Monday, August 31, 2015

Noah, Job and Billy Graham

Monday 8-31-15 (Home in Modesto)
Scripture reading:  Eze. 12-15    Rev 5

S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Ezek 14:14  Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, their righteousness would save no one but themselves, declares the Sovereign LORD.

Vs 16  Even if these three men were there, the Sovereign LORD swears that it would do no good — it wouldn't save the people from destruction. Those three alone would be saved, but the land would be devastated.

Vs 20 Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were living there, the Sovereign LORD swears that they could not save the people. They alone would be saved by their righteousness.  NLT

O.  God is speaking though the prophet Ezekiel.  He is emphasizing the severe judgment that will soon come upon Jerusalem.  Eight times in Ezekiel’s prophecy God compares Jerusalem’s evil to that of Sodom which He had destroyed totally.  Now God brings up the names of three men that represent His honorable servants over the years, Noah, Daniel and Job, saying that even if they had lived in Jerusalem only they would be saved.  Both Noah and Job’s fame were from long ago.  However Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel.  Yet his name represented an honorable servant of the living God, a man of integrity.

A.  This might be like saying even if Noah, Job and Billy Graham all lived in Washington DC or San Francisco today, it would not suffice to save it from God’s wrath for only they would escape.  I am not suggesting that God should rain fire and brimstone down upon us... yet.  I am only pointing out that God sought out some famous honorable servants to use as examples and one of them, Daniel, was a contemporary.  

So, the same God that looked down and sought out a contemporary to represent honesty, integrity, godliness and wisdom... is looking down upon me today.  So here is the question:  If I were famous enough to serve as an example, would the God of heaven have chosen me?  I know myself and God knows me even better than I know myself.  I know that I do not qualify, but I have a Savior!  Oh Hallelujah!  Jesus took my destruction upon Himself.  He stands today between me and a Perfect, Holy God and I rest upon His sacrifice in my place, His holiness, His grace, His mercy and His love.

P.  Oh Lord God, I praise You today, for You sent me a Savior.  I was doomed for destruction... I was marked for judgment, but You, just because of Your divine love, sent Your Son to take my place and suffer the rejection and judgment  that I deserved.  Oh What a Savior... Oh hallelujah!   Amen.

Oh!  What  a Savior
 Marvin P. Dalton in 1948

Once I was straying in sin's dark valley,
No hope within could I see,
He came from Heaven, my Blessed Savior
To save a poor lost soul like me.

O what a Savior, O hallelujah!
His heart was broken on Calvary,
His hands were nail scarred,
His side was riven,
He gave His life-blood for even me.

He left the Father with all His riches,
With calmness sweet and serene,
Came down from Heaven and gave His life-blood,
To make the vilest sinner clean.

O what a Savior, O hallelujah!
His heart was broken on Calvary,
His hands were nail scarred,
His side was riven,
He gave His life-blood for even me.

Death's chilly waters I'll soon be crossing,
His hand will lead me safe o're,
I'll join the chorus in that bright city,
And sing up there forever more.

O what a Savior, O hallelujah!
His heart was broken on Calvary,
His hands were nail scarred,
His side was riven,
He gave His life-blood for even me.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Spooky Situation

Sunday 8-30-15 (Home in Modesto)
Scripture reading:  Eze. 8-11    Rev 4

S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Ezek 8:7-8  I could see an opening in the wall.  He said to me, "Now, son of man, dig into the wall." So I dug into the wall and uncovered a door to a hidden room.

Vs 12  Then the LORD said to me, "Son of man, have you seen what the leaders of Israel are doing with their idols in dark rooms? They are saying, 'The LORD doesn't see us;   NLT

O.  Ezekiel is among the captives in Babylon, but in a vision he is lifted by his hair by a flaming man-like creature and carried to Jerusalem.  Here he finds a secret room where many of the Israelite leaders, who, judging by the detailed description, had been literally worshipping  Satan. 

A.  Evil tries to hide in dark, secret places.  The enemy of men’s souls tries to convince them that God cannot see them there. 

I will never forget my first encounter with the powers of Satan in Argentina.  I was a newcomer.  Late one night I was called upon to accompany a fellow missionary to a home that was in distress.  We drove to a dingy dark part of the crowded city.  The house was enclosed in a high fence.  We could hear screams from inside.  We knocked and the front door opened directly into a room with a man in bed and perhaps a dozen people.  The room was filled with smoke since many of them were smoking.  We were told that the man in the bed, who was screaming in a strange unusual tone, was sick and needed our prayers.  We laid hands on him and began to pray.  Realizing that this was a case of demon possession, we cast out the demons in the name of Jesus.  Instantly the man relaxed and went silent.  But in that same instant... that exact voice began to scream in another room.  Someone told us that his wife was sick in another room and took us to that room where she was in bed.  The exact same guttural voice was now screaming from her.  We laid hands on her and cast the demon out in the name of Jesus.  Instantly she relaxed and went silent... but back in the other room the man in the bed began screaming  again with the exact same voice.  After going back and forth to these two rooms with the same results, we realized that we needed to break up... one of us in each room, simultaneously casting out the demons in the name of Jesus.  Instantly both went silent and were delivered from that evil spirit and showed evidence of being healed. 

This was my first such contact with the evil forces of Satan, who brings disaster into lives that have dedicated themselves to his evil forces.  But it was not the last.

P.  Lord Jesus, as You well know, I never sought after situations like this, but witnessed again and again the authority given to us in Your name to silence the unseen enemy and cause him to flee.   I am not one to seek out spooky situations.  I would rather preach Your love and Your power to give a new beginning to nice clean sinners, like me.  But I know that You came to this earth to break the chains of those who have been helplessly imprisoned by the evil one.  Thank You for placing in our hands the authority of Your Name which is powerful enough to make evil spirits release their grip on men and women and set them free.  Amen.


We used to sing an old song in church:  

Only a sinner saved by grace
Only a sinner saved by grace
This is the story,
to God be the glory.
I’m only a sinner saved by grace.

Praise God!  That’s me!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Where am I on this scale?

Saturday 8-29-15 (Home in Modesto)

Scripture reading:  Eze. 4-7    Rev 3

S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Rev 3:17-18 (To Laodicea) “You say, 'I am rich. I have everything I want. I don't need a thing!' And you don't realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”  NLT
Rev 2:9 (To Smyrna) “I know about your suffering and your poverty — but you are rich!NLT

O.  Some feel that the messages to these different church can be applied to the different eras of the Church.  In Smyrna, the second church mentioned... they are suffering under great persecution.  They see themselves as poverty stricken, but Jesus tells them that they are really rich.  In Laodicea, the seventh and last church mentioned, they see themselves as self-sufficient, with everything they need, but Jesus reveals to them that they are really wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.  Wow!  How scary!  Whether or not this represents different eras of the Church, it certainly represents different conditions of the Church.

A.  When I have been a part of a small team of believers attempting to start a church in a culture opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our youth were filled with enthusiasm.   They sought the Lord in prayer for His Holy Spirit power.  Then they stepped boldly into territories dominated by the enemy of men’s souls.  They may not have had the best sound system, or any sound system at all.  They may not have had good musicians, or any musicians at all, but armed with the message of Christ’s love they stepped out to suffer rejection and even persecution, but they seldom failed to conquer.  Behold Smyrna!

However, after a decade in the same area, when the church has become established and well accepted, respected, well equipped with the finest musicians and the latest electronic trinkets and  even popular in its community... it is in danger.  The evangelistic fervor of the youth is too often traded for entertainment.  Indifference has set in.  Behold Laodicea!

P.  Lord Jesus, today I pray for the many churches that I have helped to plant in Argentina.  You know, Lord, that some have become great mega churches with tens of thousands of believers, fine church buildings, television and radio programs and the finest of musicians... and yes, even popular acceptance in the community.  Certainly these things are not bad in themselves, but I pray for their “up and coming” youth.  May they not fall into the trap of rich, but wretched Laodicea!   And Lord, please guard my heart... for these same dangers threaten to neutralize my personal efficiency.  Amen.  


Friday, August 28, 2015

Antipas did. Would I?

Friday 8-28-15 (Home in Modesto)
Scripture reading:  Eze. 1-3    Rev 2

S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Rev 2:13-14  "I know that you live in the city where that great throne of Satan is located, and yet you have remained loyal to me. And you refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you by Satan's followers.”  NLT

O.  Antipas is mentioned only this once in Scripture.  He is called a faithful witness, loyal to Christ even when among Satan’s followers and even though it cost him his life.

A.  Pergamum was apparently a city dominated by evil influences.  It is called the location of Satan’s throne.  Opposition to the Gospel of Jesus Christ was strong.  Is our USA becoming a Pergamum?  I am reminded of the many martyrs for Christ, including children, who within these past months have fallen prey to the ISIS, so called “Islamic State”.  I cannot help but attempt to place myself in their situation.  What would my reaction be?  Would I buckle under torture?  Would I allow them to behead my children or grand children before my eyes... knowing I could simply deny my Christ and save their lives? 

I am reminded of the words penned by the Apostle Paul, written in a Roman prison as he awaited his execution: Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. 2 Tim 1:12  NIV
Can I say these same words from my heart in the face of martyrdom? 

P.  Lord Jesus, only You know the answer to that question.  Your Apostle Paul never forgot his first powerful encounter with You.  I cannot, I must not, I dare not... rely only upon my experience of yesterday, so I come running to You again today and I know that You will meet me half way.  Oh the wonder of it all!  I fall into Your arms of love!  I bathe in Your glory!  I worship at Your feet!  Your presence envelopes me!  True, I hope never to be surrounded and threatened by the powers of Satan, like Antipas.  But I pray for a fresh meeting with You every day of my life so that in any circumstance where my path may lead me, I may be found loyal to You, my Savior and my Lord!  Amen.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

You have won my heart!

Thursday 8-27-15 (Home in Modesto)

Scripture reading:  Jer. 52   Ps 143-144    Rev 1
S = Scripture O = Observation A = Application P = Prayer   SOAP for the soul.

S.  Ps 143:10  Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.  May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing. NLT

O.  The writer of this psalm recognizes that God has a purpose and plan for his life.  He is aware that he can seek, find and follow that plan or go his own way and stumble and fail.  This psalm is a plea for God’s intervention.  The very next psalm is one of trust and assurance.

A.  The choice is mine.  I can seek, find and follow God’s way or stumble around trying to find my own way.  God’s way leads me to stand on the solid rock of His Word.  My way may quickly lead me into the sinking sand of man’s fragile logic. 

P.  God, I thank You that Your way is laced with design and purpose.  Man’s way, against all logical odds, refuses to recognize a Designer.  Such men’s religion forces them to take a giant leap of faith.  They cannot fail to see intricate, delicate design in every living thing... and yet, against all logic, they choose to erase the possibility of a Designer of it all.  

You are not only my Designer, Creator and Guide, You are my loving Companion, my Giver of Life, my Joy and my Song!  Yes, Lord, like the psalmist, You put a song in my heart.  I have fallen in love with You.  You have won my heart!  Amen.


"I'm in Love with the Lover of my Soul" by Phil Kerr
PS.  If you have the time and want an unusual experience... here's an ancient 8 minute film, go to  You will meet Phil Kerr the author of "I'm in Love with the Lover of my Soul" and Sol Hoopii, inventor of the electric Hawaiian guitar singing with Phil Kerr, (who I heard at Youth For Christ when I was a teenager) on the piano... and then Sol Hoopii playing "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" on the Hawaiian guitar. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Diotrephes and Me

Wednesday 8-26-15 (Home in Modesto)

Scripture reading:  Jer. 50 – 51       3 John

S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  3 John 9-10  Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, does not acknowledge our authority.  When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the wicked things he is saying about us. He not only refuses to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.

Vs 12  But everyone speaks highly of Demetrius, even truth itself. We ourselves can say the same for him, and you know we speak the truth.  NLT

O.  The elderly Apostle John pens a personal letter to his friend and convert, Gaius, who is doubtless a member of one of the churches under John’s covering.  He exposes Diotrephes as a power-seeking individual, who domineers the congregation, prohibiting hospitality to the teachers sent by John.  Then he highly recommends Demetrius, probably a member of the same church body. 

So now we know that the early church had its problematic individuals, too.  I think I have met Diotrephes.  I was visiting a small railroad town in Argentina.  I don’t remember his name, but apparently he held a position of authority in the railroad... and now he obviously wanted to override the authority of his pastor in the church.  On the other hand his pastor was a quiet little man who seemed to allow this fellow to run over him like a steam roller.  Let’s call him Demetrius.   

A.  So how do I handle authority?  Do I allow it to go to my head?  Do I get a “charge” out of ordering others around?  Am I blunt?  Do I take into consideration the needs and desires of others?  Do I flaunt my authority when given a chance?  On a scale of ten, how do I... ?   Stop!  Stop!  Let’s go no further!  Why complete this self examination?  Instead I’ll have a little talk with Jesus.

P.  Lord Jesus, I’m a pretty nice guy, aren’t I?  What’s that You say?  That when I get in a hurry sometimes I get too blunt and can hurt the feelings of those around me?  Yes, but... I mean most of the time I’m a pretty nice guy, no?  Oh... most of the time is not enough?  I need to whip that thing?  Well, You know, Lord, I am pretty old to change my ways.  Oh!  No excuses, huh!  With Your help I’ll try to do better.  Teach me to let Your calm, humble Spirit dominate me even when I get in a hurry.  Amen.


PS.  Now I feel better.  Confession is good for the soul J.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Secret Believers

Tuesday 8-25-15 (Home in Modesto)

Scripture reading:  Jer. 37 – 39     Psalm 79    2 John

S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Jer 38:15-16  Jeremiah said, "If I tell you the truth, you will kill me. And if I give you advice, you won't listen to me anyway." So King Zedekiah secretly promised him, "As surely as the LORD our Creator lives, I will not kill you or hand you over to the men who want you dead.” NLT

O.  Jeremiah is taken to be a traitor because he warns the king, his leaders and the people of a terrible Babylonian invasion if they do not turn from their idolatry and sin and return the Lord.  King Zedekiah knows that Jeremiah is in contact with the true God.  He wants to know what God is saying and several times calls for Jeremiah’s “word from God,” but fears to take a stand to follow God’s instructions.  I see him as a “secret believer” who knows the truth, but due to his social position and pride, refuses to act on it.

A.  People of high social position often find themselves in this same situation.  They recognize that they are part of a false religious society, but due to social pressure, they fear to take a stand for the truth.  King Zedekiah could have saved his two eyes** and many lives including those of his sons.  But instead of humbling himself to do it God’s way, he attempted a panic escape through a secret door in Jerusalem’s wall and was captured along with his family and top leaders.  Centuries later King Herod, with his wife, Bernice, by his side, said, “Paul, almost you persuade me to be a Christian.”  “Almost” means “I know you are telling me the truth, but I cannot bring myself to act upon it.  Such action would jeopardize my social position.”  

P.  Lord, protect me from myself.  I, too, can imagine the reaction of the society and culture surrounding me and sense fear to take a stand for Your truth.  When my friend, Sam Balius, was in the service and surrounded by military men, he felt the pressure, but decided to make his commitment to Christ known from day one.  And You, Lord Jesus, often gave me the courage to stand up and preach in public places where some would scoff and even grab their children and rush them away.  Lord Jesus, please never let my pride overcome my zeal to get Your truth out there before the lost.  And please give lost hearers the courage to swallow their pride, take a social loss if necessary, and step out to follow You... the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Amen.


**Jer 39:6-7  He made Zedekiah watch as they killed his sons and all the nobles of Judah.  Then he gouged out Zedekiah's eyes, bound him in chains, and sent him away to exile in Babylon.
Ezek 12:12-14  It is interesting that Ezekiel prophesied concerning King Zedekiah: I will bring him to Babylonia, the land of the Chaldeans, but he will not see it, and there he will die. NIV 

40 acres and a mule

Monday 8-24-15 (Home in Modesto)

Scripture reading:  Jer. 33 – 34     Psalm 74    1 John 5

S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Jer 33:12-13  This is what the LORD Almighty says: This land — though it is now desolate and the people and animals have all disappeared — will once more see shepherds leading sheep and lambs.  NLT

O.  The Judean hills surrounding Jerusalem had become desolate.  The Babylonian army had come in like a pestilence and had destroyed everything in sight, just as Jeremiah had prophesied.  But mixed in with the foretelling of destruction, the prophet tosses in encouraging words to let the people know that God’s blessing will return in the future.  There is hope.  Prosperity will return.  “A shepherd leading his flock” was a symbol of prosperity.

My grandparents were alive in 1863 when thousands of African American slaves were, in theory, set free, but they had nowhere to go and nothing to sustain them.  In some areas the government attempted to give each family a small acreage and an animal.  Hope was expressed with this phrase, “40 acres and a mule.”

A.  Today, what would I do with “40 acres and a mule” or “a flock of sheep” for that matter?  I try to picture myself leading a flock of sheep and lambs out there on some hills.  True, it conjures up a picture that represents peace, but for me... in the culture where I live, it does not represent prosperity.  In my culture wealth and prosperity might be better described by a nice home, a secure professional position and the latest model car.  Today we are unconsciously dependent upon a constant stream... an abundant supply of food, electricity, water, and gasoline.  If any of these supplies were to be cut-off we would soon we back to square one.  “Selah”... Think of that!

P.  Lord, I think I need to count my blessings. In fact I’m sure I could not count them all.  I have lived my whole life under the shelter of Your care.  You blessed my parents and theirs... for my ancestors on both sides honored You by keeping honesty, kindness and godliness as their goals.  You blessed my grandfather Hiatt and his wife, Grandma Malinda, with the prosperity of a home-stead and 14 kids living on a few acres with some farm animals.  Then he used his horse to travel from farm to farm sharing Your message.  What a heritage You have given me and my sons!  May we never forget it!  And may we not waste it!  Amen.


Mount Lassen Senior’s Camp August 2015

Welcome to Mount Lassen Senior’s Camp Meeting where I was privileged to minister each morning this past week, while Pastor Harold Johnson (right with wife, Mary) blessed us with a challenging message each night.  Below... I want you to meet some of my special friends who have dedicated their talents to Jesus.

“Granny” Dee blessed us all.  

And the sweet harmony of the Kirk Sisters: Dora, Chuckie and Patty whom I hadn’t seen for over 30 years.  

Tom Gallovich with singers Beverly and Rebecca were great!   

And the Bibblers, Don and Bertie bless us as always with trombone and piano.  And Don Pryor on the Hammond organ and piano was awesome... I have never seen or heard the like! 

Perfume the Skunk enjoyed all the attention.   

Sister Sue pets her tenderly.   

Camp Director, long time friend, Pastor Jim Logan, helped with Felipe. (We were both sectional CA Reps in the 1960s)

The group was responsive to the Word 

and sometimes we all gathered to kneel or stand at the altar to seek the Lord. 

And there was great fellowship over the tables and in the games.  

Buck Dikes and his wife Grace did a great job cooking.  His dad, too.

I met lots of wonderful new friends

and renewed fellowship with others that I had not seen for many years.

Today, Saturday, August 22, 2015... we hugged and said “Until we meet again” either here or over on the other side.


The Power of Hope when Based on Truth

Sunday 8-23-15 (Red Bluff for Ministry)

Scripture reading:  Jer. 31 – 32      1 John 4

S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Jer. 32:2-3  Jerusalem was under siege from the Babylonian army, and Jeremiah was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace.

Vs 6-7 At that time the LORD sent me a message. He said, "Your cousin Hanamel son of Shallum will come and say to you, 'Buy my field at Anathoth. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else.' " 

Vs 9-10  So I bought the field at Anathoth, paying Hanamel seventeen pieces of silver for it.  I signed and sealed the deed of purchase before witnesses, weighed out the silver, and paid him.

Vs 13-15 Then I said to Baruch as they all listened, "The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Take both this sealed deed and the unsealed copy, and put them into a pottery jar to preserve them for a long time.  For the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Someday people will again own property here in this land and will buy and sell houses and vineyards and fields."  NLT

O.  For 40 years Jeremiah had been preaching a violent overtaking of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and pleading for Israel to repent.  He has not been given a date for this to happen… and he is laughed to scorn… during many years of prosperity.  At this time he is imprisoned by the king for spreading such a negative message.  And now Jerusalem is under siege and all hope is lost.  In days the city will be ravaged and burned to the ground. 

But the Lord has given Jeremiah a message of hope as well.  After 70 years of slavery in Babylonia, the Israelites will be free to return to their homeland.**  Now Jeremiah is ordered by the Lord to buy a worthless piece of property, worthless because everything in the city will soon be in the hands of the enemy.  But he is to securely protect and hide the deed 70 years until their return.  It is a sign from the Lord that there is hope out there in the future.

A.   Jeremiah’s prophecy was made 2,600 years ago.  Later Daniel was captured with many others and taken to Babylonia.  But he had read a copy of Jeremiah‘s prophecy… and could look forward with “God given hope” to the end of the 70 years.  And God was right on time. 

Today I can see specific prophecies of the end times all around me.  The enemy of my soul seems to be winning the battle.  Tragic days may be just ahead.  Like Jeremiah, I am not given the dates for these evil days to begin.  But I am given the signs of the times.  And I would have to be blind to not recognize that the date is near. 

But I can see beyond the conquests of the evil one.  I have a “sealed title-deed” called the New Testament that gives me a “blessed hope” based upon God’s truth. 

P.  Heavenly Father, thank You for the title-deed, signed and sealed in the blood of Your Son, Jesus.  I need not despair.  I have a hope that reaches to the other side of all the tragedies that are foretold.  I have a “safe home” waiting for me… and so does everyone that has taken Your message to heart… a message reaching to the other side of Your judgment and to a beautiful “blessed hope”… based upon Your infallible truth.  Amen.


**Jer 29:10  This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.  (Also Jer. 23:17 and 25:11-12) NIV 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

What a Day that will be!

Saturday 8-22-15 (Mount Lassen Campmeeting)

Scripture reading:  Jer. 28 – 30      1 John 3

S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  1 John 3:2-3 Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children, and we can't even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he comes we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who believe this will keep themselves pure, just as Christ is pure.  NLT

O.  This is a call to holy living.  Some religious people make-up “holiness rules” and then scrutinize them to see how far they can go before they really break a rule.  They want to live on the edge, with one foot in the world and another in the church. 

A.  If I truly believe that “I will be like Him” someday, then I will strive to keep myself pure now.  It will become my motivation to be as much like Jesus as I can while living and reacting to an environment charged with evil. 

I am glad that I am not harnessed by a list of “holiness rules.”  But deep in my heart I want to please My Savior.  And whenever I sense that I have failed Him... and I sometimes do... I go running into His loving, forgiving arms to confess it all to Him.  And He does not pound me into the ground.  Instead He offers free forgiveness and cleansing.  And I am never more pure than the moment after I seek and receive His forgiveness and cleansing. 

P.  Lord God, I want to get close to You, but when I do... I cry out with the Prophet Isaiah, “Woe is me!”  For I am a mess and I live in a nasty, sinful environment.  And now the eyes of my heart have been opened and I have seen Him who declares, “He who has seen Me, has seen the Father.”  Lord, I grieve as Your brilliance reveals every dark spot on my soul... Ah, but then Your blood washes me white as the fresh fallen snow.  And one of these days I will be lifted from this world into Your presence and You promise that I will be like You for I will see You as You really are.  Oh!  What a day that will be!  Amen.

What a Day that will be!

What a day that will be
When my Jesus I shall see!
When I look upon His face
The One who saved me by His grace.
When He takes me by the hand
And leads me through the promised land.
What a day, glorious day that will be!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Okay, God, You got me again!

Friday 8-21-15 (Mount Lassen Campmeeting)

Scripture reading:  Jer. 21, 24, 27    Psalm 118   1 John 2

S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  1 John 2:16  For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. NLT

O.  Perhaps the verb “lust” only brings up thoughts of sexual desires, but it is not intended to do so in this context.  John describes a world that is bent on seeking pleasure.  It is each one of us Americans, the most guilty of all nations, dedicating ourselves to the “pursuit of happiness.”  It is lust for the latest device, an impressive automobile and a hefty bank roll.  It is our lust to ignore the needs of our neighbors and go travel the world.  It is our addiction to “entertainment.”

A.  Am I condemning myself?  Am I the guilty one?  When I see a new electronic device advertised that does everything imaginable... and few beyond my imagination... do I lust after that?  Do I want to have it and proudly show it off to my friends to let them know I am up-to-date and abreast with the times?  The elder Apostle John is meddling with me, with my family and many of my friends.  He is messing with my lust, my desire for gadgets which will not bring me happiness.  They are things that will soon be out-of-date and I will be finding myself checking out and desiring another one, the latest up-dated model.  Yes, I’m hooked!

P.  Lord, Look!  I am being left behind!  My old phone doesn’t take dictation.  My neighbor’s six year old little grandson has one that’s more up-to-date.  I am told by the ads and by my friends that I need a new iphone.  Oh yes, and an ipad or an ipod, plus an ithis and an ithat.  I, I, I!  Aye! Aye! Aye!  I wonder what I am teaching my son and grandson. (Selah!  Interlude!  Ralph, think on that!)  God, You have blessed me with lots of wonderful gadgets that are now stored out in the garage for they now useless and out-of-date.  Help me be sensible, wise and prudent with my priorities.  May they take into consideration the reaching of the lost!  May they be subject to Your priorities!  Amen.


PS.  Please understand that I love these gadgets... I’m hooked.  But I just heard a pastor friend tell me that he carried his wonderful ipad or ipod or something like that... loaded with all his sermon notes to the pulpit and behold the thing crashed.  I wonder... should he blame the devil? J  Maybe I’ll wait for the next up-dated one that promises never to crash... or maybe... just maybe... I’ll might go back to the Book that never crashes J.


Thursday 8-20-15 (Mount Lassen Campmeeting)

Scripture reading:  Jer. 48 – 49   Psalm 67   1 John 1

S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Ps 67:1-3  May God be merciful and bless us.  May his face shine with favor upon us.  (Interlude) May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere.  May the nations praise you, O God.  Yes, may all the nations praise you.   Vs 7 Yes, God will bless us, and people all over the world will fear him. NLT 

O.  In the New Living Translation the word “Selah” is translated “Interlude.”  I like that, since it is something we can understand.  It may have been a signal to the musicians of David’s day to play a verse and chorus while the congregation remains in silence... meditating on the lyrics.  Or maybe it is just saying to the singers... “Think of that!”  Take a break, pause and reflect on what you are singing. 

A.  I have noticed recently I have a song playing in my head almost constantly.  Many times I am not thinking about it at all... it is just playing like an MP3 inside my head.  Several times when driving my car recently the song was so notable inside my head that I actual was in doubt if maybe the radio was on with low volume... and I checked it to see.  But no it was in my head.  Almost always these are worship choruses or ancient hymns.  Think of that!  My heart was unconsciously singing to the Lord!  Wow!  That is good... um ...I think.  Many of our new songs are enhanced with beautiful music and charged with powerful lyrics of worship.  I fall in love with some of them.  But I find that I can be distracted by other things even when I am singing worship songs to the Lord in church.  So, once in a while, God has to give instructions to His angelic choir leader to hit the “interlude”... button... saying to me, “Think of that!”   

P.  Lord, thank You for the “selahs” in my life.  They call my attention to the marvelous messages in our hymns and choruses... words that I begin to take as something common.  I am a creature of habit.  I am prone to let my mind wander even when I have set aside a time for worship.  Thank You for this wonderful prophetic missionary psalm where David looks far ahead to the great Commission of Jesus Christ to spread His message to all the nations.  And people all over the world will join in Your worship!  Selah!  Interlude!  Think of that!  Amen.