Thursday, December 8, 2016

"I'm Dreaming Of A RIGHT Christmas"

By John Stallings

A pastor worked in his study all through Christmas Eve preparing for the Christmas morning service.

Being very tired he dozed off & dreamt of a world to which the Savior had never come. In his dream he was looking around his home but there were no Christmas decorations, no candles or Christmas wreaths.He walked into his study & thumbed through his library but found no books about Jesus, & the Bible he found ended at Malachi.

He noticed that the last words of the Bible were,


He walked out unto the streets & found no church spires pointing heavenward.He went back inside & a knock on the door brought a request to visit a dying mother. He went to her bedside but could find no comforting scriptures, for the gospels were not there. Paul’s comforting letters that included passages about life beyond the grave were missing. There was no promise beyond the grave. Even John’s book of Revelation was not there.

He could only bow his head & weep in hopeless desperation. Two days later he stood by the mother’s grave & conducted her burial but he could give no word of changed hearts & glorious resurrections, only, “ashes to ashes & dust to dust.” It was just one long, last, final farewell.

Suddenly nearby music awoke him from his sleep & he was sobbing uncontrollably. He realized he was hearing his own church choir in the sanctuary next door practicing for their Christmas service & singing “Oh come let us adore Him.” The fact was, Jesus had come & His coming had split history in two, giving hope for eternal life to all who trust in Him.


Had Christ not come we’d have no New Testament, no gospel, no church, no Lord’s Day, no repentance, no forgiveness of sins, no changed & transformed hearts & lives & no hope of His eternal presence.The angel wouldn’t have told Mary, -With God nothing is impossible.The angels wouldn’t have sung to the shepherds, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will to men.

One of my favorite secular Christmas songs has always been ErvIn Berlin’s White Christmas. Though it’s always been a dream of mine, I can’t say that I ever experienced a white Christmas. In the last few years that dream has faded & been replaced with the desire to celebrate each year, a Right Christmas.What does a right Christmas look like?


Have you ever tried to explain the real meaning of Christmas to a child? It isn’t easy. There is so much tradition mixed up with spiritual truth that it’s sometimes hard to tell Jesus from Santa Claus & the Wise men from the snowmen.The very young have puzzled looks on their faces as they try to sort it all out. “Let me see if I’ve got this straight….Christmas is baby Jesus’ birthday, but I get the presents?” They end up thinking;-“Is this a great religion or what?”


There is one verse that for me sums up the real meaning of Christmas better than any verse in the Bible. Within this short verse we find the answer to the question, what is the right attitude about Christmas & --what is a right Christmas? Here is the verse,

---2 Corinthians 8:9: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.

Let’s examine this verse for in it I believe we find the essence of a right attitude toward Christmas.


I read last week that Wal-Mart is the richest & most successful business that’s ever existed on planet earth. My computer even knows who Wal-mart is because it just corrected my spelling of the name.This brings up a question in my mind: “Why don’t we let Wal-mart bail out General Motors?” But I digress. Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-mart was a “rich-en.” He was among the group of old boys who would light their cigars with a hundred dollar bill. The average rich ride first class. The medium rich charter a jet. The super rich own the jet. The incredibly rich own the airline.But Jesus Christ owns the skies. The Bible says---


This is speaking of what He had in heaven before He came to earth. You can take the richest men who ever lived, the most powerful rulers who ever lived, the wisest men who ever lived, the mightiest generals who ever lived, the strongest athletes in every sport, the most spell-binding orators, the greatest political leaders & any other great men on earth, calculate their wealth…power…skill…genius…wisdom…insight…& ability. Whatever that vast sum comes to, Jesus had more in heaven. No man or collection of men could touch Him. The pre-existent Jesus Christ wasn’t a pauper but a man who lived in glorious untold splendor.He Was Rich!!


When you & I celebrate a right Christmas we keep in mind the lowly baby Jesus who became poor. Exactly what does that mean? He was rich in eternity but He became poor when He moved into time. He left heaven for a remote village in a forgotten province, to join a despised race, to be born of an obscure teenage peasant girl in a stable, wrapped in rags & placed in a feeding-trough instead of a crib.But Jesus didn’t act “high & mighty.” He knew it all but wasn’t a “know it all.” He owned all the stuff but never did “strut His stuff.” He wasn’t a “name-dropper.” He wasn’t a showoff. He never asked people, “Want me to beam you into the 21st century?” Jesus could have constantly been saying things like, “I’ve got some property on Jupiter.”

But Jesus’ purpose wasn’t to show-off but to show-up. Jesus was holding the entire Universe together but you couldn’t tell it by watching or listening to Him. He wasn’t like that.Here is the creator of the universe who looked no different than the guy down the street. Jesus became poor & pitched His tent among us for a while. He didn’t Lord it over us but loved us so much He was willing to die for us. He wasn’t on an ego trip he was on a rescue mission.

A right Christmas is one that remembers that we are something special to God.Notice that Jesus became poor. You & I are made poor by circumstances but Jesus of His own free will became poor. The man who was richer than any man has ever been gave it up freely & became poorer than any man has ever been.If we have a right Christmas we’ll be remembering that the heart of it all, the heart of the gospel is that the richest person in the universe of His own free will became poorer than the poor.

I love the story of the atheist who would never go to church with his Christian family. One Christmas season, his wife & children were readying themselves to go to Sunday morning service & pleaded with him to go just this once. It was a special Christmas service & there’d be beautiful music.The unbelieving man refused to go, as usual, telling his family it would just be a waste of time for him, that Christmas was just a silly old tradition about a man who never really existed.The family left for church leaving the father sitting in his recliner near a large picture window that overlooked a big back yard. It was snowing & the sight of the flakes building up on the barn behind the house was breathtaking. He thought how much it looked like a Norman Rockwell painting.

Then something happened that almost startled him out of his chair. A flock of about twenty birds, not seeing the glass window, flew right into it, leaving several of them wounded & flapping around on the ground. The man, pitying the poor birds slowly got up & walked toward the window to get a better look. He stood & watched the birds slowly regain their composure & then begin to wander around the backyard in a state of confusion.

He went & dressed & got some bread from the kitchen thinking he’d try to feed the birds if they’d allow him to get close enough.His worst fears were realized when he approached the dazed & confused birds when they fluttered away, seeing every move he made as a threat to them. This went on for quite some time & the man finally had an idea. If he could open the big barn doors, & get the nearly frozen birds to go in they could have shelter from the blistering winds & maybe live to fly again.The man slowly moved across the barnyard & opened the doors, placing the bread crumbs on the ground hoping the birds natural survival instinct would kick in. The man tried every trick he could think of to get those disoriented birds to see that life was within their reach just a few feet away, but the birds stubbornly refused to co-operate.

Finally the man, not able to stand the bitter cold had to give up & go back inside to warm himself. As he stood at the window & watched the birds, still wandering aimlessly around the yard, the thought came to him; there was only one way he could ever hope to get those birds to go into the barn, but it wasn’t within his power to do it.The only way the birds could be saved was if he himself could become a bird & join the little flock & lead them into the safety of the barn.When his family returned from church, the man shared the experience with them.

Through that visual experience with the birds God had shown him the meaning of Christmas. Bethlehem was about God wrapping himself in human flesh & becoming a man. He entered the human race & became poor like us so that we would hear Him saying, “I love you.” Immanuel—God with us.


Here is “The right Christmas” message;

Jesus became poor so that we who were poor might become rich.

Think abut that. All the riches & grace of God is available to me by virtue of my relationship with Jesus Christ. All the power & all the right standing with God are mine through Him.You may say, “You don’t deserve that.” Indeed I don’t but that’s the grace of our Lord Jesus. If I deserved it I wouldn’t need Jesus, but through my relationship with Him suddenly I’m a rich man.

The theologians have a word for it. They call it the doctrine of imputation. He takes my sin & I take His righteousness. That’s grace by association.

Do you remember the wedding of Lady Diana & Prince Charles? We saw a T.V movie about it recently. Diana didn’t exactly come from poverty but compared to the royal family, her family was poor. But now, by virtue of her marriage to Prince Charles, all the wealth, all the prestige, all the power, all the pomp & glory of the royal family belong to her. Once she was an outsider; now she has access to the Queen. Did she earn such a lofty standing? No. It was imputed to her by virtue of her relationship to Prince Charles. Imputed honor- imputed wealth -& imputed standing.

What do you call a poor girl who marries a prince? You call her “Your Highness.”So it is that when we came to Jesus we were spiritual paupers. Our hands were empty & our pockets were bare. We had nothing to offer & no claim to make. All our lives it had been, one step forward & two steps back but when we came to Him, we were fed, clothed, filled, forgiven, & crowned with every good thing.Jesus took away our rags & placed around us His own righteousness.

Everything that was against us was gone & everything we lacked we now have. All this happened because of Christmas. He who was rich became poor for my sake, that through His poverty I might be rich.The Son of God became a son of man in order that the sons of men might become the sons of God.Again, what is a right Christmas?

A—He was rich

B---He became poor

C---That we might become rich.

And that’s the true meaning of Christmas.Only one thing remains. Have you found the Christ of Christmas & asked Him to be your Savior? Have you placed your trust in Him? Have you given up your spiritual poverty for the riches He offers to you?

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” I love this verse;

How silently, how silently
This wondrous gift was giv’n
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessing of His heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in the world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

And so He does!

May that be our experience as we all enjoy,


Merry Christmas everyone!



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Where Are You Christmas?

By John Stallings

I find myself with just a bit of time tonight {It's after midnight --can't sleep} so here are a few musings.

This year, Faith Hill’s song “Where are you Christmas” jumped up on my radar screen. The song, a deeply probing one, deals with the thought that over the years we tend to lose Christmas at least the emotions we had about it in other years.

It seems for many who are over thirty, Christmas is an elusive feeling, one that we've lost and have had a hard time relocating. I’m not sure when I misplaced it but it’s been several years ago. When I was younger, Christmas was a time of joy and hope, family and friends, a season of stillness in an often too chaotic world. Now, however, it seems to simply come and go without much impact upon my life or spirit. I understand the “Christmas Spirit,” cannot be forced and that feelings shouldn't be manipulated but the intangible-ness of a warmed heart, intimacy for those we love, a sense of home and family have left me feeling empty and cold during a time when I desire the opposite.

I wish I could put my finger on the reason for my inability to capture the essence of Christmas in my soul. Perhaps it has to do with the reality that in the last few months I've lost several old friends. These were men with whom I went to college, with whom I traveled the country.

 Also, maybe it’s the fact that over the years I've lost loved ones to death who literally made Christmas for me. They gave gifts, baked seasonal goodies, and brought love and laughter at this special time of year. The people who surround me now, including my wife Juda and many old and cherished friends, are more than I could hope for or deserve. But I'm just saying.

 Here I am, sharing with many others the fact that the responsibilities as well as the realities of life have somehow “stolen” what we once felt in this season. Hence the song “Where are you Christmas.”

Here’s some good news.

The thing that always thrills me is that, and I know I share this with millions- I’ve always had at my core the reality that JESUS is the reason we celebrate Christmas. To point out the obvious, Christmas is an extremely important historical event. Even atheists have to acknowledge that Jesus lived and that his birth split history in two. More toys, turkeys,and trees are sold in  Jesus' name than any other name. No other world Icon ever had this nor will anyone but Jesus ever have it.

You and I can relax and rejoice in the knowledge that in his birth, Jesus started the train of events that would culminate in his death on the Cross and his ascension. If you’re like me you don’t need any gifts this year other than the knowledge that Jesus is real.

In the absence of other emotions, we can take pleasure in the fact that Jesus came, he lived and died and ascended back to heaven and soon will return to take us, his Bride to our long home.

There’s a popular axiom that says, “A baby changes everything.” Many of us can attest to that. But more real is this truth; the baby Jesus changed everything.”




Thursday, December 1, 2016

Understanding The End Of Days

By John Stallings

As we progress through a calendar year, we see certain signs & events all around us. If you’re anything like me, it’s usually the July 4th celebration that slips up on you & nips your nose first, letting you know the year is moving along.

Our lives are typically moving so fast that we next may be caught by surprise when we see a sign in our local grocery store advertising Halloween candies for sale.

Then we see Thanksgiving turkeys on sale & shortly after that we hear Christmas music & start to see Christmas decorations springing up around us. What a shock. How could another year be melting away? Time is marching on & the business world keeps reminding us.

There’s one teaching about the end of days that says God will send earthquakes & famines etc. [obviously this is happening now] as signposts along the way to let us know what time it is on His calendar. That’s true in a way.

However there’s another sense in which God isn’t doing that at all. The signal events we are now & will continue to witness around the world are the result of the earth itself crying out at the presence of its creator. Sound strange? Its not. The earth recognizes its Lord & calls out in greeting, crying out in testimony to Christ’s birth, crucifixion, resurrection & His coming again in glory. In Romans 8:19-22, Paul reminds us—The creation waits with eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration not by its own choice but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay & brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan inwardly as we wait for our adoption as sons the redemption of our bodies….
In Matthew 24, The Disciples asked Jesus when they could expect the end of the world to come. Jesus tells them of the many things that will transpire in the last days & makes a plea for men to be ready to meet Him.

I once heard a story about a young Bride who was going to elope. Her fiancé’ would come late that evening & call to her & she’d climb down a ladder to meet him. After dark, because she didn’t know exactly when he’d come she put on her wedding dress & threw an old housecoat over it so her family wouldn’t be the wiser. When she heard his call, all she’d need to do was throw off the old housecoat & go to meet her waiting husband to be.

This to me is a perfect illustration of we who are waiting with great expectation for the appearing of our Bridegroom Jesus Christ. Our worldly possessions are just an old “housecoat” we’ll fling aside & happily go to meet Him when we hear His clarion call.


Part one is an event we call the “Rapture.” This is when Jesus will leap from the battlements of the sky & call those who’ve received Him as Savior to come home to heaven. At this time He’ll raise the believers who’ve already died & take those who are living to be with Him forever.

Part two will take place around seven years after part one. This event will see the return of Christ in glory & power. He will descend upon the world & will defeat all His enemies & will establish His Kingdom upon the earth. He will personally rule in peace for 1,000 years.

Both these events are equally important in the eternal scope of things. However to those of us who are alive at this present moment, the Rapture is of utmost importance. Why? Because it’s the next event on God’s calendar of prophetic events & it will happen. As a matter of fact it could happen as you read this message. That’s why it’s so important that we understand the end of the age & the great need to be ready to meet the Lord when He comes.

There are some who believe The Rapture will take place during the seven year Tribulation period but I believe the church will be taken out before God’s wrath is unleashed on earth. 1 Thess.5:9. The church is often mentioned in the first three chapters of Revelation but after a “catching up” in Revelation 4:1, it isn’t mentioned again until Rev.19:11-16. It’s obvious to me the Church has been taken away.

There are believers present during the entire Tribulation because they’ve been brought to faith by turning to Christ as their Messiah. However the Church itself isn’t mentioned in any tribulation passage.

The Bible gives many examples of signs that should warn us of the coming of the end of the age.

· Six such signs are given by Jesus.
· Two characteristics are given by Paul, &
· Twelve other occurrences are given by the prophets to occur prior to or soon after the end of the age.

While we are told we will not know the time of the end, God obviously wanted us to know when that time was getting closer. Unfortunately many Christians take the verses that we won’t know the time of His coming to mean they should ignore any & all scriptural warning of things to come.

Many churches are asleep & in isolation at the present time so God in His wisdom wants to show us a few signs to wake us up & remind us there is work to do. Others have fallen into the trap of fearing being labeled a “conspiracy theorists” should they display an interest in the Biblical prophecies about our future on Earth.


God included it in the Bible & since God is all-knowing, we should trust that it is something we should know & study along with the rest of His Word.

Please understand; whether you believe in a pre-trib rapture as I do, or believe Christians will be witness to the full Tribulation, wrath & final judgment, the beginning of birth pains & the signs of the end of days should have the same effect on all of us. We should be motivated to do the work of evangelism in the time we have left. Incidentally, I’m pre-trib, but I’m also “pan-trib.” I believe everything’s going to “pan-out” fine for the Christian.

Coming now is a quick study of the signs God has given us of the impending end of days. I would encourage you not to take my word for what lies just ahead but study for yourself & be prepared for what is coming. Most importantly we should be prepared to share it with others.



Matthew 24:5—For many will come in my name saying; I am Christ & will mislead many.

Matt.24:11—And many false prophets will arise & will mislead many.
Jim Jones & David Koresh are examples of these false Christs as well as thousand of others who aren’t quite as well known. There is an air of expectation in our day that seems to be waiting for the antichrist, even preparing the way for him to be accepted.


Matt.24:6---And you will be hearing of wars & rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened , for those things must take place but the end is not yet.

More people have been killed in warfare in the last one-hundred years than at any other time in history. As the death toll rises in the Middle East more & more countries work feverishly to develop devastating weapons of mass destruction.

There are currently 30 ongoing conflicts/wars worldwide. We typically only hear about a handful, Iraq, Afghanistan etc. but some regions have been at war for decades. Two new conflicts started in 2007.


Matt.24:7—For nation will rise against nation & kingdom against kingdom & in various places there will be famines & earthquakes.

If you follow the news you know that a large portion of the earth’s population is suffering from food shortage at present.

4. EARTHQUAKES—Matt. 24:7

The number & intensity of earthquakes this century is at a higher level at present than at any other time in history.

To cite one earthquake, the recent Sichuan earthquake in China measured 8.0 according to the China Seismological Bureau. The quake was felt as far away as 1,500 km where office buildings swayed with the tremor.

It was the deadliest & strongest quake to hit China since 1976 which killed 240,000 people. The recent quake left 68,109 confirmed dead with 364,552 injured & 19, 851 listed as missing.

The quake was followed by two major quakes which led to the collapse of 420,000 buildings & on Mat 25th, a major aftershock of 6.0 hit northeast of the original quake’s epicenter causing eight deaths & 927 injuries.

By contrast, in the years from 1890 to 1900 there was only one major earthquake in the world.


Matt. 24:8-9—But these things are merely the beginning of birth pains. Then they will deliver you to tribulation & will kill you & you will be hated by all nations on account of my name.

Christians are under attack throughout the world today. Of course this isn’t “The Tribulation” but rather “a tribulation.” In the United States Christians still enjoy freedom to worship God without suffering much more than hatred or discrimination at work & school. However in many countries such as China, Sudan, Africa, Saudi Arabia, Korea, Russia & many other Muslim nations Christians suffer much greater persecution & often death for their faith.

These first five signs will increase in intensity & severity as the tribulation approaches much like the birth pangs or contractions of a pregnant woman worsen as the delivery approaches.


Matt. 24:14—And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations & then shall the end come.

This prophecy has already been fulfilled through television, radio, missionaries the translation of the Bible into many languages & the internet. People all over the world now hear the message of Christ from missionaries who have the means to travel the globe & via technology that allows us to communicate with people on the other side of the world right from our own homes, churches & offices.



2 Timothy 3:1-7---But realize this that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of Godliness although they have denied its power’ always learning & never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

If you’ve watched television, read a newspaper, or just walked outside your front door its obvious the prophecy has & is being fulfilled by our generation.


2 Timothy 4:1-3---But the spirit explicitly says that in the latter times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits & doctrines of demons.
By means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron men who forbid marriage & advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared by those who believe & know the truth.

Many churches of our day have embraced homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle & preach tolerance & compromise in place of God’s truth for the salvation of the world. The environmentalist movement lures them into a worship of mother earth & other fallacies.



Revelation 9:16---And the number of the armies of horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.

An army of this size had never existed until China’s army reached that number in the 1960’s.

Daniel 2:32-33---Daniel 2:40-43

The fourth kingdom of iron is the Roman Empire according to Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The two legs are the division of the Roman Empire into an eastern part called the Byzantine Empire which ended in the 1400’s & a western part based in Rome which ended in the 400’s. Since the Roman Empire dissolved Europe has never formed one Empire again but has been separate nations. However the European Union now has 15 member States & is preparing for the accession of 13 eastern & southern European countries.

Zephaniah 3:9---For I will return to the people a pure language, that they may call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent.

Prior to the restoration of Israel in 1948, Hebrew was a dead language. More & more Hebrew is spoken throughout Israel.

Revelation 11:2—Daniel 9:26-27

Some archaeologists believe the temple is actually 340 feet south of the Dome of the Rock site, putting the Dome of the Rock within the Court of the Gentiles. There are many groups already working on preparations for the new temple. The blueprints are done, the temple garments have been made & there have already been attempts to lay the cornerstone. The only thing standing in the way is Islam’s third holiest site, the Dome of the Rock & government
support for such an undertaking.


Numbers 19; 2-7 describes the Red heifer & how it will be required to be used in the process of purification. In 1997 the first Red Heifer was born in 2000 years. Another Red Heifer was born in Israel in March of 2002.


Daniel 12:4—But as for you Daniel, conceal these words & seal the book until the end of time; many will go back & forth & knowledge will increase.

Billy Graham was quoted as saying, “ninety percent of all engineers & scientists who have ever lived are alive today.”


Zephaniah 3:10-11—From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my worshippers my dispersed ones will bring my offerings….

In 1984 Operation Moses saw the airlift of 15,000 Jews who had fled to the refugee camps in Sudan to escape starvation. Operation Solomon flew 20,000 Jews to Israel from Ethiopia itself.


In order for some end time events to occur, Russia will have to be a strong nation with a strong military.

Ezekiel 38:2, 4, 8-Son of man set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog the prince of Rosh, Meshech & Tubal and prophecy against them. I will turn you about & put hooks in your jaws & I will bring you out………


Jeremiah 23:7-8—Therefore behold, the days are coming declares the Lord, when they will no longer say, as the Lord lives who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt, but as the Lord lives, who brought up & led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land & from all the countries where I have driven them. Then they will live on their own soil.

In the 1970’s & 80’s there was a mass exodus of Russian Jews out of Communist Russia. In 1999 the AP reported a dramatic increase in number of Jewish immigrants from Russia bringing the largest number of Russian Jews to Israel since the 1990’s.


Revelation 13:16-17—And he causes all the small & the great & the rich & the poor & the free men & the slaves to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead & he provides that no one will be able to buy or sell except the ones who have the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.

This technology is already in use. In 2002 a Florida family had VeriChips implanted. The device is made of silicon & called a VeriChip. It’s a small radio transmitter about the size of a piece of rice that is injected under a person’s skin. It transmits a unique personal ID number whenever it’s within a few feet of a special receiver unit. Alzheimer’s patients & others will possibly, sooner or later have these chips implanted for their protection. VeriChip’s maker describes it as “a miniaturized, implantable, radio frequency identification device [RFID] that can be used in a variety of security, emergency & health care applications.”

Is this the biochip the mark of the beast will use under command of the coming man of sin? We don’t really know but what is significant is that people are being softened to the idea of a mark or an implant as a means of security, medical info & maintaining & regulating a more interdependent world. It doesn’t take a genius to see how the Antichrist's mark will easily be introduced to the world.


Suffice to say that The United Nations, World Trade Organization, International Criminal Court, UN peacekeeping/police force, numerous UN & other agencies are preliminary steps to the formation of a one world government.

The increasing terrorist threat & the middle east conflict will only speed up the formation of this governing body as fear & promises of better security make people more willing to give up their national sovereignty for global governance.


REV.11:3,7-10---And I will grant authority to my two witnesses & they will prophecy for twelve hundred & sixty days, clothed in sackcloth…….
Television & the 24-hour news networks make it possible for people around the world to see the dead prophets & rejoice at their deaths.

Personally I look forward to the Rapture because it will mean a total release of the stress & struggles of this life. There is nothing in this world I desire to hold onto. I will simply leave this old world with its problems & ascend to heaven where I will enjoy the presence of the Lord & His Saints forever.

I’ve always assumed the people who read my blog & others like it are already saved people & assured of going in the Rapture. Are you sure about what will happen to you when Jesus comes? If He came right now would you be left to endure the Tribulation? If there’s the slightest doubt about your relationship with the Lord, why don’t you give Him your heart right now?

But when these things begin to take place, straighten up & lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. --Luke 21:28



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Go Tell That Fox....

By John Stallings

Luke 13:31-35 contains one of my favorite stories about Jesus & some of my favorite words that He spoke.

 We often think of Him as a mild mannered man preaching on how to be more “mild- mannered.” Some see Him as a man who just wants to be loved & accepted & will bend over backwards to please as many people as He can. Obviously nothing could be further from the truth.

Jesus wasn’t --as some seem to see Him-- a young man with His head in the clouds floating around trying to enlist people into His imaginary kingdom.

In this passage some Pharisees come to Him saying Herod was making death threats against him. They must have thought it would be an interesting “news flash” for Jesus. They probably thought He’d be spooked by hearing Herod wanted to kill him. They may have even thought He would tell them to tell Herod He’d be happy to do anything he suggested; that He’d rush to Jerusalem & maybe make things easier for Himself. The motives of these Pharisees are suspect because in truth they’ve been the ones responsible for pumping Herod full of suspicion concerning Jesus. What they told Herod about Jesus being a threat to his earthly power was nothing but a pack of lies.

Hell would have frozen over before Jesus would have been afraid of anyone, certainly not a wicked heathen like Herod. Jesus responds with these words; “go tell that fox that today & tomorrow I’m healing the sick & casting out demons & on the third day I’ll finish up.” The word fox isn’t a complimentary term nor was it meant to be unnecessarily harsh. I think we see the real Jesus here. A little later we see Him heading toward Jerusalem & lamenting that they had rejected Him. So we know that we don’t have a case-hardened Jesus. But when it came to His work, He didn’t play around. Jesus was saying; & I’m paraphrasing here,

Go tell that fox that ---I will drive out devils & heal people today & tomorrow & on the third day I will reach my goal. Luke 13:32--NIV

Go tell that fox I’m working on my schedule not his.

Go tell that fox there’s no chance I’m going to restructure my life out of fear of him.

Go tell that fox I’m taking no detours in my plans because of him.

Go tell that fox (& I’m still paraphrasing) I’m fully aware of what awaits me in Jerusalem, after all isn’t that the city where all the prophets have been slain?

Go tell that fox there are some things I MUST DO before my earthly ministry is complete. Vr.33

Go tell that fox (in essence) that I’m not naïve of the dangers I face. I can read the future, but he can’t, & I can say with total authority when I’ll be in Jerusalem.

There are five things I see in this short story that are very powerful to me;

1. Jesus is still running on schedule.

You & I, much like Herod, don’t know what’s going to happen five minutes from now but Jesus was well able to tell Herod without fear of failure, exactly what would transpire in His life for the next three days. Jesus was right on schedule & arrived in Jerusalem to face Herod.

We don’t have to wonder if we’ll see Jesus again or if He’ll return for His Bride because when the time is right He’ll appear just as He appeared in Herod’s court.

2. Nothing Jesus starts is ever left unfinished.

He had a goal He strived for on earth & He also has a goal in each of our lives. If we cooperate with Him He’ll complete the work He has begun in us.

3. Jesus feared no man or woman & neither should we.

Herod wasn’t able to shake Him because He never allowed fear to influence Him. His admonition was always “Fear not” & he lived by that creed. Fear is powerful because it’s a form of faith. When we fear, we don’t really doubt a good outcome, we believe in a negative outcome.

4. This story tells us that nothing Jesus says will fail.

Jesus’ words were infallible & so is every word that God was spoken.
Not one jot nor tittle will ever pass away from God’s Word & His promises.-Matt.5:18

5. Many have opposed Jesus but their names are in the dustbin of history & Jesus lives on.

Jesus did finally meet Herod in Luke chapter 23. The Bible says Herod was thrilled to see Jesus because he’d heard so much about Him & wanted to see Him perform a miracle. Of course Jesus never used His miraculous power in that way & He refused to speak a word to Herod. Herod became so angry he told His soldiers to put a beautiful robe on Jesus & they mocked Him.

Then Jesus was sent to Pilate to be judged. I think we could safely say that Herod the old fox was “out-foxed” that day in his own court but the meeting is tinged with sadness. Sadness because Herod met Jesus, the one who was sent to die for him & all of mankind, & he never knew whom he met.

He missed the hour of his visitation.



Friday, November 25, 2016

"Show Me The Money "

By John Stallings

In the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire, Cuba Gooding, Jr. plays a character on a professional football team & Tom Cruise plays a high-powered pro sports agent.

The movie is about transformation; two men who learn how to value something more important than money & two women who always knew.

In the most memorable scene in the movie, the two men get into a heated argument over their contract & end up shouting the mantra, “Show me the money! Show me the money! Show me the money!”

I always think of that scene when I read the words of Jesus when the Pharisees & Herodians tried to trip him up about whether taxes should be paid to the emperor. It was a trap to set Him at variance with the entrenched powers of the day.

Jesus avoided their trap by saying—Show me the money! Or more literally, --Show me the coin used for tax.—Matthew 22:19.

This is when Jesus uttered the famous statement, after examining the coin-- Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesars, and unto God the things that are God’s.

In the last year, money, even the sound of the word, especially when we hear billion & trillion so much, has taken on an extraordinarily different meaning. Many of us never thought we’d see the day when our government would throw money around & encourage people to spend. The concept that you can’t spend your way to prosperity has gone the way of the Dinosaurs & now it seems the idea is--we can borrow our way out of this or if necessary we’ll run the money printing presses 24/7 until we fix it.


It’s apparent that greed on the part of some in the world of high finance has gotten us into our present state of economic crisis. The Bible has a lot to say about greed, & contrary to insidious tycoon Gordon Gekko’s wrong-headed statements in the film Wall Street, “greed aint good.”

We well remember the story in 2 Kings Chapter 5 of Naaman, a military captain from Syria dipping seven times in the dirty little river Jordan & being cleansed of his leprosy. Elisha the prophet who sent Namaan to the river to dip wasn’t willing to take anything from him in the way of payment but his greedy servant Gehazi was.

Namaan had come to Elisha’s house prepared to pay handsomely but it was just too much for Gehazi to stand by & watch all that beautiful money disappearing. His attitude was- “My master’s crazy. I’ll never have a pair of Gucci shoes on these old tired feet of mine or wear an Armani suit if I don’t look out for myself. Why not make a quick buck while I can?”

Gehazi ran to catch up to Naaman as he was leaving Israel to go back home to Syria, & he was prepared to lie to get what he wanted.He wanted payola!


Before I get into more detail about Gehazi however, I want to mention some very positive things that have taken place ministry- wise around the nation & the world that we’ve witnessed personally. It’s too bad that these things get little or no press coverage. I won’t use names or places, just suffice to say it’s something we rejoiced in seeing & hearing. If I’m going to make constructively critical comments about ministry, I feel it’s incumbent on me to speak loudly & clearly of the things I see of a positive nature.

Some time ago Juda & I were ministering in a small country outside the U.S. The pastors there told us of one of the “big American evangelists,” [a man I’ve known personally for years] who’d recently held a crusade there & never took an offering for himself or his ministry. It was a huge campaign & many were saved & healed. As a matter of fact, some the local pastors were disappointed that the evangelist didn’t give the people an opportunity to contribute. They were grateful for the great move of God in their midst, & were willing to give.

Some onlookers were unhappy that the minister wouldn’t take a dime for his work in their country [it seems that sometimes a preacher can’t win no matter what he does] but this man obviously felt the same way Elisha did in the case of Naaman; he didn’t want to receive money for his ministry on that occasion.

I’ve recently heard of other ministries who’ve done the same thing this evangelist did in other parts of the world. I feel it behooves us to see the good & magnify it, especially in areas where ministry is being watched with a jaundiced eye.

Having said that; - there’s no doubt in my mind that many of the financial excesses these days in the Church have no other explanation than greed;


We’re quick to acknowledge problems that crop up in the lives of ministers. Who among us hasn’t been shocked & saddened upon hearing of some of the ugly sins ministry gets caught up in; such as adultery, sexual perversion, jealousy, envy, drug abuse & drunkenness, lying, debauchery, angry outbursts, & the list goes on. Ministers are only human beings who must lean hard on God’s mercy & grace like everyone else. And of course they are prime targets of Satan.

We often hear requests to pray for this or that man or woman of God, or a church or Christian University that’s besieged with problems. This can & does happen in just about any denomination you can name. Tragically, we’ve come to almost expect to hear now & then about something going terribly wrong in the life of a well known servant of God.

Why is it then that we can quickly wrap our minds around the aforementioned sins befalling those in high places of spiritual leadership when the one sin we can’t seem to diagnose is greed-- when we see it as plain as the nose on a face? It’s difficult for us to “call a spade a spade” when it comes to what is obviously –GREED & SELFISH AMBITION. We hesitate to speak our mind when we see someone operating as a “spiritual father” but they are standing up saying- in actuality or in essence—“Show me the money. I’m a highly favored & anointed prophet of God & if you expect me to manifest my gifts, - “cough up the dough.”

In my view, unnecessary buildings are built, unnecessary airplanes are bought, lavish homes are acquired, more T.V or radio time is purchased, & much of it is done because of –Selfish Ambition. Read Galatians 5: 16-21 & you’ll see narcissistic self-ambition listed & God makes it clear—those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Here’s the truth; any ambitious effort outside the leading of the Holy Spirit is sin for me, for you or anyone else called of God.

Someone might ask—“What does this man have against prosperity, especially for servants of God?” I have nothing at all against God’s workers prospering & being well compensated.

I remember the story of a pastor who was at the alter praying, “Oh Lord, please keep me poor & humble.” Over & over he repeated the same prayer, “Oh Lord, please keep me poor & humble.” When the preacher rose from his knees, one of the church deacons who’d been listening to his pastor pray, came up to him & patted his shoulder & said, “Pastor, you don’t have to worry, if the Lord will keep you humble we’ll keep you poor.”

This kind of attitude toward ministers is tragic. The Bible makes it clear—Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treads out the corn.-1 Cor.9:9

I have discovered in my own life that God blesses our giving &
I’m sure you & I can point out many times in our lives when we gave to God & were greatly blessed for doing so. That has been my experience over & over in my life. I also must confess that I have made the mistake of being unduly influenced by a high-pressure-“show me the money” ministry. I’ve said before that when this kind of tactic is used it’s tantamount to emotional rape.

When I was just getting started in the ministry, my father advised me that if I went to a big convention, & was going to be in several services a day for a week or so, to get a twenty dollar bill broken into ones-—now days that might be a fifty or one-hundred dollar bill—so that I could put something in every offering.

I remember one time when I was at a convention, & had to call my parents & ask them to wire me ten dollars. I didn’t have enough money to buy gas to get to my next preaching engagement.

I can look back over my life & see times when I was so spiritually immature that it breaks my heart. God is a loving Father but He isn’t obligated to bless our carnality or our lack of good judgment.

I believe God not only owns 10% of our money, He owns 100% of it & once we realize that, our attitude about stewardship will take on new meaning. He owns it all; hence He is certainly well able & willing to tell us what to do with the finances that pass through our hands.


When Gehazi caught up with Naaman, he told him, -My master sent me to say “Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver & two sets of clothing.”--2 Kings 5:21-23.
In other words— “show me the money!”

Naaman was generous with Gehazi urging him to accept the gifts even tying them up in special bags-two talents of silver with two sets of clothing. Naaman is understandably happy to pay for his healing. When Naaman’s helpers were asked how much Naaman paid for his healing, they would say, “Two talents of silver,” --which was a lot of money, as a matter of fact in that day you could have bought a house with that amount of money. People no doubt heard about this & thought the prophet had charged that for God’s gift. That was exactly what Elisha had wanted to avoid.

Gehazi compounds his sin by lying. He trumps up a story about two needy servants of God from the back country & plays on Naaman’s generosity. This sometimes happens today. It’s not exactly unknown for missionaries to exaggerate the need so they can get more money for their mission. Sad to say sometimes the whole thing is a scam all made up to raise more money.

I knew a missionary evangelist years ago who ran a “bicycle scam.” He would get up & tell the people that he needed—“to buy a dozen or so bicycles to put under little native boys in a foreign country so they could distribute Bibles or gospel tracks in the hard to reach villages.” One night when a pastor gave the missionary the money the folk had given, he asked, -- “How many bicycles do you feel you can buy with the money raised tonight?” The missionary looked him squarely in the eye & said, “Oh this offering tonight will go for my personal expenses.” Of course the missionary was entitled to living & traveling expenses, but the way he went about raising the money was an outright lie. He took up money under false pretences. And that’s just exactly what Gehazi was doing.

Certainly things like this are the exception not the rule, but how such scams dishonor God.

We see here the danger of a man trying to catch the overflow of another mans gifts & ministry. Up to now Gehazi, as far as we know had been an exemplary servant but it’s clear that his heart is not right with God. We often hear that God has no grandchildren & that’s so true isn’t it? We also see here the danger of depending on someone else’s spirituality. It very obviously doesn’t work. You can grow up in a godly household, be a member of a church, or even a church officer or minister & still not be a child of God.


Now Gehazi has got to keep telling lies to prop up the other lies. “Oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.” When Gehazi stood in front of Elisha, he forgot two things; Elisha was no fool, & he also had the gift of knowledge. He knew what the servant had been up to & pronounced judgment on him & his descendants forever. Then Gehazi left Elisha’s presence a leper as white as snow.

Gehazi was carnally minded & Paul writes---to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life & peace.-Romans 8:6. Sin will make a person think they’re wiser than the spiritual person but in the end it will be the spiritually minded individual who’ll inherit eternal life.


Gehazi went out from Elisha’s presence being cursed along with his seed forever. Right? Right!

But if you’ll read chapters 5-8 of 2 Kings, you’ll find something you may have overlooked. In chapter 5 we have all the Gehazi mess, the graft, the deception & the lies. Gehazi’s doom is sealed; he’ll be a leper along with his offspring for the rest of his days. Right? Right!

If you skip over to the eight chapter verses 1-4, you’ll find a man talking to the king. Here’s what the Bible says-

And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying tell me I pray thee all the great things that Elisha hath done.

Gehazi, the man we would think was dead or dying was standing there talking to the king. He wasn’t being treated as an unclean person as he’d been treated before. What has happened?


In chapter 7, we have the story of the 4 lepers. Do you remember that story? Well there was a famine in Samaria, & these 4 lepers were sitting outside the gate of the city starving.

We’re a country of fast food restaurants. We have such an overabundance of food. It’s a shame to see how food is wasted when millions of people all over the world are starving. Imagine if you will a food shortage where you & all your friends were hungry. Your supply of groceries was completely shut off.

Imagine if you can the hunger & desperation being so great people were paying $50 for the head of a donkey to eat & $3 for a pint of dove droppings. You & I think in our minds, how gross, how disgusting but to the people of Samaria it was all very real. People were even boiling their children & eating them.

Rather than sit & starve, the lepers decide to infiltrate the enemy’s camp at twilight in search of food. But what a surprise they got when they got inside the city. There was no one there. Their camp was deserted. God had arranged it so that the Syrian army thought the Egyptians & the Hittites were on their way the help the city so they abandoned the camp leaving everything behind. God allowed the sound of the 4 leprous men dragging their feet to sound thunderous.

The four lepers hit pay dirt. There was food everywhere. There were clothes & there were riches. They went into one tent & found food, & they ate their fill. Think about what it must have been like for these lepers.

It pays to read the Bible & read it thoroughly. We have no actual proof for what I’m about to say but it’s very possible that these 4 lepers were Gehazi & his three sons.

Have you ever heard that God will test you & if you fail the test He’ll keep testing you until you pass the test? Well it’s true. Gehazi failed the test of greed the first time with Naaman, but here he is again, confronted with more abundance of material things than he could ever dream.

But what did Gehazi do this time? He & the other lepers have a different attitude about the spoils they found. They knew in their hearts they must share it with the starving people of the city or something dreadful would happen to them. You may say, “yes but Gehazi was cursed, how could God deliver him from leprosy after that?”

Naaman got a deliverance from his curse of leprosy didn’t he? Why not a healing for a repentant Gehazi? If it’s true, it’s just like God. By sharing the good news with the people of Samaria, the disgraced man himself, the man who shamed Israel by taking money from the gentile Naaman, was the person who saved the entire population of Samaria from death through the siege & famine.

Also if it's true that Gehazi was cleansed as Naaman was, it only cost Naaman seven dips in a muddy river while it cost Gehazi seven years.

Yes, we have a changed Gehazi; old “messed-up-/show- me- the money-Gehazi,” who even though he was punished, made up his mind not to sit & die. He said, “I must get up from here, things can’t get any worse & I have nothing left to lose.”

Did God heal Gehazi of his leprosy, allow him & his sons to be vessels used to perform a miracle to save a people & a city, & then restore him to serventhood? The story has all the earmarks of our, loving, forgiving restoration God, doesn’t it?

Read it for yourself & I have a feeling it will cause you to exclaim;

What a mighty God we serve!”

Every Blessing,


Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Thanksgiving Message

By John Stallings

I once read the story of a young Canadian student in 1860 who was awakened one night by the sound of two ships colliding.

His name was Ed Spencer. He jumped out of bed, saw the situation and being a strong swimmer, jumped in and started swimming out to the rescue. Many passengers of those ships died that night but Ed’s willingness to risk his life saved seventeen of them.

Ed suffered from paralysis after that night and wasn’t able to complete his studies, basically becoming an invalid for the rest of his life. Years later, now an old man living in California, Ed was interviewed by a Los Angeles paper and asked what he recalled about the rescue. “Only this” replied Ed, “of the seventeen I saved, not one of them ever thanked me.”

Someone has said, “Of all the emotions we human beings experience, gratitude is the hardest for us to feel.”


Luke 17:11-19 tells the story of ten men suffering from leprosy that Jesus healed and sent on their way. One turns back, happy and thankful to Jesus. But Jesus asks,

“Were there not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?” Can none be found to return and give Glory to God except this outsider?” Message Bible.—

This sounds so eerily familiar that it reminds us of one of our first childhood lessons; “What do say when you’re given something? Thank you. Okay, good for you.”

I often wonder when reading this story, was Jesus upset, surprised, amazed or disappointed; or maybe a combination of them all.



We know enough about leprosy to know it’s a dirty disease, a horrible flesh eating sickness and no one can recover from it. In Bible days a person infected with the disease had to give up home and family and live outside the social matrix because of its contagious nature. The physical suffering was compounded by the fact that lepers were social exiles, they were forever unclean.

Lepers were boxed in, not only by the disease, but because of its contagious nature they were considered ritually unclean. A leper was allowed no contact with non-lepers, and that’s why, in this story, the lepers “stood at a distance” when they called out to Jesus. They stood far off like wounded animals with rags wrapped around their hands. Others had their feet wrapped up with pieces of cloth. They could stay just close enough to society to allow them to beg, as long as they cried loudly, unclean, unclean, unclean.

Think what it would be like to have leprosy. It’s hard to think about. Imagine the waiting, the hoping, wondering how long it will take and how much suffering will be experienced before death.

There was a very famous leper in the Old Testament named Naaman. His story is in 2 Kings 5.Naaman was boxed in by pride and anger and almost lost his miracle because of it. He finally dipped seven times in a muddy little river, quiet beneath his dignity, but his obedience enabled him to escape the terrible box of leprosy.


We are not told specifically if the non-returning lepers were Jews, but the fact that Jesus makes much of the tenth and thankful leper being a “foreigner” or Samaritan, seems to imply it. Also the fact that the Jews and Samaritans fraternize in this story is in itself an “out-of-the-box” experience. It’s also out-of-the-box for a Samaritan to be willing to come back and thank a Jewish healer.

We remember that in Jesus’ day the Jews looked down on the Samaritans. Racial prejudice is something that is still alive and well in our world. However the gospel of Christ is fundamentally incompatible with racial prejudice.

When God sees this world he doesn’t look at skin color. All people regardless of their race, background or skin color are significant, loved, fallen and redeemable. No race has any advantage over any other race and no group is better than any other group. God doesn’t play favorites and skin color doesn’t matter to Him. Race isn’t an issue with God. “Red and yellow black and white, they are precious in His sight.”


We know that Jews tried to avoid traveling through Samaria, yet here is Jesus, Luke tells us, in “the region between Samaria and Galilee.” Jesus was skirting the borderlands, the in-between area that doesn’t fit neatly in any geographical box.


Read this story carefully and what do you find; Jesus usually healed with a touch, but in this case He didn’t. As a matter of fact, He didn’t pray, He didn’t pronounce their healing; He did very little except to tell the lepers to go show themselves to the priest. The priests controlled most everything in those days. This approach is indeed out of the box for Jesus.

Priests even functioned as health inspectors. As the lepers started to go at Jesus’ instruction, they noticed that their sores and wounds were drying up, and their blemishes began to disappear. With every step they took they felt stronger, younger, and more energetic. When they rounded the final turn on the way to the village, they were completely healed. It must have been an incredible walk for them.

Think of it—after all their suffering, all of the sudden at the word of a stranger, their loneliness, pain and banishment began to evaporate. In a matter of moments they all had the clean, healthy, supple skin of a baby.

Someone may say, “I don’t believe in divine healing.” That’s O.k. Healing isn’t for you anyway. Healing is for believers. If you’re sick or have a friend or relative who is, here are 101 reasons God will heal those who’ll trust Him for healing;

God said…

1) I am the Lord that healeth thee (Ex. 15:26).
2) Your days shall be one hundred and twenty years (Gen. 6:3).
3) You shall be buried in a good old age (Gen. 15:15).
4) You shall come to your grave in a full age like as a shock of corn cometh in his season (Job 5:26).
5) When I see the blood, I will pass over you and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you (Ex. 12:13).
6) I will take sickness away from the midst of you and the number of your days I will fulfill (Ex. 23: 25, 26).
7) I will not put any of the diseases you are afraid of on you, but I will take all sickness away from you (Deut. 7:15).
8) It will be well with you and your days shall be multiplied and prolonged as the days of heaven upon the earth (Deut. 11:9,21).
9) I turned the curse into a blessing unto you, because I loved you (Deut. 23:5 and Neh. 13:2).
10) I have redeemed you from every sickness and every plague (Deut. 28:61 and Gal. 3:13).
11) As your days, so shall your strength be (Deut. 33:25).
12) I have found a ransom for you, your flesh shall be fresher than a child’s and you shall return to the days of your youth (Job 33:24, 25).
13) I have healed you and brought up your soul from the grave; I have kept you alive from going down into the pit (Ps. 30:1, 2).
14) I will give you strength and bless you with peace (Ps. 29:11).
15) I will preserve you and keep you alive (Ps. 41:2).
16) I will strengthen you upon the bed of languishing; I will turn all your bed in your sickness (Ps. 41:3).
17) I am the health of your countenance and your God (Ps.43: 5).
18) No plague shall come near your dwelling (Ps. 91:10).
19) I will satisfy you with long life (Ps. 91:16).
20) I heal all your diseases (Ps. 103:3).
21) I sent My word and healed you and delivered you from your destructions (Ps.107:20).
22) You shall not die, but live, and declare My works (Ps. 118:17).
23) I heal your broken heart and bind up your wounds (Ps. 147:3).
24) The years of your life shall be many (Pr. 4:10).
25) Trusting Me brings health to your navel and marrow to your bones (Pr. 3:8).
26) My words are life to you, and health/medicine to all your flesh (Pr. 4:22).
27) (My) good report makes your bones fat (Pr. 15:30).
28) (My) pleasant words are sweet to your soul and health to your bones (Pr. 16:24).
29) My joy is your strength. A merry heart does good like a medicine (Neh. 8:10; Pr.17:22).
30) The eyes of the blind shall be opened. The eyes of them that see shall not be dim (Isa. 32:3; 35:5).
31) The ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. The ears of them that hear shall hearken (Isa. 32:3; 35:5).
32) The tongue of the dumb shall sing. The tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly (Isa. 35:6; 32:4).
33) The lame man shall leap as a hart (Isa. 35:6).
34) I will recover you and make you to live. I am ready to save you (Isa. 38:16, 20).
35) I give power to the faint. I increase strength to them that have no might (Isa. 40:29).
36) I will renew your strength. I will strengthen and help you (Isa. 40:31; 41:10).
37) To your old age and gray hairs I will carry you and I will deliver you (Isa. 46:4).
38) I bore your sickness (Isa. 53:4).
39) I carried your pains (Isa. 53:4).
40) I was put to sickness for you (Isa. 53:10).
41) With My stripes you are healed (Isa. 53:5).
42) I will heal you (Isa. 57:19).
43) Your light shall break forth as the morning and your health shall spring forth speedily (Isa. 58:8).
44) I will restore health unto you, and I will heal you of your wounds saith the Lord (Jer.30:17).
45) Behold I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure you, and will reveal unto you the abundance of peace and truth (Jer. 33:6).
46) I will bind up that which was broken and will strengthen that which was sick (Eze.34:16).
47) Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you and you shall live. And I shall put My Spirit in you and you shall live (Eze. 37:5,14).
48) Whithersoever the rivers shall come shall live. They shall be healed and everything shall live where the river comes (Eze. 47:9).
49) Seek Me and you shall live (Amos 5:4, 6).
50) I have arisen with healing in My wings (beams) (Mal. 4:2).

New Testament

51) I will, be thou clean (Mt. 8:3).
52) I took your infirmities (Mt. 8:17).
53) I bore your sicknesses (Mt. 8:17).
54) If you’re sick you need a physician. (I am the Lord your physician) (Mt. 9:12 &
55) I am moved with compassion toward the sick and I heal them (Mt. 14:14).
56) I heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease (Mt. 4:23).
57) According to your faith, be it unto you (Mt. 9:29).
58) I give you power and authority over all unclean spirits to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease (Mt. 10:1 & Lk. 9:1).
59) I heal them all (Mt. 12:15 & Heb. 13:8).
60) As many as touch Me are made perfectly whole (Mt. 14:36).
61) Healing is the children’s bread (Mt. 15:26).
62) I do all things well. I make the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak (Mk. 7:37).
63) If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believeth (Mk. 9:23; 11:23,24).
64) When hands are laid on you, you shall recover (Mk. 16:18).
65) My anointing heals the brokenhearted, and delivers the captives, recovers sight to the blind, and sets at liberty those that are bruised (Lk. 4:18; Isa. 10:27; 61:1).
66) I heal all those who have need of healing (Lk. 9:11).
67) I am not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them (Lk. 9:56).
68) Behold, I give you authority over all the enemy’s power and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Lk. 10:19).
69) Sickness is satanic bondage and you ought to be loosed today (Lk. 13:16 & II Cor.6:2).
70) In Me is life (Jn. 1:4).
71) I am the bread of life. I give you life (Jn. 6:33, 35).
72) The words I speak unto you are spirit and life (Jn. 6:63).
73) I am come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly (Jn. 10:10).
74) I am the resurrection and the life (Jn. 11:25).
75) If you ask anything in My name, I will do it (Jn. 14:14).
76) Faith in My name makes you strong and gives you perfect soundness (Acts 3:16).
77) I stretch forth My hand to heal (Acts 4:30).
78) I, Jesus Christ, make you whole (Acts 9:34).
79) I do good and heal all that are oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38).
80) My power causes diseases to depart from you (Acts 19:12).
81) The law of the Spirit of life in Me has made you free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2).
82) The same Spirit that raised Me from the dead now lives in you and that Spirit will quicken your mortal body (Rom. 8:11).
83) Your body is a member of Me (I Cor. 6:15).
84) Your body is the temple of My Spirit and you’re to glorify Me in your body (I Cor.6:19, 20).
85) If you’ll rightly discern My body which was broken for you, and judge yourself, you’ll not be judged and you’ll not be weak, sickly or die prematurely (I Cor. 11:29-31).
86) I have set gifts of healing in My body (I Cor. 12:9).
87) My life may be made manifest in your mortal flesh (II Cor. 4:10, 11).
88) I have delivered you from death, I do deliver you, and if you trust Me I will yet deliver you (II Cor. 1:10).
89) I have given you My name and have put all things under your feet (Eph. 1:21, 22).
90) I want it to be well with you and I want you to live long on the earth. (Eph. 6:3).
91) I have delivered you from the authority of darkness (Col. 1:13).
92) I will deliver you from every evil work (II Tim. 4:18).
93) I tasted death for you. I destroyed the devil who had the power of death. I’ve delivered you from the fear of death and bondage (Heb. 2:9, 14, 15).
94) I wash your body with pure water (Heb. 10:22; Eph. 5:26).
95) Lift up the weak hands and the feeble knees. Don’t let that which is lame be turned aside but rather let Me heal it (Heb. 12:12, 13).
96) Let the elders anoint you and pray for you in My name and I will raise you up (Jas.5:14, 15).
97) Pray for one another and I will heal you (Jas. 5:16).
98) By My stripes you were healed (I Pet. 2:24).
99) My Divine power has given unto you all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of Me (II Pet. 1:3).
100) Whosoever will let him come and take of the water of life freely (Rev. 22:17).
101) Beloved, I wish above all things that you may…be in health (III Jn. 2


What if a newspaper of that day had gone to do a story on these nine lepers who didn’t return to thank Jesus? Imagine them gathered in one room and the reporter asking for their side of this story. Let’s first talk to leper, Jim.

1. JIM, what happened to you after Jesus healed you of leprosy? Jim might reply, “Well, I guess I wanted to wait for just a little while longer to see if the cure was real and was going to last. After all, there’s a little thing called “remission” you know. And by the time I realized the healing was the real thing, Jesus was dead.

2. JACK. And how about you jack? “Well I started to wonder if I had ever had leprosy. Whatever I had was much improved so I really didn’t give it much more thought.

3. JASON. “And you Jason, why didn’t you return? “Well, I was grateful for the cure but I had to take my son to his baseball game that day. I have been so busy lately, you wouldn’t believe it. You know now-a-days, I don’t know where the time goes.” And another thing, I was very anxious to just get back to my old life, my old routine.

4. LYLE was next to speak; “I didn’t know we were supposed to return to thank Jesus. I was just following instructions. You know, Jesus told us to go and show ourselves to the priest and that’s what I did. As lepers, we’ve become so used to following orders that we really just do as we’re told. And another thing, when Jesus told us to go, our feet started to move before our minds could think about it. We lepers move, eat, sleep, and speak according to instructions with little choice in the matter.

5. TIM “Tim, can you tell us why you never returned to thank Jesus for your cure? Well, I once took a psychological behavioral test to show me what personality type I was, and would you believe, I’m a procrastinator? Yeah, that’s right, and also the test said that we procrastinators are indecisive, tentative, and I found I have a touch of ADD. Hey, look at that bird up in the sky.

6—8. THE LAST FOUR lepers were Deaf leper, who loved music, Leper-Con, he was Irish, Spotted leper; strange name I know, but his healing caused him to have an identity crisis. He’d been a leper so long he wasn’t prepared to change. He was so at home with lepers that he couldn’t readjust.

9. The ninth leper sent word that he highly resented being labeled an ingrate simply because he conformed to the traditional way of expressing his thanks; in the Temple, before the priest, just like Jesus instructed. He also wanted to go on record that he felt a sense of “entitlement” to the better things in life, and added that it was about time God answered his prayers.

This former leper teaches us, by his actions, to be more spontaneous with our gratitude. Luke said that he was “praising God with a loud voice.” In fact, the ex-leper fell on his face before Jesus. He was completely carried away and beside himself with joy and happiness. He felt like dancing a jig and shouting from the housetops. He was so excited, so anxious to thank this stranger that he didn’t even take time to have his healing verified by the priest.

He didn’t show up at the interview because he was so busy telling people what Jesus had done, he didn’t feel he could spare the time. He said he was so ecstatic he wasn’t in any shape to answer questions, even a year later.

Sometimes it’s good to throw away the restraints and let yourself be carried away with gratitude and joy.


Most of us find it easy to stay inside the box, playing it safe and following directions until something earthshaking happens. At those times, we find it comfortable to throw off restraints. We seem more inclined to give gratitude free rein when we feel a sense of urgency. People stand up at funerals and weddings and shock others with their free-flowing expressions of love and praise.

If a person is diagnosed with cancer, they are quick to begin telling the people they love how much they love them. Now time is of the essence, so they do it, now. Most of us would agree that we shouldn’t operate like this, but being human we do.

Our lives would be much more fulfilling if we would integrate appreciation and praise, not only to God but to one another into our everyday lives. If you think I’m wrong, ask yourself, have you ever grown tired of being loved, thanked and appreciated?

# God reminds us that if we don’t cultivate thankfulness, it will take more and more to make us thankful.

# Jesus would also remind us of some of the things for which HE gave thanks.

# He gave thanks for 5 loaves and 2 fishes, before He multiplied them to feed a multitude.

# He gave thanks for the bread and wine He ate with His disciples before His death, even though He said they were symbolic of His broken body and shed blood.

# He gave thanks to His father at the tomb of Lazarus, just for hearing His prayer.

# Who in your opinion would be the "lepers" in our society? Do you think Jesus would minister to them if He were on earth in a physical body? What could you and I do to reach out to these people, or should we just leave them alone?

One last thing in this story is found in Luke 17:19. Jesus told the returning leper,

Arise and go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole.”

The returning leper received a gift the other nine missed out on.

He received “wholeness” for body, mind, soul and spirit.



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"loseth Not Thy Cooleth"

By John Stallings

Be patient brethren……James 5:7

A school teacher was having a bad day. It had rained all day & her children couldn’t go out for recess.

About 2:45 she saw it was still raining & decided to go ahead & get the kids ready for dismissal. She sorted out boots & raincoats & started helping get them on.

Finally they were all ready to go, except for one little guy whose boots were just too small for his feet. There were no zippers or straps & it took every last ounce of strength she had to get them on.

When she finally did get them on she straightened up with a sigh of relief. That’s when the little boy looked down at his feet & said, “Teacher, you know what? These boots aren’t mine.”

She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry but being the good teacher she was she smiled & bravely started taking them off. And they were harder to get off than they were to get on. She yanked & tugged until finally the boots were off. That’s when the boy smiled at her & said, “They’re not mine, but they’re my sister’s, & I got to wear them today.”

That teacher may have been the one who constructed the little prayer, “Lord, I need patience & I need it now.”

Have you “lost your cooleth” lately?

I’m probably the last person who should be writing a message on patience, but like every preacher or communicator, every now & then we get to [or should I say- have to] put one out there that hits us squarely between the eyes.

Listen to Paul in Colossians 3:12
As God’s chosen ones, holy & beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility & patience.


When patience is mentioned in the Bible it’s talking about; perseverance, persistence, forbearance, & endurance; the ability to bear trials without grumbling & complaining, self-control, self-restraint, regardless of the circumstances.


I’m almost always silently praying for patience, but prayer isn’t enough. Although patience is one of the fruit of the spirit, we have to be willing to exercise it & allow it to do its perfect work in us.-James 1:4

Just about the time we think we’re safe, our patience will be tested & we’ll find out we haven’t arrived as yet. Patience takes spiritual muscle & any muscle has to be exercised to remain strong.

Sometimes it’s annoying strangers we have to absorb, like the people down the block whose dogs bark all night long; or the driver poking along at 45 mph in the left lane of the freeway. Or the person in front of us in the 15 item express line at the grocery store who puts 19 items on the belt then proceeds to chat with the checker & then argues about the bill.

Maybe it’s the person sitting behind you on the airplane that keeps coughing & sneezing to the point that you want to hold his nose & cover his mouth simultaneously or maybe ask the attendant for another seat.

Maybe you race across town for a doctor’s appointment only to cool your heals for an hour in the waiting room.

Sometimes it’s our own family. It’s our nearest & dearest who try our patience. It’s our kid who brings the car home with an empty gas tank or brings the family RV home with all manner of junk in it.

Patient people have the capacity to absorb these irritants without seizing up. Don’t get me wrong; there are times when it’s perfectly appropriate to confront individuals or situations even to seek legal justice. God never calls us to be doormats. But in order to be effective we have to be coming from a calm controlled place ourselves.

Listen to James;

Be patient therefore brethren unto the coming of the Lord. Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth & hath patience for it, until he receive the early & latter rain.

Through the years I’ve watched patient people & when possible I’ve studied them. It helps to have good role models & teachers.


Patience doesn’t hastily retaliate against a wrong. When someone does you wrong, do you respond with patience or anger?


For some of us, that’s really tough.


If patience is put under duress, say by a loved one you’ve spent hours with at a hospital or nursing home, the patient person will say, “This too will pass. It’s almost over. I can keep on keeping on.”


I’ve received more comfort from Romans 8:28 than perhaps any other Bible verse. The verse doesn’t promise us we’ll have no problems & struggles but it gives us the assurance that God will use everything that happens to us to bring about His ends which will always be beneficent.


# You’re too impatient if you’ve ever left a restaurant because they took too long to wait on you.
# You’re too impatient if when reading to a child you skip a page or two to expedite the process.
# You’re too impatient if you put on make-up or a necktie while driving to work.
# You’re too impatient if you see a yellow light & you’re tendency is to accelerate instead of brake.
# You’re too impatient if you ever wanted to reconfigure the long line at the buffet.
# You’re too impatient if you’ve ever asked during a sermon, “How much longer is this windjammer going to talk?”
# You’re too impatient if you’ve ever cut through a parking lot to miss a stoplight.
# You’re too impatient if your children or grand-children think their first names are, “Come on…hurry up… & let’s move it.”

Lest you feel impatience is not a big deal, may I remind you that graveyards are full of people who would still be alive if they’d had just a few seconds more patience.


# We run the risk of being dissatisfied & angry with ourselves for our slow pace of growth & change.
# We in turn pass that on to others & have outbursts of temper when they are slow to change & grow.
# We “throw away” relationships, discarding people, jobs, school, or church when things aren’t working out as smoothly as we want them to.
# We waste energy fretting about how slow things are going, instead of channeling that energy toward the changes we desire.
# We lose friends because we withdraw prematurely when we don’t see quickly the results we desire.
# We ignore all the positive gains we’ve made on the road to change only concentrating on what hasn’t yet been accomplished.
# We become sour & pessimistic about life seeing the cup “half-empty” rather than “half-full.”
# We are in such a hurry that we neglect to count our blessings & see how far we’ve come.
# We burn ourselves out pursuing vain goals & chasing things that don’t exist-- like perfection.
# We finally lose the ability to reinforce any level of success or attainment discouraging ourselves & others.
# We become overwhelmed by any large task ahead of us & lose the hope & motivation to keep trying in life.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the Old Testament king Saul. Early on when he was fighting the Philistine army the prophet of God- Samuel told Saul to wait for him at a place called Gilgal. But Saul got impatient at the end of seven days & took it upon himself to offer burnt offerings to God. At that very moment Samuel appeared & confronted him with his defiance.

If the king of Israel would not obey the God of Israel what hope could there be for the nation? Saul was distrusting the Lord at a time of national danger as though God were not as interested in preserving the people as he. At the end of the day, it was Saul’s impatience that made him unfit to be king.


Does being patient mean we have to be calm cool & collected all the time? Does being patient mean I’m not allowed to be sad or upset when nothing seems to be happening? If I’m “waiting on the Lord” does that mean I can’t be proactive in the pursuit of my dreams & goals?

The more I’ve learned about patience, the more I’ve realized that patience isn’t a singular item we must cultivate. As a matter of fact it seems to me that patience doesn’t stand alone as though separate from the other virtues. I’ve seen patience as something that, somewhat like happiness comes & lights on our shoulder when we’re doing some other things right.

In the pursuit of Christ likeness, we are learning to be kind to others & when we’re kind & loving, we’re also learning to be patient with others. When we are learning self-control, we’re also learning faithfulness, & so it goes. In Galatians 5:22-23, we see the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control….”

Notice it says the “fruit” of the Spirit rather than the “fruits.” In the end, I think patience is having full confidence in God’s timing & waiting on His will to be fulfilled rather than jumping ahead of the game or going directly against His will. We may have times of anguish & we may be hurting during the long wait but while we’re waiting we’re also learning other lessons about God & cultivating other virtues.


Let’s face it; we weren’t born patient, were we? If a baby wakes up in the middle of the night hungry or with a wet diaper, it doesn’t lie there & think, “I know mom & dad are tired so I’ll just wait until a more convenient time to let them know I need to eat or I need a dry diaper.” Nope! That baby cries bloody murder until it gets the attention it demands.

Impatience reached its zenith recently in a Long Island Wal-mart when at 5 A.M in the morning several hundred adults broke the doors down in a stampede to avail themselves of a sale to buy Flat-screen TVs. In the process they trampled on & killed a guard at the door, never stopping to check to see if he was seriously injured.

America has become an angry, tense, anxious, impatient nation. You see it at work. You see it in school & you see it on the hi-ways. We don’t live in a relaxed culture & it takes a toll on us. Have you ever seen someone so uptight their shoulders are up around their ears? I’m sure they didn’t start the day out like that but society has just worn them out by days end. I’ve been to many other countries & there’s a different lifestyle. People are more laid back. Whatever happens-happens.

Another thing I see is that we have convinced ourselves that impatience is a virtue. I hear folk say “I may be impatient but I get the job done.” We like hard-charging “type A” personalities.

The Bible says- A patient man has great understanding but a quick-tempered man displays folly. Proverbs 14:29

A hot-tempered man stirs up dissention but a patient man calms a quarrel. Proverbs 15:18

We live in a day when there are more nervous breakdowns than at any other time in history. The other day I heard on the news about a pilot who actually had a breakdown right in the cockpit & had to be forcibly subdued. I know that wasn’t a pretty sight to see. If I’m not mistaken one of the female flight attendants had to help land the plane. People can just be overwhelmed with a sense of impending doom.

The Sabbath day was God’s idea- a day to worship & rest. Our bodies need it, & our spirits need it. Sometimes we just need to take a walk or spend some time in the park, or leave your credit cards at home & go to the Mall. Watch people, watch children play & listen to the birds sing. Read a book, plant a flower & watch it grow. And it helps to remind ourselves that Paul said, -- God, who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Isaiah also reminds us—But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like Eagles………Isaiah 40:31

David said; I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me & heard my prayer. He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, & set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. Psalm 40:1-2

As we approach Christmas, the pace of life will pick up & we’ll see the “rat race” & the rats will probably win. Let me suggest a few practical things that will help us enjoy the season more.

1. Declare a moratorium on horn blowing unless it’s absolutely necessary.
2. Eat your food slowly & enjoy every meal even if it’s just a sandwich.
3. Stand in the longest check-out line & discipline yourself to keep a pleasant attitude.
4. Go through one day without looking at your watch or using your cell phone.
5. I was going to say, don’t even check your email but I just couldn’t get myself to type those words.
6. Remember how patient God is with us. We keep messing up yet His patience never wavers.
7. “Be Cooleth.”

Finally, it helps to keep our eyes on Jesus. I hope you don’t feel I’m trying to give a few slick answers or remedies to impatience, like “Forty days to a more patient you.” While learning some practical steps can be helpful, we’re talking here about something far deeper. We’re talking about developing a Christ-like character.

We might as well accept the fact that we can’t be gracious, kind & loving within ourselves. We need God’s help to do that. We become more like Christ by thinking less about our own desires & focusing on the Lord Jesus.

When you & I look at Jesus on the cross, we see Him not just absorbing a few minor annoyances, but absorbing the accumulated evil of the whole world, thereby breaking the cycle of retaliation & vengeance in which this world is trapped.

The more I study & learn about Jesus, the more the irritations & annoyances that bug me don’t seem quite so bad.

The main reason God has kept back the tidal wave of destruction that will eventually engulf this world is His desire to see people repent & come to Him.

The Lord is not slow in keeping His promises as some understand slowness. He is PATIENT with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.—11 Peter 3:9