Friday, October 20, 2017

I Am Starved!

     
   
“How long, O Lord, will I call for help and You will not hear?  O cry out to You, Violence!” Yet You do not save.  Why do You make me see iniquity and cause me to look on wickedness?”  (Hab. 1:2-3).   God’s response: “Look among the nations!  Observe!  Be astonished!  Wonder!  Because I am doing something in your days – You would not believe if you were told.” (Hab. 1:5).

Hey Gang:  There are many days when I feel like picking a mountain top and shouting at the top of my lungs, “How long, O Lord!”  Habakkuk went on, “The law is ignored, justice is never upheld.  For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore, justice comes out perverted” (vs. 4).  Does that not sound familiar?   While sitting in the command seat at Eagle Village and reading the case files of the young folks who crossed my path I would often say, “This is the bottom of the barrel”, only to learn there is no bottom to that barrel. 

We truly live in the age described by Paul in his letter to his adopted spiritual son Timothy: “But evil men and impostor will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13).  Isaiah put it this way: “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! (5:20).

My mother always said that of the four boys in our family, I was the one that was most like her.  In the early years I tended to disagree with her but in later year I learned I cannot deny one trait that I picked up from her- was she was a fast sleeper, another name for those of us who do well on five or less hours of sleep.   Now there a piece of trivia that has no earthly value.  I say that to lay the foundation for what I am about to send along to you.
The clock on the mantle reads five o’clock.  My intention for this morning was to go through the tragic
 events of the past months, a pile of about three inches, and put together a pitty-party-type
communique to make you as miserable as I.   After screening a dozen or so of the gruesome articles I
question popped into my head – what are you doing?  Why are you filling your head with all of that
rubbish?

Why don’t you get into that other pile, you know the small one over there that you have pushed into the back of your desk kind of out of sight.  We do that, don’t we?  Don’t we tend to turn to the gory headlines the press uses to sell their papers and put the good thing on page thirteen down in the corner just under the obituaries?   

On the top of the pile – I believe God put it there just for me because He wanted me to share it with you. It was written by one of my favorite writers, Anne Graham Lotz.  I like her writing because her heart is filled with hope and she knows in her heart all that is happening in our world is in the Father’s hands. 

In it she wrote of an experience in Elijah’s life that you can reads about in I Kings 19.  I will not elaborate only to say, if you dig into the passage you will see some parallels between what God was saying to Elijah, in the storms of nature, and what He is saying today to those who are willing to listen.  She suggests that his message can be broken down into four parts:    

The first, BE COMFORTED, God spoke to Elijah.  Neat heh?  Isn’t it so very wonderful, that even in his day, when everything that can be shaken is being shaken, God will never left His children or forsake them?

The second, BE BLESSED, God told Elijah, ‘don’t sweat it, I will supply you needs, all of them!  Hey gang, I have tested this promise many times and He has never failed me.  Is it okay to test God?  Not sure?  Read Malachi 3:10.

Third, BE ENCOURAGED, God told Elijah there were more believers around him than he knew about. He did tell us to keep your antenna tuned to the Heavenlies-  there are angels out there that we are unaware of.
   
And finally, BE READY, even when the alligators are nipping at your back side, know that God is right there with you right now.  Note the final step in Elijah’s journey was a flaming chariot, part of God’s transportation system.  This we know, heaven is waiting for every one of Jesus’ children. 

So, my good buddies, If you are awakened at four o’clock, don’t just roll over, clear your ears and listen carefully.  Perhaps there is special message coming from God’s-hot line to you. Sometimes we call them God-O-Grams!

Blessings,


Gramps

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

What In The World Is Going On?


“For thus says the Lord of hosts, “Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land.  I will shake all the nations” (Haggai 2:6, 7a).

Hey Gang:  In a recent Joel Rosenberg blog he began by asking the question, “Is God trying to tell us something?”    In the very recent past, and present, we have experienced catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes, many floods, terrorism, horrifying fires and the continued threats of rogue nations threatening to blow us away. 

It has been a time of unprecedented record braking storms, with nearly unbelievable horrors attached to them.  We have had gully-washers in the past, resulting in flooded conditions. but hurricane Harvey presented us with new highs that were beyond our comprehension.  It is estimated that 33 trillion, yes trillion, gallons of water were dumped on the Houston, Texas area. 

At the same time Hurricane Irma was bearing down on Florida.  We do not have a clue what the final cost will be in the devastation left behind.  It is estimated it will cost millions just to clean up the land in order to begin to replace the hundreds of homes that were lost.  Were these disasters just random quirks of nature? The climate- control buffs were quick to use them to further their drain on the coffers trying to convince the world that man has control of the thermostat and what effects the climate.  The Word tells us that God sits in the heaven and laughs at man’s foolishness.   (Psalm 2:4)

As I was preparing to write this blog, the thought came into my mind that very suddenly every person in the areas of these catastrophes is totally equal with all others.  There are no rich, or poor, corporate presidents, or janitors, no leaders who can press the buttons that make our world tick, no super brain children or those who can barely write their name.   When the winds, rains and fires have passed, every soul that is left behind is on the same ground-all with one focus – survival.  

And then the thought came to my mind: “What an opportunity to put away all the trash-bucket things that now enrage our once Christian Nation and bow our knees before God and recommit to His ways.” Our nation is coming alive, responding with one ac­­­­­­­cord to those neighbors who suddenly have needs for those basic survival things that suddenly have moved to the top of the critical needs list.

Things like, “Where is my family? Are they all right?  Where will I get enough food and water to provide for the basic needs of family, even today?  Where will I sleep tonight?”  Things people in many parts of the world deal with every day are now here- right here in our USA neighborhoods.  

Let’s return to Joel’s opening comment: “Is God trying to get our attention”.  I believe with all my heart that is precisely what is happening in our nation.   I also believe that, if our nation rebuilds its cities but does not return to the roots that made this nation great, we “ain’t seen nuttin’ yet!  (Isaiah 9:8-12).

Our President recently said the following at the 2017 Voters Convention: “George Washington said that “religion and morality are indispensable” to America’s happiness, (Pres. Trump-really?) prosperity and totally to it success. It is our faith and our values that inspires us to give with charity, to act with courage, and to sacrifice for what we know is right.? 

The American Founders invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence – four times!  How times have changed.  But you know what? I believe they are now changing back again.  Just remember that!!!

Benjamin Franklin reminded his colleagues, at the Constitutional Convention, to begin by bowing their heads in prayer.  Religious liberty is enshrined in the very first amendment - the Bill of Rights.  And we pledge allegiance to – very, very beautifully – “one nation under God”!

When 9/11 hit our Nnation I wanted to get out my under sized uniform and report for duty.  Yes, I was too old to be of much value, but I could sweep floors and do dishes which would release a younger warrior to take up arms against our enemies.   I am reminded daily that the key to turning our Nation back from its evil ways to God’s ways, is not in the hands of government but in the hands of every Believer in Christ as Lord.  2 Chronicles 7:14 is very clear.

“If”, notice the “If” My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sins and heal their land”.

Is God trying to get our attention?  HAS He gotten yours?

Blessings,


Gramps

Friday, October 13, 2017

Are The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse Preparing to RIde?

“And I saw heaven opened and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness Hew judges and wages war….And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev. 19:11/16).

Hey Gang, yesterday the focus of my thoughts was on horses.  Will there be horses in heaven? I believe so!  We have two sons and a grandson helping to ready the horses for Jesus’ return.  As I was raking leaves, the thought entered my dome of intellect that the last days on this earth  are filled with horses.      

In my research of horses in the last days, the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse surfaced in my thinking.   I came across the following description of the horseman in the ‘Question of the Week Blog. that is so much better than anything I could write, so I decided to plagiarize it with a few additions by this Pennsylvania Hillbilly. 

The writer describes the four horsemen of the Apocalypse in Revelation chapter 6, verses 1-8. They are symbolic descriptions of different events which will take place in the end times. The first horseman of the Apocalypse is mentioned in Revelation 6:2: “I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.”  I wonder if he might be riding now!

This first horseman likely refers to the Antichrist, who will be given authority and will conquer all who oppose him. The antichrist is the false imitator of the true Christ, who will also return  later on a White Horse (Revelation 19:11-16).

The second horseman of the Apocalypse appears in 
Revelation 6:4, “Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.” The second horseman refers to terrible warfare that will break out in the end times.   I wonder if he might be riding at this very minute!
The third horseman is described in Revelation 6:5-6, “...and there before me was a black horse! 

Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!’” The third horseman of the Apocalypse refers to a great famine that will take place, likely as a result of the wars from the second horseman.  I would suggest he is riding at this very moment in a large part of our world!

The fourth horseman is mentioned in 
Revelation 6:8, “I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.” The fourth horseman of the Apocalypse is symbolic of death and devastation. It seems to be a combination of the previous horsemen. 

The fourth horseman of the Apocalypse will bring further warfare and terrible famines along with awful plagues and diseases.  Again, I would suggest we are seeing his ever-increasing ride across many parts of our world!

What is most amazing, or perhaps terrifying, is that the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are just “precursors” of even worse judgments that come later in the tribulation (Revelation chapters 8–9 and 16).

What say you this morning?  Could the headlines of your morning paper say the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse are riding? You probably won’t read it in these words, but are   we not in perilous times when war, pestilence and famine are as common of the rising and setting of the sun?  Jesus said, when “ALL’ of these things come into view, look up for your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28).  Are you looking UP?

Blessings,

Gramps

PS Years ago Billy Graham wrote a book The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  Good read!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

To Whom Much Is GIven, Much WIll be Required


“From everyone who has been given much, will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more” (Luke 12:48).

Hey Gang, Did you ever have a song or a verse stick in your mind and play over and over?  I have had both in recent weeks and especially in the past several days.  The song is “This Little Light of Mine, I’m going to let it shine”, and the verse is the Scripture of the day. 

This morning, in my time alone with the Lord, I did some research on Scriptures to see if God would point out one of those verses pertaining to giving in bold print.  I found a whole barrel full of such verses but none in what one might call bold print, but one did seem to speak a wee bit louder than the others. 

Being an old fund raiser, one of the very special verses that I often used was the story of the widow who gave two mites.  I was blessed to have such a wonderful gift. A­­­ widow woman, who had very little, sent her last .37 cents to help a child.  It reminded me of the story of Peter and John on their way to the temple when they ran across a beggar who was begging for alms. 

Peter said, “I do not possess silver or gold but what I do have I give to you; in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene – walk” and seizing him by the right hand, he raise him up and his ankles were strengthened“ (Acts 3:6-7).  What a profound statement!  “What I have I give to you”.  

It has been my privilege to honor the memory of a friend on several occasions by giving  the Eulogy, recognizing the memory of that friend. As I delivered the eulogy, at each of these home goings, the picture in my mind that made each a joyful experience was- as I was speaking all four were “running and leaping and praising God” in new and perfect bodies in the presence of the Lord. 

In Isaiah 58:10-11 we find a wonderful promise the is available to you and me: “And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday.  And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” Wow, is that not a fabulous verse?

So, troopers for Christ, we will make choices today on how we treat our neighbor.  Jesus said, “To the extent we do it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me”. (Matt. 25:40).  As you go about your day, “think on these things!”

Blessings,

Gramps    


Thursday, October 5, 2017

What Do You See?

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His”.    (II Chron. 16:9).  Is that not a warm, reassuring verse for these troubled times?

Hey Gang:  How many know that mothers have wide angle vision.  As a lad growing up I believed my mother had eyes in the back of her head.  Just when I thought I had gotten away with something, she would, in her on subtle way let me know that I had been ‘had’. 

That, like tar, stuck to me and became a solid rock when interviewing potential staff.  I found that asking questions was, to a degree, informative but often found that there was a disconnect between what I was hearing and what surfaced in actual practice.  I heard an interviewer recently make the comment, “There is no greater recommendation for a potential employee than in the words found on their resume.”  

I found that a walk through the campus was far more beneficial than going through a long interview or placing a great deal of trust in the printed page.  After walking and chatting for an hour or so, we would return to the office, have a cup of coffee and sit down for a wrap up. 

My question, “What did you see on your trip through the campus?”  If their description was narrow in scope, the interview was over but, if they painted me a picture of all the wondrous things they saw, I knew I had a potential keeper. In other words, were they narrow in their views or did they have wide angle vision.

I believe God also walks with us and asks us the question, “What do you see?”  In Psalm 34:15 we read David’s words, “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry”.  In Proverbs 15:13 Solomon declared, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Watching the evil and the good”.

It has always been bothersome to me to sit under the teaching of a narrow-vision pastor or teacher who takes one verse out of context and preaches a sermon on it.  It is my sincere opinion that verses and concepts to do not stand alone but are part of God’s intricate road map that leads us from Generations to Revolutions. (Genesis to Revelation). There is no greater joy than to take a trip through the Bible following the travel agenda that God provides for us.

So, folks, my challenge to you - memorize and put into practice Paul’s formula for living a truly effective life for the Lord: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophetic utterance but, examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good, abstain from every form of evil” (I Thess 5:16-22).

Blessings,

Gramps

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Caring - How Much?

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”  (Gal. 6:2).  “Now we who ae strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves” (Rom. 15:1).

Hey Gang:  In the very early days of Eagle Village each day was a tremendous challenge with alligators continually nipping at my heels.  There was never enough money to meet the day’s needs, the staff consisted of young, very inexperienced, but dedicated people, who had no clue how to talk a kid down from a tree- because he was ticked off at what he was served for lunch.

Satan could see down the road and the influence Eagle Village might have on families and he did not like it one bit.  So, he set out to nip it in the bud -by destroying the confidence and enthusiasm of its founder – “ME”.

My office, at that time, was a very small and run down cabin that we used for everything from cooking to sleeping.  My secretary, at that time, was a tremendously caring and compassionate person who could read me like a book.  He knew when the cares of the world were weighing on me.  Oh, by the way, that caring person was my secretary- as well as my father-in-law.

One day when it seemed the roof was falling, the Peter principle was operating in full force- “If it can go wrong it will”, several fights were breaking out and young staff need gluing back together, I retreated to the kitchen to pay bills.  As per usual, the bills did not match the amount available and the last bill in was placed in the ‘hold file’ until God’s provision came in.    

It was at the peak of my depression- and throwing in the towel was a serious consideration- that my Father–in-Law came in, set a cup of coffee before me and placed his hand on my head. He left as quietly as he had come in.  Now, I never looked at my father-in-law as being an angel but I certainly believe he was God’s anointed that morning.

What I am saying?  I do not recall a day in my life when things were looking bleak that God did not send someone out there to minister to me.  Maybe there is someone in your life that needs a special touch.. 

Grampa Beery, as he became known to the boys, was always there when the rubber-hit-the road.  I firmly believe it was his prayers, his encouragement and the sheer fact that he was there when I needed him the most, that kept my sane and on track to do what God commissioned me to do.  My prayer for you this morning is that you too, have a ‘Grampa’ in your life!

My grandma once said to me, “Some are called to pray, some are called for action.  That is the purpose of the family of God.  Some are given wisdom, some the gift of healing.  Still others are called on to perform miracles, and some the gift of prophecy.  No matter what your gift might be, keep in mind when you ae not fulfilling your God-given purpose, you are leaving-what Frank Constantino preached as “leaving a hole in time, in God’s order.” 

Also keep in mind when you are not fulfilling your God-given marching orders, the hole you leave will be passed down through the generations!  So, friends and neighbors, make sure your armor is in place, polished and ready for action, your sword (Bible) is in your hand, your lamp filled with the Spirit of God and ready for warfare and you are alert to the needs of others.

Blessings,
Cari

Gramps

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Who Is Your Vinedresser?

 I am the true vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser (John 15:1)

Hey Gang:   When you randomly open your Bible each morning, I do assume you open your Bible each morning to stoke the fire in your spiritual; boiler, does it open to one of those very special verses that ignite that fire?   All of God’s Word, inspired by God, is very special but one Psalm- the 23rd Psalm- places vey near the top of the most favorite of all the Old Covenant chapters.  And, it is the most well-known chapters in the world; probably John 3:16 is the most known, loved and quoted verse in the New Covenant.

This morning I randomly opened my Bible and it opened to the fifteenth chapter of the book of John.  It was no accident that it opened to John 15 because I often open the Word intentionally to John 15.     I call it the “IF” chapter or prerequisites to walking in the fullness of God and His Word.  It is a prerequisite to living a life filled with the joy that Christ wants to shower on each of His children.

Jesus paints us a beautiful word picture of how we are interconnected with the Vinedresser who is the Lord.  A picture that was immediately understandable for Israel, which was and is a land of vineyards.  They knew the process well- pruning the non-producing vines so that the producers could be more fruitful.

Jesus’ words contained a hidden truth that was far more important than the simple task of pruning away an unproductive vine.  It painted a picture of the religious practices that were common to the Jews of that time.  Many stories of the Old Testament that referred to Israel as the vine or vineyard of God.  The vine was the symbol of Israel even appearing on the Maccabees currency.  Solomon considered the vine significant enough in Jewish life to place a vine across the front of the Holy of Holies in the Temple.         

I love to get off by myself and read Jesus’ awesome words in this passage, I am the vine and you are the branches,” Wow! Lord, how awesome.  You mean I can be a branch in Your vine – does that not fire the cockles of your thumpers? 

But notice Jesus does not leave it there.  He goes on and gives us the Good News: we can be attached to His vine! He said, “Abide in Me, and I in you.  As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  I am and true vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4). 

Wonderful, yes, but.. notice the next “IF”. “IF’ anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away – to where – “to be cast in the fire and they are burned(v.6).

So, my young friends, if’ I were to place a title on this Gramps Message, it would be  ‘Are You Grafted In?’ Are you truly attached to the Vine?’  Jesus made Himself available to us and walk through those wilderness times when He said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace” (John 16:3).

Blessings 

Gramps

Monday, September 25, 2017

Settle Down PussyCats, No Meal Tonight!


“He said, ‘O man of high esteem, do not be afraid.  Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!”  Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, ‘May my Lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” (Dan. 10:19).

Hey Gang:  How many out there would agree with me that Daniel was one tough dude?  Now think about what was dealt to him as a teen ager.  He was captured and taken to a foreign land; his country was destroyed and people taken into bondage; he was in a strange culture and, perhaps most pressing, he was chosen to be a satrap-in-training in the kings court- which placed him under the threat of death at any time.

He certainly had to make some tough decisions.  They attempted to mold the brightest and best-looking lads into Chaldean’s.  Every attempt was made to “brain wash” them, remove their Jewishness, and take the appearance of Chaldean’s.  Their choice was to be obedient or face death.   But, when it came to his eating habits, Daniel drew the line. He would have no part of defiling himself by eating of the King’s food, which had been sacrificed to idols.  When the rubber-hit-the-road Daniel declared, “I will not defile myself”. 

Daniel had purpose in his life and he knew who he was in God’s eyes.  Do you ever feel the need to take a stand?  In this age when everything Christian is under attack, have you faced times when you need to shout “No, I will not defile myself”. 

We need to take a peek at Daniel’s life and find the keys that gave him the backbone to trust in the Lord under all circumstance!   First, he was a fervent pray-er warrior.   He knelt three times a day, facing Jerusalem before an open window, praying fervently for the restoration of his country.   In Chapter 9 we find a model prayer that each believer should have on their desk and use as a model when praying for our nation.

This he did even though a trumped-up decree was pushed through in the dark of the night- forbidding anyone to pray to, or for, anyone or thing but King Nebuchadnezzar.  Daniel knew that the sleaze-bag club would run to the King and report Daniel’s dastardly deed, if he defied the King’s law- and they knew Daniel would. 

Note: Daniel did not get all in a dither, for he knew that God had placed him there for a purpose and, if his mission was completed, so be it, but if not, then he would close the pussy cat’s mouths.  We know the rest of the story. 

Is it possible to have such trust and faith in our Savior and Lord? Not without being in constant contact with Abba Father, keeping the Armor of God in place, and filling your heart with the Word of God.  Folks, this I can guarantee you, today, you will come against something that is contrary to God’s will- and you must choose! Will you allow yourself to be defiled? Or will you stand in the face of adversity and say, “No way, I will not be defiled”? 

One does not have to be a rocket scientist to see that the world is being shaken. God’s strength is always available to us! BUT, we must avail ourselves of that strength by inputting the promises of God into our heart, soul and mind.  “God is our refuge and strength” (Psa. 46:1; Eph. 3:16-17).
       
Blessings, 


Gramps

Friday, September 22, 2017

Little but Powerful!!



“Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Col. 3:1).

Hey Gang:  I have said it before and I say it again, I love the little, what most would call insignificant, words of the Bible. They are kind of like the people behind the scenes that are considered, by man, as mundane but in reality, what makes things work; example:  janitors and cooks. 

I often asked the kids in Chapel what is the most important word in the English language.  I would get such responses as, love, joy, peace and others that I will not give space in this epistle.  Of course, your most important word may be totally different from mine; but, the one word that I consider the most important is one that will determine where we spend eternity. The word ‘NOT’;  “I KNOW YOU NOT!”

Colossians three is filled with little insignificant words that carry life-changing power. 
Paul is what I call a “Practical teacher”. Here, he gives a principle and then gives us the power know-how to implement the principle.  In Colossians three we find six words, none of grandiose significance, but when wrapped in his descriptive way of teaching they are life-changing.

Note: step one is the three-letter word “Die” (v.5).  Paul says we have to die to anything that stands between us and God.   To this step in the process he adds such words as immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and greed.  I am sure all who read this epistle could make their own list.  Paul, who said we must die to anything that is offensive to God, also said, “I do the very things I hate”.

The second step in the process is we must “Put off” (v.8).  Notice, Paul did not say it would be a good idea to put off such things such as anger, wrath, malice, slander and abusive speech, lying, but rather made it an “act-of-the-will” issue; just plain “DO IT!”.

His third step, again two simple words, “put on” (v 10&14).  Jesus said when we clean house and evict the evil one we best fill the house with the good news that Jesus Christ is owner of your house, other - wise the evil one will return and bring his cousins with him. (Gramps rendition.) (Luke 11:25).
  
The final insignificant word, which is also the most difficult to implement, is “Let” (v16). Let the peace of God rule in your heart, let the word of Christ richly dwell with you”  

But, notice in verse one we find two insignificant words that activate the process! “Therefore & if” that activates the change process.   Seven rather insignificant words, die, put off, put on, and let; but one last, but very important kicker that makes Paul’s change process fly, “IF”. “If you have been raised up with Christ!”  

Paul closed this most important principle by saying, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”  (vs. 17). 

Blessings,

Gramps

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Are You Peculiar?

 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9).


Hey Gang: In my travels through the Word of God I have found that no verse stands alone.  I have great concern when a pastor or teacher takes a verse out of context and does not surround it with all the hidden pearls of great price that support it.  One of my very favorite verses is Peter’s words found in I Peter 2:9.      

 As I study Peter’s life and words, I sense a kinship with him for I, too, have been known to step out of the boat and be a wee bit brash in some of my actions and words.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I, too, have been reprimanded when my brashness has become too bold.

When my grandkids were in their younger years, it was my privilege to baptize them.  On the day we were to complete this blessed event, a paternal Grandma, having been raised in the Catholic persuasion, had a concern that I was not a priest- in the Catholic sense of the word.  When I read Peter’s words to her, she was satisfied that I was, indeed qualified to baptize her grandchildren.

Does it not make you feel all warm inside when you realize that, as a child of God, you are a “royal priest?” One commentary suggested as people became believers they "…at once bore the dignity of kings, and the sanctity of priests".  Jesus, through John in Revelation wrote, “And hath made us kings and priests unto God." (Rev. 1:6).

In the King James Version we find the word peculiar used to describe God’s children.  Most folks would get that dander up, if referred as peculiar; but a little research soon shows us its meaning is much deeper than we find it used today.  The Greek word means “A people for a possession, that is pertaining to God”.  Thus we are people who are secured as a possession, or His own; a people that belongs to Him and no other.

So, young folks, have you praised Him this morning for calling you “…out of the darkness into His marvelous light.”    We live in a time when the dark clouds are gathering and all that can be shaken is being shaken, but it is not fan-tab-u-lus to know you are a”… royal priest, and a member of a holy nation, and a person for God’s own possession and you have been called out of darkness into His glorious light”.  Rejoice ye in it! 

Blessings,


Gramps

Monday, September 18, 2017

Would You Know A False Teaching If it Hit You Between the Eyes?

 

Hey Gang, When Jesus was asked by His disciples, “When will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming and the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:3), His response was “Careful, careful, careful, “See to it that no one misleads you.  For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will lead many” (vs. 4-5).

In my lifetime, I have seen many of the signs Jesus said would become reality prior to His coming fulfilled. In fact, it has been stated by most of the prophecy guru’s, whom I have learned to respect, that everything is in place for the greatest event of all time to occur – the Coming of our Lord to collect His sheep and take them home.

But I want to emphasize, the first and foremost warning that Jesus gave was- “Keep your spiritual ears filled with His word and learn to recognize His voice for many are going to be taken down the wrong road just prior to his coming, even some of His saints.” (Gramps translation). 

As a child, I would have never believed that it would be a crime to place a nativity scene in a public park, or say Merry Christmas to a friend or neighbor in one of our nation’s public buildings.  It was beyond my comprehension that a Franking Order would tell our legislators that they could no longer wish those who support them a Merry Christmas, or that it would be bordering on a capital offense to call a Christmas Tree, a Christmas Tree.

I have seen the Church lose its power and the rise of Replacement Theology which has made great inroads in convincing the world that God no longer looks at Israel as the Apple of His eye.  From many in the media and some in from the pulpit teach that it does not matter who or what you believe in, all roads lead to God. Since the Bible has become an outdated conglomeration of wives’ tales and fables to many and many do not have a clue that Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

Jesus said, “CAREFUL, WARNING, RED LIGHTS BLARING” for we are into that day called “apostate” and many are being led down the Prime-Rose-Path to destruction by the evil one.” (Gramps translation).  Note: the end of the above Scripture verse, “False teachers will introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who brought them.”  Note: his condemnation of those false prophets and false teachings, “He will bring swift destruction upon themselves”.  

So, my friends and neighbors, one does not have to be a rocket-scientist to see and know that many have ignored Jesus’ words and are being deceived.  I have very bad news for those who do not go to the Throne Room daily and fill their hearts and minds with the Word of God – you are a good candidate for the Prime-Rose-Path.

Blessings,

Gramps

Saturday, September 16, 2017

How to Bridle Your Tongue!


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

Hey gang, after several very busy weeks, my bride and I decided we needed a couple day of R and R at one of our very favorite places, Shipshewana, Indiana. Shipshey, as it is more commonly known, is in the midst of Amish and Mennonite Country. It is not a place that rates very high on the ‘bangles and beads’ list of the city slickers who like the neon lights.

It brought memories of my younger years. I was privileged to live in the middle of another Amish community- Lancaster, Pennsylvania. There I picked up milk at 54 Amish Farms.  It was not a job for the future but it was perfect for a person who was struggling in their life and needed to be among some very special people. 

To me, I thought they were perfect, but I soon learned they, too, had problems- just like everyone else.  One memory that stands out clearly and filed in the ‘Did you know that gossip thrives on suspicion, mistrust, and a lack of confidence in others,’ file.  It can even gain strength  in the midst of honest misunderstandings. 

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

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

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

It then dawned on the Deacon that he was the seed planter of this dastardly sin when he suggested Brother Samuel purchase the vitamin and electrolyte mixture - which the young chicken farmer took to mean “electric light”.  The mystery was soon solved and the young man corrected the errors of his ways.

Unfortunately, not all gossip can be laid to rest with so much relief and touch of humor.  A simple pulling of the plug brought brother Samuel back into compliance.  I believe that is what James was talking about when he wrote: “Yet he who does not bridle his tongue deceives his own heart”.

Notice he does not stop there but went on to give warning: “…the gossipers religion is worthless”. 
 So, my young buckaroos, if you have a season when your chickens are not laying and you lack wisdom as to what to do -“Let him ask of God who gives to all generously and without reproach and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

Blessings,

Gramps

Friday, September 15, 2017

What Is That in Your Hand?



“The Lord said to him (Moses), “What is that in your hand?”  “A staff, he replied”.  Throw it on the ground” (Ex. 4:2-3).

Hey Gang, How many out there believe that Moses was a very tough and stubborn sort of hombre?
I believe God equipped him that way for the impossible tasks ahead. God was preparing him to, not
only take on the powers of Pharaoh, but also to deal with the nearly impossible elements of forty years in the wilderness with a million or so people-and even God described them as “Stiff-necked people”. 

Forty years in the house of Pharaoh and, much of that as second in command of the greatest power on
earth at that time, Egypt, then forty years of dealing with the impossible elements of the wilderness
while caring for a bunch of sheep, had made him one tough hombre.  But something was ‘fixen’ to
happen that would change his life forever! Moses had an encounter with a “burning bush” that did not
burn.

Did you ever have a life changing experience?  Moses was about to have one.  He decided he needed to take a closer look at this ‘burning bush’ that did not burn.  The burning bush was a phenomenal sight, but he was about to come face to face with a ‘blow your mind’ event.                                                                                                                                                                                                
 A voice came out of the bush (God’s voice) and said, “Moses, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground”.  I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”  Then Moses hid his face, for he  was afraid to look at God” (Exod. 3:5-6).

The story of Moses’ encounter with God is, indeed, a wonderful story.  If you are not up to speed on the  whole story, I strongly suggest you take your Bible and get alone with God and read the whole story.  It is worth the investment of time.

But, let’s skip down to the life changing experience that applies to every believer who encounters difficulties in their walk with the Lord.  After Moses gave five reasons why God had chosen the wrong person for this assignment, God lost patience with Moses and said, Moses what is that in your hand”, to which Moses responded “a staff”.   (Ex. 4:2).

“God said, “Throw it on the ground”… and it turned into a serpent and Moses fled from it.”  (Ex. 4:3) After 40 years in the wilderness Moses knew the perils of getting to close to a serpent. “ Then God said, “pick it up by the tail” (Ex.3:4).    I don’t know what Moses said but I think I would have said, “You have got to be kidding!”  But when God is giving the orders it pays to be obedient.

Hence from that point on the ‘rod’ became the ‘rod of spiritual authority’, called the “rod of God”. 
We know from the Bible that God wants his children to have the best but, He also knows that many of those ‘best things’ have serpents in them that can be harmful in our walk with the Lord. 

So, my young friends, be sure to throw all of the neat bangles and beads on the ground and let God take the serpent out of them.  I promise, if they are going to make you a better disciple for Him, He will give them back to you – serpent-less.

Blessings,


Gramps

Monday, September 11, 2017

When Exhausted - Check Your JOY Meter!


These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and your joy may be made full.”  (John 15:11)

Hey Gang:  I find myself craving even a tiny tidbit o good news in this day-of-darkness across the world. If the Sunday School teacher of my younger years, were still around, she would say, “Darkness is an attitude and God gave us the antidote to overcome it.  If you really want joy in your heart, place Jesus first, Others second and You last -which adds up the word JOY.

Question: Would you call Paul a joy-filled man?  Even after you read Romans and the letters to the Corinthians?   In Romans seven he wrote: “For what I am doing, I doing I do not understand: for I am practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” (7:15).  He goes on: “For the good that I want, I do not do but I practice the very evil that I do not want” (v. 19).  He capped this off with these words: “Wretched man that I am!  Who will set me free from the body of this death?’

Does that sound like a joy-filled man?  But let’s dig a little deeper.  Many refer to the Epistle he wrote to the church at Philippi, while chained to a wall in the basement prison of someone’s house. Here we have a totally different picture of Paul. 

He begins by saying, “I thank my God in remembrance of you, For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (v. 6).

Throughout the epistle we find Paul referring to joy in no less than nine different situations.   He says, “There is joy in offering prayer for you all” (1:4).   In verse 1:18 he says, “Where Christ is proclaimed, I rejoice”.   In verse 25 he says, “There is joy in the faith” and in 2:2 “There is joy in unity of the body and our fellowship with believers.” 

We might take Paul a wee bit to task with his next reference to joy when he says, “Even when I am being poured out as a drink offering, I rejoice and share my joy with you all” (2:17).  In verse 28 he tells us we should, “Rejoice when we receive good news.” And  “Our hearts should be filled with joy when we cross paths with a brother or sister in Christ” (v.29), and “There is the joy of remembering and being with saints of God” (4:1).

What powerful words we find in verses 4:4 and 5, “Rejoice in the Lord and, again, I say rejoice. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”    And, finally, he says, “Rejoice when someone comes to your aid in times of need” (v.10)

So, my young friends, always, always, always remember that when the rubber-begins-to-sag and you find your back against the wall, “God is your strength” and you can do all things through Him who strengthens you”; and “He will provide for all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (4:19).  Wow, you can take that to the bank!!!

Blessings,  

Gramps

PS We are practicing Paul’s Joy challenge and know that it is God who strengthens us.  Gramps has a back issue – probably pinched nerve- but had to change our travel plans and are returning home from Colorado, instead of traveling on to AZ.  God is good.  We will be home Sunday before you receive this.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Dry Spells.. con't


“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange things were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the suffering of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation” (1 Peter 12-13).

Hey Gang:  I remember hearing Cliff Barrows talk of the dry spells that followed the Billy Graham Crusades.  He said, “From the high of being in the midst of thousands of people praising God and leading a thousand voice choir to going home and having to take out the garbage, was a very depressing experience.”   

He also said that it took days, weeks and even on several occasions months, before he and the other members of the team to began to work their way out of the doldrums.  I had a hard time visualizing Billy Graham dealing with dry spells.

I have discovered, in reading materials from some of the spirituals gurus of my day, that they, too, have gone through periods when it seemed they had lost connection with Abba Father.  Even to the point, where some confessed, that dry spells were not something that one would consider “rare or unusual”.  I also learned that dry spells were looked upon by many as plateaus where God was preparing them for a new and exciting growth period in their lives.

So, I began to look at godly men and women throughout the Bible and learned that ‘dry spells were as much a part of their ministry as the mountaintop experiences.  I found that it was, and is, a common experience particularly for those who walk closely with the Lord.  The closer you walk with the Lord, the more Satan tries to tamper with your life.

Consider Elijah:   This bold prophet led an amazing life of faith.  In a single day, God manifested his power in Elijah in incredible ways.  At Mount Carmel, the prophet called down fire from heaven that consumed his sacrifice along with twelve barrels of water.  Elijah then wiped out 400 priests of Baal.  As the people beheld this amazing scene, they fell down on their faces in worship of Jehovah God.

We also see Elijah doing other incredible works.  He prayed down rain to end a drought, and he outran King Ahab’ chariot over many miles.  Elijah was experiencing supernatural strength, the very power of the Holy Spirit.  He was bursting with zeal and faith, walking on an elevated spiritual plane.

So, what followed for Elijah?   In the very hour of his blessing and revelation, this mighty prophet plunged deep into despair.  Why?  Ahab’s wife, Queen Jezebel, had threatened to kill him.  Suddenly, in a day’s time.  Elijah descended from glorious victory to utter despair.  A dryness overcame him, and his spirit got so low he wanted to die. 

 Elijah ended up running from God in fear.  He couldn’t shake his despair, so he hid out in a cave, crying, “Lord, I h….ave failed in my mission.  What purpose is there is my life?”  He experienced a dry spell.

Consider David.  God told David, “I am going to establish your kingdom as everlasting”. “Thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before them” (2 Samuel 7:16).  Why?  Because David was a man after God’s own heart.  But we find David also experienced “Dry Spells” in his life.

David’s message to us today would be, “Beloved, do not panic! And don’t beat yourself up, this too shall pass”.

SOOO, dear ones, ‘Dry Spells’ are difficult times and we fall into the doldrums… BUT, look up, GOD want to use them for our growth.

Blessings,

Gramps