Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Whole World Sings Praises To The Lord

The Whole World Sings Praises To The Lord

Part 1

      As of this writing the Gospel of Jesus has been translated into more than 1,534 languages.  When the Good News of Jesus is read millions of believers worldwide sing praises to our indescribably-great God.  Supreme exaltation to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  "Now sing praises to God!  Every kingdom on earth, sing to the Lord!"  Jesus, when challenged to stop the praise singing rejoiced: “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.”

For an awesome spiritual mountain top experience
feast on praise singing in several Asian countries:

"So Faithful"

"Hold Me"

South Korea
"God Is Calling"

"I Want Jesus to Walk With Me"

"One Candle"

"100 Years Gospel Celebration"

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Saturday, August 17, 2019

When All Else Fails ~ ~ Remember His Faithfulness

When All Else Fails ~ ~ Remember His Faithfulness

The congregation had tripled under the faithful and inspiring preaching of Myron Wells.  The Holy Spirit's indwelling presence led to many souls being immersed.  Following each baptism many members sang praise songs waiting to pray with the new convert.  It was like when a new-born baby gasps for air and seemingly cries out I'm free now.

A result of the steady growth created a challenge: the classic 104-year-old-brick-church building was now inadequate to hold the larger audience.  What should we do?  The answer came: we felt led to start a second service to help ease the overflow.

About a year went by and both services were packed again.  Something had to be done.  Should we build an addition? However Code statutes couldn't be met as our lot was too small.  We decided to plant a new church on the other side of town.  About 1/4 of the members joined the new plant.  This reduced our cramped quarters.

But when the Lord's people's faith is contagious ~ ~ souls respond to the Gospel of Jesus.  Before too long we were overflowing again.  A solution became paramount.  We needed to build a new building or purchase a larger building.

While members scouted for an ideal place to build, another group searched for a larger used building.  As we considered the seen and unseen costs of erecting a new building and the high price of land the latter became self-evident.  We decided to put our current building on the market and search for a larger used building.

Weeks dragged into months. Months flipped the calendar over and over and still no offers came in to purchase our church.  And then a large building came up for sale. It was ideal. Perfect to a "T."

But other groups were also interested. Patiently we trusted the seller would accept our offer.

But because our building hadn't been sold the seller turned us down.

It was at that moment that the Holy Spirit spoke to the heart of our cherished godly secretary.

PeggyAnn said, "We've tried everything except the most critical of all.  We need to have a day of prayer and fasting where the whole church unites together in earnest."  I felt chills dancing down my spine as her trusting soul showed how blind we had been.  Sure we'd prayed and prayed but never had we considered a day of prayer and fasting.

She exhorted us to let God do his miracle, "He is always faithful.  Always!

We didn't delay but set aside next Saturday for the fasting and prayer vigil.  Hundreds spent portions of their day imploring God to provide a buyer.  Late in the evening someone closed in prayer.  When the door was opened a voice from the office said, Brother Smith you have a telephone call.  The realtor said, "Larry ~ I have a solid offer on the building."

We sold the building and the formerly hesitant seller quickly accepted our offer.  We purchased that larger facility which easily held our crowd.  I never forgot the timing.  The building was sold instantaneously after our vigil. 

God's omnipotence and loving faithfulness was shown in all its glory

"It is beautiful how God has done everything at the right time." (Ecclesiastes 3:11) 
“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” (Joel 2:12)

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint."  (Isaiah 40:31) 
Remember by Laurin Dagle 

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Monday, August 5, 2019

World War 3 Or A Saved Marriage?

World War 3 Or A Saved Marriage?

     Obviously Bruce and Charlene had been squabbling as they showed for their initial counseling session at 10:02.  Bruce snarled before sitting, "I am furious with her.  She makes me late every time we do anything.  I'm fed up."

     "Honey... you don't give me..."

     "Don't you dare interrupt me and make another lame excuse.  It's you who needs counseling or better yet a Shrink," he acidly snapped.

     Gesturing toward the couch, "Why don't you both have a seat."  Charlene sat and Bruce bolted to a chair.  Shaking his head he barked, "Maybe I'll just leave.  She'll never change."

     I interrupted, "Perhaps you should if you won't quit throwing a tantrum."

     I'd seen fiery angry outbursts before but never at the start of a session.  Silently I asked the Lord to provide the much needed wisdom.

     Having watched Charlene trying to dodge his grenades for an hour I motioned for them to pause, "I'm going to pray now.  Finished I said, "We'll meet again but only if you'll both agree to do an assignment...and not refuse nor ask why."

     Curious Charlene smiled, "Sure."  Bruce scowling reluctantly nodded.

     "This next week spend an hour, without your spouse, at a cemetery."

     I stood and watched the puzzle on her face and the smoke coming from his ears as they left.

     When they returned I said, "Describe what you saw at the cemetery."

     "I loved the rhododendrons and azaleas.  It was so quiet I could almost hear myself thinking.  Peaceful.  Restful.   Most of the grave markers were so sad.  Tears filled my eyes."

     "All I saw was a giant, crazy waste of my time.  I couldn't get out of there soon enough.  Why in the world did you send me to a graveyard?"

     "Each grave holds a person who never got to finish his work."

     This is the key to save your marriage.

     Over the next sessions we dealt with how to stop living a time-controlled life.  Having Bruce leave his watch home when they're going to the beach or mountains and allowing Charlene to decide when to go home.

     "You'll begin to enjoy the closeness of loving your spouse because of how different they are from yourself.  The differing gifts were implanted by the Creator to complement each other."

     I asked them, "When you're looking in a mirror do you kiss your own image?  Do you want your spouse to be your twin?  Why didn't the Creator paint everything with one color?  Just imagine: brown grass, brown skies, brown flowers, brown oceans, brown rainbows, and brown flamingos!"

     Always remember: It isn't who is right; it is what is right.  Living together seeking what is best for your spouse is what is right.  "Treat others just as you want to be treated."*  Learn to be appreciative of how each of your differences are designed to fuse you together.  That's why you're called a Couple!"

     Never forget the Lord wants you to live together peacefully and always trust that He'll be there for you.  He'll make things right no matter what it might be.

* Luke 6:31

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Does The Lord Give 2nd Chances?

Does The Lord Give 2nd Chances?

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat." ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

     Mom and Dad earnestly ministered for decades and were overjoyed at the births of their children.  "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them."

     Over a decade later Dad's health issues flared up.  He asked our Minister, Don Rodda if he'd be able to fly down and minister to the congregation until he was well again.  Don, wanting to help, agreed.  When Don finally returned to us he said, "The sun sets over him" (the father).  "They're the very best family I've ever known."

     Coming from a broken home I doubted any family could be even close to Utopia.  Surely my minister was exaggerating.  Visiting with them a couple of years later I was sure I'd see their true colors.  Like "Doubting Thomas" I had to see for myself.  I would soon uncover flaws in this "very best family".

     Boy was I ever wrong!  This joyful family was wonderfully bonded.  Just like their parents the four sibling's faith was a sight to behold.  One evening as we were finishing supper, Debbie said "I'm running late so I'll head to choir practice now."  Her Father said, "You'll need to wash the dishes first." I pondered what her response would be: anger, pouting, dejected?  I was wrong again.  With a warm smile she said, "OK Daddy" and cheerfully picked up dishes and started toward the kitchen.  "Debbie, he chuckled, Go and enjoy your practice."

     Don had sure been correct: "They're the very best family I've ever known."  All 4 children followed in their parents footsteps.  The girls married ministers.  The boys ministered. 

     A dozen years later the younger son drifted away.  He began sowing wild oats: drinking and partying.  It wasn't long before he fully backslid: hanging with a really bad crowd.  Heartbroken, Mom and Dad fervently asked the Lord to bring their son back.

     One day while attending a sporting event I heard boisterous laughing.  It was Todd, with his drinking buddies.  Though nauseated I felt the Lord wanted me to speak to him.  "Todd, what has happened to you?  Don't you know you've broken the hearts of your folks, siblings and friends?  Why Todd?

     "After I left home the pleasures all around enticed me.  I figured if I was going to Hell when I died~I might just as well enjoy all the pleasures I could in the here and now."

     Softly I said, "Todd the Lord will forgive you.  You know He'll welcome you back.  By the way did you know your Dad is in poor health?  Have you even seen him?"

     A tear danced down his cheek. Moving closer he lowered his head and said quietly, "I'm ashamed to say so, but No."

     His buddies seeing Todd in distress told me, "You'd better!"

     Some months later the prodigal came to his senses and returned to the Lord.  True to God's Word, ~ "Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life."

     Todd went on to marry a sweet and gracious woman.  Together they shared the love of God with their precious children.  He became a highly appreciated church member.  Now he has committed his life to pursuing believers who have drifted away.

     "We each must die and disappear like water poured out on the ground.  But God doesn’t take our lives.  Instead, he figures out ways of bringing us back when we run away."  (2 Samuel 14:14, CEV)

     Now Todd can sing:

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Saturday, July 27, 2019

Four Choices to Make

4 Choices To Make When A
Loved One Dies Or Is Killed

True Story of a Family's Decision
  1. Blame the Loved One
    Why didn't you take better care of yourself?
  2. Blame God
    God, I Hate You For Allowing Her To Die.
  3. Blame Yourself
    It's all my fault.
  4. Forgive
    Humbly forgive and spend your life helping others.
Turning into a blinding sunset he never saw her in the crosswalk.

The car nicked her heel knocking her backward onto the curb.
A neighbor heard it and realized she attended her church.
She immediately called the church.
Hearing the ring I answered the phone.
"Brother Smith - Ruth was just struck by a car.
An ambulance is rushing her to the hospital."

When I arrived a doctor took me to her bedside.
I saw the horrible trauma to her head and felt sick to my stomach.
He said very softly, "She is only alive because we have her on life support."
"There is nothing we can do for her.  There is no hope at all."
Continuing, "It will be better for her if you'll permit us to turn it off."
Overwhelmed I whispered "I'm just her minister."

"Does she have family near here?"
"No her grown children live in distant states."
"Will you phone them and get their permission?"
Weeping I said, "Glen your Mom was hit by a car and the doctor said she's beyond hope."
He asked if you'd OK taking her off life support.
Voice weak and trembling he said, "I'll have to call my sister and brothers; I'll let you know."
I informed the Doctor and sat in a chair awaiting their aching-hearts decision.

Ring. Ring. "Please tell the doctor it is an awful choice ~ but go ahead.
We'll be flying in as soon as possible."

They arrived and made funeral arrangements.
They didn't seem angry saying, "Where does the driver live?"
They wanted to meet him.

He told them the story and wept, "I'm so very sorry ~ I never saw her."
Emotionally they whispered, "We forgive you."

A day later they returned ~ sharing with him how God wanted him to become a Christian. "HE will remove all your guilt and heal your soul."
Double Wow!!

What a breathtaking response.  Four ignored Blaming their beloved Mom; Blaming God - or themselves.  They forgave and tenderly introduced him to their Loving Father and urged him to come to her memorial service.  The memorial service for sweet Ruth was beyond amazing!

The Best 4 minute Forgiveness Song You'll Ever Hear:

Sunday, July 21, 2019

By Request This is Re-posted

Could Hollywood Compete With This Story?
The Church spent the day in fasting and prayer.  Lydia was fading quickly at her tender age.  Only 9 and the cancer was devouring her liver.  Anxiously we awaited a report.  Her Parents camped by her bedside, fearing the worst, but praying for healing.  “God can bring a Miracle,” her mom, Naomi said.

Years before Lydia was born the doctors said that Naomi herself wasn’t strong enough to bear a child.  In spite of their concern Naomi had indeed carried Lydia to full term.  Better yet Naomi was expecting her second child in two more months.  Now she would have a family of four.  But in the hospital Lydia’s health wasn’t improving and the doctor couldn’t do anymore.

Two weeks went by.  Then another.  Then sweet Lydia lost her battle.  As her frail lifeless body lay in front of her, Mom wept deeply.  She couldn’t stop.  Her anguish was shaking her whole body.  She groaned.  She was distraught. No one could comfort her.

The pain began.  She felt nauseous.  More pain.  Increasing pressure and discomfort.  A nurse called for the doctor to come quickly.  He said, “She’s having contractions we must rush her to maternity.”   Then Naomi passed out.

When she awakened she sleepily looked around the room.  It was a two-patient ward.  She called out for a nurse.  “What has happened?” she asked the nurse.  “You went into labor...and now you are recovering.”

“Well, where’s my baby?  I want to hold…” Then Naomi froze as she read the nurse’s tear-stained face.  “I’m so sorry Honey but your baby was... stillborn.”

At the Church we heard the devastating news.  Not only had Lydia passed away but Naomi’s second child didn’t survive.  I ached in my soul.  Crying filled the sanctuary.  Some doubted their faith.

One even said, “How could a loving God let this happen?”  But our Minister asked us to pray for Mom’s health.  “This is a jolt to her whole being.  I’m going to go see her now and pray with her.”

The Minister pondered what he should say to Mom.  He knew she would be horribly crushed.  Entering her ward he saw her lying there so pale.  So exhausted.  So feeble looking.

Gently he came to her side and held her hand as he prayed that the Lord would heal, not only her body, but her heart and soul also.

When he left she turned to the wall and silently wept.  The tears kept coming and she almost didn’t feel the hand on her shoulder.  She slowly turned and saw the other patient at her side.

Forever afterward she will never forget a single word: “Dear you can have my little baby...we’ve got a house full of children already.  You raise him as your own.”

A dozen years later Naomi brought her son to the church camp I managed.  When Naomi began to leave I watched her give him a big hug and kiss.  I couldn’t stop praising the Lord for this miracle that even Hollywood couldn’t have scripted.

“His kindness lasts for a lifetime.  Crying may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning… You changed my sorrow into dancing. Y ou took away my clothes of sadness, and clothed me in happiness.  I will sing to you and not be silent. Lord, my God, I will praise you forever.”  Ps. 30:5b,11,12 (NCV)
As the poet wrote and Mercy Me movingly sings:

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell

The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade

To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky

Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Golden Nuggets - 2

Golden Nuggets - 2
"Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, 'What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?'  So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.  From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over."  (Matthew 26:14-16, NIV)

"When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 'I have sinned,' he said, 'for I have betrayed innocent blood.'
'What is that to us?' they replied.  'That’s your responsibility.'
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left.  Then he went away and hanged himself.
The chief priests picked up the coins and said, 'It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.'  So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.  That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day."  (Matthew 27:3-8, NIV)

This unbelievably ugly incident has often been misunderstood.  Please consider exactly what these verses state.

"So Judas threw the money into the temple and left."  It is often taught that Judas threw the 30 pieces of silver into the large temple enclosure where men worshiped and the Priests were active in prayers and other obligations.

However that is not accurate.  The original Greek used two different words in describing the Temple: ἱερόν (hi-e-ron) and ναός (na-os) Thayer's Greek Lexicon defines ἱερόν as "the whole temple, the entire consecrated enclosure;" Whereas ναός comes from a word meaning to dwell.  Thayer defines ναός "used of the sacred edifice or sanctuary itself...the Holy of Holies."

Scripture clearly explains "Holy of Holies" to be the dwelling place of God's presence and the Cherubim beside the Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat above.  Into the Holy of Holies the High Priest was commanded to only enter one day of the year and could not do so any other day for any reason whatsoever.  It was the holiest day in Israel’s year... the day of Atonement.  No one else could ever enter this dwelling place of God's presence.

These two words must be distinguished from each other.


Where did Judas throw the silver coins?
He did not throw them into the ἱερόν (the whole temple structure)
He threw them into the ναός (the Holy of Holies).

It is frequently hypothesized: "That's not possible as Judas could not enter the Holy of Holies."  I strongly disagree. The Scripture says he did cast the coins into the presence of God.  And the Holy Spirit inspired Matthew to write ναός.

Be careful in explaining away Scripture.  It is evident that Judas was experiencing the worst moments of his life.  He first attempted to return the coins to the priests, but they refused.  Judas then threw them past the fine twisted linen with blue, purple and scarlet colors 4-inch* veil into the presence of God.  Some say How?

Judas shortly was going to hang himself and in that horrid devastating emotion he ran past the criminally arrogant Priests and threw the coins into the Holy of Holies.

Judas left and hung himself.

Then the Priests forever sealed their doom by ignoring God's strict commandment.  They entered the Holy of Holies to snatch the coins.  Interestingly a few hours later that veil was ripped from the top to the bottom.  Only the Holy Spirit could do that. It was way too high for any person to do so.  This may have been the reason many priests witnessing this later came to Jesus.

* This is a Rabbi's estimate.

This Nugget anchors my soul to believe all of God's Inspired Word.

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