You know what I remember most?
That it’s war which makes us remember just how valuable peace is.
It’s war that reminds us how much we need God.
We who were and are now soldiers are not soldiers so that we can fight, but soldiers so that hopefully someday others won’t have to.
May God bless all those soldiers and the families who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we hold dear.
As John Glenn recently said, “If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read it in English, thank a soldier!“
May God bless America!
Today at GTCOTR is:
Won’t you turn in your bibles to Genesis 18, Verse 19 (Authorized/King James Version)
Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
God chose Abraham because He knew that Abraham would instruct his children, friends and family concerning the ways of the Lord.
Tonight I will have the privilege of speaking in the first church that Brenda and I ever pioneered - Word of Faith Church in Simms, Texas.
In 1981 I wrote what I believed God had spoken to me about that church on the wall of that church directly behind the pulpit, facing the congregation. It read:
“You won’t leave here like you came in Jesus’ Name!”
I repeated that confession of faith so often for so many years that today, almost 25 years later, I still believe that about the Word of Faith in Simms, Texas. And the people there are still experiencing that dynamic every time they come together as believers.
During those years pioneering our first church, learning how to pastor, how to preach and how to raise a Godly family, we didn’t realize just how wonderful we had it.
Sure it cost us everything we had. In fact Brenda and I actually sold everything we had, every piece of furniture, all our pots and pans, my guns, our two cars and even the children’s toys just to get the chance to begin this new adventure.
We started with 7 people in a trailer house that belonged to my mom and dad. Later we were able to buy an old church building for $200. I borrowed some house moving equipment from a friend of mine, and me, my dad, my brother-in-law, an uncle, a cousin and Brenda moved that building 10 miles down the road and set it back up on blocks in my dad’s pasture. I rode on the top of that building lifting up the electrical & phone lines all along US Highway 67.
That building had been vacant for several years and the floor was rotted out. We had garage sales and sold more stuff and raised enough money to buy some 2X10s. During that winter me and Brenda would bundle up our children and ourselves, then crawl up under that building. I would get a nail started in one end of a 20’ board and then go down to the other end and get my shoulder under the board.
As I strained and lifted, we didn’t have a jack that would work, I would push up as hard and as high as I could and just hold it until Brenda, taking both hands on that framing hammer, could pound that 20 penny nail in and crawl down to my end and do another one. Often she would stop in the middle to re-collect the children.
We textured, painted, re-floored and found some discarded multicolored carpet squares samples that we laid out in one small room. By late winter, without any heat that first Sunday, we opened those doors for our first service there. Man it was cold.
I played the guitar and led singing, Brenda kept the nursery and taught the youngest children in a 8’ by 8’ corner room with the carpet samples. Earlier I had dug a hole and buried a 55 gallon barrel and ran some pipe to it from a toilet I placed in a closet and ran a water hose and fitted it to the tank - so we did have a restroom of sorts. This was church! A dream come true. Soon the church filled up.
Even though we did not get to buy another car for 2 years and had to call someone and get a ride so I could preach Sunday mornings, evenings and on Wednesday nights, we nonetheless felt on top of the world. During that time we learned the joy of building the family of God. From that place we reached out and touched the whole world.
As young parents, Brenda and I both wanted our children to know the value of faith and the power of making a good faith-filled confession based on the word of God. So, we set about systematically teaching our children at home and challenging them to use their faith and pray the promises and not the problem.
One day, I believe it was in early May 1982 April, our 4 ½ year old daughter, decided that she wanted a puppy. This seemed like a good time to teach her how to exercise her faith. We saw no reason why God would not want her to have a dog so Brenda and I told her that we were not going to do anything to get her a puppy but wanted her to begin praying, believing God and making her faith confession about the puppy she wanted. We told her that if she got one, it would be a miracle from God in answer to her prayer.
After about a week I received a phone call from a friend who lived about 30 miles away. He said that the Lord had placed it on his heart to bring my little girl a puppy from a litter his dog had just had. Without saying anything else I told him it would be fine and we agreed that he would call us back in a few weeks when the puppies were old enough so we could make final arrangements.
After a few days Brenda and I noticed that April was walking around the house and yard playing with her as yet invisible puppy. She would get it water and food, open the door to let it in and out and run and call for the puppy to chase her. It was cute and we knew that her faith was working but we did not dare say anything. This continued without any sign of April growing tired or getting weary in her faith.
After about a month the man called back and said that the puppies were weaned and that he would bring one to a picnic our church was having at a local park on that Sunday afternoon. We agreed and I hung up the phone.
Just at that moment April came through the kitchen with her invisible puppy. As she turned to go toward her bedroom she called out, “come on Brownie!” As you can imagine this alarmed both Brenda and me and all of the sudden our faith was taxed. “Did she say Brownie?” She had already named this dog and she had evidently picked out the color too. What should we do. We did not want our little girl to be disappointed with the wrong dog or a dog the wrong color … what would this do to her faith?
After a moment of sudden, gripping fear and questioning one another about as to whether or not we needed to call the man back and see if he could bring a brown one if he had it, we got a hold of ourselves and decided that this was a real good time for us to work on our faith too. We decided to just trust God and let Him be the God of our children too.
That Sunday afternoon came and we were with our church family in the park. Brenda and I watched as the van pulled up and our friend got out with a puppy under his arm. As he set it down on the grass, April, from at least a hundred feet or more away stopped in her tracks and yelled out loud - “Brownie!”. Without anyone saying anything to her about it she ran across a foot bridge, up a hill and scooped up that little brown long eared short legged puppy and as she cuddled him she said, “there you are Brownie, I wondered when you would finally get here.”
Perhaps no one else knew that day just exactly why Brenda and I were crying. It was not for the gift of the puppy as many supposed, but it was for the goodness and grace of a faithful God who loved and listened to our little girl and her heartfelt prayer and confession.
Since that time I could not begin to tell you just how much Brenda and I have come to rely upon the faith and prayers of agreement from our children. We have been successful in raising prayer partners who know their God and trust His goodness.
Last year when the doctors suggested that April have an abortion in light of some pre-natal test results done on the child in her womb, she went to her God and then to her family for prayer support. Today little baby Joshua is a strong and healthy member of our family and soon I will get the chance to begin teaching him how to trust in the living God who hears and answers prayer.
Earlier we read from Genesis 18:19 which told us that God made covenant with Abraham because God knew that Abraham would take a Godly interest in raising his children and influencing his family and friends to follow the ways of the Lord.
Let’s look back at Genesis 18 for a moment before we close.
This passage contains the story of God sending three angels to check on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. It was God’s intent to destroy these cities if peradventure all of the sin which had been reported was actually being done in these cities.
These were the cities where Lot, Abraham’s nephew, had chosen to live. It was God’s knowledge that Abraham cared about his family which may have provoked God to send His angels by to visit with Abraham in the first place.
Let’s see what God says about Abraham in the three verses above, specifically Genesis 18:16-19
16 ¶ And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;
18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
What does God know about you?
Are you the father or mother that God dreamed about giving your children?
Are you the husband or wife that God dreamed about giving your spouse?
Are you the son or daughter that God dreamed about giving your parents?
Are you the friend that God dreamed about giving your friends?
If not, why not?
Come on - decide right now to:
Be the best you God designed you to be - To care about and influence others to Godliness.
You can make a difference in their lives! - or not! - it’s up to yo