Friday, April 28, 2017

What Price? "Fruits of 'I Can't live without it"

What Price?  “Fruits of “I can’t live without it” compulsion?   
     
“Do not be worried about your life as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Matt. 6:25). 

Hey Gang:  Did you ever want something? I mean really want something- something you just cannot live without, something you would do just about anything to get?  Even something that you know is wrong?  On our route home from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, last year, we stopped at a rest area on the West Virginia turnpike. While there a young man, I would estimate to be around thirty years of age, waddled in and I mean waddled.  I would guess that he tipped the scales at more than the 400 pounds.  He made a “B” line to the ice cream counter and ordered a very special made-to-order Sunday of monumental proportions.

He was a captive to the simple fact that he could not handle temptation.  I am sure, if I would have asked him why he allowed himself to get into that condition he would have had a multitude of excuses, including I just cannot help myself.  Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, broke that bubble when he wrote, “No temptation has overtaken you but such is common to man” (1 Cor. 10:13).

But, we need to understand there is a prerequisite to overcoming the desire to do those things that are not pleasing to Father God and grieves the Holy Spirit.  Paul, went on and gave us the key to not giving into the whims of the evil one: “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted 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).

Notice, Paul then gives us the essential ingredient to prevent our being led down the Prime Rose Path: “My beloved, flee from idolatry” (v.14). You mean when I give in to that ten- pound piece of chocolate cake I am giving in to an “idol?   I would suggest that is exactly what Paul is saying.   Anything that stands between you and your bringing honor and glory to Father God is, in Paul’s eyes and the writer of this epistles eyes, ‘an idol’.  I talk from personal experience.

I have said it many times and enjoy saying it again, I love the Amish (the Plain People) and have been blessed to learn many lessons from them.  In recent years, they have opened the door for their late-teen-aged kids to leave the Amish community, go out and check out the world and see it they would rather live in the modern world or return to the world and faith of their youth and parents.

Did it take courage to say, “Go and find out which world you want to spend the rest of your life in?”  Yes, but, I believe it took faith in the seeds that had been planted in their kid’s hearts.   The results have been more than ninety percent returned to the faith and, of the ten percent who did not, recent studies have found that most believe they made a very bad decision.  

So, my young friends, beware for Slue Foot, the evil one. He is going to dangle an apple in front of you today and try and convince you that -“You surely will not die”.  But “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brethren be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 5:57-78).

Blessings,

Gramps

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Prayer, A Chore or Love Story?


“But, you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to Your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:6).

Hey Gang:  Why pray?  I mean I can give you a list for the times when I prayed diligently but did not receive what I was praying for.  Do we not tend to forget to make a second list, of all the times that God bailed us out or did indeed answer our prayers with a gold ribbon around them. 

I confess to you that praying has always been hard for me.  My dear sainted grandma often said, “Some are called for prayer and some are called for action.”  As I have matured, meaning gotten as old as dirt, I am not sure she was right.  I have learned that prayer has many meanings including when you are up to your arm pits in alligators, prayer gives us the power and energy to stand firm on the Rock who is Jesus Christ. 

Several years ago I did a forty-day search on a book by Dr. John De Vries, Founder of Mission India, called Why Pray.  On the very first day he gave an illustration that cut to the chase as to why one should not be making a list of what prayers were answered and which ones were not.  His immediate point was, most folks tend to enter into a one-way conversation with God, without waiting for God to answer.  To that I say, “Me too”.

John was part of a prayer group that met daily asking God to increase the numbers of their group.  In the initial stages of their meeting together God did indeed respond.  Their group grew in numbers, but then one day, it was like God turned the facet off. It seemed praying was like firing blanks that went nowhere.  Been there and know that feeling. 

One asked, ”Why pray, when I feel like you are firing bricks?  His response, “Because there must be some other reason for praying, than  “it pays.’” He went on and said, “Does it pay to talk to your spouse?  Why do you do that?”  Answer, “Because you love her.  So then why do you want to talk to God?  Because of the love relationship that Abba Father wants to have with each of His children.” 

Did you even ask yourself the question, ‘Why did God create man, knowing that man was going to become a royal or not so royal pain in His neck?  Well, that is a question we could write volumes on, so will leave it for another day. But this He Has made clear, we were created for fellowship!

As a lad growing up I used to dread when the pastor called on Sister Grace or Brother Charles to give the morning prayer.  It always seemed to me that they blessed everything from the earthworms to the cosmos and everything in between. 

As I have grown older, I have come to that point mentioned by my grandma, some are more able to be the prayer warriors for the Body- and that is the job of those who have less rigors in life, and the young, more energetic, are the drone bees in the Body. 

Does that mean drone bees are not to pray? Not in your sweet bippy!  But I would remind you that God hears our prayers even when we are trucking down the road or in our work place.  I have heard folks, who were in their final lap say, I don’t know why God leaves me here – simple answer – to pray for your kids, grands and great grands!

Let me make one last point before closing this.  As I mentioned above, praying was hard for me and praying in public boarded on paranoia.   But has changed.  A dear friend of our family passed away several days ago and my bride was asked to do her eulogy. 

The church family had prepared a meal for family and friends and I was asked to bless the food.  My friends, I do not have a clue where most of those present were, in their relation-ship with the Lord, but I know He was talking to some there through Jean and me.  What a joy it was to be His representatives at that moment.  We were used by our Father as seed planters. 

Look in the mirror.  You see that person who is staring back at you?  God wants to use you in some way today to be a “seed Planter for Him”. 

Blessings,


Gramps

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Shake, Rattle and Roll!

“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Gal 5:17).

Hey Gang:  I don’t know about you but in these days of being in God’s shaker, I feel like there is raging war inside of me.  The old adage, “We do the very things we know were wrong yesterday with the hopes that they will somehow turn out differently today”, seems to be a driving force in our world.  It is truly a time when many take what was bad yesterday but in their eyes as good, and the good they call bad.  The power of conviction seems to have lost its power. 

I read this very descriptive phrase in the Berean Daily Scripture Verse for the day, “Sometimes we seem to consist of a whole clamorous mob of desires, like week-old kittens, blind of eye with mouths wide open, mewing to be satisfied.”  O, I wish that were not true but I must plead “guilty”.   I want what I want when I want it!  Am I talking to anyone out there or am I preaching to the choir?

Again, I turn to the Berean Message of the morning, “It is as if two voices are in us, arguing, "You shall, you shall not. You ought, you ought not." Does not God want us to set a will, above these appetites, that cannot be bribed, a reason that cannot be deceived, and a conscience that will be true to God and His standards? We must either control ourselves using the courage, power, and love of God's Spirit, or we will fall to pieces. 

It is the choice of whether we will feed the white dog and starve the black dog that victory or failure reigns down upon us,

But can we blame it on our original father and mother.  Adam and Eve established the pattern for mankind in the Garden of Eden. But can we rationalize and blame it all on the incidence of original sin?  All of us have followed it, and then, conscience-smitten, we rankle under feelings of weakness. Satan did a number on them and they bought into it; it worked so well on them that it is the number one tool that he uses on us- The apple looked so good!!!!!

A certain Bishop Butler said, "If conscience had power, as it has authority, it would govern the world." Solomon, in his dissertation on vanity, said “Authority without power is nothing but vanity”. Think about that for a moment, conscience has the authority to guide or accuse, but what good is it if the will is so enfeebled that the passions and desires get the bit between their teeth, trample the conscience, and gallop headlong to the inevitable collision with the ditch?

Sooo, gang, keep in mind I am writing this to the writer of this epistle first, if it rankles your spirit, take heed.  I have tried many remedies but have found there is but one solution to this and it lies in our relationship with Christ.  Paul said, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work, for His good pleasure.”  (Phil. 2:12-13). 

Well gang, this is not where I thought I was to go this morning but that is no surprise.  In the writing of the many blogs, I do not recall going where I thought I should go.  But as David said, “When given orders, “I go and do what the Lord says”.

Blessings,


Gramps

Friday, April 21, 2017

Are You Looking UP?


“He will restore the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse” (Mal.4:6).  The last verse in the Old Testament. 

Hey Gang:  I suspect this is going to be one of those rambling times when I will end up going down several roads.  I have been asked to share what is on my heart with a couple groups, in the next week, and confess that is not as easy as when I was running all over the State representing Eagle Village.  Speaking is much like everything else we do, repetition does hone the wheel. 

My subject area will be what I know best, me and Eagle Village.  Recently, I had occasion to stand on what was commonly known to our family­­­ as Mount Nose’, and I look out over the Residential Campus.  Wow, how the memories flooded through my heart, soul and mind.  I remember the call from Myrtis McDonald, Probate Judge, with a plea for help.  “We have kids on the street with nothing to do, can you help?” 

Was that not what I was sent here for, Lord?  Think about it for a moment, we had a 453-acre piece of land, a cottage that had seen its better days, a cement block storage building with one toilet, a shower and sink. The Judge was asking me to open a camp within two months.  No staff, no money, absolutely nothing to cook with, feed with, tools to work with, tents to sleep the troops and worst of all no expertise on how one develops and runs a camp.  I did not have a clue what was in my immediate future.

One might call that first camp our first major miracle but that would not be true- for we had already experienced a steady stream of miracles from the moment God said, “I have something I want you to do”.  It is my heart’s desire to develop a paper on the seven major miracles that led to the development of Eagle Boys Village, before I retire my computer.   Well, I could go on for hours but that is not where I want to go this morning.

I want to share what God has laid on my heart as my next immediate assignment.  There are a few waiting in the wings that, if Jesus lingers and I linger, I pray I will have time and stamina to do but right now, I believe this is my calling. 

One night towards the end of 2010 I was working on my finances in preparation for the opening of income season.     While reconciling the check book I felt a tap on the should and a question, “Are you more concerned about what you will pass down to your kids in world finances than passing on your spiritual legacy?”.  Not a message I really wanted to hear- but yet a message I really needed to hear.

But, Lord, how do I continue to pass down their spiritual legacy to family when they are no longer under my roof?”  His answer, “Send them an email telling them how you feel about Me and them.”   I thought it would take a couple months and I would have said it all, but the months turned into a year and a dear friend suggested I change the format and develop a blog.  With his counsel and help we did just that.

Let me sum up this epistle by saying, we are into our seventh year of sending out blogs.  We have had over 50,000 hits in the US and several foreign countries; perhaps by accident but that’s okay.  God can take even accidentally planted seeds and use them for His glory.

Now, I have said all of this- on legacy, being a witness and my rambling, to bring you attention to the following.  I received an excellent overview of what is happening prophetically in our world at this very moment.   Jesus said, “When all these things are happening, look up for your redemption is drawing near.”  Please avail yourself to this blog and pass it down to you friends and family.  The address is grampswhatshappeningman.blogspot.com.

Blessings,


Gramps

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Do or Not to Do?


“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober  in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:13).

Hey Gang, now here is a piece of historic trivia that might earn you a bucket full of money, if you happened to be a contestant on jeopardy.  Did you know that Edwin Thomas became a renowned master on the stage as a Shakespearian actor at the age of fifteen?  And did you also know that his brother, John, played the part of Brutus in Julius Caesar with Edwin?  But did you also know that two years later John assassinated President Abraham Lincoln?

Did you also know that Edwin, while standing on the platform waiting for his train, saw a well-dressed young man lose his footing and fall between the platforms and into the path of an oncoming train? And with hesitation, Edwin locked his legs around a railing and pulled the young man to safety.  And finally, did you know that young man was none other than the son of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant?  And that my friends you can take to the bank. 

Edwin and John had the same mother and father, profession and passion – yet one choose life, the other death.  One wonders how that happens but this we know- it does indeed happen.  We were blessed with four children in our quiver; all lived under the same roof, interacted with the same parents and siblings, attended church together but each one, in their own way, is vastly different.

King David wrote, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Wonderful are your works, and my soul know it very well” (Psa. 139:13-14).  And to each one, He placed the raw materials, the unique abilities that made each one of us so different.  Is it not fabulous that we are all different?  

Would it not be a boring world if we were all prophets, or evangelists, or doctors, or truck drivers? 
Yes, God formed us, we are fearfully and wonderfully made but there are times when I wonder, if He made a mistake when He did not place a stop control in us, so that when we choose to go our own way, a siren or red light would appear.  Oh, but He did!  It is called that still small voice in the recesses of our heart and mind that says, ‘Hey buster, you are out of line!’

How many times have you heard the phrase, “I did it without thinking”?  Sorry, that does not compute in God’s kingdom.  There is a mechanism built into our electric system called choices; without them we are but mere robots driven by the wind, subject to be moved and shaken by the whims that come into our mind.  Paul talked about that when he said, ”I do the very things I hate?” (Rom 7:15)  But that is not God’s way.  He placed a conscious deep in our soul -that is that red light and siren- but He also gave us the choice to turn it off!

Throughout the Bible we see many examples of those who shut it off; Cain and Able, both sons of Adam and Eve.  Cain choose murder, and God let him.  David and Saul – both kings of Israel, one choose God, the other one power – and God let him.  Peter and Judas, both denied the Lord, one sought mercy and forgiveness, the other choose death, and God let them. 


So, good folks, before this day is over we will have opportunities to make a choice on whether we will feed the white dog or the black dog.  Jesus was very clear: those who make the choice to go their own way are choosing eternal punishment; but, praise God, we also have the option to choose eternity in His presence in that place He prepared for His sheep.  

Blessings.

Gramps. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

God's Desire - To Give You Loving Water


“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38).

As you all know by now, we recently spent twenty-five days in the Apple-of-God’s-Eye – Israel.  Of that twenty-five days, we spent eighteen days @ Biblical Tamar Park, called kibbutz Ir Ovot when we started going there in 1984.  Located in the Arava, better known as the desert and is located South of the Dead Sea, four miles from the Jordan Border.  It is the very same wilderness where Moses and his troops wondered for forty years; at that time is was called ‘Oboth’.(Numbers 21:10).

We have spent time in the desert on ten different occasions covering more than thirty years. I can honestly say in that time the only major change in the desert is the archeologists have uncovered seven ancient civilizations and uncovered more than 22,000 artifacts that date back to Abraham. We could say “We walked today where Abraham walked”.  

I do not know if you are aware of the climate in Israel, but the lower parts of the country, the Arava, tends to be a wee-bit warm most of the time.  When in the Arava and much of the Negev you have to be very careful of dehydration.  We always had people with containers of water assigned to make sure everyone drank a full cup of water each half hour.  Dehydration is called a silent killed in the desert.

Some rebelled against this demand stating, “I am not thirsty I do not need a lot of water”.  That attitude is okay for Big Rapids or Clare, but not very wise in the deserts of the world.

We arrived only days after the Feast of Tabernacles had ended.  The Feast of Tabernacles is the most joyful of the seven Jewish feasts or celebrations.  It is kind a combination of thanksgiving and family camp celebration; this year the festivities included folks from eighty countries involving more than six-thousand worshipers. 

The setting of this morning’s Scripture is Jesus with His disciples at the Feast of Tabernacles.  The weather this year was unusual and not blistering hot.  During the times of Jesus, Canaan was always hot, no matter what time of the year it happened to be.  Some folks believe that of the desert but we have found that is not always true.  On this trip we often had to don a sweater after the sun went down and the nights were on the cool side.  But water is usually in short supply.

One of the key parts during the Feast of tabernacles is that the priests descend to the Pool and bring fresh water to the Temple as a sacrifice.  At the last feast of Tabernacles before His death, Jesus suddenly stands up and “In a loud voice,  He suddenly said,  “Is anybody thirsty?”  Because if you are, I have water” (v. 37). He followed this profound statement with another “the water that I have never, never, never runs out.   

The question, What did He mean?.  It is here that we have agreement with most of the Bible guru’s- He was talking about the Jesus in me!  If you believe in Jesus, you now have Jesus in your life.  You have His Spirit living inside you. 

And what does it look like?  What would it look like to have that living water flowing inside of you and flowing out into the world around you?   We live in a very thirsty world in that sense, a world that is thirsty for the Spirit of God.  What would it look like for the Spirit, the living water that Jesus is talking about, to be flowing in this world. 

We turn to the story of the Samaritan woman at the well for the answer, “Whoever drinks of the water that I  will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:14).

Everything in our world that can be shaken is being shaken so that only those things that cannot be shaken will last.  Therefore, all who come to Me I will in no way cast out, I will fill them with My living water that never runs dry. Signed, Yeshua Hamashiah.

Blessings,

Gramps

Friday, April 14, 2017

Stubbornness Can Be Deadly

  
"And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).

Hey Gang:  I was listening to a discussion, well, it really was not a discussion because one participant was very opinionated and was not about to agree or even consider what the other person was saying.  It reminded me of a neighbor who lived several doors down from my home in my growing up years.

Have you ever run into person who was so cock-sure they had all the answers and those answers were without question – perfect.    Archie Mc Tavish was such a man.  Now, there are stubborn folks in the world, and then there was Archie McTavish.   He was a true, blue Scotchman who let everyone in ear-shot know it.

It was said that Arch had gained such a reputation for his stubbornness that folks just tended to give him space and remarked, "Oh, that’s the way he is” and tended to give way to him- rather than doing battle over things that were just not worth the pain and agony that it would take to try and convince Arch that he might be wrong.

And then one day, Archie's stubbornness cost him his life.  During a rain storm he noticed a leak in his roof.  His house was of the three-story variety and about twenty-five feet in high.  Now his bride, of more than forty years, tried to convince Arch that this was not the time to try and repair the roof but, as you might guess, Arch would have no part of that! So, he got out his repair kit, put up the ladder and began to climb.

All went well until Arch stepped on a spot that was slippery.  He came off the roof like a speeding bullet, did a half gainer and made a sudden stop at the bottom.  Arch should have listened to Amy, his bride, but his stubbornness won out and it cost him his life.

This is not the end of the story, Arch had been a rather rough individual who had no time for religion, although he had been baptized into the Catholic faith.  Since he had lived a rather rough life, the church determined he would need to be prayed out of purgatory and Amy was expected to foot the bill for the services of the church.  It was rumored that after several years of paying for Arch's soul, 

Amy went to check to see how much longer it would take.  The priest suggested all was out but one foot- to which she remarked, “Arch was stubborn enough to get his own foot out” and ceased paying.
Archie was stubborn and we can say it led to his demise, but spiritual stubbornness is far more lethal than doing a half-gainer off a slippery roof.   It is absolutely amazing to me that so many so- called intelligent people do not have a deep compulsion to seek the truth pertaining to eternal life and where they will spend eternity.

In Revelation 3:20 Jesus made this promise to each and every creation that He breathed life into: "Behold, I stand at the door at the door and knock."  Notice the next word "IF"; “IF you open the door I will come into you?"  In John 3:16, God puts legs on that promise” "I loved you so much I gave my only Son that you might be freed from the bondage of sin".  In other words, “I have sent Yeshua, mu Son to carry your sin-burden to the cross to free you from the bondage of sin.”

I believe one of the most profound verses in the Bible, and, I might add the most tragic and sad, is Revelation 16:11: “And they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not REPENT OF THEIR DEEDS.

So, my friends and neighbors, I know that most, if not all of those who read the Gramps Morning Thoughts, are believers and safely tucked away in the Savior's hands- but it does not hurt to do a review once-in-a-while if, for no other reason to thank your heavenly Daddy that He prepared a way for you to dump the errors of your ways and be washed clean with the blood of the cross.  Keep in mind, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one come to the Father except through Me". (John 14:6).

 Blessings,


Gramps     

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Have You Reached Out and Touched Someone Lately>

Paul, in his letter to the Colossians wrote, “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.  Let our speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person” (4:5-6).

Hey gang:  Ragged, soiled clothes, a crutch lying beside him and a sign “HELP!”   Not in Bangladesh or Calcutta but here in America on a street in a very neat and prosperous neighborhood and just down from the beautiful church.   It was Sunday morning and the excitement filled the air, for today was the day the new minister would be there for the very first time.

Lines of beautiful cars and very well dressed people passed by the man who was dressed in the ragged soiled clothes with crutch beside him and the sign “HELP”. Each person  eager to get to church to meet and hear the new minster of Jesus Gospel.  More than three-hundred worshipers were now seated and waiting patiently.

Suddenly, there was a commotion at the narthex of the church.  It seems there was a man- in ragged, soiled clothes with a crutch under his left arm with a sign “HELP”- trying to get into the House of Worship.  How dare he try and enter this beautiful edifice when he was not properly attired!  The transgression lasted but a minute or two when one of the elders of the church family escorted the man -in ragged, soiled clothes, with crutch and sign “HELP”- to the front of the church where he discarded the crutch, removed the beard from his face and was introduced by the elder as their new Shepherd.      

One could have heard a pin drop that morning in the beautiful edifice where they come to worship God. The new Pastor opened his Bible and began to read, “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited Me in, naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and gave You something to drink?  And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothed You?  And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked and cloth You?   When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?”

The King will answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”  (Matt. 25:35-40).

He closed this message of his first day with his new congregation with this benediction: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends(John 15:13).  

There was no music that day, no announcements of things to come.  Just a few verses from God’s word and a dismissal.  There was no visiting that day as all left silently.   No dissertation of the Word but the impact of the message was profound! 

My friends the story of the ragged, soiled man with the a crutch by his side and the sign “Help” was true.  A pastor did indeed show up at his new church for the first time armed to send a message and it was a remarkable piece of true evangelism! 

We are nearing that very special day when we will honor our Lord for the tremendous sacrifice He made on our behalf.  I have been blessed with 83 years of life and I grow in confidence each day that Father God will soon say to His only begotten Son, “Go for itTime to go for your Bride.”  My prayer, this day, is that the name of every person who reads this epistle is a child of God and name recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life. The day is coming, one day soon for the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.  Will you be there?

Blessings,

Gramps

Monday, April 10, 2017

Is There Room in the INN -of Your Mind?


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


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

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

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

In point one of Paul’s change process, we are told we must and put on a “new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him”.  I recently reread  a book that I have referred to many times written by David Wilkerson, the founder of Teen Challenge and author of the Cross and the Switchblade. 

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

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

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

And as I clean out the basement and garage of my mind, heart and soul, I find a very profound thing is happening.  My attention is no longer on the bangles and beads of this world but on the things that have eternal value.  I have been amazed that how important the things that are in the garage ready or shipment to the auction, were, but today my desire is to get them out of my garage.

Peter gives use the key to victorious living under the rule and banner of Christ:  “Thereforegird up your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you are the Revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 1:13).

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

Blessings,

Gramps

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Yoke Is Not a Bad Thing

   
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, AND YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  (Matt. 11:28-30).

Hey gang:  Are you dealing with some tough issues this morning?  Read the Scripture again and get it firmly implanted in your mind and heart.  Jesus never said anything that was not truth, nothing but the truth, so help me Abba Father.   But, to understand what He is saying, we must do some fast tracking through the Word and find out what He meant. 

The Greek word ‘easy’ literally means well fitting.  William Barkley, in his Daily Study Bible Series, tells us of a legend that Jesus was the best yoke-maker in Israel and folks came ‘hither and yon’ to get him to tailor-make a yoke that would not gall their oxen.  It has been suggested that Jesus had a sign above his shop door that read, “My yokes fit well.”  Perhaps here He is using a picture from the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth where he had worked throughout His silent years.

Jesus said, “My yoke fits well”.  I believe what He means is “The life I give you is not one that will gall you.”  

Whatever God sends our way is made perfectly to fit our needs and our abilities to the ‘T’.    We have the assurance that He will never send us on a trail that He does not equip us to fulfill.  He said to Noah, build an ark.  Can you imagine how Noah felt at that first moment after receiving his marching orders – “who me?    What is an ark, Lord?” 

Our new President is enduring sever attacks from those who do not want him to succeed, but he does have mega folks who are praying diligently for him and providing a cushion of support.  Noah had none.  He and his family would one day board the ship “the Ark” and be the only survivors on earth.  I would suggest in those years when he, and I assume his sons, labored to fulfill God’s challenge to them- build the ark- their yokes were heavy.

As I reread the above Scripture over again the words “AND YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS” stuck out in very bold print.  Jesus said the closer we get to the end of the age the more difficult and turbulent it will be.  Many will fall by the wayside, even some of the elect because they have not been honed on the Potter’s wheel and filled their heart and mind with the Word of God.    Yes, the days are growing more dark and difficult but rest assured that with God’s yoke in place,  His grace will be sufficient to carry us through any wilderness that we encounter. 

So,  my young friends, when you think your yoke is especially heavy, keep in mind it was perfectly honed by the Master Carpenter and will not ‘gall’ your spirit.  Also, keep in mind, to live in his world without God’s yoke - is dangerous!

Blessings,

Gramps

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

How Is Your Scorecard On Obedience?


“See I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statues and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it”  (Deut. 30:15-16).

Hey Gang:  Have you ever asked God why it is that some folks have such a profound faith that they can move mountains and so many, like myself, tend to struggle when confronted with the clinkers of even the mole hill variety?   In my morning time with the Lord I was researching the Abrahamic Covenant and how it applies to our day and age.

I think I could spend the next week to ten days on the wonders of God covenant with Abraham, but the story of God’s calling to sacrifice his only son seemed to be in bold print. The first thing that struck my dome-of-intellect was- “He was really locked into the voice of God.” Abram heard his marching orders, hesitated not one second! And heeded its advice, as he had done in the past.   Let’s face it, to receive marching orders to leave the home of your youth and set out to a place =you had no idea where you were going- would take a heap of faith.   I can say, “been there and done that!”

When a total stranger comes to you, as you are cutting grass, and says, “I understand you are thinking about selling your house”, and you had not mentioned that to anyone, it tends to settle and question of whether we were contemplating doing what God had instructed us to do.  So, from that moment on, especially when the money suddenly became available to move now, there was never a lack of faith that we were doing what God had placed into our mind and heart. 

Right?  Absolutely, wrong!  With every piece of furniture that went out the door on its way to Goodwill or a friend’s house there as the ever-lurking whisper “Are you sure you are doing the right thing?” (And there there was the trip across country!! More questions and miracles.)

Do you think when God said to Abraham, “Take your Son, your only son and offer him as a sacrifice” he might have asked, “Are You Sure Lord?  I mean, we waited a hundred years for him and You did say he would be the father of great nations!”  Yes, Abraham was a man of tremendous faith but he was also a man of feelings and emotions. 

 My young friends, I close this epistle with a lesson that I have learned in my tenure of walking with the Lord:   Our obedience in completing an assigned task will determine if He will trust us with ever larger task in the future! 

Blessings,


Gramps

Monday, April 3, 2017

No Way - That Could Never Happen....But It Did!

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Cor. 9:8).
 
Hey Gang: I love the neat stories of miracles that our Abba Father sends our way.  We have a neat DVD series in our home titled “Against All Odds.”  A reporter was commissioned to go to Israel, after the 67 war, and do research on some of the miracles that had been reported to have happened.

In one such miracle, a squad returned from a mission and found themselves in the middle of a mine field.  Before taking a step, each had to take their bayonet from their rifle and probe the ground in front where their next step would be.   And then a strange thing began to happen, a violent wind began to blow revealing the placement of every mine in the field.
  
I confess that I am a miracle seeker  I love to hear stories about how God intervenes in peoples live with experiences that would fit nicely in Ripley’s “Believe it or Not”. When I heard this story, I reread it several times, for it sounded far too bazaar to be true.  It is truly a neat story that qualifies for the “so the always having all sufficient in everything” classification.  Check this out and see if you agree with me.

A young lassie was invited to go rock climbing with a couple friends.  The problem, rock claiming was not at the top of her priority list and, frankly speaking, just the thought of it scared the tar out of her. But she gritted her teeth and said, “Yes”.  On rock climbing day she attacked the course with fear and trepidation and breathed a sigh of relief when she reached a ledge where she could lean back and catch her breath; however, as she adjusted her safety line it brushed her eye knocking out her contact lens!

Okay, there are miracles and then there are miracles, but how in the world do you find a contact lens on the side of a mountain.  Answer, she didn’t.  But, as they prepared to continue their climb, they heard someone beneath them yelled, “Hey, anyone lose a contact lens?”

Now for the unbelievable.   How did you find it?  She asked excitedly.  The climber told of seeing a tiny ant moving slowly across the large stone where he was sitting and noticed that the ant was carrying something. You guessed it – a contact lens! The young man was not the finder of the lens, he was simply the transfer agent used by God.  It was a tiny creation of God, an ant, that was used by God to carry the lens in front of the young man so that it could be returned to its owner.

I repeat, I love the Word of God for it is one huge miracle from cover to cover; and in this day of woe, anguish, pain, darkness, when it seems every evil thing that can happen is happening, God continues to use those- who are available to His leading, and ants who are carrying lost eye lens to their owners. 

I am an early riser.  My built-in alarm clock goes off around five “o’clock.  If I could reset it to a later time, I would not, for there is something so very special of seeing the sun peak through trees each morning.  It is a daily reminder that I serve a miracle working God who has said, “Have a good day, I have you covered and remember that Even when you walk through the valleys and shadows of trials and tribulations and even death I will not leave you or forsake you.” 

So, good buddies, when the rubber-hits-the-road, don’t sweat it, if God can recruit an ant to carry a contact lens and place a person in the right spot at the right moment to see and recover a tiny clear eye-lens, He most certainly can take care of your needs for this day!

Blessings,

Gramps

Friday, March 31, 2017

Light to Darkness? or Darkness to Light?

Michigan March sunrise,  Thanks Brandon

“But You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you many proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”   (1 Peter 2:9)

Hey Gang:  My bride is a consumer of books.  In our nearly sixty-years together I have heard her say, on a half-dozen occasions, that she did not like a certain book, but finished it.  I have also heard her say, “It is a hard book to read and she did not particularly like it.

My question has always been the same, “Why do you not just close the book you don’t like, and move to next one?  You have a small, but ever growing library of books here in the house and I recall your saying that you often read books you like over again. Why read one you don’t like? There are mega books in the local library, and a constant flow of books from Amazon and now a Kindle graces our home.”

I don’t remember what she said, and she is at a prayer meeting, so will find out when she comes home.  Anyway, all of this insignificant material to introduce you to the morning blog which obviously has something to do with books.  I have been researching what I will send in the next What’s Happening Man Prophecy Blog and, when I do that I either end up depressed or a little bit goofy.  I think I am on the line this morning.  Do you think it is possible to be a depressed and goofy person at the same time?

In our morning devotion time my bride and I have chosen Jonathan Cahn’s The Book of Mysteries. This  is a book I do not have words in my vocabulary to describe- but then again I have a very limited Pennsylvania Hill country vocabulary.   So, rather than spending time in the dictionary, I have chosen to read several of the descriptions other well- known writers have drafted.

 Governor Mike Huckabee wrote, “I Was absolutely stunned”; R.T. L Kendall wrote, “I was stunned.  Amazed. Possible the most astonishing book I have ever read’; Pat Robertson gave it a one word description: “Extraordinary”.     On page one I was not sure, on page two I felt a twinge of excitement, and by page three I was hooked.  Why? Because it is a book of God’s Mysteries, many of which have never before been revealed, written about, spoken of, or known by many.

Each page has a title, most require interpretation and understanding.  Today is day fifteen and titled “The Night and Day Paradigm”.  Does that sound strange to you – night and day?  Is it not always day and night?  As you know we recently returned from Israel where they celebrate Sabbath each week.  I have been there for twenty or more Sabbaths and have always wondered why it would start at sundown and not in the morning.    

Jonathan has clarified why for me.  His main point: “When we look at it from day to night then everything goes from light to darkness.  Is there not a contrariness about that scripturally?  Meaning everything is in the process of darkening.  Is our world not becoming more dark each day?  Jonathan pointed out that when God created the universe it was not day and night.  Is written, there was evening, and then there was morning.’  In other words, the day began with night ( in darkness) out of which come light.

That is why every Jewish holiday and every Biblical day begins at sunset.   It goes from darkness to light.  His point: the children of this world live from light to darkness, but the Children of God live from darkness to light.  Praise God!  That every darkness that we encounter in our lives can lead to Light if we are locked into Christ as our Lord and Savior.  Every night will lead to dawn! 

Wow, is that not awesome.    I look forward to tomorrow and learn what “The Taleh” is.  You may be hearing more from this book.



Blessings,

Gramps

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hey, Man, Pass the Bread!


“I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst” (John 6:35).

Hey Gang:  Question? Why would folks turn their back on God when His entire Word is power-packed with truths that can make our lives living-witnesses of God’s love and grace?  In John 6 we see Jesus on a fast track. as He is preparing His disciples for the tough road ahead they would be forced to travel. 

First, there was the feeding of the 5000.  What an awesome experience that must have been. The narrative tells me it was far more than the 5000 men in need of food, for there were also women and children present.  Many have wondered how they heard Jesus that day, - no megaphones or sound system!  Then, one day in 1984, we stood at the top of that hill, on the balcony of the Mausoleum built by Mussolini which over-looks the Sea of Galilee.  While we stood there we listened and heard every word clearly of a conversation between several people who were then standing by the sea shore at the bottom..    

Matthew tells us that it was evening.  Matthew being a tax collector was probably a beaver-type person who paid attention to details. What he saw was a huge mob of people and no McDonalds, or Wendy’s and nary a single ‘Porta potty’ in sight!

Their solution to the problem is one that I probably would have suggested, ‘send them home”.  Now, there is a wonderful statement in John’s narrative of this miracle found in the John 6:6 :“This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do”.  Wow, folks,  is that not awesome?  When we hit the clinkers, when the alligators are nipping at our backsides, when the Rubber-has already hit-the-road, we have the assurance of knowing our Lord already knows what He is going to do!  Brings to my mind that neat song, Trust and Obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.

Problem: 5000 men, and no one knows how many women and children were there, and the inventory of food was five barley loaves and two fish!  Now, think for a minute, how many times does it tell us in the Word that Jesus said, “No Problem, do not fear!”  Jesus was always prayed up to date! He knew God’s miraculous power was waiting for His Son to ask for that power.

At the end of the day, the cleanup completed, the multitudes sent home, I would suggest the disciples were ready to build a fire, do some chatting about the Jesus feeding program, and then off to the arms of Morpheus. But Jesus had another training session in mind before the day was over.  Matthew tells us, “Immediately He made them get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side” (Matt. 14:22).

It was a trip they would not soon forget! Some were seasoned veterans of the Sea of Galilee who did not venture out at night on this un-predictable tiny, but often violent, Sea.  Note in Matthew’s account of this perilous time: “Jesus had gone up to the mountain to pray.”  Wow, is that not awesome that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father praying for you and me?

Keep in mind they were not in the Queen Mary but a vessel designed for fishing with a crew of two to four people.  Again, I repeat, some were seasoned veterans of the Sea of Galilee and I would guess they knew of fisherman brothers who were at the bottom of that Sea. 

But remember John 6:6?  “He knew what He was going to do.”…  He came walking on the water.  I wonder what they talked about around the fire that night?    John tells us that soon after these two miraculous experiences, when the hearts of the disciples had been fallowed and ready to receive, He said, I am the bread of life, He who comes to Me will never hunger, and He who believes in Me will never thirst”.   My young friends, one more time, “He knows what He is going to do, do not fear!!!”

Blessings.

Gramps

Monday, March 27, 2017

Door Knobs or Relationship?


“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him. To all who call upon Him in truth.  He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them” (Psalm`145:18-19).

Hey Gang- I wonder, when David wrote the Psalms did he write some of them while he was tending the sheep of his father?  Did he write some when he was camped out running from Saul? Perhaps even were there nights in the palace after he became king?.  It does not really matter; they have been refuge and strength for multitudes down through the ages.

But this I know! God said: “I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart, he will do everything I want him to do” (Acts 13:22b).  I have read that verse many, many times.  Wow, would it not be fabulous to be a ‘man after God’s own heart’?  But was David not born to Nitzevet and Jesse, parents just as I was born to Catherine and John?  Did David not shirk his duties as king and general of his troops when he should have been in battle?  Did he not violate the wife of one of his generals and then, did he not orchestrate the death of that general? 

In other words, David was a gross sinner in his lifetime – just liked me.  So, Lord, can I be a man after your heart?  I have heard many say, I wish I could be like him or her- but that is not God’s desire or plan for each of His creation.  It is said no two snowflakes are alike, I am not sure how they know.  Do I want to be like David, only in the truth that I want to be a ‘man after God’s heart.’    

I have used the analogy that when God breathes life into us, (you do believe God breathes life into you, don’t you?) He also places His wiring system in you; a wiring system that lays dormant until we recognize the need for Christ in our lives and surrender our all to Him.  I believe the wiring analogy is a hillbilly rendition of being attached to the vine.

If we choose not to plug our power cord into God’s power supply, we are like a lamp with no light or a tree with no fruit.  You may even be a great success with tons of accolades that you can brag about but, unless you are grafted into the vine and producing fruit, you are on dangerous ground.

So, young lads and ladies, be aware that Jesus said fruitless vines would be pruned.  I don’t know about you but I certainly do not like being ‘pruned’.  Jesus remedy for pruning – “Abide in Me!”  I believe the key to being a man after God’s heart is a found in this Psalm about the omnipresence and omniscience of God: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Psa. 139:23-24).

Blessings,

Gramps