Monthly Archives: November 2014

What Would You Have Done With The Immigrants?

Okies Were Immigrants

The whole issue of the immigrants that have come into the United States of America, who they are, and what to do with them, reminds me of 1935 when the Okies became immigrants.

Not only was the nation in the throes of a deep economic depression, but Oklahoma, Arkansas, and the Ozark regions were enduring a devastating drought. At that time, the state was predominately rural, with most of the people living on family farms and living off the land. That year my brother, Russell, and Dad put in a crop, worked hard to till it and destroy the weeds and pests.

But when harvest time came, there was no harvest. There had been very little, or no rain and instead of the plants growing and producing, they sat there shriveled and dead in some spots. This was also true of our neighbors. We had no harvest to get us through the winter and into the next season.

What was worse, our Dad became ill and was bedfast for a few weeks. The Doctor came and told him that it was his heart, and that he had only a short time to live. He died in November.  My brother tried to be the provider for our family, although he was only 16 years old at that time. He tried to find feed for our animals and hunted squirrels and rabbits for food. He tried to find possums and coons and tanned the hides and sold them. It was all pitifully inadequate. But we survived.

Our neighbors had the same problems.  But we had heard that there was a chance to get work in California in the harvest of cotton and fruits. So, many of the men went out there to work just for that season. Our neighbor, John Souders, invited Russell to go with him and some other men to work in the cotton fields that fall. It was a long, hard trip but they went. They saw no other choice to preserve their lives and their families. They were called “migrant workers.” Actually in the class of slaves, with no rights.

Farmers are notably hopeful. They believed that surely the next year would bring rain and abundant crops. So again they sowed and tilled the land. But again there was no rain and no harvest. So many of them loaded their families and all of the necessities they could haul and made that long, arduous trip to California. Our local school enrollment dropped from about 95 down to thirty-something. Only we who were too poor to go remained. Several other men in the neighborhood died, probably from overwork and starvation.

We heard later that they were being stopped at the border and at times, in certain places, they would not allow “Okies” to cross. They were illegal immigrants. Those who did get in were hired at a minimum wage and lived with their families in tents in the low, flood-prone areas around the rivers.

What would you have done if you had been a cotton farmer in California?

The story has been told since then in the book and the movie, “The Grapes of Wrath,” which is all too true to the facts. The migrant workers had no power to demand fair wages and working conditions. They were sometimes forced to leave the area after the harvest without their pay and no place to go. They were only “immigrants” and had no rights. As the book describes, they were ready to organize the Farm Labor Unions, but not without a long and difficult struggle, with many casualties.

What would you have done if you had been owner of a large fruit orchard in California?

My brother, 17-18 years old, worked and sent as much money home as he could, living on the barest minimum himself. Our Mother lived, worked and prayed and taught us to do the same. By God’s mercy and grace, we all lived through it.

Indians Forced To Migrate

I would be unfaithful to my heritage to fail to mention the atrocities of the forced migration of the native Indian populations in the history of the United States of America. Some tribes, consisting of men, women and children as well as the elderly, were driven by the US militia on horseback for hundreds of miles.

Having Cherokee Indian blood in my ancestry, I still find repugnant the history of the forced migration of the tribe from their homes and lands in the east, to Oklahoma and the Ozark area in Missouri and Arkansas. Their journey was so strenuous and so many died that it is remembered as “The Trail of Tears.” Throughout the American West, Indians were forced onto reservations, treaties were made and broken; they were demonized in the media and so “good, Christian” people thought they were doing God’s service by the atrocities they forced upon them. They were ‘immigrants.’

What would you have done?

Bible Immigrants

There were just such times in the Bible record. In fact, the whole tribe of Jacob and his twelve sons suffered a drought and famine in Palestine that forced them to migrate into the land of Egypt where Joseph, their brother, Jacob’s son, had become a powerful man in that empire at that time. They were immigrants, but because Joseph could help them, they were well cared for. That is, until another Pharaoh arose, “who knew not Joseph.” Then they became slaves, typical of immigrants with no rights.

They were slaves for 400 years. God delivered them and gave them the land of Canaan, but He told them: “Ye shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt,” Exodus 22.21; 23.9.

What would you have done if you had been an Egyptian?

Another story in the Bible is found in the Book of Ruth. It is a familiar story.  There was a great famine in Judea and a man named Elimelech with his wife and sons migrated to Moab. They were immigrants. There Elimelech and his two sons died, and Naomi, his wife, was left with the two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah. Naomi later returned to Bethlehem with Ruth. She probably saw no hope for a good life in Moab as an immigrant, a stranger.

What would you have done if you had lived in Moab at that time?

I suppose it is because of my past experiences that I am biased, but it seems to me that God allows people to go through immigration, not only to prove His mercies in bringing them through it, but also to test those who are aware of their need and are merciful to them. Not only does the Bible record their great worth as human beings, known and loved by God Almighty, but also that circumstances beyond their control can force people to migrate.

In our present world, we know that there are literally millions of immigrants who have fled from famine, diseases, and wars, living in whatever they can find to survive, in refugee camps, in crowded slums, in the homes of their kindred. God is working through His saints to provide for these souls.

Do we, in the richest nation in the world, as Christians, have a problem with immigrants? Will we pass the test?

We wring our hands and commiserate over these past atrocities and injustices. But we are not responsible for what happened then. We are responsible for what is happening now.

What are we doing about the injustices, the inhumanities, the atrocities that are happening in our own time? We will not be judged for what happened back then; we will be judged for what we do now, on our watch. Think about it.

What if it is we who are the ‘immigrants’ of tomorrow?

Our Threefold Relationship With God: Part 3

This is Part 3 of a three part series on our “three-fold” relationship with God. In Part 1 I covered “God, the Father of Spirits.” In Part 2 I covered “God as Lover of the Church.”

Part 3: God As Shepherd Of Our Bodies

We are a Spirit, we have a soul, and we live in this world in a material body. God wants us to have a relationship with Him in our physical bodies. This relationship is described in Scripture as being like that of a shepherd with his sheep.

This was not merely like a relationship with property or material wealth, but rather like the relationship with ones household pet. Indeed, it was the priests duty to protect the sacrificial lambs so that they would have no blemish. In doing so, they often took them into their household where they became pets.

God, the Shepherd of Israel

In the Old Testament we find God describing Himself as the Shepherd of Israel, Ezekiel 34:11-31; Zechariah 10:2-3. He is very angry when the human shepherds abuse, neglect, or fail to protect their sheep.God’s ‘sheep’ are loved and well cared for.

“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand…,” Psalm 95.6-7.

“And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I AM your God, saith the Lord God,” Ezekiel 34.31. See also Psalm 79.13.

Psalm 23

Psalm 23 describes this relationship of tender loving care and abundant supply:

(1)”The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

(2) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

(3) He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

(4) Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

(5) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

(6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the sheep: John 10:11-18:

(11)”I AM the Good Shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.

(12) But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth; and the wolf catcheth them and scattereth the sheep.

(13)The hireling fleeth because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

(14)I AM the Good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine,

(15) As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

(16) And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd.

(17) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

(18) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I of my Father.”

Song: “The Ninety and Nine” – Words by Ira D. Sankey

“There were ninety and nine that safely lay, In the shelter of the fold,
But one was out on the hills away, Far off from the gates of gold.

Away on the mountains wild and bare, Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.

‘Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine: Are they not enough for Thee?
But the Shepherd made answer,” This of Mine has wandered away from Me:

And although the road be rough and steep, I go to the desert to find My sheep.
I go to the desert to find My sheep.”

But none of the ransomed ever knew how deep were the waters crossed,
Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through, ‘Ere He found His sheep that was lost.

Out in the desert He heard its cry, Sick and helpless and ready to die.
Sick and helpless and ready to die.

‘Lord, whence are those blood drops all the way, That mark out the mountain’s track?’
“They were shed for one who had gone astray, ‘Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”

‘Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?’ “They’re pierced tonight by many a thorn.
They’re pierced tonight by many a thorn.”

But all thro’ the mountains, thunder riven, And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry from the gates of heaven, “Rejoice, I have found My sheep.”

And the Angels echoed around the throne, “Rejoice for the Lord brings back His own!”
“Rejoice for the Lord brings back His own.”

I Peter 2.25: “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”

I Peter 5.4: “And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

Our Threefold Relationship With God: Part 2

This is a three part series on our “three-fold” relationship with God. In Part 1 I covered “God, the Father of Spirits.” In this post I will discuss “God as Lover of the Church,” and in Part 3 I will cover “God, Shepherd of our Bodies.”

Part 2: God As Lover Of The Church

The great love story of the Bible is the analogy of the love of God for His wife as found in the Song of Solomon. It describes the thrill, excitement, and desire, when with the loved one. There is the moonlight and roses, the springtime and youth, the jewels and perfumes, the spices and the fruit, the garden and the mountains. What disappointment when the lover can’t be found. What joy in a reunion. This all compares to the glory in the Church when their Lover, Christ, had risen from the dead, ascended to heaven, and yet returned in the power of the Spirit, the very Breath of God.

God’s Desire Was Always to Dwell With His People

The Bible shows us that in the beginning God provided a loving relationship for Adam by making for him a wife which was from his own very flesh and bone. Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man,” Genesis 2:23. Then the Word of God says: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh,” verse 24. Thus the pattern for loving family relationships was established.

God dwelt with His son, Adam, and his family in the Garden of Eden. However, God’s love was not requited by Adam and Eve, but they deliberately and willfully disobeyed His commandment to not eat of the tree of knowledge.

Many things were changed. They now must be clothed. Woman must now bring forth children in sorrow. Adam must till the cursed ground and by hard labor bring forth food for his family. They could no longer live in the Garden of Eden. They must die and return to dust.

But worst of all, God could no longer fellowship with them in the Spirit. Whereas they had originally lived by the Breath, Spirit, of God, they now did not have that Life. So the fellowship of the Spirit was broken. However, this did not stop God from loving them, but it changed their relationship.

The Promise

But God in His great love for them gave them a promise that the serpent that had deceived them would be slain by the Seed of the Woman. By this He revealed His great plan to restore the Spiritual relationship that had been lost.

Throughout the long history of God’s dealing with His people, He always desired the marriage relationship. In the Old Testament He was married to the nation Israel and was broken-hearted when they sinned against Him by going into idolatry, and He had to divorce them.

Throughout the Bible we see God working with His people to bring them back to Himself.


But when Jesus came, in fulfillment of the promise to Adam and Eve in the Garden, He came to take a Bride out of the Remnant, seed, of the Old Israel. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, the Breath of God. He fulfilled all of the covenants and promises of God. At last His physical body was slain, buried, and raised from the dead in the power of the New Creation, the Spirit-filled Life.

Not only that, but He now could endow His Beloved with the gift of the Holy Spirit, Breath of God. Fifty days after His resurrection and ten days after His ascension, the Holy Spirit came and filled all of those waiting and longing for it.

One of the marks of the new indwelling of the Spirit was the great joy that was manifested. They now had the power to overcome the world, sin, self and satan. Death had been swallowed up in victory. This was not the bondage of the law forcing them into a strait jacket, but a glorious freedom and power to love, worship, serve, honor and obey. And they could offer it to all the world. They were ecstatic.

Finally, in Revelation 21 and 22, the loving marriage relationship is restored and Jesus takes His bride, the New Jerusalem, the Church. God again has a Spiritual Son and a family.

Revelation 21:3: “And I heard a great voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.”

Verse 7: “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my Son.”

The Church Responds To God’s Love

How does the Church respond to the love of Christ today? In heartfelt worship, prayer, praise, and dedication. This is practiced both on the individual level and on the corporate level. It has often been compared to entering into a garden, a tryst. “Oh the beautiful garden, the garden of prayer! Oh the beautiful garden of prayer! There the Savior awaits, And He opens the gate, To that beautiful garden of prayer.”

This is the “secret place of the Most High” of Psalm 91: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” The Psalmist describes it as a refuge, a stronghold, a fortress of safety.

Psalm 31:19-20: “Oh, how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.”

Song: In The Garden, Words by C. Austin Miles

1.“I come to the garden alone, While the dew is still on the roses,

And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, The Son of God discloses.

“And He walks with me, And He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own.
And the joy we share, As we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

2. “He speaks and the sound of His voice, Is so sweet the birds hush their singing.
And the melody that He gave to me, Within my heart is ringing.

3. “I’d stay in the garden with Him, Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go, through the voice of woe, His voice to me is calling.

“And He walks with me, And He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own.
And the joy we share, As we tarry there,
None other has ever known.”

Whether we are in a congregation or whether we are alone, we enter into this garden to respond to the love of God in worship, in prayer, and in communion. But in verse three the Lover says to go back out into the hurting world. This, too, is part of our love for Jesus. But we go empowered, for Jesus goes with us.

Song: Jesus Lover Of My Soul

  1. Jesus, Lover of my soul, Let me to Thy bosom fly.

While the nearer waters roll, While the tempest still is high.

Hide me, O my Savior, hide. Till the storms of life are past;

Safe into the harbor guide, O receive my soul at last.

  1. Other refuge have I none, Hangs my helpless soul on Thee.

Leave, ah, leave me not alone, Still support and comfort me.

All my trust on Thee is stayed, All my help from Thee I bring;

Cover my defenseless head, With the shadow of Thy wing.

  1. Thou, O Christ, art all I want; More than all in Thee I find,

Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, Heal the sick and lead the blind.

Just and holy is Thy name, I am all unrighteousness;

False and full of sin I am, Thou art full of truth and grace.

  1. Plenteous grace with Thee is found, Grace to cover all my sin;

Let the healing streams abound; Make and keep me pure within.

Thou of life the fountain art; Freely let me take of Thee;

Spring Thou up within my heart, Rise to all eternity.

Words by Charles Wesley

Our Three-Fold Relationship With God (Part 1)

[In Three Parts]

In this series of posts, I will identify our “three-fold” relationship with God.  In this first post I will discuss “God, the Father of Spirits,” followed by Part 2 “God, Lover of the Church,” and finally Part 3 “God, Shepherd of our Bodies.”

Part One: God The Father Of Spirits

Father of Adam

Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

Genesis 5:1-2: “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them, and called their name Adam, in the day they were created.”

The Hebrew word for ‘Adam’ is the same word for ‘man.’ We refer to the human race, as descended from Adam, as “Mankind.”

Adam was the Son of God by Creation: Luke 3:38. We also are the Sons of God by Creation in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 2:10.

God is a Spirit. When He made Man in His image, He made him a Spirit.

‘Breath’ and ‘Spirit’ Are Synonymous In Hebrew

The word ‘Breath,’ in the Hebrew is also sometimes translated ‘Spirit.’ It was the ‘Breath/Spirit’ of God that man Adam a living soul. That Breath/Spirit is the “Spirit of life,” for that is what gave life to Adam.

Romans 8:2: “For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made us free from the law of sin and death.”

In this passage Paul has the creation story in mind. He is thinking of our creation in Christ as “the law of the Breath of Life.” He is speaking in legal terms, citing a ‘precedent.’ In law a ‘precedent’ is: “a judicial decision which serves as a rule for future decisions in similar or analogous cases.” Paul is saying that the ‘Breath of Life,” is the original Law of God in creation and takes precedence over the later Law of Moses or any other law. This “Breath of Life is what changes Mankind from a sculpture of clay to a “Living Soul.”

The Holy Spirit is the Breath of God

Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” In Jesus, Who has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of Life,” or the “Breath of Life,” we are again made, created, a “Living Soul.” Without that Holy Spirit/Breath, we are dead in trespasses and sin.

The rest of Romans chapter 8 describes more fully what difference this “Breath/Spirit of Life” makes.  It is the difference:

  • Between life and death, Verse 2, 38-39
  • Between spirituality and carnality, Verse 6
  • Between immortal and mortal, Verses 11, 13
  • Between sonship and alienation, Verses 14, 15, 16
  • Between purity and corruption, Verse 21
  • Between freedom and bondage, Verse 1, 21
  • Between heirs and strangers, Verse 16, 17
  • Between strength and weakness, Verses 3, 26
  • Between health and sickness, Verses 23, 36
  • Between justification and condemnation, Verses 1, 34
  • Between hope and despair, Verses 24, 25.

Hebrews 12:9: “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live?”

2. ‘Revelation’ – Meaning In Context

Dear Friends,

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be blind? Have you ever tried to find your way in the dark even in your most familiar surroundings? If so, you know that you can become utterly confused. Without light, we cannot orient ourselves in time or space.

The first born of God’s creation was Light. God is Light, I John 1.5: “This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”

Jesus was the First-born of creation, so He is Light, born of God. Jesus described Himself as Light: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, ‘I AM the Light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the Light of Life,” John 8.12.

And Jesus has bequeathed Himself to us as Light: “Ye are the Light of the world. A city set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” Matthew 5.14-16.

Just as by natural light our eyes can see, so God’s Word is the Light for our soul and spirit: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” Psalm 119.105.  It reveals the Truth that guides us spiritually to avoid the pitfalls of darkness: “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light,” Ephesians 5:13-14.

Trying to go through life without the Light of God is like driving down the interstate at night without headlights.

This lesson is about the meaning of ‘Revelation’ as Perfection of Light, which is Jesus.

What did the word ‘Revelation’ mean to the Jewish world of 68 AD?

Urim ve Thummim

(Follow the Scriptures on this one and you will be blessed. Don’t give up here.) For one thing, it meant the precious gift that was only given to the High Priests in the Old Testament, called in Hebrew Urim ve Thummim, literally translated “Perfection of Light.” (Usually left untranslated in the KJV.) This special gift to the High Priest gave them spiritual insight that was required for the guidance of the nation, Israel.

Historically, this gift had not returned to their High Priests after the Babylonian captivity, more than 400 years earlier. By 68 AD they were desperately longing for this gift of the Holy Spirit. Revelation 1.1 tells us that God gave this gift to Jesus Christ, thereby proving His divine anointing as the Great Eternal High Priest, chosen of God: “The revelation, [Urim ve Thummim], of Jesus Christ which God gave unto Him.”

Biblical Context For ‘Urim ve Thummim’

Remember, this study is about keeping the Scriptures found in the Book of Revelation “In Context.” For the Biblical context of the Urim ve Thummim read and meditate the following Scriptures:

So “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” means “The perfection of light.” The light which God spoke in Genesis 1:3 has come to its full perfection in Jesus Christ in Revelation 1.1.

For further discussion and referents for this subject see my book Revelation in Context, pages 56-61. Revelation in Context is available locally at the Living Word Bookstore in Shawnee, Oklahoma or, or
Free downloads are also available at
Next Lesson: The Greek meaning of the word Revelation.