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Powerful Poetry for September 2015

Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb?

Stained-glass image of King David

My “neglect” of our hymn of the month has been due largely to my missions travels for three out of the last nine months. But now, at last, over at our FinestOfTheWheat.org site, there's a “new” poem/hymn for September. (The full index of over 250 hymns and poems can be found here.)

Elisha Hoffman (1839-1929) took glorious inspiration from Revelation 7:14…

These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

…when he penned the hymn Have You Been to Jesus for the Cleansing Pow’r? (which you may know better by its refrain and chorus Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb?). Here’s a snippet (the second verse)…

Are you walking daily by the Savior’s side?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Do you rest each moment in the Crucified?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

…and the rest you'll find on the the hymn's page.

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“Czech” List

Map-Czech-OW-crop-320x227 The Czech Republic and Its Neighbors (Map attribution: Operation World)

Czeching In

Next Monday morning, 6/22, at a humane and reasonable hour (how new and different from my usual departure time of “o'dark thirty”!) I am leaving for a four-week missions/teaching trip to eastern Europe. My first week will be in the Czech Republic. (If, like me, you grew up during the Cold War years, you can be forgiven if you mean to say “Czech Republic” but “Czechoslovakia” keeps slipping out.) There's an interesting story behind how this door opened up.

Czech in My Spirit

Czech Republic in the EUThe Czech Republic in the E.U. (Map attribution: Wikipedia.com)

Towards the end of last year's ministry trip to Romania, I traveled by train from Timisoara, Romania to Budapest, Hungary, and from there through Slovakia and the Czech Republic on the way to Munich, Germany. For most of the latter trip, I was in a quiet passenger car and I had a lot of time to pray. The train stopped briefly in Bratislava, Slovakia; shortly thereafter we entered the Czech Republic and something stirred in my heart. By the time the train stopped again at the station in Prague, I sensed in my spirit that I would be back, though I had no idea when or how.

Czeching with Friends

Roy Olsen, Sangyee Nam, and short-term missionaries to RomaniaActively involved in Romania missions; L to R: Yours truly, Raul Muntean, Al Strickland, Roy Olsen, Terry Swiney, George Barham, Sangyee Nam

My friend, missionary to Romania Roy Olsen, comes back to the States once a year during the winter months. (I'll be with Roy and basing out of his Romanian Apa Vie Ministries for most of July.) Back on December 12th, I joined a group of missions-minded fellows gathering for lunch with Roy to meet his friend, Korean missionary Sangyee Nam. “Sangyee,” explains Roy, “left South Korea 24 years ago following the Spirit's leading. Since then, he has planted five churches in the Czech Republic and two in England.” Out of that meeting came an invitation to minister in the Czech Republic on my next trip to Romania.

Czeching in at the Throne Room

For those of you who are praying (thank you!), here is your “Prayer Czech List” for this portion of the trip:

Czeching the Focus

Sangyee NamKorean missionary to the Czech Republic, Sangyee Nam

Brother Nam describes his adopted country this way: “I would like to give you some information about the spiritual situation in Czech Republic. Czech Republic is one of the most atheistic countries in Europe, even though they claim Czech is a Catholic country. Czechs are also materialistic and secular, so they are much different from Romanians. We teach people to live for Christ 100% and become the disciples of Jesus, so if you touch on these areas of Christian life, it would be great.”

Daniel NamDaniel Nam

Pray that we (in that “we” I include my translator, Daniel Nam) would be completely yielded to the Holy Spirit's leading; and give thanks for the wonderful opportunity to preach Christ crucified and the fullness of the New Birth in such a place! The national motto of Czech Republic is “Truth Prevails.” May that motto prove to be prophetic!

Czech the Calendar (and Please Pray Accordingly)

  • Monday 6/22 through Tuesday 6/23 – I'll be “czeching” my luggage in Norfolk, Virginia (“A” on the first interactive map to the right) to Prague, Czech Republic (“D”) via Newark, New Jersey (“B”) and Düsseldorf, Germany (“C”). Besides the need for general “traveling mercies,” in Düsseldorf I will have exactly 65 minutes to de-plane, pass through customs, and catch the flight to Prague (something of a minor miracle). Arrival will be at about 2:30 AM Virginia time. The drive from the airport to Sangyee's home in Plzen (Plisen) looks to be about 50+ miles southwest from Prague.

  • Wednesday 6/24: Minister at the evening service in Plzen (“B” on the second interactive map to the right). The requested subject is an introduction to our Woman in the Kingdom of God series. (An appetizer for another visit, perhaps?)

  • Friday 6/26: Minister at Horsovský Týn (“C”), about another 25 miles southwest of Plzen. (I'm not yet certain if this is part of the seminar training or a church meeting.)
  • Saturday 6/27: Teach at the Bible school in Plzen (“B”). Here we'll spend a day on the subject of Hermeneutics, a fancy term for “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). This seminar teaches pastors, teachers, and other leaders to ask-and answer!-the question “What is the context?” as they read, study, preach, and teach God's Word.
  • Sunday 6/28: Preach in Plzen on the subject “God's Two Great Promises.”
  • Antonín DvorákAntonín Dvorák

    Monday 6/29: Word is that we'll be able to tour the beautiful city of Prague, weather permitting (“D”). If so, I'm hoping to visit the small museum in Nelahozeves (northwest Prague, point “E” on the map), where stands the birthplace of one of my favorite composers, Antonín Dvorák. (Note to J.S. Bach: Your position as the favorite is not in jeopardy.)

  • Tuesday, 6/30: I leave Prague airport (“A”) on Tarom, the Romanian airline, flying to the Romanian capital of Bucharest, and catching a plane in the late afternoon to Timisoara in western Romania, for a reunion with Roy and Melania Olsen, along with Cristi and his bride Lenuta.

Let Paul's words in Romans 15:30 set the tone of our prayer for this ministry in the Czech Republic: “Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me” that God's presence, power, and the “spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Ephesians 1:17) might be present in meetings and in each personal encounter.

“God’s Will, Done God’s Way…”

The God of Supply, Surprises, and Car-Repair Shops

 

Banner with Hudson Taylor's saying, 'God's will done God's way will never lack God's supply.'If you'd like a larger, free version of our graphic for your webpage, desktop wallpaper, or Facebook page,
click on the photo above.

I have a testimony to share: A famous Christian saying and a verse from the Psalms gloriously collided in my experience this week. That great man of God Hudson Taylor, pioneer missionary to China, a man who knew how to trust in God for his provision, made this declaration: “God's will, done God's way, will never lack God's supply.” My heavenly Father, the One who owns “the cattle upon a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10), reminded me just the other day that He is in a lot of other businesses beside the cattle industry, including car-repair shops.

As many of you know, I'm off for another missions/teaching trip, this time for four weeks in eastern Europe. For three weeks I'll be based out of Apa Vie Ministries in Pestere, Romania, hosted by missionaries Roy and Melania Olsen, teaching at pastors' conferences (starting the day after I arrive), churches, and (if experience serves) at a Baptist Bible school. Then I'll be off to visit some new friends of the ministry, both in Budapest, Hungary and Berlin, Germany. I'd have to double-check with our treasurer, but this may be one of the more expensive trips I've mounted to date, mainly due to the addition of the intra-European rail travel during the last week.

I prayed a lot about whether or not [click to continue…]

God’s Standing Orders for Spiritual Warfare

God's Standing Orders for Spiritual Warfare

by A. David Armstrong III, Commander U.S. Navy (ret)

Photo of Alden David ('Dave') Armstrong III, Commander USN (ret)Our good friend, Dave Armstrong

I offer the following thoughts learned through many years of military service, and through many years as a soldier in the army of my God. God in His infinite wisdom often uses that with which we are most familiar to instruct us. Since the principles of warfare are deeply ingrained in me after many years as a Navy officer, God has utilized that experience to give me insight into spiritual warfare. God also has made us social creatures, in His image, meaning that we are to share that which He is teaching us individually with each other, so that the body of Christ might stand and work together as a unit, whole and entire, in loving submission to His perfect will. And so I trust that as God wills, He will speak to you through the reflections in this article, so that your relationship with Him might be deepened and enriched, and that you might be a better prepared spiritual soldier ready to defend the faith and successfully do battle with our deadly foe, in the strength of Jesus.

Beginning in the Garden of Eden, the human race has been engaged in spiritual warfare with the enemy of our souls. Mankind has been deceived, enslaved, and engaged in rebellious spiritual warfare against Him in whose image we are created. The perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was God's answer. Since the time of Jesus’ atonement, when He paid the price which we could not pay, and which He did not owe, those who choose to receive His gift of life have now become soldiers engaged in spiritual warfare under [click to continue…]

Rejoicing Over a Milestone

300,000!

With thankfulness to the Lord Jesus (along with a certain amount of wonder and a feeling of “How did that happen?”), we note that this week on our main website, FinestOfTheWheat.org, the number on our all-time page-hit counter clicked past 300,000. This is in partial fulfillment of a promise made to us years ago: “You will write, they will read, and I will speak.”  May it please the One Whom we serve to grant us even more readers in the future.

New “Hearing God” Article

Chapter 3 in Jim Kerwin's 'Hearing God' series-'Get Quiet and Listen'

Get Quiet and Listen

There's a new article on our sister website, FinestOfTheWheat.org, and it’s been a long time coming. The third in­stall­ment in Jim Kerwin’s Hearing God series is avail­able at last.

How can Chris­tians in a noise-addicted society get quiet before God so that they can hear Him speak?  You may come away with a different view of your sonic sur­round­ings and your “quiet time” after you’ve read Get Quiet and Listen.

New to the series? The previous articles are:

Credits:

Photo used under license from 123RF Stock Photos

Fall Publishing News

Some of you know that we published our first e-book, The Rejected Blessingon the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook platforms in late August.  During September, especially during my lonely bachelor existence for the last 11 days, a lot of work has gone into current and near-future publications. For instance:

  • The Rejected Blessing is now also available for the Kobo Reader, also for US$2.99.  (Kobo is a popular e-book platform outside the United States.)
  • The first in our 99-cent Kernels of Wheat Bible Study Single series became available just yesterday: That Uncomfortable Word—Conviction!  It's available immediately for Kindle, and will be available for Nook and Kobo by the first of the year.  (Sorry, Nook and Kobo fans, but the Kindle platform — besides “owning the market” — has so many advantages that it would amount to poor  [click to continue…]

Bon Voyage, Laptop!

What He says, we will do,
Where He sends, we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey!

Often when we’re obedient to what God tells us to do, when we’re obedient to go where He tells us to go, when we’re obedient to give when He tells us to give, exciting things happen because we’re flowing in the stream of God’s purposes. A lot of you were encouraged by the blog post entitled Bye-Bye Bible! I want to share another story in that same vein, from material that is (mostly) someone else’s testimony. She doesn’t mention me by name, for which I’m glad (but you’ll be able to figure out my geeky part in the chain of obedience anyway), and I mustn’t mention her by name, because she is off to the 10/40 Window for some tent-making ministry time.

Image of laptop with 'Trust and Obey' on the screen

Let me bring you into her story just after she has felt a confirmation that she was to return to the 10/40…

We came to the realization that I would need a laptop to Skype back home with my family. E-mail is great, but it doesn't come close to talking to each other “for real.” So, we took the need to the Lord in prayer. I counted my money that I had saved, and it came to an amount that gave me hopes of a start towards a laptop computer.

However, while we were at Holiness Camp, I felt prompted to give that money to the Lord. [click to continue…]

“The Rejected Blessing” Goes Digital

We've been hard at work, laying the foundation to take our teaching assets and move them into the digital age.  Last year about this time, we improved the delivery of our audio messages by starting the Kernels of Wheat and Grains from Gutteridge podcasts.

But what about all the Bible-teaching articles over at FinestOfTheWheat.org?  Well, starting with our most popular book, The Rejected Blessing, we're beginning to reach out to e-book readers.  TRB, as we call it around here, is now available for purchase for $2.99 for Amazon.com Kindle readers, as well as Barnes & Noble Nook readers.

As always, TRB is also available for free at FinestOfTheWheat.org.  Because of licensing stipulations, the online version lacks the photos of the book editions; but other than those, and the omission of [click to continue…]

Bye-bye, Bible!

Listen, Obey, and Blessings Follow

Wednesday, 1  August 2012

Naomi (left), Pastora Cristina (center), Pastor Oscar (right)

If you read yesterday’s entry, right down through the postscript, then you’ll know I mentioned a Bible the Lord had impressed me to give to someone. That act of obedience is now accomplished, and the full story can be told. (And I didn’t know the full story until after I obeyed and gave it away!)

My family feels a certain amount of frustration with me before Christmas and my birthday, because they don’t know what to give me, and I can never think of anything to put on a “wish list.” I pretty much have everything I need, and there’s not a lot I want. I have prayed over the years that Hebrews 13:5 would be true in me, and the Lord seems to have answered that prayer. (In that verse, did you ever notice at the end the satisfying why behind the exhortations at the beginning? Yes, I’m [click to continue…]

A Letter Home from Costa Rica

¡Feliz cumpleaños a mí!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Dear Deni,

Map of Costa RicaMap of Costa Rica (courtesy of Google.com)

Had another good day today, but it would have been better if I could have Skyped you again. Oh, well, I can't have everything. No sense being greedy, as I've had quite a bit on this my 44th spiritual birthday.

We had an outstanding time of ministry this evening. Pastor Virgilio Zamora-Fernández, his wife Kattia, their two small kids, and several people from their church, along with Luis Diego Segura-Alvarado (the young English teacher who was “supposed” to be my translator on Sunday), picked me up and off we went Sarchí, 90 minutes away. In addition to the fact that the pickup time had been moved from 15:00 to 17:15, we were 20 minutes late in leaving because they were waiting for me at the front desk. The clerks claim to have called me in my room. They may have called somebody, but it wasn't my room, since I was sitting four feet from the from the room phone. The second call (my first) sent me running [click to continue…]

Breathe on Me, Breath of God!

Stained-glass image of King DavidKing David, as depicted in stained glass

Even though I'm writing this as I sit here in Costa Rica, I wanted to point out that over at our FinestOfTheWheat.org site, there's a “new” poem/hymn this month.  (We make it a habit to present a new hymn on the first of each month in our Powerful Poetry section over there.)

Drawing from John 20:22 and Ezekiel 37:5-6, lyricist Edwin Hatch offers up a poignant prayer for the infilling of the Holy Spirit.  See the full text on its own page at Breathe on Me, Breath of God.

Since yesterday was my 44th spiritual birthday, I feel duty-bound to offer a “bonus” poem, namely, Charles Wesley's wonderful Hymn to Be Sung on the Anniversary of One's Conversion.  It's a long title, but a wonderful poem — and it contains a hymn you already know, if you keep reading…

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Tale of the Tangled Translator

From My 2012 Costa Rica Journal

Flag of Costa RicaFlag of Costa Rica

Dateline: Sunday, 29 July 2012, Los Guido, San José

Have you ever been so caught up in what God gave you to do that you almost missed what He was doing? Especially when what He was doing was right under your nose? I came close to falling into that trap on this fine Sunday morning. Aviso (Notice/Warning): My story may look like it’s developing into a finger-pointing criticism, but bear with me to the end and see (like I did) what God was really up to.

Ostensibly, my assignment was to preach at Iglesia Centro Misionero (Central Missionary Church), a congregation of several hundred on the edge of the very poor, violent, and [click to continue…]

2012 Guatemala Trip – Días 4 y 5

Guatemala Diary, Days 4 & 5 — What a Weekend!

Day 4, Saturday 5/12

Not much to report today. Perhaps it’s the quiet before the storm. I spent several hours out on the covered terraza waiting on the Lord and reading in my Bible. I’m glad to be able to spend some “down time” with the family. And this evening we began working on the conversion of Tirsa’s old Asus Eee PC, one of the early, smaller netbooks. It came with Windows XP and it has become useless, either due to “Windows rot” or viruses. She has asked me to convert it to Ubuntu Linux, and I just may try the latest version. That would be a challenge, because this unit only has a 4 Gb “hard drive” (an overglorified SD card) and 512 Mb of RAM, with a very underpowered processor. Tirsa has been working on a “slideshow” for the anniversary tomorrow (on another computer).

Annie Cerritos Praying With Olga

Annie Cerritos (Jorge's wife, left) praying with Olga (right) as Olga dedicates her life to Christ

Day 5, Sunday 5/13

Today is the fourth anniversary of the day that Atilio’s church met in their new building for the first time. Strange to say, I remember seeing the building, a concrete shell of a place, on my first visit here in March 2008. How time flies! On that first visit only the Lord would have known that I would be the speaker for this anniversary. With Gladys translating for me, I ministered about the importance of focusing on listening in prayer, rather than speaking.

Pastor Atilio followed up with a narrative of God’s provision and faithfulness in their new building, although for him there seemed to be a shadow over his heart. A few feet from where he stood on the platform (and from where I had been standing just moments before) a young worship-team musician had been murdered in cold blood by [click to continue…]