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:

Matthew West

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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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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A Warlock Blasphemes Our Congregation

A Warlock Blasphemes Our Congregation

The church had increased under the leadership of our magnetic minister Myron Wells and a supportive group of Elders and Deacons when they added me as a counselor.  Earnest Christians taught and challenged lost young adults to become Christians.  Their charisma and spirit-led lives brought quite a number of singles to salvation.  The congregation was close knit and enthusiastic about continuing to see new conversions.

Services were dynamic and we became far more than just a Sunday-go-to-meeting type church.  A group of our people helped any person or family with the move in to their new home.  Many of our members attended our in-church Bible College classes.  Most days 2 ministers and a secretary assisted visitors, members, needy street people and people who sought counseling.  Close-bye restaurant booths became outreach centers where the unsaved were taught.  Many young adults were led to Christ by diligent singles.  Describing the full impact the church had is beyond measure.

An unusual young man was baptized and it wasn't long before his past life materialized.  He claimed to have been part of demonic activities.  "I was a warlock and could see demons," he told many.   Excitement filled our assembly; A Satan servant had become a God servant.  Yes!  Praise the Lord.

Nearly a year whizzed by before reports surfaced that he was seeing demons in our church services.  It was not true as God's Spirit was mightily active and heavenly spirits were protecting the church.  Startled and filled with righteous anger I set up a meeting with him.

Greetings over we sat down. I asked him if he had said that he saw demons in our services.  He nodded and said: "I've seen one standing behind Myron when he is preaching...and in other parts of the church too."  His rabid countenance enforced his words.  Hearing his satanic accusation I felt compelled to fiercely confront him.  Silently praying for guidance I pondered what to say.

Then I heard my mouth say: "Scripture tells us a sorcerer, Simon, was hell bound if he didn't repent of his witchcraft."  Looking intently into his eyes I continued, "That's vile.  You had better realize that the Holy Spirit is far more powerful than the devil."

Scathingly he blasted, "No He isn't.  I warn you to shut your damn mouth."

Again I heard my voice, "He who is in me is greater than he who is in you.  You'd better repent now and pray for forgiveness."

Abruptly he slammed his fists on the table and grinned evilly and darkly hissed, "I am placing a curse upon you and your family. You'll regret forever thinking you could stop a witch."  Shaking his fist in my face he departed.

Rehashing the encounter and the words that came out of my mouth a verse came to my mind:  

"And don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words." (Matthew 10:20, MSG)
Clearly my mouth had spoken by the Holy Spirit. Humbled, I praised Him for answering the wicked satanist.  Though saddened the encounter strengthened the Church.  To my knowledge the warlock never repented or returned to the assembly.
"Change your heart! Turn away from this evil thing you have done, and pray to the Lord. Maybe he will forgive you for thinking this." (Acts 8:22, ICB)

"My dear children, you belong to God and have defeated them; because God’s Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world." (I John 4:4, NCV)
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Monday, July 15, 2019

Do You Really Give God Thanks For EVERYTHING?

Do You Really Give God Thanks For EVERYTHING?

When we learn our Cancer is in remission or gone we thank God,
Or our young child is lost and then found safe we thank God,
Or a difficult pregnancy still resulted in a birth of a healthy child,
Or our Airplane has an emergency landing but we got out safely.

It is so natural to pray and be thankful for these outcomes, but what about common occurrences?  The Bible exhorts:
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

"Then He gave them an illustration to show that they must always pray and never lose heart." 
(Luke 18:1)
Years ago I heard Ben Mills (in a Kansas church) praying at a service.  He didn't use "Thee" or "Thou" or other "spiritual sounding" words.  He talked with the Lord as we would talk to a friend.  I never forgot him nor his unique way of praying. 

Over and over after that I yearned to change my praying.  But how?  Even the disciples who walked with Jesus all the time and heard him pray many times couldn't figure it out: "Lord teach us how to pray." 

"Pray continually" challenged my mind.  Is that even possible? Since the Holy Spirit said to do it, I absolutely knew it could be done and trusted that He would show me how.

The Expositor's Commentary
explains it: "Till Christ came, no man ever dreamed of rejoicing always, praying without ceasing, and giving thanks in everything.  There were noble ideals in the world, high, severe, and pure; but nothing so lofty, buoyant, and exhilarating as this."

Asking for understanding an answer came; I was to commune with the Lord about any and everything throughout my waking hours.  Jesus was pleading for me to commune with Him without stopping.  So I began thanking Him daily for any and all common or uncommon events.

For example: "Lord, Thank you for the good night's rest.  I feel so refreshed."  Eating breakfast I said, "Thanks for this nutritious meal."  Driving to work I was nearly broadsided so responded, "Phew!  Thank you Lord."  Returning home after work my 5 year-old daughter jumped into my arms.  "My Lord I love it when she embraces me.  Thank you for giving us such a close-knit family."

While studying His Word I bowed before Him pleading for understanding and confessing my struggles and sins.  He was the Supreme I AM and I was but a man.

Afterwards I chatted all day with my "Friend who is closer than a brother."   I was communing with the sovereign Lord of the Universe about everything.  We were communicating intimately.

"Pray without ceasing" and "In everything give thanks" now made sense and I was filled with joy.

"Thank you Holy Father for giving me these thoughts!"

Listening to "Thank You" by Hillsong filled my heart with joy:

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Saturday, July 13, 2019

Golden Nuggets from my Bible Reading

Golden Nuggets from my Bible Reading - 1

In Luke 10 we read:

"But then a Samaritan traveler came along to the place where the man was lying, and at the sight of him he was touched with pity. He went across to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put him on his own mule, brought him to an inn and did what he could for him. Next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the Inn-keeper with the words, 'Look after him, will you? I will pay you back whatever more you spend, when I come through here on my return.'" (J.B. Phillips)


  • Good Samaritan detoured to check the condition of the victim.
  • He touched him...showing true care, concern, and compassion.
  • Doing so he knew the robbers could do the same to him.
  • He lifted him up onto the donkey and walked alongside.
  • He continued caring for the man throughout the night.
  • The next day he entrusted the Inn-keeper with the man's care.
  • He prepaid the Inn-keeper promising to pay more if required. 
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Thursday, July 11, 2019

God's Angel Named "Anonymous"

God's Angel Named "Anonymous"

I first met Faye Harringer in Butler Missouri. He was a built man with a crushing handshake, charming wit and a hearty laugh.  He was in a wheel chair with just stubs for legs.  His wife tried to help him onto a pew but he said determinedly, "No. I can do it."
And he did.

I was surprised when he got behind the wheel of his Ford to drive home.  Later I learned he had improvised hand controls to make it possible.  His son, Donald, became a close friend and shared many remarkable stories about Dad.  "Though he never says anything I know he really wishes he could afford artificial legs."  

I marveled over and over about Faye's dedication.  He never missed church.  Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night his faithfulness encouraged us all. 

Months went by and one Sunday morning with a wink and a grin Faye asked for a favor.  He needed to go to an appointment in Kansas City Tuesday.  His engaging personality made the trip very enjoyable.  On our return he beamed.  "I'll get 'em in three weeks. Can you drive me again?" 

Time flew by. Returning to Kansas City he anxiously said, "You're not going to believe what you're going to see."  He was absolutely right.  My jaw dropped.  My heart pounded.  My eyes fastened intently on the new Faye.  He walked out of the office on two new legs.  Smiling he told me to look at his feet.  I did and was shocked.  The legs were quite short and had attached shoes...but they were on backwards.  The heels were in front and the toes in the back. 

On the way home he explained the purpose of the backward shoes. "They decided that I was more apt to fall backwards and the longer-rear toes would help prevent that."  The uncanny design still amazes me. 

No longer did he use a wheel chair.  He proudly walked into the sanctuary.  I freeze framed that moment.

Arrangements had been made by and paid for by Anonymous.  Faye always praised God for Anonymous.  Does the Lord provide for His people?  A resounding Yes! 

"Taste and see that the Lord is good.
 Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him." 
(Psalms 34:8, NLT)

"God, You're So Good" sung by the group - Passion:

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Saturday, July 6, 2019

Flat-Tire Faith

Flat-Tire Faith

In our current time faith in God is under diabolical attack.  Christians are insulted, assaulted, belittled, cursed, mocked, spat upon and worse.  Aggression is worldwide.  Some call this the post-Christian era. Martyrdom is terrifyingly increasing.  Will any Christians survive this annihilation?

There is another atrocity going on.  It is subtle, epidemic and soul damaging.  It is a type of loving the world and its enticements.  It offers a choice: narcissism or faith. 

Fear silences believers.  Testifying is scary as it is laughed at, scorned, and put down...firmly.  Embarrassment throbs and silences too many Christians.It is safer,easier and more calming to keep one’s faith inward.  Stop trying to share the love of God.

The result of these blitzkrieg attacks melts any fervor that used to motivate believers.

Courage is muted.  The Lord’s strength is doubted. Faith is fading if not crushed.  Faith has had a flat tire caused not by a blowout but rather a slow leak.

Weep if you will but the Holy Spirit is still alive and offers wise advice to restore a rousing faith. The inspired Scriptures are like tidal waves pushing the needed solution in front of us.  Reading the Gospels will excite even the weakest. Exuberant faith will follow. The Apostle who wrote volumes about believing and never doubting the Lord wrote that undying faith will result from carefully going over the life of Jesus found in the Gospels.

“Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book.  These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.” (John 20:30,31, MSG)

“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.  Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever.  And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12:3, MSG)

Many years ago the poets wrote "I Have Returned."  Is it time for you to listen as it is sung?

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