Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lord, thanks for the new suit!

Wednesday 9-28-16 (Martinez, Argentina)
Scripture reading:   Zech 1 - 3    Luke  11
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Zech 3:2-5  And the LORD said to Satan, "I, the LORD, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from a fire." Jeshua's clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there, "Take off his filthy clothes." And turning to Jeshua he said, "See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes." Then I said, "Please, could he also have a clean turban on his head?" So they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the LORD stood by. NLT

O. “Shut up, Satan! I’ve had enough of your ugly accusations. This guy is a burning stick rescued from the fire!” And to the astounded onlookers, “Don’t just stand there gawking. Take off his filthy rags and I’ll clothe him with My righteousness!” And now turning to Jeshua, “Go look in the mirror, young man. I’m giving you a new, clean outfit! I have taken away your sins! NUHV*

A.  Every saved sinner among us is like a stick rescued from the fires of hell. And God Himself clothes us with His robes of righteousness. It makes me want to be careful where I walk with my new shiny shoes.

P.  Yes Jesus! All my attempts at righteousness are total failures. Your prophet wrote (Isaiah 64:6) When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags. NLT  And then (Isaiah 61:10) I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. NLT So, Lord, thanks for the new suit! I’ll have to grow into it. It’s bigger and better than I am.  Amen.

I am covered over with the robe of righteousness

I am covered over with the robe of righteousness
That Jesus gives to me, gives to me.
I am covered over with the precious blood of Jesus
And He lives in me, lives in me.
What a joy it is to know my Heavenly Father loves me so,
He gives to me, My Jesus
When He looks at me He sees not what I used to be
But He sees Jesus, Jesus.

Traducido por Rafael Hiatt
Yo estoy cubierto con el manto de justicia
Que Jesús me dio, Jesús me dio
Yo estoy cubierto con su sangre preciosa
Que en la cruz vertió, en la cruz vertió
Oh! Qué gozo es saber que el Padre Celestial me ama
Y me dio… a Cristo
Cuando Él me mira Él no ve lo que yo era,
sino a Cristo… Cristo

*NUHV - New Unauthorized Hiatt Version

Then Jesus was filled with joy!

Tuesday 9-27-16 (Martinez, Argentina)
Scripture reading:   Haggai 1 - 2    Ps 129    Luke  10
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Luke 10:21 Then Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit and said, "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding the truth from those who think themselves so wise and clever, and for revealing it to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way. NLT

O.  What makes Jesus so filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit? He has chosen a group of common, working men. They were not of noble background. Most of them had limited education. He has poured His faith and vision into them and sent out 72 of them to do miracles. Now Jesus rejoices with them as they tell the stories of how God’s power stood behind their efforts. His missionaries were rejoicing and He rejoiced with them.

A.  So many times God has surprised me with His power! We had only been a few months with nightly services on the open parking lot in La Boca. Now we asked all those that wanted to take a firm stand for Jesus to bring their books of witchcraft, their idol cards, their fetishes that they had formerly used in Satanic worship and we would have a bonfire right there in front of the neighbors. Our group was still small, maybe 30 or 40, but we circled the flames and sang, “There is power, power, wonder-working power in the blood of the Lamb.” Chains had been severed. Families had been set free.

P.  Lord Jesus, that night You were smiling down at us. Satan was losing ground. Your kingdom was being expanded. Now Lord, may I strive to occupy myself in activities that fill You with the joy of the Holy Spirit again… and again. Amen.


What’s in it for me?”

Monday 9-26-16 (Patagonia, Argentina)
Scripture reading:   Ezra 4     Ps 113 and 127    Luke  9
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Luke 9:57-62 As they were walking along someone said to Jesus, "I will follow you no matter where you go." But Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but I, the Son of Man, have no home of my own, not even a place to lay my head." He said to another person, "Come, be my disciple." The man agreed, but he said, "Lord, first let me return home and bury my father." Jesus replied, "Let those who are spiritually dead care for their own dead. Your duty is to go and preach the coming of the Kingdom of God." Another said, "Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family." But Jesus told him, "Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God."  NLT

O. “Do you want happiness? Do you want wealth? Do you want peace in your family? Come follow Jesus and He will give you health and happiness.” Does this sound familiar? Do we evangelicals sometimes paint an unreal utopia for potential Christians in order to woo them in?  Jesus did just the opposite. He made it sound hard. “Follow me and you will be sleeping on the cold hard ground like I do. Follow me and you may have to leave behind your elderly parents. Follow me and you will be rejected, just as I have. Take up your cross and follow me to Golgotha’s hill.” “Yes, Jesus, I will! I will follow You wherever You go… starting next week.”

A. I live in a culture that advertises their products with perfectly white smiles, bright fresh flowers with backgrounds of gentle ocean waves on a beautiful seashore. “And if you call this toll free number right now, today only, you will get two, yes two, for the price of one!”

P.  Jesus, I notice that You do not promise a life of ease. You ask for total dedication, but You do not ask more from me than You are willing to give. Do I really want to be Your follower? Am I ready to give up all lesser plans to seek and follow You? I know You will lead me to give myself to others, to give and give again, until I am giving my very life away. Isn’t that what You did? Dare I offer You less than You gave for me?

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.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

It’s my choice… look back with sadness or look ahead with joy.

Sunday 9-25-16 (Patagonia, Argentina)
Scripture reading:   Ezra 2 - 3        Luke  8
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.   Ezra 3:12-13 Many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders remembered the first Temple, and they wept aloud when they saw the new Temple's foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud commotion that could be heard far in the distance. NLT

O.  Some of those present at the celebration of the laying of the temple foundation were old enough to remember the splendor of Solomon’s temple.  Now they looked at the foundations and felt that this new temple would never be equal in its beauty to the former one. So while others rejoiced, they looked on with negative thoughts and sadness.

A.  Foundations are not impressive, but they are necessary. I remember when we were children on vacation at the beach, we played “house”.  We would take a stick and draw full size house plans in the sand. We put the kitchen and dining area over there and the bedrooms over here and the living room near the front door. We could imagine the walls and windows. To an onlooker there was nothing impressive, but we could see the finished building in our minds… so much so… that we wouldn’t walk through the walls, but entered through the places marked as doors. 

Young Jewish men and women were rejoicing over their future temple, while older men could only look at the with sadness on the past. Old destroyed memories brought sadness. Young future vision brought joy.

20 year old future pastor, Osvaldo Carnival, stood with me in a large, empty warehouse type building.  He had no congregation, but he could see what I could not. He could see over one thousand new Christians. He pointed up and described to me the “wrap-around” balcony filled with hundreds of worshippers. He was young and full of vision and I, although much older, wanted only to encourage him to “go for it.”

P.  Lord, when we get older we tend to look back. Past blessings seem fresh in our minds and we live them over again. When we get together with our friends of long ago we laugh together as we tell each other our take on some past incident. But, dear Jesus, please don’t let me get stuck in the past. Give me Your holy vision for the future. Even when the foundations don’t impress me, give me the joy of seeing by faith great things that You have for us just ahead.  Amen.


I’m as excited as a 3 year old with a new red wagon

Saturday 9-24-16 (Gaiman, Patagonia, Argentina)
Scripture reading:   Ezra 1     Psalm 84 – 85       Luke  7
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Ezra 1:2-3 "This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem in the land of Judah. All of you who are his people may return to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild this Temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, who lives in Jerusalem. And may your God be with you!  NLT

O.  Without doubt Daniel’s reputation of integrity and as a man who served the true God of all the earth, along with that of Ezra and Nehemiah, had influenced the new King Cyrus. In sharp contrast to Nebuchadnezzar, who bragged about this great city that he had built, King Cyrus begins his declaration acknowledging that Yahweh, the God of heaven is the One Who has given him all the kingdoms of the earth. Oh, for a leader that recognizes that it is God is Who has placed him or her in a place of leadership… whether it be in a home, a church or a nation!

A.  I have passed this day rejoicing in the privilege of being here again in this country. And I know that it is God Who has taken the initiative to bring me to this place. I literally find myself running into the arms of my Argentinean friends. I am so excited about what God is doing and how He is allowing me be a little part of it.

P.  Thank You, Lord, for the joy of embracing my dear friends that receive me with such enthusiasm! It has been a long trip, arriving yesterday at Buenos Aires and Martinez (a suburb)… to the enthusiastic hugs of teachers at Martinez Christian grade school and high school… even the hugs of their janitors and maintenance men.  And now at midnight to have arrived in Patagonia at the Bible Institute… Wow! What joy! How beautiful heaven will be as we are reunited with our loved ones who have gone on before! And on top of all this, the joy of seeing Our Savior and King, Jesus! All praise to God for His goodness! Amen.

Oh This is Like Heaven to Me!
1.    We find many people who can’t understand
Why we are so happy and free:
We’ve crossed over Jordan to Canaan’s fair land,
And this is like Heaven to me.
o   Refrain 1-3:
Oh, this is like Heaven to me,
Yes, this is like Heaven to me;
I’ve crossed over Jordan to Canaan’s fair land,
And this is like Heaven to me.
2.    So when we are happy we sing and we shout;
Some don’t understand us, I see;
We’re filled with the Spirit, there isn’t a doubt,
And this is like Heaven to me.
3.    We’ve heard the sweet music, the heavenly chord,
From glory land over the sea;
A soul-thrilling message from Jesus, our Lord,
And this is like Heaven to me.
4.    We’re looking for Jesus with glory to come—
’Tis Jesus Who died on the tree;
A cloud of bright angels to carry me home—
Oh, that will be Heaven to me.
o   Refrain 4:
Oh, that will be Heaven to me,
Yes, that will be Heaven to me;
A cloud of bright angels to carry me home—
Yes, that will be Heaven to me.

I had to made a choice.

Thursday 9-23-16 (Martinez, Argentina)
Scripture reading:   Dan 11 – 12    Luke  6
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Luke 6:17-19 There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed, and Jesus cast out many evil spirits. Everyone was trying to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and they were all cured. NLT

O.  Jesus literally hid from the crowds to get alone with His Heavenly Father.  He prayed all night before choosing His 12 disciples.  But when they came down from the mountain Jesus was surrounded by pressing crowds, some from far away. A desperate woman had touched His robe and she had been instantly healed. The word traveled fast and now men and women, boys and girls suffering from many kinds of illnesses want to just touch Him.  And they were all cured!  Unwashed hands dirtied the robe of the Master… and He allowed it to happen.

A.  We were starting a new church in San Juan.  God had healed Mabelita, a baby girl.  The huge ugly tumor had shrunk and disappeared.  But her two-year old cousin did not survive his illness.  We had prayed for him, too.  In both cases the parents became solid Christians. I later married the couple that lost their baby boy and they became pastors, starting a church.

P.  I asked You, Lord, “Why not everyone?” I wanted everyone I prayed for to be healed. And down inside myself I Your voice. You answered me with a question: “Ralph, if everyone you prayed for was healed, what would happen to you?” I could see it. “Soon I would be swamped by the mobs coming from distant places, seeking healing. I would have no time for anything else. I would be reduced from a preacher in the “soul healing” business to a “physical healer”. Besides, I knew I could never handle that kind of fame. Then Lord, You reminded me of the day I looked at the ashes of all my accomplishments… and I could hear You saying again, “One day everything you accomplish will look like these ashes, except one thing… when you win a soul to Christ… that lasts for eternity.” Right there, standing in the middle of ashes with tears pouring down my cheeks, I made a choice for the eternal. Amen.


How dare I approach a Holy God

Thursday 9-22-16 (Arrived this morning at Martinez, Argentina)
Scripture reading:   Dan 9 – 10   Psalm 123   Luke 5  S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Dan 9:18-19 “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.  O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."

O.  I was preaching a tent crusade in the city of Salta to help plant a church. I was being kidded by my co-workers because somehow I always attracted the drunks. Actually I always loved to see people that knew they needed “out” to come. During the service a man, obviously drunk, stood up in the back and interrupted the service with a little speech.  At the altar call he came forward with many others.  I made him wait until last and asked him to just cry out to God for His mercy. He started out, “God, you know I am really very good man and an honorable citizen and I … “ I had to interrupt him and explain to him how to approach God.

Often people who do not truly know the Lord begin their prayers by informing God how good they are.  It is a certain sign that they know little or nothing of biblical truth.  Daniel had to be one of the most upright men in history, yet he came into the presence of God with a repentant heart. 

A.  How do I approach God?  Is my heart prideful and boasting to itself that today I’ve been pretty good boy so God will probably hear me?  Isaiah was probably a pretty good guy, but when God revealed himself to him in all of His glory and splendor, he cried out, “Woe is me for I am a man of unclean lips and dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips!”  Peter fell to his knees probably waist deep in still flopping fish and cried out, “Oh, Jesus, I am such a sinner, I am too close to you.” 

P.  My God, my God!  I am too close to you!  Your presence has invaded my unworthy life. Peter was trapped in a little boat with You, Jesus, when he discovered Who you really are. Here I am in this room and You are here with me. I, unlike Peter, could escape out the door and run into the surrounding streets, but I could never escape from you. Your love and your mercy surround me. Your presence is a revelation of Your love, Your forgiveness and your kindness to repentant sinners. Search me, Oh Lord, and know my heart I pray… Cleanse me from every sin and set me free!  Amen.

Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.

What a joy to know I am “sent”!

Wednesday  9-21-16  (Leaving, Sent by the Lord today for Argentina)
Scripture reading:   Dan 7 – 8   Psalm 137   Luke 4
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Luke 4:42-44  Early the next morning he went out into the desert. The crowds searched everywhere for him, and when they finally found him, they begged him not to leave them but to stay at Capernaum. But he replied, "I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other places too, for that is why I was sent." So he continued to travel around preaching in synagogues throughout Judea. TLB

O.  Jesus knew that He was “sent”, Who had sent Him and why He was “sent”.

A.  It is such a great privilege to be a “sent one” and to be conscious of that wonderful fact.  A missionary is someone sent on a mission.  Being “sent” means that someone is behind me, sending me.  I did not just go on my own.  Someone has given me the authority and ability to go.  I did not dream up the idea to travel abroad on my own.  I know where to go and I know why I am going there.  I am “sent” for a purpose.  In this passage the Lord Jesus was just in the beginning of His ministry, but He was fully conscious of His Sender and His purpose.

P.  Oh Lord, how blessed Frances and I have been to be “sent ones.”  Somebody believed in us.  Somebody cared about us.  You, Lord Jesus, called us and many of Your people believed in us, they supported us and prayed for us.  Certainly we were not deserving of such a calling.  Who could ever feel worthy?  But You chose us… frail… undeserving… with no great accomplishments behind us… with only a future ahead of us… and You allowed many to believe in us and “send” us out.  We went with only a hazy idea of “why” we were sent.  We seemed, in many ways, “ill-equipped” to handle what was ahead.  Nonetheless You went with us and prepared the way.  And now as I look back at the marvels of Your goodness to us I stand in awe of Your mercy.  Help me never to take from You the glory that You deserve.  For every good gift has come from You.  And now as I contemplate traveling to Argentina again today… please “send me”.  I dare not go out on my own.  I pray “send me” and may Your servants also agree to “send me” with their prayer backing.  And You promise to go with me all the way!  Amen.

So Send I You

So send I you to labor unrewarded
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing
So send I you to toil for Me alone

So send I you to bind the bruised and broken
Over wandering souls to work, to weep, to wake
To bear the burdens of a world a-weary
So send I you to suffer for My sake

So send I you to loneliness and longing
With hart a-hungering for the loved and known
Forsaking kin and kindred, friend and dear one
So send I you to know My love alone

So send I you to leave your life's ambition
To die to dear desire, self-will resign
To labor long, and love where men revile you
So send I you to lose your life in Mine

So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred
To eyes made blind because they will not see
To spend, though it be blood to spend and spare not
So send I you to taste of Calvary

"As the Father hath sent me, so send I you"

Monday, September 19, 2016

A sword would pierce her soul.

Friday   9-19-16  (Home in Modesto, California)
Scripture reading:   Eze 47-48     Luke 2
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Luke 2:34-35 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, "This child will be rejected by many in Israel, and it will be their undoing. But he will be the greatest joy to many others. Thus, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul."
Luke 2:52 So Jesus grew both in height and in wisdom, and he was loved by God and by all who knew him. NLT

O. Simeon’s prophecy was few in words, yet it said so much! He “blesses” Mary with startling negatives words. “Look at this tiny Messiah child. He will be rejected by many in Israel, but it will be their undoing. That was the bad news. Then come the good news: He will be the greatest joy to many others. More bad news: He will know and reveal the deepest secrets of men’s thoughts and that will make them furious. And finally the elderly, Holy Spirit filled gentleman looks at Mary and prepares her for the worst: A sword will pierce your very soul. She would remember these words as she watched her precious 33 year old Son covered with spittle and blood, dying naked before a mocking crowd. That would be a piercing sword for any mother.

A.  Young Jesus started out so well in his teens and twenties; obedient, tall, wise, loved by God and all who knew Him. But when Jesus left home to begin ministry, His miracles and His message rocked His world. The Jewish religious leaders called it “trickery and sinful” since He stooped to desecrate the Sabbath by showing love and care for the sick and needy all seven days. Then they exploded in hatred when they heard Him reveal their evil thoughts to the public and heard His open declarations to be the Son of God, sent from heaven. If Jesus experienced hatred and rejection along with limited acceptance, I should not be surprised by the same.

P. Dear Jesus, your disciples followed You right into the jaws of death and then fled for their lives. But Your mother, Mary, did not run for her life. She suffered the shame of being identified as a criminal’s mother as she stood near Your cross and a sword pierced her very soul as she heard her firstborn Son’s cries and watched Him breathe His final breath. I wasn’t there… yet in a way I was there. My sins, and they were many, were cancelled that day to set me free. Thank you, Jesus! Amen.

Mary Did You Know"
(originally by Mark Lowry (lyrics) and Buddy Greene (melody))
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know.. Ooo Ooo Ooo

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great, I Am.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sing over that baby!

Sunday   9-18-16  (Home in Modesto, California)
Scripture reading:   Eze 45-46     Luke 1
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Luke 1:76-79  And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord.  You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins.  Because of God's tender mercy, the light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace." NLT

O.  Apparently Zechariah the priest had been both deaf and dumb for 9 months, since receiving the prophetic word from the Angel Gabriel.  Certainly deaf, for they had to use signs to ask him what he wanted to name the child.  But the moment he wrote, “His name is John” his tongue was loosed and I assume that his hearing was also restored.  Now this happy elderly father takes this tiny boy in his arms and sings this wonderful song (above) over him. 

A.  It seems like only yesterday that I held the first of our three little boys in my arms and sang over him.  What joy poured out of my heart!  We were living in a tiny trailer house.  I was attending Southern California Bible College and working two part time jobs.  We had only enough income to barely cover our expenses.  I was eventually able to purchase a used little baby carriage that had been repainted. Our little blonde haired Ronny was the joy of our life.  Why am I weeping helplessly?  Those difficult, but wonderful years are gone... forever gone.  I can only relive them in my memories.  Now my Ronny is 60 years old... and I still love him... and want to sing over him. 

P.  Lord, if I could, I think I would encourage every Christian daddy and mommy to sing over that tiny child from the day of birth until they can no longer carry him or her in their arms.  Today I suffer for babies that are not wanted.  They do not have two loving parents. Instead of sensing love, these children are considered to be a bother by the adults that surround them.  They fly into a rage at the sound of their crying.  Oh Lord, have mercy on the children of addicts, prostitutes, evil men and women who themselves may have been born into hopeless homes that they are now imitating.  Help us to reach them... and by Your love and power, break the chains of that every-repeating generational curse.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Jesus Loves Him
(We didn’t get a “her” until they married J)

Jesus loves him, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak, but He is strong

Yes, Jesus loves him
Yes, Jesus loves him
Yes, Jesus loves him
The Bible tells me so

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Lamb

Saturday 9-17-2016 Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading: Eze 42 - 44    Rev 22
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer SOAP for the soul.

S.  Rev 22:3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.

O.  The Book of Revelation reveals Jesus, the slain, but living and conquering Lamb.  Rev 5 introduces Him as a Lamb: Behold, in the midst of the throne… stood a Lamb as though it had been slain… From that moment on, He is referred to as the Lamb.  It speaks of the wrath of the Lamb, the blood of the Lamb (its cleansing power and its power to overcome), the Book of Life of the Lamb, the presence of the Lamb, the song of the Lamb, marriage of the Lamb, the marriage supper of the Lamb, the twelve apostles of the Lamb and the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Apparently sharing the throne).  NKJV

A.  Is anybody still in doubt about Who is the subject of this prophetic book? In John’s day, nobody could understand how a lamb could be a conqueror. The Lion of Judah had to stoop from heaven to become “The Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.” Wounded, bleeding, slain, but now living… the book reveals His power and majesty. Rev 14:4 Speaks of those who are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. I want to do that. He has promised to be with me. As I travel the long roads of Argentina in these next months, I want to follow close to God’s Lamb.

P.  Lord Jesus, Lamb of God, My Savior, My Master… I surrender to You. I announce one more time my desire to follow You. Guide me in the path that I should go. Lead me to the needy where I can be of value to You. I do not ask for the easy path. I just ask for Your chosen path for me. Amen.


Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us

Dorothy A. Thrupp, 1779-1847

1. Savior, like a shepherd lead us, 
much we need thy tender care; 
in thy pleasant pastures feed us, 
for our use thy folds prepare. 
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! 
Thou hast bought us, thine we are. 
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! 
Thou hast bought us, thine we are. 

2. We are thine, thou dost befriend us, 
be the guardian of our way; 
keep thy flock, from sin defend us, 
seek us when we go astray. 
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! 
Hear, O hear us when we pray. 
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! 
Hear, O hear us when we pray. 

3. Thou hast promised to receive us, 
poor and sinful though we be; 
thou hast mercy to relieve us, 
grace to cleanse and power to free. 
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! 
We will early turn to thee. 
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! 
We will early turn to thee. 

4. Early let us seek thy favor, 
early let us do thy will; 
blessed Lord and only Savior, 
with thy love our bosoms fill. 
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! 
Thou hast loved us, love us still. 
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! 
Thou hast loved us, love us still.

Friday, September 16, 2016

What is a happy home?

Friday 9-16-2016 Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading: Eze 40 - 41    Psalm 128    Rev 21
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer SOAP for the soul.

S.  Ps 128:1-4 Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. NKJV

O.  The psalmist sings of happiness. First and last, it is available to the person who “fears the Lord”. He describes happiness as enjoying the work of one’s hands. A carpenter, a brick layer, an artist, a musician…yes, even a street sweeper can look upon his labor with joy. He or she has done her best. Now we can enjoy the wife of our youth and our children sitting around our table. It is a ballad to a happy home, tucked inside the parenthesis of giving God the reverence and honor to which He is due.

A.  Is there such a thing as an ideal home? Was my home a happy home for my wife and children? Certainly it was not a perfect home, but thank God I cannot remember shouts of insults and sarcasm. I do remember expressions of love and appreciation for one another. Surely there were moments of disagreement and disappointment, but time must have erased them all. Memory must have sweetened the mixture. Our three little boys were the delight of our lives… and their mother was my treasure. I sometimes wrote her a poem on special days.  (See below)

P.  Lord Jesus, that home is only a memory now. Now I look forward to a new home in heaven. Certainly there will be challenges and achievements, but mostly there will be love and You will be honored… so I am assured that there will be true happiness. Amen.

Love is Forever
To My Darling Frances

by Ralph W. Hiatt on December 8, 2001
Our 50th Anniversary, celebrated by just the two of us alone while living in Argentina

Long, long ago in a far away part
I found a fair maiden who captured my heart
I brought her a bright yellow rose for her dress
Asked her for a date and she gave me a “Yes”

That date became many, then we tied the knot
We started our new life with hardly a thought
The weeks became months and months became years
We enjoyed lots of laughter and suffered some tears

Now fifty great years have slipped into the past
It doesn’t seem possible they went by so fast
Some things have been altered by the passing of time
But my love for my darling is still in its prime

Fifty years now I have loved you
And I’ll love you fifty more
Fifty Years of God’s best blessings
And ahead there’s more in store

I love you for your beauty
That has grown with passing years
I love you for your kindness
Always there to dry one’s tears.

I have loved you as a mother
To the sons you gave to me.
Now I love you as a grandma
And again God gave us three.

One of these is now in heaven
Where one day we’ll run and play.
Soon we’ll be close to the others.
We look forward to that day.

You have always been my lover,
Faithful, caring, tender, true.
I will always hold you closely,
For I truly love you, too.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Majesty! Worship His Majesty!

Thursday 9-15-2016 Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading: Eze 38 - 39    Psalm 145    Rev 20
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer SOAP for the soul.

S.  Ps 145:8-12 The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall praise You, O LORD, and Your saints shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk of Your power, to make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, And the glorious majesty of His kingdom. NKJV

O.  Not just the saints, but all the works of the Lord praise Him. From the tiny humming bird to the great eagle, their beauty displays the Creator’s majesty. I am often surprised by the melody of the mocking birds that rise early each morning to sing His praises. And the pretty yellow canary, although trapped in a tiny cage sings His glory.

A.  Must I be having a good day to sing my Creator’s praise? There are times, like yesterday as I met a dear friend from the distant past. Steve Asmuth played his accordion, violin or organ, as I played the lap steel guitar or the piano. We played and sang along with the Kazas family, worshiping the One Who invented music and placed it deep down in our soul. I feel sadness for those who have to make their music about a broken relationship, a lost lover. They need to know the ever-faithful Lover of my soul.

P.  Oh what joy to serve You, my King! Oh how blessed to gather some of Your people and share the good things that You have done and still are doing in each of our lives! How glorious heaven will be, as we join our loved ones and those of ancient times to lay our treasures at Your feet and sing of Your majesty!  Amen!

Ralph  (Now sing with me)
By Jack Hayford

Worship His majesty
Unto Jesus, be all glory, honor and praise
Kingdom authority
Flows from His throne, unto His own, His anthem raise

So exalt, lift up on high the Name of Jesus
Magnify, come glorify Christ Jesus the King
Majesty, worship His majesty
Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all kings

Jesus who died, now glorified
Jesus who died, now glorified
King of all kings

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

To God be the glory!

Wednesday 9-14-2016 Home in Modesto
Scripture Reading: Eze 36 - 37    Psalm 110    Rev 19
S=Scripture O=Observation A=Application P=Prayer SOAP for the soul.

S.  Ezek 36:25-28 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. NKJV

Rev 19:1 After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! NKJV

O.  Ezekiel prophesies of Israel’s rebirth. It speaks to me of God’s grace. It is a story of God’s desire to bring new beginnings. His chosen people Israel, had stumbled and fallen into a culture of rebellion and open evil. God had scattered them to the four winds to discipline them… and now He is bringing them back home to a new beginning because He loves them.

A.  It is the story of a prodigal son. It is the story of a sinner that comes to the end of his rope. It is the story of a youth who, recognizes his bent toward sin and urgently needs a new chance at life. It is my story and your story. We sang it in church when I was a little boy. I can hear it in my heart. “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.”

P.  Your salvation, Lord is Your initiative, not mine. It started and ended with You. I am still today the object of Your mercy and grace. So I shall sing again with the great multitude in heaven, "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!
And since I cannot wait for that day, I’ll start singing it now. To God be the Glory! Amen.


To God be the Glory!
Andrae Crouch
How can I say thanks
for all the things you have done for me
Things so undeserved
Yet you gave to prove your love for me
And the voices of a million angels
Could not express my gratitude
All that I am and ever hope to be
I owe it all to Thee
To God be the glory
To God be the glory
To God be the glory
For the things He has done
With His blood, He has saved me
With His power, He has raised me.
To God be the glory
For the things he has done
Just let me live my life
Let it be pleasing, Lord to Thee
Should I gain any praise,
Let it go to Calvary.
With His blood, He has saved me
With His power, He has raised me.
To God be the glory
For the things he has done.