).

Hey Gang: Point number one: my citizenship is in heaven.  Whoopee!   We made a round robin trip this weekend to visit several of our kin folks and, while enroute listened to the radio.  The longer I listened the more I was less filled with joy.  For two straight hours the airways were filled with gloom and despair.   

I noticed that with each change of program there was a repeat of all the gloom and despair from the previous hour, over again.  If you missed something in the first go around, don’t sweat it, it will be repeated nearly verbatim every hour on the hour for the next twenty-four hours. 

As an older-than- dirt member of humanity, I remember, from my younger years, that the Walter Cronkites of the airways came on at six o’clock in the evening and, for the next one-half hour gave us the news of the day.   This was followed by one of those early shows, like the Shadow Knows, Ma and Pa Perkins, I Cannot Tell a Lie (certainly would not fit today) that made you forget the bad news that  had been reported in that previous half hour.

I made a discovery several days ago that put meat on Jesus’ statement, “Careful!  Do not be deceived for there will be false prophets and false teachers and even false preachers that will spew forth false statements”.  He went on in His teaching to give us the antidote for deception: check all things out by two or three witnesses.    I believe, if He were making that statement today, He would say make sure two of those checks and balances are the Word of God and the Voice in the prayer closet. 

And how did that discovery surface in my mind?  Gramps, trying to stay up to speed about what is happening in our world prophetically tends to keep my ear close to the ground.   Last week an article appeared in one the columns that appears on my computer daily, saying, a convey of UN vehicles was observed on one of our major highways. This scared the hebby-jeebies out of many who saw it thinking we were being taken over by the UN.

But the story had not been tested by two or three witnesses until Glen Beck assigned the task of finding why they were there to his research staff.    They found that the UN had a contract with an affiliate of Ford Motor Company to build said vehicles for shipment of said vehicles to their offices in Europe. They were on their way to the port of debarkation.  
Now hear me! There are many pieces of information hitting the airways and all forms of printed materials including books, even by noted authors, that have not passed God’s muster of checking all things carefully first, then separating the good from the bad and trashing the bad. Next test what you think is good and check it out with two or more witnesses.

Be advised, many folks are being lead down the Prime Rose Path because they are not up to speed on what the Word of God, the Bible, really says.   Jesus said “Careful, be very careful, as the clock moves ever closer to the zero hour when all that can be shaken will be shaken.  Do not be deceived



Friday, August 5, 2016

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

“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every intent of the thoughts.  If you seek Him, He will let you find Him, but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever” (1 Chron. 28:9)

Hey Gang:  I have a question for you to ponder, this day.  I came across the following ditty that has made me do some pondering.  Suppose you were to take a check out of your checkbook and write only your signature on it.  How many people would you trust enough to give them the check? 

The story is told of a young man who was genuinely converted, after living a life of wine, woman and wild song.  His heart was filled with rejoicing for God’s mercy and, in and gratitude for God forgiveness, he compiled a comprehensive listing  of all the changes he was going to make in his life.

 It included an impressive number of good and selfless deeds he would do and various evils he would forsake forever.  But when he presented his list to the Lord, he was greatly disappointed to have it rejected with a simple, “I’m sorry, I can’t accept this.”

Discouraged but not defeated, the young man redoubled his efforts.  He completely rearranged his former list and added many more items to it.  But once again the listed was rejected by the Lord.

Discouraged but not defeated the young lad made a third attempt.   He took a large, blank sheet of paper, signed his name at the bottom, and presented the blank ledger to the Lord.  With an approving smile, the Lord responded, “This I can accept.”

Now for the question!  Throughout my Christian sojourn I have been asked many times to pray for someone that is dealing with a wilderness experience and who, by their fruits show no relationship with the Lord.   My answer has always been “Yes” because I am told by God’s Word that it is not my responsibility to judge whether or not that person is a believer or not. 

But, I do believe there is a prerequisite to praying for a person who is going through a wilderness experience, to pray that they are secure in the hand of God, or seeking honestly, and realize the vacuum in their life that is just the size of God. Then they, too, can know-  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is anew creature: old things are passed away; all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:21). 

My friends, we live in perilous times when everything that can be shaken is being shaken, so that only those things that cannot be shaken will remain.    I never had the privilege of meeting my grandfather who, it was said was a rafter shaking preacher and closed most of his messages with a reminder that our tenure on this earth is as the blinking of an eye - when compared to our tenure in eternity. 

Make sure Father God holds your blank check.



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Are God's Principles Etched on the Frontals Of Your Forehead?

You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (“and in your hearts and in your witness” Hainley addition).

Hey Gang, About a hundred or so years ago when a ‘chip’ became more than a tiny device that we can store data on, when the electronic age really began to spew out new devices, my management staff, which consisted of two people, came to me and suggested I purchase a device whereby they could contact me at any time. (I spent a lot of time in Lansing and more speaking to groups raising funds.) 

I thought about it for a minute or two and then informed them when they see me with such a device in hand, know that I have lost confidence in your decision making abilities!  At that time I was a member of a group of agency directors who met monthly to discuss the many maladies that needed to be addressed, pertaining to the child care industry, and I noticed that there was  a steady flow of directors in and out of the meeting answering calls from their agencies.

Now there are those (probably the majority of folks today) who would say I was very na├»ve in those days and did not want to join the ‘ever getting smarter generation.’  But such was not the case.  I learned, in my years as super eagle of the Village, that making my subordinates make decisions made them good junior executives.

Does that mean they made good decisions every time?  Probably not any less or any more than I made good or bad decisions in my tenure of leadership.  But it did provide a wonderful teaching platform when reviewing some decisions that could have been made with better outcomes.   Was there a down size to this practice? 

Yes, I was in a constant teaching mode- replacing those who had learned how to make good decisions and were good leaders- these leaders were constantly being offered positons in other agencies or moving up in the ladder. 

Once a month I make myself isolate myself and pay the monthly bills and reconcile the check book.  On one particular night I was having a problem making my bottom line agree with the banks bottom line.  In the mist of the ‘agony and pain’ process the question suddenly popped into my mind “Are more concerned with your own financial legacy and what you are going to pass down to your kids? Or are you concerned more about your spiritual legacy?”

Gramps Morning Thoughts grew out of the conversation.   It was my intention, when I wrote that first blog, to encourage my kids spiritually and challenge them to make sure they are passing their spiritual legacy down to their kids.   That was five years ago and more than 900 Morning Messages ago.

My question to you this morning, “Are you passing your spiritual legacy down to your children, your grands and your great grands?   I close with this confession to you not receive texts, face books, twitters or insta-gram messages from me.  I do not have a smart phone and would not know how to operate it if I did.  When my staff decided it was my time to join the computer age, I did not have clue how to turn it on.  I am a firm believer that to tell someone that you love them to their face, is so much more powerful than sending a message saying “I love you”.



Monday, August 1, 2016

Blue Skies, Nothing but Blue Skies...But!

“How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered!  How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!”  (Psalm 32:1-2)

Blessed is man who, when doing plus 400 knots in a F86L fighter jet, listens to the controller, who is trying to get him on the ground safely, and does as instructed.

Hey Gang: The day was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky.  In the Air Traffic Control business that is what we prayed for each and every day.  Pilots love to freelance, so on those clear sunny days the pilots did not want to go through the instrument let down procedures, and they certainly did not want to listen to my jargon.

 So when on approach and they had the runway in sight, they tended to cancel their Instrument Flight Plan and take over visually.

On this particular day maintenance was being done on our main runway so, we advised each pilot that, when he reached the outer marker on the Instrument Landing System at minimum safe altitude, he should break it off and line up on the secondary runway for landing . 

All was going perfectly smoothly when a tower controller called down and said, “Advise the aircraft on approach, “Break it off and circle!”  But it was too late, he was too low to pull up- so completed the landing in spite of the bulldozers and construction equipment.  As he touched down he realized his error and immediately cut his engine and pulled the aircraft off the runway into the grass.

Did you ever do that?  O I don’t mean do something stupid with your airplane, but did you ever know better and go about and pull the plug and do something you knew you would pay the Piper for later?  Now I know you are going to have a hard time believing it, but I certainly have.  

Due to space, thank goodness, I do not have space to confess those ‘boo boos’ to you.  I would rather tell you that, even when we do some of the stupid things of life, God stands ready to forgive us and forget.   The Bible is filled with great men of God that made ‘boo boos’ and we know that God pulled them out of the ditch and used them in mighty ways.

So my friends, I pray, if you have done something that grieves the Holy Spirit, you will confess it to the Father, and, if necessary, share with others the errors of your ways.  There is something super special when we have the courage to say to a brother or sister who is struggling with an issue and encourage them, “Been there and done that!”  Not to put down, but to give them hope!