Life Event

You may have been wondering why I haven’t written more on my blog in the past few weeks so here is the answer.  Life gets in the way sometimes and we have things that we have to do that messes up our schedule.  I know that sounds like an excuse but in this case it is reality and my preferences have nothing to do with it. 

My wife had a knee that was not only quite painful but was just wore out.  She was past the cartilage and well into the bone and it would fail her at times.  On Friday of last week she had a knee replacement operation to correct the problem.  The operation was successful and she was up walking immediately after recovery from the surgery.  They have had her doing  therapy twice a day and a busy regiment of ice, exercise,  compression socks, compression equipment and pain medication that requires a lot of time on my part to assist her in her recovery.  I must be close to her to fetch things that she needs and assist her in things that she cannot do yet, like showering, dressing herself, and getting in and out of bed.  But even with that she is continually surprising me with things that she can do now that she couldn’t do just 4 days ago.

She is doing very well and even was able to go out on a short trip to Walmart to pick up a couple items that we needed.  She is diligent in her doing what she is instructed to do as we have known some who have neglected this part of recovery and have had problems that affected them a very long time.  I think that because she had so much pain with her knee that she is not suffering as much as some do who will not do the exercise because of the pain. 

I marvel at the fact that she was on her feet just a couple hours after having knee replacement.  As I see her walk now I marvel that her leg is now straight and she can walk on it so well.  I thank the Lord that we live in a time and place that all of this is possible.  I think of how great our God is and that He is the one who has made all of this possible.  It causes me to praise God from whom all blessing flow.  Sure it interferes with my schedule and I have to make a number of adjustments; but just look at what He is doing.  I will gladly go through these events to get my eyes off of what I am doing to see what God is doing.  It can really adjust your perspective.

Japan Mission Trip

We have returned from our mission trip to Japan and I am so blessed to have been a part of such a great event.  There were six nations represented at the Olive Conference.  It was presented in three languages over 4 days.  There were 64 attendees (mostly church leaders and pastors) in addition to speakers, worship leaders, and host.  It was such a joyous spirit of love and fellowship and unity that differences had little meaning.  Evidence of Christ’s presence abounded and many new bonds were made.

The theme of the conference was “Walking By Faith” and First Baptist Church of Keller was invited to teach the training classes (6) that was followed by a discussion time for each day.  It was amazing how the participants could almost quote what was said in each class and had real insight of its meaning.  I have rarely witnessed such commitment to learning and applying the material to everyday experience. 

The team from First Baptist Church of Keller, Tx consisted of four:  Mission Pastor, Lawrence Duhon; Mission Committee Chairman, Bob Vigoren;  Mission Committee member, Michael Faubel; and Mission Committee member, Vernon Ball.  Beside teaching the six classes, the team participated in personal counseling, joint worship where the music was sang in three languages, each in turn, and participating in the group discussion time. 

There was some time allowed for personal devotions and relaxation.  On a couple of these times I went for a walk in the forested mountainous setting  on one of the trails and found a number of spider webs that crossed the trail.  To keep from walking into them we waived a stick up and down to clear the webs from the trail.    It reminded me of the snares of the devil.  Sure enough, Satan tried to trick a key person in the conference into leaving the conference, but the Lord stepped in and that member was rescued from making a life changing error in her faith walk.

We saw a number of such victories in several different situations.  It was a great blessing to see the Lord magnified among us in so many ways.   I received a note from Pastor T saying that the “connection with the local leaders and pastors are now more committed. Next month I’ll visit some cities there.”  There is speculation of another conference next year.  Please be in prayer that we will remain in step with the Lord in this matter.

Japan Mission Trip Next Week

It seems like just last week I was sharing with you about an opportunity that we have of providing the training classes for a Bible Training Conference in Japan.  Much prayer and preparation has gone into this work and now we are just 5 days from leaving for Japan.  Here is where we stand at this time.

The conference is being hosted by a pastor and church in Japan and is called the Olivet Conference.  Its purpose is for Bible Training and the theme of the conference is Walking by Faith.  The reason for this theme is that the Scripture states in Romans 14:26 that whatsoever is not of Faith is Sin; and in Hebrews 11:6 it states that without faith it is impossible to please Him (God).  Putting these two verses together it is clear that one of the most important things that  a Christian needs to learn is walking by faith; yet, I have never know a church to make this important enough to warrant a class just on living by faith.

After I wrote my book, The Mystery of Faith, I made a trip to Japan to visit my son who lives there and met a Christian pastor that became a close friend and co-laborer in the Lord’s work, who lives there in Japan.  He has made two trips to the US and we have been praying for the Lord to lead us in His will.  The last trip was to meet with our church and to plan for this conference.  He pastors a small church in Japan yet still has made multiple trips into China to train new pastors.  That training is not available in China.  When I went to China last year, I witnessed personally the need for training and it is simply not available there.

My burden for the church is to provide such training and Pastor T shares that same burden.  We are praying for direction beyond this conference.  Right now we have a few of the pieces that could become a training center there in Japan and are simply taking one faith step at a time.  We would covet you prayers and ask that you share with us whatever you believe that the Lord has given you to be a part of this endeavor. 

Right now there are over 30 church leaders from China that plan to attend this conference as well as over 20 from Japan and a few from other countries.    It will be a tri-language conference (that is it will be done in three languages).  It will be taught in English as several will be able to understand it in English.  It will also be translated into Chinese and Japanese so that it will be heard in their own language.  Materials are also being printed in all three languages as well.  The need is there, the hunger is there, the opportunity is there and in less than one week we will be there.  Our church is sending over a team of 4 to conduct this meeting.  I am one of three who will be speaking twice each. 

One of the things that we are doing is that after each session of a lesson, there will be a time for those attending the conference to discuss the material amongst themselves and/or ask us questions that they may have.  One person has even voiced a request about specific problems they are having with the current persecution of the government.   Please pray for us that we can properly represent Christ in our responses and that we can hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.

My wife and I are leaving on October 1 and we will not return until October 13.  We will get to spend a few days with our son and his family before returning here.  Then I will be going to visit another of our sons for about 3 days, returning on the 17th of October.  Then my wife is scheduled to have a knee replacement on the 25th of October.  There are two reasons that I am sharing this with you and that is to request your prayers and also to let you know that I will not be able to posts  for a few weeks.  At my first opportunity, I will share some of our mission trip upon my return and then continue posting on this website.

I would like to hear from you as well.  Do not be concerned about sending me a response in another language as I have a translator on my computer and will post my response to you.  I will avoid sharing things like cities, names and identifying pictures so as to protect those attending the conference.  I will share all I can to answer your questions so that you can be a part of the experience.  I sense that some of you have found this site and are following along on My Journey.  I want you to be as much a part of it as you can be.

Purposeful Phrases

You may not have heard of purposeful phrases before but I want to introduce you to them as they are a helpful way to study the Bible.  A purposeful phrase is a condensed collection of words that answer the question, why.  It can be a short phrase or even a few sentences or even a bit longer, but it is a short explanation of the purpose behind the action.  Generally it is just a verse or two, or even just a part of a verse.  Quite often, it will begin with the word, “that”, but it is not always the case.  It reveals the thinking or purpose of something that may not be obvious at first glance.  It is particularly helpful to understanding the purposes of God in His working with and on man.

In the book of Ephesians, there are five purposeful phrases (1:4, 1:12, 2:7, 3:6, 5:27) and we will look at each of them.  Collectively, they give us a picture of the thinking of God in His creation of man and how He intends to bring it to pass. 

Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:  The purposeful phrase is the last part of the verse that I have underlined.  The first part of the verse gives us the setting of that purpose which is His choosing us and that it was before the foundation of the world.  In other words, God knew us before he created time and space and that His plan has always been that we should be holy (a separated people) and without blame (does not mean never to have sinned, but having no sin charged to our account) before Him (abiding in His presence) in love (our character and nature has been fully conformed and fashioned like He is).   That was His overarching plan for man, that is why He made man.  Simply put, to fellowship with him.

Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.  It can be argued that verse 1:10 is another purposeful phrase but I do not list it as such because it does not answer the question “why”, but rather the question, “how”.  The real purpose is found in verse 12 as I have underlined.  His purpose for us may include our vocation here but that is not his primary purpose.  God’s purpose for us is not just temporal but eternal.  I suspect that it matters little whether you are a doctor, statesman, craftsman, etc. except to the extent of how it enables you to take on God’s purpose of properly reflecting His image and being conformed to His likeness and values.  Everything God does is with the view of its Eternal outcome.

Eph 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  This verse is the answer to the question why would God go to such a great expense for the likes of me?  His return is not monetary, nor is it for any gain for Himself as He already owns everything.  His return is us.  Our victory over sin, our transformation into His image and likeness, our final state of the full realization of what it means to be the children of God are all part of the revelation of who and what God is.  In the end it will all be understood as to why He loves us so.

Eph 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:  The mystery of the ages was how did the Gentiles fit in to the plan of God since the Jews were the chosen people of God?  God has always planned for all people to be a part of His plan as children of God.  God is not a respecter of persons that He loves the Jew more than the Gentile for He loves them the same.  The Jews were chosen to be the priest nation to all nations and that will yet come to pass, even though they have not fulfilled that role yet.  Nothing has taken God by surprise and nothing has thwarted His plan.  It is not a favoritism to be chosen for a particular service, for we have all been chosen by God, even before the foundation of the world.  The hammer is not a better tool than the saw for both are necessary.  Verse 3:10 would be an example of a purposeful verse that didn’t begin with the word, “that”, except for the fact that it is a further explanation of how the eternal purpose is realized; which makes it a commentary on the purpose instead of being a purposeful phrase.

Eph 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  The question that precedes this purposeful phrase is “Why is it important that the church be sanctified?”  The church is a great mystery to the world.  They neither understand its purpose or its function.  To them it is just another organization when it is actually a living organism with eternal purpose.  It is the bride of Christ and must meet His standards.  We are in the word but we are not of the world.  Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  God is not content to just get us out of the world and free from sin and its influence but is at work in displaying through eternity His great love, great grace, great salvation, in and for us.  He is not just interested in getting us to heaven, but is even more earnest in preparing us for heaven, so that when we do finally get there we can call it home.

The Exceeding Greatness of His Power To Us-Ward Who Believe

Eph 1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

You will recognize the same scripture that I have used in my two previous blogs, as this is the third of three blogs on Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian believers. 

The Ephesian church was undergoing great difficulty because of the pagan influences and the untrained leadership of the church.  Paul was writing to Timothy from his prison cell and giving him direction as to how the leadership needs to be led in dealing with these pagan customs and teachings.  He emphasized that the leadership did not need the ‘how to do’ message but the Lord, Himself to work in their hearts in these three specific areas in order for them to be able to see the victory.  The Lord would have to give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of Him.  We do not need answers, but what we need is the person of the Lord Jesus, Himself.  He does not have the answers, but is the answer to everything.  He is known through both the spirit of wisdom and by revelation.  It is not head knowledge, it is heart and experiential knowledge.

It is in this light that Paul says that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened and then they would know these three tremendous blessings.  Expositors comments; “In these three clauses Paul leads the readers on from the hope itself which becomes theirs in virtue of their being called of God, to the splendor of the enheritance to which the hope points, and from this again to that in God Himself which makes the fulfillment of the hope and the possession of the inheritance certain, namely the limitless efficiency which is His prerogative.”  Kenneth Wuest goes on; “ This power of God working in our behalf with reference to our salvation is not thought of here as operating only in the future, but also at present.”  It is not that we shall have power but that we also presently have His power available to us in all our life endeavors. 

The exceeding greatness of his power speaks of a power that is beyond measure, that is much more than is needed to do the job at hand.  We do not need to fear that we might fail for it is not our might, but His might that overcomes the adversary. Again I quote Wuest; “Paul uses four words here, all having the general meaning of power; “ the first use of power is dunamis, which is the word that we get our word ‘dynamite’, the second word is translated “working” and is the Greek word energeia, which is the word we get our word energy from and means power in exercise or operative power; the third word is “mighty” which is the Greek word kratos, or manifested strength; the second use of the word power is the Greek word ischuos, or strength, or power as an endowment.  Collectively we have this translation; “And what is the superabounding greatness of His inherent power to us who are believing ones as measured by the operative energy of the manifested strength of His might.

This power that was illustrated when Christ was raised from the dead, is the same power that God stands ready to exercise in us today, as we face the world in all its depravity.  Timothy was to lead the church to see how great a salvation that is ours and what God has in store for us.  Then for us to learn what it means for us to be a child of God and its richness and blessings. And finally, to meet all opposition with the power of God that will totally defeat the powers of darkness and all its host.  We are not just meager, “sinners saved by grace” but we are Children of God with all the power of heaven at our disposal.  The victory is already won and we are to fight from the position of victors.

The Riches of the Glory of His Inheritance In the Saints

Eph 1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

In my last blog I wrote about the Hope of His calling.  Please note that I did not exhaust the topic but only introduced the concept.  For further study research the idea of your body as the temple of God. 

Now we turn our attention to the second thing that Paul prayed that the Ephesian Christians would receive, their inheritance.  Notice that the receiving of this treasure is received in the same manner as receiving the hope of His calling.  It cannot be taken, but it has to be received.  By that, it is clear that God desires for you to have it but it is not ‘free for the taking’ but that it can only be received in the manner that God chooses for you to have it.  So, let’s look at those conditions.

You must first receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.  In other words, knowing God comes by the spirit of wisdom and revelation which is given by God.  He does not hand out the spirit of wisdom and revelation to just any person, or even to every Christian.  A person must first become a Christian and then, when his heart has grown to the place where it longs for righteousness and seeks the ways of God, then it is rewarded by the Holy Spirit opening the spirit of wisdom revelation that is required to know God.   The spirit of wisdom isn’t just smart but it is the application of truth in the light of God’s will.  The longer you walk with God the more you come to know Him and His ways.  Truth alone is not enough for we are finite and carnal so the addition of revelation to know what we could never guess or apprehend is also required.  Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!  We could never know God at all until He reveals Himself to us.  We catch glimpses of God in our growth and our walk and marvel at the wonder of who He is.  We read Scriptures that tell us of His Holiness and Splendor and our mind goes to TILT.  We then begin to project what it might mean – and still we have only a glimpse.

So now we look at our inheritance.  You must be an heir in order to inherit so God moves us from being a child of Satan to a child of God through regeneration.  We don’t immediately feel changed but we are changed.  When a man is married to his wife, he may still feel like he did only moments before, but he will never be what he was prior to the marriage.  When a man joins the military, he is a soldier the second he signs the papers, yet he still needs the training and disciplines that will cause him to order his conduct as a soldier.  It is not how you feel that makes you different, but who you Lord is.  When we surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, He then takes full responsibility for you in all that you do and what you become.  He also, seals you with the Holy Spirit and you are changed.  (II Corinthians 5:17)  As a child of God, you now are an heir to all the treasures of God.  I am not talking about gold and silver and precious stones, but about the fullness of God.  The real treasures are those of eternal qualities, such as eternal life, a love that never fails, goodness, righteousness, etc.  Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  We are being transformed into creatures that are identified as God’s children and are made in His image, His likeness and with dominion.  A fantastic study is what heaven is like.  We see through a glass darkly but there we shall see God face to face.

This inheritance is glorious in several respects.  First, it is glorious in that it is a reflection of the glory of God, Himself.  His glory is magnified by itself.  Take for an example, a bright light that is shined in a mirror and reflected back on itself.  If you were to behold the bright light, it would appear even brighter when the reflection was added.  So it is with God’s glory, His wonder is only enhanced by His works and He appears even more marvelous.   Our inheritance is beyond the sphere of material value; beyond the sphere of personal value; and encompasses our value to God. 

Our inheritance is for only in the saints.  In the Scriptures, saints are the Christians or the born again, the believers in Christ.  This knowledge is only know by the saints and God and cannot be known any other way.  It is important to know who you are and who’s you are.  You are the love of God, the bride of Christ, the church, the Children of God.  He died for you and will spare no cost to see you completed as He planned.  He promised that He would never leave you and would be there for you to do whatever is required to complete His promise to you.

The Hope of His Calling

Ephesians 1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

I was recently asked the question, “how do we train (equip) church leaders?”  This question was asked by one of the leaders in China in light of the Chinese government oppression to the church in breaking up the larger churches into smaller groups of 25-30 people.  I have pondered this question and in prayer I have sought an answer from the Lord.  I believe that He has answered me by directing me to the passage in Ephesians 1:14-23, and more specifically verses 15-20.  I will attempt to answer it in three consecutive blogs of which this one is the first.

The first point that needs to be made is that the answer has two sides, like a coin.  On the one side we are wholly inadequate to equip anyone.  God alone is qualified to equip the believer.  The Scriptures declare    Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  It is God, Himself that calls us, qualifies us and empowers us to do His work.  He is busy completing His image in us as we attempt to follow His Spirit by faith.  Notice in Paul’s prayer in  verse 17, that it is God who gives the spirit of wisdom as well as the revelation of knowing God personally and opens the eyes of your understanding to spiritual truths. 

The second side of the answer is that we are also part of the working of God.  It is in our response to God to know Him and to receive from Him those gifts that He chooses that we are used by Him to equip the saints so that they are enabled to do the work of ministry.   We are created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works.  Simply put, Christ is the head and we are the torso of the body which acts under the lordship of the head.

Paul prayed that there would be three things that God would grant to the believers in Ephesus.  The first is found in verse18, that ye may know, what is the hope of His calling.  Ponder with me for a few moments and try to answer to yourself this question, what is the hope of your calling?  Why you created and what is it that you hope for?  A common thought is that I might go to heaven, but that is only a destination.  Getting there is not a hope, only a destination.  Then what?  God is not nearly as concerned about getting you to heaven as he is about fitting you for heaven.  When you do arrive it should afford you all of the fulfillment that you seek. 

Another common answer is that you will be rejoined with your loved ones and with Jesus.  It is true that we will be rejoined with some of our loved ones, but not all of them will make it.  Jesus declared that the way to destruction was a broad way but the way to eternal life was a narrow and restrictive way and only a few will enter there. 

Let’s look at what the Bible says is God’s plan for man.  Ge 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  This verse declares God’s plan for man prior to his fall into sin.  Man was to be made after the fashion of God in three ways:  In His likeness; In His Image; and with dominion.  This is a message by itself and many things can be said about it.  For now we will look only at the overall picture and that is that it is a description of God’s plan for man which will not be completed until we receive our resurrected body at the return of the Lord Jesus. God is a trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  We were made in the same likeness as God is and have a body, soul and spirit.  God’s plan wasn’t completed in the Garden of Eden and Sin did not catch God off guard and did not wreck God’s plan.  God’s plan is eternal so He planned ahead for the new creation of man mentioned in II Corinthians 5:17 that the new man would be created in Christ Jesus.  So we have a temporal body, soul and spirit which must go through a transformation for a new body, soul and spirit.  We can see this pictured in the process of a worm becoming a butterfly.  The order of completion is in reverse order: first the spirit is united with the Holy Spirit and then sealed for eternity so that the bond cannot be broken.  Who he is, is changed forever.  Then God goes to work on the soul so that he is transformed in his values, method of thinking and all aspects of his will.  We call this Sanctification, which means literally, separated.  Through this process which takes a lifetime, we move further and further from sin and its environment.  Finally, when the Lord Jesus returns in a cloud in the air, we will be changed and get our resurrected body and then our transformation will be completed.  This is our Hope and what we long for to not only be with the Lord but also to be like the Lord and to be separated from the power of sin (at regeneration), to be separated from the persuasion of sin (through sanctification) and to be separated from the presence of sin (at glorification); as so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Japan Mission Trip Update 8.28.2019

Some of you who have been following with me on my journey home may remember the story of how I met the pastor of the Christian Church in Japan.  My wife and I were visiting our son who works in Japan and we decided that we wanted the experience of worshiping with Christians in Japan.  Since our daughter-in-law is Japanese, we asked her where we could find such a church.  She is a Christian but has known Christianity through the Catholic Church, but she had a friend who did attend such a church that we were looking for.  However, her friend had just moved back to the States but she called her anyways.  Her friend called her back in about an hour or two and told her that she had already called the pastor who told her that they would pick us up so that we wouldn’t have trouble finding the church. 

Sure enough, they were waiting for us and took us to the church.  On the way, I remembered that gifting is big in Japan and I had not secured a gift so I silently offered up a prayer – God, HELP!!  Then I remembered that I had an extra copy of my book, The Mystery Of Faith, and decided to give it to the pastor when we arrived.

As soon as we arrived we were escorted to the worship center and was met by the Pastor, who greeted us very graciously.  I then presented him with my gift and wasn’t sure how it was received.  Not being familiar with the customs, I was unprepared for his response.  He got choked up and I thought he was going to cry.  I quickly asked, did I do something wrong?  He replied, NO, NO, you don’t understand.  You see I have been praying for some months that God would send me someone to encourage me, and you are him.  Then I got choked up as well and also felt some relief that I had not offended him.   From that first encounter we have had a growing relationship that has lasted for three years already.  He has made two trips to the USA and met with me on both occasions

He is also translating my book into Japanese and hopes to complete the translation this year.  At one point he had another person helping with the translation and there was a great flood and all of their work was lost in the flood.  On another occasion there was an earthquake that did damage to his home and I don’t know if he was able to get it repaired or not.  The short version is that Satan has been working overtime to stop his work on the translation.  Please pray for him to be encouraged and that Satan’s efforts be turned against him.

Several months ago the pastor shared with me his plan for a Bible Training Conference again this year.  He has had such a conference several times but his concern was that the attendees had been coming to be entertained, rather than be trained.  We discuss his dilemma and he wondered if I would be able to attend this year.  I shared it with our mission pastor at our church and he suggested that we offer to provide the training for the conference this year as a help to focus on the training aspect.  After the pastor prayed about it for several days he agreed and invited our church to be a part of the conference.  I had no trouble getting a team together, in fact it happened immediately.  We even had volunteers beyond our need and had to limit the team to four.  The pastor from Japan made the trip to meet with the team from our church and we saw the Lord hand all along the way.  It has been exciting to see the Lord bring it all together.

Today the mission team met to do the final planning for the Olivet Training Conference in Japan that is scheduled for the first week in October in Osaka, Japan.  We received the final schedule this week and we are making final preparations for the trip.  Everyone is excited and sensing the Lord’s involvement.  I will be speaking twice.  My first session I will be on the Operation Of Faith.  It is so amazing to me that there are so few in the church who knows how faith works and why.  The second session I will be addressing the Trial of Faith.  We need to understand that the trials are not to put us down but to build us up in our faith.  We are anticipating about 50-60 in attendance and the conference will be in three languages (English, Japanese and Chinese).  The reason is that just over half of the attendees will be from China and just under half will be from Japan.  We have an opportunity to touch the church leaders from two great nations who are presently facing great difficulty.  Already they have made request for situations they are facing and are looking to us for Biblical answers. 

When I returned home from the meeting with the mission team, I checked my website and found a comment from  one of the attendees of the Olivet Bible Training Conference that we will be doing next month.  I share his comment that you can rejoice with me.   Dear Pastor Vernon

I am one of the attendees of the Bible Training Conference in Japan. I am very exited to find this place.

I am reading your book The Mystery Of Faith, and it really helps me know more about God and the truths of faith. Praise the Lord and thank you so much!

I don’t know how he found my website but I was really blessed that he would make such an effort to let me know how they were preparing for this time.  It is my prayer that the Lord will be able to use us as His instruments to meet their needs.  I have a saying that I use for such occasions.  “It has God’s fingerprints all over it.” 

May the Lord build you in your adventures of faith.

Brother Vernon

Eternal life

Most Christians have heard John 3:16 quoted many times and can probably quote it themselves.  I have heard it quoted so many times that I had become dull of hearing and felt that I knew the verse quite well.  Then one day as I was reading the verse, yet once again, there was one word that jumped out at me and it was like someone slapped me in the face and said look at this phrase, and that was the phrase, Eternal Life.  The one word was “eternal” and all of a sudden the verse exploded into amazing understanding. 

The word eternal means “without end” so I began to contemplate what life without end really means.  I thought of from now on without an end, that is a finishing end.  I considered, starting with salvation that there would never be an end to my life.  I wondered, what would it be like in say 100,000 or a million years?  Would I ever get bored or complacent with that existence?  Then I remembered that in eternity there is no such thing as time and off my mind went with that adjustment, wondering how that would work and what it would be like. . .

Then I remembered studying the concept of infinity in college and recalled that an infinity(meaning no end) has no end in either direction.  Going forward there is no end and going backward there is no end.  My mind began to hit overload with this new insight.  Here in time and space we think linear, that is in a straight line.  We don’t consider any of the other possible directions but in eternity all directions are considered so eternal life must mean without beginning or end.  That was real difficult because I think of my life as having a beginning.  That beginning was at my conception and it is dated from my birth.  I have no recollection of life prior to that yet the Bible records that we were in the mind of God before time began.  Now my mind is really buzzing as I realize that I actually am older than dirt.  God‘s plan for me existed prior to His creation of the world.  Now I began to realize that I am not a product of chance happening, or the result of certain chemicals coming into contact with each other, in short, a product of creation.  It is just the other way around, creation is the product of God’s plan for me and you.  It serves as a womb of sorts to provide an environment where God can complete His plan of making man in His own image, after His likeness and with dominion.

As I began to feel a little comfortable with this new understanding, another truth came to mind.  Not only does eternal life not have a beginning or an end but eternal life encompasses all possibilities in all other directions as well.  At this point my mind went into TILT.  I failed to comprehend the whole of the idea of life in the full meaning of eternal.  This truth is too wonderful for me. Though I could not comprehend it, I was affected by it.

Then I began to think about God.  He is Eternal.  The Bible describes Him as the eternal God.  We think of this as a title but it is so much more.  It is a description of the dynamic of who and what God is.  This is promise that God’s plan is not some pie in the sky, by and by, but His plan is to make us His children and to give us eternal life.  That is His life that shares with us as we live in Him.  He is getting us ready for an eternity beyond our comprehension.   That is why we share in His inheritance, His sufferings, His character, His reign and His life.

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting (eternal) life.   For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He that believeth in Him is not condemned, but he that believeth not in Him is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

A Milestone

Yesterday was a milestone in my life – I turned 75.  Just think, that is 3/4 of a Century.  In those years I have come a long way and seen a lot.  The world has changed and life is totally different than it was when I got here.

My younger years began in a behind the times era before electricity in our home; before indoor plumbing; when water was drawn from a well, we grew our own food, canned, washed clothes on a wash board and graduated to a wringer washer; milked our own cow; churned our own butter; used kerosene lamps; chopped our own wood; plowed with a team of mules and rode in a wagon. I wore bib overalls; went barefoot in the summer; ate wild berries and plumbs; fished and caught fireflies and June bugs. The biggest event I remember from this era was when China was taken over by Communism and we watched the progression across the country.

My world was flipped up side down at the age of 10 when we moved to western Colorado. I went from a hick country environment to the city; from a two room school where there was just three of us in the same grade where I was the only boy to a much larger school where there were three classrooms of +/- 50 in each class room all in the same grade. This was the era of bell bottoms, hippies, rock and roll, hot rods, the greasers, in their duck tail haircuts. The farm life was replaced by the orchards and produce stands. Color TV was the big thing and the Korean war was the big news. Rotary phones and private lines replaced the 8 party lines and the wooden wall phone. Automobiles began to display a variety of extras such as automatic transmissions, AC, radios, variable speed windshield wipers, power windows and hard top and convertibles. The 40 hour work week became standard along with a two week vacation. Social Security became mandatory and retirement was at 62 with full benefits.

Upon graduation I traveled for several months, that took me to Utah, Oregon, California and back to Colorado. I worked for the Colorado Department of Highways on a survey crew and then attended college in 1964. It was that year the President Kennedy was assassinated and the world was once again turned upside down. Darla Rae Miler and I were married on December 27th and moved to LA and saw the fires of the Watts Riots from our living Room window. Then followed the Vietnam war, high gas prices and the impeachment of President Nixon. We returned to Colorado and I went to work at Climax Molybdenum Co. and was there for 4.5 years. That is when hang gliding became popular. Instead of depression we now had to face inflation and its varied problems. This was the period that I became a Christian and my life was turned upside down once again. We purchased a mobile home (our first ownership) and moved to Carbondale, Co and another career change, this time to Construction. By now our family had grown to 5 with the birth of our 3 kids.

The next era saw me going back to college and another move to Greeley, Co. to attend the University of Northern Colorado with a major in business. This is where God began to reorder my life. The first area that He dealt with is that I needed to trust Him with all of my life. He began with stewardship and began to unveil His economy. Change is the order of the day and once again everything is turned upside down. Once I got on board with trusting Him, He then called me into the ministry and I found the something that I had been missing all along

Then it was off to school to study for the ministry and the addition of two more Children, making our family now 7. While attending school, I also became the pastor of my first church. I also served in two jail ministries, rest homes, street evangelism and a variety of other ministries. Living by faith in the Lord brought many amazing events. He provided food when our cupboards were bare, shoes and boots and clothes, financial provision and multiple demonstrations of His love and presence. I was able to graduate without any school debt or loans even though my income was $1.80 per hour for a 20 hour week, though there were times that I didn’t get the full 20 hours.

Now I am retired and have lived through some of the greatest events of history. From the end of WW II, the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the middle east wars, and several other military skirmishes. Through fashion changes of all kinds, social changes, dress codes and language changes. The technology has gone through the roof with the development of computers, cell phones, satellites and the internet. Knowledge has increased at a phenomenal rate. Space exploration has reached heights only dreamed of in earlier times. Travel has become a way of life with the airlines, trains, automobiles and water ways. Truly, I have lived in the “Golden Age” of all time and have seen and experienced amazing things.

So what lies ahead? The wonder of tomorrow is yet to be known but there are a few things that I am certain of. Time is in the hands of God. The Bible declares that now is the accepted time for now is all we have for certain. Preparation for eternity is the most important event in a person’s life. Jesus said “You must be born again” and we only have one life to make that choice. It is that choice that will determine what lies ahead. The second thing I am certain of is that everyone chooses the course of his or her life. It is not circumstances or others, or limits, or race, or environment, or chance, or even forces of darkness that determine our course, but the simple choice of accepting God’s way or the way of the world.(Jn.1:12) There is no one or anything that you can blame because the choice is yours and yours alone. Thirdly, like the Apostle Paul, I am persuaded that God is able to deliver me spotless and blameless before Him in Love. I know a thing or two because I have seen a thing or two in my short 75 years.