We have tried to keep most things as they were when Billie was here. But God often arranges our plans to fit His purposes. There have been some major changes here on the mountain and some of the things we were at one time able to do, we no longer can do. But a ministry should not be about works, but rather should be about teaching the Word of God.
I think that most of you know that Jesus was not born on December 25th. It seems kind of silly to celebrate the birth of someone when their birthday was a few months earlier. However, this is still a great Holiday, a tradition we have all grown up with. It comes in the winter when it’s cold and dark, just when we need some joy and cheer. There is certainly nothing wrong with celebrating this tradition.
This is our “Christmas Card” to everyone. Those of you who are in contact with us regularly are already aware of all the news. But for the benefit of those who aren’t, I’ll briefly review the year:
Brian’s stroke brought a lot of changes to all of us. He has not been able to go back to work, but has started to do some volunteer work, which also helps in his rehabilitation. Only God knows the future, and since we know that nothing can happen to us that He does not allow, our faith holds on to His Word which brings acceptance and peace.
Gail has taken on a life that few of us would embrace as she has. Through her continuing care for Brian, she has shown a grace that only God can give a person.
Shirley is the same cheerful person that she has always been, and is always there to lift us all up.
Jay had been renting a mobile home from us for several years. Last year, the day after Christmas, it burned to the ground and he lost everything. But in the ashes Rodney found a few pages from a Bible opened to Psalm 84(sometimes we can see God’s hands at work), his favorite chapter in the Bible: “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee (should read “You’) . . . who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well.” Dr. Scott taught that the literal meaning is that they make it a spring for others. That has always been our wish, and God knows the heart.
Brian and Gail opened their home to Jay for six months and in the meantime we set up an RV for him. Walnut and Rodney dug all the utility lines and hooked everything up, except for the electricity. We hired an electrician to do that. It was a hard job and Rodney did it all in his spare time. I thank God for Rodney.
We have a new cat. We call him “Batman,” because he is all black, and because his ears and face resemble a bat. I had for years refused to have a cat in the house, but he had a way of charming his way into our lives. He does not use a cat box. He lets us know when he needs to go out. He even made friends with Joe, who use to have a strong hatred for cats. But how can you hate someone who walks up to you, and showing no fear, muzzles your face? Joe was smitten immediately and they are now fast buddies.
Brian and Gail also have a new cat. His name is “Maxwell.” They had just lost one of their other cats (Walker), and Brian was lonely for some company during all his days at home while Gail was at work. So they found a cute little guy at the shelter.
Other than that, things are basically as they were at the end of last year, and we’re thankful we made it through 2012.
During the years of this ministry we have tried to impress on all of you the important of knowing God’s Word. And that cannot be done except you read, study, and read some more. The Bible is not taught anymore, as we have previously pointed out. Today congregations are being taught about family, character, good behavior and traditions. But nobody knows the history of Israel or the Word of God.
I think it is extremely important for us to know the history of Israel. It will become more important as time draws to an end.
I was reading through the history of the kings of Israel because I wanted to refresh my memory on when and how the children of Israel split into two different nations. I found that it was after the death of Solomon, when his son Rehoboam became king. The kingdom fell apart because he refused to lighten the load on the people of such high taxes.
So there was a split in the kingdom and only the tribe of Judah, and later Benjamin, followed Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. The other ten tribes made Jeroboam king over them. Do not be confused. The two names are similar.
All of this was prophesized by Ahijah in 1st Kings, chapter 11. Solomon had sinned greatly by his worship of the gods, the idols that his heathen wives brought into the kingdom. This is why God brought about the split in the kingdom, and Solomon’s son only got 2 tribes to rule.
I know that some of you may find history boring, but God has a purpose in allowing these events to be so carefully documented. Its God’s way of showing us that His Word, through prophecy, always comes true. Dr. Scott was so right when he use to tell us to “put flesh and blood on these characters in the Bible.” What does that mean? Think of them as if it were you. What would you do? I would have given the people a break from their heavy tax load and kept all the 12 tribes as one nation.
After this there were some bad kings and some good kings. A few would burn all the idols and bring the Law of Moses back. The result would always be that the nation was blessed with peace.
Reading through first and second Kings I found Hezekiah. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord (2nd Kings 18:3). “He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him” (2nd Kings 18:5)
And Hezekiah had a son named Manasseh, who grew up under the influence of a good father. We would say that he came from a good, God fearing family. Hezekiah died and Manasseh became king at the age of 12. He reigned for 55 years. “And he did evil in the sight of the Lord . . . he raised up alters for the Baals and made wooden images and he worshipped all the host of heaven and served them. He caused his sons to pass through the fire, and he practiced witchcraft and sorcery. He shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another” (2nd Kings 21:16). God spoke to Manasseh but he would not listen, so God sent judgment.
To anyone who studies, it is beneficial to read Kings and Chronicles together, to get the complete story.
God’s judgment came by the army of the king of Assyria. They bound Manasseh and put hooks in his nose, then took him to Babylon. God sometimes deals harshly with us. When He does, consider yourself blessed. It shows that He has not given up on you.
2nd Chronicles 33:12: “Now when he was in affliction he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He (God) received his entreaty, heard his supplication and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.”
Had he not known that before? This is a true example of how the Spirit of God has to enlighten us and give us spiritual sight. We can spend a lifetime hearing one sermon after another, yet never really know who God is. When I read this story I see how great the mercy and forgiveness of God truly is.
We live in a world where there is very little TRUE forgiveness and mercy. And some of us find it very hard to accept that there is the kind of mercy spoken of in Psalm 103:12: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
The Son of God came as a babe, taking on the same form as all of us, with our weaknesses, pains and sorrows. His birth was not announced in a palace, but to a few shepherds in the field. They came to see Him in a dark, smelly, dirty little shelter meant for animals.
The Son of God took on all of humanity from the first breath He breathed. And He came to die. He often said so, and no one wanted to hear. But in His death, He died for all humanity, the past, present and future. And Manasseh was one of those in the past centuries whose sins were covered by our Savior and Lord. Thank Him this Christmas and every day!
Prayer Requests for January, 2014
For Robert, Kathy, & Debbie Rotramel who recently lost a loved one in a house fire (Bixby, Oklahoma).
For Willie Clark (Lubbock, TX), who is finishing up the latest (and hopefully last) round of chemo.
For Robert Casto’s (Cushing, Oklahoma) wife, for finances and health to improve.
For Shawn McFall’s Son, (Oklahoma) who is having a hard time growing up.
For Ulece Montgomery’s friend, Jackie Taylor (Chicago, Illinois), who has pancreas and colon cancer.
For Dennis Martin (Lexington, Oklahoma) who recently had another surgery.
For Willie Scott (Grady, Arkansas) who is still battling pneumonia.
For Isaiah Robinson (Menard, Illinois).
For Wade Miller (Wewahitchka, Florida), who wants to get approved for a “faith based program.”
For William Holland (Joliet, Illinois), for health. He has Sciatica nerve pain and needs cataract eye surgery, also.
For Frank Williams, Jr. (Death Row, Grady, Arkansas). Frank is preparing for a new trial.
For Michael Small’s (Illinois) step mother Suzanne. She is still being treated for vision problems.
For John Crutcher (in Oklahoma) who needs a liver transplant.
For Anthony Grayson (Elmira, New York), that his health gets better, and that he finds legal assistance.
For Mike Long (Larned, Kansas), for health.
For Sister Ann & the Carmelite nuns in Little Rock.
For Freddie Lee Lott (Robinson, Illinois), to stay “cancer free.”
For Robert Heffernan (Grady, Arkansas), that DNA evidence will prove his innocence.
For Pastor Scott & her ministry in Los Angeles.
For all of us at Wingspread.
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