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Saturday, November 19, 2011

A New Tee Shirt Luke 12:11,12

A New Tee Shirt Luke 12:11,12

This summer a friend of ours came up with a good tee shirt idea, kind of like WWJD "What Would Jesus Do?" This shirt says, "Ask me about Jesus." The point to the message on the front of the shirt is to allow someone to tell other of their faith in Jesus.

Not all of us ready to be that bold. There are very few of us that are as emphatic as the African American Preacher Dr. S.M. Lockridge. In his message, " That's my King" he describes very thoroughly his Savior, Lord. His all in all. One can appreciate good enthusiasm. This type of Charisma is displayed by many when they follow their sports team.

The truth is we are all called to take the witness stand, and it should be a sober, humbling approach that we take when we are testifying for, or against, the man Jesus, Son of Joseph, from Nazareth.

This is the one who is declared by his Disciples today to be the promised Hebrew Messiah, God in the flesh. The one whom time and Calendars still acknowledge, even when science and schools are denying who he really us. Even when popular scholars are distorting him for who is really is and even what he said he was. The references that we make to B.C. and A.D. declare him as factual and historical. Have you ever read the Jewish historian Josephus?

The scriptures declare that we will all bow our knees one day, and confess that He ( Jesus of Nazareth) is Lord.

Right now, while it is called "today" we can call upon him to be our savior, but also choose to confess and obey him as our Lord.

In doing that we have a position to maintain, daily, and that is to take up our cross and follow him. It sounds like a lot of work and sacrifice, but HE is worthy of such an effort. It's kind of like me being able to pay $100 for the average NFL ticket. Would it be foolish to just let it sit on the dresser, or maybe even post it on the wall and not attend the game? Paying for a plane ticket, or spending the time and $ for gas and the drive to see our local team, "The Seahawks", or my current fav. "The Broncos" would be part of the commitment that I should follow through on, true?

Its my choice, even if the ticket was given to me free. Free, just like Christ's' redemption on the cross, given to "whosoever" will believe, so they will not perish. I can just leave that ticket laying there and look at it, toss it, or idolize it on the wall, like a WWJD icon. Should I try to placate my broken relationship with the Almighty by plagiarizing redemption, salvation, and restoration of relationship as a son with a Father, with mere religious jargon? It would be better hitch hike to Seattle a few days ahead of date on it, doing "what ever it takes" to get there and use my "free ticket" for what it was intended for.

Another part of the response that we can make to Jesus is to confess him before others. Jesus said it plain and clear:

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. - Matthew 10:32-33 KJV

I heard of a woman who was able to make use of an opportunity to be a witness in her community. During the time period that she lived, it would have been unthinkable for a woman to accomplish what she did with a public impact like this:

Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. - John 11:45 KJV

Apparently, according to this reference, Jesus did not stick around after raising Lazarus from the dead, therefore the Jews came to Mary for the report of what Jesus had done. She conveyed what had happened or more importantly she confessed who Jesus was, and they went their way and told the Pharisees what she had testified of.

The new tee shirt that Marianne bought me has made me think of the strategy Jesus gives us as disciples when we are called to the witness stand, whether it be in our home, out on the street, or in a real court.

"When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say." Luke 12: 11,12 NIV

Martha, like Mary had taken to heart what Jesus had told her about that one needful thing. She got the point of "religion" It is not only about service, and accomplishments. It is about relationship, and that starts with acknowledging who the other person really is.

John 11:27b records what Mary and Lazarus' sister, Martha, declared in public:

"Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."

She faced excommunication1 from her religion in making a public statement like that. We think, well it's a no brainier, that any one seeing Jesus face to face like that would be able to know him rightly and boldly declare him to others. But how many of us have denied him at work to keep our position? How many times have avoided the questionable subject of my personal faith with relatives? There is help to be able to say the right words at the right time, if we will approach the throne of grace2 and ask for it in our hearts.

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always ready to a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;" 1 Peter 3:15 NKJV

May we be ready for those divine appointments like Phillip had. May we be able to hear that still small voice, even if it just says to take a certain road or approach a stranger like he did. Jesus will give is the words to say! Especially if we are bold enough to wear a shirt, "just asking for it" G.W.

1 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. - John 9:22 KJV

2 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrew 4:16

Monday, November 7, 2011

The One Thing Luke 10:42

More than a few years back, I was able to attend an IHOP with one of my dearest brothers in Christ. We were able to worship and pray in a really healthly setting out east in the state of PA.

The movement that started out in Kansas City has spread all over and we both were able to meet up again and attend a gathering in Salem Oregon that was like the first, a very monumental time of growth and exercise of prayer for me.

SO, I have been asking "what is this "one thing" banner all about. I heard in its context this week in Luke 10:42. Not just a good choice, or some thing that we decide between good and evil. The best choice, is relationship over what we can "do for God".

This is not just being spoken by the Spirit to one group of believers, but to many who are drawing closer to our Master. The teaching that I heard from Pastor Joe reaffirmed to me a great need that I have as a "under the law" type of guy.

He states,

"the Lord is saying: “Look there is one thing that is necessary.” One thing is needful and that one thing cannot be taken away and that is to be with Jesus. The thing that Mary did is she was with him. And the thing that will never be taken from us is being with him. Our homes can be taken, our careers can be taken, and our kids can be taken. Anything in life can be taken, our service can be taken, all of these things; but one thing that will never be taken away from a believer is to be with him."

I thank God he has allowed me to see where he is leading the next generation of his people. To his feet, at his side, and even to the ends of the earth. To know him, and make him known! G.W.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Abiding In Jesus John 15:1-10

This summer I was able to grow some corn. Not in our garden area, but in a new place that came by divine provision. In 2008 we moved into our little house with a partial lot, and that being steep in parts. Out by the street corner it is beyond our property line. It belongs to the city or the state, but we get to maintain it. In my heart I had really wanted to level that piece of ground and hoped that one day I could request some company or the city dump some kind of free fill there. In May my hearts desire was fulfilled when a contractor friend called wanting to know where he could dump a few load of top soil.

We had been parking our motor home and my pickup in this area, but now it seemed appropriate to make use of this ideal soil and sunny area, to grow some corn. The year before a friend of our had given us a bunch of corn seed and we grew a little in the garden patch below, but now it was time to get serious.

Two 40 ft rows planted by hand started growing as June and July went by. I was learning some important lessons about farming, but also about how Jesus is the Vine and how I need to abide in Him. What does this mean? It means we draw our life from him. When we bear fruit he prunes us back to bear even more fruit. It means that what I do or who I am is because of Him, my life source.

With the Corn, I learned to side dress it with some 16-16-16. Whew! That made it sprout up fast and be bright and shiny green. How much fertilizer is applied and how and when is very important. With Tomatoes one can have a huge plant with lots of growth, but little or no fruit. We as disciples of Christ can be tempted to be "religious" and as Ecclesiastes 7:16 says, "overly righteous." 1 The Lord spoke this word many times to me in Mexico, to balance out missions and ministry with family time and values. He has also been impressing me lately that just like the corn or most anything else we grow in our garden, to much water is not good.

Can we get to much of Gods word? If we are only taking it in and our heads are gettting bigger and bigger with knowledge and we are not practicing what we preach, we need to take heed.

"Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: - Matthew 7:22-24 NKJV

What happens when crops or veggie gardens get to much water? Fungus, bugs, and all kinds of things can hinder good fruit. So I learned that watering in cycles helps good root growth. What may seem to be a dry time spiritually, is intended by the husbandman, or the vine dresser to be a strengthening or what is called in sports, "physical conditioning."

There is also another important aspect to consider:

When we live as branches abiding in the Vine, we will suffer.2

We get pruned or disciplined so that we can bear even more fruit. I experienced a little of this 9.13.2008 when I fell 25 ft out of a tree. No broken bones but months of pain and lots of sleep less nights. In 2010 on the exact same date, I fell playing basket ball and injured a different part of my back even worse. 3 days immobilized and 2 weeks of recovery gave me time to re-think, "what is it that I am not learning here?"

First, I tend to cram to many things into my life and try to accomplish more than is feasible. If I would have planted all the corn 2-3" apart and left it all in that way, there would have been little or no fruit come September. As it grew, I kept thinning it out to recommended spacing of 15" to 24". Each day I set out to check of lists of things to do. Trying to keep the most important at the top. Usually half gets done, but a lot of little distractions pop up every day. Climbing trees and trimming them is still something I do, but with a lot more caution. Basketball at 6 a.m. is history now. Just jogging and swimming will meet my need for exercise. Even though they are boring, they increase my need for self discipline to get up and get out.

Spiritually speaking in 2008 the opportunity came to make marriage and family a larger priority in my life. This included not returning to live and serve in Mexico another season. We were still able to be involved in sending a couple shipping containers of wheat to NK and both Marianne and I have been able to take long trips back to our village and the Christian School in Mexico. Personally, dealing with pain management has been a point of trust in the Lord like never before in my life. New temptations have come, but nothing that is not ordinary3 or that cannot be overcome.

Has there been a relationship or a circumstance that you have taken as evil but it was really for the good that God allowed it in your life? I found what I thought was a serious blight on the corn. I rushed off to wikipedia to find that it is a common fungus or a mushroom. It is edible and Huitlacoche is a delicacy in Mexico. I fried some up with onions and other garden veggies, and it was just like mushrooms. I would not have been full of joy if this would have taken over the whole patch, but I am for the few that appeared this year. Through this I learned that the difficult relationships in my life are allowed by God so that I can bear more patience, understanding, or choose to separate from evil, even if I loose a friend. What ever it take to serve the Lord, I want to be willing to be rid of it. Watching football this season was one a few things that I sensed needed to go. By faith, we can encounter the good that the husbandman wants to replace the pruned back area with. Receiving an encouraging call from a life time friend yesterday was my answer to a specific prayer. I asked for any kind of a blessing that I trusted Jesus for in place of self- pity and indulging in unneeded food. I needed something unseen, a fulfillment of hope that Jesus would bless me if I obeyed. That is faith.

What is it that you are wanting to do or be for the Lord? None of us, who have come to believe in Christ should refrain from being disciplined or pruned. It helps us to abide even more. "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. - John 15:3-4 NKJV

I am tired of the Chritian -ease and I am hungry for the deep waters of the Spirit. I long for good accountablity, but also hearts knit together in real love and care.

Amos 6:1 gives a warning to those that are "at ease in Zion." To me, the "Fear of the Lord " needs to be impacting me enough so that I won't be like a goat4 on the last day. Or as Luke 12:45 delares, living for my own pleasure and feasting when my brothers and sisters are not cared for.

" I just want a rescue shop, next to the gates of hell." John Marr

Jesus, " I want to be your disciple and make disciples. Not just chalk up "decisions for Christ."

May we grow in our faith or trust by obeying in areas that have not been bearing much fruit. May we be bold in asking for the desire of our heart to our loving and caring Father. "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. ... "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. - John 15:5, 7 NKJV

"By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. - John 15:8-10 NKJV

Obedience leads us under the covering of Gods love. May we all find more grace for it.


1 Do not be overly righteous, Nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself? Ecclesiastes 7:16 NKJV

2 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. - John 15:1-2 NKJV For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, - Philippians 1:29 NKJV

3 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. - 1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV

4 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. "And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 'I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 'for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 'I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' "Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' "Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." - Matthew 25:31-46 NKJV

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Freedom Or Terror On Every Side - Jeremiah 20:3

Freedom Or Terror On Every Side - Jeremiah 20:3

In Jeremiah 19 we have a record of God bringing judgment down upon Israel. A nation given to Idolatry. Jehovah led Jeremiah to use a clay vessel and break it in front of the people as a sign of what was to come to pass for that people group. 1 This has happened to half of the marriages in America. This could happen to America as a nation. Think of how drastic the change came to Cuba. About 12 yrs ago Alexander Noble2 sat with some of my "very young" adult children at a VOM dinner in Arizona and described a lush green nation of peace that changed overnight into Castro's rulership of oppression and Christian persecution to this day.

I have given some thought to the freedom and peace that we enjoy in this country. If we loose these great blessings it will be for simular reasons that God judged Israel. Jeremiah 19:15 says "because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words." We have disobeyed the LORD in aborting millions of babies. Their blood is crying out to heaven.3 This government has instituted lotteries and mandated Casinos to operate on Indian lands for unjust revenues. Human traficing is now the worlds second largest criminal enterprise, after drugs. 80% are women and girls and up to 50% are minors. Child porn is one of the fastest growing crimes in the USA right now.

I state these things in soberness and with healthy fear, not critizism. I refuse to be overwhelmed by the evils surrounding the body of Christ in this nation, but I also will not deny them or fall asleep to what is encroaching us and the next generation. Our National debt, and for many of us, our personal debts, are only but a sign of wasteful selfish living.4 Are we economicly stable, or are we teatering on colapse?

Pashur, pronounced Pash - hoar was a political and religious leader in the days of Jeremiah. He was a decendent of "royality". As a priests son, he was managing not only the ministry but had authority over the judicial actions. He slapped Jeremiah in the face and had him put in stocks when the word of judgment was delivered with the sign of the broken vessel. The next day Jeremiah was brought out and he told Pashur that his name would be changed from " freedom" to "terror on every side" and that specific judgments like terror, captivity, and a bloody death would come upon him and his friends.5

Will America, or one of its leaders get a name change and become Magore Missaveeve? "Terror on Every Side"? Our president and other leaders need our prayers and not one more word of accusation.6 God told Isreal through Ezekiel that she was worse than Sodom and he stated the reasons why. Pride, fullness of bread, the abundance of idleness, and neglect of the needy.7 For this God saw it proper to send them into captivity. Hurricane Irene and the recent earthquake on the east coast could be Gods response to few recent decisions in our nation. Are we turning our backs on Isreal as far as military defense? Or could it be due to the fact that New York State and a few others have been defiant to his law by legalizing homosexual marriage?8

How then shall we live? I could go on and on with details of how Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, North Korea, and other countries have undergone great human suffering in our day. What can we do to prevent this in America? Why should I try to prevent it? If there is mercy to be shown to us, due to prayers of repentance, so be it. See 2 Chronicles 7:14 But if judgment has already begun, I want to be a realist and accept it and go on.

In the 1990's I met a brother named Boris, who wrote a book titled "A Call to the Churches In America" in which he describes radical change in his own life and for his family. After escaping communist rule in Russia they immigrated to Canada. I am not endorsing all his doctrine, but I will respect his testimony. We need to be seperated as the scripture declares. We need to cry out in interecession. We have an open line to heaven with an 800 number for wisdom and revelation of how to live in these last days.

Dear loved ones, the twin towers were a sign to us 10 years ago. America is falling before our very eyes. We are called to stand in righteousness and holiness, and be lights and salt to those around us.

The LORD says, 'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.' - Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV He also promises health and healing in that same passage if you read on. He promises an "abundance of peace and truth." if we will but cry out to him. He also makes promises of prosperity, of joy and of renown to us, his people.9

There are many other passages like this one that we can hold on to. Even in this chapter there are many more promises and conditions than I have time to list. But to close this, there is one more prophecy that is in verse 11. Its a conditional promise related to us calling upon the LORD.


Do you know a loved one that has gone astray? Some one captive to immorality, or addictions, or just plain un belief? This promise is for you, to keep calling out.10 Then the place that is desolate will become like a shepard with a flock that has returned and has laid down11, full and satisfied with salvation, and the green pastures of Gods spirit and his word. G.W.

1And shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again: and they shall bury them in Tophet, till there be no place to bury. - Jeremiah 19:11 KJV

3Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?" And He said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground. "So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. - Genesis 4:9-11 NKJV

4"And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. - Luke 15:13 NASB

5And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The LORD hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magormissabib. For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it: and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword. - Jeremiah 20:3-4 KJV

6Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. - 1 Timothy 2:1-2 NKJV

Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" - Jude 1:8-9 NKJV

7"You did not walk in their ways nor act according to their abominations; but, as if that were too little, you became more corrupt than they in all your ways. "As I live," says the Lord GOD, "neither your sister Sodom nor her daughters have done as you and your daughters have done. "Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. - Ezekiel 16:47-49 NKJV

8If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. - Leviticus 20:13 KJV

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; - Romans 1:24-28 NKJV

9"Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it.' - Jeremiah 33:3, 9 NKJV

10Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. "Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, 'Get justice for me from my adversary.' "And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, 'Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 'yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.' " Then the Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge said. "And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? "I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" - Luke 18:1-8 NKJV

11'the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: "Praise the LORD of hosts, For the LORD is good, For His mercy endures forever"--and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at the first,' says the LORD. "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'In this place which is desolate, without man and without beast, and in all its cities, there shall again be a dwelling place of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down. - Jeremiah 33:11-12 NKJV

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pulling Out The Weeds Matthew 13:22

Pulling Out The Weeds Matthew 13:22

The other day I was in our back yard pulling out weeds in the garden. The biggest one was a bull thistle, about 5 ft high. I kept it aside from the little pile that I had accumulated from just one small area. Later, my trophy weed, which I was so proud of, made the trip up the steps with me to our front yard, where I could show it off.

Normally weeds of this size are not possible to truly irradicate. The tap roots are most likely to break off and the thing will eventually grow back somehow. This year, weed pulling has been extraordinarly easy because our soils have been exceptionly wet this spring with all the rains. I have learned a lesson from this. Why don't I water really heavy in the dead heat of summer, and then be wiling to muck through the mud and pull those weeds that have gotten away on us? In like manner; if we are overwhelmed with cares of work, family, or personal things, its time to soak our hearts with alot of what God has to say about things. Saturate our souls with the water of the word, and the worries can be rooted out.1

After I showed Marianne my trophy, this sport became her endeavor, which she normally avoids, due to allergies. She made a pile in the garden twice as high as mine, and even made it accross the street to start pulling weeds in a flower area by where we park. I mentioned, "Wouldn't it be something if humanity could get garden vegtables to grow faster than the weeds?"

By the spoken word of the Creator that is recorded in Genesis 3, the soil is under a curse. In the new economy of life, Jehovah God was presenting to Adam and Eve an adversity that most of mankind has faced ever since. As "stewards of the earth"2, we have thorns and weeds growing in the areas where we are trying to gain our livelyhood. Whereever we are trying to plant, water, and prune plants that are to bear us fruit or pretty flowers, we encounter weeds to some degree. Now days, most of us are not famers, working directly with the crops that become our source of food or commodity. So how does this relate to me? There are mechanical breakdowns with any thing that moves, or that is electronic. There are traffic problems. There are social issues with customers, co-workers, and in some cases employers, teachers, or goverment officials. Can any one relate? Our lot is to be facing these weeds and experience the hard sweat that it takes to remove them, till the return of Christ and the earth is made made new again.3

If your feeling the worries of this life choking you spritualy, take courage, and roll up your sleaves, along with me, and pull those weeds out. Don't remove the people in your life, or park your car and start walking. Move away if you have to, but only as a last resort for peace. Pulling the weeds, in most cases involves a paradigm shift, a new perspective, and a real change in my own heart. Lately the deceitfullness of serving mammon, or obtaining wealth4, has been minimizing the "Fruits of the Spirit" 5 that Jesus wants me to be emanating to others.

There is a deception that can come upon us as we work. When we work, we are rewarded with a wage. Some of what we do is just survival or self maintenance; but most of us labor 8 hrs or more a day to produce a product, or a service to others, and the reward is money. With that money, we have the power, or the ability to do what ever we want. That is within the natural laws that exist and the market value of dollars we posses. It is the purposes that motivate our labor that are the question to be answered. Money itself is not evil, it is the love of it.6 Jesus declared that we cannot serve God and wealth.7 So how can I be working, and enjoy it, but not let the rewards of it become the master that I serve?

Obtaining wealth, or my goal to be "debt free" is not an end in itself. Interviews with lottery winners have shown that the "victims" testify that they are no more happier now that before they bought the winning ticket. I recently heard a radio preacher expound on Matthew 5. The beatitudes, or the description of a truly blessed and happy life that Jesus taught us, or is still trying to teach us through the written scriptures, no where mentions wealth. The merciful, the peacemakers, the ones who are persecuted and suffer for what is right are the truly happy and fortunate ones.

For 10 yrs now I have been working 2 jobs, burning the candle at both ends per say. I believe that I am right where I should be in life, and with work, and most things will not get totally cut out of the time budget. I am seeking a paradigm shift8 in the approach that I use to face these daily tasks and positions of responsibilty. The seven hats hanging on my office wall are allegorical to the multi- tasking that I face each day. I wear the Sherwin Williams hat on painting days, and the True Value hat on carpentry days. Most days I am changing hats at least 2-3 times. How can I let God's word bear fruit as I fulfill each of these responibilities? Which of these hats should I take down, and retire, for this season or possibly for ever? The tree climbing one? Not yet. For today I will wear the husband / father hat first. The negotiations of the construction business and the janitorial business are major time blocks that require alot of mental energy and concentration. Doing the work is the easy part, and its very therapudic. Pulling the weeds is very rewarding!

Our world view needs to be based on the good seed, the words of Jesus that we can live by. They are "spirit and life" for us.9 May we continue to hunger for God's word and take time out to read it, or listen to it as we drive or work. I need to be less anxious about things; and learn to be in prayer as I go about the "Martha" duties; so that the cares of this world are not hindering God's word from bearing fruit in my life.

We also need fertilizer at times, and that can really help the garden veggies up strong and produce a lot of fruit. May this re-birth that each person can experience be given any one who reads this devotion and wants illumination10 to what God is speaking to them. For the disciples who have been hearing Christian teaching for years, may there be a fresh anointing so that what is heard is put into practice more than ever before. May our spirit, or our character, and "good works" 11 be an ever growing brighter light in this dark age, by putting into practice what we have heard from God. G.W.

1That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, - Ephesians 5:26 KJV

2So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. - Genesis 9:1-3 NKJV

3Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. ... "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." - Revelation 21:1, 4 NKJV

4"Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. - Matthew 13:22 NKJV

5But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, - Galatians 5:22 NKJV

6For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. - 1 Timothy 6:10 KJV

7"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God andwealth. - Matthew 6:24 NASB

8 Paradigm Shift def. "a profound change in a fundamental model or perception of events,"

9 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. - John 6:63 NKJV

10For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. ... But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. - 1 Corinthians 2:11-12, 14 NKJV

11"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:16 NKJV

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Are you Listening? Deuteronomy 30:8-17

Are You Listening? Deuteronomy 30:8-17

It was a Wednesday night, and there I was fumbling through my Bible as the worship team was leading about 20 of us in some really nice songs. I was about to share with our church youth group on "Hearing God". My note book had two pages of notes, but still there was something missing. Where was that verse at? " His thoughts are higher than our thoughts...." This verse and several others came to mind, as I struggled to be better prepared to share. Having enough material to talk for 30 minutes was not the question. The few times that I know that my thoughts were the voice of God in my head and the circumstances proved it were clearly noted down.

Conveying what was really on my heart, and being able to concord with God-s particular intent to communicate with this varied group was really my need. You see, I have been a poor listener over the years. With my parents, with employers and teachers. Hearing and understanding what is being said is one thing. Doing and obeying is the second part that fulfills the purpose of having ears in the first place.

So finally the moment came to get up and start speaking. Thank God for angels. I have never really met or seen the spiritual kind, but many of the human kind have helped me very much. A brother had sat down by me and quickly offered from memory the verse in Isaiah 55, about God's thoughts and ways. I was less nervous than ever, yet, as normal, not knowing just which way this message was going to go. Sharing in my own church with out my family felt odd. No one asked, "Where is Marianne?" She and one of our daughters were working. One son was talking his GED test and our youngest boy was in an college class. I talked a lot about God, and came up with a few good illustrations. Never have I felt so un-accomplished. As I spoke we covered the subject Inductively, especially the pitfalls and the basic ways that God speaks to us. Many folks said "Way to go" like I just finished a good ball game. But the Scripture declares, " what sorrow awaits you when all men speak well of you" NLT I know that great teaching alone is not enough. The real need is to connect with these young adults and disciple them. They will be the church of the next generation. I thank God for our Pastors, Ray and Julie, who are the coaches of a great ministry team to the youth. They broke into small groups to discuss this area of life and pray together. Meanwhile I was able to connect with a new visitor, one of my grey haired age.

What would you do if you were standing on the tracks and you heard a train coming? Any of us would say we would jump off or run away from the tracks. But, how many of us linger, or test the Lord, just to see the train first, or how many of us rub against the fence of boundaries that he has laid out for us in life? Other times we deceive ourselves into believing that God's outline for us is too hard to understand or not even attainable. Here is what the Lord spoke to the nation of Isreal about listening to Him:

"And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day. And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers: If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.

For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?

But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; " Dueteronomy 30: 8-17

I know that my Father had not worked this area in my own life as much as he desires. I left that meeting with more need to draw closer to him and be listening like I should. A strong desire has been growing to really let Jesus have his say in every area of my life.There are so many other voices are playing in my mind. The radio, the TV, the Klove loop, ect... Marianne shared with me the other night that the things that people have said over the years have echoed in here mind from time to time. There are accusations and criticisms from loved ones that have stuck on her for years. Jesus said," The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63b Are my words bringing life to others?

Jesus memorized scripture and quoted it. He used it to resist temptation, and it used it to reason with skeptics. He taught "new doctrine" that was always based on the intents that were already written. He pointed out that the purpose in studying was to know him personally.1 Christianity is not a performance based religion. Its about relationship. Redemption is not achieved, especially in our acquiring knowledge about God. Any vital relationship requires two way communication. We work out our salvation2, but "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints"3 is not a self improvement program, it's a gifted relationship. A friendship with Thee Almighty results in a godly, reverent, love and joy filled life.

Our Father has sent Holy Spirit to guide us into the truth. He will not speak on his own and lead us astray one degree from God's perfect will.4 May we hear that still small voice saying "This is the way, walk ye in it" 5 May we be listening when our Elders or parents say "I really don't think that is the best thing for you." If we are followers of Jesus, we will hear his voice.6 Whether it be spoken through Elders, angels, or the written word jumping off the page. Just keep reading and be familiar with things Jesus said, like "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life John 5:24 NKJV Then when real life events or relationship issues come up, we can know when our thoughts are His thoughts. Our Father's heart desire for us is that our choices will cause our ways to become his ways for our own good and for His glory. G.W.

1See John 5:39

2See Philippians 2: 12,13

3Jude 1:3

4See John 16:13

5See Isaiah 30:20,21

6John 10:27

Friday, April 22, 2011

Free Worms 2 Corinthians 1:20

Free Worms 2 Corinthians 1:20

A few weeks ago it rained and rained and rained in Eastern Oregon, where we live.

One day I noticed that there were worms all over the street in front of our house.

Another rainy day came and even though I was in my normal rush to get to work, I took a “flower smelling” time out. Dozens of worms were all over the street again, so I grabbed some gloves, a kitchen spatula, and bucket to cash in on a great deal; for a fisherman.

Only one other time in my life do I remember this same phenomena occurring. When I was about 14 some really rainy days came where my family lived in Nebraska. My Dad and my little brother walked for what seemed like hours scooping up the worms that had surfaced in the standing water around the barn yard.

Our life in Christ is like the free worms that surface only under special conditions.

If Christ be not risen then our faith is in vain. 1 Cor 15:14 The effective condition to our faith is that Christ has risen. Witness's on several sides have confirmed the fact of his resurrection. You can read the Jewish historian, Josephus's account if you only believe the papers and magazines. When researching what is going on in various countries I have read congressional reports that confirm what VOM or other biographies have stated.

In Hebrews 11 the scriptures declare that the heroes of faith did NOT receive the promise that has come to us.

We have the once for all atonement.1 A final sacrifice has been made for our sins. We have a hope of a resurrection from the dead. Because Jesus has risen, we are assured of the same resurrection on the final day.

For many years have been paying high prices for worms at the convenience store. This last year the prices and a few other things grieved me more than ever. I would check the Styrofoam cups and find that many of the containers were 1/2 empty from thieves, or the essential contents was very poor quality.

My experience in turning over boards or digging somewhere out in the garden has not been very good either.

Here are a few secrets - mystery = truth unveiled about getting worms when its not raining cats and dogs. These are truths that I have known, but have not put into practice. In like manner we are so quick to forget all the good things that come from above.2

Water the yard really good in the late afternoon or evening.

As soon as its dark, walk around the yard with a flash light or a lantern. The worms should be there in the grass waiting for you.

If its day time and your needing to get is what my father in law did;
Get out the battery charger or be brave enough to hook up some 110 wired to a metal stake.

Head out to the yard and give them worms a reason to come fishing with you!

( not recommended- only shared as science )

Are we plugged into the wall of 110 or 220; but not shining our light, not running a fan that can cool off a weary person?

The abundant life is peace, faith, joy and if I don’t don't have it, may be its because the worms are still laying there on the street or just going stale in the bucket that I now have them stored in.

Feeding them coffee grounds compost, newspaper, leaves will make 2 buckets by the time fishing gets going. We can, in the same way, cultivate the promises and provision from our heavenly Father.

Here are a few ways this can happen; Reading the word every day. Memorizing it. Together. Putting into practice one thing at a time, in my own life. Reviewing prophecies and seeing the fulfillments as the revelation of faithfulness and love of our God. Making prayer lists and seeing them answered.

There is fishing = missions some where in the world all the time. If its not perfect conditions now where you are, then tie flies, dig worms, and get ready.

What are the promises of God that he has spoken to you personally? If your not hearing any, or only remember a very few that were from a long time ago, then its time to pour 2 cups of tea and drink yours while the Lord has your time and attention. He has much more to say to us, and a lot more to share with us, if we will just listen.

There are fish to be caught. If your willing to be Jesus disciple it does NOT mean that you have to go on foreign missions, or fulfill the office of an evangelist. BUT he will make you a fisher of men.3 As you follow him, "there will always be people in your life that have room in their heart for more of Christ."4

Gathering worms is like getting a job offer. Until you fill out the application, get through the interview, get hired and show up for work; there is no paycheck. The worms are free, in God's economy. In order for us to enjoy the fish, the worm has to get on the hook and in the water.

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
1 Corinthians 1:20 NKV

May you find the worms in your yard and the fish that you enjoy catching and eating. G.W.

1By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all]. Hebrews 10:10

2Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17

3 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4:19

4William Hawkins 2006

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Thoughts On Missions

Thoughts On Missions Matthew 28:19-20

It's been almost a week since I just returned from a 10 day mission trip. Lots of Folks are asking how it went. The short answer is, " it went really, really well." Team members grew in faith, and I even matured some more. People that we served were uplifted, emotionally, spiritually, and with practical physical help. No radical conversions were seen, but I believe that God was glorified in most everything that happened. A few of the highlights will have to settle into me before I can write them in detail. The rest of this blog entry was written just before the trip.

In 2002 one of my sons presented me with a bi-lingual bible. a couple weeks ago I was cleaning out the office and finally threw the tattered torn book away. I usually try to transfer any notes I can from one bible to the new one, and review what God has spoken to me during the seasons that I have had that last copy. Not this time. For three days I had been cleaning my office and getting rid of any thing that could possibly go. This time there was not time to even take a look at the "best highlights." The words are holy, not the pages or the book. One of the quotes written in the pages did get saved. I tore it out just before I tossed the book along with a huge pile of papers in my cluttered office.

" Preaching the gospel is like attending a birth. With most of our 9 children, I have been just as exhausted as Marianne by the time the birthing process is over. Only the Holy Spirit can give birth to some one. Only the convicted person experiences the birth. We, as attendants, labor also, and experience the energy and exhilaration and exhaustion after."

In obedience to go, make disciples,baptize, and teaching others to obey Jesus, we find a promise. Jesus knew we would need his comfort and assurance when times of adverse circumstances tempt us to be doubting him. When we are facing persecution and suffering for doing the right things, Jesus proclaimed that he is with us.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. - Mat 28:19-20 NKJV

Learning to have the right priorities first is so important in our daily walk, and as we seek to serve others in the kingdom. Here is another note that I kept back from the "burn pile". John Piper once wrote,

"Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't. When this age is over, countless millions of the redeemed will fall on their faces before the throne of God, and missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever. Worship, therefore is the fuel and the goal of missions. Worship is the goal in missions. Because in missions we simply aim to bring the nations into the white hot enjoyment of Gods glory. The goal of missions is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God."

Thirdly, I would like to quote from a devotional that had been a real help to me in learning how to serve. "My Utmost For His Highest" March 11th, Oswald Chambers, Acts 26:19

"If we lose the vision, we alone are responsible, and the way we lose the vision is by spiritual leakage. If we do not run our belief about God into practical issues, it is all up with the vision God has given. The only way to be obedient to the heavenly vision is to give our utmost for God's highest, and this can be done by continually and resolutely recalling the vision. The test is 60 seconds of every minute, and the sixty minutes of every hour, not our times of prayer and devotional meetings."

What is the vision that you have received? If you have not received a vision of what God has called you to, or you've struggled keeping the most vision your main priority, like I have been struggling with the last couple years, you are in grave danger. Where there is no vision, the people perish: prov 29:18

My vision is to run the race of following Jesus as his disciple. To continue in the right direction to obtain the completeness that I have been called to; Philippians 3:12.13 If new births occur and disciples are made along the way, then all glory be to Our Father. He is the only one that can open the eyes of our heart and draw us to Jesus. See Matthew 16:17 and John 6:44 May Holy Spirit be using us more than ever in this rescuing and caring for His sheep. G.W.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Grace Is Not A Mystery Titus 2.11

Grace Is Not A Mystery Titus 2.11

It was a warm summer morning back in 1979. At 18 yrs of age I had already lost my license. As I was hitchhiking into town and noticed a car coming back and turning around to pick me up. It was Randy, a friend I had known in high school. Was he coming back to give me a ride because he knew me, or what had prompted him to turn around after passing a hitchhiker by? Well, first of all, who hitch hikes into town? I had studied the fine art of traveling across country by thumb for a couple years now, and no one gets a ride into town. The best place to catch a ride is just on the edge of town going out. Secondly, Randy had not seen me in three years.

The last time we talked he had come to my mothers home to see why I had dropped out of the Christian youth group where we had met. He smelled smoke and kept saying it looks like it was coming up from under the couch. I said, " no, there is nothing there," until it became visible and he looked under to discover my smoldering cigarette. That terminated our visit, as he left feeling very uncomfortable.

It had been three years of sex, and drugs, and rock and roll partying for me and now one of those Christians I knew from School days is picking me up. "This must some kind of sign," I thought to myself. "Did you pick me up because you knew me?" I asked as I got in the car. For a couple weeks I had been clean from using drugs and drinking. I had gone deeper into T.M. and Soul travel. For several days I had been seeking "truth" at an abandoned non-functioning commune farm a friend of mine knew about. What had gotten me to stop the drugs was a three day LSD trip that yielded nothing for me, and only destruction and pain for others that I was partying with. I was hungering for some thing that would last. Some thing real. What had really happened is I saw a young man, some one with a future, stick his hand right into a bon fire. Because of the drugs we were all on he did not perceive the pain to follow, but I will never forget his screaming. It was time for me to to find some thing better than all the trouble I kept getting into with the law. At that point I was able to quit going out and looking for the high, but was not able to quit smoking tobacco. As I stepped off that curb on July 13th 1979 I was about to experience grace, like never before. I had a variety philosophies and knew I needed some thing out side of my own powers, but up to that moment I had not given thought of going to Jesus for the help I knew I needed.

As a child, who Jesus had been was clearly taught to me. My parents would pray with me at bedtime, say a prayer at mealtimes, and read to me from a devotional book called "little visits with God." Through the traditions of the protestant church and at Sunday school I learned the basic bible stories of Christs' birth, life, death, and resurrection. Then one day, when I was about eight, I was playing in the back yard when a phenomena occurred. The sky was over cast, but out in the middle of the neighbors large field a light beam shone down though the dark grey clouds. I ran in to the kitchen and said, "mommy look, what is it?" My mother said, " Maybe its the coming of the Lord." I listened but did not understand, and then I went on back out to play. I never gave that experience any more thought until I was converted.

A couple of other experiences I had were with the Sunday school teacher at the local community church. My Dad would take me there on the Sundays that my Mom had to work. This lady was known for sharing the "good news" with every one. Even my foster brother who had returned from Viet Nam told of how had been cornered in her back yard for what seemed like hours as she compelled him to "accept Jesus in his heart." My invitation came to go into the closet at the end of a Sunday school class. I did so, by my own choice. On a following Sunday I chose to go into the same closet and pray again, trying to get what ever it was she was offering.

Once again, at 14 I had more encounters that were invitations to give my life to God. When an African American Evangelist held a meeting at the fairgrounds in our Nebraska town, another foster brother and I went into a side room after the service for counseling and prayer. The next morning I remember looking at the booklets that I was given and they were like a tech manual for equipment that I knew nothing about. About a year later I got invited by a fellow shop class student to a picnic. I did not know it at the time, but he had mustered all the courage he could to be able to ask me if I wanted to go. No one knew how tore up I was about our family life at home being broken and about to end in divorce. When the an invitation was given at the end of the outdoor meeting I fled forward and cried with pain for the Savior that I was hearing about. For that summer I hung out with a lot of the kids that revolved around a Saturday night bible study for youth. It was only a message that I retained as long as I was looking at it. It reached my mind but not my heart. The one relationship that I needed the most was not there. Eventually, when school started up and I tried and failed at sports, I started working part time and hanging with the wrong crowd. The summer friends slipped into the past and my search for a new identity began.

One night we were partying and I felt like I was going to overdose. I cried out to God and pled with him that if he would save me I would serve him. I did not forget my promise the next morning but neither did I seek him out. As I went on my way in life, chasing girls, wrecking cars, and landing in jail 3 times, my misery deepened. Finally, late one night I called a pastor that my Mom knew. This man had taken me to lunch once while I was in high school. He was trying in a very nice way to challenge me to commit my life 100% to God. Now here I was calling him out of the blue, and telling him I was ready to sign a contract with God. He said, "Greg, sleep on it and call me again tomorrow." Well, tomorrow never came. I spaced out his open invitation once again. He was testing me, and I was still was not ready. In the moment of crisis I was crying out for help to get relief from my troubles, but I had not been sincerely ready to submit to Jesus' authority.

Now I am riding in the car with Randy, who had been in and out of the air force, gotten married, and was living a "normal' life. He bought me a cup of coffee. He did not say much, I did most of the talking. I realized this was my day to be a disciple of Jesus, he was just marveling. I was asking him to take me back to the park where I had once prayed for a Savior in my life. Now I was praying for a Savior to keep me from the wrath that I deserved for my sins, not just save me from the troubles and hurts that had offended me. Now I wanted to know what it meant to let Jesus be Lord and have complete control of my life. Jesus was revealed to me in a new way. Has this grace been made known to you? Here is what it taught me. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age," Titus 2:11,12

I did not become instantly perfect. But I was delivered from smoking. I was never tempted to use drugs again. A grace came over me in the area of morality. A significant sign of a converted person is their choice to change friends. I brought some friends with me over from the dark side and we started walking in the light together. Others that I tried to help, or old friends that I went to see just did not feel right to be around. Another old friend just showed up at my house one day, and said," what do I need to do, I want to be saved, and I heard that you have changed, Greg." The next Sunday a few of us "long hairs" we went into the little country church to listen to that preacher friend my mom knew. It was not about "going to church" for me. The desire to hear God's word and be able to converse with him was so strong. I was learning new songs and loved to sing to God. Reading the bible and attending bible studies was a big help in getting to know who God is, and how I should be living.

It took almost a year to pay my debts and restitution's. When I was released from probation, I took to the road again, heading out west. There was something about the adventure of hitching. It was not just about getting to the destination, it was about the places your find and people you meet along the way. The next year, while hitching a ride, I met my wife to be. Her and her cousin picked me up. Like many other Christians I met in the early days of my walk, there was a common joy we shared. The joy of our salvation.

30 yrs later Marianne and I are on the same road together. It is a narrow path following Jesus. She has been raising 9 children and taken in a few extras from time to time. After 32 years of following Jesus I have learned that there is a ditch on each side that I can easily fall into. One side is called religion where one can be stuck in pride and play acting, which the bible calls hypocrisy. A ditch on the other side is something I can fall back into if I let the cares of this life, or the pleasures of sin tempt me back into old ways again. There is grace freely flowing from the throne of God and I need it like never before. May we each learn to humble ourselves and receive it abundantly. G.W.