Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The City of Las Grutas

Wonderful things are happening!  I just haven’t found time to bring them to you.  Here are a few shots from more than a week ago.

Beautiful Las Grutas (The Grottos) from my hotel balcony.

My faithful little Peugeot car is being towed away for a repair and maintenance.  The serpentine belt broke just as I was starting the engine in front of the hotel.  Perfect timing, near a garage and the needed parts.  I had just completed a 300 mile trip through desert.  Believe me, God is taking care of me!

The Las Grutas church is filled with excited youth and children.  

Everyone, including the little children get involved, some with flags celebrating and worshiping Jesus. 

Kids of all ages enjoyed Perfume and Felipe.

I was encouraged to follow Jesus when I was a child.  For that I thank the Lord and godly parents.  I want to pass it on. 

Pastors Jorge and Stella are graduates of our Patagonian Bible Institute.  They are making a powerful impact on this city in a wide variety of ways.   

I wrote to a friend: 

I had an interesting service last night here in Las Grutas.  The young pastors, Jorge and Stella Orellano, have been successful in building a church of youth and children… which are now quickly becoming fathers and mothers of children.  Loud music, enthusiasm, jumping, dancing-flag-waving-children, evangelism in the plazas and streets.  Last night I featured the Delta Island work for the first time ever I think… and closed with a 5 minute video of the first 30 years of that church plant.  I prayed that the Lord would send workers not only into the great cities, but into remote places where families have never heard.  Dropped a few seeds.  You never know when one might take root. 

As I stepped out of a restaurant after lunch this sunburst rose smiled and said, “Come take my picture.”  


“Stop! Thief!

Tuesday 4-28-15 (Gaiman IBP, Argentina)
Scripture reading:  2 Sam 3      1 Chron 12       Matt 15

S.  Matt 15:30-31 A vast crowd brought him the lame, blind, crippled, mute, and many others with physical difficulties, and they laid them before Jesus. And he healed them all. The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn't been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking around, and those who had been blind could see again!  NLT

O.  In the synagogue in His home town of Nazareth Jesus had announced his ministry by reading Isaiah 61:1-3 as seen in Luke 4:18-19.  The description included ministry to the poor and miracles of healing.  He closed the scroll and said, “This is being fulfilled today.” In other words, “This was written about me.”  It was equivalent of saying, “Behold!  I am Your Messiah!”  They booed Him out of town.  Now on a hillside next to the Lake of Galilee He performed many miracles.  The crowds were amazed.

I was not present at the Tommy Hicks crusades in Argentina in 1954.  But I heard the accounts of miracles directly from many who personally witnessed and experienced these miracles.  Carlos Naranjo, who was present and participating in the crusade told me this story:  

Because of the overflowing crowds in the stadium, thieves were taking advantage of people grabbing their purses and snatching valuables.  Extra policemen were added to control this problem.  On a street corner just outside the stadium a policeman was controlling traffic when a man came running down the street with a crowd of yelling people running after him.  The policeman thought it was a thief who had stolen someone’s purse and joined in the chase.  But the people screamed, “Don’t stop him!  Don’t stop him!  He is a paralytic that was just healed!”

A.  Okay, I wasn’t there to see it, but I saw the long-term results of many of those healings.  Antonio Regge was a successful business man that had been dying with bleeding ulcers.  He was instantly saved and healed.  He returned to his neighborhood in Olivos and because of his miracle he attracted a lot of attention.  He started praying in the name of Jesus and laying hands on all kinds of sick people and many were instantly healed.  This story of miraculous healings in the Tommy Hicks meeting was repeated over and over… and many of our churches in the greater Buenos Aires area are a direct result of one of these remarkable miracles.

Pastor Regge never studied in a seminary, but became a great pastor of more than two thousand people, including my daughter in law and her mother.  Jesus, the Healer, still responds to child-like faith in Him.

P.  Lord, it is thrilling to be part of Your team.  You are still the great Healer and Savior.  Your ministry described in Isaiah 61 is being repeated over and again through Your faithful servants in many places around the world.  Tonight I minister in a growing, glowing church in Rawson, capital of Chubut Province.  I do not go alone.  I dare not go alone!  You go with me!  What a blessing!  What a joy to serve alongside of my Savior and Healer, Jesus!   Amen.


Monday, April 27, 2015

The Robe

Monday 4-27-15 (Gaiman IBP, Argentina)
Scripture reading:  2 Sam 2     1 Chron 11    Ps 142     Matt 14

S.  Matt 14:34-36  After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret.  The news of their arrival spread quickly throughout the whole surrounding area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed.  The sick begged him to let them touch even the fringe of his robe, and all who touched it were healed.
Matt 9:19-21  As Jesus and the disciples were going to the official's home, a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, for she thought, "If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed." NLT

O.  A desperate woman, who had reached out in faith and touched the hem of Jesus’ robe had been instantly healed.  Now, 5 chapters later, many sick people were begging Him to let them touch His robe and they were all healed. 

Whatever happened to this miracle robe?  If had been the 21st century, it would be valued at millions of dollars and kept behind glass.  People would travel around the world to see it… and if it was made available to the sick, people would be fighting over the possibility to touch it and crafty “religious people” would be selling small pieces of cloth, claiming them to be part of the original robe. 

All we know for sure is that some Roman soldiers on duty at the scene of the crucifixion divided up His clothing and cast lots for one of His garments that was seamless. 

A.  Of course the truth is that Jesus’ robe had no power to heal.  It was Jesus, the Son of the living God inside that robe that was the Source of healing power.  And He has not changed.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever!  He often said, “Your faith has made you whole.”  We must not place our faith in “sacred things” for this quickly becomes idolatry.  We must direct our faith at the One Who, inside  that robe, walked among unworthy sinners, healing many people and releasing evil men and women from the chains of their lifestyles.  We must lay aside our habit of seeking icons and look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

P.  Oh Lord, we all want to touch the hem of Your garment.  We seek an easy fix.  We want a visible god than we can set on a shelf or hang on the wall.  We can kiss our fingers and touch it and walk out into our world and forget our little god.  But You have called us away from worship of “sacred things” to focus on the true and living God Who goes with us into our school or work place.  You are always within reach.  Help me to touch You by faith again today… and once again marvel at Your power to intervene miraculously in my life.   Amen.


The Art of Waiting

Sunday 4-26-15 (Gaiman IBP, Argentina)
Scripture reading:  2 Sam 1      Ps 140     Matt 13

S.  2 Sam 1:11-12  David and his men tore their clothes in sorrow when they heard the news.  They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the LORD's army and the nation of Israel, because so many had died that day… vs 17-18  Then David composed a funeral song for Saul and Jonathan. Later he commanded that it be taught to all the people of Judah.  It is known as the Song of the Bow… vs 19  Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills!  How the mighty heroes have fallen!  NLT

Acts 13:22 …He (God) gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart… KJV

O.  There is something special about David.  Saul has chased David for years seeking to kill him, yet David shows high regard for Saul because he was “God’s anointed,” chosen to be Israel’s first king.  It is not surprising that David would mourn for Jonathan since they had been best friends, but Saul?  Now David composes a song to remember these heroes, Saul and Jonathan.  All through Saul’s life and now even after his death David shows deep respect for Saul, God’s anointed one.  Lesser men would have wanted to seek vengeance.  But David had at least two situations when he could have killed Saul or allowed one of his men to kill him, but no.  Even though David had been anointed by Samuel to be the new king, still David refuses to force the issue.  For years he waits for God timing to erase Saul from the scene and even mourns for him before he steps into his role as king. 

A.  I am so impatient.  I want to step in and bring an end to the situation.  David waits patiently; running, dodging and hiding from King Saul all the while.  He knew that if the Lord preserved his life he would eventually be crowned king.  But in the meantime he waits for God’s perfect timing. 

There was something about David that God liked.  Was it his faithfulness to his monarch, Saul?  Was it his valor, his courage?  Was it his endless stream of songs of praise and worship?  Was it his total dependence upon the Lord?  Was it this spirit of waiting… trusting in God to bring about his success?  Maybe it was all of these, for Paul quotes God as saying of David, “Here is a man after my own heart!” 

P.  Father in heaven, I want to be that man after Your own heart.  I want to please you.  I am not valiant like David.  I am not a great songwriter.  But maybe You could teach me the art of waiting.  I need the patience to trust You and wait for Your perfect timing.  For this I ask today.  Amen.


Change my heart, Oh God
Make it ever true.
Change my heart, Oh God
May I be like You.
You are the Potter,
I am the clay.
Mold me and make me.
This is what I pray.
Change my heart, oh God
Make it ever true.
Change my heart, oh God
May I be like You.
Eddie Espinoza

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Better than an ephod

Saturday 4-25-15 (Gaiman IBP, Argentina)
Scripture reading:  1 Sam 30-31    1 Chron 10     Matt 12

S.  1 Sam 30:7-8  Then he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring me the ephod!" So Abiathar brought it. Then David asked the LORD, "Should I chase them? Will I catch them?"  And the LORD told him, "Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!"  NLT

O.  David and his little army of men with their wives and families were living in Ziglag in enemy territory to escape the constant hounding of Saul.   Now they had gone away to participate in a battle, but returned early since the Philistine generals did not trust David and his men.  When they arrived home early at Ziglag they found total destruction.  Other enemies, the Amalekites, had swept into their unprotected homes, stolen their wives and families and burned down their city.  David’s army was weeping in hopelessness.  But David sought the Lord, calling for the priest to bring the ephod.  Somehow God communicated with the priests giving specific answers through the mysterious ephod.  David got the word from God, chased down the Amalekites and miraculously recovered all their lost family members unhurt.

A.  We think, “Oh for an ephod today!”  Over and again God gave specific answers through the ephod.  How many times have I been in situations where I did not know which way to go!  Should I turn to the right or the left or turn back?  Our lives are full of situations demanding decisions.  We have no ephod, but we, who know the Lord, can enjoy a close relationship with Him.  Sometimes He speaks to my spirit deep within my heart.  Numerous times He has stopped me in my tracks  with what feels to me like a slap in the chest… to reach out to some needy soul that I was rushing past in my hurry.  Some of these have become stories of thrilling victories.  Life becomes a blessed adventure when I have tried to listen attentively and obey His still small voice within.

I’ll never forget the very first time.  I was 17 years old and very timid.  I had just received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and worshiped in unknown tongues for the first time.  Suddenly I felt in my spirit that I should take my mother’s car and drive to a certain spot.  It was about 11 PM when I arrived.  The streets of downtown Portland were vacant.  I parked the car and stood on a street corner.  A drunk man came out of a bar and I ran to talk to him about Jesus and gave him a gospel tract.  He seemed too drunk to understand.  Finally I saw two teenage boys coming a few blocks away.  I knew this was “it”.  One boy refused my gospel tract and pulled the other one across the street to avoid “that crazy kid.”  But the interested one came back across the street, spoke with me and accepted two tracts, one for his friend.  As I watched them walk on into the darkness I was suddenly flooded with joy.  I knew that I had heard the voice of God and tried to obey Him.  

P.  Lord Jesus, I thank You for sending the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who has taken up residence within every converted soul.  Help us to cultivate that wonderful, close relationship with You.  You have carried me thousands of miles across this spinning globe.  You have led me into astounding victories.  And still today I can listen attentively for Your gentle whisper deep within my soul, or for that tugging on my heart or that slap in my chest as I hurry on my way.  Holy Spirit, Your presence is far better than an ephod.   Amen.


Speak, my Lord.  Speak my Lord.
Speak and I’ll be quick to answer Thee
Speak, My Lord.  Speak my Lord.
Speak and I will answer, “Lord, send me!”

Friday, April 24, 2015

Before and After, Author and Finisher

Friday 4-24-15 (Gaiman IBP, Argentina)
Scripture reading:  1 Sam 28-29    Ps 109    Matt 11

S.  Matt 11:13-14  For before John came, all the teachings of the Scriptures looked forward to this present time.  And if you are willing to accept what I say, he is Elijah*, the one the prophets said would come.  NLT

O.  Jesus is contrasting the “before and after” and the ministry of John the Baptist is the pivotal point.  In other translations He is quoted, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” KJV  Historians attempted to set the estimated date of Jesus’ birth as the pivotal point to separate the centuries into “Before Christ” and “After Christ.” But Jesus is separating the “before” and “after” with the ministry of John the Baptist and perhaps with the date of his astounding declaration, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” NKJV  Of course Jesus is referring to the Old Testament scriptures that referred to Him.  Today we have the blessing to have both the “before” and “after” in the Old Testament and New Testament.

A.  In one study of Old Testament references to Jesus’ “lineage and birth”, “ministry”, His “last week of suffering and death” and His “resurrection and ascension” 117 such prophecies of Christ are listed.*  When the resurrected Christ walked to Emmaus with Cleopas and his friend, their hearts burned within them as He took them for a ride through the Old Testament scriptures that prophesied about his ministry, suffering, death and resurrection.  What a sermon that must have been!   Jesus gave them a summary of the “before” and now these two men literally went leaping out of their despair and into the marvelous “after” of their new life in Jesus Christ… the new life He offers to every one of us. 

P.  Thank you, Lord Jesus.  You did what no other person could even attempt.  You split history into “BC and AD” and every atheist in the USA has to admit it every time he makes reference to today’s date or his own birth date.  And greater still… You have given every one of us, Your believers, a “before” and “after”.  You call it the new birth… for it launches us into a brand new life.  For You are both the “Before” and “After”.  So this morning I fix my eyes on You, Jesus, the “Author” and “Finisher” of our faith, who for the joy that was set before You endured the cross, despising the shame, and now You sit at the right hand of the throne of Your Father.  (personalized by R Hiatt) Heb 12:2  Amen.


*Mal 4:5-6  Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the hearts of children to their parents.  NLT


The Gate-keepers

Thursday 4-23-15 (Gaiman IBP, Argentina)
Scripture reading:  1 Sam 27    Ps 141    1 Chron 9    Matt 10

S.  1 Chron 9:26-27  The four chief gatekeepers, all Levites, were in an office of great trust, for they were responsible for the rooms and treasuries at the house of God.  They would spend the night around the house of God, since it was their duty to guard it. It was also their job to open the gates every morning.  NLT

O.  The first book of Chronicles lists many genealogies and details that show us the intricate structure of the government of the Israelites in their earliest days as a nation.  It is interesting to me the importance displayed for the gate keepers.  It tells us that their task kept them in shifts 24/7.  Through the night hours they were to guard the treasuries at the house of God.  In the morning they would open the gates of their city.  Important cities were walled with gates to be closed at night to give a measure of protection from night attacks by enemy armies or gangs of thieves.  The gate keepers had to be on the look-out, continually alert to any suspicious movement… ready to sound the alarm.  With a good team of gate-keepers the people could sleep comfortably.

A.  Why should I be interested in the gate-keepers.  Some that have studied my last name “Hiatt” claim that its origin in ancient English was “high-gate” and thus my ancestors were probably gate-keepers… guards of the city gates.  Why would special precautions be taken at night to close the gates?  Because those that attack to plunder often take advantage of darkness to do their evil deeds.  Every Christian father or mother must assume the responsibility of gate-keepers.  Today the enemy penetrates our walls in movies, internet, alcohol, drugs and often uses the friends that we invite into our lives.  As parents we must guard the gates.

P.  Dear Jesus, the enemy is attacking our family structures, our marriages, our schools and even our churches.  Lord, please make us good gate-keepers to keep our precious families in safety.  We cannot, we must not withdraw from the world, but we must use Your divine wisdom to know when to open the gates and when to close them.  Our eye-gate and ear-gate seem to be the most vulnerable.  Wicked music lyrics and conversations filled with cursing and filthy language bombard our ears.  Pornographic scenes and movies that promote deception, lying and other evils are now within reach of most children.  “Action movies” filled with violence and destruction are designed and promoted for children.  Help us to prepare our children and youth so that they love You and Your ways and will want to protect their own gates and those of their little ones.  Amen.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

This Wise Woman

Wednesday 4-22-15 (Gaiman IBP, Argentina)
Scripture reading:  1 Sam 25-26    Ps 63     Matt 9

S.  1 Sam 25:18-19  Abigail lost no time. She quickly gathered two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, nearly a bushel of roasted grain, one hundred raisin cakes, and two hundred fig cakes. She packed them on donkeys and said to her servants, "Go on ahead. I will follow you shortly." But she didn't tell her husband what she was doing.  NLT

O.  David had sent some of his men to request a favor of Nabal, a very wealthy man who had been protected by David’s men from marauders for some time.  Nabal (whose name ended up being synonymous with “fool”) insulted David’s men and refused to help.  David then blew into a rage and armed his men to go up and kill Nabal.  But Nabal’s wife, Abigail, had been informed of Nabal’s foolish answer to David’s request and headed David’s angry gang off at the pass while her foolish husband was having a party getting drunk.  And with a generous gift and good counsel, this wise woman kept David from taking vengeance into his own hands.  The next day, when her husband was sober, she told him what she had done.  At the news he had a heart attack and in 10 days died. 

A.  And beautiful, wise Abigail later accepted David’s request to become his wife.  It almost sounds like one of those “they lived happily ever after” stories.  What can I learn from this wild, but true, tale? 

It is good to have a level headed wife at your side.  She can keep you out of trouble.  My Frances was like that.  I was quick to make decisions, but she could calm me down and help me to take in the whole picture.  I often thanked the Lord for Frances… and let her know what a blessing she was to me.  She dropped out of college to take a job at 75 cents per hour to help pay the bills while I was studying for the ministry and while I was working two jobs, day and night at $1.25 per hour to keep us from going into debt.  She was good with a typewriter and would work with me into the early morning hours to complete a term research paper and other assignments.  And she did all this motivated by love.  She was my Abigail… a woman of home-spun wisdom.  Oh, how I miss her now!

P.  Lord, You carried my dear wife away to her new home.  Yet I thank You for 58 wonderful years with her help and wise counsel.  You know that without her I probably would have crashed and burned.  You know how I miss her.  Now I am left on my own to make errors and try to correct them.  They say, two heads are better than one.  So now I need Your help more than ever.  Send Your blessed Holy Spirit to guide me down this unique path that You have called me to follow.  I will read again her favorite scripture* and hopefully learn to trust in You.  Amen.

*Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  KJV

Gentle Shepherd
(lyrics modified slightly to make it more personal for me)

Gentle Shepherd come and lead me
For I need you to help me find my way
Gentle Shepherd come and feed me
For I need your strength from day to day

There's no other I can turn to
Who can help me face another day

Gentle Shepherd come and lead me
For I need to you to help me find my way

There's no other I can turn to
Who can help me face another day

Gentle Shepherd come and lead me
For I need to you to help me find my way


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Rock of Escape

Monday 4-20-15 (Las Grutas, Argentina)
Scripture reading:  1 Sam 23    Ps 31, 54    Matt 7

S.  1 Sam 23:28  Ever since that time, the place where David was camped has been called the Rock of Escape. NLT

Ps 31:2  Be for me a great rock of safety, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.  NLT

Matt 7:24-25 "Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” NLT

O.  In today’s Old and New Testament readings I find three separate references to a large rock as a place of safety.  David had been chased to a “great rock” by Saul into a distant wilderness and Saul was close behind him with his army bent to taking David’s life.  Suddenly Saul was advised that the Philistines were attacking his home area and he and his army left chasing David and returned to defend his cities.  Ever since that time, the place where David was camped has been called the Rock of Escape.  

In his psalm David refers to the safety that a great rock can provide.  And Jesus’ declares that His teaching is the rock upon which we can establish our lives to safely withstand the storms of life and the attacks of the enemy of our souls.

A.  As we attend the institutions of “higher learning” we discover many and varied ideas of highly respected men of the past.  They push forward their theories concerning life and death.  Their words have a sound of authority.  Important men and women proclaim their ideas as though they were truth.  Thousands are swayed by their philosophies and theories.  Yet they are only ideas of men.  Jesus tells us that there is a lot of sandy soil out there.  If we build on it we will not stand up under the storm.  He gives us a great, safe rock upon which we may build with confidence… His teaching.

P.  Lord, help me, like David, to set up my camp by Your “Rock of Escape”.  When the enemy is close upon my heels You will turn him back and when the storms of men’s ideas flood over my fragile house… it will remain safe, because You have become my Rock of Salvation.  Amen. 

"My Hope is Built on Nothing Less"
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874
1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
3. His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Sunday 4-19-15 (Las Grutas, Argentina)
Scripture reading:  1 Sam 22    Ps 17, 35    Matt 6

S.  Ps 17:15 …Because I have done what is right, I will see you.  When I awake, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see you face to face. NLT

O.  I would not want to trade places with David.  We often see him as a hero, and that he was, but what a troubled life he lived!  When we read Psalm 17 and 35 and many other psalms, we recognize that for years David was marked as enemy number one of King Saul, not “wanted dead or alive”, just “wanted dead!”  He could not know a comfortable night’s sleep.  Someone was stalking him.  Someone would report his location to the authorities.  He constantly pleaded with the Lord to protect him.  But in the verse above, David, knowing he may not live through another night… by faith sees beyond the sleep of death, beyond days, months and years… into eternity and with confidence says to God, “When I awake, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see You face to face!”

A.  Many of God’s heroes have been among the most tormented: Jeremiah and many other prophets, the apostles (all dying as martyrs except John, who survived being boiled in oil and banished on an island), yes, and a long list of missionaries and many of God’s most faithful Christians today.  I guess I would prefer not to be one of God’s heroes if it means that there would be a reward out for my head. 

P.  Blessed Lord, life seems such a frail thing.  Yet, like David, I have witnessed Your divine care and repeated evidence of Your protection for me.  The enemy stalks us with lurking sickness, potential accidents and certain death at the end of the line… (unless Your rapture snatches us away.)  But with joy I thank You, my Savior Jesus Christ, that I can see beyond these fleeting days, months and years into a glorious eternity.  And because of Your sacrifice at Calvary, I can say along with your servant, David, “When I awake, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see You face to face!”  Amen.

1.   Face to face with Christ, my Savior,
Face to face—what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ who died for me?
o    Refrain:
Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory,
I shall see Him by and by!
2.   Only faintly now I see Him,
With the darkened veil between,
But a blessed day is coming,
When His glory shall be seen.
3.   What rejoicing in His presence,
When are banished grief and pain;
Death is swallowed up in vict’ry,
And the dark things shall be plain.
4.   Face to face—oh, blissful moment!
Face to face—to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ who loves me so.

“He used to be…”

Saturday 4-18-15 (Las Grutas, Argentina)
Scripture reading:  1 Sam 20-21   Ps 34   Matt 5

S.  1 Sam 20:13-15 May the LORD be with you as he used to be with my father. And may you treat me with the faithful love of the LORD as long as I live. But if I die, treat my family with this faithful love, even when the LORD destroys all your enemies." NLT

O.  I can hear the pathos in the parting words of Saul’s son, Jonathan, with his covenant-friend, David.  Jonathan in his youth had doubtless been proud of his father who had the blessing of God upon his life and his kingdom.  But he had witnessed his father’s decline as his attitude became proud and the Spirit of the living God had departed from him.  Now Saul was so overcome with jealousy that he even cast a spear at his son, Jonathan, attempting to murder him for defending David.  Jonathan soon died in the same battle where his father committed suicide.  But David, who inherited the kingdom, never forgot his promise to treat Jonathan’s family with kindness.

A.  I am not an airplane pilot, but I understand that if you climb too rapidly in an aircraft you are in danger of a stall and can easily fall into a deadly tailspin.

Oh!  How tragic it is to see someone who has once been a humble Christian, willing to scrub floors in the bathrooms if necessary… and see them rise in God’s blessing and power only to become proud of their success and position and begin a spiritual tailspin, losing their humble spirit of dependence upon God.  Jonathan had to say to David, “May the LORD be with you as He used to be with my father” for it was a thing of the distant past.

P.  Oh Lord, my heart goes out to a dear friend right now that seems to me to be in this very danger.  You know that brother better than I do.  I pray for him.  His climb with Your blessing has taken him to high places, but I fear that his attitude may be changing and he may be in danger of a tailspin.  Dear Lord, please alert him and pull him out of all danger… so that no one would have to refer to what “used to be”. 

And precious Lord, if it is me in need of humbling, help me to accept Your loving discipline.  My relationship with You is more precious than the fresh air I breathe.  I cannot live a day or an hour without Your presence.  Amen.


Thursday, April 16, 2015


Thursday 4-16-15 (Las Grutas, Argentina)
Scripture reading:  1 Sam 18    1 Chron 6    Ps 11    Matt 3

S.  Matt 3:9-10  Don't just say, 'We're safe — we're the descendants of Abraham.' That proves nothing. God can change these stones here into children of Abraham. Even now the ax of God's judgment is poised, ready to sever your roots. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.  NLT

O.  The religious Pharisees and Sadducees were counting on their religious upbringing to save them.  They knew their “roots” all the way back to father Abraham and were very proud of them.  If “roots” could save, they knew they were in.  But John the Baptist took an ax to their “roots” and let them know that the faith of a praying mother or godly father, grand-father or great grand-father was not enough to guarantee their salvation.  Each one of them was responsible for their own decisions and actions.  Chop!  Chop!  There went their religion into the bon-fire!

A.  Digging up ancient genealogies has become quite popular again these days.  It is truly interesting and even exciting to discover one’s roots.  I have been delighted by studies of my ancestors that have been made by some of my relatives.  I have found that I am descended from men and women that bravely risked their very lives to seek virgin territory in Oregon and bring hope for a better life for their children and grandchildren.  I am named after my Uncle Ralph who died of an unknown sickness at 9 years old.  My father was one of the ten boys and three girls that survived life in that cruel wilderness.  My grandparents on both sides were men and women of unshakable faith in God.  

Still their faith did not save their children.  My dad would tell us how he was wonderfully saved and transformed as an adolescent.  Our faith can be and should be passed on to our children, but “saving-faith” requires a choice by each individual.  My “roots” may be impressive, but they cannot carry me through heaven’s pearly gates.

P.  Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for the wonderful heritage that You have given me.  Thank You for praying parents and grandparents.  Thank You for a grandfather that carried the gospel message on horseback to isolated homes in the mountain wilderness of northwest Oregon.   But I know that my salvation does not ride on the shoulders of my ancestors.  I have placed my faith solidly in You, Who loved us enough to send Your Only Begotten Son to rescue us unworthy sinners at the cost of His life.  

Saved by His power divine
Saved to new life sublime
Life now is sweet and my joy is complete

For I’m saved… saved… saved!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Music in my Soul

Tuesday 4-14-15 (Las Grutas, Argentina)
Scripture reading:  1 Sam 15-16    1 Chron 5    Matt 1

S.  1 Sam 16:23  And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit would go away.  NLT 

O.  King Saul had risen from obscurity to popularity in a short time, but now he had disobeyed the word of the Lord that had come through Samuel and Samuel had announced to him that God had rejected him as king and chosen another to reign in his place.  This word from God through Samuel, threw Saul from elation over his victories into deep depression.  Every time he would dwell upon this message from God he would fall into dark depression.  Somebody suggested music to cheer him up… so he called in David, known for his talent to play the harp.  David’s beautiful music on the strings of his harp soothed Saul‘s ragged, troubled soul.

A.  It is amazing how music can strengthen the spirit.  Right now my computer is playing from the internet “In my heart there rings a melody”, one of many gospel songs we sang from childhood.  Suddenly the 10,000 mile distance from home seems to be bridged.  My lonely spirit here in this little hotel room is comforted.  Tears of joy replace tears of solitude.  Along with the music comes the wonderful Comforter, God’s Holy Spirit.  And I find myself worshipping the Lord God of heaven. 

Through the glass doors opening to my balcony I watch the waves of the southern Atlantic Ocean crash against a reef.  The wind is up and the tide is out this morning.  A fishing ship balances on the distant horizon.  I drink in the beauty of the scene and listen to the harmony of the music and my spirit is calmed.

P.  I worship You, my Lord, Creator of these turquoise waves that ceaselessly crash into spray.  You are the God that designed each of the incredible variety of living creatures that make their home deep beneath those waves.  You are so awesome!  Yet You care about me!  Yes, You care about me… about me!  Your love splashes over me like a refreshing wave of Your sea.  I will wait for You.  Soon You will come for me and take me home… to Your home… and to my home… eternity with You. 

“But until then my heart will go on singing, until then with joy I’ll carry on, until the day my eyes behold the city, until the day God calls me home.”


Monday, April 13, 2015

The Measure of Commitment

Sunday 4-13-15 (Monte Hermoso, Argentina)
Scripture reading:  1 Sam 14   1 Chron 4   2 Cor 13

S.  1 Sam 14:21-23 Even the Hebrews who had gone over to the Philistine army revolted and joined in with Saul, Jonathan, and the rest of the Israelites.  Likewise, the men who were hiding in the hills joined the chase when they saw the Philistines running away.  So the LORD saved Israel that day… NLT

O.  Cowards fight for whichever way the battle is going.  It is a story hidden in a few passing words, but many of the Israelites had fled their homes to stay out of the Philistine’s path and still others had gone traitor and signed up with the Philistine army to fight their own people.  But now when the huge Philistine army was is total disarray and fleeing for their lives, Israelite men came running out of their hiding holes and joined the chase and even those that had turned traitor by joining the Philistine army, now turned on the Philistines. 

A.  As we attempt to serve the Lord Jesus, we often find that we are in a minority.  The world around us looks down on us, ridicules us and politicians push through rules that hamper our advance.  Our Christian young people that survive these attacks seek the Lord and become strong witnesses. 

However I have noticed that when the table is turned and a church has grown in size with a large attractive building and a popular Christian school with hundreds of handsome young men and pretty girls graduating with high honors… things change.  In that town it slowly has become popular to become a “Christian.”  At that point we face a new set of dynamics.  Young men and women easily join up with the winners… however their measure of commitment may be weaker… and they may often be in danger of taking sides with the enemies of Christ if they see them taking over. 

P.  Lord, I pray that You strengthen those of us that may have cowardly hearts.  Already under pressure some have slipped away from Your Church to hide… and others even have joined forces with the enemy.  Give us young men and women who are totally and openly committed to Your service.  May my commitment not bend or break under the pressure of an advancing “winning army.”  Raise us up to be strong in Your might, willing to stand for Your moral principles and Your saving Gospel even when the whole world seems to be against us. 

I pray again for those that have taken that firm stand today and whose little children are being beheaded before their eyes for their strong commitment to You.  Would I stand strong in such a desperate situation?  Oh God, only You know.  As the enemy of our souls brings his evil forces against us… may we follow You… if even to our death if necessary!   Amen.  


Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Missionary-Size-Basket

Sunday 4-12-15 (Monte Hermoso, Argentina)
Scripture reading: 1 Sam 13  1 Chron 2-3  2 Cor 11-12

S.  2 Cor 11:30-33  If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.  God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows I tell the truth.  When I was in Damascus, the governor under King Aretas kept guards at the city gates to catch me.  But I was lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall, and that's how I got away!  NLT

O.  The Apostle Paul is boasting about his weakness.  The above situation probably occurred when Paul, then called Saul of Tarsus, had gone to Damascus with authorization papers signed by the high priests in Jerusalem to seek out and arrest any followers of Jesus.  But shortly before arriving at Damascus with his henchmen, he met Jesus… who knocked him flat and left him blind and gave him a new assignment in life.    Ananias, one of the Christians he has been sent to arrest, laid hands on him to receive his sight… and now, filled with the Holy Spirit, he rises in the synagogue to preach Jesus, the Messiah.  The word gets back to the high priest that Paul (Saul) is preaching Jesus.  And now it is Paul who has the police searching to arrest him. 

A.  I love it!  Jesus, with a heavenly laser beam, knocks Saul of Tarsus into the dirt and leaves him blind so that his henchmen have to lead him by the hand into the city.  It is a story of arrogance smashed to humble weakness in a single blow.  Now he is trying to start a new life as a Holy Spirit filled Christian.  With new eyesight and new insight he preaches boldly Jesus Christ is Lord.  But there is an order out for his arrest.  And here are the same people that he came to drag off to prison and death putting him into a “missionary-size-basket” and holding the ropes to keep him from dropping from the window in the city wall to his death on the rocks below.  Maybe they were tempted to let go.  But they gently let him down to escape arrest and most likely his death sentence. 

Weakness is… when you are hanging in the air in a basket and your fragile life is in the hands of your friends that a few weeks ago were your enemies.

P.  That’s where I am, Lord Jesus.  I am being held in the hands of my friends.  I am in a “missionary-size-basket” and they are holding the ropes.  You have heard their prayers for me.  They didn’t know that I had to drive over 65 miles without power brakes yesterday.**  But I knew I was not alone.  I had friends holding the basket… and a covey of angels to go before me.  You led me to a place to purchase the needed new suction pump and to a mechanic to install it.  In a couple of hours all was well.  How many times have my friends prayed and even sacrificed to hold the ropes for me!  You know me, Lord.  As I seek to perform Your will, I am always placing myself in some precarious situation.  But you love me anyway… and so do my rope-holder friends.  Amen.


**Yesterday I was driving south on route 3.  I slowed from 80+ mph for a round-about and my brake pedal suddenly felt as hard as a rock and hardly slowed me at all.  I got it under control with the hand brake and coasted into a service station.  This had nothing to do with my recent new brake pads.  The power brake system had gone out and I knew that.  I called Hugo, my favorite mechanic, and he told me how to diagnose the situation to eliminate all doubt.

The local parts stores did not have the suction pump I needed, so I had to drive 65 miles to Tres Arroyos, the next town with practically no brakes.  At 55 mph I figured I could stop in about 300 yards… so I asked God’s angels to clear a 300 yard space before me and stayed at least 300 yards behind any vehicle that might stop.  I arrived safely in the city of Tres Arroyos.  God led me to the replacement part at first try and to a nice mechanic to replace it.  In two hours I was back on the highway with full braking power.  Thank you, Lord!  And thank you, my dear friends for holding the ropes!