Friday, December 15, 2017

Two Tool Boxes - You Choose!

“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord which I am commanding you today: and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known” (Deut. 11:26-28).
   
Hey Gang:  When you reach that stage of your life where you are older that dirt, much of your life is filled by praying for your friends and neighbors who are also members of the “older than dirt” generation.   Yesterday, we attended the funeral of a very close friend who, through the years of our friendship, often bailed me out with sound advice on many issues.

His loss created a hole that I will not try and fill.  There are some holes that are sacred to me and I do not want to fill:  the loss of my sons and others along the way who have added pearls of great price to my life.  As I sat there I believe God gave me this message to share with you. 

In the early tenure of our working with hurting families we title our workshops ’The Toolshed’.  Through the years of development of the Village we became much more sophisticated in our language and the “Toolshed” found its way into the archives.  However, several weeks ago, a hurting mom stopped me and asked a question pertaining to a problem she as having with her son. Suddenly the Toolbox illustration came flowing forth from my lips.    

But this time there were two toolboxes- with a message to the young people of or land.  I have a great sadness in my heart for our millennial kids- and they are kids.  We have failed them so horribly and I see them floundering- seeking something that will fill the vacuum in their chest cavity that is just the size of God.  As a counsellor in a detention home years ago, I saw an emptiness in the eyes of most of the kids that passed through he facility.  I see that same emptiness in many young people today.

The two tool boxes were labeled: one said Jesus Fringe Package and the other Satan’s Tools.  Both were based on Paul’s words in Galatians five.  A listing of Satan’s tools are found in Galatians 5:18-21.  The list is too long to include and is incomplete here.  We find other list throughout God’s Word with warnings that we need to heed very carefully.  Paul emphasizes the dangers of dabbling in Satan’s Toolbox in verse 21 when he warned, “…those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”.  His warning sounds very clear.

But John tells us that if we have dabbled in Satan’s Tool Box, God provided antidote to fix the emptiness and pain that dabbling has caused in our mind and heart.  He gave us the fabulous news that is so familiar to mega people in our nation: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).    
 
With that wondrous gift to His creation, Paul tells us He (God) included a Tool Box filled with fringe benefits, on that day when Father God breathed life into His Son and up from the grave He arose. And, if we choose, we can be freed from the bondage of sin.  What are those fringe benefits?  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against these things there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23).

Every morning, when we begin our day, those same two Tool Boxes are on the breakfast table:  we all have the opportunity to choose which one to pick up - the one that feeds the white dog? or the one that feeds the black dog?    As you choose, keep Paul’s warning in mind: “HE WHO PRACTICES SUCH THING WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM.”

Blessings,

Gramps

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Today!


“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” (II cor. 9:6-7).

Hey Gang:  There is so much I want to share in this epistle.  I believe to do an adequate job, or covering each point clearly, would take many pages- so let me just throw out the high points of my yesterday, and you can use your imagination to fill in the blanks. 


As I stood on the taxi-way of the Big Rapids Airport yesterday, my mind and heart was filled with many wonderful flashbacks of days gone by.   I always get a wee bit, perhaps more than wee it, excited when I drive down the entry way to an airport.   You see, even as a little squirt I had a love for airports; my brother, Col. D. C Hainley, who earned a bronze star for his exploits as a fighter pilot in the United State Air Force, was my hero. 

I dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps one day, but that was not God’s design.  But He did allow me to play a very important role in the world of airplanes by allowing me to become an Air Traffic Controller.  I have been asked may times what was more stressful, handling peak traffic over the Pittsburgh Omni or trying to control fifty of the most unpredictable beings on earth, teen agers who have made bad decisions?   My answer not hard:  Air Traffic Control is peak stress but control of kids who lacked basic foundation controls is on-going stress, never ceasing!

So, how does seven years of Air Traffic Control set the table of fifty years of working with kids with behavior maladies?  The stress of ATC built scar tissue for what was to come. 

But that is not the main topic I want to share with you this morning.   As I stood there on the taxi way I was in the midst of a miracle! A miracle of love, sacrifice and giving.  It was the day of a the annual Fly-In.  More than thirty airplanes arrived at the Big Rapids Airport- each packed tightly with gifts.  Gifts for whom? For kids who would have no gifts, if they did not come from airports in the Southern Michigan. 

How does this happen?  There is an organization, consisting and hundreds of people who are committed to assuring every kid in the foster care system will not only receive a gift but a special gift as per their request!  Everything from bicycles, to mini cars to mega huge packages with names- very special names on each.  Four trailers sat on the taxi-way and hundreds of volunteers (including students from Ferri), from the three counties where the gifts will be distributed, came and made long lines from the aircraft to the trailers. 

The name of the organization is Operation Good Cheer.  Now, think about this miracle.  Nearly 20,000 gifts must be purchased and paid for, by the donor.  The gifts are taken to a process center in southern Michigan where, after the child is matched to gifts, they which are wrapped and gift-name and code- identifying the trailer it will go into on arrival at the various airports. These gifts are then transported to the airports around Detroit for processing and assigned to an aircraft.  They fly all over the State and some pilots make more than one run!

Let me emphasize once gain THIS IS A ONE HUNDRED PERCENT VOLUNTEER EFFORT-on the part of a thousand or more people and I might add a very expensive exercise of deep love on the part of all who participate for these kids. 

Four generations at Operation Good Cheer -December 2015  Gramps, Michael, granddaughter and three Great grands.

Why, as I stood there did the tears flow? First, my son who was the coordinator of the big Rapids program for over 20 years.  In 2015,  two weeks before his final day of his life on earth, drove himself to the Big Rapids Airport  just to be part of it one last time.  Second, I had a daughter, three grand kids (one drove from Auburn, Indiana with her family to participate) and spouses, several great grands also involved.  Third, because I played a tiny part years ago to getting this program off and running. 

Daughter and grandson of other daughter          Great grand Emmerick helping uncle Corey - this trailer was overflowing!











Now one might think a program of this magnitude and purpose, to bring joy to children who do not have a great deal of joy in their lives would be worthy of having the national press there to see this miracle in action but there were none. The local press put it on the front page!

The thought came into my mind - all of those over paid athletes who took a knee when Our National Anthem is sung, should have been loaded up and made to stand and watch this giving sacrificially- to make a lot of kids feel better about themselves because a whole barn full of people cared for them.

Father, I thank you for every single person who was involved in this gift of love.  I pray that same spirit of giving will penetrate every home this Christmas Season.  I pray all will look beyond the glitter of the season to Jesus -the true “reason for the season”.



Blessings,

Gramps

Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas Yesteryear


“Praise the Lord!  How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments.  His descendants will be mighty on earth.  The generation of the upright will be blessed.  Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever” (Psalm 112:1-3).

Hey Gang:  It’s that time of the year again when we dig into the closets and pull out last year’s decorations in preparation for the Christmas Season.  On my way back from taking our accumulated thrash to the recycle center, it was wonderful to hear that our President has said “Merry Christmas” is allowed and welcomed in our Nation once again.   I don’t know about you, but I did not pay much attention to the attempted movement to remove, not only the Merry Christmas greeting, but also “Jesus, the Reason for the Season”.

In my digging I came across a very special box, a box filled with prayer journals from yester year.  You see when I passed the seventy- year plateau I began to have a problem hanging onto what I was reading and especially keeping my mind focused when I was praying.   So, I began to practice what I preached in my work with children, who also had a hard time hanging onto important things – like the Bible, I began to journal my prayers. 

So, I dug into the box and after going though fifty or more journals I found the very first one, dated June 23, 2006.  My very first entry was “Father, I pray with depth of heart “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to me a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Eph. 1:17).     That prayer has been on my lips since He called us to do as Abraham did- pack up our family, put our total trust in Him, and move to a distant land.   

I then turned to my entry on Christmas morning to see what I included on my wish list to the throne room that year.  I began by wishing the Lord a happy birthday.  It matters not whether He was born on this day.  I just want to praise You for Your fabulous gift of creation.  I thank You, Lord, I did not evolve from a slimy wiggling thing that crawled out of a swamp but am formed in the image of Christ.

I praised Jesus that day for His willingness to leave the perfection of the heavenlies, seated at the right hand of the Father, to come to earth and walk in my shoes.  We were blessed to be volunteering at the African Inland Mission Retirement Village in Florida that winter, among a group of people who truly knew the meaning  of His Words- “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). 

Those in at this Retirement Village have served thirty years or more spreading the gospel in the African nations.  There bodies were in Mineola, Florida, but their hearts were with the people in whom they had invested their lives. I learned from these dear loving people what the word retirement really means – ‘when we are truly committed to Christ as our Lord and Savior, there is no such thing as retirement! They taught Sunday school, after school Bible classes, mail in Bible studies, English as second language, visited the sick and needy and PRAYED!!!!!

Eleven years have passed since their sharing their lives with us but I remember that experience well for it added a richness to my life.  Missionary Pastor Roy, after sharing that one of the saintly warriors had passed away that morning said her last words were, “Pastor Roy, I am going to see my Jesus today!”  He also said, “These people finish well because they know where they are going!”

The last entry in my prayer journal, that Christmas morning, was “Lord, I pray that I will truly learn what it means to die to self; that I will recognize those things that do not bring honor and glory to you and ask your strength to send those things packing”.   

What is your focus this Christmas Season?  Perhaps it is the last Christmas Season – ae you ready to celebrate with Christ at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb?


Blessings,

Gramps

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Need a Shot of Encouragement?

"For are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them" (Eph. 2:10).

Hey Gang:  Do you know what God's desire is for you today?  Paul answers this question in Ephesians 1:18-19a: "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe"

And how do we make this happen?  We don't; "It comes through the working of the strength of His (God's) might which He brought about in Christ" (v.19b-20a).

One of the first lessons I learned as a new Christian was that God is a compulsive decorator.  If you are sincere in your commitment to Him as Lord of your heart, be advised He will place you on the potter’s wheel and begin to cut and scrap and whittle in an effort to make you into the image of His Son.  

I suspect this might account for some of the discomfort we feel, for open heart surgery can be a very uncomfortable trip through the wilderness.  We don't mind it much when a new coat of paint is added or new carpet laid, but we can become a wee-bit-testy when He begins to dig into the crevices and deal with those sacred idols that we tend to want to hang onto. 

God's intent for His children: "That we not walk in the counsel of the wicked nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!  But His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His Law he meditates day and night" (Psa. 1:1-2).

So, lads and lassies, notice God's promise in verse three: "You will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers"
(Psa. 1:3). 

What are you?  A tree firmly planted or "chaff which the wind drives away?" (v.4b).

Blessings,


Gramps

Thursday, November 30, 2017

-Assessment Time


"Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming, If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him." (I John 2:28-29; read also 3:1-9)

Hey Gang: Read that verse again.  John says, "Abide in Him" always, so that when He appears we do not have to shrink into the shadows because of the things we have been doing with our lives.  In essence, John is saying that when we claim we are children of God, we need to look a heap different than when we were­- without Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

There is no greater miracle in the world than to see a drunk from skid row suddenly come to the realization there is a God who loves him and stands ready to fix and restore his live and even use them to His glory. 

His life was a mess.  He had drunk away his family, his home and business and his health but one day when he was on his back in a gutter with an empty bottle, God spoke to him: “Harold, I have something I want you to do for me.  I want you to get up out of the gutter, clean yourself up and prepare to go into all the land and preach My word”.  The transforming power of God reached deep into his gizzard and he became a powerful man of God to those who also found themselves in the gutters of this world.   

In this passage of Scripture John gives us a panoramic view of what it is like to be a child of God and fully engrained in the family of God. This is a passage that we should take-a-peek at periodically and check our commitment level to Yeshua.  In John 2:29 we read that we should “…be confident and content in our walk with God.  Are you confident and content this morning?

In verse 3:1 John tells us that we should enjoy God's love.  In essence God says, "I claim you".  Notice, in verse two He says, "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be ."  Is it not awesome, and sometimes a wee-bit hard to totally comprehend, that God said, "You are my body, my family, I call you my children?”

It would have been nice, if John would have put a period at the end of this verse and left it but, he did not.  He went on to say, "No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." (verse 9). 

I believe the key word in the Scripture of the day is “practices".  Do we sin? yes, "…all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23), but practicing sin is a horse of a different color;  Scripture says, "... practice righteousness!!

Blessings,

Gramps  

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Did You Know Not Everything Is God's WIll?

“For what I am doing, I do not understand’ for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate”.  ”For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.  For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want” (Rom. 7:15, 18-19).

Hey Gang:  If there is anything I have learned in my 84 years on this earth is that life is not just a series of random freak accidents.  Paul wrote: “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate” (Rom. 7:15).  But in the very next chapter he writes, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

I was going through my archives the other day and came across an article that had no title and no author, but it rang my bell and screamed “Blog”.  In this day when everything that can be shaken is being shaken makes one wonder, “Is there any sanity left on earth?” The answer? Probably “yes”, if you have Biblical understanding of what Jesus meant when He said, “When all of these things begin to happen, look up for your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28).

Now, here is a thought for you to chew on this morning, our lives are not totally unplanned, nor without meaning.  God knows precisely your every move.  If He knows every hair on your head, He surely knows about the things that move and shake us.   He began weaving the tapestry that would become your life even before you arrived.  Think for a moment about the bad and happy times that you have been blessed to experience that has brought color into your existence.  Do you have the truth fixed firmly in your heart and mind- that nothing can come into the life of a child who is walking with God without God’s permission?   In essence, everything is “Father-filtered”.

Now wait a minute, Hainley.  Are you saying God allows bad things to happen to us?  “Yes!”  These, the very things that you wish were mere mist and removed from your life, are often the very things that God is using to shape you and make you into the bond servant He wants you to be.”  

Does that mean that everything that happens to me in life is God’s will?  No, I do not believe that!   When God created man, He put a thing into our very souls called self-will and gave us the power to go our own way, do our own thing and totally reject His open arms policy.  The Suffering Servant Scripture makes this point abundantly clear: “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6).  

Paul said, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (I Cor. 11:1).  But he also said, “I do the very things I hate” (Rom. 7:14).  Note, he did not leave it lay there but went on to give us the antidote to being an overcomer: “Wretched man that I am!  Who will set me free from the body of this death, thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!   (Rom. 24-25a).

The point: the world is filled with bangles and beads, frills and fads, and Satan is forever bringing new ways for us to disobey, as Eve did in the garden, and for us to choose to follow the evil one’s path away from Christ as Savior and Lord. That my friends, is certainly not God’s will!!

Year’s ago, when I was on the cold roast beef, mashed potatoes and peas circuit, I always made it a point to pray that God would give me something fresh to share with the group.   On one such trip I stopped at a Burger King to grab a snack. I noticed a Star Wars advertisement in very bold print: “YOUR CHOICES DETERMINE YOUR DESTINATION”.  That rang my bell but, when I was back on the road again a thought entered my mind that the saying was incomplete; it should have read “YOUR VALUES DETERMINE YOUR CHOICES WHICH DETERMINE YOUR DESTINATION!”    I wonder where that thought came from? A saying I have used many times.

Blessings,


Gramps

Thursday, November 23, 2017

When Was the Last Time You Said, "Thank You Abba' Father" From the Depths of Your Soul?


“Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.” “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.”  “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness” (Psa. 33:8, 12, 18).

Hey Gang, Did you know that our Founding Fathers openly recognized that God was the source of a successful nation? They were aware of our need for God, if we were to be a healthy nation.  George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”  They knew that, if the nation was going to work, its people needed to voluntarily live by God’s rules. 

My Bride and I have been truly blessed this year as we have traversed a devotional book compiled by Dr. Richard G. Lee, titled In God We Still Trust.  It consists of quotes from many of our Founding Fathers, and others who have succeeded them, openly acknowledging that a nation without God was a nation that would soon join all the civilizations that have gone before that did not recognize this truth. 

On October 3, 1863, in the midst of the civil War, President Abraham Lincoln called Americans to a National Day of Thanksgiving and Praise.  He proclaimed “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things.  They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.  It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.  I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens…to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our Beneficient Father who dwells in the Heavens.

He went on and implored the Lord to heal the wounds of our great Nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and Union.” 

Henry Ward Beecher wrote, “The Bible is God’s chart for you to steer by, to keep you from the bottom of the sea, and to show you where the harbor is, and how to reach it without running on the rocks or bars.”

In his 1815 Thanksgiving Proclamation, President James Madison reminded his audience:  “No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the great Disposer of Events of the destiny of nations than the people of the United States…And to the same Divine Author of Every Good and Perfect Gift we are indebted for all those privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favored land”.

Times have changed.  We may be the only culture in the world that openly acknowledges God in our Constitution, on our money, and on Thanksgiving, but refuses to allow God to be named in any of our public intuitions.  As a nation, we are working hard to push God out of our lives. Ignoring God is not unusual, it began in the Garden of Eden with the statement, “You surely will not die, you can be just like God”.  The history of the world is really the story of people finding new ways to reject God.  

My prayer for you this day is that you will turn your face towards God from the depths of your soul this Thanksgiving.  That you will do more than thank Him for the good things in your life but give your heart to Him with a new and deeper commitment and that Thanksgiving day will be a daily ThanKsliving event in your life and not just a one day passing celebration.

Have a Blessed and happy Thanksliving Year,

Gramps

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Are You Thankful To God?


“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another is psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Eph. 5:18-20).

Hey gang, Have you ever thanked God for the miracles and blessings that He freely gives to you, even if you are not even aware?  In my travels I picked up the following story that I especially like:

It seems a person died and, soon after arriving in heaven, in his orientation he was scheduled for a tour of heaven. The guide was very clear in explaining what each building was and many housed neat things that God had provided for His children; but the guide avoided one long building that set off by itself.  Several times the new-arrive-e asked what was in that building, but the guide ignored him.  Finally, at the end of the tour, the guide asked for questions and, of course, the new arrive-e once again asked, “What is in that building?”

Within the building were long lines of shelving, ground to roof, covered with paper bags tied with ribbons.  When asked what they were for, the guide said, “Each person has a bag here that has, within it, the blessings God wanted to give the recipients but they choose not to accept.  

We are getting close to that day designated as “Thanksgiving Day.  It is my sincere opinion that designating a day called Thanksgiving is, in reality, designed for those who are non- believers.   Why do I say that?  Because Paul teaches us “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thess. 5:18.

Example.  Several years ago, I was pulling my recreation vehicle home from a weekend in the woods. We were on a back road and I was doing around fifty miles an hour when a car pulled out of a driveway, about five hundred feet in front of us. 

Corrective action preventing my hitting the car, but shortly after the driver slammed on the breaks and began to make a left turn off the roadway.  There was no way in the world I was going to keep from plowing into that car but somehow, I do not have a clue how, I missed the car.   I have thought about that incident each time I drive by that spot and thank God for what He did that day.

Have you ever taken the time to sit down and make a listing of the times God blessed you with a very special blessing?  Have you ever considered the times He may have saved your life and you knew nothing about it?  Are you one who tends to use the phrase “Boy that was a lucky break?”

If “…the will of God in Christ Jesus is to give thanks to God in everything” every believer should give thanks and be grateful at all times.  Gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation of everything that Almighty God is doing in our daily life. 

So, young colleagues, may I suggest that, sometime in the leisure of your Thanksgiving celebration, take your Bible and concordance and do a word study on thanksgiving and gratitude.  You will find many such references in both Old and New Covenants - for it is God’s will. 

Have you recently turned down any of God’s blessings that He designed especially for you?

Blessings,

Gramps

Friday, November 17, 2017

"The Three Minute Temptation Buster" Part 3

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be temped beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (I Cor. 10:13). 

Hey Gang, Continuing the story of the tough-hombre.  In the month or so after I loaded the tough-hombre on a bus to send him to the facility where he would pull his time, he was never out of my mind.  A seed had been planted and was growing - we should purchase a large house and take in four boys who needed a shirt tail to hang onto into. 

But the months turned into a year and nothing was happening until a very strange thing happened one day when I was cutting the grass.  A neighbor, who I did not know, approached me out of the blue and said, “I understand you are going to sell your house!”  If so I want to buy it!”   It reminded me of the gent who prayed for an answer from God and, when he received it, he said to the Lord, “If that was for me, give me another shot.” 

We did not ask for another shot but, we did pray that if that was a sign that the time had come for us to pack up our family and place ourselves totally in God’s hands, He would provide the finances to make t`he move.  At that time income tax returns were taking several months but miracle two occurred when our income tax was returned two weeks later.   

We accepted the sale of the house and income tax return to be a clear enough message that we should begin packing.  (Note:  Did you know God knows how to close doors as well as open them?)   

But, this morning I want to do some soul searching with you.  In the past several weeks, since Mr. Donald Trump became President Donald Trump, the prophecy gurus have been very busy.  I confess some of the articles are ‘pie-in-the-sky type’ and have found the circular file.  But one that caught my attention that is a composite of many, 16 trusted Christian teachers who are, and have been saying essentially the same thing…that we have more reason than at any other time in history to believe Christ’s return could happen in our day.  

Does it make me feel a wee-bit apprehensive to say that? Yes, I have heard similar messages all of my 84 years on earth.  But I have studied the prophetic word and read what many of the gurus have written.  These are listed in no particular order and this is most certainly only a partial list.  I have read and studied the writings of Dwight Pentecost and Dr. John F. Walvoord, both who spent many years in research and teaching at Dallas Theological Seminary. 

Other familiar names, who have dedicated their lives to studying the mysteries of the Word and sharing their findings with those who also seek to know God’s time-tables, are Dr. David Jeremiah, Billy Graham, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, Dr. Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice and more recently Bill Koenig, Anne Graham Lotz, and Robert Jeffress.

Now hear this my young friends! Each has said, in one way or another, that conditions of our day perfectly parallel the Biblical narrative for the end time (as it was in the days of Noah).  There are specific signs that Jesus gave, during the Olivet discourse, especially in Matthew 24 and Luke 21.  And we are the only generation to see the return of the Jews to their land and restore their Hebrew language after two thousand years.

As I close this trilogy, I would suggest you take the words of an old country preacher who cried out,  “Something is fixing to happen and I am fixen’ to be part of it”.  Make sure you are part of it!

Blessings,

Gramps

Monday, November 13, 2017

"The Three Minute Temptation Buster" Con't

“This is the confidence we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us and if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him” (I John 5:14-15).

Hey Gang:  Do you have confidence before Him?  Have you asked Him for something according to His will?  Have you planted a seed this day that will grow into a beautiful flower?    Throughout the New Testament we find Jesus words, “Ask and I will give you the desires of your heart”.  What are the desires of your heart?  

And now for the rest of the story!  As a government employee working in a government facility with government controlled kids, there was the ever present “BIG BROTHER” awaiting to pounce on anyone who approached a kid with an olive wreath in their mouth, no matter if their hearts desire was to find something that would fill that empty place in their chest cavity. 

Let me put some meat and potatoes on that statement.  It was a rainy night in California, which was very unusual for that time of the year, when the boys in blue brought one of those tough-hombre kids into the facility for holding.  He was well known in the system, as one who had earned the reputation to be very close to the top of the toughest of all time hombres list.  

We had a very special two-cell unit in a part of the facility that was separated and especially secure.  It consisted of a cell of steel inside a cell of re-enforced cement with provision for me to be able to care for his needs without opening the steel door.

For the sake of time and space, let’s jump to the chase of the story about this dangerous hombre.  As a senior counselor, it was my job to check the tough-hombre every half hour.  On one of the rounds he asked for something to read.  It was the first time I knew that he could be civil and accepted it as positive.   

Now, I confess, he had given me enough grief in his short tenure with us that when I gave him a Gideon Bible it was not for the right reason, and, he did not accept it for the right reason.  On the next check he was up to his knees in Gideon Bible paper.  On the next check- round I found the very tough-hombre sitting against the wall with a piece of Bible paper in hand.  And then it happened, he asked for another Bible.  You see he had only half of the story and he desperately wanted the other half. 

That night Satan lost one of his very tough-hombres when a hard-heart heard the voice of Jesus and said “Yes, I would like to give you a try”.  Several days later tough-hombre was transferred to another facility where he was sentenced to spend ten or more years for his transgressions, but God- had something else in mind for him! The door opened for his released in two years and returned to his old stomping grounds- but for a different reason; he returned as an evangelist to the kids that were traversing the same wide road that held him in bondage. 

You see, God changed the heart of that tough hombre that night before my very eyes to show me that all of those tough-hombres, who had passed through my life, could traverse the same road that Larry traversed- if I would follow Jesus mandate and, if I would recognize that they too were not mere case files but real alive living creations of God.  I began to realize that night that God was leading me away from locking up bad hombres to bringing light into the lives of children who have not had a fair shake in their lives.

With your permission I want to add one more chapter to this story.  That I will do in the third chapter of “The Three Minute Temptation Buster”.

Blessings,


Gramps

Saturday, November 11, 2017

"The Three-Minute Temptation Buster"

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever” (John 14:16)

Hey Gang:  I want to share a piece of wisdom that I have acquired on the roadways and by-ways of this world: Temptation is a way of life!  Now, I am sure that is not a new revelation to you.  And temptation leads to which dog you will fed today – the white dog or the black dog.

Bruce Wilkerson, in his book The 3-Minute-Temptation Buster made a point that I can identify with: “Each time I am confronted with temptation my emotions send me messages of internal agitation”. 

While working in a detention facility in California, I had occasion to work with some very tough hombres and enjoyed chewing the fat with them.  You see must of these hombres had never just sat down and had a true conversation with anyone.  I wanted to know what was going on in their heads, as well as their hearts. So, each night, after we had put the kids down for the night, I picked one to help and went on a fishing expedition. 

top-ten list of the ‘toughest dudes’ I saw go through Juvy while I was there. He was one of the top dogs in a gang and, it was rumored that he had probably taken a life or two of a rival gang member.  At that time, with the Watt’s riots still fresh in everyone’s mind, it was open season on rival gang members.  Kind of like Chicago today. 

One of my favorite questions was, “Have you ever been to church?”  This I followed with have you ever heard of the man called Jesus?  Most did not have a clue who Jesus was.  From there I did some probing to see if they ever felt love, not surface sex-type love, but love from deep in their gut.  The response was usually the same.  It was the same look you might have, if you had been locked in a cellar for all of your life and knew there must be something better out there, but you had not had the luxury of experiencing it.

I asked these questions setting the lads up for this question, “You have done some pretty nasty things in your life.  Did you ever feel deep in pit of your stomach that what you were doing was wrong?  Did you ever wish you had not done them?  Did you ever dream that one day you would find a rainbow or pot of gold and your life would be more than the pain and agony that has been your life?
Tragically most would say, when I was a little lad I would dream of my mom and dad together in a house on a street where we were a happy family; but I don’t dream of that anymore because I know it is an impossible dream.

When I asked them, if they knew in their heart that what they were doing was wrong, the response was always the same; “Ah, ya, Man!  Something in here (chest cavity) let me know.”  But, they also said, “As you grow older that voice is weaker and weaker and it is easier to hurt people without feeling sad or guilty.”

In my three-year tenure in the Juvenile Hall I had conversations with hundreds of tough dudes, more kids asking these same basic questions.  Nearly all made my top-ten toughest hombres list, for you see every one of these bad hombres had a heart that had been destroyed because no one had asked these same basic questions when they were forming for life who they would be.

Most of these bad hombres were in my section awaiting parole-violation hearings and placement to another facility, where they would be locked in cages with the intent of fixing them.  In my question sessions with these bad hombres, I heard each screaming:

“I am somebody, I am alive, I am not a case file in your file cabinet, I have feeling too deep for you to understand because you have no desire to dig deep into my soul and find out what makes me tick.  We had a saying in the Juvenile Hall, we could tell how tough a kid really was by how long he cried at night!

Last night, I had a problem finding a comfortable position for my arthritic body.  On many of those nights there is a parade of’ tough hombres’ that marches through my brain, there is Fritz, Ted, Swan, Lon and Dennis.  There is Michael, Larry, Dennis, Michael and the list goes on.  I wonder if any of them found that rainbow or Jesus.

Tune in next time- for the rest of the story - but then again perhaps you do not want to know the rest of the story!

Blessings,


Gramps

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Are You A Planter?


“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.” Luke 6:38

Hey Gang:  Did you ever read a book penned by human hands that, when read a second time you found a totally different picture being painted?  Have you ever thought how very amazing it is, that you can read the same passage in the Word of God ten days in a row and get a different understanding of what God is teaching us on each reading?  But there is a prerequisite to that wondrous blessing, - we have to be part of God’s intimate family.

A college professor announced to his class that they will use the Bible, in their course of study, but only from the literary standpoint.  He further stated that it is a wonderful book with wonderful stories but that is what they are – wonderful stories. “I get no special messages when I read it”.

After class a young lady came up to him and informed him the Bible is love letter to his children and you must be part of the family to understand what He is saying.

How many know that we have no idea when God is going to plant a seed through us?  Several days ago, I ran into an acquaintance of yesteryear who astounded me with something he said. He said, “You probably did not realize it at the time, some years ago, but you said a kind word to me that not only changed my day but also planted a seed in my heart that has grown steadily since that day”.

It drove home the point that we are Johnny Appleseed’s and plant seeds wherever we go - some good, some neutral but others are life-changing seeds. Notice, in the Scripture of the day, the word measure.  I believe it is one of the more important words in the Bible for it tells us we are responsible to give and, it is in the measure that we give that God gives back to us.

Paul wrote, “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully”.  Now notice Paul’s next words, “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:6-7).  

So, my young friends, are you a Johnny Appleseed and have your bag of seeds attached to your hip?  There is no greater joy than to have someone from your past come up to you and say, “Hey, did you know you planted a seed in my heart that changed my life?” 

Blessings,

Gramps

Sunday, November 5, 2017

what Is Your Definition of a He-man?

“But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (I Tim. 4:7-8).

Hey Gang, Wow!  I have watched this lad for the past sixteen years and he has continually popped the buttons from my shirt with pride.  Qualifying to participate in the State Cross Country finals is indeed a goal to work for, if you are a runner.  He ran the race of his life yesterday when he competed in the State Finals for High School Cross Country (Lower Peninsula). He finished 40th in his Division of 250 runners!  Now, what that means is he is he has worked very, very hard!  

That also means is he is a disciplined runner who placed the goal of reaching the State level by diligently running daily, no matter what the weather.  (And, as he ran his miles each day, he had a companion, his daddy, on a bicycle or car depending on weather) who rode shot gun for him every single day).

Now, I want to tell you a little about the ‘price of success’ for this family.  We learned early that he was on the Autism spectrum, Aspergers, which can be an all-consuming malady.  But, he was blessed to be born into a home with two parents who made a vow that autism would not control and destroy his life.

As he ran this race of his young life, there were really three people running in his shoes, a Momma and Daddy who have been models of sacrifice, since he arrived on this earth.  His mother is a self-studied authority on this malady, not the medical part, although she has spent countless hours in research of how to beat this dreaded malady, but the part that requires the total giving of the heart to assure that no matter what the price, she will continue to give.  There have been no races, no baseball games, no basketball games, no soccer games when his mom and dad where not there.

Yes, I am proud not only for his success in the physical areas but equally proud of him in the academic areas – today inducted into the National Honor Society - social areas and most of all - that he loves the Lord and has committed his life to following Jesus where ever He leads him. 

In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses gave us a model of how to raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  He wrote: “These words which I am commanding you this day shall be in your heart.  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 gate” (Deut. 6:6-9).   

Notice the prerequisite that makes this code of how to raise your children effective: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (vs. 5).   

The race yesterday was the culmination of sixteen years of sacrifice, tremendously hard work, successes and failures all wrapped up in a huge ball with a ribbon around them called sacrificial love.  If every child in America had the same sacrificial giving parents, we could turn the Eagle Villages into ski lodges.  Why am I so proud, because this young lad is my grandson, Brandon, who has been covered with that sacrificial love.

Well done Marjorie and Jim! 
 
Blessing,


Gramps