Friday, September 30, 2016

To Reach the Top of the Mountain Requires Commitment, Con't

“I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, in paths they do not know I will guide them.  I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains.  These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone” (Isa. 42:16).

Hey Gang:   Last week I had the privilege to be a tiny part of the dedication of the Lighthouse Academy, the new school program at the Village.  I remembered back, how many years, I am not sure, when Gov. John Engler, called to inform me that the legislation allowing development of Charter Schools in Michigan had passed and suggested that we consider being the first charter school in Michigan.    

It was a time of extreme agony for me. I was far from satisfied with our education program at that time but we had just received wonderful gifts from two wonderful ladies to build our third and fourth residential units.  That meant double everything including staff and, adding the nuts and bolts of adding a school at that time was just impossible. 

If I were to choose the two toughest years of my tenure in development of the Village, it would be during that period.  We learned that “if it could break it would”, or “if it could be confused and come out the opposite of what we planned, It did”. We were in the midst of trying to develop treatment teams in two houses, and finding qualified staff who were willing to move to Hersey, Michigan,  and in filling the beds in the two new houses meant twenty-two new boys that we knew absolutely nothing about arriving on our doorstep.  I do not believe I had one continuous night sleep during that period. 

As I stood there at the dedication of the Lighthouse Academy, Leppien House, previously known as the Starr Home was to my right, Ashmun School behind me, the Branson center dead ahead and beside it the Strosacker Maintenance Building.  In the distance I could see Hainley House, the Ashmun House and the Sherk House and behind me on the hillside, the Putnam House.  As I viewed each one, a thousand memories of the good things and the bad flooded my mind;  all part of the process called rising to the top of the mountain.

How many times I stood on Mt Nose, a favorite name of our family for the hill behind Putnam House, and looked at what God had done, again I asked the Lord, “Why me Lord?”  “Why did you pick me?” or better said, “Why did you allow me to be part of this wondrous miracle called Eagle Village?  Were there not better equipped people who would have listened more intensely, who had much more talent than I?”  The answer was always the same, “Because you were willing! Because I knew you would climb to the top of the mountain.”

That brought back more memories of people who came here to gain advice on how they could follow in our footsteps.  But, to our knowledge, none made it because they came and saw the beautiful campus with all of the program activities and they were not willing to go through the process and the agony and pain to climb ten feet at a time- up the mountain.  They could not see the top of the mountain because of the storm clouds and soon allowed the agony and pain associated with climbing mountains to kill their dreams. 

Well, I cannot close this without a challenge to you who are beginning to climb your mountain.  My advice is “Don’t try it if you are not in good spiritual, physical and emotional shape.  If you are in good shape spiritually, physical and emotional, get your back pack out and begin your climb up the mountain; remember that God knows how to close doors as well as open them., so be diligent and continue to test the waters to see if God is opening a new path for you to add to the “process”.



Wednesday, September 28, 2016

To Reach the Top of the Mountain Requires Commitment!

“I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, in paths they do not know, I will guide them.  I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains.  These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone” (Isa. 42:16).

Hey Gang:  Our church has set a goal to raise sufficient funds to tear down the old and replace it with the new.  The Pastor has been preaching a series on the subject “Raising the Roof” meaning raising the roof of the new building.  Our church has gone through tremendous growth in the past several years resulting in many new young families with many new little people.  

This has resulted in a ritual of giving each teacher a shoe horn as they enter their shoe box classrooms to be used to fit the increased numbers into the class room.  Just jesting on the shoe horns, but only on the shoe horns.  What a wondrous blessing it is to see this problem increasing with each Sunday.  At this point, nearing the two hundred plateau in weekly attendance. 

This,the result of a young pastor who also has five little ones, who preaches the word and nothing but the word, and, where the word is preached- nothing but the word- there is growth.  This you can take to the bank!  This is truly a family church.

The theme this week was focused on money but, then again, it really was not on money.  It was more focused on the “process” of raising the needed support to “Raise the Roof”.  As I listened to his words many memories of by- gone years when we were building the needed facilities at the Village, came flooding through my mind.  

I recalled the day I spoke at a Rotary Club and laid out the vision that I felt God Had shown me in California, that we were about to set out making it a reality.  It was a message that was enthusiastically received but at the end of the meeting a group of men were sitting around one of the tables. They called me over and asked the question, “How are you going to do all of this and where are you going to get the money?” 

My response: “I do not have a clue!”  A big lanky sort of fellow that reminded me of my dad, who I learned later was a co-president of a Foundation said, “I will support you” anyone who is that honest will surely succeed.  

Our pastor had just returned from a hunting trip to Colorado.  If you know anything about such trips, you know the hunting is done in the high country.  Have been in the mountains many times I can say with gusto it is a wonderful experience to look up at these majestic creations of God with awe deep in your heart!

The morning after arriving in base camp, Pastor awoke to the reality that seeing the top of the mountain was vastly different than hiking to the top of the mountain where the deer and elk roam.  He learned very abruptly, as they started the climb of three miles and 2000 feet to the summit, that the process getting there was going to be a test of one’s will power and fortitude.

As I listened to his narrative of their trips up and down the mountain, a memory flooded my mind - the day that I sat down with paper and pen and wrote a description of what I thought God had told me we were to do, in the coming years.  I completed the task in several hours.  I confess it was very easy and I did not even raise a sweat. BUT- from the moment God opened the door and said, “Go for it!” it was rope- burn time, just trying to hang on!    

If you want perfect understanding of what I am saying, reread the Scripture of the morning.  In the early years I learned what Isaiah meant when he wrote, “I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, in paths they do not know I will guide them.  I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains.  These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone” (Isa. 42:16).  

There were many days when I found myself on paths I did not recognize.  I learned a great deal about faith and depending on God in those early years, AND every year since.   



Monday, September 26, 2016

They Will know That I AM the Lord!

“Therefore, I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1).

Hey Gang:  There is no question that our nation is a mess, and getting messier each and every day; it does appear, at this moment, that if God does not intervene in a mighty way soon the days will continue to get darker. But!  Neat word “but”, the Word is very clear and filled with words of encouragement and reasons to be thankful.  I would guess that each of you had a good meal, in fellowship with loved ones, and in a warm house.  Something that many brothers and sisters in Christ will not have this Thanksgiving Day.

The days are growing darker but there are somethings the world cannot take away-  Jesus Christ is same today as He was yesterday and He continues to stand at the door of our hearts asking permission to come in and sup with us!  The gift of Jesus Christ, His death on the cross, and His resurrection to redeem you and me has not changed one iota! Is that not awesome?

In Ezekiel thirty-six, verses twenty-one through the end of the chapter, we read that our God is a sovereign God.  I have a hard time with that word, sovereign, because we have no role models in our lives that qualify as sovereign. My dictionary tells me that sovereign means ‘having supreme rank, power, authority, greatest is degree, utmost and extreme.’   Isaiah eleven, verses one through nine give us the description of such a person.  And we read in Luke 1:30-31 who this person is: “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.  And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus”.

In the world in which we are living and the insanity by which we find ourselves encompassed, we must remind ourselves that our sovereign God is above and beyond all the craziness.  Again, I emphasize that our God does not change – He remains a steady anchor. He is our refuge and strength. And it is under His wings that we have protection.

It was recently reported that the number one mental health issue today is anxiety and fear.   Being the nervous type, if I did not believe God was sovereign, I would be “fit to be tied and locked away.” I would be going to bed each night unable to fall asleep. I would be going crazier by the day, with no end in sight to my despair. Instead, I go to bed each night and wake the next morning with a song of thanksgiving on my lips.
Why? Because God is sovereign! It is our sovereign God who puts men and women in power and removes them from power.  I peeked, history is going to end exactly as God has determined it will end.  Look again at Ezekiel 36:22 “Thus says the Lord God, 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”.  Do  you think that applies to America as well?  I suspect that it does.

Deterioration and decay is not new, it has been with each since Eve took a bite out of the apple. American culture has been decaying for more than a half-century and has reached the point of moral bankruptcy. Our value system has run amok. Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Is this not where America is today? Morals once cherished have been placed in the trash heaps.  Faith in the God of the Bible is ridiculed. And yet, I still have hope!   Why? I have read the final chapter.  “That God loved me so much He sent His Son Jesus to die on a hideous cross that I might be freed from the bondage of sin; and at that moment when I said “Lord I commit my heart and soul to you”, my name was recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life and I will one day be included in the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.  (read Titus 2:11-15).  

I believe one day, very soon, Abba Father will say to Son Yeshua, “Go for it.  Go and bring Your children home.  Wow, come Lord Jesus!  Oh, keep in mind when He does come the door closes.  Make sure your witness is strong today.

This was written a year ago.  Do you think things have gotten better or not?



Friday, September 23, 2016

Is a Little Sin Okay?

“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall  be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19).

Hey Gang:  I received a letter from Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, you know the author who share his revelations of the Harbinger and the Mystery of the Shemitah on TV and with us.   I believe Rabbi Cahn is a prophet in this day of growing darkness and woe. 

Several months ago I shared a morning message that I titled the “Subtle Fulfillments of Prophecies That We Tend to Overlook ; I believe the focus of the Rabbi’s letter is one of those subtle fulfilments of a prophecy that tends to sneak into our lives without sending up red flares.

Let me share some of his comments and see it you have experienced one of those subtle fulfillments in your life.  I confess it made me do some soul searching.  He immediately identified a subtle problem by stating: “I grew up in a Kosher Home!”  But then tacked on “Well, not purely Kosher.  A Jewish Mama would rather take ten lashes then to sit something that is not Kosher before her family.”

So what did Jonathon mean by “well not purely kosher?”  He said his mother would never cook ham, and never have anything to do with pork, which is forbidden in the Jewish diet.  But, to Jonathon’s mom, and many other Jewish mom’s, bacon was not considered pork!!  Bacon was not like ham or pork steaks, it was hard and crispy.

“When bacon was slipped into the morning menu there was always a feeling of guilt, with each bite of bacon that entered our mouths.”  He said one did not have to be a rocket scientist to know when bacon was filling the house with its very special aroma, you could feel it in the atmosphere of the house.

“It wasn’t a big quilt trip, just a little bit that no one talked about.  It was that we were participating in something that was a “LITTLE BIT ILLEGAL”.  “Strange as it may seem many, if not most, strict kosher families slip bacon from under the table but they do not call it bacon and it is one of those things that if we don’t talk about it, it does not exist!”

Now Jonathon’s point is it is not about bacon or the law or whether you keep a kosher home or not.  The point is the bacon principle.  God gave us His word. His word is clear.  He tells us certain things are taboo and should be not, under any circumstance, be included in our morning menu.  Why? Because we open the door to other subtle transgressions to enter our life.  We convince ourselves that it is not exactly wrong and, after all, is that not what the cross is all about – to forgive us of our transgressions, even the porky one?

We convince ourselves that it’s not so wrong.  It’s not clearly wrong.  It’s not exactly wrong.  I mean it is only bacon, right?    And there are no references in the Bible that tell us bacon is pork.  

Do you get the point Rabbi Cahn is trying to warn us against? The indulgence is not really lustDrinking is not really drunkenness. Anger is not really bitterness.  Vanity is not really pride.   The talk is not really gossip.  All we are really doing is rationalizing a behavior that God said is an entry drug to deeper sin- if you allow it to remain in you.

Jonathon’s bottom line: “If you want the joy and fullness of God’s blessings and power, then you have to do it His way!   Doing it His way means you are going to live your life under His standards! In other words, it is being totally committed to the principle that “Bacon is Pork”. 



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I WIll Never Leave You or Forsake You - You Can Take That to the Bank!

God’s Power Principle For Today:  “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not comprehend it.”  “Then Jesus again spoke to them saying, “I am the Light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  (John 1:5; 8:12).
We have a wonderful DVD series titled Against All Odds Israel Survives; the series focuses on the many miracles God has given to the people of Israel. since their renewing their statehood in 1948.  When I hear, or read, all of the gory details of what is happening in the Middle East today and the predictions that ISIS has Israel as their final target, I get out the series and watch. It renews my confidence once again, that My God will not let it happen to the “Apple of His eye”.
On one of our trips to Israel, we visited Masada, which is a mountain where King Herod build one of his summer homes.  We were blessed to be able to watch a ceremony- that every pilot in the Israeli military goes through; at Masada, Pilots are given a challenge by their commanding office: “The greatest gift you have to offer is the willingness to lay down your lives for their brothers and sisters.  
The ninety-first Psalm is the creed of the Israeli Air Force and hearing the fifty cadets shout the words: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty”.  I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God in whom I trust, for it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and from the deadly pestilence” did send goose bumplies down my spine. 
Do you have a creed that is your covenant with Your Heavenly Father this morning?  Do you have a special section of Scripture that you know in your heart will provide you with the strength and courage to stand fast- no matter what your circumstances?  While volunteering at Voice of Martyrs we were privileged to hear many stories of people around the world who face persecution and death daily. Their  creed/prayer is not to be taken out of the situation or survival, but witnessing to their enemies!
Can there be any doubt we are in the winding down stages of the End of the Gentile age?   Jesus said we are to be a ‘light unto this dark world.”  As you prepare to face another day, do you have your armor spit polished, in place and ready, and your lamp filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit to be used by Abba Father to be a witness of His great love?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ask and You Will Receive!

“It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).

Hey Gang: Today, June 4, is the day!  I am about to get on my working duds and go and start my tractor for the first time this year.  Those of you that have been with me for any length of time know that I have a tractor that has given me more fits than I like to admit.  One such catharsis involved keeping the ‘thorn in my flesh’ running for any length of time. 

After I tried everything, sixteen and a half times, I ran into a farmer friend who said he had the solution to my problem.  He said I have rust in my gas tank that leads to corroding the carburetor which leads to shutting the engine down which leads to my frustration!

Excited, no, I was more informed of the problem but still had no solution.  Butttttt – he went on to say ‘The foot bone is connected to the ankle bone and the ankle bone is connected to the leg bone’ etc. Disconnect each one and blow them out and the problem will go by the boards.”   

Now I must make a confession to you – I have had the name of this guy on my desk for several months and chose to handle the problem myself rather than seek help.  Does that sound like anyone you know?   I obeyed and did indeed disconnect all the bones, blew them out, and the tractor began to run like a smooth oiled machine.

Ya, know folks, there is a principle in that little story.  Paul said, “We are going to reap what we sow”.   I recall a story of a Chaplain who was walking through prison yard and came across an inmate who was binding the bedding preparing it for pick up. The chaplain said to the inmate, “Sewing heh!” to which the prisoner replied “No, reaping!” 

We do have the unique power, within us, to turn minor problems, that we face on a daily basis, into major incidents- when the answer is just a phone call away.  Jeremiah 33:3 (God’s phone number) tells us “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Even how to fix a tractor!   Or whatever your situation.

 We tend to forget that God wants us to turn our every need, every thought, and our every problem over to Him and use our talents to be seed planters.  Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, put it this way: “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life as to what you will eat or what you will drink, nor for your body, as to what you will put on, Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing.  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they?  And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”  (Matt. 6:25-27).

As I look back over my 82 plus years, it kind of looks like a graph with highs and lows, peaks and valleys; the amazing thing about the graph is the valleys are those times when I have said, “I’ll take over” and the high points are when I said, “Lord, I do not have a clue how to handle this, You take over and I will learn from it.”  One day, I heard an old salt, who was dealing with a crisis in his life, say, “It is going to be great watching to see how God works this one out.”

So my friend, if you feel that God is not hearing your prayers, you might check to see if there is some rust in your spiritual gas tank?  If so, you also might to check and see how much time you have invested in the World and time spent equal time in the Word and your prayer closet! 



Friday, September 16, 2016

Trusting God in the Face of Impossibilities -continued

“Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for our petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John”. Zacharias answered the angel, “How will I know this for certain?  For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years” (Luke 1:13/18).

Hey Gang, Last Morning Thought we learned that Abraham did not waiver when told he, at 100, and his bride of 90 were going to have a bambino.  Today, we see a wee bit of a contrast as Zachariah, also received a visit from Gabriel announcing he, too, and his bride would be blessed in similar fashion.

But note the contrast in Zack’s response: "How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.”  (Luke 1:18). For Abraham, the announcement sounded reasonable, but to Zacharias, he just could not get hold of what the angel was saying to him.

God was displeased with Zacharias’ lack of faith and closed his mouth until John the Baptist arrived on the hanger deck. Does the contrast between how Abraham received the news of the coming birth of a son and Zacharias’ reception show a deeper faith in one than the other?

I think not.  Keep in mind that Zacharias was at the peak of a high when the angel made his announcement. As I tried to place myself in the sandals of Zacharias, it brought to mind Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 17 “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison”.

No, I do not believe there was a lack of faith on the part of Zacharias, but perhaps the message for us in this story is that God expects us to believe Him when He speaks. When God spoke to my bride and me and said, “S­­ell all, pack up kids and move across country for I am going to do a work in your lives - we obeyed without question - results Eagle Village became a reality.  ­­­­

I am convinced that the faith of the Body of Christ is under fierce satanic attack.  All the demonic hordes of hell, Satan’s amassed principalities and powers of darkness, are waging an all-out war against the faith of God’s saints. 

He knows the Word very well and knows that his days are numbered.  His goal is to take as many to the Lake of Fire with him as he can deceive into following his ways.

So, my young buckaroos and ladies, we are seeing an unprecedented barrage of sickness, affliction, problems of every size and shape, all of which make an overcoming life seem more difficult BUT- we have this promise straight from Jesus mouth, “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:32).

Food for this day “Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.  Who will separate us from the love of Christ?...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. 8:34,c38-39).  

Now, put on the full armor, fill your lamp with the Holy Spirit,take sword in hand and enter ye into the mission field.



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Trusting God in the Face of Impossibilities

Paul wrote: “Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb” (Rom. 4:19).

Hey Gang:  As I read this verse again I sensed that, if you are seeking true faith, it can be found in this verse.  God had just promised Abraham that he would have a son, one who would become the seed of many nations. 

Remarkably, Abraham did not flinch at this promise even though he and his bride were well beyond the child bearing years. I believe I might have at least asked, “Are you sure, Lord!  Is this not impossible.  I mean you created the body, You know its limitations.” 

Today, I celebrate my 83rd year of life on earth and, as I looked into the mirror, this morning, what I saw would have taken a visit from the Throne Room of Heaven to convince me that My bride and I should return  to the child producing years, once again.

But Paul dismissed that limitation when he wrote, “Being fully persuaded that what (God) had promised, he was able also to perform” (Rom. 4:21).

Abraham did not reason with God.  Why?  Because he had tested God and his actions were built on experience.    In others words, through experience of testing God, Abraham had built up a trust that nothing is impossible for God.

Have you tested God lately?  O, you say, we should never test God.  John had a different opinion.  He wrote, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (I John 4:1). 

In Malachi 3:10 we read these words, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and TEST Me now in this”.

Abraham did not waiver in his faith for “he was fully persuaded that, what(God) had promised, he was able also to perform” (Rom. 4:21).

Hey good buddies, I believe, if Paul were writing a personal letter to you today, he would say, “Hey, store as many experiences of testing God and learning his ways and trusting in Him in your “love bank” so that when the rubber-hits-the-road you will be as Abraham and “not flinch”.



Sunday, September 11, 2016

Two Are Better Than One

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

Hey Gang:  Celebrating 25th and 50th wedding anniversaries is becoming more and more of a endangered issue in this day of “If it does not satisfy my whim, throw it” out, mode.  The bride-of-my-youth has often said, “Divorce was never considered, murder maybe, but never divorce.”  We all know she is too loving to even consider either.

On our 25th anniversary we took a trip to Alaska on the Alaskan Inland Ferry.  Wow, what an awesome trip that was.  Our first stop was in Haines, where we spent the night in a very rustic inn and were served the most elaborate breakfast we had ever eaten.  It was the last tour group for the season, so they emptied the refrigerators and freezers and “we pigged out”.

And then we boarded a bus for our trip through the Yukon Territory to Anchorage.  In route we experienced one of the most profound events of my life – we stopped at a river where the salmon come to lay their eggs and die.  And, where the salmon come to die is where the Eagles come to chow down, and take on the needed sustenance that will provide for their winter needs.

There were literally thousands of eagles that filled the trees and in the river.  It was a frosty morning and the trees were covered with frost. which only made the eagles glisten all the more.  

In discussion with a pilot friend, who was also on the trip, I learned that the eagle loses its white flying feathers and must remain grounded until the new blue feathers come in.  Then they can soar to new heights.  Eagles, like most humans, are not very patient and the waiting period is painful.  They see other eagles all around soaring.  Can you identify with that analogy?  God sometimes must ground us and replace our old feathers with new ones so that in Him we may soar to new heights.

When we accepted God’s call to leave California, move our family to Michigan to develop a home for kids that needed a shirt tail to hang onto, we were ready, filled with fire and anxious to get about it.  But, instead, God had laid out a training program that would equip me for the alligator trails that laid ahead.  For two years I was in training as the ‘only unemployed director of a non-existent boy’s program.’ 

In that two years I was blessed to have a fabulous lady, who happened to be my landlord and also my neighbor, who spent many hours with me showing me the fabulous miracles that are found in God’s word.  I also learned such things as patience, stamina, waiting on the Lord and a barrel full of other tools that I would use in the coming years. 

When God determined that I had enough book learning and was ready to put into practice all the neat things He had taught me, He said “Go for it”  A story I will share at a future date.  But one lesson learned -that was the key to the success of the development of the Village- was, I had learned that God knows how to close doors as well as open them.   

 I believe with all my heart that is the reason the Village has been a very special program.   The Village consists of innovative program components that were never done before in residential treatment programs. 

I have seen many folks, throughout my tenure as a program developer and since; I have seen many folks who had good ideas, but those ideas never materialized because they ‘were waiting for the Lord to open the door.’   One last point, many of those innovative program components were brought to the Village by God in the minds and hearts of those He sent to give of a portion of their lives to make the mission of the Village powerful and successful.  They did not originate with me.  Under God’s leading   I was able to put them in perspective and help create an atmosphere for them to develop.

I wonder how many who read this epistle have seeds that are lying dormant in their hearts, and heads waiting for God to send them a God-O-Gram.

Sooooo, my young friends, when things seem that your prayers are like bricks, or you lack the zeal or yearning in your heart in worshiping the King, it is a time in the ‘replacement-of-feather shop.'



Friday, September 9, 2016

Who Is My Neighbor? One Additional Thought!

Summer camp June 1970 - a rainy day- moved dinner inside rather than under the tree!

“The Lord of hosts said, “Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. ”BUT THEY REFUSED TO PAY ATTENTION”.  Their hearts became like flint” (Zech. 7:9-12).

Hey Gang:  I just could not say no.  In the first days of Eagle Village we could not afford to hire house parents for our first living unit of twelve boys so my family moved into Starr Home and became its mom and pop for the first years.  Our plan, after opening Starr Home, was to slowly increase the number as we gained experience until we reached the capacity of twelve, perhaps reaching the capacity of twelve within the first year.

But, how many know there are ‘if’s’, ‘ands’ and ‘buts’ that frequently show up and change the ‘best laid plans of mice and men’.  And some come directly from the Throne Room of Heaven.   One of the first lessons that God taught me was “Stay loose and be prepared for rapid changes and my way is so much better than yours!”

I confess, in those early development years God had to do a work in my heart to convince Me that His ways were far superior to mine.  I grabbed hold of Isaiah’s words “For MY thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways MY ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than our ways. And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9). 

Today, as I sit here in the quietness of my prayer closet/office, and relive some of the wars I had with the alligators, I can shout a resounding “Amen” to Isaiah’s words.  In those early days I said “Yes, Lord, I want You in charge over everything, but what I meant as long as you do it my way!   He was not impressed and I spent a lot of time on the Potter’s wheel going through major surgery of the heart.

My plan to gradually increase the number of residents, during year one, was rapidly reduced to three months and then the capacity was increased and filled at sixteen.  My problem was I just could not say no when a judge or community worker would call and say, “Hey, Kermit, I have a boy sitting across from me that desperately needs what you are offering at Eagle Boys Village.”

Shortly after we signed the incorporation papers, making the Village a living entity, I received a call from a judge who said, “We have kids on the street that need to be off the streets in the coming summer. Can you do anything to help.  That resulted in our first summer camp involving over a hundred kids.  At the end of the summer we had five boys left over with no place to send them. 

That was the beginning of the Foster Care Program – it just seemed right that we develop these programs, even though I did not have a clue what leadership skills were. 

I just could not say “no”.  One night, when the boys had been put down for the night, I was completing the ever demanding paper work when I sensed someone in my room.  I turned to find a very small twelve-year-old boy standing in the doorway.  I asked if he would like to come and sit in my lap; he readily accepted.  He came loaded with a question that would add yet another road to our already bludgeoning path.

He said, “Mr. H., you tell us you love us.  Do you really love us?”  I answered in the affirmative, to which he said, “Do you want to show us how much?”  Again my affirmative response, to which he said, “Help my mother!”

Now hear me, my friends, a summer camp with over one hundred kids for ten weeks, our residential program growing by leaps and bounds, a foster program that was also in the formative stages and now we were going to add support to the total family. We already had had families camped in the yard during the summer.  There was no way we could pull this off in our own strength.  During those early years I learned what spoon-feeding was all about.  His counsel, “Why don’t you let the driving up to Me?” 

Does that mean -from that time on- everything was smooth sailing and no alligators snapping at my heels? Not on your sweet Bippy.  Learning what He meant in Malachi 3:10-11 was a chore that required total trust, but I can say “Praise God” I am a heap closer to total trust today than I was on the day we signed the incorporation papers.  

I just could not say “No” for it seemed like that is what God told me I should do.  I became a seed-planter for Christ and I pray He will use me in that capacity until, He says, “Eenough, time for you to come home.”

One more time, are you a priest or a Levite or a Samaritan.  Will you hear Jesus say, “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. 25:40).



PS: Pray for Staff and teachers at Eagle Village who continue to reach out to youth and families needing help.  We see many victories, but the enemy continues with roadblocks." Greater is He in us than he that is in the world."

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Who Is My Neighbor? past 2

“What shall I do to inherit eternal life?  What is the written Word?  And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all  your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:25-27).

Hey Gang:  How did you answer the question?  I read a story recently about a group of guys that arrived late at the airport and had to run to the gate to make their flight home. In their haste one of the guys accidentally ran into a blind girl, who was selling apples, spilling the apples all over the airport floor.  The group did not miss a beat in their flight to the gate except for one who also ran by the girl, but stopped and returned and picked up the apples and set up her cart.  When finished the girl asked, are you Jesus?

The ones that were damaged and unsalable he purchased from the girl, but due to his act of kindness he missed his flight home and spent most of the rest of the day at the airport waiting for a second flight home.  In the last blog I asked which you would have been, the Priest, Levite or a Good Samaritan, under similar circumstances? 

I wonder how the guy, who had knocked the girls cart over, felt when he had to look at the empty seat in the aircraft all the way home knowing that someone else, a friend, was paying a sacrificial price to make amends for his failure to step up to the line.    Do you think Jesus might recall that apple 
incident, when the one who neglected to repair the damage he caused to a blind girl selling apples in an airport, stands before the Lord to give an account of “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 (did not) do it to Me” (Matt. 25:40).

In the last Morning Message we set the stage for what is to come in Jesus’ story.  As I mentioned also, on one of our trips we had devotions at similar place to that where this story was built around.  Between Jerusalem and Jericho was a stretch of road that was like walking down a dark street in the ghettos of one of our large cities – you did it at your own peril.  It not only was a road that dropped 2300 feet in elevation, but was also known for some “very bad dudes”. The road with its many sharp curves and huge rocks was a perfect place to surprise travelers.

Every Jew was well aware of the hazards of the Jericho road so when Jesus said that His story took place at this dangerous place, their ears perked up for they were sure that what would follow would be a story of intrigue mixed with gore.

Note: Jesus does not identify who the victim is.  We assume it is a Jew, probably who lived in Jerusalem.  It matters not who he was or where he lived.  The important issue, he was a man who had been robbed, beaten and left for dead!  It did not matter who the girl in the airport was, she was blind and depended on the selling of a few apples to provide her needed money for survival.

There was a common denominator among the three main characters in the story, they did not know the victim.  First the Priest, a religious man, passed him by and then a Levite also passed him by.  The third, a hated Samaritan arrived on the scene.  Remember the response of the three travelers: all three “saw” the one who had been robbed, beaten and abandoned, but the Samaritan, alone, felt compassion.  

Compassion, a word we must look to Webster to see what it means, because as we evict God from our country we also evict compassion with Him.    I do not believe the one who was left to die said to the hated Samaritan, “Hey man, don’t touch me, I don’t want the dust from your sandals on my coat.”
The message has not changed.  It remains the same: “Get involved, reach out, risk”.  Another New Testament writer sees compassion as that which makes Christianity authentic;  kind-of-like a one-sided coin, faith without works is counterfeit.

I have had a book titled Compassion by Chuck Swindoll in my archives. For many years it never made it to the top of my reading list, until a week or so ago.  It is my type of book- few pages and large print.  He tells the story of a lady who was the mother of two retarded children, both raised, but still living at home. She wrote the following paraphrase of The Good Samaritan story:”  

“and He said, “I was afflicted with cerebral palsy and you listened to my faltering speech and gently held my flailing hands; I was born a Down’s Syndrome child and you welcomed me into your church.  I was retarded and your love reached out to me.”  And the people said, “Lord, when did we see you with cerebral palsy and listen to you, and when were you born with Down’s syndrome or retarded?”  He said, “In that you did it to the least of these my people, you did it to me.”

An anonymous poet wrote the following: “Love has a hem to her garment that trails in the very dust, it can reach the stains of the streets and lanes, and because it can, it must.”  Place this on the bathroom mirror and refrigerator, “…to the least of these my brethren so you have done it unto Me”.



Monday, September 5, 2016

Who Is My Neighbor?

  And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart” (Zechariah 7:8-10).

Hey Gang:  The Bride-of-my-youth has been re-reading a Daily Guidepost Devotional from 2005 and, periodically, she leaves one on my desk that she knows will ring my bell.  Such was the one for August 24, 2005 written by John Sherrill.  John and his wife, Elizabeth were known throughout the Christian world as teachers and writers, having co-authored a number of best- selling books, including God’s Smuggler with Brother Andrew.

He told of several experiences in his life, one good and one not so good that added insight into his life.   The good, he told of hiking in the Catskill mountains and noticed that where the turf was rough and had been disturbed the wild flowers grew so much better than where the land was smooth and grass covered.  It confirmed in his heart that even when days are filled with strife, if we look we can see God’s beauty all around us. 

In the not so good experience he told of his first day in Junior High School. Three, rather bullish lads, picked him up and set him on the water fountain and turned it on and then followed him through the school telling all in ear shot that “He had wet his drawers”. 

As I read of his experience, it brought back memories of several incidents that I endured as an elementary kid when I, too, went through the thrashing machine of the local bully-club.  It matters not what those thrashings were for, there is a far greater story that needs to take up space and time in this Morning Message.

The question, “Who is my neighbor?” is a great question that I fear not too many folks spend much time pondering.  Jesus gave us no dissertation that answered the question of “Who is my neighbor?” but, answered the question presented by the lawyer with a story.  As per all of His stories, it was a simple, understandable story but had mega implications behind it.

The story got the lawyers attention because it was framed in familiar territory for him.  The story, which we know as The Good Samaritan, was a situation that he knew well.   On several of our trips to Israel we visited the very area that is referred to in this story.  As a matter of fact, on one trip we visited a very special spot, on the road to Jericho, on a Sunday morning, and had devotions while sitting on some of those rocks that provided hiding placed for robbers and persons who wanted to do you in. 

You will never guess the subject of his devotional teaching, “Right, the Good Samaritan”, a lesson I had heard taught many times by various teachers, but this time there was a profound difference – I was there.  We were there in the midst of the story and the setting remains etched clearly in my mind. 

Well, this is going to take longer than I anticipated so will close this for today and pick it up in the next Morning Message.  It will give you a chance to read the account of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:30-35, a few times and get a good understanding of the drift of what Jesus was trying to get the lawyer to understand.  Keep in mind, Jesus’ response was to the lawyer’s question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life”.   Also, keep in mind, the lawyer’s intent in asking the question was to try and trap Jesus (verse 25).

While reading the account in Luke, ask yourself the question, “If you were on your way to some special event and you found a person lying by the road, would you be like the Priest, a Levite or a Samaritan?



Friday, September 2, 2016

Have you Checked It Out 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. 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 of prophecy news that appears on my computer daily, saying, a convoy 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 which were now enroute for shipment 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 Prim-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

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, “Things 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 I 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 posted for a week.