Monday, December 19, 2016

Keepin' Busy

11-12-2016 City of Rosario, Argentina

The General Council of the Assemblies of God in Argentina happened during the same days as President Trump was being elected.

There must have been at least 2,000 of us meeting at a new huge convention center in the city of Rosario. 

I felt highly honored to be chosen by the National AG President to replace him as speaker on Thursday morning, since he is recovering from a recent stroke.  So many pastors were asking if Felipe was going to appear, I allowed him a few minutes.  He was seen on the big screen behind me.

Early in the morning hours before sunrise the Lord revealed to me what I should give these dedicated servants of God.  He is so faithful to pull me through when I feel unprepared.  The response of these men and women that have known Frances and me for many years was overwhelming.  God was there.

My son, Tim, had prepared a one-minute video promo for my book.  It hit the big screen right after my message. The line of friends from all over Argentina seemed never to end as I sat at a booth dedicating and signing my book, Argentina A Love Story (Argentina, con Amor in Spanish) more than 250 of them.

Yesterday, Friday, I drove 415 miles further north to the city of Resistencia, where I ministered last night in a delightful church.  This morning, Saturday, I was privileged to minister to children in Fontana, near Resistencia.

Everybody loves to pet Perfume, the Skunk.

I am really impressed!  This church feeds a strong, healthy meal to about 100 kids every Saturday morning.  I enjoyed eating with them… delicious rice with tomatoes a nice tender breaded steak complete year round with ice cream dessert.  Some of the volunteer workers are youth from a sister church.  I find this kind of ministry in many places.  Nobody knows about it.  Nobody pats them on the back to congratulate them.  The government doesn’t know they exist, but the love of God is expressed and lives are changed.

In a few minutes I go to preach in another church in this area and tomorrow, Sunday, in three other churches… morning, afternoon and night.  Am I having fun yet?  You better believe it!  And Oh! I love to see so many men, women, youth and elderly and even children on their knees after almost every service giving it all to Jesus!


Kissed by Your great love

Saturday 11-12-2016 City of Resistencia, northern Argentina   
Today we read Job 37 - 38 and 1 Cor. 12

S.  Job 38:8-11 "Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt'?

O.  Job is full of wonderful poetry or prose, but these words shown as God speaking are awesome indeed.  The majesty of the creation and the movement of the elements are described in marvelous pictorial language.

A.  And I am made to feel small, powerless beneath the hand of the great Creator Who is speaking.  The mighty sea waves crash their breakers against the cliffs and as I watch in wonder and I know that God is behind it all.  My heart sings with a melody divine as I have been privileged to meet this mighty Creator and become a part of His handiwork and through the love and mercy of His Son even to participate as a player on His team!

P.  Oh!  Marvelous Lord God of heaven: The works of Your hands declare Your glory.  All of this is far above the reach of my imagination.  I cling to You as a little child clings to his mother.  I know that I am nothing but another creature of Your hands until I have been kissed by Your great love.  Carry me in your arms.  Lift me up out of my erring ways and use me for Your glory both now and forevermore!  Amen


Are you a follower or a leader?

Friday 11-11-2011 City of Rosario, National Assemblies of God Conference    
Today we read Psalm 122 and 1 Cor 9 - 11

S.  1 Cor 11:1 And you should follow my example, just as I follow Christ's. NLT

O. Paul was both a follower and a leader.  He knew Who’s example he should follow and was aware of the responsibility to have hundreds and, yes, thousands of followers.

A.  I, too, am both a follower and a leader. We all are, whether we like it or not. Many are following the habits of their parents. Their dad was a drinker and beat up on their mother and they are most likely to do the same if they also become a drinker. Or their mother was a friend to everyone and kind to children and you are the same. History seems to repeat itself in the following generation. I was fortunate to have Christian parents. My big brother was my hero.  He was 11 years old than me.  Played the piano beautifully, got top grades in school, and was a self-disciplined Christian in the military service.  I had a head-start over many. I was following a good example.

P. Dear Lord, You gave me a loving Christian mother and father.  Many do not have the same advantages.  Even so, I cannot say, like Paul, “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.” I can only encourage others to look to You and follow You.  But I do ask You to help me be a careful follower of Yours and that my influence on others may draw them toward You.  Amen.


Ocean Rain

Thursday 11-10-2016 City of Rosario, National Assemblies of God Conference    
Today we read Job 35 - 36 and 1 Cor 7 - 8

S.  Job 36:26-30 “Look, God is exalted beyond what we can understand. His years are without number. He draws up the water vapor and then distills it into rain. The rain pours down from the clouds, and everyone benefits from it. Can anyone really understand the spreading of the clouds and the thunder that rolls forth from heaven? See how he spreads the lightning around him and how it lights up the depths of the sea”.  NLT

O.  Again we have these poetic words of “Mister Know-It-All”, Elihu.  I am amazed at his knowledge.  As he is pounding on poor, suffering Job, I confess that words like these above sometimes trigger strange thoughts in my head. As I read the above, I thought of the powerful rain storms at the deep, open sea.  God draws this water up from a sea of salt water, distills and purifies it to be useful as it is poured out on dry thirsty soil.  But what is this?  The sea is raining on itself!  My flimsy brain says, “What a waste!”

A.  So the warm love of the Lord draws up huge clouds of abundance of God’s grace and sends His “Spirit wind” to push that heavenly cloud of blessing to dry areas, where thousands of souls are dying of spiritual thirst.  But I happen to be in my little church-boat out at sea and need a drink of that pure water… so I cry, “Lord, please drop that cloud of fresh water on me!”  I cup my hands and drink in His blessings.  Two handfuls of His blessed refreshment satisfy my thirst and tons of pure water are wasted.  I sing, “Bless me, Lord. Bless me, bless me again!” And I am in danger of forgetting that I am blessed in order to bless others.

P.  Lord, I don’t know why it rains at sea, but I know Your abundance is sufficient for all, yet many are unreached.  Help me to recognize that You are blessing me so that I can bless other thirsting souls that are dying for lack of Your living water.  Amen.


Heaven is just one breath away.

Heaven is just one breath away.

Wednesday 11-9-2016  City of Rosario, National Assemblies of God Conference    
Today we read Job 34 and 1 Cor 4 - 6

S.  Job 34:14-15 If God were to take back his spirit and withdraw his breath, all life would cease, and humanity would turn again to dust. NLT

O. This is Elihu, one of Job’s “would be comforters” talking. He is supposed to be a friend, but accuses Job of being very evil and thus is being punished by God with sickness. Granted these “comforters” were shown to be wrong in their attitudes, but as I see it, they were remarkably accurate in many of their statements about God. Here is one of them.  It was God the Creator that breathed the breath of life into the first created man… and without a doubt, were He to withhold His breath of life from us, we and all his creatures would all breathe our last and the entire world would grow silent in a few moments.

A. I was lying beside my dying, beloved wife as she struggled to breathe her last. She knew her time had come and had announced to me several times that she was soon going to her new home in heaven. Now she was not frustrated or fearful, for she knew her Creator.  Now she was trying to speak and after many tries she got her final words through her lips, “I love you.” I was so emotionally moved that I failed to respond and she was gone. I was reminded of how fragile our life is. If God removed His breathe from me tonight I could not survive five minutes. My life hangs upon a string that will never break until God severs it. That could be today… for any one of us.

P. Lord, how generous of You to allow me a fresh start late in life. Every day and every hour I am yours and You are mine. I cannot find words to express my love for You. I only ask You to keep me in Your love and grace until You decide to call me to my heavenly home.  Amen.


“My message and my preaching were very plain.”

Tuesday 11-8-2016  City of Rosario, National Assemblies of God Conference    
Today we read Job 33 and 1 Cor 1 - 2

S.  1 Cor 2:1-5 Dear brothers and sisters, when I first came to you I didn't use lofty words and brilliant ideas to tell you God's message. For I decided to concentrate only on Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. I came to you in weakness — timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. I did not use wise and persuasive speeches, but the Holy Spirit was powerful among you. I did this so that you might trust the power of God rather than human wisdom. NLT

O.  Yesterday’s devotional text explained to the Galatians the absolute sufficiency of Christ accomplishment on the cross.  Today Paul tells us how he preached exclusively this very same message to the Corinthians.  Paul had just come from Athens where he waxed eloquent preaching to the elite philosophers of his day.  He used lofty terms while preaching the same message, but with limited results. Now in Corinth he used no fancy eloquence.  He just gave them Jesus Christ and Him crucified and resurrected.  There is no reference of a successful church plant in Athens.  He was not going to allow himself to get complicated now in Corinth.  He just gave them the core of the Gospel with no frills, but backed by a demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s miracle working power.

P.  Lord Jesus, You received me when I was only 5 years old. I understood, since I had been exposed to hundreds of sermons, Bible verses, Sunday School classes and home devotionals.  Thank you for “revealing these things to babes.”  (Matt. 11:25) The core of the Gospel message can be understood even by a little child.  I wept my way into the heart of Jesus’ loving arms and arose singing, “Oh! How I love Jesus… because He first loved me!” I sang it with all my heart and all day long… along with another song, “I can, I will, I do believe that Jesus saves me now.”  I did not understand everything, but I trusted You with the details.  Amen. 


Matt 11:25 I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. KJV

Salvation through the cross of Christ alone!

Monday 11-7-2016  La Lucila, Province of Buenos Aires    
Today we read Job 31 – 32 and Galatians 5 – 6

S.  Gal 5:11-12 The fact that I am still being persecuted proves that I am still preaching salvation through the cross of Christ alone. NLT

O.  Why were the Jewish leaders so eager to kill Paul or keep him in prison?  It was simply that he preached that a person could be made right with God, saved and cleansed from sin, without becoming a Jew.  So why would God allow these Judaizers to follow Paul around, trying to convert the new Gentile Christians into Jews?  I think it was to stir the Apostle Paul into writing this very important epistle so that every Christian could know that we are not bound by the ceremonial laws of Judaism.  Paul preached, and I must preach, salvation through the cross of Christ alone.  Paul officially puts to rest this extremely important issue.

A.  Paul, himself, before his conversion, had zealously opposed to this “Jesus way to God” and had dragged men and women into prison and hoped for their execution.  Now he is suffering his own medicine… being chased down by zealous Jews everywhere he preached.  But now, these Jews were aware that this “sect” was getting out of hand.  So they were now infiltrating the Christian, hoping to make them half Christians and half Jews.  What disaster might have followed if this valiant apostle had not tackled this false doctrine at its budding.  Oh, how thankful for this wonderful truth: Salvation through the cross of Christ alone.

P.  Lord Jesus, “Salvation by your cross alone” is a fatal blow to my ego.  It says I am not good enough to be allowed into Your heaven.  It reminds me that I am an unworthy sinner.  It tells me that I cannot pull myself up by my own boot-straps.  It points me to Your sufficient sacrifice that needs nothing added.  You paid the price.  You cancelled my debt at Calvary.  If I try to crawl on my knees until they bleed to try to pay for my sin… I am denying the total sufficiency of Your perfect sacrifice.  I am saved today by Your mercy and grace alone.  What a relief!  Thanks, Lord, for clarifying this truth in this epistle to the Galatians.  Amen.

PS. He was a military man where I was ministering in Longbeach, California during my years in Bible School.  He apparently had a Roman Catholic background and was sure that Christ’s sacrifice was not enough.  I showed him Galatians 2:16 “So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”  NIV  He read it, but could not believe that this could really be in the Bible.

A heart is broken. Depression is knocking.

Sunday 11-6-2016  La Lucila, Province of Buenos Aires    
Today we read Job 30, Psalm 120 and Galatians 3 – 4

S.  Job 30:16-17 And now my heart is broken. Depression haunts my days. My weary nights are filled with pain as though something were relentlessly gnawing at my bones. NLT

O.  Our friend, Job, has every reason to pour out his complaint to God.  He has lost his prosperity, his health and his family and even his friends accuse him of unfounded sins.  His nights seem endless and in the daytime depression pushes him into languish. 

A.  When my mother’s mother, Mary Frances Shanbeck, was widowed and aged, my father purchased a nice small home and literally moved it onto our property behind our house.  I remember how he built a small basement and prepared the foundation and plumbing and then the house was brought down the street and set in place.  I was in my early teens and visited my dear grandmother many times.  Now in her eighties she married again, but her new 88 year old husband soon developed dementia and passed away.  In her final days she, too, suffered illness.  I would sit and talk with her.  I remember her comment, “My nights seem so long!  I long for the light of day.” But her days were filled with pain, too, and I did not know what to say to comfort her. I could just be there with her.  Even in her last days she held firmly to her love for Jesus. 

P.  Dear Lord, my turn may be coming soon.  I do not look forward with anticipation to the pain that seems to usually accompany the process of saying good-bye to “this old house”, but I am comforted by the assurance of a “new house”… a new beginning where suffering and pain will no longer cultivate depression.  And there I will enjoy being close to my loved ones and to You, my Savior.  Life will be an eternal adventure with You, my Lord.  Amen.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Digging for Treasures

Saturday 11-5-2016  La Lucila, Province of Buenos Aires    
Today we read Job 28 - 29 and Galations 1 – 2

S.  Job 28:1-4 "People know how to mine silver and refine gold.  They know how to dig iron from the earth and smelt copper from stone.  They know how to put light into darkness and explore the farthest, darkest regions of the earth as they search for ore.  They sink a mine shaft into the earth far from where anyone lives. They descend on ropes, swinging back and forth.” NLT

O.  Reading the book of Job (considered the oldest book in the Bible) gives me a peek into the ancient cultures of thousands of years ago. I am amazed at how so long ago men saw the value of diamonds, precious stones, gold and silver and actually risked their lives to mine these treasures from the bowels of the earth.

A.  But the message of Job’s book is not designed to show the value of gold and jewels alone.  He is proclaiming the value of true wisdom. It is not found in a study of geology or even theology.  Vs 23 God surely knows where it can be found, for he looks throughout the whole earth, under all the heavens. Vs 28 And this is what he says to all humanity: 'The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.' " NLT  I want to acquire that treasure.

P.  Lord God in Heaven, You are looking down from Your abiding place and take notice of me. That alone is an astounding truth.  But there is more: Your Book tells me that You not only see me, You love me… enough to send Your Son to die in my place and, in so doing, open the gates of Heaven for this unworthy sinner to approach You.  Your love, mercy and grace are my treasures… and maybe, when I am ushered into Your Heaven, I might get some wisdom, too.  Amen.


Surely this man was from outer space!

Friday 11-4-2016  Martinez, Province of Buenos Aires    
Today we read Job 26 - 27 and Mark 15 – 16

S.  Mark 15:39 When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, "Truly, this was the Son of God!" NLT

O.  A Roman officer was in charge of the execution.  Doubtless he had witnessed similar scenes over and again.  But something was different about this Man. He was not cursing his mockers and the soldiers that nailed Him hands and feet to that wood.  Instead he heard Jesus defend his enemies, pleading for the Heavenly Father to forgive them.  He probably was close enough to see and hear Jesus prepare for His mother’s future.  This was no ordinary crucifixion. Something was different about this “King”.  He even died as a king.  And this military sergeant on duty suddenly something more that regal in Him.  His own disciples ran away and hid, but he saw something more than his own disciples in that moment.

A.  When I look at the cross, I see God pleading for me, an unworthy sinner.  “Father forgive him.  I am paying the price for his redemption.  Release him and let him go free.”  He gives me freedom that I do not deserve.  He gives me a future, filled with hope and blessing.

P.  Lord Jesus, most of Your friends fled the scene when You were dying.  Would I have stayed by Your side?  Would I have recognized that You were dying there in my place?  I doubt it.  I might have run for my life, too.  Today I have the New Testament, complete with a ‘four dimensional’ view in the four gospel accounts.  Today I do not have to run away and hide my identification.  I can stand on a busy corner and sing glory to Your name.  My life is in Your hands.


How did they know about God?

Thursday 11-3-2016  Martinez, Province of Buenos Aires    
Today we read Job 25 and Mark 13 – 14

S.  Job 25:1 – 6 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied: "God is powerful and dreadful. He enforces peace in the heavens.  Who is able to count his heavenly army? Does his light not shine on all the earth?  How can a mere mortal stand before God and claim to be righteous? Who in all the earth is pure? God is so glorious that even the moon and stars scarcely shine compared to him. How much less are mere people, who are but worms in his sight?" NLT

O.  Bildad was not very good as a comforter, but I am amazed at his and his friends’ magnificent concept of God. Experts do not agree on the period of time when Job lived, but I think all of them agree that his story was written before the five books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible, ever hit the market. If so, neither Job nor any of his friends had any part of the Bible to reveal to them the character of God, much less the clear New Testament revelation given to us of His Son walking on earth, showing us the image of His Father, as we have today.

A.  I am so privileged to hold in my hands the Word of God which gives me a flowing history,  revealing bit by bit, my Creator’s power, character, purity, mercy and finally His great love!

P.  Lord, if I asked a child today how Bildad and his friends learned about God, they might answer, “They probably went online to Google.”  Today we are swamped with information, some accurate and some flawed, but presented as though accurate.  So how do we sort it all out?  We go back to Your Book, written by many Holy Spirit inspired authors over a period of many centuries.  There we find accuracy, inspiration, mercy, love, hope and the promise to know You better as we share eternity with You.  Hallelujah!  Amen.


Finding God

Wednesday 11-2-2016  Martinez, Province of Buenos Aires    
Today we read Job 23 – 24 and Mark 11 – 12

S.  Job 23:3 “If only I knew where to find God, I would go to his throne and talk with him there.”
Vs 8-10 "I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find him. I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden. I turn to the south, but I cannot find him. But he knows where I am going. And when he has tested me like gold in a fire, he will pronounce me innocent. NLT

O. After Russia sent the first astronaut into space and brought him back alive, Dictator Nikita Khruschev gave a triumphant speech reinforcing the state’s anti-religion campaign, saying “Gagarin flew into space, but didn’t see any god there.” Gagarin himself was a member of the Russian Orthodox Church. He made no such declaration. Instead he commented on the colorful beauty of earth from space.
In sharp contrast on December 24, 1968 the crew of Apollo 8 read from the Bible as they obited the moon.  Below read the message of Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman as broadcast from space to the earth that Christmas Eve.**  And take note… President Obama began his presidency by officially declaring that the USA is no longer a Christian nation… and he and his team has made sure that this could never happen again.

A. Job, battered by sickness and disasters, temporarily lost sight of God. Every time I see the marvelous colors in a sunset, the delicate hues in a flower or a mountain reflected in a crystal lake… I find God, the Creator of all this astounding beauty. The atheists and wild animals may see nothing in the sunset. They may trample the flowers under their feet. I am amazed at how I am made so differently from the animals… I can see the hand of God in His astounding creation every day.

P. God, last night I looked into the sparkling eyes of a little child and saw You. And as I was signing books for the purchasers after service, I was swarmed with darling little children so close to my elbow that my chair was often jarred causing my writing to jiggle out of place. A little 4 year old girl brought me a flower. I had to set my pen down to receive it and kiss her forehead. Oh Lord, help me never to lose my spiritual eyes… to see, in the beauties that surround me, My Lord and My God!  Amen.

** Bill Anders
"We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you."
"'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
‘And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
‘And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
‘And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.'"[4]
Jim Lovell 
"'And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
‘And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
‘And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
‘And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.’"[4]
Frank Borman 
"'And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
‘And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.'"
"And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth."[4

Who’s that ringing my doorbell?

Monday 11-1-2016  Martinez, Province of Buenos Aires    
Today we read Psalm 121 and Mark 9 – 10

S.  Mark 9:36-37 Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, "Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes my Father who sent me." NLT

O.  Last night your doorbell rang and some strange looking little goblins and ghosts were standing there. 
Jesus’ group of disciples was very busy, trying to sort out which among them should be the boss.  James and John secretly asked Jesus to let them sit, one on each side of His throne in His kingdom.  Jesus was on His way to the cross.  His sober words announced that torture, death and resurrection that lay ahead of Him only days away, but they were all consumed with their own importance… much less, little children.

A.  William C. Morris (1864 – 1932) was an Anglican missionary to Argentina who welcomed little children, educated them, founded schools, homes for orphans and philanthropic organizations to help needy children.  I cannot do the same wonderful things he did for children, but I do open my arms and welcome them and I feel highly honored when they come running into my arms or to hug my legs even while I am dealing with “important” adults.  Little kids don’t ask for permission. They interrupt “important” conversations. Will he or she be rebuked and kicked aside… or welcomed?

P.  Lord, You know us so well. We all seem to give priority to “important” people, famous actors and actresses, musicians, the wealthy and politically powerful people.  Who is that ringing my doorbell?  Oh, it’s just the little kid from down the street.  Or maybe… oh, it’s the city mayor!  Clean up the room and invite him in!  Oh, Jesus, help me to welcome that little humble child and, in so doing, welcome You and Your Wonderful, Heavenly Father.  Amen.


Digging for Treasures

Saturday 11-5-2016  La Lucila, Province of Buenos Aires    
Today we read Job 28 - 29 and Galations 1 – 2

S.  Job 28:1-4 "People know how to mine silver and refine gold.  They know how to dig iron from the earth and smelt copper from stone.  They know how to put light into darkness and explore the farthest, darkest regions of the earth as they search for ore.  They sink a mine shaft into the earth far from where anyone lives. They descend on ropes, swinging back and forth.” NLT

O.  Reading the book of Job (considered the oldest book in the Bible) gives me a peek into the ancient cultures of thousands of years ago. I am amazed at how so long ago men saw the value of diamonds, precious stones, gold and silver and actually risked their lives to mine these treasures from the bowels of the earth.

A.  But the message of Job’s book is not designed to show the value of gold and jewels alone.  He is proclaiming the value of true wisdom. It is not found in a study of geology or even theology.  Vs 23 God surely knows where it can be found, for he looks throughout the whole earth, under all the heavens. Vs 28 And this is what he says to all humanity: 'The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.' " NLT  I want to acquire that treasure.

P.  Lord God in Heaven, You are looking down from Your abiding place and take notice of me. That alone is an astounding truth.  But there is more: Your Book tells me that You not only see me, You love me… enough to send Your Son to die in my place and, in so doing, open the gates of Heaven for this unworthy sinner to approach You.  Your love, mercy and grace are my treasures… and maybe, when I am ushered into Your Heaven, I might wisdom, too.  Amen.


I’m just a nobody with a good Friend

Monday 10-31-2016  Martinez, Province of Buenos Aires    
Today we read Job 22 and Mark 7 – 8

S.  Mark 8:11-13 When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came to argue with him. Testing him to see if he was from God, they demanded, "Give us a miraculous sign from heaven to prove yourself." When he heard this, he sighed deeply and said, "Why do you people keep demanding a miraculous sign? I assure you, I will not give this generation any such sign."  So he got back into the boat and left them, and he crossed to the other side of the lake. NLT

O.  Jesus obviously was not into doing magic tricks to impress the public with His powers.  He had compassion on the sick and healed them and He multiplied food when the huge crowd was hungry.  He responded with love and care in emergencies, but… although he had just arrived by boat to bless this area with His presence, he got right back into the boat and left them. 

A.  I confess that I do not have an astonishing ministry like my friend, Carlos Annacondia, revealing obvious miracles almost every day. But I know this brother.  He gives all the glory to Jesus and maintains a humble attitude.  Early in my ministry, after a service in a small church in Auburn, California, when most of the people had left, a blind lady called to me and asked me to come to her.  I did and she wanted me to pray for her eyes to see. I confess that my faith was very low, but I prayed for her eyes and immediately turned to leave her. But she called me back, “I can see!  I can see! Hand me that Bible… and she started reading it.” And inside I was saying, “Okay, God, I certainly didn’t do this… You did!” 

P.  Lord, You sometimes still respond to my prayers and do wonderful miracles in spite of my fragile faith. But then You keep me humble by not responding to someone else’s need, that, if healed, would make powerful advertising for my fame.  Jesus, You are so loving!  You know I might start thinking that I was somebody special.  I might start letting people call me ‘prophet’ or ‘apostle’ and I might start believing them and get pushed down “Shipwreck Street”.  So, I thank You for keeping me where I belong… just a nobody with a wonderful Friend called Jesus the Christ.


Jesus knew the power in a personal testimony.

Sunday 10-30-2016  Martinez, Province of Buenos Aires    
Today we read Job 21 and Mark 5 – 6

S.  Mark 5:18-20 When Jesus got back into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go, too. But Jesus said, "No, go home to your friends, and tell them what wonderful things the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been." So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to tell everyone about the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.
John 1:14 So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father.
1 John 1:1-2 The one who existed from the beginning is the one we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is Jesus Christ, the Word of life. NLT

O.  Jesus knew the power of personal testimony.  This man had been dominated by horrible demons.  His family knew him well.  His neighbors and the people of these ten cities had all heard of him.  His personal testimony was a powerful witness for Jesus.

A.  It could be said that a testimony is not preaching as such.  It does not necessarily have an introduction, three homiletic points and a summary, but it can carry much weight because the person speaking is indeed more than a speaker, he is the living witness of what he is saying, living proof of the power of Jesus to deliver from demons and evil addictions.

P.  Oh God.  You have chosen to send me out with a personal testimony these last days of my life.  I am witnessing the power that is inherent in this testimony… for my words become more powerful by my life.  May I always live worthy of my testimony so that Your name will be glorified!  Amen.


A god… or the God

Saturday 10-29-2016  Martinez, Provincia de Buenos Aires
Today we ready Job 20,   Mark 3 – 4

S.  Mark 4:39-41 When he woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, "Quiet down!" Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. And he asked them, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?" And they were filled with awe and said among themselves, "Who is this man, that even the wind and waves obey him?" NLT 

O. “Who is this man?”  That has become the question of the ages.  I am told that the Jehovah Witnesses claim He was an angel on the par with Gabriel.  At my door, I have heard them call Him “a god,” as though He were one of many. 
The disciples were, little by little, discovering Who He was and is.  Over and again they were astounded at His mighty power to heal and perform miracles.  John the Baptist called Him, “The Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world!”  Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." (John 1:49)  Peter blurted out “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”  Jesus affirmed that this was said by divine revelation.  After the resurrection the doubter, Thomas, fell on his knees before Jesus and cried out, “My Lord and my God!”  So Who is this that allows men to fall at His feet and worship Him as God?  His words are as astounding as His actions.  “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father.” 
As the New Testament unfolds, it unveils unquestionable clarity. Paul the Apostle, John and Peter and the author of Hebrews wrote enough to destroy every doubt.  He, Whose name is above every other name and before Whom every knee shall bow “is the image of the invisible God. The invisible God has come close to us, made HImself visible so that we can know Him… and to know Him is to love Him!** 

A.  No sincere reader of the NT could arrive at another conclusion without “help” from some twisted cultist. The revelation of Jesus in the New Testament is clear enough for all to see. So today I fall before Him, like Thomas, and cry out, “My Lord and My God!”

P.  Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, come reign within my stubborn heart.  May my life become subject to the One who created it and sustains it. Heavenly Father, I do not pretend to understand all the fullness of the Godhead. My mind cannot fully comprehend the Three in One concept. Can an ant understand a human? You are God and You have been seen throughout the Old Testament to be unwilling to share Your glory with anyone. Yet You willingly allow us to bow at the feet of Your Son, Jesus… and are pleased as we praise and glorify Him. I do not even ask to understand it all… I only ask that You keep my focus on the One Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life… and the only access to You, my Heavenly Father.  Amen.


** Col 1:15-20 For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
** John 1:1-2 “In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God.  Through Him all things were created and without Him nothing was made that was made.”  (John 1:1-2)
Get real! Either discredit the New Testament and throw it away… or fall at Jesus’ feet and worship the Creator God. 
How sad that the Jehovah Witnesses labor so hard to miss the point of the entire New Testament and then carry their twisted doctrine house to house.  Satan will stop at nothing to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect of God.

Scum Party

Friday 10-28-16  Martínez, Argentina
Today we read: Job 19 and Mark 1 – 2

S.  Mark 2:15-17 That night Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to be his dinner guests, along with his fellow tax collectors and many other notorious sinners. (There were many people of this kind among the crowds that followed Jesus.) But when some of the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with people like that, they said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with such scum?" When Jesus heard this, he told them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor — sick people do. I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough." NLT

O.  The religious elite were disgusted at Jesus who chose to eat with nasty sinners… instead nice clean “holy” sinners like them.  A religious teacher should not hang around that kind of scum.

A.  It seemed unthinkable that a Bible preacher should lower Himself to eat with “notorious sinners”.  Who was at the table with Jesus that day? The bad guys!  If not Barrabas, some of his kind. But just look at Jesus, he is hugging them and laughing with them. I think He is actually enjoying Himself! The religious elite repelled such scum. But a pure, holy Jesus was so loving that He attracted the worse kind. No, I don’t think Jesus laughed at their crude, dirty jokes. Instead His presence brought health and true joy to the party. Who do I attract?  And who do I repel?
P.  Lord, I confess that I usually hang out with fellow Christians.  We discuss You and the wonderful things You have done.  But You know I have a good friend who claims to be an atheist that invites me out to lunch every few months. He is a good man. He is not like the “scum” at Jesus’ party at all. I always enjoy myself. He is my friend.  I pray at our table and ask My Wonderful Lord to bless him. I invite Jesus to sit at our table with us. Jesus comes to reach out His love.  He doesn’t dominate the conversation. Instead He just silently tugs away at my friend’s tender heart. The Master is offering him a brand new start in life, free of charge. Jesus, please do your effective work. I hope to see my friend in heaven someday.


He stands beside me

Thursday 10-27-16  Martínez, Argentina
Today we read: Job 18, Psalm 114 and Acts 27 -28

S.  Acts 27:21-26 No one had eaten for a long time. Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, "Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Fair Havens. You would have avoided all this injury and loss. But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down.  For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, 'Don't be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What's more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.' So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. But we will be shipwrecked on an island." NLT

O.  Aboard a ship heading straight for total destruction, God’s prisoner, Paul, was not alone. There in the dark of night, tossed about like a cork in a raging hurricane wind, God sent a messenger to “stand beside Paul” and speak a word of assurance.  Everyone on that ship had lost all hope of survival… everyone except Paul. He had heard from God Himself and now he called the crew together. “Spread the word among everyone aboard. The ship will go down, but none of you will die.  So take heart and eat something. You will need the strength to swim to shore.”

A.  I have a Wonderful Friend Who has promised to stand beside me even in the worst of storms. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He will even give me assurance for “everyone sailing with me”.  When everything around me is in chaos, He whispers hope and assurance. His whisper is just loud enough to be heard in a hurricane.  And just to know that He stands beside me and you is enough!

P.  Dear Lord, today I am living the final years of my life within Your protection and care. You are allowing me to enjoy blessing upon blessing among dear friends. But soon the tempest may rise. Soon the waves may swamp my boat. Soon I may face that final earthly storm, but even then You will “stand beside me” with a word of assurance.  And even when this “ship” goes down to its grave, You will carry me safely into Your harbor.  Amen.

The Haven of Rest
Henry L. Gilmore 1890

1.    My soul in sad exile was out on life’s sea,
So burdened with sin and distressed,
Till I heard a sweet voice, saying, “Make Me your choice”;
And I entered the “Haven of Rest”!
o   Refrain:
I’ve anchored my soul in the “Haven of Rest,”
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I’m safe evermore.
2.    I yielded myself to His tender embrace,
In faith taking hold of the Word,
My fetters fell off, and I anchored my soul;
The “Haven of Rest” is my Lord.
3.    The song of my soul, since the Lord made me whole,
Has been the old story so blest,
Of Jesus, who’ll save whosoever will have
A home in the “Haven of Rest.”
4.    How precious the thought that we all may recline,
Like John, the beloved so blest,
On Jesus’ strong arm, where no tempest can harm,
Secure in the “Haven of Rest.”

5.    Oh, come to the Savior, He patiently waits
To save by His power divine;
Come, anchor your soul in the “Haven of Rest,”
And say, “My Beloved is mine.”

“Halt! About Face! Forward march!”

Wednesday 10-26-16  Martínez, Argentina
Today we read: Job 17 and Acts 24 -26

S.  Acts 26:9-11 “I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the followers of Jesus of Nazareth.  Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many of the believers in Jerusalem to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death.
Vs 12 "One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests.
Vs 17-18 “Jesus said to me, ‘I am going to send you to the Gentiles, to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God's people, who are set apart by faith in me.’”  NLT

O.  The fervent, young Pharisee, Saul, was on a mission to destroy this “false cult” of Jesus, the Nazarene. Then just outside of Damascus, God blinded him with a laser beam which flattened his whole team. Now physically blind, Jesus opened his spiritual eyes and his ears, turning him 180 degrees. “Halt! About face! Forward march!” This young man was now on a mission to carry the ‘Jesus message’ to save the lost in heathen lands. 

A.  “About face!” It’s a military command to marching soldiers. I wonder how many Christians Saul had sent to torture and a cruel death. Damascus was his next mission, but now within days he was on another mission preaching Jesus, the Messiah, in Damascus.  Probably some Christians thought it was a trick to get them out of their hiding places.  Would I have trusted this killer? 

P.  Lord, it is obvious that You detected the fervor and determination of a “soldier” that was marching in the wrong direction.  And in a matter of three days You had him marching with the same fervor and determination in the opposite direction.  Dear Jesus, fill me with that same Holy Spirit boldness, fervor and determination! Amen.


“I will send you far away.”

Tuesday 10-25-16  Martínez, Argentina
Today we read: Job 16 and Acts 21 -23

S.  Acts 22:21 "But the Lord said to me, 'Leave Jerusalem, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles!' " NLT

O.  The mob that had been bent upon killing Paul, now listened as he spoke their language, Aramaic, telling the story of how he, just like them, had wanted to kill all Christians. But near Damascus, where he was going to arrest more Christians, a light, brighter than the sun, blinded him and threw him to the ground. The crowd listened as he told them of his vision of Jesus, but the moment that he told that Jesus was sending him with God’s message of love and salvation to the Gentiles, they cut him off with, “Kill him! Kill him!”

A.  The Apostle Paul was well aware that Jesus had sent him with the Good News to the heathen, idol worshipping nations. Apparently most of the Jewish people felt that the Great Creator, Jehovah God, belonged only to them. Like Jonah, who balked at carrying a salvation message to Nineveh… they could not, would not share God’s love with others. They were “God’s chosen people”, but they missed the fact that they had been “chosen” to “bless all the families of the earth” with His salvation message.  I have been blessed, not to sit on my blessing, but to bless others.

P.  Lord Jesus, Your great commission has not been revoked. You are still sending us to the gentiles, the nations. You are intent upon getting the Word out to every tribe (people group) in every nation. Your words ring in my ears, “For God so loved the world…” It is not “for God so love the descendants of Abraham”. Your love overflowed the boundaries of the Jewish religion and reached across the centuries and continents all the way to me.  And one day I heard you say, 'Leave Jerusalem, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles!' "  You said “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel!” And until You return, Your expressed will is still my command.  Amen.



Monday, October 24, 2016

The final embrace

Monday 10-24-16  Martínez, Argentina
Today we read: Job 15 and Acts 19 -20

S.  Acts 20:24 Paul is speaking “…my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus — the work of telling others the Good News about God's wonderful kindness and love.
Vs 25 "And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again.”
Vs 36-38 When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. They wept aloud as they embraced him in farewell, sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they accompanied him down to the ship. NLT

O.  The Apostle Paul had become a spiritual father to many of these saintly leaders. He has literally poured his life into them. Now he is saying a final good-bye and tears are pouring like a river.

A.  I have had to quit saying “final” good-byes, because I keep coming back. Still many of these dear people to whom I am ministering know that this could well be our final embrace… our last time on this earth to enjoy fellowship. Last night was no exception. It happens every night. I have been tightly embraced many times, wrapped in the arms of someone who has just told me the story of how I was the instrument God used to bring them to Jesus many years ago, or maybe just last week. Their bodies shake as they weep with their head on my shoulder… and I cannot help myself… I weep with them.

P. Yes, Lord Jesus, it could well be our final embrace with tears before we, leaping with joy, hug them again over on the other side. Every night I return to my borrowed apartment feeling literally saturated with godly love.  Little children run into my arms or come to hug my legs. Grandmas tell me how they found Jesus when they were a little child and Felipe sang about His love.  Big men weep as they remind me about some youth camp where they gave it all to Jesus. Thank you, Lord, for the endless multitude of loving friends that You have given me.  Amen.


A Giant Step

Saturday 10-23-16  Martínez, Argentina
Today we read: Job 13 – 14 and Acts 17 -18

S.  Acts 18:8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and all his household believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also became believers and were baptized. NLT

O.  Jesus had given specific instructions to not only make disciples, but to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  So, although it is not mentioned in each case, apparently, Paul and his team followed Jesus in all that He taught baptizing those that believed.

A.  I was made aware of the importance of water baptism when I became pastor of a church in the USA. Colfax was a small town with a large Roman Catholic church building.  It was apparent that many of the founders of the city must have been from that religious background.  As a pastor, I was thrilled each time a sinner came to Christ.  I was satisfied to disciple them and lead them deeper into the things of God.  But when Ricky requested water baptism, I realized that this was a giant step for him.  His parents had baptized him when he was a baby… and another baptism was in effect a declaration to their family that now they were making their own decision to follow Christ in a new and fervent way.  And most disturbing, it was also a declaration that their infant baptism was not a valid baptism at all… nothing like what Jesus had ordered… since its value is found in a public testimony to all that they have already chosen to die to one life and rise to another, a new life that the Lord Jesus has set in motion.

P.  Dear Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your word.  Crispus was the leader of the synagogue.  It certainly was a giant step for him and his family.  Jesus was wanting true disciples, willing to make a break with the past and begin a new life.  Now serving for many years in Latin America I can see the deep meaning to these new believers.  To some it means severing delicate ties to their parents and family.  Water baptism is important to You, Lord Jesus… so it is important to us, too.  Amen.

Note: After one 30 day crusade in a park, we had several hundred new believers.  One night Pastor Osvaldo Carnival baptized 99 of them.  It was a giant step for many of those new believers.