Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The New Songs

Wednesday 8-31-2016  Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading: Eze 12 - 14     Rev 5
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer SOAP for the soul.

S. Rev 5:9-10 And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation and have made us kings and priests to our God;
and we shall reign on the earth." NKJV

O. The 24 elders that were circling the throne of God now sang a new song.  What was new about their song?  God’s people had sung worship to Him for many centuries.  But now God had sent to earth His Prince of Heaven, His only Son. He had been identified in early prophecy to be the Lion of Judah. God had allowed Him to be tortured and killed as the Sacrificial Lamb to freely offer redemption from the curse of sin for all mankind of every tribe, tongue, people and nation!  This was a new concept hard to swallow for the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. How dare this “Man” claim to be God walking on this earth! But John’s vision confirms the reality. Jesus rose from the dead and is openly worshipped by the inhabitants of Heaven together with His Father for they are One. That message is forever new!

A. Today is a day of new songs within the evangelical Church. For decades we sang the old songs written by inspired authors centuries ago. These hymns were filled with scriptural doctrine and truth and those of us who were raised on them still love them. Today we are introduced to new songs almost every week. It is exciting to hear, learn and worship with powerful, inspired new songs. But ever since Jesus rose from the dead the message of our songs has never changed. We have new melodies, new rhythms, new chord structures and new lyrics that lift our spirits to new heights of worship, but the message behind them is still: All Glory to God the Father and to King Jesus, the Lamb of God, slain for our redemption and risen to life again.

P.  Lord, You know I still sing along whenever I hear those old hymns and melodies. Often they bring pictures of a glorious personal experiences from my past.  One takes me back to a cold, dark night where, as a 16 year old kid, I was standing all alone waiting for a bus to take me home. As I sang that song I realized I was not alone. You took my hand and stood with me.  Another takes me to a prayer meeting where God flooded me with His Spirit and I first worshipped Him in a heavenly language. Lord, may I enjoy and worship You with the new songs, but never allow me to forget the old ones that have touched my soul long ago.  Amen.


                                                                      There's Within My Heart a Melody

                                                  Text and Music: Luther B. Bridgers 
1. There's within my heart a melody 
Jesus whispers sweet and low: 
Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still, 
in all of life's ebb and flow. 
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, 
sweetest name I know, 
fills my every longing, 
keeps me singing as I go. 

2. All my life was wrecked by sin and strife, 
discord filled my heart with pain; 
Jesus swept across the broken strings, 
stirred the slumbering chords again. 

3. Though sometimes he leads through waters deep, 
trials fall across the way, 
though sometimes the path seems rough and steep, 
see his footprints all the way. 

4. Feasting on the riches of his grace, 
resting neath his sheltering wing, 
always looking on his smiling face, 
that is why I shout and sing. 

5. Soon he's coming back to welcome me 
far beyond the starry sky; 
I shall wing my flight to worlds unknown; 
I shall reign with him on high. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

“Come up here and I will show you.”

Tuesday 8-30-2016  Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading: Eze 8 - 11  Rev 4
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer SOAP for the soul.

S. Rev 4:1-2 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this. At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. NIV

O. John was banished on the small island of Patmos for preaching the gospel. One can still visit the cave where he is supposed to have lived… alone and isolated. But Jesus shows up. Now Jesus has just finished dictating to John the messages directed to the seven churches. Suddenly John looks and behold… a door is open in heaven. Again he hears the voice of Jesus, “Come up here. I have some things to show you.” From this point to the end of the book John struggles with the limitation of words to describe what he is seeing.

A. It is still vivid in my mind. I was probably no more than 5 years old. One night I dreamed that I was kneeling on the big blue couch which was backed up against the large front window. I was looking out into the dark night when suddenly before me in the sky the darkness seemed to roll back and I watched in awe as a huge, bright golden city was there in the sky. There were glowing, gold colored buildings and towers. I knew it was heaven. I stared in awe. And then, just as suddenly, it was gone. I wanted to run to awaken my mother and tell her that God had showed me heaven. It was only a dream, but someday soon it will become reality for me.

P.  Lord, when I see the delicate beauty of an orchid and stare at stunning mountain peaks  mirrored in the lake below; when I hear the ocean’s breakers roar as they push toward the shore… I know that just ahead are beauties that I could never describe in words.  One of these days I will see that open door and You will say, “Come up here, my son, I’ve got some things to show you.” 1 Cor 2:9 “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." NKJV  Amen.


Music: Blanche Kerr Brock
Lyrics: Virgil P Brock

Beyond the sunset, oh blissful morning,
When with our Saviour heav'n has begun.
Earth's toiling ended oh glorious dawning;
Beyond the sunset, when day is done.

Beyond the sunset, no clouds will gather,
No storms will threaten no fears annoy;
Oh day of gladness oh day unending,
Beyond the sunset, eternal joy

Beyond the sunset, a hand will guide me
To God the Father, whom I adore;
His glorious presence, His words of welcome,
Will be my portion on that fair shore

Beyond the sunset, o glad reunion,
With our dear loved ones who've gone before;
In that fair homeland we'll know no parting,
Beyond the sunset forever more.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Called to suffer rejection

Sunday 8-28-2016   Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading:  Eze 1 - 3   Rev 2
S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Ezek 2:6-7 "And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house.  You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious. NKJV

O.  Ezekiel was a defrocked priest who, along with his people had been taken captive and carried into a foreign land where he had lived, like many other slaves for several years.  Now God shocks him with a vision so unusual that even today with all our possibilities could never make a movie to even resemble it. And as this captive priest tries to take in the whirlwind and strange living creatures with wings and wheels flying in formation… God shows up upon His throne with some difficult instructions.

A.  When the Lord sent me to Latin America, He said if I would plant the seed of my ministry in the USA and “let it die”, He would give me the promise of “much fruit” (John 12:24).  I had the wonderful blessing of knowing that if I buried the seed of my life in the fertile soil of His will, my service to Him and my message to them would, in time, bring forth much fruit. I lived in the brightness of that assurance.  But here is a man who is called to go to a stubborn people that will refuse his message. He is promised briers, thorns, scorpions, looks of disgust and rejection.  I am made to think of the many young Argentine couples that God is calling to countries inhabited by Muslims. They know that they are heading for rejection, hatred and danger, but they go for God has called them.

P.  Lord, I seriously doubt that I could have gone out with the same fervor if You had told me, like Ezekiel, that I would not only suffer thorns and scorpions and, in spite of my speaking Your message, I would face rebuke, hatred and rejection. Lord, I pray for Your servants that today that are suffering danger and rejection and life-threatening persecution.  May Your love in them conquer their torturers and may they have the joy, like You have given me, the joy of witnessing the harvest of precious souls.  Amen.


Today I lift up my soul to You.

Saturday 8-27-2016   Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading:  Jer 52   Psalm 143 - 144   Rev 1
S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Ps 143:8 Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You. NKJV

O.  King David was far from perfect, but there was something about him that was different from many of the kings that followed him. His soul hungered and thirsted for the close relationship with God that he had enjoyed when alone in the fields with his harp and his sheep. As king, his life had become more complicated and stressful. It seems that there was always someone who was seeking to destroy him.

A.  Life has a way of getting complicated and stressful during our most productive years. I was in my mid-forties and early fifties, my wife and our three sons were with me in Argentina as God opened doors before me. I woke up daily to new challenges and delicate decisions. I confess that I did not know which way to go. I was driven to daily seek God’s plan and will for my life. I was far from perfect. I made many errors, but God heard my desperate cries and led me into His ripened harvest fields giving us incalculable blessing and fruitfulness.

P.  Lord, I am retired now, and life is supposed to be relaxing and serene, but You have made this time in my live to be challenging like it was in those days long past. My daily prayer has not changed. I praise You for Your lovingkindness that floods my heart this morning! May my trust be only in You!  Show me the path I should choose… as, like King David, I lift up my soul to You. Lead me, one more time into Your harvest fields. Once more I claim Your promise of much fruit as I return to minister in Argentina in just 25 days. Amen.


I Am Thine, O Lord

Text: Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915 
Music: William H. Doane, 1832-1915
1. I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice, 
and it told thy love to me; 
but I long to rise in the arms of faith 
and be closer drawn to thee. 
Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, 
to the cross where thou hast died. 
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, 
to thy precious, bleeding side. 

2. Consecrate me now to thy service, Lord, 
by the power of grace divine; 
let my soul look up with a steadfast hope, 
and my will be lost in thine. 

3. O the pure delight of a single hour 
that before thy throne I spend, 
when I kneel in prayer, and with thee, my God, 
I commune as friend with friend! 

4. There are depths of love that I cannot know 
till I cross the narrow sea; 
there are heights of joy that I may not reach 
till I rest in peace with thee. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Two brought accolades. One brought shame.

Friday 8-26-2016   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 3-4 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. NKJV

O.  The Apostle John has apparently outlived all the other disciples. He has lived through torture, imprisonment and isolation. Now he refers to himself as “the elder”. He writes this brief message to one of “his children,” named Gaius. It seems to me unlikely that this is the same Gaius, a convert of Paul from Derbe, since many years have passed, since John calls him one of “his children” and since historians say that Gaius was a common name. So I suppose that this Gaius is a convert of John’s own ministry.  An elderly pastor is concerned about “his children”. He wants them to follow Jesus all the way to the day of their death. He wants to see them emulate the attitudes of Jesus, His love, His concern for the Church and His willingness to serve others. Three men are named in this short letter. Two are faithful servants of God.  But one, who apparently serves as a pastor, has developed an unchristian spirit. 

A.  I rejoice that during more than 50 years of ministry our lives have touched many children, youth and adults. Some of them have gone on to dedicate their lives to God’s service.  I cannot help but rejoice, like a proud daddy, when I see them following Christ faithfully and bearing much fruit.  And I cannot help but suffer heart-break and tears when one stumbles, falls and refuses to accept correction, causing me shame and injuring the body of Christ.  Yet I rejoice in the great majority that continue to faithfully serve our Savior, bringing honor to His Wonderful Name.

P.  Dear Lord, I pray for that one that I cannot forget, for he is my spiritual son. I pray for his glorious restoration. I was lost and You found me. I had no future and You gave me a future. Just give me a heart like Your heart, Jesus… a heart that weeps for the lost, seeks for the lost and rejoices for every one that is found and restored to the flock.  Amen.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Saved by a compassionate black man

Thursday 8-25-2016   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 38:8-13  Ebed-Melech went out of the king's house and spoke to the king, saying: "My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon, and he is likely to die from hunger in the place where he is. For there is no more bread in the city." Then the king commanded Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, saying, "Take from here thirty men with you, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon before he dies." So Ebed-Melech took the men with him and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took from there old clothes and old rags, and let them down by ropes into the dungeon to Jeremiah. Then Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, "Please put these old clothes and rags under your armpits, under the ropes." And Jeremiah did so. So they pulled Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the dungeon. NKJV

O.  Jeremiah’s prophecies caused a gang of princes to take him and lower him with ropes into a dungeon where he sank down in the deep mud.  And they left him there to die.  But this kind hearted black man, who was a respected member of the king’s staff, pleaded for Jeremiah’s life.  He took 30 strong men with him rags and old clothes to put under Jeremiah’s arms… and with ropes they gently lifted him to safety.  We might never have had the book of Jeremiah, were it not for Ebed-Melech.  Finally God rewarded Ebed-Melech with this message:  (Jer 39:18)  “I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me," says the LORD.'" NKJV

A.  It happened early in my ministry.  Someone began a false story about me that passed from minister to minister.  I had no idea why some pastor friends were avoiding me. Pastor Mel Woods was passing on the deadly story to other pastors when he heard the truth. He rushed to my rescue, took me under his care and fought for me on every front.  Mel Woods lowered the rope and lifted me from the mire.  Isn’t that the very thing that Jesus has done for each of us?

P.  I praise You, my Lord! You lifted me as a little child, long before I had to sink in the deep mire of sin. Only You know what horrors You rescued me from. And then when I was just getting an exciting thrust into ministry, I was tossed aside. But You did not allow me to be thrown away on the garbage pile. You had a compassionate man ready to help. Thank you Lord! You sent a thoughtful man to save your servant, Jeremiah, and You did the same for me.  And now let me become that compassionate man for someone else.  Amen.

He Lifted Me

In loving-kindness Jesus came
  My soul in mercy to reclaim,
And from the depths of sin and shame
  Through grace He lifted me.
From sinking sand He lifted me,
With tender hand He lifted me,
From shades of night to plains of light,
  Oh, praise His name, He lifted me!
He called me long before I heard,
  Before my sinful heart was stirred,
But when I took Him at His word,
  Forgiven, He lifted me.
His brow was pierced with many a thorn,
  His hands by cruel nails were torn,
When from my guilt and grief, forlorn,
  In love He lifted me.
Now on a higher plane I dwell,
  And with my soul I know ’tis well;
Yet how or why, I cannot tell,
  He should have lifted me.

Only permanent freedom is genuine.

Wednesday 8-24-2016   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 34:10-11 Now when all the princes and all the people, who had entered into the covenant, heard that everyone should set free his male and female slaves, that no one should keep them in bondage anymore, they obeyed and let them go. But afterward they changed their minds and made the male and female slaves return, whom they had set free, and brought them into subjection as male and female slaves. NKJV

O.  Through Moses, God had decreed that every seventh year would be a year of Jubilee.  Property owners who had lost their properties through debts would receive them back and anyone who had been sold into slavery for any reason should be set free.  Now, as the Babylonian army is laying siege to Jerusalem, King Zedekiah makes an emancipation proclamation.  All slaves are to be set free!  At first the wealthy elite complied, setting free their male and female slaves.  But afterward they found it meant that they themselves would have to do their own work… and they chased down their former slaves and captured them again.

A.  I imagine myself as a slave, rejoicing at officially being set free, now beginning a new life from scratch.  With my little family we enjoy fresh hope… only to be chased down and be placed in chains again.  The devil is like those slave owners.  Under the pressure of God’s power to save, his slaves escape his power, but within a few days he is back trying to break down their door and enslave them once again. 

Chapter 25 of our book, “Argentina, A Love Story”* tells of our victories and heartbreaks as Frances and I attempted to lead a group of drug addicts out of slavery and into a relationship of freedom with Jesus.  The enemy does not give up easily.  Only Jesus can break Satan’s chains. 

P.  Lord, how cruel to release a slave and then chase him or her down again!  How devastating it would be to have one’s hopes crushed!  Only Your salvation breaks the power of cancelled sin and sets the prisoner free.  Jesus, You have allowed me to witness many slaves to be set free and stay free.  May I be Your ambassador for freedom and may I see many more of Satan’s slaves set free forever.  Amen.


* Within a few days I hope to tell you how you can purchase this book if you wish.

He breaks the power of canceled sin, 
he sets the prisoner free; 
his blood can make the foulest clean; 
his blood availed for me.

What is real love, anyway?

Tuesday 8-23-2016   Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading:  Jer 31 - 32    1 John 4
S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  1 John 4:9-11 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  NKJV

1 John 4:9-11 God displayed His great love for us by sending His One and only Son into our world to be a channel for His life to reach us.  So… What is real love? It is not that we have loved God, but that He loved us sinners and sent His Son to be tortured and sacrificed for our sins. If God loved us that much, that is how we should display our love to fellow sinners that surround us.  NUHV*

O.  The elder Apostle John is saying: “God loves us SO MUCH that He gave us the only thing He could not create… so now we should give like THAT to display our true love for other sinners.

A.  I don’t have any more sons to give Him back, so I want to give Him back my own life to show my true love for Him.

P.  Dear Lord, I cannot give You my life and then walk away and say, “Been there, done that.”  To do so, would be to take back my love gift to You. So every day, if I awaken again to see the light of day, I must run into Your waiting arms and once again give You my life… for today.  And You are prompting me today to display that same love for unlovely sinners around me, just like You did… by giving my life away. Precious Jesus, let me be an open channel of Your love today.  Amen.


*New Unauthorized Hiatt Version

Not just a part, nor half of my heart…

Monday 8-22-2016   Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading:  Jer 28 - 30    1 John 3
S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Jer 29:12-14 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity. NKJV

Matt 22:37-38 Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'  This is the first and great commandment. NKJV

O. God is not looking for a half-hearted people.  He speaks through Jeremiah in the Old Testament search for Me with all your heart”.  He speaks through Jesus in the New Testament love the LORD your God with all your heart”. 

A.  Oh! how easy it is to get to lovin’ stuff!  Kid’s say, “I love McDonalds.” I love certain music. I  love my new car.  I love my new cell phone or whatever.  It appears that everything is competing for my “love”.  Of course I can argue “Well, you know it is only a figure of speech”.  Is it really? How much time do I devote to it?  I knew of an attractive teenage girl that had a boyfriend and then started liking another guy… so she had one on each side and said, “I’ll just have both of you.” It wasn’t going to work. Soon one of them became boyfriend one and boyfriend two said, “Forget it! The woods is full of better ones than you.”

P.  Lord, I notice in Your Word that You are not seeking half of my heart.  Your Old Testament is full of people that wanted to have You, Jehovah God, plus several other little gods, too. So many things are competing for my attention, but You are encouraging me to keep my eyes fixed upon You.  So, Jesus, I choose to say with the song… “Not just a part, nor half of my heart… Lord I give all to You!”  Amen.    


What shall I give Thee, Master?
  Thou who didst die for me.
Shall I give less of what I possess,
  Or shall I give all to Thee?
Jesus, my Lord and Savior;
  Thou hast giv’n all for me;
Thou didst leave Thy home above
  To die on Calvary.
What shall I give Thee, Master?
  Thou hast giv’n all for me;
Not just a part or half of my heart,
    I will give all to Thee.
What shall I give Thee, Master?
  Thou hast redeemed my soul;
My gift is small but it is my all—
  Surrendered to Thy control.
What shall I give Thee, Master?
  Giver of gifts divine!
I will not hold time, talents or gold—
  For everything shall be Thine.

And now, God’s Man of the Hour!

Sunday 8-21-2016   Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading:  Jer 21, 24, 27    Psalm 118    1 John 2
S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Jer 27:8-9 And it shall be, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and which will not put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation I will punish,' says the LORD, 'with the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. 9 Therefore do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers, or your sorcerers, who speak to you, saying, "You shall not serve the king of Babylon." NKJV

O.  Not all God’s messages are ‘apple pie a la mode’.  Jeremiah is running through the Jerusalem streets saying, “Jehovah God is saying, ‘Surrender now to King Nebuchadnezzar or you will all die.’” He is boldly preaching what the Lord has told him to say… and he is becoming very unpopular.  His message will be declared “treason” and it will soon doom him to be lowered into the mud of a dry well expecting to die a miserable death.

A.  Preaching God’s true message can get the preacher in trouble some times. “Hey preacher, go preach your heavy stuff from your pulpit, but don’t trouble us here on the street with your call to repentance.” I really don’t want to be like Jeremiah. I much prefer to call sinners to repentance without threatening God’s wrath. I don’t want to be a freak standing on the street corner, condemning everybody to hell. May the Lord call someone else to shake this nation… and shake us preachers… enough that we will fearlessly tell it like it is. 

When I was voted in as pastor in the little town of Colfax, I discovered that I had four nice deacons. One wouldn’t come to church since he disagreed with another one. And he was a really nice guy, too. One of them was an ordained minister from another church organization. Go figure! I was a beginner preacher and it showed… a lot!  All my previous ministry had been preaching to young military men, calling them to the feet of Jesus.  So this dear ordained brother soon complained that I was always preaching to sinners and giving altar calls and I was never “comforting the saints”… of which he was one.  In fact, I didn’t even know that I was supposed to “comfort the saints.” So now I’m all grown up and have learned to “comfort the saints”, but am I still calling sinners to repentance? Hmmm.

P.  Oh Lord, we preachers have to walk a tight rope. If we don’t entertain the saints with juicy sweet stuff, then they might choose to go to the church across the street and we might find ourselves “calling down the wrath of God on empty chairs.” May I just be Your message carrier. But please don’t let them lower me in the mud of a deep well, okay? Thank You.  Amen.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Way

Saturday 8-20-2016   Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading:  Jer 48 - 49    Psalm 67    1 John 1
S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Ps 67:1-2 God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us! (Selah… meditate upon this) That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.

Acts 24:14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. (Apostle Paul on trial)

John 14:5-6 Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  NKJV

O.  The psalmist declares that God’s way, His salvation be made known in all the earth.  The Jews in Paul’s day referred to the Gospel as “the Way.”  Jesus says “the Way” is not a map, or a sect.  The Way is a Person.  His name is Jesus.

A.  So what is my purpose, traveling back and forth to Argentina and the USA? I want make God’s Way, Jesus, the only Way, known in all the earth. 

P.  Lord, what a privilege You have given me and continue to give me to share the Way with the people in distant nations!  May I be faithful to Your calling as long as my feet can walk and my mouth can talk.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Isa 30:21 "This is the way; walk in it." NIV

Please hurry, Lord. I need it yesterday!

Friday 8-19-2016   Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading:  Jer 45 - 47    Psalm 105    John 21
S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Ps 105:17-19 He sent a man before them — Joseph — who was sold as a slave. They hurt his feet with fetters, He was laid in irons.  Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him.

O.  Joseph serves as an example of waiting patiently for God to fulfil His promises.  He was 17 years old when he was sold by his half-brothers into slavery and made to walk to Egypt in chains, then resold to Potiphar.  A few years later he was falsely accused and send to prison. Yet Joseph held fast his hope that God would someday fulfil his God-given dreams.

A.  I have to confess that patience is not inbred in me. I often wondered why God sent me to Latin America, where everybody has to wait in line for everything… at the bus stop, at the bank, at the grocery store, on the phone.  I have seen elderly people waiting in a line that wrapped around the block, just to try to pick up their measly retirement check for the month and some have collapsed in the heat.  So many elderly folk have to pay someone else to wait in line for them.  In fact, there are people in Latin America that earn their entire living by waiting in line for others, to pay their bills, bank a check, or buy a loaf of bread.  Did you get it?  I hate to wait in line!

P.  Lord, you know I need patience right now. I’m sorry, but I haven’t the time to wait in line for it.  What are you telling me?  That patience is not given out as a gift from heaven?  I have to learn it?  Learn it!  No, please!  I need it yesterday!  Okay, Lord, I am going to try to slow down a little bit and wait for Your angels to catch up with me.  You know me too well, Lord.  I guess I have no choice, but to wait in line for Your patience.  At least I am not suffering as a slave in a prison, like Joseph. I should be rejoicing.  In fact, I think I’ll try rejoicing while I am waiting.  Maybe I’ll just count my blessings while I’m rejoicing: 1, 2, 3… 112, 113, 114… 3,340, 3,341… Oh yes!  I am blessed beyond measure. Amen.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

He watched it burn and laughed

Thursday 8-18-2016   Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading:  Jer 26, 35, 36     John 20
S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Jer 36:22-24 Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning on the hearth before him.  And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe's knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. NKJV

O.  King Jehoiakim was the epitome of brazen evil.  Urijah was a prophet, like Jeremiah, that had called on the people to repent of their evil ways to avoid destruction.  But King Jehoiakim had his henchmen chase Urijah down all the way to Egypt, find him and bring him back for the king to have to joy of killing him, himself.  Now King Jehoiakim sits by the fireplace and listens to Jeremiah’s prophecy being read and then cuts off the last section of the scroll that has been read to him and casts it into the fire. We are talking about brazen evil! 

A.  It was no small task in Jeremiah’s day to write a book. He had heard the voice of God Who gave him a message for the nation. He had dictated it to his scribe Baruch who had carefully written it down, but the king despised it and destroyed it. Jeremiah had to start over with Baruch and rewrite his book. 

I am into the process of writing and publishing my first book. My mother had carefully preserved all my handwritten letters, literally telling stories of my life as they happened. I had kept no copies. My sisters found this box of treasures and gave it to my wife. My scribe, my dear Frances, chose to type all of them, word for word, into her computer, along with her letters to her mother. The total word-count she typed is almost exactly that of one half the entire Bible! She did not know she was writing a book. My sons, Ron and Tim, spent many long hours designing the layout, table of contents, arranging chapter headings and photos, proof reading and much more. My youngest son, Mike, helped decide the book title, “Argentina, A Love Story” and my granddaughter created the original front cover. Now… I could only imagine the heartbreak to watch some evil person taking my only copy of this, tearing it up page by page and throwing it into the fire.

P.  Oh Father God, You allowed Jeremiah’s book of Your words to be destroyed, but it was not lost. You inspired him to write it all again and I have it before my eyes more than two and one half millenniums later. Wow! How You treasure and have protected Your Holy Word! If I fail to read it, it is almost as though I tossed it into the fire. It does no good if it remains only another book on the shelf. I must read it, strive understand its message, live it to the full and share it with others. Lord, may I always respect, live and proclaim Your Holy Word.  Amen.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Is “secret believer” an oxymoron?

Wednesday 8-17-2016   Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading:  Jer 23, 25     John 19
S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  John 19:38-41 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. NKJV

O.  Two men of influence and leadership, believed in Jesus, but never dared to declare their faith in Him, since they knew they would lose their social position. Now, after He is dead and gone forever, as far as they know, they come out of hiding to ask Pilate for permission to prepare Jesus’ body and bury him.  So they bind the body of Jesus tightly in long strips of linen, filling the binding as they went with costly spices to delay the stench of decomposing flesh.  When Lazarus was brought back to life he was unable to unloose himself.  Jesus had to order that he be loosed by others.  Now when Jesus came back into his pierced and mutilated body, with arms bound tightly at his side, how did He get out that Sunday morning?  Ask Jesus.

A.  Two secret believers, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, kept their mouths shut as their colleagues cried, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” When I am surrounded by my unbelieving friends and they blaspheme or mock the name of Jesus, do I dare to speak up?

I was 17 years old when I took a job at Peyton-McDowell Bag Factory in Portland.  At coffee-break all the men gathered at my machine to tell dirty jokes and laugh. They knew I was a Christian and were watching to see if I would laugh along with them. I have never repeated those nasty jokes to anyone, yet some of them are permanently fixed in my mind. I was bashful and very timid. When asked, I could stand up for Jesus, but I am ashamed that I never took the initiative to defend my Savior in the presence of His enemies. 

In my country the days are coming, yes, and very close, when every person who stands up openly to defend Jesus’ teaching, will pay a steep price.  He or she will lose their teaching job at the high school or be humiliated and perhaps demoted from a position of authority to that of a slave.  Our forefathers escaped to this continent to found a new country with real freedom of religion. It appears that those days will soon be gone forever and there is nowhere to escape.  We who follow Jesus openly and verbally, will be persecuted.

P. Oh Lord Jesus, You said, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38 NIV) Lord, I confess that I have been a wimp.  Make me into Your bold, courageous defender.  Amen.